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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama

President-Elect Barack Obama
Barack Obama (born August 4, 1961 -) will be the 44th President of the United States of America. He was elected President on November 4, 2008, as a Democrat. His Vice-President running mate was Joseph Biden. Barack Obama is the first African-American president of the USA.
In the summer of 2008, Obama became the first African-American to be the presidential candidate of a major political party (the Democrats). On November 4, 2008, Obama won the general election, defeating John McCain (a Republican) to become the 44th President of the United States. For the complete story check out the following source.

Source: Copyright ©2008 The Presidents of the United States of America
See their homepage and info at:

More Resources: Elections African-American History Government/Citizenship Inaugurations

Saturday, December 27, 2008

January Lesson Plan Ideas

Teaching Tip: January Lesson Plan Ideas
By: Teachnology

Here are some January events you are going to want to include in your class.
1. New Year´s- Resolution time.
2. Trivia Day (Jan. 4) - Do a trivia review.
3. National Bird Day (Jan. 5) - What´s your state bird?
4. Poetry Break Day (Jan. 13) - Write a poem.
5. Martin Luther King Jr.´s Birthday (Jan. 15) - What is your dream?
6. National Kazoo Day (Jan. 28) - Form a kazoo marching band.
7. Popcorn day- Third Monday in January.
8. Cheese Day- Third Tuesday in January.
9. National Handwriting Day- Third Friday in January.
10. National Puzzle Day- Fourth Thursday in January.

Taken from resource

See other January resources at

Friday, December 26, 2008

President Barack Obama's Inauguration Day

U.S. Senator Barack Obama, a Democrat from Illinois, won his bid to become the President of the United States on November 4, 2008 after defeating John McCain. He will be sworn into office on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12:00 noon. The purpose of this inauguration is to honor the incoming president with formal ceremonies such as a Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, an Inaugural Address, and an Inaugural Parade. This date was set by the Twentieth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States and the first African-American to hold this office. In order to get into the 2009 Inauguration on January 20th you will need tickets. There are only 240,000 tickets being released to the public. You need to know a Senator or Representative to get a ticket. The tickets are expected to be nearly forge-proof and they won't say what they look like for security reasons. President Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address will serve as the cornerstone for the theme of A New Birth of Freedom. President-elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office, which states the following:
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." Vice President-elect Joe Biden will have already taken a similar oath. This inauguration will be a great time to reflect on the heritage of Inaugurations in the past. It represents both a national renewal and continuity of leadership of the U.S.

For More Details and Resources Check Out These Links: Info, Schedule, and Guest List History & Theme-A New Birth of Freedom Info and Resources

Check out some facts about the Inaugurations at .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past and forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make and to resolve to follow through with them. The way to keep your New Year's resolution is to pick a good goal and then change your life in order to meet it. Tradition dictates that every 365 days, you should try to kick your bad habits and start your life anew. It is a good time to help your child make some New Year's resolutions, to set long-term goals, and to get a fresh start for the year. The quickest New Year's resolutions to be broken are usually quickly formed and poorly thought out. New Year's Day is a time of new beginnings so people often make resolutions or you might call them promises or goals that they hope to accomplish during the coming year. Check out some of the resources listed below to help motivate and support you in reaching your goals. Popular New Year's Resolutions Top 10 Resolutions Fun Facts & Figures, History, Other Countries, Auld Lang Syne Definition & Goals Tips for Kids for the New Year Teacher Lesson Plan History New Year's Resolutions for Teachers New Year's Around the World Unit Teacher Planet New Year's Resources

For more resources check out these links:


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Season / Snow Theme Unit / Winter Olympics

Let's celebrate the Season of Winter with activities that bring learning to life and make learning fun for all. I love the winter season so come along and have some fun with this educational theme for toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, and all ages. You will find activities, crafts, lesson plans, winter coloring pages, easy instructions, language arts activity sheets, crossword puzzles, wordsearches, word scrambles, research graphic organizers, math, science, books, words to a variety of winter songs and poems, and a list of ideas and resources. You can visit a different season or a month for specific holidays, events, activities, and resources. Make the season come alive with terrific resources for fun. A winter theme offers many opportunities to learn about math and science concepts. When it is cold outside, staying indoors making crafts with the kids becomes a logical choice so check out things that you can do. You can write about this season and all of your favorite things.

If you are a sports enthusiast, you could organize the Winter Olympics for your class or school. You could have participation in the gym in the morning and or in the afternoon. You could practice in gym classes (use big buddies)or assign mixed grade group teams with a teacher leader or gym teacher. Each individual could choose at least 3 or 4 sports to do during a planning meeting. When you are ready, you can proudly march into the gym (using some chants and songs) and sit under a huge flag representing your country. Teams could represent six different countries or more (wearing color-coded t-shirts-red for Canada, blue for the USA, black for Germany, etc.).

Some of the ideas for the Winter Olympics:

a. Torch or baton relay around the gym - passing it on to the next team member. I believe 8 children/team were assigned to this one. You can vary the numbers to fit your group's size.

b. Cross-country skiing - 8 children/team. Children placed recycled 8x12 papers under their feet and shuffled to the other side of the gym where another student did the same back.

c. Bobsledding relay. Children worked in pairs with one child sitting on two scooters. The other child pushed him/her around the periphery of the gym.

d. Curling: children ran up to an assigned line and curled a bean bag onto the curling rings (making tape rings on the floor with assigned points/ring).

e. Slalom skiing was an obstacle course set along the floor. As soon as a team member was sitting down on the other side, the next would go.

f. Hockey: dribble a puck down the floor and shoot for points into a net.

Parent volunteers could count points for the various teams. The teams had to sit down with their legs and arms crossed when the whole team was finished. It was so much fun. There was a big announcement of the winners at the end of the day. You can also do this for a field day for the Summer Olympics.

Celebrate the Season of Winter with activities and resources that you can find at

More Winter / Snow/ Season Theme Unit Resources Winter Season Teaching Resources Winter Teaching Theme Unit Winter Olympics Teaching Theme Unit Winter Wonderland Theme Unit-Poems & Ideas Winter Teaching Theme Unit Ideas Winter Theme-Book List, Song, Finger plays & Poems Winter Theme Page Winter Seasonal Theme Preschool Crafts Winter Theme Winter Songs & Poems Animals in Winter Great Winter Theme Unit Ideas Winter Math & Science Ideas Science Experiments Winter/ Snow/ Ice Resources Snow/ Winter Resources

Winter Snow Recipe

Here is a classic recipe for winter painting.
Materials: Soap flakes, water, liquid starch, and white powdered tempera.
Description: Mix soap flakes with water into a thick paste. Let children mix with a hand beater. Add a small amount of liquid starch and tempera. Let children create designs by painting with this mixture.

Ivory Snow Painting Recipe
2 parts Ivory Snow or similar soap powder (not liquid)1 part Water You can add food coloring for textured paintings.
Mix Ivory Snow and water and beat until it is the consistency of whipped cream. Divide the mixture into paper cups or small bowls. Use this mixture as you would use any paint with brushes.

You could grow a borax snowflake so see directions at

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Spirit

What makes the Holidays such a special time of year is that warm, magical feeling that comes from being around friends, family, and loved ones and by celebrating life and letting them know how truly special they are to you. It's so easy to see the next few weeks as a sprint where you've got to keep going at high speed to get everything done at work and at home. Check out some tips, ideas, poems, songs, and resources for not only getting through the holidays but enjoying them as well. It seems like everyone is shopping or getting ready for a Christmas party or some other activity. It took me a long time to realize how important it is for us to allow ourselves to enjoy the holidays. Let in the "Christmas" spirit and become a better person, friend, neighbor, and coworker. Try not to miss out on the joys and wonders of the holiday season. I want you to have some fun this holiday season especially with your family. Make sure every family member gets involved in making it a great time. Pop up some popcorn, make a favorite recipe, or make hot chocolate and sit down at the dining room table with paper and pens, games, books, and other fun activities. Ask others for their ideas for having fun and giving to others? The holidays are going to happen so why not begin them with a joyful mindset and take advantage of the opportunities that are unique to this time of year. If you are open and receptive, good times will happen and those good times will become great memories. Pledge right now to make the holidays a time of joy rather than stress. I want to share my own holiday vision with you so visit my site for some ideas on having fun this Christmas at .

There's a lesson on The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein that focuses attention on the power of giving. You can let everyone reflect and write about the gift they would most like to give and the person or groups to whom they would like to give it.

Inspiring Quote
“The work can wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work.”— Patricia Clafford

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love and goodwill to all. I'd like to wish you a very Happy Holiday Season and a Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Crafts and Resources

You can get in the Christmas spirit with some of these free Christmas craft projects! Just take a peek and have fun.These crafts projects use materials found around the house, like egg cartons, cardboard, paper, boxes, string, crayons, paint, glue, etc. See how to combine paint to make all the colors of the rainbow. Make Christmas even more special this year by creating your very own gifts! Check out some of these Christmas crafts for kids from recycling cards to beautiful ornaments. These Christmas crafts are for kids in kindergarten, preschool, and elementary school. Use these great tips for adding a personal seasonal touch. Holiday crafts are fun to make and share with others. You will find instructions for Christmas tree ornaments, tree art decor, Christmas gift ideas, wreaths, cards, advent calendars, and much more. Check out the Christmas crafts, children's projects, and ideas for teachers, kids, and crafters by visiting some of the resources and links listed below. See the links to get ideas for creative handmade gifts for everyone on your list. Christmas Bazaars and Craft Fairs are a great way to learn, make money, and have fun. Get numerous ideas and tips for gifts to make and projects to decorate your home at . Pictures & Instructions for Popular Christmas Crafts Great Craft Instructions

Christmas Around the World Resources

Resources for a Theme Unit on Christmas Around the World

You can find resources for subjects across the curriculum, such as reading and language arts activities, math, science worksheets, social studies projects, art ideas, festive activities, plays, poems, and more. No matter which grade you teach, you will find an activity that your students will enjoy! The holiday season is here so enjoy it and have fun learning about the holidays and special days of December. Christmas Click on Country Holidays Around the World Christmas Celebrations Around the World Christmas Traditions Around the World Christmas Around the World 30 Countries Christmas Links to Everything Mrs. McGowan's Christmas Fun Complete Thematic Unit Links Trivia Hunt Lessons Lessons Project on Christmas Similarities and Differences Lessons to Create a Presentation Scavenger Hunts Webquests Countries of the World Christmas Holidays and Cultures Holiday Cultures Christmas Around the World Maps WebQuests-Christmas Around the World-Second Grade Holidays and Customs Many Countries Watch Out Popups

Christmas Crafts from Around the World by Judy Ann Sadler, June Bradford (Illustrator)

Learn about Christmas traditions around the world at .

Winter Holidays or Christmas Around the World Rotation

You can get a group of teachers to share in a Christmas or winter holiday rotation by grade level or different grade levels according to the size of your school. Each teacher prepares a lesson to cover one winter holiday. The kids rotate through the classes all day long. You can fit in four rotations of about 30-45 minutes for a lesson or you can take a whole day and make it a festival. You will cover your own class with your lesson on a separate day. Students think this is a very special day to learn and have fun because they are visiting different teachers’ classrooms. Each teacher can focus on one holiday and give it the attention it deserves instead of trying to cover a lot of different holidays in addition to the regular curriculum. We had a team of second grade teachers and each teacher took a different country and prepared a demonstration with books, passports, sample foods, craft projects, tree ornaments for a tree to display their work, and other ideas for the country. You could cover Hanukkah, Christmas Around the World, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Diwali, and other holidays. Each group could be responsible for different winter holidays or cultural celebrations. You can learn to say Merry Christmas in many ways. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

To learn about Christmas traditions around the world, go to

Christmas Around the World

People celebrate Christmas all around the world. All around the world, people have taken the celebration of the birth of Jesus and made a Christmas that fits their own country. Christmas traditions and customs are different and alike around the world. Experience the real magic of the Christmas story and find the origin of many Christmas traditions around the world. In many different ways, the people of the earth join their hearts in the great celebration of mankind that only this Christmas season can bring. Learning about the Christmas customs of various nations helps us to understand the wide variety of traditions that families have practiced for many centuries around the globe. It's interesting to note how many aspects of Christmas have been adopted and adapted as they move across the borders of different countries. Probably the most celebrated holiday in the world, our modern Christmas is a product of hundreds of years of both secular and religious traditions from around the globe. There are many ways to say Merry Christmas around the world so check them out. Merry Christmas to all!

To learn about Christmas traditions around the world, go to .

December Lesson Plan Ideas

Teaching Tip: December Lesson Plan Ideas
By: Teachnology Newsletter-

Here are some great projects and ideas for your December classroom.

1. A gift or reward exchange.
2. Map holidays around the world.
3. A cookie contest.
4. Make a family recipe book.
5. Hold a multicultural holiday festival.
6. Decorate your room.
7. Holiday greeting country match.
8. Have students find out how and where their gifts are made.
9. Graph holiday sales.

Inspiring Quote

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
— Cynthia Ozick

For Other Themes, Lesson Ideas, and Resources Check Out

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The First Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast which is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. This harvest meal has become a symbol of cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans. Although this feast is considered by many to the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Native American groups throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.
Source: Thanksgiving History, Videos, Facts

The First Thanksgiving
The first American Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, to commemorate the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony after a harsh winter. In that year Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. The colonists celebrated it as a traditional English harvest feast, to which they invited the local Wampanoag Indians. Days of thanksgiving were celebrated throughout the colonies after fall harvests. All thirteen colonies did not, however, celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time until October 1777. George Washington was the first president to declare the holiday, in 1789.
A New National Holiday
By the mid–1800s, many states observed a Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile, the poet and editor Sarah J. Hale had begun lobbying for a national Thanksgiving holiday. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, looking for ways to unite the nation, discussed the subject with Hale. In 1863 he gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring the last Thursday in November a day of thanksgiving. In 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November. Controversy followed, and Congress passed a joint resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains.

Source: First Thanksgiving Day History and New National Holiday Thanksgiving Day in Canada, Grenada, and the United States Thanksgiving History

As you can see there are several explanations about the First Thanksgiving. If you want more resources on Thankgsiving, please check out . See the Native American theme resources at .
To learn about the Pilgrims go to .
Have a great Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Power of Documentation

Keeping a record of your day with personal observations and opinions will be helpful in many ways. If a parent has questions about past events in your classroom or an administrator’s recollection of a conversation with you is not what you recall, you can refer back to your journal. Your journal can be a real lifesaver.

In court cases, a physician's notes are a key part of evidence. The same thing holds true when the defendant (or plaintiff) is a teacher.

*Keep a notebook in your desk drawer. Red is a good color for a cover.

*When anything unusual happens, write it down.

*Just the facts: Date, Time, Place, Those Involved, What Happened, What Was Said

*Who, What, Where, When--Not Why--Not How

*You may use First Person (I saw...) or Third Person (Mrs. Hopkins saw...)

*Keep emotions out of the documentation.

*Look for patterns over time.

*Do not overwrite--documentation should take 30 seconds to 2 minutes per day, not a half hour.

*Date and file all correspondence from parents. Keep every piece of paper from the school or central office. You don’t need an elaborate filing system. Just keep one folder for each category per year.

Most importantly, keep documenting! You plus your notes outweighs an accuser (or defendant) without documentation.

Source: TSTA Beginning Teacher E-newsletter, November 19, 2008

Sources for more teacher tips and ideas:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

American Education Week, Nov. 16-22, 2008

Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our ResponsibilityNEA's 87th annual American Education Week, Nov. 16-22, spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education, and the need for everyone to do his or her part. American Education Week presents all Americans with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education. The weeklong celebration features a special observance each day of the week.The week’s suggested events include:
Monday, Nov. 17 is Open House Day. From national commemorations to local community events such as AEW house parties, millions of Americans will celebrate public education nationwide.
Tuesday, Nov. 18 is Parents Day. Schools will invite parents into the classroom for a hands-on experience of what the day is like for their child.
Wednesday, Nov. 19 is Education Support Professionals Day. Individuals who provide invaluable services to schools are recognized for their outstanding work.
Thursday, Nov. 20 is Educator for a Day. Community leaders will be invited to serve as educators to get a glimpse at a day in the life of a school employee.
Friday, Nov. 21 is Substitute Educators Day. This day honors the educators who are called upon to replace regularly employed teachers.

Sources: and TSTA_MemberMatters-
Other Source for Resources: and

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

History of Halloween

Halloween is an international holiday celebrated on October 31. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving jack-o'-lanterns, reading scary stories and watching horror movies. Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is celebrated in several countries of the Western world, most commonly in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and occasionally in parts of Australia. In Sweden the All Saints' official holiday takes place on the first Saturday of November.
Taken from Wikipedia or

See the following links for more history and resources on Halloween. Halloween Resources History of Halloween

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Red Ribbon Week October 18-26, 2008

Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. Although the start end dates can vary slightly depending on the organization and source, Red Ribbon Week generally takes place the last full week in October, with the weekends before and following the last full week included as appropriate celebration dates. This year Red Ribbon Week will be celebrated October 18-26, 2008. Red Ribbon Week serves as a vehicle for communities and individuals to take a stand for the hopes and dreams of our children through a commitment to drug prevention and education and a personal commitment to live drug free lives with the ultimate goal being the creation of drug free America.

Historically, the Red Ribbon Campaign began in 1985 when Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique "KiKi" Camarena was tortured and murdered by drug traffickers in Mexico. The people of his hometown hung red ribbons in his memory and to bring attention to the impact drugs have on all of us. Since that time the red ribbon has come to symbolize a commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Raising children in a drug-free community is everybody's responsibility.



Saturday, October 18, 2008

Honoring Our Veterans-November 11 is Veterans' Day

Honoring Our Veterans--November 11
On the 11th month, the 11th day, at the 11th hour, take a moment and stop for two minutes to remember those who served our country.
The following web sites will give us information for a theme unit, a newspaper, an article, a story, other projects, arts, crafts, books, links, resources, and activities:
VA Kids, K-5th (for children kindergarten through 5th grade; also contains games!)
Wikipedia: Veterans Day
Kids’ Turn Central: Remembering Those Who Served (facts for children)
DLTK’s Holiday Activities for Kids: Remembrance Day or Veterans Day Activities (crafts, games, printables, and more about Veterans Day) Veterans Day Activities (The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, poetry, word search, and reading suggestions)
Department of Veterans Affairs: Celebrating America’s Freedoms Ways to Celebrate Veteran’s Day with Your Children
Blackwell’s Best: Veterans Day / Memorial Day (tons of information!)
Kids Konnect: Veterans Day (lots of great facts and much more for children!!!!!)
Wikipedia: In Flanders Fields (poem written by John McCrae in 1915)
Web sites with how to write a newspaper paper (for kids), newspaper article template, and an example of a student newspaper:
Bedfordshire Libraries: How to write a newspaper article
Spencerville Adventist Academy: The Point newspaper (PDF file)
More Resources to teach about Veteran's Day Theme or Unit at:

Election News, Events, Issues, Projects, and Resources

There are many excellent election resources on the web to help your students understand and become involved in the electoral process whether it is a presidential year or an off-year election cycle. An election unit is a fabulous way to integrate all subjects and to use more math, government, and current events. You can use your lessons to discuss current events in politics. Have students discuss, debate, and write about the current issues and events. Browse through the election topics, lesson plans, links, activities, and other resources to keep your students informed of election news. With older students, create a class wiki to discuss presidential views and issues. You can have students conduct a school election and compare results using higher level thinking skills Use some of these websites to enlighten your students about the election process. Project some of these activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector and use them to review constitutional rights, civil rights, history of our founding fathers, and more. Incorporate current events into your lesson plans or use feature stories for comprehension practice on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these resources when teaching about how writing for a newspaper differs from essay or report writing.
You can find some great election resources at these sites so check them out at : .


This is an E-newsletter from the Texas State Teachers Association that I received and wanted to share with all of you.

Understanding Money
With the recent financial turmoil, it becomes more and more clear that students need to understand how money works. It really is never too early (or too late) to learn the major concepts of money. Money doesn’t just involve math. Money permeates every facet of our lives and your students’ lives, so here are a few ideas and sites to help you teach about it. As NEA member Joyce Higgs says, “An investment in your students’ financial education will prepare them for making a lifetime of responsible financial decisions.”
Here are some resources to help your students better understand both the concepts and the realities of money.
Starting from the TopThe U.S. Department of the Treasury offers some educational assistance. “Pocket Change,” as it’s called, offers students interactive games to teach them the history of the money they carry with them every day. Most games are pretty basic, so a teacher needs to make sure the games teach specific materials, but the method can be helpful.
The Treasury’s site links to the U.S. Mint’s website, too. This site is very developed, offering social studies lessons, as well. Complete lesson plans can be found here:
Comics and Common CentsAt the middle level, the New York Federal Reserve offers young people information that is geared toward their age. For example, the site offers a catalog that contains 12 different comic books that explain financial and economic subjects--from consumer credit to inflation.
One of the comics uses the story of two basketball-playing buddies to discuss the role of checks and electronic payments in the U.S. economy--including the role of the Fed in facilitating payments. The booklet also teaches personal finance skills such as writing a check and balancing a checking account.
The catalog includes a front cover picture and a plot synopsis for each comic. You can order a maximum of 35 copies for free.
Involving ParentsMoving financial lessons out of the classroom and into the kitchen can really help students learn to make good choices with their money.
The National PTA offers an article titled, “15 Ways to Teach Kids about Money.” The piece was written by Paul Richard. The article begins by telling parents to teach children about money as soon as they can count. Paul’s last suggestion is to establish a regular schedule for the family to talk about finances as children get older. The article can be found at the link below, and it could serve as a helpful communication piece.
Parents who are looking for advice on allowances can use this link, as well:
One-Stop is a site that can offer money lessons to every grade level. The site is very large and highly developed.
Basic skills are offered for the youngest students, complete with worksheets that you can create using their interactive options. To enhance logic and reasoning, you can use one of the site’s coin puzzle worksheets, where various amounts of coins and amounts are given, and students must answer what coins might make up the combinations. Older students, on the same site, can practice balancing a checking account, discover investment approaches, and learn to set financial goals.
The site offers money-related ideas to teachers and students at every level.
As Joyce says, “These resources teach kids to respect money, to earn money, to set money goals, to distinguish between needs and wants, to make wise decisions, to be charitable, to invest in the market, etc. A financial education will allow your students to reap the rewards of good money management."
By the way, Joyce’s insight came from NEA’s Works4Me:
Remember that you can always look to your fellow NEA members to make your teaching better!

You can find more money teaching ideas at .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fire Safety & Fire Prevention Month in October, Week of Oct. 9, and Day is October 9

October is National Fire Prevention Month. It provides a great opportunity to teach students about fire safety in their own homes, community, and the outside world. I have pulled together a variety of resources, links, activities, crafts, books, lessons, facts, and info to help you teach about this theme at . Support your local fire company in its efforts to promote fire safety education in your community all year and during Fire Prevention Week and Fire Prevention Month. Each person should examine your own home, both inside and out, and make it safe from fire.

Fire Safety week is the perfect time to teach Fire Safety or Community Helper themes. Each year, the National Fire Protection Association recognizes the calendar week in which October 9 falls as Fire Prevention Week. On October 9, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire started, killing 250 people and causing more than $160 million dollars in property and building damage. Fire Prevention Week is a great opportunity to teach children about the dangers of fire and how to prevent fire and injuries.

On October 9, 1911, the Fire Marshals Association of North American, which became the National Fire Prevention Association(NFPA), started Fire Prevention Day. The date is the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Christopher Columbus Day October 12, 1492

Columbus Day commemorates the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus, who first landed in the New World on October 12, 1492. Throughout the nineteenth century, Italian-Americans organized celebrations in various cities to honor Columbus, and in 1905, Colorado became the first state to observe Columbus Day. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 to be officially celebrated as Columbus Day. In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared it a federal public holiday, celebrated on the second Monday in October.
By North of Boston Library Exchange at .

"In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." And his arrival in the West Indies led to enduring links between Europe and the Americas. In the early years of our nation's history, Christopher Columbus was raised to hero status by writers and historians wishing to create a common memory for our new nation. Five hundred years later, by the quincentennial of 1992, Columbus' name had become somewhat tarnished. Is Columbus a hero worth celebrating, or was he a cruel imperialist? Discover the debate, and decide for yourself.
By Barbara J. Feldman

For more Columbus Day resources, go to .


Once upon a time there was an Italian,
And some people thought he was a rapscallion,
But he wasn't offended,
Because other people thought he was splendid,
And he said the world was round,
And everybody made an uncomplimentary sound,
But he went and tried to borrow some money from Ferdinand
But Ferdinand said America was a bird in the bush and he'd rather have a birdinhand,
But Columbus' brain was fertile, it wasn't arid,
And he remembered that Ferdinand was married,
And he thought, there is no wife like a misunderstood one,
Because if her husband thinks something is a terrible idea she is bound to think it a good one,
So he perfumed his handkerchief with bay rum and citronella,
And he went to see Isabella,
And he looked wonderful but he had never felt sillier,
And she said, I can't place the face but the aroma is familiar,
And Columbus didn't say a word,
All he said was, I am Columbus, the fifteenth-century Admiral Byrd,
And, just as he thought, her disposition was very malleable,
And she said, Here are my jewels, and she wasn't penurious like Cornelia the mother of the Gracchi,
she wasn't referring to her children, no, she was referring to her jewels, which were very very valuable,
So Columbus said, Somebody show me the sunset and somebody did and he set sail for it,
And he discovered America and they put him in jail for it,
And the fetters gave him welts,
And they named America after somebody else,
So the sad fate of Columbus ought to be pointed out to every child and every voter,
Because it has a very important moral, which is, Don't be a discoverer, be a promoter.

By Ogden Nash

For more Columbus Day resources, go to .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


September 22nd officially ushers in fall and the approach of cooler and shorter days with the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere . The Southern Hemisphere gets ready for the joy and flowers of spring at the same time. Fall is truly a time of change for the whole world. This is also the start of the academic year for many countries. Do you ever wonder why we start planting seeds of learning at the start of the school year just as we enter the harvest season for real fruits and vegetables?

As we officially begin autumn in the northern hemisphere, the successful harvests at your local farmers’ market remind us that those seeds we plant in classrooms will grow with time and attention. After the first few weeks of school, we need to connect positively with parents, nourishing the seeds a bit. To learn how you can begin creating the life you want for yourself and your students, let's look into this theme for some guidance, ideas, suggestions, and other resources to help us learn this year. May you see some seeds sprouting and enjoy some local produce while learning and using this theme. We all enjoy the seasonal changes that happen during the fall.

These changes provide rich opportunities for students to practice observation, writing, and description skills. The activities in this autumn theme unit will help extend your students' experiences into other curriculum areas, such as language arts, math, science, arts and crafts, and many other areas. They also introduce the students to ways in which animals must adapt as the weather gets colder. Autumn is a visually rich time of the year because of all the changing colors of the leaves and all the imagery of the harvest season.


Friday, September 19, 2008


It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 and the International Day of Peace was first celebrated in September 1982. This day gives us the chance to help students look at their own role in world peace. It's a day worth remembering all year long. The International Day of Peace has a special significance in 2008 as it marks both the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 60th anniversary of UN peacekeeping. This year's Peace Day is themed Human Rights and Peacekeeping. Celebrate the United Nations' International Day of Peace on September 21st by joining the worldwide movement to create a global ceasefire and day of peace and nonviolence. This is a time to help students develop respect for diverse cultures. In a message commemorating the Day in 1995, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali stated that “the world, once more, cries out for peace. And for the economic and social development that peace alone can assure... Let us keep our goal clear and simple... Let us work for peace.”

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" - Nelson Mandela

You can find lesson plans, printables, references, and activities on a variety of peace-related resources, like Middle-Eastern conflict, dealing with war, classroom conflict, September 11, tolerance, discrimination, and more to educate your students.

May Peace Prevail On Earth!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Teaching Tip: 10 Things For Your Substitute Teacher Folder

By: September and October teaching resources, teaching tips, and teacher tools can be found at and .

Put these 10 things into a folder and you can rest easy! Veteran teachers share their experience.
1. Class list(s).
2. A description of your routine.
3. School forms and passes.
4. 2-days of emergency lesson plans.
5. Related puzzles.
6. Review work.
7. Rewards.
8. School map/floor plans highlighting important locations.
9. Writing prompts and starters.
10. Seating charts.

Inspiring Quotes

“I am a teacher. A teacher is someone who leads. There is no magic here. I do not walk on water, I do not part the sea. I just love children.”
— Marva Collins

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer everybody else up.”
— Mark Twain

“Teachers are those who use themselves as bridges, over which they invite their students to cross; then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.”
— Nikos Kazantzakis

Friday, September 5, 2008

Never Forget September 11th is Patriot Day

Patriot Day is celebrated September 11th which is the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 2001. To mark the anniversary of the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, President Bush proclaimed that September 11 be named Patriot Day. On this day, the proclamation asks that flags be flown at half-mast and that the day be marked by ceremonies, candlelight vigils, and other remembrance services. Patriot Day was established to honor the individuals who lost their lives as a result of terrorist attacks on 9/11. The tragedy of September 11th will never be forgotten. God Bless America!

Sites were created to help educators teach students about peace, tolerance, war, patriotism, geography, and other related issues about America. There are many sites that feature resources and tips to help adults and youths of all ages reflect and respond to the anniversary of the attacks. You can view photos of New York Harbor from Mrs. McGowan's First Grade site at . There are more sites that can be used to study American heroes and other patriotic themes over the course of a year. You can visit sites and pages for resources on patriotism, national holidays, symbols of the US, our 50 States, the Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, heroes, and many other national holidays.

You can check out some of these sites by going to PATRIOT DAY SEPTEMBER 11.


Thursday, September 4, 2008


National Grandparent's Day is a day to honor your Grandparents and seniors because they are the key to your family history and their love and strength can guide you and strengthen the relationships between the generations. Grandparents Day is celebrated each year on the first Sunday after Labor Day. The specific date changes each year. National Grandparents Day was created in 1978 by a federal proclamation, passed by Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter. National Grandparents Day was first celebrated on Sunday, September 9, 1979. The official song of National Grandparents Day is "A Song For Grandma And Grandpa" by Johnny Prill. The official flower is the forget-me-not. Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, W.V. is credited with lobbying for a national observance of Grandparents Day. Michael Goldgar of Atlanta, Georgia is given credit, also. The statute cites the day's purpose as: "... to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer."


For more info and resources, you can go to Mrs. Jackson's Class-National Grandparents Day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Starting the Year Off Right


1. Get organized. Organize your personal papers and classroom materials.

2. Establish the rules. With your students, set and post about five classroom rules.

3. Introduce yourself. Share an autobiographical sketch with your students.

4. Make a good impression. Let your students know that you are prepared.

5. Be clear. Tell your students exactly what you expect of them.

6. Learn their names. Learn your students' names as soon as you can.

7. Foster curiosity. Create an atmosphere that encourages and rewards curiosity.

8. Start slowly. Cover material slowly so everyone experiences success.

9. Find a shoulder. If you don't have a colleague who's a "buddy," find one.

10. Get parents involved. Identify ways you can include students' parents.

11. Call every parent early in the year to introduce yourself and to establish a line of communication.

12. Set class goals. Work toward goals you and your students set together.

13. Sound positive! Find opportunities to send positive notes home with each student.

14. Build spirit. Find something unique about your class -- something you and your students can be proud about -- and encourage it.

15. Get some class. Decorate your room to catch and keep students' attention.

16. Keep good records. Get advice from your colleagues to help find a system that works for keeping lists and communications.

17. Be prepared for special kids. Consult with your colleagues, district administrators, special educators, and specialists to learn about special needs students and plan how you will meet their needs.

18. Build relationships. Get involved in professional and school activities and get to know your colleagues.

19. Work out a sound system of supervision and consultation with paraeducators who may be working regularly in your classroom.

20. Be proud. Take pride in your accomplishments and those of your students.

21. Promote your image. You are the best PR there is for education.

22. Be fair. Respect your students, and manage your classroom in an even-handed manner.

23. Speak up. Don't hesitate to tell school critics that you and your colleagues are doing a good job.

24. Relax! Remember that you are only one person, and you are doing the best you can.

25. Know your rights. Read your local Association's negotiated Agreement, and find out what your education employee rights are.

26. Join the Association. Your membership protects you and strengthens your profession.

27. And finally, keep a sense of humor!

Source: N.E.A.

For more ways to start the year off right, go to:





Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Holiday

It's really uncertain whether it was Peter McGuire of the American Federation of Labor or Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union who founded Labor Day. Congress made it a federal holiday in 1894. In recognition of the day, here are some facts to help you appreciate the labor you do everyday and the things you have done in the past.

12-hour workdays, 7 days a week, were standard in America in the 1800s - and even children worked.
The National Labor Union began fighting for an 8-hour workday in 1866.
In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act set a minimum hourly wage of 25 cents.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Are You Ready for Back to School?

Every teacher has a different approach to the first few days of the school year. I've started a blog or website where I'll be sharing ideas about a number of topics. This blog is a place where teachers can share ideas, ask questions, learn from each other, or vent about the school day.

Start your new school year right with everything you need by checking out the checklists, articles, and information given on this blog to make sure you have what you need. Make sure your home is ready by following a few simple tips, like checking your supplies and resources and creating an organized workspace. Starting off on the right foot is critical to setting the tone for the rest of the year. Before school starts is an ideal time to explore new ideas or new approaches, to browse through tips and ideas, and to work on a back-to-school checklist. You can make going back to school fun by using your creativity.

I hope that the following year brings you great success and happiness. Teachers are preparing for a successful school year where each child will succeed. Being a parent is an important role as you are your child's first and most crucial teacher. If you make education a priority for you, then your child will feel the same way. Starting off on the right foot is important to setting the tone for the rest of the year. Let's have a great school year and try some new approaches.

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.

by William Arthur Ward

Mrs. Jackson's Class Website-Back to School theme unit, August themes, checklists, thematic links, books, poems, songs, games, history, recipes, facts, arts & crafts, projects, lesson plans, parent list, September resources, teacher tips, ideas, fun activites, and more.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Teaching Resources and Info Elementary Education
Friday, August 08, 2008, 10:11:59 PM

My Favorite Ice Breakers
Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 11:19:34 PM
It's natural for everyone to be nervous during Back to School time. That's why I use My Favorite Ice Breakers to thaw the group's first day jitters right off...

Back to School
Friday, August 08, 2008, 10:11:59 PM
Whether you're a teacher or a parent, or both, Back to School can be both exciting and stress-inducing at the same time. The guides here at have come...

Community Circle and Class Meetings
Monday, August 04, 2008, 8:42:37 PM
As a new school year begins, it's important to set up routines that facilitate a happy, productive classroom. In my experience, Community Circle and Class Meetings have been a...

Educational Stagnation is America's Biggest Problem, David Brooks Says
Saturday, August 02, 2008, 8:33:17 PM
In David Brooks's recent New York Times opinion column, he points to America's lack of educational progress as the leading factor threatening our long-term societal and economic growth. Specifically, the nation's...

R Ur Kidz More Literate 2day?
Monday, July 28, 2008, 10:18:36 PM
The New York Times takes an in-depth look at whether casual online reading and writing merits consideration as a serious communication style. Some experts believe that while the younger...

Manifesting Your Educational Philosophy This Year
Thursday, July 24, 2008, 10:08:27 PM
So, you've defined your educational philosophy. Next, it's time to determine how this philosophy will be implemented in your classroom and put into action. For example, if you believe that...

Top Ten Teaching Mistakes
Monday, July 21, 2008, 10:02:12 PM
Nobody's perfect. But if you've spent the summer reflecting upon what worked well and what didn't in your classroom last year, you surely will be making some corrections as...

Children's Books for the First Day of School
Monday, July 21, 2008, 9:58:20 PM
It's natural for young students to get nervous about the first day of school. My colleague Elizabeth Kennedy recommends a list of Children's Books for the First Day of...

Tips for Designing a Successful Pen Pal Program
Monday, July 14, 2008, 8:56:33 PM
Once you've visited our Forum and matched up with a partner Pen Pal class, it's time to think about how you will design and implement your program in order to...

It's Time For Pen Pals
Monday, July 07, 2008, 9:18:23 PM
Every summer, teachers all over the world flock to the Pen Pal section of our Forum to pair up and create Pen Pal programs for the upcoming school year. It's simple,...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mrs. Jackson's Class Website Blog: Beijing Olympics 2008 Info

Mrs. Jackson's Class Website Blog: Beijing Olympics 2008 Info
Mrs. Jackson's Class Website: Beijing Olympics 2008 Info

Beijing Olympics 2008 Info

Beijing Olympics 2008 Best Links! Torch Relay, China News and Info, Winter & Summer Olympics-Past Games, Sites, Rings, Kids Activities, Themes, Units, Lessons, Links, Books, Fun Activities, Ideas, Primer, Official Website, Mascots, Logo, Coloring, Crafts, ESL, Games, & Resources at . Please share your ideas and suggestions with others.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mrs. Charlotte Jackson's Class Website Blog


Welcome! The purpose of this blog is to keep you informed of the exciting things happening in our class and to provide information that will help everyone. I have researched and selected the best links for teachers to prepare for school themes, units, projects, and thematic studies. It should save time and give you some great ideas. Tons of themes are listed alphabetically on the left side of my site at Please come back to visit often as new things are being added and thanks for visiting.

Mrs. Charlotte Jackson-Second Grade Class


Click here for my favorite educational sites.