Books Cultural Learning Holidays and Seasonal Learning Commons Library Reading Seasonal/Holiday

15 Picture Books for Lunar New Year

lunar-new-year-picture-books (1)Usually we talk about Chinese New Year but did you know that many other countries celebrate the new year at the same time? In Vietnam it is called Tết and South Korea it is known as Seollal. These new year celebrations are based on the lunar calendar which is calculated using the movement of the Earth around the Sun and the Moon around the Earth.  Because of this, lunar new year is celebrated some time in January or February.  This time of year is a time when families gather, share food and many local traditions. Continue Reading

Books Language Arts Professional Learning Reading Research Skills

Research Skills: Text Features

How often do you give your students a book and they can’t find any information in it? It seems if a page isn’t blinking and flashing they can’t seem to work it. Explicitly teaching text features can help your students understand how to process information better. This won’t just help with their reading, but it will help with all of their research, following directions and locating information quickly in all their subject areas. Continue Reading

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Research Skills: Scavenger Hunts

Sometimes students don’t understand how time is of the essence when doing research. They lack the skills to use text features, skim materials and find items quickly.

We’ve been working on this with our students and it’s a struggle year after year.

However, we have managed to find some activities that help students refine their research skills: scavenger hunts. It turns out that making research fun and game-like can have a positive impact on how students complete research. Continue Reading

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Recycled Materials: Christmas Wreaths

Here is a great activity your students can do that is both environmentally friendly and makes a wonderful Christmas gift.

Your students can help create one wreath as a group or can create their own wreath depending on how much material you have to recycle.

Materials: 1 metal clothes hanger per wreath, old green clothes such as shirts, socks, tablecloths, towels, sheets, and pants (they can be a variety of shades of green as well as different types of materials, but in our experience knitted items do not work well), scissors that cut cloth, green yarn scraps, decorations such as bows, bells and old ornaments

Here’s how to make it: Continue Reading

Interactive Notebooks Mathematics Our TpT Products Professional Learning

Interactive Math Notebooks Representing Numbers

We use interactive notebooks in our math class. We have found creating a reference book of concepts and procedures that students can refer to when working in math helps them build confidence and develop independence.

We’re not going to lie. They are a lot of work, but the working is meaningful. We found on average our math grades improved and students were able to retain more of their learning year over year.

Our notebooks are created using two pages for each concept. Continue Reading

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Five Things We Learned From Interactive Notebooks

When a colleague told me we should try interactive notebooks in math, we agreed and then went on our merry ways and did math the same old way for another year, so at the end of that school year, she approached us again and DEMANDED we buy this Interactive Math Journal by Jen Runde. We took a look, bought it and then went on summer vacation. Near the end of the summer I opened it up and it CHANGED MY WORLD. I will never teach math the same way again. That being said, there are a few things I learned and will change for the upcoming year to get the most of math journals.

Interactive math notebooks are an investment, but like all good investments they take time to show a good return. Patience is the key! They take time, but they result in deeper understanding, so here are some things you need to consider before starting your interactive math notebook journey.

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Recycled Paper Snowmen

Here’s a little task you can give to your students to make an environmentally friendly Christmas tree ornament. For this task we have chosen to make a snowman.

You will need: newspaper, magazine or flyers, white glue (glue sticks work, but not as well), yarn/string, ornamental details like
googly eyes, bells, felt, markers. You may need hot glue to attach large pieces together.

Here’s how to make your own recycled paper snowmen. Continue Reading