Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Importance of Outdoor Play: Free Resources

    My grandson just started 3rd grade and I was so surprised when he told me that he only had 10 minutes for recess after lunch. Last year he only had 20 minutes. It seems with all the high stakes testing that children have less time to just play outdoors. Personally I can't sit in my house couped up all day without getting out in the fresh air, even if it's 99 degrees outside. Why do we do that to children? I remember asking my students what their favorite subject was and most of the students said "Recess". Believe it or not  we let children go out and play in Alaska if the temperature was above 10 degrees! Here are a few great reasons why outdoor play is so important:
  • Playing outdoors is multi-sensory. Students use all five senses in different ways that they aren't able to do in their classrooms.
  • Informal play can help students connect to formal learning. Think about science lessons about the change of seasons or plant. Students can actually see real-life changes in leaves or plants that they learned about in their classrooms.
  • Outdoor play can help develop creativity in children. 
  • Outdoor play helps reduce stress.  We all know that experts say that exercise helps reduce stress in adults. Letting children run off some steam will help them be more focused when they return to the classroom.
  • Outdoor play can promote leadership skills.  Many children may not excel in the classroom but may excel in sports. It will give them a chance to "shine" outdoors where others will look up to them.
  • Outdoor play can promote cooperative play. When playing games, children have to work together to achieve a common goal. 
  • Outdoor play can promote communication and vocabulary development.  Students need time to communicate and negotiate meaning when they aren't sure about rules or how to do something. They can also expand their vocabulary with exploring the outside world. This is great for ESL students learning to speak English.
You can read the position statement written by the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education by clicking HERE. It is a great read and proof of why children need recess time. You can also read Sarah Taylor's Research finding of here 2011 Study of the Importance of Play in Elementary School by clicking HERE.  Scholastic also has a great article, " Recess Makes Kids Smarter" which you may like to read by clicking HERE.

Here is a great website to give you some fun indoor recess ideas when it's raining or snowing. Just click on the picture below.
Here is another website you may want to check out with fun easy activities for outdoor play. Just click on the picture below.
I hope you will check out all my new Pinterest Boards by clicking HERE and follow. Here are just a few of my new ones:

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Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. I hope you have a wonderful and safe Labor Day Weekend.

How much time do your students get for recess?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hooray for Constitution Day: Great Free Resources, Lessons, and Activities

 Although Constitution Day is only celebrated on September 17th we should celebrate it all week long. It is the most important document for all Americans and students need to understand why it was written and how important it is in protecting our rights and freedoms. I have put together some great websites for you to check out with free resources, lessons and activities.

Scholastic has some wonderful lesson plans and free printables for the intermediate grades which you can access by clicking on the picture below.

I also found 3 more great free lesson plans that teachers of grades 2-4 may want to check out. How about making your own class constitution. What a great way to help your students better understand what our constitution does on a much bigger scale. Just click on the picture below to check out this lesson and more.
The Holiday Zone has put together 15 free activities including Reading Comprehension Texts for Grades 2-6, American Symbol Coloring Pages, and more that you can check out by clicking on the picture below.
My search also took me to a super website called Congress for Kids. You can find free information about the Constitution that students can read. After each reading text there is a set of comprehension questions. If it something you are interested in then click on the picture below.

If you are looking for a variety of free printables and worksheets then you should check out Apples4theteacher by clicking on the picture below.

I have revised and updated my "Hooray for Constitution Day" Unit which includes an original Shared Reading Book, 2 Reading Texts and Comprehension Questions for Grades 2 and 3, Picture/Fact Cards Matching Activities, Writing Informative Text and Opinion Piece Anchor Charts and Writing Graphic Organizers and Writing Prompts for both 2nd and 3rd Grade. ELA Common Core Standards are included for Grades 2 and 3. I have added 2 differentiated reading texts about Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence and a Main Idea and Details activity. You can check it out by clicking on the picture below. I have updated the Preview so you will see sample pages of all the reading texts and many other materials and activities included in this packet.

I hope you find some great resources and activities for all your Constitution Day activities. Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

I've added lots of new Pinterest Boards for you to check out and follow.
Here are just a few of my new ones:

Freebie Fridays

What kinds of activities do you do for Constitution Day?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Importance of Graphic Organizers in the Classroom.

One of the best teaching and writing learning tools that I used with my struggling writers and ESL students were graphic organizers. In an article by Dr. Katherine McKnight she states, " Graphic organizers are teaching and learning tools; when they are integrated into classroom experiences, students are better able to understand new material. Creating a strong visual picture, graphic organizers support students by enabling them to literally see connections and relationships between facts, information, and terms."     

Click on the video to listen to Dr. McKnight. You can read more from Dr. McKnight by clicking HERE

For young writers I liked to use retelling the story with different types of graphic organizers such as the one below: Beginning-Middle -End. Students draw a picture and write a sentence about what happened at the Beginning, Middle and End, of the story.
For students learning to sequence a story I made the graphic organizer below. I put transition words at the left so that students will eventually be able to use this organizer to help them write a paragraph or narrative which is an ELA Common Core Writing Standard.
For young writers learner to write informative texts I designed this 4 Bubble Web. In the middle students will put the Main Idea and then draw and label 4 different details. For example if they read a book about Community Helpers that would be the main idea and a policeman, fire fighter, school crossing guard and teacher might be the 4 details from the book.

These are just 3 of the Writing graphic organizers I have put together in a free packet which you can download by clicking on the picture below. I hope these will help your students improve their writing throughout the school year.

Looking for some more Great Stuff for Teachers? Follow my new Pinterest board by clicking on the picture below. I also have a new one for parents too. 

Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. Hope you will find these useful. I would truly appreciate your feedback.

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Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays

What kinds of writing graphic organizers do you use in your classroom?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

TpT Back-to-School Sale is Finally Here

Today is my 44th Wedding Anniversary and the sale you have all been waiting for is finally here! I have so many items in my cart and can't wait to get started tomorrow! How about you? Everything in my store LMN Tree will be 20% off August 18-19th. Don't forget to use the Promo Code BTS13 to get a total of 28% off. Just click on the picture above to check out my store.

I have spent most of my free time this summer revising old product for BTS such as:
Slide into School and Hopping into School. When you download the Preview you will also get a free activity. Just click on either picture below.
If you are looking for some Thematic Reading and Writing Units about School and Playground Activities then you may want to check out my new and revised units below. They both include an original Shared Reading Book, 3 different leveled Guided Reading Books, Writing Activities at different writing levels and literacy activities. There is also a free activity with the preview file. Just click on the pictures below to check them out. I really enjoyed revising these.
For those of you that love to use poetry in your classroom I have revised and updated my September Poetry Unit which you can check out my clicking on the picture below. As most of you know I love writing poetry! You can check out my blogpost to get a free poem HERE
Looking for some thematic units about September holidays? For September 11th I have a unit called Heroes for K-2 and for Constitution Day I Have my best selling unit called Hooray for Constitution Day for Grades 2-3.
If you haven't tried any of my "Don't Get Skunked" Games here is a chance to check out one for free HERE
I have also revised 2 of my "Don't Get Skunked" Games which you can check out by clicking on the 
 the pictures below.
Don't forget to get some Freebies for your Back-To-School needs by clicking on the pictures below.
Thank your for making a difference for your students. I truly appreciate all of your and hope you have a wonderful start to the school year. I hope you will download all my freebies while you are shopping around.

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When do your students begin school?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Back-To-School Sale at Teacher's Notebook is Here!

Teachers Notebook is having an amazing Back-to-School Sale from August 10-18th. Every item in my store is 35% off for the whole week. Here's your chance to get my Slide into School  for Grades 2-4
and Hopping into School for Grades K-1 with lots of fun activities for the first weeks of school. Both have been revised and updated. I have also updated my September Poems, Chants and Activities Packet and The People and Places at My School that you may want to check out. There are lots of Fall packets, Hooray for Constitution Day for Grades 2-3, Heroes for 9/11  for Grades K-2 and Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) for Grades 2-3 at bargain prices  for all your September needs.

Looking for even more incredible deals? Check out these fantastic Bundles!
Check out Bundle #11 which includes my Monkey Around with Math for Grade 1 and Bundle # 16 with my Frogs and Toads for Grades 2-3.

Hope you find some great bargains to help you with all your Back-to-School needs. Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. I truly appreciate each and everyone one of you.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

September Free Holiday Resources, Poems, and Activities

I love writing poetry and finally revised my September Poetry Unit just in time for Back to School. I was happy to hear that so many teachers are using poetry in their classrooms. Some have poetry binders for their students and do a poem a week and others actually do a poem a day during morning work time. There are many special days in September and of course the beginning of school.

First of all there is Labor Day which is celebrated on the 1st Monday in September. It is a great time to talk about the different jobs that people do. You can find some great free resources and printables about Labor Day at
Apples4theTeacher including some fand thematic books about workers. You can find more free resources at Education World which would be great for grades 2-5.

Grandparents Day which is celebrated on the Sunday following Labor Day is a special day for children and their grandparents. Many teachers in the younger grades invite grandparents to their classrooms. I found this great website with a fun song at National Grandparents You will also find other teacher resources and free lesson plans. If you are looking for some fun crafts to make then you will want to visit dltk.
For those of you who want free resources about September 11th you may want to check out these at TeacherHub. For younger students you may want to do a lesson about Heroes. I also have a Heroes unit which you might like to check out which is for Grades K-2. It has been revised and updated and includes a S'more Hero Book that students can make.

September 17th is Constitution Day. Many 2nd and 3rd graders learn about the constitution. I found a website that offers teaching units about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights which you can access by clicking here You can also find free resources at Scholastic and apples4the teacher. You may also want to check out my "Hooray for Constitution Day" which was my best seller in 2012. It is revised and updated so if you had purchased the original please be sure to download the latest revision.

Of course fall begins in September although it may still feel like summer in many places in the Unites States. It is my favorite season of the year. I have not only written a few Fall Poems but a fun Fall Play called "How Will I Know When It Is Fall?" There are character cards for students to wear as they act out their parts. Some teachers used the play as Readers Theater. There are poems about School, Labor Day, Grandparents Day, Fall, and more. You can see all of these poems and activities in my new and revised September Poetry Unit by clicking on the picture below. There is a free poem when you download the Preview file!

If you are interested in just my Fall Play and a new Readers theater Script called "The Signs of Fall" you may want to check out my revised and updated Fall Plays and Readers Theater Packet by clicking on the image below.

Of course I have a Cool free Rap for my followers and viewers called "Going Back to School" which you can access and download by clicking on the picture below.
I have a new Pinterest Board just for Poetry I would love for you to follow. Just click on the image below.

Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. I hope you have a wonderful start to the new school year.

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Freebie Fridays

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Free Parent Guides for Student Success: Understanding the CCSS

(click here)
 I found a great website for helping parents navigate the Common Core Standards by grade level that I hope you will check out. There are specific grade level booklets you can download to hand out to parents on Back to School night which will explain the following:
  • Key items that children will be learning in Math and Language Arts during the school year. (for those implementing them)
  • Activities that parents can do with their children at home to help support their learning.
  • Methods to help parents build stronger relationships with their child's teacher.
Not only are these booklets helpful for parents but they also gives parents tips on how to talk with their child's teacher and how to keep the conversation focused. Click on the picture below to find all the grade level parent guides for you to download. They have both English and Spanish versions.

You will also find other documents that can be downloaded in addition to the Parent Guides.

Looking for some more Great Stuff for Teachers and Parents? Follow my new Pinterest board by clicking on the images below.

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Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students and their parents. Have a great start to the new school year.