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!
Returning to our unit on time travel, we moved on from Ancient India to Ancient China, where we spent two one-hour sessions. The focus for the first lesson lesson was Chinese painting: 1.Chinese painting uses “echo lines” (my term) to reinforce visual flow, especially in landscapes. 2. The Chinese consider the empty space to be … More Time Travel, Cont’d: Chinese Painting and Proverbs.
So last week, I wrote about how my second graders made passports to keep track of their time-traveling through ancient cultures. This week, I’d like to talk about how we tackled Ancient Greece. On the first day, after making the passports, we still had about 20 minutes, so we flew very briefly to Ancient Greece, read … More Ancient Greece 3 Ways – for Second Graders
I’m a lover of history. I love it so much I have a degree in it. But it can be hard to bring it down to a kid’s level without losing a lot, including the kid’s interest. This is a problem compounded by sometimes apparently arbitrary decisions by policy makers about what is grade-appropriate. Two … More Passports to History – Time Traveling in Second Grade
Fall is my favorite season. Gorgeous temperatures (usually), gorgeous foliage (almost always), crunchy leaves underfoot (I don’t have to rake them), cozy sweaters, the beginning of hot chocolate season, and pumpkin everything! There are a gazillion great fall lesson compilations out there, like here, and here, and here (especially love the one at that last link … More Seasons, Cycles, and Worms: A Less Obvious Fall Science Unit
Pardon the super-lateness of this post. The baby Would. Not. Nap. So, you may have seen this image making the social media rounds last week: And if you were lucky, you saw one of many excellent rebuttals, like this one, explaining why 1) this check is nonsense and 2) common core math is not nonsense. … More Arts Integration and that Viral Check Written in “Common Core Math.”
It’s back to school time, which, for early elementary teachers, and sometimes for upper elementary teachers, means back to the ABCs. That’s 26 letters times 2 (for upper and lower case), to be matched in various combinations with 44 separate phonemes. That’s 96 distinct factoids necessary for reading, not counting the skills needed to put … More Arts Integration & the ABCs – 6 Ways to Make the ABCs Artistic, Beautiful, & Creative
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
School is just around the corner, and what better way to wade into a new year (and start a new blog!) than with an armful of great read-alouds. Here are some old and new to launch those important conversations about school, rules, community, respect, and inspiration. And some craft and writing suggestions to kick-start those … More 21 Great Picture Books to Open the School Year (With Bulletin Board Ideas).