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Dec 31, 2014

It's Almost 2015!

Happy New Years Eve everyone!!
I just wanted to throw out a quick post letting you guys know that I'm having a 20% sale in my store! 20% EVERYTHING to celebrate the coming 2015!

I hope all of you have had a wonderful year.. I have to say 2014 treated me very well.. I got engaged to the man of my dreams and began my Teachers pay Teachers journey... But get ready folks, I'm just getting started. There's much to look forward to next year. ;)
Here's to 2015!! Woohoo!!

Dec 17, 2014

Integrate Multicultural Fun Into the Classroom!

There are many ways to create a multicultural classroom - a classroom where students explore and appreciate other cultures and diversity. The benefits of having a multicultural classroom are endless. Students break through cultural barriers, they learn to appreciate different ways of celebrating or communicating, and it brings the classroom community closer together.

Here are some tips to make multicultural learning FUN for students!

1. Provide multicultural books in the classroom
 This is a simple and effective way to introduce students to new cultures. One of my favorites is "Too Many Tamales" by Gary Soto, a cute story where a young girl named Maria may have accidentally dropped her mothers wedding ring in one of the 24 tamales they had just made.. The book goes into detail about how to make delicious tamales- yum!

2. Holidays around the World 
 It's time for the holidays and American students are excited for Christmas.. but what do other students do in other parts of the world? What are their traditions and how do they celebrate during this time of year? You can provide art and written activities based around the different Holidays.

3. Explore culture in art form 
There are so many possibilities for creating art while learning the history and traditions of different cultures around the world. Create Dream Catchers while learning about the different Native American tribes. Maybe create lanterns and banners for the Chinese New Year!

4. Pen Pals
 Have students write to other children from a different parts of the world. How fascinating would that be to learn all about other children's families and ways of life?

5. Provide multicultural games 
 Have you ever played Mancala? It is one of the oldest games in the world and played in over 99 countries. In Africa, the game is known as Bao la Kiswahili and it is a much more difficult version than the Americanized Mancala game we play.  

 6. Play music from other parts of the world. 
Let students appreciate the different instruments and sounds they hear. Even when they are just walking through the door to start their day or during independent work time, you can allow them to enjoy music from around the world.

Incorporate another common core music activity, one that provides musical video clips, a matching game, written recall pages, and information about various countries and their musical instruments that they use.  Students will learn over 30 different musical instruments from Japan, France, India, Spain, Brazil, Africa, Russia, and Italy! The video links included show the instruments in action!

Check out this amazing child performer playing the Djembe!
short video clips that feature inspiring instruments from around the world can be found by scanning the worksheets provided in this unit!

If you enjoy Around the World Activities, you may also like Around the World BUNDLE! It includes art, music, history, dance, and celebrations all around the world! Around the World classroom decor is also included!


Dec 8, 2014

15 Tips for Gifted Learners

I recently blogged about differentiated learning regarding students with ADHD.
Today I wanted to focus on the needs of gifted learners. I feel like these students are often left in the classroom without much consideration.
 I mean, why should we worry about them, aren't they already ahead of the game?  
Please DO NOT have this perspective on gifted students! If teachers did, these students would become bored, unchallenged, unmotivated, frustrated, and most likely have a negative attitude towards school in general.

Differentiation is something most teachers integrate into their classroom. It's not an easy task, considering there are many types of learners. Most classrooms have a unique blend of students with all different needs to consider.

Here are my 15 simple tips on how to differentiate learning for gifted learners.

1. Differentiated learning IS NOT just giving students more work to complete after they are finished with an assignment. Giving them more of the same assignment or "busy work" is not differentiated learning.

2. Don't just send the student to go around helping others when they are finished. This is their time to learn too.

3. Journal writing is a great way to reflect on an activity the student has just completed. Have them go back and consider what they learned. Use KWL charts and other graphic organizers too!

4. Try different grouping strategies. Allow gifted learners to work on a more advanced side-project or use more mixed-level grouping with different assigned tasks for each group member.

5. Offer more resources in the classroom. Be sure to have higher level reading books on the bookshelf.

6. Teach to multiple intelligences - look up Howard Gardner's theory.

7. Let them show you what they know! - Use more open-ended questions on written assignments or during in class discussions.

8. Incorporate community building activities. Sometimes GATE students have more difficulty communicating and relating with their peers.

9. Be an active listener for them. Sometimes they will go a mile a minute while communicating but make sure you are actually listening and not just giving a quick dismissal.

10. Let it go. Gifted students can be critical and hyper aware of their surroundings. They may point out unwanted details and it will drive you MAD! Don't let it. Take a deep breath and refocus them. Keep them on track. 

11. Have them set specific goals for the week. If they are on a different track, what do they want to accomplish? Make sure the goals they set are realistic. Make sure they are focused on the actual learning process, not the grade.

12. Get feedback. How are they feeling about school? What is working for them? What would they change if they could?

13. Keep in close communication with parents. Ask them what their goals are for their child.

14. Incorporate student-based learning into your teaching. Let them decide how to approach learning tasks.

15. Ignore that dreaded, I'm done, what do I do now?! If students ask you that question, you can kindly direct them to the "I'm Done Now What Do I Do Bored Busters" activity prompts!
These creative writing prompts will keep your gifted students busy!

Classroom Decor (and more)!

I've been in the process of planning out how I want to layout the content in my blog. After some deliberation and.. I'll admit- procrastinating, I decided on creating two new pages.. so last week I added "classroom décor" and "gettin crafty" to the top header. Two of the things I LOVE to create on TpT are classroom décor sets and craftivities (or pretty much anything craft related). So please check them out when you get the chance! I uploaded the current content I have to the décor section but am still working on adding to the craft page.

 Have any suggestions or requests regarding classroom themes? Please post in the comment box below!   

Dec 4, 2014

15 Strategies to Help Students with ADHD

15 simple and effective strategies to use in the classroom for students diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

            Differentiation is something every teacher integrates into their classroom. As all teachers know, it’s not an easy job to differentiate learning; considering that there are all types of learners. Most classrooms have a unique blend of gifted learners, English Language Learners, students with special needs, and students at different reading levels to consider. Each child is a unique and an individual learner whose learning styles we must take into consideration! That being said, students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder should be given accommodations as well. Here are some easy to implement strategies for active students:       

1.     Incorporate more problem-based and student-based learning into lesson plans. Focus less on the lecture and more on students accomplishing something! Think-Pair-Shares and KWL charts are great too to keep students busy and engaged!

2.     Use music and movement into your lessons! Why not find an educational song on YouTube and boogie a little? It’s fun, and a catchy tune can sometimes help students remember important facts! I just used a song on animal adaptations in the classroom and it was stuck in my head for the rest of the week (that part wasn’t fun but I could recite at least four different adaptations from just one listen!)

3.     Students need a solid routine. Make sure you announce activities before they begin and give 5 minute warnings.

4.     Even though some teachers withhold recess as a behavior consequence (I really dislike using this method in general) don’t let this student miss out on a recess!

5.     REPETITON REPETITION REPETITION! In order for the routine to stick, students need to practice it over and over! Especially with younger elementary students.

6.     Seat students with A.D.H.D near your desk so you can redirect them if needed. They can still sit with group members but it may help with situations that come up during independent work.

7.     Rewards! When a student sees another being rewarded for on-task behavior, they may strive a little harder to stay focused.

8.     Be aware of possible distractions in your classroom. Don’t sit students who easily lose focus next to the window or door.

9.     BE KIND. Be patient. Try to think how tough it must be to be in their shoes. School is a challenge when you have difficulty focusing.

10.  Incorporate multiple intelligence strategies (Howard Gardner’s theory) into your teaching. Get the other parts of the brain working.

Here are the nine intelligences:
Naturalist Intelligence
Musical Intelligence
Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
Existential Intelligence
Interpersonal Intelligence
Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
Linguistic Intelligence
Intra-personal Intelligence
Spatial Intelligence

11.  Talk to his or her parents. See what works and what doesn’t. No one knows the child better than his or her parent/guardian.

12.   Write down directions. Repeat important directions. Make sure you have the entire class’s attention when explaining a new activity.

13.  Praise for things that student did correctly. Focus on the positive rather than the negative.

14.  Make up silly and fun acronyms, draw pictures or graphic organizers, or use other memory techniques to help them retain information.

15. After students complete a mentally strenuous activity, make sure to take a brain break. What is brain break?

Brain breaks include fun activities like these:

     For 30 FUN brain breaks and activities to engage students, click here for Subsavvy and StudentSavvy's Brain Breaks activity cards


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