Thursday, December 14, 2023

Winter Solstice

Winter is the season of cold, dark days. Celebrate the return of the warmer and lighter days with a project about the winter solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere this usually happens on December 21 or 22. Winter solstice marks the moment when half of our Earth is tilted farthest away from the sun. This day is also known as the shortest day of the year.

Ancient cultures around the world built impressive moments to celebrate the winter solstice. Newgrange was a tomb built in Ireland, around  3 200 B.C. There are also fun celebrations to mark the event from China's Dōngzh festival to Iran's Yalda festival  and Scandinavian Yule feast. 

You can talk about these festivals as a short introduction to a project about winter using a Winter Fact Booklet. Your students will love learning how to draw winter items such as beanie hats, mittens, snowmen or palm trees! Directed drawings resources are great to use on its own but they also work really well with my fact booklets.

Non-fiction writing can be very exciting! A topic such as winter with the winter solstice with its powerful time of darkness can ignite lots of creative non-fictional writing.  Non-fictional writing should  be based on facts but it should also be creative and a pleasure to read.  So it is great to start early by encouraging young kids to write. 

A winter themed math journal is perfect for the winter months and combine it with some winter pattern block BOOM task cards to ensure that your students can develop their geometry skills.

Take time to enjoy the pleasure in the little things, like the long shadows on the winter solstice. Your students will love seeing the longest shadows of the year!

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Friday, December 1, 2023

December 2023 Products!

Welcome December! 

This is a month filled with excitement and energy. Finding engaging activities that balance learning and fun is the key to a great month. Planning this festive month filled with traditions and holidays is a treat but the excitement can be hard for some students. There are students who do not look forward to this time of the year: children whose parents are separated or divorced or children in abusive households. Maintaining daily routines may become increasingly more difficult in December but it might help students to keep things consistent and use familiar materials as well as new and exciting activities.

If you have used Fact Booklets during Fall, your students will be familiar with the concept. Short paragraphs, pages for filling in their own research about the topic, space  for drawing and decorating, and last but not least fun craftivities. Reindeers are amazing creatures and this topic can be paired with Christmas activities. But you can also use the booklets without focusing on the Christmas and the holiday season.

Fairy tales help kids to find solutions to problems and navigate life. A popular story for the December classroom is the Gingerbread Man. Use Reading BOOM digital task cards to give your students a chance to practice their comprehension, sight words, syllables and even learn how to make gingerbread! 

A storybook companion is a great way to dive deeper into a story. A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman, is an important book. Many children move around and reflecting on what makes a home is invaluable. This rhyme book is about familiar houses, such as a dog kennel, as well as more surprising ones, like a pea pod. My unique storybook companion is filled with  math and literacy activities. You’ll also find home ideas for family projects. Your students will love using their creative thinking skill to explore what makes a home a home! 

Music in the classroom has so many benefits from calming and improving mood to enhancing creativity. Spread some calm sparkle in your classroom with music from the ballet The Nutcracker while your students work on this charming classical Christmas story.

Wishing you all a wonderfully calm and exciting December!  

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Monday, November 13, 2023

Bring history alive with a castle project!

Castles are full of adventure and mystique and your students will love learning about medieval times. History is such a valuable subject to learn and a project about castles fuels imagination and builds enquiry skills. It also helps students to consider different perspectives and provides an excellent opportunity for creative expressions of learning.

Building castles is a great introduction to architecture and there are several different building styles. What roles did the castles play? Was it an important fortress, or a beautiful magical retreat? Let students use a simple pencil and paper to design their dream castles. Or use the provided templates in the resource castle creations. You can make a big castle out of cardboard boxes or create tiny castles using building blocks. Use the fact booklet to support the learning and help your students to travel the world to learn about different building styles. 
Who lived in the castles? Exploring historical periods becomes more engaging if your students can learn about what people ate and how they spent their time. Dressing up is a wonderful way to learn about what people did wear and it encourages children to develop empathy and a deeper understanding of the topic.

Castles are often used as a setting for storytelling. Some students may like to write a story about real people who lived in a castle, while others may imagine a castle filled with princesses, knights, frogs and dragons. Their stories will surprise and delight you and any visitors to the classroom. 

Create a complete project by including math and reading activities with a castle theme. BOOM cards provide not only hours of fun but also a perfect prompt for discussions about modern life. 

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Wednesday, November 1, 2023

November Products

November! It might be hard to believe that the holiday season is almost here. There are so many topics that can be explored during this month. Thanksgiving is a holiday that immediately comes to mind. This holiday offers the perfect time to reflect and give thanks. Add some directed drawing activities to ensure that your students can decorate the classroom with stories and facts about the history behind this holiday. 

A project-based learning unit includes components such as inquiry, research, writing and drawing. My fact booklets about pilgrims and indigenous Americans offer short reading passages that provide your students with vital information. I recommend that you use both booklets to ensure that your students get a chance to reflect on the interactions between pilgrims and the local indigenous people. 

An Election Day booklet provides you with facts as well as inspiration to discuss the duties of a president, and history behind the day. Students enjoy making an election hat while reflecting on the right as well as duty to vote. Veterans Day is observed on the 11the of November. This holiday offers an opportunity not only to teach students about service but also to emphasize the importance to give back to the community.

Young students love picture books. A spectacular and interesting story is the best way for teaching about other cultures and ensuring that they develop a love for reading. Cactus Soup is a twist on the classic story Stone Soup. The storybook companion is filled with ideas for crafts to enhance the reading of this story about sharing. Also, it is a great introduction to explore holidays celebrated in  Spanish-speaking countries.

I hope these resources can help you create a stimulating learning environment in the November classroom! 

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Thursday, October 12, 2023

Children’s learning through design

I love creating engaging resources for students. Bringing creative design thinking into the classroom is something that is that little bit extra fun for me. Also, I know the value of introducing young students to design problem-solving tasks and how much fun it is! Designing and planning is something that can benefit all students. Students who usually take part and perform at lower levels might find these activities not only engaging and fun but they may also learn and grow in their confidence. 

When using design in the classroom or at home it is important to give the students space and time to explore and ponder. Support them to develop their creativity while designing  a Haunted House - perfect project for October. A willingness to explore is important when using design activities. These type of activities provide students with a chance to imagine the world from multiple perspectives.

Looking for information and using this information to design an animal habitat, healthy grocery store, doctor or dentist’s office  create a rich learning opportunity where students can use a range of interesting materials to build stunning displays. They might explore novel and exciting ways to use materials when building, creating and decorating various spaces for humans as well as animals. Stimulate your students' development by providing a range of materials and topics where they can playfully learn about the world. 

Check out my architect fact booklet and my holiday design projects - designing Christmas,  New Year’s Day or the Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda). Let your students discover the joy of creating and designing this fall! 

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