There are so many different ways to use fall themes to make math practice fun. How do you include fall themes in your math lessons?
Fall has returned for another season. It is the time of cooler days, changing colors, and special days. It is a great time to use fall themes for math activities.
When fall arrives, children begin thinking about Halloween. They get excited about costumes, trick-or-treating, and spooky activities. Here are some free activities to practice math skills while engaging them in Halloween fun. Click on the image above to get your free copies.
Thanksgiving is another special time in the fall. Here are some activities that use glyphs for graphing. They are fun because they involve creating pictures, but they are also very useful for classifying and comparing data. They can be checked out here.
Children love to play with dice. Here is a game of probability using fall and Halloween graphics to make it more interesting.
There are so many different ways to use fall themes to make math practice fun. How do you include fall themes in your math lessons?
The Marathon of Hope began many years ago when Terry Fox was a young man. He lost his leg to bone cancer when he was 18 years old. On April 12, 1980 he started his Marathon of Hope for cancer research.
He was determined to run across Canada and raise $1.00 for every Canadian. He began his run on the east coast by dipping his foot in the Atlantic Ocean.
Terry ran every day for about 42 km (26 miles). Imagine running a marathon distance every day. This is hard enough for someone with two strong legs, but Terry did it with a prosthesis on his one leg. He did this for 143 days.
Terry Fox was unable to finish his Marathon of Hope. On September 1, 1980 he had to stop because cancer appeared in his lungs. He returned to his home and began treatment for the cancer. He was determined to continue fighting. On June 28,1981 his battle ended. He was no longer with us, but his legacy continues on.
Every September cities across Canada and worldwide run in Terry's memory to continue his Marathon of Hope.
Click here to find out more about Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope.
Here are some free activities to use with your students if you do a Terry Fox run in your area. I know it is very important in our schools and children still learn about our Canadian hero. Click on the image above to get your copy.
Going back to school can be exciting for many children, but it can also be a bit scary for some. Here are some tips for getting to know and understand your students better so that the transition will be a little easier.
Getting acquainted with your students and their families will make communication and understanding easier. Parents have a totally different perspective of their children and they feel included and heard if you give them opportunities to share this with you. They will appreciate you asking for information and getting to know and understand your students better.
Communication Is Key
Communication is key to gaining support as you progress throughout the year. Times may arise when difficult situations need to be shared and worked through. If you have open communication regularly about progress and successes or concerns, these difficult situations will be easier to work through.
Hopefully no difficult situations will come up, but being prepared helps just in case.
At the beginning of the year, I gather information to help with getting to know and understand students better. I only get to see a small part of who they are while they are at school. The Getting Acquainted form above is helpful for gathering more information about your students from their parents.
It is important that the parents know that this information is only for the teacher. It is for getting to know and understand your students, not meant to be shared with the class. Note: You can download this form for free by clicking the image.
Use Interest Profiles Or Activities
Doing an interest profile with the students is another way to get more information about them. When I begin writing activities with my class, I start with them filling out a heart of things that are important to them. Not only does this make early writing experiences easier, it also provides lot of insight into what they care about.
There are several different versions of this type available for use in the classroom. Doing an interest form or a "This is Me" type of form helps you gather more information for getting to know and understand your students and what is important to them.
These are just a few ideas. What kinds of things do you use for getting to know and understand your students? Let me know in the comments below.
It is hard to believe that it is almost time for the winter games to begin again. Every time I think about them I remember the excitement we felt when they were held in Vancouver in 2010. It was such a special time for those of us who live in British Columbia.
My students were so engaged and felt connected to the athletes and their accomplishments. We would listen to the theme song I Believe and this became our song in class. As some of you may know, "believe" is my power word and it comes up often as I am constantly coming across things with the word on them.
It is times like this that I miss having my own class. There are so many things I would love to do with my students. During the last winter games, I created some activities that could be used to make writing and Math time winter game focused. I would certainly be doing some of them in the next few weeks if I had the opportunity.
Here are some task card templates that can be used to create your own questions, games, or activities. I hope you find them helpful as we watch the athletes compete to represent the various countries.
I know this will be an exciting time for people all around the world as they cheer on their athletes. It is a time when we focus on the good in the world. It is a time to unite instead of divide. I hope for more caring and kindness towards one another, not just during the games but everyday.
I just love the characters from Winnie the Pooh. The stories are whimsical but they are full of truths. I was looking at my stuffed characters that I have for my grandchildren and I decided I had to create some posters to share some of the well-known quotes that are part of the stories.
Piglet warms my heart with all that he shares and the wonder he sees in life. He may be small, but he definitely fills the heart with love.
What a boring world it would be if everyone was the same. Different doesn't mean bad, and it is important that we see the value in our uniqueness. Eeyore would not be Eeyore if he didn't see the other side of things first.
Tigger is so bouncy he is hard to miss. He has a big presence and he is able to add energy to every situation.
This is one of my favorites. Pooh says it best: "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
What a powerful thing to share with others.
Click here or on the image above to get all 16 free posters. I hope you enjoy them and that they bring you smiles and happy thoughts.
Reading strategies are very important for developing good reading skills. They help children to make meaning out of unfamiliar words and ideas in a variety of ways. Many children get stuck when they rely on only one or two strategies. Introducing these 8 strategies and practicing them will give them the tools to better understand the material they are reading.
About 3 years ago, I was introduced to these cute animals and their uses as reading strategies. I loved how the children engaged with them. I had to get my own stuffies so that they could actually hold them and interact with them. I use them all the time now in my guided reading groups.
I created a set of bookmarks and posters to go with these strategies. If you would like to get a copy of these bookmarks and posters, click the image below.
I hope you find these tools helpful with your young readers. I would love to hear how you use strategies in reading.
Using games and activities that are fun will help to engage children and they will learn skills without realizing that they are learning. It is wonderful to see them taking risks and challenges and enjoying learning.
I have always tried to include games in my guided reading lessons and my literacy blocks. Children can often get frustrated if they are working hard at learning to decode or make meaning of what they are reading. Using games to focus on some of the skills relieves some of that stress and allows them to practice the skills in a fun environment.
I use lots of different boxed games, but I also use task cards and other games that I have created. The ones that I have made are specific for what I might be covering in groups. I have many different themes for my sight words so that they are always fun to use because they are linked to different holidays, or special times.
Here are some other types of activities that I have used with my students. Depending on the abilities and the needs, I have made the materials simple for learning letter sounds and names and more difficult for learning about figurative language and parts of speech. I have also created activities for the interactive whiteboard. Bingo games that go with various topics are also fun to create.
If you are interested in checking out some of these products or other literacy activities that I have created, click here.
I volunteer at school and work with several guided reading groups. I create games and activities for them. Another retired teacher volunteers as well. She asked me to make up some game boards for her. You can check them out here.
Here is a free sample from the set of game boards. Click the image below to get your copy.
I have fun creating games and I love seeing the children react when a new game is presented to them. But more importantly, I am excited to see them learning skills that they were struggling with. It is so thrilling to see them applying the skills to their reading and writing lessons.
I would love to hear how you use games in your classroom to teach skills.
This video has been floating around on Facebook for some time now. It really makes you stop and think about how confusing the English language can be to those learning English as a second language.
Pronunciation is not the only thing that is difficult. Many words are spelled the same way but have different meanings depending on how they are used. Here is a small sampling of some words in our language that have different meanings and pronunciations for the same spellings.
lead, content, row, sow, live, wind, present, minute
People also use words in ways that are very confusing for second language learners. My daughter-in-law is Korean, and she often asks me what I mean when I use an expression or idiom. We are unaware of how much of our language usage is not literal.
I love the Amelia Bedelia books because they show just how literally some of the sayings are interpreted by someone who doesn't know the current jargon or expression.
A couple of weeks ago, my reading group was reading a story from the Frog and Toad series that talked about spring being around the corner. Afterwards, I gave them some different idioms and a list of the meanings in a mixed up order and asked them to match them up. It was very interesting to see what choices they made. Most of the sayings were familiar, but there were some that were not.
I then read them the book Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish. They found it to be very funny and asked if we could read some more during our reading group time. These books are perfect for showing the difference between figurative language and literal language.
We just finished reading Good Work, Amelia Bedelia. I created some activities to go along with the story. We will be doing them this week. Click the image at the bottom of the page to get your own copy to try out.
A couple of years ago I did a guest post about Amelia Bedelia and figurative language. At that time, I had a student who was very literal. He really did not understand that we used expressions which had different meanings. Here are some excerpts from my post from back then.
Have you ever found an activity or unit that you try that just takes off on it's own path? I have had this happen many times. It always amazes me when an idea that starts out as a teachable moment or a small idea takes on a mind of its own and blossoms into a larger study.
Our current bloom is idioms. What started as an introduction to Amelia Bedelia for a couple of literal learners, has turned into a fantastic learning experience. It has become rich with language and writing opportunities. It has so engaged my students, that they are driving their families nuts by catching every idiom or figurative expression that is spoken. Sometimes I have to call for a time out so that we can actually focus on the topics being studied. Not that I mind, though. It is always rewarding to see the kids having fun with something that they are studying.
I teach a grade 2/3 class and I wanted to find some books that would capture their interest and be appropriate for reading groups. I scored with Amelia Bedelia. There are some I Can Read versions that are great for my struggling readers, some of the regular editions that are suitable for my stronger grade 2s and my weaker grade 3s, and now the new chapter books that work with my stronger readers. Right now, everyone is reading about Amelia Bedelia. This is a first!
What I enjoy most about having the same characters, is that we can really look closely at them as we meet them in different stories. Everyone is familiar with Amelia Bedelia and Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.
Now they are meeting Amelia Bedelia's parents in the chapter books because they are stories about her when she was a little girl. They love making connections as they read about her adventures.
Herman Parish (nephew of Peggy Parish) has done a wonderful job with these books. He also has some new I Can Read books about Amelia Bedelia as a young child. They are sure to be a hit as well.
Did you catch the idioms and figurative language used in the above excerpts?
I had so much teaching about idioms, that I decided to create my own activities. Check them out below.
Click the image to get your free copy of activities for Good Work, Amelia Bedelia. I hope you enjoy using them.
As Christmas time quickly approaches, the children get more and more excited. It is hard for them to sometimes realize the passage of time until Christmas arrives. Here is a countdown poster that can be used to help them visualize when Christmas Eve will come. Click here or on the image to get your free copy.
Cross off the ornament that matches each day in December as it arrives. This can be used as a math activity as well by counting how many days have passed or how many days are left until Christmas.
Here is a booklet that can be created as a class booklet or individual student booklets. It is based on the song the 12 Days of Christmas. It is a great way to be creative about gifts to share or activities to do for 12 days at Christmas time.
I would love to see pictures of your booklets if you decide to do this activity. If you have any other suggestions for ways to use it, please let me know in the comments. Happy creating.
Classroom management is something that everyone needs to focus on when starting a new year. There are many different ideas and approaches being used now, so it is important to find what works for you and your students.
Three years ago, I was introduced to Whole Brain Teaching. I saw a few blog posts about its use in the classroom and I decided to find out more about it. I read the book Whole Brain Teaching For Challenging Kids during that summer and I decided to begin implementing some of the components in my classroom.
I decided to begin with the classroom rules. I created a set of posters to use in my room. I made some changes to rule 1 because I found that my students were able to follow directions quickly, but they sometimes didn't focus on following them correctly. I also changed rule 3 for my students because I didn't require them to raise their hands to leave their seats.
I decided to make a variety of different themes for the rules so they could fit in with the seasons, sports, and classroom decor. One bundle uses a cursive font as well. The rules didn't change, just the themes. Click on the images to get a copy for yourself.
I also introduced the concepts of Class/Yes and Teach/Okay. I was amazed at how quickly my students responded to these ideas and began to model them. It was interesting to see how I was able to break information into small chunks for them to teach each other. I didn't think I would be able to do this! I am so glad that I tried. The kids liked being the teacher and everyone was accountable.
I did create a scoreboard, but I found that I didn't use it very much. My class didn't have very many challenging behaviors, so they followed the rules most of the time without the board.
There are so many other elements to Whole Brain Teaching that I didn't get a chance to try out, but if I hadn't recently retired, I would definitely incorporate them into my teaching.
Head on over to the whole brain teaching website for more information. I would strongly recommend checking it out and reading the book. Even if you add just some of the elements into your teaching, it does make a difference.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 8, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.
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