Friday, March 27, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 03/27/2020

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels:  E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

40 Ways to Make Time for More Creativity in Your Lesson Plans – “That’s why we’ve gathered ideas for incorporating more classroom creativity into your day—and we’ve covered every grade level.” (L:G;SA:A)

10 Creative Writing Prompts to Boost Your Nature Journaling Skills – “For me, nature is a stimulus for creative thought and, as a result, better writing. By the time I am home again and facing my computer, I am usually free from whatever was blocking my flow of ideas … even if I’m not specifically writing about nature. I return more in tune to my surroundings and aware that I am a part of something much larger than myself. Being out in the natural world reminds me of who I am … and that keeps me from trying to be something I’m not. And I think that’s the key to good writing … conveying your thoughts in an authentic voice that’s true to who you really are.” (L:G;SA:LA)

25 Of The Best Resources For Teaching Critical Thinking – “For this post, we’ve gathered various critical thinking resources. As you’ll notice, conversation is a fundamental part of critical thinking, if for no other reason than the ability to identify a line of reasoning, analyze, evaluate, and respond to it accurately and thoughtfully is among the most common opportunities for critical thinking for students in everyday life. Who is saying what? What’s valid and what’s not? How should I respond? This varied and purposely broad collection includes resources for teaching critical thinking, from books and videos to graphics and models, rubrics and taxonomies to presentations and debate communities. Take a look, and let us know in the comments which you found the most–or least–useful.” (L:T;SA:A)

10 Ideas for Excellent Inquiry-Based Learning Webinar - Moderated by Vicki Davis of Cool Cat Teacher, Richard Byrne and Monica Burns discuss 10 excellent ideas for inquiry-based learning! (L:T;SA:A)

Stamp Discovery Education Program – “The Stamp Discovery Education Program at the Postal History Foundation is directed by Lisa Dembowski with assistance from Linda Wynn. Stamp Discovery supports kids, parents, and teachers through several free or nominally-priced services and resources.” (L:E: SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Language Arts Activities for Home

Many schools are closed and either doing learning online or sending work home. I also thought it might be a good time to do suggest some activities for children to do at home that might not require the internet.

Journal Writing – Now would be a good time for the student to start a journal. Every day they can write using the prompt and then add a paragraph about how they are feeling. Here are several prompts:

If I had a Superhero Power, it would be…
If I could meet one famous living person, it would be...
The best part of not going to school is…
What I miss most about not going to school is…
Something new I’ve learned is…

Nouns – using post-it notes or index cards, label all the nouns in your room. If there is more than one child, give them different color pencils, pens, crayons or markers to write the labels.

Treasure hunt – With smaller children, give them post-it notes and have them find things in the room that begin with a specific letter. They put the post-it note on each object they find.

Read – Find a book that you want to read. After you are done, pretend they will make a movie of the book and you have to create the movie poster.

Cook – Find a recipe that you want to try to make. Check that you have the ingredients in your house. Follow the recipe and create your food.

Word games
·      Word connections – One person says a word. The next person has to use a word beginning with the last letter of the previous word.
·      Ghost – One person says a letter. The next person has to build on that letter by adding a letter for a real word. The next person adds on another letter towards building the word. Continue taking turns with all people playing the game. Each person will add a letter to the previous ones to create a real word. The one who ends the word gets the letter in order from the word GHOST. The person is out of the game when they have all the letters from the word GHOST.

Board Games:
If you have the game Scrabble, this would be a fun game to play at home.
Turn all the tiles over so the letters can’t be seen. Each person draws 7 tiles. Use the letter tiles to form words. These tiles can’t be used again. Each tile counts as one point. Draw however many tiles from the pile that you used. The one with the most points after all possible words are made, wins.

What other language arts games would you suggest?

Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Math Activities for Home

Many schools are closed and either doing learning online or sending work home. I also thought it might be a good time to do suggest some activities for children to do at home that might not require the internet.

Cooking –
·      follow a recipe and measure ingredients.
·      Treasure Hunt  #1 – Give the student 5-7 different measurements. Have the student find items that measure that size.
·      Treasure Hunt #2 – Give the student 5-7 items and have the student measure them.

·      Put different amounts of money in small plastic bags. Number each bag. Have the student count the money in each bag.
·      Pretend that you are a customer and give the student paper money as if to buy a certain amount.  Have the student count back change that you should get.
·      Learn to figure out gratuities.
·      Learn to figure out sales tax on different amounts.
·      Learn to fill out tax forms.


·      Have the student find objects that match different shapes.
·      Have the student draw a scale model drawing of a room or an object in the room.
·      Have the student draw a diagram of the house.

Checking Accounts
·      Give the student a list of check amounts and deposits. Make up a fake check register. Have the student keep the balance in the check register.

What other math activities would you suggest? Please share.

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Having a Schedule

Working at home is not as easy as people think it is. It is easy to be distracted and hard to separate work responsibilities from home responsibilities. During this stressful time, many teachers have their own children at home at the same time they are teaching from home. Having a schedule helps balance work/home responsibilities. If both parents are home, it is easier to share responsibilities but sometimes teachers are single parents.

Separate the day into morning, afternoon, and evening blocks. You might want to meet as a family to work out a work/home schedule for everyone to see.

List the home responsibilities for each block such as breakfast for the family, lunch for the family, dinner for the family, helping children with schoolwork, cleaning the house, and bath time. If you have older children, consider having the older children helping at mealtimes either cooking or cleaning. Consider having older children help younger children with schoolwork when needed.

List the work responsibilities for each block of the day. It would be good to do a daily video for your students each day which will help them feel connected and not abandoned. This video can just be a “hello” and an overview of what you hope they get accomplished today. There may be work that needs to be graded and lesson plans that need to be done. You might plan a time that you can video conference with others in your department or school each day as a check-in to see how everyone is doing. This will help you feel less isolated.

Then create some kind of spreadsheet with the three blocks of time for each day of the week. Put your responsibilities into the blocks that they need to be in. By spreading these out into a visual, it will help be less overwhelming. You can print this out for your family to see. You might also want to come up with a family schedule. Having a routine will help everyone feel grounded and get used to the “new normal.”

Do you plan your routine at home? How do you work it out? Please share.

Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

Monday, March 23, 2020

Amazon Purchases

I just wanted to thank everyone who has been buying things from Amazon through this website. Your support means a lot to me!

If you haven’t been buying from Amazon through this site and would like to, all you have to do is put a keyword in the Amazon search box on the left. Then click on the search button below the word which will bring you to the Amazon site. Then you can shop as you regularly do.

Thanks again for your support.