Win 1 of SIX Gift Cards

I teamed up with some of my FAVORITE Teacher Authors to giveaway SIX $10 TPT gift cards to help kick start your shopping for the TPT Boost sale (going on AUG. 22) at ANY STORE! Follow the link to enter and then leave a comment to let us know what you’ll be using your gift card for and, of course, share the LOVE and TAG lots of teacher friends! *****Giveaway ends at midnight tonight and all 6 winners will be emailed their gift card code first thing Monday morning! Good luck and have a great school year!  Click the link


Fostering Positive Relationships with Police Officers

Looking at the news brings a painful awareness that our community relationships are breaking down.  Many of us just cry or shake our heads in disbelief about how our society has taken a turn for the worst.  I, like many of you, wanted to do something, but felt Fostering relationships POLICE coverhelpless.  Then I thought maybe I can do what I do best.   I can teach my current students how to foster positive relationships with the police officers in our community by making a unit lesson plan for primary students that involves bringing the officers to our classrooms.  I want everyone to participate in this effort, so I made it a
free download
from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Please share this with your friends. Bring our police officers in our classroom to help begin to rebuild these relationships with me.  Tell everyone about Teachers Pay Teachers, and let them know this is a FREE download.  It aligns with Common Core, has a week of lesson plans, suggestions, tips, posters, worksheets and crafts included in this packet.  This is a fantastic tool for homeschoolers and parents also to use while teaching how to have positive relationships with the community.  It touches on gun safety for young children.  Please leave feedback on tFostering Relationships POLICE.jpghe Teachers Pay Teachers site if you have suggestions for improvements or positive results.  I appreciate your willingness and dedications to helping solve big problems with small steps.  Together we can rebuild the damaged relationships and create a kinder world for our children to live in for many more years.

Making Learning RIGOROUS

Play is the highest form of research. – Albert Einstein

Childhood should never be a race to see who can learn to read, write and do math quickly.  While many people define rigor as ridged and difficult, those who really know how primary students learn define rigor as assignments that encourage critical and creative thinking. Play Areas in primary meet that need and many more.  I will always defend student’s right to play as meeting the child’s developmental needs.  Making things simply difficult leads to disengagement.  Even if I taught college students, some sort of play would be involved to keep them engaged. This pictures shows you how to do it….Rigorous primary classroom

Avoiding the Summer Slump

It’s so important to keep children engaged in educational activities during the summer months to avoid what I call “Summer Slump.”  I put my own children in summer camps, but that can be costly, and I actually like keeping them home witSlide1h me.  Another way to keep students engaged is to use Summer Skill Packets which can be found online.  Make sure they are aligned with your state standards to help prepare them for the upcoming year.  You can also use various oral and physical FUN activities that your child won’t even know you’re planning to keep them active as life-long learners.

These are suggestions of ways to make learning fun this summer with your child.

1.Pudding Painting is one of my favorites for children to use to learn sight words.  Spread pudding on the bottom of a cooking sheet pan.  Call out a sight word and have them write it in the pudding.  If they get it right, they get to lick their finger.

2.Have your child sort laundry by color or size before you wash them. Let them pour in the soap with your supervision as a reward.

3.Ask your child to skip count to 100. Then count by 5’s to 100.  Tell them this joke they can use with friends. “I bet you I can count to 100 in 10 seconds or less.” When someone excepts the challenge they can count by 10s to 100.

4.Teach your child to set the table.  Have them count all the silverware.  Reinforce the “game” by offering desert for the right answer.  Continue with counting other objects, like plates, cups or placemats.

5.Children love to paint! Give them water colors and paper outside. Let them go crazy with splattering/flicking paint on the paper.  This gets their creative juices flowing!  I use to let my kids pain their play house with water colors.  When it rains, it come right off.

6.Encourage your child to tell you the months of the year, and the days of the week in order.  High five them for reinforcement.

7.Tell your child they can only watch TV or play a video game if they can tell you the time on the clock. (not digital…) 😉

8.What kid doesn’t like to make things with dried pasta.  Take a cup full of various pasta and first have them sort them into piles by shape. (You can use food coloring to make them different colors, if you are that kind of special parent.)  Then have them glue the pasta on construction paper to make a picture.

9.Father’s Day is often overlooked during the school year, so let your child use your ipad or phone to record their voice and send a special message to dad.

10.Encourage your child to come up with words that rhyme with ones you say (e.g. cake, make, rake), then have them use the words to make a funny poem or song.

11.At bed time, ask your child to sequence the events of their day.

12.Create a new dance move or hand shake with your child.

13.Play a board game like Candy Land with your child.

14.Ask your child to show you a Jumping Jack, Push Up or Skipping.  You would be surprised how many kids can’t do these tasks.

15.  Use chalk outside to make Hopscotch. Teach them how to play.

Learning should be fun.  When children are engaged, they can master the most rigorous lessons.

Saving Memories for Students

I love saving my own children’s school work.  I had one teacher who took pictures of each student each month and had them write a few sentences about the day.  Years lMemory Book 8x8ater, I still look at that memory book she made my daughter.  We look at it together, and laugh at the special memories the book made easy for us to remember.  The memories most likely would have been lost without the book.  I make photo albums and memory books for my students to work on during the year.  My Memory
is a great resource to provide families with the special memories that helps to bring families together.  It has prompts to help students recall best field trips, vacations, books, friends, memories, when they felt special, and more.  There are autograph pages, and a very special page that has classmates and the teacher write positive words to describe the student. Check it out!  Follow me at Teacher’s Brain for find free printables.Memory Books

Elementary School Play Made Easy

Ocean Play Long PinHeading up a class or school play can be time consuming, exhausting and stressful for a teacher.  It can also be very rewarding! It gets families involved in their children’s education, reinforces oral language, and makes memories for your students that will last a lifetime.  This ocean themed  musical play packet makes it easy!  It has step-by-step instructions, posters, charts, ideas shark and crab headbands, scripts, links, a generic program and invitation.  Most of the play is performed whole group, so it’s easy for every kid to feel part of the performance and it has 18 individualized parts for students to shine a little more.  Some parts are speaking roles, some are holding signs.  It is easy to add even more if you are including an entire grade level on the stage.  I’ve performed this on stage, and in the front of my classroom.  Some years they were very simple  costumes, but other years parents really stepped it up, and made elaborate costumes for their own children or even the class.  Typically after the show, I would invite parents to stay and eat with their child to see the classwork they have worked on about ocean life. Parents would bring ocean themed food to share with the class.  If I didn’t have a lot of parent involvement, I would invite other classrooms to entertain.  I had students return to me years after leaving my classroom, and remind me of how special they felt or how it sparked an interest leading to what they were currently doing in their own life.  If you decide to try this musical, please share pictures with me.  I am also available for any questions you may have about the play.

Ocean Themed School or Class Musical Play Parent Performance