Teaching Elementary Students About Native American History

Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade! {2nd, 3rd, homeschool} #nativeamerican #socialstudies


Do you have the honor of teaching your students about the Native American Nations?  It's always one of my students' favorite social studies units.  Along with the honor of teaching students about indigenous people also comes a great responsibility.  It's very important as educators that we are always in touch with our bias and misconceptions about different cultures when we plan and teach. In this post we will discuss what and how I teach about indigenous people of the United States.

Here are a few things to consider while lesson planning:

1.  Use terms like indigenous people, First Americans, Native Americans.
2.  Indigenous people span a large variety of nations and areas.  Discuss and explain to students that they are all vastly different and cannot be grouped together.
3. DON'T dress your students up! It's not o.k. and we should all know better by now.
4.  Don't speak of Native Americans in exclusively past tense form.  We always discuss our local communities and some examples of how Native Americans in the area currently live.  If we have any families in the class that come from the culture of topic, they are invited in to teach us about their culture.  This is a practice we use when learning about all cultures.

First American nations are vastly different and diverse.  Due to this, my Native American Unit is my longest social studies unit of the year.  We touch on this unit during Thanksgiving when we read and learn about the true story of Thanksgiving.  We discuss this during our immigration unit when we learn who the first immigrants to the United States were and we have a month long unit in the spring when we learn about some of the different regions of indigenous nations.

In order to fit this unit into our packed schedule, we align the unit to our reading and writing standards.  I live in Florida which has adapted common core standards.

For shared reading we spend about two weeks reading about some of the different North American regions.  I align the lessons to these standards:

STANDARDS
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.1
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.2
Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.3
Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
In writing we spend an entire month creating informative pieces.  I align the lessons to these standards:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2
Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.5
With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.7
Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!


The main regions that we focus on are:
REGIONS
1. Northwest
2. Northeast (Eastern Woodlands)
3. Southwest
4. Southeast
5. Plains

We discuss the areas and the natural resources that each habitat had to offer the people who lived in the region.  We learn the names of different groups who resided in the area.  We also learn about one nation from the region.

While learning about the natural resources we focus on these:
AREAS TO COVER
1.  Food
2.  Clothing
3.  Shelter
4.  Practices
5.  Art

Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!

While reading and writing, students gather information in order to answer writing prompts that I've given them so that they can compose a book from the region of their choice.  In the book, all on level and above level students write 7 paragraphs with support from me.  The task is shortened for below level students according to their needs.  The writing pieces  have the introduction, the five areas mentioned above, each with it's own paragraph and the conclusion.  Depending on the student, some of these paragraphs are shorter than others.  We start the reading unit one week before we start the writing unit so that students have had a chance to learn a little about the different areas and can then make their choice of what to write about.  Each student is given the opportunity to choose  their region of choice because it makes them more invested in the task and they take it more serious.

Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!

Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!
When students are done with their writing piece they get to choose a piece of art from their region to create.  They must learn about the significance of the piece that they are making before they get to make it.  Because we are on a strict budget, we use what materials we have on hand. I will show you the art below with the region.  Just click on the pictures when you are done reading this post to go to a more detailed post about the art work.

Southwest Rock Drawings
Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!


Plains & Southeast Animal Hides
Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!

Northwest Dream Catcher
Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!

Northeast Jewelry
Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!

This social studies unit takes a lot of resources to teach.  In order to meet all of the students' needs, I wrote two different social studies units to teach with.  I have a Native American Unit that includes passages from each region listed above, writing books and task cards.  The passages each focus on all the information listed in the post.  I also have a unit on specific Native American nations.  The nations are: Cherokee, Sioux, Wampanoag, Pueblo and Comanche. You can find these units by clicking below.  Feel free to leave any comments with lessons that worked for your class.  We always learn and teach better together.  Feel free to email me any questions that you may have. Happy teaching!

Click here to learn about teaching elementary students about Native American History.  You'll learn how to combine your Native American social studies unit together with reading and writing in order to fit everything into your year. Common core standards are included in the post to help you align your curriculum.  Perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!

How To Improve Your Student 's Handwriting

Click here to find ideas for improving your student's handwriting or penmanship.  We discuss letter formation as well as spaces between words.  Perfect for kindergarten, first and second graders. {k, 1st, 2nd, homeschool}

How is your student's handwriting doing? If it's anything like I've seen we have a lot of work to do.  Over the years I've noticed that the more students are on hand held devices and inside, the worse their handwriting gets.  I think it's because they don't increase their fine motor skills the way they would if they were outside, doing arts and crafts and working out their entire hand versus just their thumbs.  

I've see improvement with students every year when I do the following.
1.  Set expectations.  Tell them you expect that their work is written neatly and hand it back when it's not.  You don't want to badger or stress students out, but you do want to encourage them to work towards a goal of better penmanship by improving on assignments.
2.  Spend a couple weeks going over lessons on how to properly form letters. If students have forgotten or don't know how, they will need your help.  I know you don't have time to do this, either do I.  However, a couple of weeks now will save a year's worth of headaches from trying to figure out chicken scratch.  
3.  Implement a routine where you consistently praise students for good penmanship and hand back work for improvement.  We implement a handwriting hall of fame in my classroom.  Once students work is continuously legible, they get to sign the hall of fame poster and receive a special pencil.  If their handwriting falls short after wards they are taken out of the hall of fame.  Everyone still in the hall of fame at the end of the years receives another pencil.  It really isn't time consuming.  Just two rewards for the entire year.  The poster stays up all year.  Every day when we share our writing, I give a quick compliment to those with nice penmanship and congratulate them for staying in the hall of fame.  If writing becomes illegible again, I speak to the student privately and tell them to work at it more.  It's very important that you understand I'm not expecting perfect writing.  I just want to be able to read it. You do not want to stress children out.  Just encourage them to do better.

I have a specific lesson plan that I follow when I launch my expectations for penmanship.  The first thing I do is explain the chart below to students.  I tell them expectations for letters touching lines and provide them with a nameplate on their desk with the alphabet to reference.  
Click here to find ideas for improving your student's handwriting or penmanship.  We discuss letter formation as well as spaces between words.  Perfect for kindergarten, first and second graders. {k, 1st, 2nd, homeschool}

Once we go over letter expectations we practice forming our letters with nice clean lines.  I used sheets from A Is For Apples to practice forming letters with clean lines.  I show the students the anchor chart header below and ask them to read it with me.  Of course they can't read it and we have a conversation about why good handwriting is important while we have a few laughs.  When we were done, we cut up our letters and sorted them into categories as seen below.  This way students took part in making an anchor chart that they felt confident about.  It also put the responsibility of assessing their work on them.

Click here to find ideas for improving your student's handwriting or penmanship.  We discuss letter formation as well as spaces between words.  Perfect for kindergarten, first and second graders. {k, 1st, 2nd, homeschool}

Click here to find ideas for improving your student's handwriting or penmanship.  We discuss letter formation as well as spaces between words.  Perfect for kindergarten, first and second graders. {k, 1st, 2nd, homeschool}

Once students have practiced their letters, we implement handwriting bell work.  I got these write and wipe sheets from Adventures Beyond Kinder.  Students grab the sheets when they are done with their  morning procedures and practice handwriting.  They can also grab them when they finish work early. Students can earn mini erasers for exceptional work.  This practice helps to build their hand muscles and skills.

Click here to find ideas for improving your student's handwriting or penmanship.  We discuss letter formation as well as spaces between words.  Perfect for kindergarten, first and second graders. {k, 1st, 2nd, homeschool}

Once we are done discussing letter formation, we move on to the bottom of the chart listed first on this post and discuss spaces between words and no spaces between the letters within the words.  As the year progresses we move on to capital letters at the start of sentences as well as proper nouns.  It would be way too much for young students grade k-2 to discuss this all at once.  When this time comes, I introduce students to our writing offices.  The writing office has charts to help students with capitalization, spelling and reference.  You can find my writing office below.

Click here to find ideas for improving your student's handwriting or penmanship.  We discuss letter formation as well as spaces between words.  Perfect for kindergarten, first and second graders. {k, 1st, 2nd, homeschool}


Click here to find ideas for improving your student's handwriting or penmanship.  We discuss letter formation as well as spaces between words.  Perfect for kindergarten, first and second graders. {k, 1st, 2nd, homeschool}








Building Engagement and Diversity Within The Reading Block

Click here to learn how to include diversity into your elementary reading block. Includes picture books that reflect all of our students from our classrooms. {first, second, third, fourth grade, homeschool} #diversity #pride

Diversity comes in many forms.  We will focus on forms of marginalization in:  race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion.  This marginalization can come from our bias.  We all have our biases.  It's our job as educators to explore our bias and fix it before it affects our students.  It's especially important for us to challenge this bias because students may perceive that they don't belong in our classrooms.  This leads to decreased participation, withdrawal and/or outbursts.  If you aren't sure where your bias lays, you can check out a quiz that Harvard came out with to help you see where you stand on a lot of topics.

Let's look at some statistics:
We currently have 37% of people of color in the U.S.
11% of children's books contain multicultural themes or people.
Less than 6% of children's authors are:  black, latino or native.
I wasn't able to find statistics on diverse family structures, sexual orientation, etc,  but any teacher can tell you the percentage isn't very high.
40% of books about native Americans were written by Native American authors.
61% of books about Latinos were written by Latino people.
89% of books about Asian people were written by Asian authors.
25.5% of books about African American people were written by African American authors.

The most promising statistic that I could find is that since 2013 diverse children's books have risen from 14% to 28% closing in the gap.  This information was found at blog.leeandlow.com.

Filling our classrooms with diverse books makes all children feel included.  Books that represent our students and their lives are important in helping to teach children to explore their own bias.  You can discuss these feelings during classroom discussion while being careful not to interject with your beliefs.  We should also have books that teach children about diverse backgrounds and cultures.   In order to do this you can feature:  different races, religions, countries, abilities, and familial structures.

When choosing books you will look at two kinds:
One kind represents a student in your class. (internal)
The other kind allows students to look at people and cultures different from them. (external)
Most of the time, one book will mean different things to the children in your classroom.

Below you will find several resources to help you find different diverse book titles for your classroom.  Rob Sanders has included two teaching companions to help guide your instruction with two of his book.  I have pictured some of my favorites in the boxes below.  Lately my students have been drawn to the World Series by Oladoyin Oladapo.  She writes the most amazing books from dozens of countries around the world.  They are realistic fiction and teach students about different cultures in an engaging way.

Some of the ways that you can get diverse books into your classroom are:
-local library
-write grants (check your school district for availability)
-Donors Choose
-Garage Sales
-Good will
-Thrift Store
-Used on Amazon

Once you have the books, incorporating them into your reading block is relatively simple.  If your district sets out plans for you to follow, considering swapping out some book titles for more diverse ones while following the plans.  For example, we could compare "Pride" to a magazine article about Harvey Milk.  Compare and contrast the different formats while following standards and including student interest.  If you are left to your own plans, even better!  Make sure to keep track of what books you are teaching so that you can have a visual to help guide your choices.


Click here to find a ton of resources and ideas for building engagement and diversity in the elementary classroom.  Diversity comes in many forms.  This post strives to give information on inclusion of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion in the elementary classroom.  Perfect for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth.  {k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Click here to find a ton of resources and ideas for building engagement and diversity in the elementary classroom.  Diversity comes in many forms.  This post strives to give information on inclusion of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion in the elementary classroom.  Perfect for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth.  {k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Click here to find a ton of resources and ideas for building engagement and diversity in the elementary classroom.  Diversity comes in many forms.  This post strives to give information on inclusion of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion in the elementary classroom.  Perfect for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth.  {k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

To find a list of LGBTQ+ friendly book for the classroom click here.

It's also relatively simple to bring social studies into the classroom through reading and writing with informational text.  We hold a culture fair every year that allows students to explore several different cultures.  Parents are invited to come speak to the students about their cultures.  We do this during our reading and writing block and no instructional time is lost.  You can find information on the culture fair below.

Click here to find a ton of resources and ideas for building engagement and diversity in the elementary classroom.  Diversity comes in many forms.  This post strives to give information on inclusion of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion in the elementary classroom.  Perfect for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth.  {k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

A quick recap of take aways that you can implement immediately:
-quiz yourself to find your bias
-find diverse books
-easily use your old lessons or district guidelines while just swapping out titles for more diverse ones

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me.

Lesson Planning Made Simple

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}

Does lesson planning overwhelm you? Hopefully I can help you out with a few strategies and ideas that will simplify the process. Read below.

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}


First things first.  You need to know what it is you are accountable for teaching. Make sure to have your standards printed.  Most states have either adopted common core or they have standards that are almost the same as common core but they changed the name so parents would stop complaining.  Whomever thought of that was a genius because it worked!

Before we go on, it's important for me to note that none of the resources listed here are affiliates or pay me to discuss them.  I've just used them for years in my classroom and I think they might have something you might be interested in.  The next thing I can't live without is my Common Core Companion.  It comes in handy when I need to differentiate, find questions to ask students or just need to understand what the authors had in mind. Most questions that I receive about lessons come from teachers who think the standard means something totally different than someone else because their district trained them differently or so forth.  It's a no brainer when you pull out a resource that explains five different ways exactly what the common core author's had in mind when they wrote it.

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}


The next resource I use is my teacher planner from A Modern Teacher.  This helps me to sketch out a quick yearly plans as well as detailed plans.  There is a lot of value and research that supports thematic teaching.  I use the planner to plug in what themes I want as well as when to teach standards. It's nice that you can use almost any topic to teach standards in reading and writing.

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}

When it comes to teaching standards look them over and start with the ones the students had more access to in the year prior or that aren't as difficult.  You can check the Common Core Companion to see the standards from the year before.  If you aren't sure where to start, seek the help of a coworker.  In one hour you could sketch out the whole year.  Your goal isn't to have detailed plans, but rather an overview that makes sure you will teach the standards to mastery. I like to start the year with Asking and Answering Questions in both literature and informational. It's an important skill for all learners to fill comfortable with. We move on quickly to retelling and finding key details.  Just remember that you have the whole year to teach these standards.  Take them apart and teach a small bit at a time.  I explain with more detail on my video.

Once I have the year quickly sketched out, I start to plan my more detailed lessons in my AMT planner.    Here's some unsolicited advice... Teachers have this habit of buying different planners year after year because we hope that the next planner will be the key to writing the plans itself.  O.k. so I'm being a bit dramatic, but I was guilty of buying a million different planners instead of just fine tuning my planning. Once you find a planner that you like, stick with it and fine tune the small things that don't work.  When you start over with a new format every year, you add to your workload of figuring things out.  For example, I started with a digital planner from AMT.  I loved that I could customize everything, the format was perfect for writing plans,  but I'm not so particular that I feel the need to print my own.  So the next year I bought a spiral bound pre-printed lesson planner.  It was the same format that I was used to because it was from the same publisher.  Now I fixed the problem of doing all the printing myself,   BUT I had resources that I wanted to add and they were falling out of the planner. The next year I bought a pre-printed binder from AMT.  This my friends was the honey pot that I had been looking for.  The format was familiar and everything that I had been using was included, I didn't have to print it myself and now I could just open the binder and add my resources so that I could use them the next year.  PERFECTION!

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}


So now it's all about the details.  Once you know what standards you will be teaching, you can plan day to day.  Consider sticking with a standard for at least a week or so.  This is especially important in the beginning of the year.  As the year goes on, you can add multiple standards to the same lesson and grow in rigor this way.  You want to state:  What the student will learn, how they will learn it, and how you will hold them accountable.  For example:  The students will read "Grizzly Bears" whole group while the teacher charts the questions and answers they are discussing.  The students will work with a partner to record 3 questions and answers with accuracy in their reading notebooks.  (If you check out my store, I have more lesson ideas that are coupled with print and teach materials.)  When I first start teaching new standards or change grades, I try to write out one lesson from each subject in long format.  That means I type out word for word what I'm teaching, saying and what the kids are doing.  I write the questions for every lesson on a separate paper to keep with me.  This helps me to keep lesson planning shorter, but my teaching more effective.

Hopefully you have found a couple of tricks here to make your lesson planning a little more effortless.  All of my lesson plans are published on this blog from the previous year.  If you are a second or third grade teacher you can use what I published to sketch out all of your lesson plans.  This blog post will kick off another year of lesson plans and hopefully I'll be able to add more anchor charts and visuals for you now that I have the lesson planning portion done.  If you haven't subscribed to my e-mail, I would recommend you do because e -mail subscribers receive resources that are exclusive to them and support my lesson plans. If you don't get the e-mail pop-up, you can email me at:  amylabrasciano@yahoo.com and I will add you to the list.

Click below to find the first of last year's lesson plans.

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}

Helping Children With Anxiety in School with Splat the Cat

Click here to find ideas for anxiety in the classroom and adjectives.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Splat The Cat  by Rob Scotton.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Anxiety among children is on the rise.  We, as teachers, don't need a study to tell us this because we see it every day in the classroom.  Splat the Cat is a great book to start a conversation about how we can handle anxiety.  Watch the video below to see how to tie this book into standards.  Be sure to  check out my post on teacher anxiety if you think it will help.

Click here to find ideas for anxiety in the classroom and adjectives.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Splat The Cat  by Rob Scotton.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}


Click here to find ideas for anxiety in the classroom and adjectives.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Splat The Cat  by Rob Scotton.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}



If you are experiencing teacher anxiety, check out this post.

Click here to find ideas for classroom anxiety for students and a link to a post for teachers.  Perfect for those times when you need a little help overcoming anxiety.

Substitute Creacher

Click here to find ideas for substitute teacher lesson plans.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall.  Get your emergency sub plans ready.  Back to School time is a great time to be prepared.  Perfect for all elementary classrooms.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th} #substituteteacher #backtoschool

Substitute lesson plans are an unwanted necessity for teachers.  Every year I put it off until the emergency rears it's ugly head because who has time for that, right?!?!?!? Well this year I dug deep down inside and decided to come up with a lesson that we can get ready and have on hand for when the dreaded emergency arises.  If the emergency never arises, I suggest you take a mental health day, (ok say take one even if you have an emergency).

So what's more fun and engaging than a book about monsters? How about a substitute teacher teaching about a substitute teacher monster!  You could leave the anchor chart below with the book and even a link to my descriptive video.  For social studies the substitute can use the book to set classroom expectations for how to behave when substitute teachers are in the classroom. The substitute can work with the class to find key details and locate the lesson.  When the lesson is over students work independently on retelling the story and explaining the lesson in writing. For writing students can write a narrative piece about what they would do if they were changed into a monster.  As an added bonus I have written the reading long lesson out along with a graphic organizer.  You can find it here.  Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? Subscribers receive free resources with every newsletter including print and teach lessons on Dolphins.    Have a great week!
 
Click here to find ideas for substitute teacher lesson plans.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall.  Get your emergency sub plans ready.  Back to School time is a great time to be prepared.  Perfect for all elementary classrooms.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}


Celebrating Differences with Giraffes Can't Dance

Click here to find ideas for teaching about differences in the classroom as well as problem and solution.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Giraffes Can't Dance.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth,  k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Gerald the giraffe is good at lots of things, but not at dancing. Each year at The Jungle Dance, he's a bit of a laughing stock. Embarrassed and hurt, Gerald leaves the dance, but finds someone who may just be able to help.  This book is great for teaching acceptance, bullying,  loneliness, resilience, kindness, compassion, helping others, and self-reflection.  It's perfect for launching problem and solution in reading.  Watch the video below to see 
other tips for using the book to teach.

Click here to find ideas for teaching about differences in the classroom as well as problem and solution.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Giraffes Can't Dance.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth,  k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Click here to find ideas for teaching about differences in the classroom as well as problem and solution.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Giraffes Can't Dance.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth,  k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}


Acts of Kindness with Ordinary Mary

Click here to find ideas for teaching retelling and random acts of kindness.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed is a fabulous book that really illustrates for children how they can make a difference in the world with simple acts of kindness.  It's great for any time of the year! This book is a perfect tie to citizenship in Social Studies.  It's also perfect for all elementary aged students.  We always start the year off with the beginning portions of standards.  For this book we tied it to retelling or recounting stories.  Students are directed to retell the story in just three sentences using text evidence.  Before you start worrying about having older kids retell with just three sentences, please know that we are setting the precedence for the year.  Students must write quality sentences that use text evidence and transition words.  Once they have this mastered with three sentences we can build on.  It's important not to jump ahead and have students writing thesis statements when they can't write a proper sentence.  Watch my video below to see more ideas on how to bring quality literature into your reading block and how to use this book in your teaching. Have an amazing day!

Click here to find ideas for teaching retelling and random acts of kindness.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Click here to find ideas for teaching retelling and random acts of kindness.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}


Cafeteria Rules Lesson Plans

Click here to find lesson ideas and book suggestion for cafeteria rules.  Just what you need to teach your elementary students how to behave while having lunch in the lunchroom.  Perfect for grades kindergarten through fifth. {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, homeschool, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

The cafeteria can be a huge problem for teachers everywhere.  They can be noisy, messy and students can get in trouble.  If you spend time in the beginning of the year setting expectations and allowing students to take part in creating rules and procedures, you are much more likely to have a successful lunch each day.  This year I was ecstatic to find the book "Seven RulesYou Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want To Survive The Cafeteria".  It's a cute book written on an upper elementary level.  However, I used it with two first grade classes and it's great as a read aloud lower primary as well.  To differentiate the book I left some parts out and shortened it to hold their attention span.  We know we barely have any time to teach extra  lessons so I taught the students how to partner up with partner pair cards and show respect by thanking their partners.  This way the class culture was being formed, students were having fun all while learning how to act in the cafeteria.  Above and below you will find the two different anchor charts that the classes created while taking part in the lesson. Basically we mixed and partnered up to discuss what we love and don't like about the lunchroom.  Then we read the book while keeping track of the main character's actions. When we were done we worked together to make an anchor chart.  

As a back to school celebration my newsletter subscribers will receive the lesson plan and partner pair cards this month for free.  It's not too late to sign up now if you want to receive the extras that I send out each month!

Click here to find lesson ideas and book suggestion for cafeteria rules.  Just what you need to teach your elementary students how to behave while having lunch in the lunchroom.  Perfect for grades kindergarten through fifth. {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, homeschool, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Click here to find lesson ideas and book suggestion for cafeteria rules.  Just what you need to teach your elementary students how to behave while having lunch in the lunchroom.  Perfect for grades kindergarten through fifth. {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, homeschool, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}


Friendship Lessons For Back to School

Click here to find ideas for back to school including a lesson on teaching children to make friends.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Back to school time comes with a lot of anxiety for children and teachers alike.  One of the biggest concerns we have is whether or not people will like us.  We often times take for granted that everyone knows how to make friends, but this simply isn't the case.  If you scroll through the pictures below there are a ton of books with a back to school "friend" themes.  I was hoping I could find enough options that you would have something ready to go in your library.  Once you have a book for a read aloud, consider having a lesson with your class on making friends.  The anchor chart below includes touching points.  This would be a great time to teach the students about think-pair-share. You could have them think about questions, turn to their partner and get to know them.  Administration will be as pleased as punch when you show them you can teach social skills, procedures and tie them all into a standard at one time.  You are that amazing! For additional ideas, watch the video at the end!

Click here to find ideas for back to school including a lesson on teaching children to make friends.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}


Click here to find ideas for back to school including a lesson on teaching children to make friends.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Click here to find ideas for back to school including a lesson on teaching children to make friends.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Click here to find ideas for back to school including a lesson on teaching children to make friends.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Click here to find ideas for back to school including a lesson on teaching children to make friends.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}



Setting Library Procedures

Click here to find ideas on setting expectations for the library.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Curious George Visits The Library and The Library Mouse.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Everyone loves Curious George! He's engaging and reading his book is great way to set expectations for your students or children when it comes to the classroom, home or public library.  In the book George takes a trip to the public library and learns that climbing shelves and riding carts are not the best way to behave in the library.  This picture book can be read before discussion takes place about the "do's and dont's" of the library.  I have provided an anchor chart  with touching points for my classroom library above. It's important for you to keep in mind what and how you want your library to look before you wrap up the lesson and finish up your chart.  One important point that I always make with my students is that they need to explore books that they LOVE.  No boring books allowed! The reason this is so important is because it leads to authentic reading.  If students are taught how to find books they love it's hard to get them to put the book down. Watch my video below for more ideas and standards to tie the lessons into.

Celebrating Diversity with Yoko

Click here to find ideas for how character's react in stories.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Yoko  by Rosemary Wells.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for all elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}

Hi everyone! I hope that you have been enjoying my Back To School Blog Series.  If you haven't guessed it by now, including books that represent all of my students in my classroom is very important to me.  Just scroll back through my posts to see examples.  When I'm introducing standards for the first time in class, (which happens naturally during the first 9 weeks), I try to focus on engaging books that have a more simple story line.  This way the students build their foundational knowledge of the standard without confusion or frustration.  Yoko is a great book for looking at how character's react to events and actions in a story.   The story line is relatable to students and carries a theme of empathy which is so vital to our community.  This book lends itself to teaching reading skills while also teaching a social studies or character education lesson.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Click here to find ideas for how character's react in stories.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Yoko  by Rosemary Wells.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for all elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}


Click here to find ideas for how character's react in stories.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Yoko  by Rosemary Wells.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for all elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}