Keep Kids Moving

Keep kids moving - Seeing things from multiple perspectives increases learning.Kids feel great with their bodies in motion, and I do too.  Almost every lesson can be adapted to add movement.  It could be as simple as showing a character’s mood through facial expression.  Or it could be as complex as simulating the inner workings of an animal cell using human bodies.  Seeing things from multiple perspectives increases learning.

I recently discovered the game “Scoot” which can be adapted to any subject or grade level.  To play the students start at one area (desk perhaps) answering a posted question, then when directed they “scoot” to the next location (another desk maybe) to answer a different question.  They keep track of their answers on a student recording sheet. You can find many printable “Scoot” games online (and better directions) by doing a simple search.

In this Ted talk by gamer Jane McGonigal, she explains her remarkable recovery from depression and illness by building 4 types of resilience – one of which includes the FUN of moving.

Crack open those games – what a great way to keep moving, build resiliency and have FUN!

Kat and Squirrel - See things from multiple perspectives poster

Post Series "Making Learning Fun"

Bulletin Board – Wonder Wall

Wonder WallGoals for the Wall

A “Wonder Wall”, described in the book A Place to Wonder by Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough, is a place where people can post thoughts that make them wonder.   It is a perfect place to get to know the gaps in your students’ background knowledge and a great way to gain insight into topics that are important to your students.  This is a springboard for authentic discussion and research.

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Lesson – What’s the big idea? (Literary Themes)

What's the Big Idea? Literary Themes Lesson (Star DesignConcepts to Be Covered
Literary Themes

Goals for the Lesson
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.2 Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Kat and Squirrel Story for the Lesson
Kat and Squirrel are helping the librarian find book titles for her yearly literary theme party. Kat and Squirrel soon realize that they haven’t read nearly enough books! Please help them find some book titles for each theme. Write down the evidence in case the librarian asks why each book was chosen. This party will be a blast if only they can find enough books.

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Lesson- Cool the Lemonade (Missing Subtractend to 10)

Missing Subtractend to 10 (Cool the Lemonade) from Kat and SquirrelConcepts to Be Covered
Missing Subtractend to 10

Goals for the Lesson
K.OA Understanding subtraction as taking apart and taking from.

1.OA Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction. Add and subtract within 20. Work with addition and subtraction equations.

2.OA Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction. Add and subtract within 20.

Kat and Squirrel Story for the Lesson
Squirrel took orders around the neighborhood for lemonade including how many ice cubes each person wanted in the glass. Kat carefully counted ice cubes to match each order and filled the glasses with yummy lemonade. As Squirrel was starting to deliver the glasses her friends decided to help. Oh, no! They thought the ice cubes were nuts and took some out of each glass. Squirrel went back to the lemonade stand with the bad news. Squirrel wrote the total needed and how many cubes were left on each glass. Can you help Kat and Squirrel figure out how many ice cubes are needed in each glass?

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Manage the Unhappiness

Manage Unhappiness Blog Post - Kat and SquirrelBefore some kids can enter the “ready to learn zone” they need to deal with some unpleasant issues.  It could be as simple as, “I think Sue looked at me with a mean face,” to the more serious, “My mom is going to jail today.”  With help from a caring figure at school, hopefully the student will be able to switch gears and be ready to receive the FUN lessons of the day.  Don’t brush these issues aside.

One way to keep the class moving forward while dealing with childhood stress is to include a great read-aloud into your classroom routine.  According to research by Dr. David Lewis, reading is the best and fastest stress buster around.    How lucky for us as teachers!  I know when I am reading a Junie B. Jones or a Skippyjon book to my class, all eyes are on me with that relaxed look of complete engagement.  What a beautiful sight to see from my perspective!

Another way to reduce anxiety in the classroom is through human touch.  Touch causes the human body to produce a brain chemical called oxytocin.  Research is still being conducted on this chemical, but oxytocin has been shown to relieve stress and increase feelings of trust.  I know the idea of human touch in the classroom can be a scary thing depending upon your age group and school policies.  But this can be as simple as a hand shake, fist bump, high five, patting someone on the back, or having kids hold hands to make a circle.  In my classroom hugs happen all the time, but if you have older kids, avoid hugs or teach them to use a side to side “teacher hug” with arms over the shoulders.  Oh yeah – we get our own special hug – that’s right.

Your classroom could become a child’s sanctuary from the stress of their world.  A place to relax, learn, and have FUN.

Free Manage Unhappiness Worksheet from Kat and Squirrel

 

Post Series "Making Learning Fun"

Lesson – Animal Needs

Animal Needs Lesson from Kat and SquirrelConcepts to Be Covered
Animals have needs: food, water, shelter, oxygen.

Goals for the Lesson
Students will discover that all animals have basic needs such as water, food, oxygen, and shelter.

Students will determine that animal needs are met within the context of their environment.

Kat and Squirrel Story for the Lesson
Kat and Squirrel are volunteering at a zoo. It is their responsibility to make sure all of the animals in their care have their needs met. Help Kat and Squirrel makes sure all of the animals are properly cared for.

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Lesson – “Park the Car” Missing Addends to 10


Park the Car Lesson - Missing Addends to 10Concepts to Be Covered
Missing Addends to 10.

Goals for the Lesson
K.OA.A.4 – For any number from 1 to 9, find the number that makes 10 when added to the given number

1.OA.8 – Determine the unknown whole number in an addition or subtraction equation relating three whole numbers.

2.OA.2 Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies

Kat and Squirrel Story for the Lesson
Squirrel accidentally cleaned all the numbers off the cars. Help Kat and Squirrel figure out the car’s numbers. Help them find the missing numbers.

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