Comprehension Strategies Aid Understanding

Comprehension strategies help students understand what they read.

Research has identified six comprehension strategies proven  to raise students’ level of understanding.  

Prediction/Prior Knowledge– Thoughtful readers use relevant prior knowledge to predict when reading. Use of this strategy helps students: 

  • Bring knowledge from life experiences to their reading
  • Form predictions based on this prior knowledge
  • Engage more deeply with the text

Questions and Questioning – Fluent readers actively and strategically engage when reading by asking questions. Questioning allows students to: 

  • Focus their reading
  • Clarify meaning
  • Critically reflect on what they have read

Think-aloud – By recognizing and talking out loud about their metacognitive processes students learn to:

  • Monitor their own thinking processes
  • Adjust their thinking to achieve clearer comprehension
  • Clarify meaning as hey continue to read

Text Structure and Features – Students who consciously attend to text structures and features are able to:

  • Comprehend and recall texts more effectively
  • Analyze and synthesize written texts
  • Think critically about their reading

Visualizing –  The use of visualizing techniques and visual representations helps students:

  • Use mental imagery as a comprehension strategy
  • Focus on concepts, and relations between concepts, as they read
  • Learn how to view information critically and thoughtfully

Summarization – Summarization is an essential comprehension strategy that enables students to: 

  • Focus on major points in the text
  • Establish in their own minds what they think the text is saying
  • Deepen their knowledge of what they have read. 

I have often shared these strategies with parents and teachers throughout my career as an elementary principal.  These six comprehension strategies are easy to teach, easy to use and can be used across many subject areas. 

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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ThreeRingsConnections.org October Posts

October posts can help kids learn at school & home

Each day we spend with kids is an opportunity to teach a piece of ourselves.

October posts certainly seem trivial while we all live through a pandemic. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

Today’s health crisis has certainly put so many things in perspective! Family, health and friends have become our priorities with deadlines existing but flexible. Over the past few months, I’ve seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school everyday to kids that are either being homeschooled or learning virtually. The student teachers that I work with are not only learning how to be effective teachers in the classroom, they are also learning how to teach remotely. They are learning the importance of their chosen career, ongoing learning and adaptability. However, I wish they did not have to learn all those objectives in a single semester.

In many areas, my home state of New York included, parents continue to take the helm to be their child’s teachers and keep kids learning. Learning is happening but in a way that we never thought would be happening and in March we thought it would be temporary. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I’m hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of November, I hope our day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable and we continue to find learning opportunities all around us.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

October’s Posts

October’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite October Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

Check out some topics coming next month
  • High Leverage Practices (HLPs) for All Kids
  • US State Capitals Trivia
  • Six Strategies to Raise Student Comprehension

SDI Strategies in Reading

SDI Strategies makes special education “special“.

Specifically Designed Instruction (SDI) strategies refer to the way teachers instruct students with learning disabilities and other types of learning needs (strengths and weaknesses). SDI’s help a child achieve their academic goals listed in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

SDI Strategies in Literacy

  • Use books on tape, and books with large print and big spaces between lines.
  • Provide a copy of class notes to student.
  • Provide a quiet area for reading activities.
  • Help students notice the letters in the environmental print that surrounds them.
  • Announce reading assignments well in advance.
  • Have students use both visual and auditory senses when reading text.
  • Present material in small units.
  • Use graphic organizers to connect ideas.
  • Read and share stories with students.
  • Provide students with chapter outlines or study guides that highlight key points in their reading.
  • Offer to read written material aloud, when necessary.
  • Allow alternative forms for book reports.
  • Share informational texts and invite students to wonder about the new ideas presented.
  • Point out ways in which reading is important in everyday life (e.g., on labels, instructions, and signs).
  • Teach students how books are organized.
  • Use stories that have predictable words and words that occur frequently in the text.
  • Label objects in classroom.
  • Engage students in activities that help them learn to recognize letters visually.
  • Teach students to attend to the sounds in language.
  • Model and demonstrate how to break short sentences into individual words.
  • Have students clap out syllables and listen for and generate rhymes.
  • Focus on activities that involve sounds of words, not on letters or spellings.
  • Model specific sounds, and ask students to produce each sound in isolation.

Check out a great Guidance Document developed through the NYSED Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center (RSE-TASC) which explains SDI and is a step by step resource to help teachers select the best strategies to meet student needs.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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High Leverage Practices (HLPs) for All Kids

HLPs are the fundamentals of teaching

High Leverage Practices (HLPs) are a group of techniques developed by the Council for Exceptional Children and the CEEDAR Center. Designed originally as essential special education techniques, they are 22 techniques that all K-12 teachers should know and use across a variety of classroom contexts.

When using HLPs, teachers must consider the content they are teaching, the methodology and delivery of instruction. HLPs address four interrelated components of special education: collaboration, assessment, social/emotional/behavior practices, and instruction. 

Collaboration

HLP 1: Collaborate with professionals to increase student success.

HLP 2: Organize and facilitate effective meetings with professionals and families

HLP 3: Collaborate with families to support student learning and secure needed services.

Assessment

HLP 4: Use multiple sources of information to develop a comprehensive understanding of a student’s strengths and needs.

HLP 5: Interpret and communicate assessment information with stakeholders to collaboratively design and implement educational programs.

HLP 6: Use student assessment data analyzing instructional practices and make necessary adjustments that improve student outcomes.

Social/emotional/behavior

HLP 7: Establish a consistent, organized, and respectful learning environment.

HLP 8: Positive and constructive feedback is given to guide a students’ learning and behavior.

HLP 9: Teach social behaviors.

HLP 10: Conduct functional behavioral assessments to develop individual student behavior support plans.

Instructional

HLP 11: Identify and prioritize long- and short-term learning goals.

HLP 12: Systematically design instruction toward specific learning goals

HLP 13: Adapt curriculum tasks and materials for specific learning goals.

HLP 14: Teach cognitive and metacognitive strategies to support learning and independence.

HLP 15: Provide scaffolded supports.

HLP 16: Use explicit instruction.

HLP 17: Use flexible grouping.

HLP 18: Use strategies to promote active student engagement.

HLP 19: Use assistive and instructional technologies

HLP 20: Provide intensive instruction.

HLP 21: Teach students to maintain and generalize new learning across time and settings.

HLP 22: Provide positive and constructive feedback to guide students’ learning and behavior.

I believe HLPs are the fundamentals of teaching.  They are high leverage: not only because they matter to student learning but because they are basic for advanced skill in teaching. With expectations for student performance increasing over the years, it seems only common sense that (HLPs) can be effective for ALL students.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Great Resources for High Leverage Practices

Other posts related to this topic:

ThreeRingsConnections.org September Posts

September posts can help kids learn at school & home

Each day we spend with kids is an opportunity to teach a piece of ourselves.

September posts certainly seem trivial while we all live through a pandemic. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

Today’s health crisis has certainly put so many things in perspective! Family, health and friends have become our priorities with deadlines existing but flexible. Over the past few months, I’ve seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school everyday to kids that are either being homeschooled or learning virtually. The student teachers that I work with are not only learning how to be effective teachers in the classroom, they are also learning how to teach remotely. They are learning the importance of their chosen career, ongoing learning and adaptability. However, I wish they did not have to learn all those objectives in a single semester.

In many areas, my home state of New York included, parents continue to take the helm to be their child’s teachers and keep kids learning. Learning is happening but in a way that we never thought would be happening and in March we thought it would be temporary. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I’m hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of October, I hope our day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable and we continue to find learning opportunities all around us.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

September Posts

September’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite September Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

Check out some topics coming next month
  • Brain Breaks in Learning
  • US State Flags Trivia: Part II
  • Stories with Holes
  • Fifth Grade Standards for Learning
  • Learning Games and Websites & Apps
  • Academic Vocabulary Grades 1,2, and 5

Halloween Jokes for Kids

Halloween jokes to get you howling!

I admit it.  Halloween is not my favorite holiday.  But, when a three-year-old tells you a joke, thinks it hysterical and it is Halloween, it’s time for some Halloween jokes!

15 Halloween Jokes to Get You Howling

  • Q: Which fruit is a vampire’s favorite?
  • A: Neck-tarine!
  • Q: How do you fix a damaged jack-o-lantern?
  • A: You use a pumpkin patch!
  • Q: What dog breed would Dracula love to have as a pet?
  • A: Blood hound!
  • Q: What do ghosts wear when their eyesight gets blurred?
  • A: Spooktacles
  • Q: What would be the national holiday for a nation of vampires?
  • A: Fangs-giving!
  • Q: What is a skeleton’s favorite musical instrument?
  • A: A Trombone!
  • Q: What does a panda ghost eat?
  • A: Bam-BOO!
  • Q: What do birds say on Halloween to get candy?
  • A: Twick-or-tweet
  • Q: Who was the most famous skeleton detective?
  • A: Sherlock Bones
  • Q: What does the skeleton chef say when he serves you a meal?
  • A: “Bone Appetit!”
  • Q: What kind of monster loves to disco?
  • A: The boogieman.
  • Q: When is it bad luck to be followed by a black cat?
  • A: When you’re a mouse.
  • Q: How do you make a witch itch?
  • A: Take away the W.
  • Q: What do you call a witch’s garage?
  • A: A broom closet.
  • Q: What is in a ghost’s nose?
  • A: Boo-gers

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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9 Strategies to Help Readers

Research has outlined 9 strategies that all good readers use to help comprehension.  The 9 habits are organized around strategies to help comprehension before, during, and after reading a selection.

Check out 9 habits to improve comprehension.

Before You Read:

Check it out! Students should check out a selection before reading to develop a “road map” for the selection.  Students should look at titles preview headings and subheadings, examine illustrations and graphics and identify the kind of writing (genre).

Think about what you know about the subject.  Think about what you already know so that you can use that information to make connections with what you read.

Decide what you need to know.  Having a purpose for reading provides a focus for comprehension and helps readers distinguish between important and less important information.

While You Read:

Stop and Ask, “how does it connect to what you know?” To comprehend, readers must connect what they read to what they know.

Stop and ask, “Does it make sense?” Good readers stop periodically and see if what they have read makes sense.

Stop and ask, “If it doesn’t make sense, what can I do?”  What separates good readers from those who struggle is the ability of good readers to try different strategies to fix their understanding when it breaks downs.  Readers can reread, use context clues, look at graphics or check out summaries for clarification to help understanding.

After You Read:

React to what you have read.  Good readers analyze what they have read and make connections between the text and their experiences.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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November Learning Activities

November learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help parents and teachers engage students in valuable learning activities. Check out November  learning activities.

November 2020

3 Election Day (US) – Do a voting activity

9 The first giant panda was collected alive in China in 1927. – Look at the giant pandas through the live cam at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

11 Veterans Day (US) – Write a letter to a veteran to thank them for their service.

12 Elizabeth Cady Stanton born (woman’s rights advocate)1815 – Read a story about Stanton and talk about women voting

13 World Kindness Day – Write about an act of kindness or do an act of kindness.

15 America Recycles Day – Create an art piece out of recycled materials

18 Four standard time zones for the continental USA were introduced, 1883. -Research what they are and find them on a US map.

20 Universal Children’s Day – Draw a picture of what you think you will be doing in 2040

26 Thanksgiving (US) (4th Thursday in November) – Make some Thanksgiving placemats

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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US State Flags Trivia: Part II

October Trivia: Learning, Fun and Memory booster.

Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  Monthly, we’ve looked at questions in many categories: General Knowledge, movies and World History & Geography and US History. Last month we started identifying US State Flags.  This month is US State Flags: Part II.  Next month is US FLAG capitals!  

  1. Flag of Texas
  2. New York Flag 3X5ft Poly
  3. Flag of Kansas
  4. Flag of South Dakota
  5. Flag of Florida
  6. Flag of North Dakota
  7. Flag of Nebraska
  8. Flag of Wisconsin
  9. Flag of North Carolina
  10. Flag of Oregon
  11. Flag and seal of Illinois
  12. Flag and seal of New Hampshire
  13. Flag of Maine
  14. Flag of Utah
  15. Flag of Colorado
  16. Image result for Nevada Flag Picture 2020
  17. Image result for west virginia flag picture 2020
  18. Image result for virginia flag picture 2020
  19. Image result for Oklahoma flag picture 2020
  20. Flag of Maryland
  21. Image result for Mississippi Flag
  22. Flag of Vermont
  23. Image result for Idaho Flag
  24. Image result for Iowa Flag
  25. Image result for Arkansas Map

 

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Answers

  1. Texas
  2. New York
  3. Kansas
  4. South Dakota
  5. Florida
  6. North Dakota
  7. Nebraska
  8. Wisconsin
  9. North Carolina
  10. Oregon
  11. Illinois
  12. New Hampshire
  13. Maine
  14. Utah
  15. Colorado
  16. Nevada
  17. West Virginia
  18. Virginia
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Maryland
  21. Mississippi
  22. Vermont
  23. Idaho
  24. Iowa
  25. Arkansas
Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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SQ3R a Reading Strategy That Works

SQ3R strategy that is highly effective in the classroom and for homework

Recently, when coaching a student teacher, I shared the SQ3R strategy that is highly effective in the classroom and for homework.   The letters stand for a proven five-step process that makes study time more efficient and effective- Survey, Question, Read, Restate and Review.  Here is how this method works:

What is SQ3R?

Survey – Look over the material to see what it is about.  Check out the chapter heads.  Look at photos and graphs. Read the words in bold type.  This will give an idea of what is important.

Questions – Once your child knows the main idea, develop some questions that the assignment might answer.  Who is the main character?  What is the key idea?  Where does the story take place?

Read – Now read the assignment.  As your child reads, have her look for answers to the question she is already developed.

Review – Next, have your child tell you the story (or the important parts of the chapter) in her own words.   Ask her to tell you the most important ideas covered.

Review -Has your child found the answer to all his questions?  What else did she learn?  What surprised her?

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Riddles Are Fun for Young Kids

Riddles help kids practice reading comprehension

Riddles are a good way for kids to improve their reading comprehension. Kids quickly learn that they must pay attention to clues to figure out the answer. Check out the riddles below for “young riddle solvers”. Two good riddle solving strategies is to try to form a picture in your mind and ask yourself questions while connecting clues.

A very sour fruit,

And I start with L;

Add water and sugar,

And I taste just swell.

What am I? ____________

I can be very sharp,

And I start with P;

You can even erase,

What you wrote with me.

What am I? _____________

See me in the tree,

I do give a hoot;

I’m looking for mice,

My big eyes are cute.

What am I? ______________

My color means stop,

And I end in D;

And some fire engines,

Have been painted me.

What am I? _______________

I will be your friend,

And I start with D;

I will guard your house,

And I end with G.

What am I? ________________

The color of a juice

And I send with E;

A fruit that is quite sweet,

Is named for me.

What am I?  _______________

Feel like being an artist?  Why not draw a picture of the answer.  Have fun!

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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NYS Museum: Online Resources

NYS Museum is now ONLINE. Visit and Learn

The NYS Museum has launched the Portal to Online Educational Resources & Activities that brings together many of the museum’s resources.  Check out the links to the popular virtual “filed trips,” digital collections, online resources, and many fun activities for kids.   The Portal provides opportunities for educators, caregivers, and students looking for engaging and educational activities to do at home.

The portal resources and activities will be updated often.  Also included on the site is NYS Learning Standards supporting online lessons and content-created publications.  Virtual activities are coming soon!  Check it Out!

NYS Museum Resources

  • 360 Degree Virtual Field Trips
  • Regents Room of the State Education Building
  • The Replica Liberty BellThe Rotunda Murals
  • Teacher Guides & Activities for Students
  • NYSM Women of Science Programming
  • Women’s Suffrage Resources
  • Fun Activities
  • NYSM Videos
  • The Rotunda at NYSED

Critical Thinking Activity #3 for Kids

Critical thinking activity #3 helps to get kids THINKING.

Problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. Teaching kids to THINK is important in school and in life.  Kids need opportunities to think about things to make them “make sense”.  Critical thinking activity #3 gets kids to THINK.

Critical thinking activity #3 is perfect for a challenge activity, time filler, brain start, reward or extra credit. The first time I saw this problem, it took me some time to figure it out. I thought about it and then I started drawing it out to keep the possibilities straight. FINALLY, I got it. What will be your strategy?

Can you fill 3 jugs with just 4 gallons of water?

Brooklyn has three jugs that are known to hold exactly 4, 9, and 12 gallons of water. The 12 gallon jug is full of water. There is no extra water supply. Can you figure out a way to use these jugs to each have only 4 gallons of water in each jug?

Once your student figures out the answer, challenge them to create their own example that can be solved in the same way.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Critical Thinking Activity #3 Answer is:

  1. Fill the 4 gallon jug from the full 12 gallon jug. (that leaves 8 gallons in the 12 gallon jug).
  2. Then empty the 4 gallon jug into the 9 gallon jug. (now you have an empty jug)
  3. Go back to the original 12 gallon jug, that NOW has 8 gallons of water.
  4. Fill the empty jug with 4 gallons of water

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Brain Breaks Help Everyone

Brain Breaks are effective in learning.

We all know that we sometimes need just a few minutes to take a short break to help us get focused.  Sometimes, it is for a cup of coffee, a cookie or to check our phones.  It helps us catch our breath and gives us another opportunity to start again. Did you know that your breaks are call Brain Breaks? 

Smart teachers know that kids need short breaks in learning.  Sometimes, called Brain Breaks, they are short, physical activities that are interspersed with periods of focused academic work.  Research shows that shorter blocks of instruction are more effective for many kids, with younger kids maxing out after about 10 minutes and older kids lasting up to a half-hour or more. Adding short breaks can help improve students’ attention, retention of information, creativity, and efficiency.  Adding some breaks can be fun, make them a definite MUST in every classroom.

6 Benefits of Brain Breaks

  1. Improves focus by lessening frustration and boredom
  2. Provides physical activity
  3. Adds some fun into learning
  4. Gives a sense of accomplishment by completing an assignment
  5. Helps use up extra energy
  6. Give kids (and adults) something to look forward to

Brain Breaks and Remote Learning

Now that many schools have started remote learning once again, there is even more reason to give kids some much needed breaks from computer screens.  Since kids are missing the physical activity of a classroom, Brain Breaks are must.  Think simple.  Try jumping jacks, stretches, yoga poses or jogging in place for a short quick break.  If you want to extend your break a few more minutes add a dance party, take a short walk, play a boardgame or do a household chore.

Although short breaks during classwork or homework are beneficial be sure to plan carefully. Be sure your breaks are not too much fun or too lengthy or you might have kids not want to get back to work!

The length of Brain Breaks and the topics depends on your child’s age and interest levels.  So, choose things that YOUR child wants to do as a Brain Break.  Create a list of ideas so that you or your child can choose their own Brain Break.  Do not be afraid to let your child add to the list (of course with parent approved)

Remote learning is creating many challenges for parents, teachers, and students.  Why not add some Brain Breaks into your schedule to make learning easier and less stressful? Teach your child that you too, need Brain Breaks.  Show them that being able to drink a HOT cup of coffee is what makes you happy.  Enjoy your Brain Break!

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • Lesson Fillers in the Classroom
  • Lesson Filler Activities

Learning Games for Kids

Education games can be great review activities for kids.

I am not a big fan of kids on the computer, so you can guess my thoughts on remote teaching this semester! However, we are all learning to adjust in these pandemic times. There are, however, some great review and reinforcement learning games that will keep kids engaged and having fun. Check out the games that I listed below. They are teacher-created, and Grandchildren approved.

5 Great Learning Games

PBS Kids Games

I have recommended this site in different posts, but it is worth the mention again.  Games are organized by subject area and have many popular literature characters included.  Who does not like Curious George or The Cat in the Hat?

Funbrain

Created for kids ages preschool through grade 8.  Interactive games that develop skills in reading, math, and literacy. 

Academic Skill Builders

Online educational video games in language arts, vocabulary, thinking skills and math. Repetitive, timed learning drills that give scores. 

Mr. Nussbaum

Greg Nussbaum, a teacher created the site with a wide variety of learning games that are organized by subject area and grade level.  Although it looks like there are no games for preschoolers, there are!  Filter to the lowest level.  I found some alphabet games that are appropriate for kids as young as 2!  Teachers it can be used on a tablet and is a great resource for interactive whiteboards.  

ABCYa.com

Educational games and activities for elementary students (lower grades) to learn language arts and math.   Teacher-created and recommended by New York Times.

National Geographic Kids

Over 100 fun, engaging and interactive science games and quizzes. 

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.


Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Lesson Fillers in the Classroom

Lesson filler activities Part II for all ages

In the classroom, it is important to make every minute count.  In the remote teaching world, it is important to give the “teacher” a few minutes of downtime to catch her breath or a sip of coffee.  So, lesson fillers can be used to keep  kids engaged, learning, and having fun. 

Classroom Filler activities are dependent on the age and interest of the kids.  So, having a variety of activities ready to go is ideal.  Many of the activities can be adjusted to be repeated multiple times with a few small changes.

More Lesson Fillers

Pass the ______- Give the class a topic and ask each student to add to the answers without any repeats (Ex: Name a state, name a color). Give the answering child something to hold when the answer and then pass the item to the next child that answers.

Line Up – Ask students to line up by a characteristic (birthday, color shoes, # on house) 

Hot Seat – A student stands with their back to the whiteboard.  Another student writes a word on the board that was taught in class (you may want to give them a word list) and the first student tries to guess the word by asking questions with “yes” or “no” answers. Give a maximum amount of questions that can be asked.

How long is 1 minute? – Ask students to close their eyes and when they think 1 minute has gone by to raise their hand. This gives students practice in the dimension of time.  Vary times as students’ progress.  

Silly Story – Challenge students to take turns making up a story. Have them sit in a circle, and one by one add a sentence to the story. For example, the first student would say, “Once upon a time there was a little girl that went to school, then she…” Then the next student would continue the story. Encourage children to stay on task and use appropriate words. This activity is the perfect opportunity for students to develop and use their imagination and creativity. This can also be turned into a longer project in which students collaborate on a digital project.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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  • Lesson Filler Activities

October Learning Activities


October learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help parents and teachers engage students in valuable learning activities. Check out October learning activities.

October 2020

5 World Teachers Day – Write a description on what you would do if you were a teacher.

12 Columbus Day (US) (2nd Monday in October) – Read a story about Columbus and/or draw a picture of his 3 ships.

15 National Grouch Day – Draw a picture of a grouchy animal or person.

16 World Food Day – Draw and write about your favorite food.

20 National Fruit Day – Describe your favorite food.  

26 International School Library Day (4th Monday in October) – Create a book jacket of a book you have read recently.  Be sure to include 5 facts about the book.

27 Make a Difference Day – What can you do in your house to help someone that would make a difference?

28 State of Liberty dedicated, 1886 – Find a picture of the Statue of Liberty and try to draw it yourself.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Critical Thinking Activity #2 for Kids

Critical thinking activity #2 helps to get kids THINKING.

Problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. Teaching kids to THINK is important in school and in life.  Kids need opportunities to think about things to make them “make sense”.  Check out critical thinking #2 below to challenge your child.

Critical thinking activity #2 is perfect for a challenge activity, time filler, brain start, reward or extra credit. Once your student figures out the answer, challenge them to create their own example that can be solved in the same way.

WHEN DID IT HAPPEN?

Directions:  Read each statement and decide if it happened in the past, present, or future. HINT: Look for the clues that make the sentence “make sense”. Extension Activity:  Can you reword the sentence to change the meaning to be a different time? Time is divided into 3 categories: past, present and the future.

  • The past is time gone by.
  • The present is this moment in time.
  • The future is time that has not yet happened.
  1. He is on first base and it is the ninth inning.
  2. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.
  3. Declan got out of bed.
  4. Will you go dancing with me?
  5. The lake froze last night.
  6. My sister is at the store getting a new cellphone.
  7. Dinosaurs became extinct because the earth’s temperature cooled.
  8. I am wrapping the gift now.
  9. I washed the dishes after breakfast.
  10. We are going on vacation after school is over.
  11. My birthday party invitations went sent out yesterday.
  12. I hear the dog barking inside the house.

Answers

  1. Present
  2. Past
  3. Past
  4. Future
  5. Past
  6. Present
  7. Past
  8. Present
  9. Past
  10. Future
  11. Past
  12. Present

 Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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US State Flags Trivia for Kids & Adults

September Trivia: Learning, Fun and Memory booster.

Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  Monthly, we’ve looked at questions in many categories: General Knowledge, movies and World History & Geography and US History. Now it’s time for US State Flags trivia. A popular trivia category for my Wizard teammates. Practice time! Next month: Part II.

Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
Question 8
Question 9
Question 10
Question 11
Question 12
Question 13
Question 14
Question 15
Question 16
Question 17
Question 18
Question 19
Question 20
Question 21
Question 22
Question 23
Question 24
Question 25

Answers

  • Question 1 Connecticut
  • Question 2 Delaware
  • Question 3 Alaska
  • Question 4 Georgia
  • Question 5 South Carolina
  • Question 6 Arizona
  • Question 7 Ohio
  • Question 8 Louisiana
  • Question 9 Michigan
  • Question 10 Rhode Island
  • Question 11 Tennessee
  • Question 12 Hawaii
  • Question 13 Wyoming
  • Question 14 Missouri
  • Question 15 New Mexico
  • Question 16 Alabama
  • Question 17 New Jersey
  • Question 18 California
  • Question 19 Massachusetts
  • Question 20 Washington
  • Question 21 Montana
  • Question 22 Oklahoma
  • Question 23 Kentucky
  • Question 24 Colorado
  • Question 25 Minnesota

If you enjoyed these trivia questions, be sure to check out next month US Flags: Part II. 

Check them out and have some fun!

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Best ELA Apps & Websites


Best ELA Apps & Websites

High School students need to develop analytical skills in all subject areas. In the ELA classroom students need to learn to be independent thinkers, encourage appreciation for literature and express their opinions through writing and discussion. Finding resources to get your secondary students excited about English is important.  But, when it also makes your life easier, it is a goldmine!

6 Best ELA apps and websites

  1. New York Times – NYT and Verizon have teamed up to offer every high school student in the U.S. free access to the New York Times. Students can educate themselves to better understand the pandemic and other events going on in the world. Resources are up to date and available in all subject areas.
  2. Newsela – Newsela is an online news-as-literacy platform that features high-interest articles on everything from current events to myths and legends and from literature to science. Users can choose a free account (which just features news and current events) or paid subscriptions that include daily news story updates and subject-specific products for ELA, social studies, science, and SEL.
  3. CommonLit – CommonLit is a free digital library of leveled texts: news articles, poems, short stories, and historical documents. Articles can be filtered by collections by grade level, Lexile level, theme, genre, literary device, even Common Core State Standards. There are over 2,000 high-quality free reading passages for grades 3-12 that also include aligned assessments.  
  4. Teaching Tolerance – Teaching Tolerance is “a place where educators who care about diversity, equity and justice can find news, suggestions, conversation and support.” This is a great resource to include social awareness. 
  5. Purdue OWL – Great site for clarification in grammar, style, or proper citations to develop good writers. Includes printable and online practice.  It was my “go to” site for my dissertation. 
  6. UNC Writing Center – Handouts and videos for many writing issues. Extensive resources that are easy to use and ready to start today.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic: