Winter Storm Jonas left us here in NYC huddled up for the weekend, baking cookies, snuggling on the couch, and watching Alan Rickman movies in memoriam. But schools were back in session again on Monday, despite sometimes impassible sidewalks and questionably plowed roads in some of the outer-lying neighborhoods. So since the snow is everywhere, … More Bring the Snow Inside – 7 Ways to Incorporate the Blizzard Into Your Classroom
Last week I wrote about using food to build vocabulary, especially descriptive language. Another good way to get your kids talking in more than monosyllabic grunts is to make use of a mystery box. I’m pretty sure I first found this idea in Fountas and Pinnell as a possible literacy center. It works excellently … More 5 Literacy Uses for a Mystery Box
For 13 years, I taught in the “hard-to-staff” neighborhoods of the Bronx. My students were hungry, traumatized, and VERY under-exposed to language and language-building experiences. How do you have a conversation about adjectives with students whose only real exposure to them is “bad” and “good,” and maybe “hot” and “cold”? But even if your kids … More 5 Ways to Integrate Food In the Classroom.
Okay, this was scheduled for last week, but, you know, holidays. I hope you enjoyed yours – mine were fabulous and full of board games. We’re still in the first week of January, so still plenty of time for some New Year reflecting, right? And by now we’re all (hopefully) over our hangovers and a … More 3 Arts Integration Resolutions (for Procrastinators)
Winter break is nearly upon us, and all us parents want is a way to keep the kids busy until we can cart them back off to school. Here are a few ways to recycle your holiday trash into creative projects for the kiddos. 1. Recycle those last scraps of wrapping paper into origami ornaments. … More Holiday Trash to Holiday Treasure: 5 Projects to Keep the Kids Busy Over Break.
To finish off our time traveling unit, my second graders had to travel to modern Japan. I wanted to approach it in a way that would link to their world, so we focused on technology. I couldn’t find a good read-aloud about modern Japan, so instead I opened by sharing my single experience of flying … More Modern Japan – Everywhere You Look, Technology
Hey ho, hey ho, ’tis the season for generosity and sharing, so here’s a bonus blog post to help you get through those last couple weeks of the holiday season before break. A word of caution: holidays deal inherently with peoples’ religious and family beliefs and traditions, and thus need some sensitive handling. For this … More 21 Great Picture Books to Get You Through the Holidays – With Bulletin Board Ideas!
In a school culture of metrics and data and making square pegs fit round holes, how do you create small spaces for your students to find their process? … More NaNoWriMo and The Problem of Process
Moving on in our time-traveling-in-ancient-civilizations unit, we made a stop at some major rivers in Asia. Never was a subject invented for second graders drier than the identification of rivers. Yawn. But the Core Curriculum encourages a look at some of the more major rivers in history, specifically for our purposes the Indus, Ganges, Yellow, … More Rivers and Catan
The classroom rules are rarely approached as an opportunity for creativity. Introducing the rules is the moment for sober reflections on safety and stern discussions of consequences. When I first started teaching, I was told not to smile for the first six weeks. But then I left the traditional classroom for an arts and literacy … More 6 Ways to Art-Up Your Classroom Rules