Mental Movies

October 20, 2011

Sometimes it's easy to assume children know how to "read" or "listen" to a book, but often I'm reminded children need to be taught the appropriate behaviors for reading and what reading is simply all about. Those of us who were fortunate enough to be natural readers sometimes take for granted or just simply overlook "natural" reading behaviors. Throughout my teaching career, I came across many children who had difficulty recalling what they read or listened to. I even saw children who were in the upper grades struggling to remember what a story was about. There are many reasons for this, but sometimes it's as simple as children just reading but not "soaking" up the words. One thing I do to help with this is to teach Mental "Movies".

All About Fall Books

October 19, 2011

As I have mentioned before, I love for my students to make keepsakes in class, and these little books are one of my favorite things to make! We make them several times a year for different occasions and almost always for the different seasons. They're easy to make, and a lot of learning and work goes into them!

Ice Cube Fun

October 15, 2011

While dealing with a big block of ice today, I realized ice cubes offer many fun learning opportunities!
Experimenting with Hot/Cold:
If you have a block of ice or simply a few ice cubes stuck together, let your child/student touch and describe how the ice cubes feel. Then, put the ice cubes under hot water (make sure to have adult supervision so no child gets burnt), and watch how quickly they shrink and ultimately disappear! No matter how old you are, it's fascinating! This would also be a great opportunity to discuss solids and liquids!

Solid Shapes Book

October 14, 2011

To go along with our solid shapes unit, we always make "My Solid Shapes Book"! These are easy to make, and the kids really learn a lot from it.

To make, each student will need 8"x11" sheets of paper. They will need half the amount of pages their book will have. For an example, the solid shapes book above has 7 pages, so it required 4 sheets of 8"x11" paper. If the book being made has an odd number of pages, just double that amount, and you'll end up cutting half of a page off.

Shape Share Day

October 13, 2011

I'll be sharing some shape resources over the next few days, but I'm going to begin with Shape Share Day. Shape Share Day is an activity I do after introducing and studying solid/3D shapes. Students bring in one example of either a cube, sphere, cylinder, rectangular prism, pyramid, and cone.

Pumpkin Day

October 12, 2011

How many of you are having a Pumpkin Day this year? It's a ton of fun, and a great way to celebrate and participate in fun activities related to the occasion. Here are a few activities my class did:

Robert Munsch

October 11, 2011

I'm sure you have heard of Robert Munsch before, at least through his book, Love You Forever. What you might not know is that he is a classic children's author with almost all of his books featuring hilarious plots and exaggerated lines, which make his books perfect read alouds. Also, his books always have an expected, repetitive line, so kids are allowed to join in the read aloud. I have many favorite children's authors, but if I had to pick one that rose above all the others, it would be Robert Munsch. His books were a staple of my childhood, and I continue to love them as much today as I did then. While teaching, I always shared his books with my students and found many of them were not familiar with his work (:0 - oh no!), but upon sharing the books, they were absolutely engrossed and always asked for more. I think every child should know his work, and I guarantee there will be a Robert Munsch book they love!

Fraction Flowers

October 10, 2011

These fraction flowers will make learning about fractions a ton of fun!


October 09, 2011

I love fun Science experiments, and it doesn't get too much more fun than Oobleck! Oobleck is another term for a cornstarch and water experiment. It's a perfect lesson for any introduction to science or solids/liquids/suspension unit. So simple but way fun!

Bat Friends

October 08, 2011

October is the perfect time for a unit on bats and/or spiders. After reading Stellaluna by Janell Cannon, my kids made these adorable bat friends.

Winner of Reading Strategies Guide Giveaway

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You should have received an email from me earlier.

A huge thank you to all who entered!

The winner was chosen randomly through's Random Number Generator.

If you'd like a copy of the Reading Strategies Guide for yourself, I'm offering it for 10% off TODAY ONLY at my TeachersPayTeachers store.

Making Writing Exciting

October 07, 2011

Writing is one of those subjects kids can either really dedicate time to or fly through. When I taught, I tried to dedicate as much time to writing as I could as it is an enjoyable process, and I think kids really need both a creative outlet and the guidance to become good writers.

Classroom "Rules"

October 06, 2011

Instead of having class rules, I had class jobs. On the first day of school, I always told my group of second graders that they were so smart and responsible that they were ready for jobs instead of rules. We discussed how our classroom was a team/family, and we all worked together to make sure our classroom was a great place to be. Then, after a discussion about jobs and what happens if you don't do your job, I let my students come up with a list of their jobs and my jobs.

Parts of a Pumpkin Labeling Sheet

October 05, 2011

This pumpkin labeling sheet would make a great addition to any pumpkin or Halloween unit. It covers four parts of a pumpkin (stem, tendril, skin, and ribs). Included is both a color and black and white (great for copies and letting kids color) copy.
Download here!

For more pumpkin ideas, check out my Pumpkin Day unit.

Phonics Generalization Mini-Lesson

Yesterday I posted the 18 Phonics Generalizations, and today I am going to share a mini-lesson template for teaching them! Here are the steps to follow:

Phonics Generalizations

October 04, 2011

Phonics Generalizations are phonics rules that are taught to emerging readers to help them learn letter combination sounds to increase reading and spelling ability. Theodore Clymer researched over 45 phonics generalizations and found that only 18 were proven to be true at least 75% of the time. This goes hand-in-hand with how difficult the English language can be because there are so many rules and what works in one situation, often doesn't in another. Below are the 18 Phonics Generalizations proven to work at least 75% of the time:

Giveaway: Reading Strategies Guide - CLOSED!

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Scaredy Squirrel

October 02, 2011

Have you heard of Scaredy Squirrel? He's another character I came across a little over two years ago, and I just love him! Scaredy Squirrel is what his name implies. He is afraid of many different things in the world and often stays in his tree to avoid his fears. Throughout each book, he identifies his fears, makes an emergency plan, and faces his fears. The books are often told through many lists and are very organized.

Ghost Window Clings

October 01, 2011

These super-cute ghost friends are easy to make, and kids will love every minute of it!
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