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Thursday, December 31, 2009


Happy New Year to Everyone!

Click on this link or copy into your browser to send a New Year's Card!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stress Busters

Stress Busters

Try getting up at least 15 minutes earlier each morning to have some time to yourself. You can make coffee or stretch before anyone else in the house gets up.

Prepare for your next day the prior evening before you go to bed. Waking up in the morning knowing that you are ready helps make things run more smoothly.

Instead of trying to remember multiple things in your head, write them down. " Practice saying "no" to people. No one expects you to be able to do everything, so don't even try.

Keep a journal. Writing out your feelings is a great way to reduce stress. Seeing your problems on paper often times leaves them there.

Think of ways to practice preventative measures, such as making duplicate keys to avoid being locked out of your car or house, and fixing things around the house or classroom that have the potential to breakdown on you.

Prepare meals on the weekends and freeze them to be used during the week. Simple meals can be just as nutritious as extravagant meals.

Know your goals in life and set priorities. Having direction makes situations more worthwhile.

When given a large task to complete, break it down into smaller steps. It won't look so overwhelming if you try this.

Reduce clutter in your home and classroom. Get rid of things that you know you will never use again, or at least find a way to neatly store them away, if you cannot come to throw them away.

Uplift other people in your life. Say nice things about them. This goes a long way in making you feel distressed, too.

Say positive things about yourself. Believe in what you are doing, and remind yourself that you are making an impact on kids who rely on you. You are pretty important, eh?

Take a warm bubble bath to ease tension. " Develop a hobby that makes you feel good. Some people like to read as a hobby, while others prefer to do something with their hands. Find your niche.

Give your appearance a new makeover. Getting a new hairstyle or treating yourself to a new outfit is okay!

Consider joining a gym or practice meditation. Breathing exercises are also recommended to reduce stress.

As long as you are a teacher you will feel some effects of stress in your life. You have to make a personal decision that you will take measures to reduce your stress. The people around you may not change, so you are the one who has to do the changing. Stress is not only a mental factor, but a physical factor as well. Taking care of your body and mind is paramount. Eating a healthy diet and putting optimistic thoughts into your head is certainly beneficial. It takes practice, but you're worth it!

Remember you matter, educators make the world go around!

Cynthia Hughes & Carol Bailus (Newsletter Editors)

Worksheet Library

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Year Quotations

New Year Quotations

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things. ~John Burroughs

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits. ~Author Unknown

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~Author Unknown

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Source and More Quotes:

New Year's Theme Resources:

Boxing Day Dec. 26

Boxing Day By: Alecia Dixon

When is it?
December 26th, Boxing Day takes place on December 26th or the following Monday if December 26 falls on a Saturday or Sunday.

Where did it come from?
Boxing Day began in England, in the middle of the nineteenth century, under Queen Victoria. Boxing Day, also known as St. Stephen's Day, was a way for the upper class to give gifts of cash, or other goods, to those of the lower classes.

Where is Boxing Day celebrated?
Boxing Day is celebrated in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada.

How is Boxing Day celebrated?
There seems to be two theories on the origin
of Boxing Day and why it is celebrated. The first is that centuries ago, on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday it's name, "Boxing Day".

Source and rest of the story

Friday, December 25, 2009

Weather Lesson Plan Ideas

Teaching Tip: Specific Weather Lesson Plan Ideas
By: Teachnology Staff

Here are some great ways to incorporate weather in your class.

1. Look at recent storms and the damage they have caused.
2. Track a storm from start to finish.
3. Using the scientific method, have students make predictions about storms.
4. Have students make precipitation graphs for your area.
5. Make windy things- windsocks, pinwheels, weather vanes.
6. Check out live cloud/weather cams.
7. Create a weather station.
8. Track and graph moods and weather.
9. Learn to use a barometer.
10. Compare the weather in areas of the world that have volcanoes to areas that don't have volcanoes.

Weekly Tips for Teachers
Issue 493: December 21, 2009
This newsletter is brought to you by,
the online teacher resource center.
View it at:

For More Resources:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Card

Merry Christmas Poem


Merry Christmas, my Dear Friend
I wanted you to know
You make my life more complete
And this I hope does show.

My Friend, you are always there
I give to you my trust
Tears and laughter we have shared
Your friendship is a must!

Yes, God has really blessed me
So this I pray for you
"Merry Christmas, my Dear Friend,
And Happy New Year, Too!"

Jean Bowley-Meadows

More Poems and Resources:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

40 Best Christmas Resources: Wallpapers, Themes, Icons, Vectors and More

Best Design Resources for Christmas Around the World
40 Best Christmas Resources: Wallpapers, Themes, Icons, Vectors and More

If there’s any we’ve missed, let us know in a comment, we’ll add it in. Merry Christmas in advance.


More Christmas Around the World Resources at:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tips for Incorporating Christmas Themes in Your Classroom

Top 10 Tips for Incorporating Christmas Themes in Your Classroom

When students come back from their Thanksgiving break, chances are Christmas is quite the topic of conversation. Students who celebrate the holiday may have already started to help with decorating the tree, hanging stockings, or even developed the lists they plan to mail to Santa. Here are some fun ways that you can incorporate Christmas themes into your classroom. If your school does not allow Christmas to be celebrated because of religious connotation, some of these themes can be changed to a winter or holiday celebration.

1. Send a card.

Greeting cards can be used regardless of the religion, whether it is to wish someone a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukah, or just a great New Year. In the classroom, they can help develop grammar and writing skills, spelling, handwriting, foreign languages, art, or even computer skills. Depending on the skills you want to focus on, you can have students draw or use computer art programs for the artwork, as well as practice different writing styles for the message. For instance, they can practice a style of poetry you have been working on, include your winter-themed spelling words, write in a foreign language, or use cursive writing instead of printing. Consider spreading the good cheer by sending the cards to a local hospital, nursing home, or orphanage.

2. Read a book.

Depending on the age level of your students and your core curriculum, there are a variety of Christmas stories available. Older children can read "A Christmas Carol" and discuss the themes behind the three ghosts. Religious classes can delve into the original Christmas story in the Bible. You can even read "The Night Before Christmas" and discuss the poetry and older vocabulary words during that time. For writing assignments, have students write a modern day version of classic tales.

3. Design a budget.

Nearly everyone loves giving and receiving gifts for the holidays, and most children have at least a general concept of money. Use this opportunity to create basic math problems, design budgets for how much they can spend per family member, or come up with computer spreadsheets to track their holiday spending. You can even bring in ads from various stores for children to price compare favorite holiday items.

4. Wrap a gift.

If your students are ready to talk about sizes and shapes or surface area, you can use gift wrapping as an illustration. Give students different-sized pieces of wrapping paper and have them measure the item and paper to see if it will fit.

5. Count the days.

For students that are just learning their numbers, counting can be an excellent way to reinforce the concept. Create a calendar counting down the days until Christmas, the last day of school before vacation, New Year's, or other important winter events. Have students practice counting by 5s, 10s, or backwards. Older students can take this a step further and figure out how many hours or minutes are left.

6. Bake Christmas cookies.

If you have access to an oven, baking can be a great way to talk about measurements and time. Or you can have students bring in a favorite family recipe and talk about how it was passed down through the years. You can even look and see how different flavors came to be used in cookies and where different spices originated from.

7. Deck the halls.

With many houses hanging twinkling lights up for Christmas, or lighting candles for Hanukah, this can be a great way to start a look into basic electricity and how it works. It can also be a jumping off point for safety discussions like how to prevent fires or disaster plans.

8. If the weather outside is frightful…

Then you have an excellent opportunity to talk about weather and climates. You can teach students how to measure precipitation, discuss factors like how cold it has to be to snow, or compare and contrast the climate in different parts of the country.

9. Feed the birds.

If you live in a location that is quite inclement in the winter time, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss wildlife and pet needs. Make bird feeders or treats to hang in the yard. You may also talk about the importance of bringing animals indoors when it gets too cold outside. You can even use this as a discussion how in some areas of the world the farm animals live in the house with their owners.

10. Plan a trip.

For some students, the holidays may be the only chance they get each year to see relatives that live out of state. This can be a great way to introduce map reading skills, discuss different climates, or learn to read airline schedules. Older classes can use the internet to plan imaginary trips to far off countries and discuss flight plans and what to pack for the weather.

The winter holidays can be a great way to incorporate Christmas into your classroom. Beyond the annual Christmas party, these are just some ideas that you can use to make Christmas last the whole month long.

Remember you matter, educators make the world go around!

Cynthia Hughes & Carol Bailus (Newsletter Editors) December 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hanukkah Themes

Top 10 Tips for Incorporating Hanukkah Themes in Your Classroom

When it comes to winter holidays, unless your school or city with a high Jewish population, Hanukkah tends to get pushed into Christmas' shadow. Here is a look at how you can incorporate Hanukkah themes into your classroom.

1. Achieving the impossible

Hanukkah focuses on the story of keeping a burning light lit for eight days, when there was only enough oil to last for one. Sounds like an impossible task! Have students write about a time where they accomplished something that they had previously thought was impossible.

2. Dreidel, dreidel

Spinning the dreidel is a traditional holiday game. You can have a class competition with the dreidel. Split students into teams to compete against each other, and then have winners compete against the winners from other teams for a class champion. Candy, raisins, stickers, or other small items can be used as prizes.

3. Create a holiday scrapbook

Celebrating Hanukkah in your classroom represents an appreciation for diversity and cultural understanding. Encourage your students to share their favorite holiday memories through a creative scrapbook. Each student can create a personalized page, or you can have them research the important symbols, meanings, and stories behind Hanukkah and create a class scrapbook.

4. Stamping the holiday spirit

Living in America, we celebrate diversity. The U.S. Post Office publishes holiday stamps, including ones celebrating Hanukkah. Have your students think about cultural underpinnings - as well as the style of a stamp design - by asking them to create a unique stamp. They can enhance their communication skills by presenting their design and its symbolic meanings.

5. Make your own wrapping paper

Jewish children receive a gift for each night of Hanukkah. You can have students design a different wrapping paper for each night. If you have extra time, have students use the wrapping paper to wrap up a small homemade gift for a loved one.

6. Cook a feast

For classrooms that have access to a kitchen, you can make up your own Hanukkah feast as a way to introduce students to traditional foods. If you are unable to actually cook, have students look up Hanukkah meals and design their own menus of what they would serve.

7. Make a menorah

Each night of Hanukkah, the family will light candles in a special holder, called a menorah. You can have students model their own menorah out of clay. Have them look at pictures for inspiration. You can even place real candles in the menorah for students to light at home.

8. The gift of giving

Students can learn that giving to others is an important part of any holiday. Consider having them bring in canned goods for the local shelter, or host a bake sale to raise money for the less fortunate. Older students can vote on which charity they feel needs the money the most.

9. A look at oil

Since the story of Hanukkah revolves around lamps burning for eight days, this can be a confusing idea for students who are commonly familiar with electricity. Have your students research oil lamps and how they were used. You can also take a look at how olive oil is made, from planting olive trees to the finished product.

10. Compare and contrast the celebrations

Hanukkah is often considered the Jewish "Christmas," but in actuality the two holidays are quite different. Have students research both holidays and their traditions to see how the two compare. Upon closer observation, they may be surprised at how different the two traditions are.

These are just a few ideas on how to incorporate Hanukkah themes into your classroom. With a little creativity, you can have students see the magic behind this holiday as well.

Remember you matter, educators make the world go around!

Source Credits: Cynthia Hughes & Carol Bailus (Newsletter Editors) at

Worksheet Library Newsletter December 9, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Books


Over the River and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Childs
Rotten Ralph's Rotten Christmas by Jack Gantos
The Christmas Spirit Strikes Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos
The Nutcracker by Deborah Hautzig
Night Tree by Eve Bunting
The Biggest Most Beautiful Christmas Tree by Amye Rosenberg
Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Raffi Christmas Treasury illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
Shh! by Julie Sykes
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Jan Brett
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Douglas Gorsline
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Santa's New Sled by Sharon Peters
Wake Up, Bear...... It's Christmas! by Stephen Gammell
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say
Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer
Peter Spier's Christmas!
Hedgehog's Christmas Tree by Kathryn Jackson
The Night Before Christmas In Texas That Is by Leon A. Harris
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
Santa's Secret Helper by Andrew Clements
ABC Christmas by Ida DeLage
It's Christmas by Jack Prelutsky
Jingle Bells
Who Said Red? by Mary Serfozo
Santa Claus and His Elves by Mauri Kunnas
Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Barbara Shook Hazen
Bialosky's Christmas by Leslie McGuire
The 12 Cats of Christmas by Kandy Radzinski
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The 12 Days of Christmas illustrated by Sheilah Beckett
The 12 Days of Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett
On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Joffe Numeroff
The 12 Bugs of Christmas : A Pop-Up Christmas Counting Book by David A. Carter
Jingle Bugs/Pop-Up Book With Lights and Music by David A. Carter
175 Easy-To-Do Christmas Crafts by Sharon Dunn Umnik
The Advent Book by Jack Stockman
Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera
Baby's Christmas (Jellybean Books) by Eloise Wilkin
A Bad Start for Santa Claus by Sarah Hayes
The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan Berenstain
Cajun Night Before Christmas by Trosclair
Cajun Night After Christmas by James Rice
The Chanukkah Guest by Eric A. Kimmel
Christmas Around the World by Emily Kelley
The Christmas Bear by Henrietta Stickland
A Christmas Celebration : Traditions and Customs from Around the World by Pamela Kennedy
The Christmas Crocodile by Bonny Becker
Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
Christmas Lights by Ann Fearrington
Christmas Tree Farm by Sandra Jordan
Claude the Dog : A Christmas Story by Dick Gackenbach
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Arthur's Perfect Christmasby Marc Brown
A Cobweb Christmas -German Story

Literacy Gift Ideas for Parents

Families often appreciate simple, inexpensive gift ideas
that provide “scope for the imagination”

Here is a list of some gift ideas for your child:

-Magnetic letters – (especially lower-case) to put on the refrigerator
-An art sketch pad and set of thin marking pens
-Magnetic Write/Erase Board
-A large set of Berol Prismacolor pencils (wonderful water color pencils)
-Children’s books (see enclosed lists of favorites) – you can often get real bargains at local second-hand book stores
-CDs of classical music and children’s folk songs – traditional English and Spanish
-Mommy, It’s a Renoir! (art postcards)
-An illustrated children’s cookbook (see sample recipes from Kids in the Kitchen)
-Open-ended building toys: Lego blocks
-Blank journals, notepads, stationery, envelopes, postcards, and stamps
-A disposable camera
-A playdough kit with several colors of playdough, rolling pin, cafeteria tray, cookie cutters, and plastic animals
-Books on how to draw simple animals and objects; a variety of pencils
-Old dress-up clothes (ask Aunties and Grandparents to help gather)
-A collection of different adult hats (shop garage sales and Goodwill)
-A set of Lincoln Logs

Taken from Parents as Partners in Kindergarten and Early Literacy: Family Connections that Multiply our Teaching Effectiveness, by Nellie Edge © 2007. Updated 2009.

This is from the monthly newsletter from the Nellie Edge Excellence in Kindergarten and Early Literacy site. For more information and resources visit .

Party Games for the Holidays

Holiday Party Games
by Judy Miller at

When the family gets together during the holidays, anything
is bound to happen. All in attendance get a healthy dose of
food, fellowship, and fun. If your house is the site for this
year’s family party, don’t forget the games!

Games are great for challenging the mind and getting a little
friendly competition going between family members. Choose

games that will work for kids and some for the adults. Some
games will work for both. Here is a list of potential games that
could liven up your family celebration this year.

1. Santa Exchanges – This game is full of fun. The object is for
everyone to bring a wrapped gift and put it in a designated area
like under the tree or on a table. Then each person draws a
number from a hat. In turn, each person gets to pick a gift from
under the tree. When it is their turn, each participant has the
option to pick a gift from under the tree or take a gift from
someone who has already chosen. The catch is that once a gift is
chosen, the person has to unwrap it and show the group. All gifts
should be in the same price range but some will be nicer than
others. Also, the first person to go is the last person to get a
chance to exchange their gift. They get to choose from all the
gifts in the group. This game works best for adults. Younger
children may not appreciate the "exchanging" part of the game.

2. Timed Guessing Games – This includes naming the gifts on

each of the 12 days of Christmas, naming as many Christmas
carols as you can, taking a word and making as many words as
you can from it, and a Christmas word scramble. Kids and adults
are good for this one. You can find tons of printables at to use for this game.

3. Family Trivia – Who knows the most about their relatives? Let
each relative write down something that happened to them and

give them to the person in charge of the game. Everyone else gets
a piece of paper. After each question is read, all players write
down whom in the room each is referring to. The one with the

most correct answers at the end of the list wins.

4. Charades – This is a tried and true party game. All of the
puzzles have to relate to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other
winter holidays. Some examples include a cartoon, movie, book,
song, or event. The team with the most correct answers wins.

5. Name that Christmas Carol – This is just like “Name that
Tune.” Sing or play a CD with the first line or two of a
Christmas carol. The family contestant has to come up with the
next line correctly. Start off with easy carols and progress to
harder ones as you go up the ladder.

6. Snowman Scramble - Divide the children into two teams, with
one person from each team as the "snowman". Put the snowmen

at one end of the room, with a box of clothes and other things to
dress the snowman in. You could use hats, scarves, jackets, even
a nose on a string, like a clown nose. Have a relay race to see
which team can completely dress their snowman first.

7. Pin the Tail Variations - there are many variations of "Pin
the Tail on the Donkey" that could be played. Use a picture of
reindeer and play "Pin the Nose on Rudolph". Another way to

play is to put Santa's hat on his head. You could have a package
that needs a bow on top. If you want to make it more complicated,
for older kids, have a picture tree with several decorations that
need to be hung on the tree. Whoever gets the most on the tree

These are but a few of the great games you can come up with to
keep the family in stitches this holiday season. Enjoy the fun,
laughter and memories that will be made!

Source Credit: Judy Miller at

More Christmas and Holiday Resources:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Gift Exchange

From Sandra Brockel, a fifth grade teacher at Grace Miller Elementary School in Bealeton, Virginia:

“This tip will help you plan for the holidays. Many teachers have their students exchange gifts by drawing names. Instead, we ask each fifth grader to bring a gift that can be used by any fifth grader at recess. They bring the gifts wrapped without a tag. At our holiday party, we have the students sit in a circle on the floor. We play holiday music and hand one gift at a time to a student who passes it on around the circle. We continue to add gifts, which are passed around until the music stops. Any student with a gift in hand, when the music stops, opens the gift and shows it all. We continue with additional rounds of the game until all gifts are opened. The students love the gift opening, and even those who aren't able to bring gifts aren't left out. We end up with basketballs, Frisbees, Nerf balls, board games, playground chalk, and even the big plastic tubs in which we store the playground toys. And we use the gifts all year!”

Source Credit: Works4Me December Tips at

More Christmas Resources at

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Giving Tree Lesson Plans

The Giving Tree Lesson

A TeachersFirst holiday lesson based on Shel Silverstein's bookThe Giving Tree.

Synopsis: After reading and discussing the book The Giving Tree, students reflect and write about the gift they would most like to give.

Subject/Grade level: This lesson can be adapted for use in language arts class with students of varying ability levels in grades 2 - 8. This lesson is also well-suited to a multi-age activity with "big buddies" and "little buddies" from upper and lower grades working together. School counselors and emotional support teachers may find this activity helpful for small groups working on social skills, as well.

Objectives: Students will discuss the message of The Giving Tree.Students will write a message about giving to be shared with classmates and others.

Materials: You will need at least one copy of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Ask students to bring in scraps of holiday wrapping paper to use as part of the lesson (non-electronic). Ideally, these should be heavy wrapping paper with a white reverse side.

Credit Source: • The web resource by teachers, for teachers. For more lesson details, see:

Shel Silverstein Lesson plans for The Giving Tree and other works

Poetry Notebooks

Poetry Notebooks: Small investment, big benefits!

Memorizing short poems provides powerful support for English Language Development, phonemic awareness, reading fluency and high-frequency words – and parents love them!

Personal “I Can Read” Poetry Notebooks are children’s choice for “read to self” time.

Poetry and songs invite the use of imagery, drama, movement, and Sign Language to enhance and extend comprehension and vocabulary.

When poetry notebooks go home for weekly sharing, parents become partners in the literacy process.

Children’s art personalizes the rhyme and creates pride and ownership of the reading selections.

The Poetry Notebook is an ongoing literacy collection; by the end of the year it becomes a treasured book to reread and recite over the summer with fluency and delight. (Some teachers choose to send home several smaller seasonal collections of songs and poems instead of one large notebook.)

“Pretty things, well said, it’s nice to have them in your head.” – Robert Frost

SOURCE: Nellie Edge - Excellence in Kindergarten and Early Literacy December 2009 Newsletter For more information and resources visit .

Saturday, November 28, 2009

December Lesson Plan Ideas and Tips

Teaching Tip: December Lesson Plan Ideas
By: Teachnology Staff

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

1. Make a graphic organizer that compares and contrasts all holidays.
2. Map December holidays around the world.
3. Read a short holiday story. Group students. Each group must identify a part of speech throughout the story.
4. Hold a holiday spelling bee. Only use holiday related words.
5. Hold a multicultural holiday festival.
6. Research traditional gifts offered on the days of Hanukkah & Kwanzaa.
7. Holiday greeting country match.
8. Have students find out how and where their favorite gifts are made.
9. Make a graphing activity based on holiday sales.
10. Engage students with holiday math word problems.

This Week in History
1621: Galileo invents the telescope.
1929: BINGO invented by Edwin S. Lowe.

Weekly Tips for Teachers Issue 490: November 30, 2009 This newsletter is brought to you by, the online teacher resource center. View source of newsletter and the details at the same link.
For more December resources, go to and for more seasonal themes and resources.

Graphics: Caleb's Country Corner

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pearl Harbor and World War II Resources

TeachersFirst's Pearl Harbor and World War II Resources

This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students honor Pearl Harbor Day and the important events of World War II through related projects and classroom activities. Whether you focus on Pearl Harbor for one class or spend an entire unit on World War II, the ideas included within the "In the Classroom" portion of reviews will launch discussions and meaningful projects for student-centered learning. Take your classes beyond infamy to inspiration.

Source: • The web resource by teachers, for teachers. TeachersFirst Update-November 23, 2009
To see all of their resources, go to:

More Resources:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

December Holidays

Speaking of Holidays…

December is Hi Neighbor Month, National Stress Free Family Holiday Month, Bingo's Birthday Month, and most importantly Read A New Book Month.
Every day brings its own holiday. We all know the major holidays, but you may not know some of the more “minor” holidays that take place in December.

Here is a list to make you aware of some:
December 1 is National Pie Day

December 2 is National Fritters Day

December 4 is National Wear Brown Shoes Day

December 6 is National Gazpacho Day, as well as Mitten Tree Day

December 13 is Ice Cream and Violins Day

December 16 is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

December 19 is Oatmeal Muffin Day

December 26 is National Whiners Day

December 27 is National Fruitcake Day

December 30 is The Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute

Every day in December has its own holiday or holidays. This is true of every day in the calendar year. There’s always a reason to celebrate with your students! You can find over 400 wacky holidays at the Thinkquest website:

Source: E-newsletter from the Texas State Teachers Association November 2009 Teaching and Learning • 316 West 12th Street, Austin, TX 78701 • 877-ASK-TSTA

December Holiday Resources at

Teacher Resources

Teacher Resources

K-12 Technology Integrated Science Lessons

Create Flash-based websites for free with Wix:

See The Resources From

A PLN is a collection of interconnected minds that share ideas and information.

We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. Never Be The First To Get Old!!!!!

December Teacher Resource Guide at

Pilgrim Resources at

November Resources:

Native American Resources at:

Thanksgiving Resources:

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." ~ Ghandi

Special Thanksgiving Wishes!

WildFinder - Map-based collection of information on 26,000 species. -

“Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.” Napoleon Hill

This teacher list has generated over 10,000 follows

Business management strategies can be applied to educ. - Testing Time-Management Strategies: WSJ

Let's Book It! Make all kinds of foldable books

15 Things All Classrooms Should Have PK-12

Teaching Thanksgiving LiveBinder collection of resources

Vocabulary Test Activities & Word Lists #education #SAT

Friday, November 13, 2009

Native Americans

Native Americans Daily Life in Olden Times

Early People in the US & Canada

Come meet the early people of the Americas in olden times. Learn what people invented to make themselves happy and comfortable. Read fabulous myths! Play really old games. Meet mischievous magical beings. Explore the daily life of those who lived in the Americas a long time ago - some of them right here, in your backyard.

Go to to see this great resource!
NW Pacific

Our thanks to:
Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA, for our private tour, and an opportunity to learn a great deal about the early Americas. Thank you!
Dr. Adams. Over the years, Dr. Adams has been a consultant to the Sioux, Winnebago, Fox, and other tribes in the Midwest on community development. He also participated in a federal project for communication and values differences among cultures, resulting in a website -a multicultural toolkit.

Our special thanks to the many Native American people who do not wish their names to be listed. Information was shared generously with us. We are most grateful for it.

Credits and Source: Wonderful Site and Resources! November 2009 by Lin and Don Donn Index Daily Life Lessons PowerPoint Presentations

Clip Art Credit:
Phillip Martin Awesome graphics for all subjects!

This free site is a partnership between and

More Resources at:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Commandments For Teachers

Ten Commandments For Early Childhood Teachers

Thou shall keep a positive attitude.

Thou shall make each child feel special.

Thou shall be a good model.

Thou shall know as much as you can about the background of each child.

Thou shall be full of energy and enthusiasm.

Thou shall forgive yourself and your students.

Thou shall communicate constructively.

Thou shall make learning fun.

Thou shall be a dream maker.

Thou shall honor thy profession.

Jean Feldman, Ph.D.

More Teacher Poems at:

Turkey Arts and Craft Ideas

turkeyart turkeyart2dltk

turkeyart1 turkeycookie

For more resources, go to:

Math Problem Solvers' Tips

20 Tips for Helping Children Become Good Problem Solvers

Solving problems, especially word problems, are always a challenge. To become a good problem solver you need to have a plan or method which is easy to follow to determine what needs to be solved. Then the plan is carried out to solve the problem. The key is to have a plan which works in any math problem solving situation. For students having problems with problem solving, the following 20 tips are provided for helping children become good problem solvers.

Tip 1: When given a problem to solve look for clues to determine what math operation is needed to solve the problem, for example addition, subtraction, etc.

Tip 2: Read the problem carefully as you look for clues and important information. Write down the clues, underline, or highlight the clues.

Tip 3: Look for key words like sum, difference, product, perimeter, area, etc. They will lead you to what operation you need to use. Rewrite the problem if necessary.

Tip 4: Look for what you need to find out, for example: how many will you have left, the total will be, everyone gets red, everyone gets one of each, etc. They will also lead you to the type of operation needed to solve the problem.

Tip 5: Use variable symbols, such as "X" for missing information.

Tip 6: Eliminate all non-essential information by drawing a line through this distracting information.

Tip 7: Addition problems use words like sum, total, in all, and perimeter.

Tip 8: Subtraction problems use words like difference, how much more, and exceeds.

Tip 9: Multiplication problems use words like product, total, area, and times.

Tip 10: Division problems use words like share, distribute, quotient, and average.

Tip 11: Draw sketches, drawings, and models to see the problem.

Tip 12: Use guess and check techniques to see if you are on the right track.

Tip 13: Ask yourself if you have ever seen a problem like this before, if so how did you solve it.

Tip 14: Use a formula for solving the problem, for example for finding the area of a circle.

Tip 15: Develop a plan based on the information that you have determined to be important to solving the problem.

Tip 16: Carry out the plan using the math operations you determined would find the answer.

Tip 17: See if the answer seems reasonable, if does then you are probably ok - if not then check your work.

Tip 18: Work the problem in reverse or backwards starting with the answer to see if you wind up with your original problem.

Tip 19: Do not forget about units of measure as you work the problem, such as: inches, pounds, ounces, feet, yard, meter, etc. Not using units of measure may result in the wrong answer.

Tip 20: Ask yourself did you answer the problem? Are you sure? How do you know you are sure?

These are all good tips for developing a plan of attack in math problem solving. If you use these 20 tips as basis for developing your own problem solving technique you will be successful. Most students use the tips described above, use them for a few problems, and then adapt them to fit their style of learning and problem solving. This is perfectly fine, because these 20 tips are only meant as a starting point for learning how to solve problems.

One tip that is not mentioned above is that as you develop a strategy for solving math problems, then this strategy will become your strategy for solving problems in other subjects and dealing with life's problems you will encounter as you continue to grow.

Math Worksheets Center November News 2009

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Twitter Teaching Resources

New Posted Resources 11/11/2009

A Simple Guide To Set Up Your School On Facebook

PicLits - Inspired Picture Writing helps reluctant writers.

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Teachhub: Follow these simple steps to organize guided reading and make the most of your teaching time.

Kathy Schrock's Guide for Spec. Educators, Counselors, and Sch. Psych.

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This reindeer music is awesome!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Guided Reading

Guided Reading Gets Organized
November 2009 By: Susan Sturm

With an entire class of students’ reading levels to keep track of, it’s easy for your guided reading program to become disorganized. Sometimes it seems you spend more time cleaning than you do teaching! There are some things you can do to help. Follow these simple steps to organize guided reading and make the most of your teaching time.

1. Dedicate a Space
Whether it is a table in the back of the room or a desk next to yours, keep a single space that you and the students know is for guided reading.

2. Keep Your Books Nearby
Nothing halts the momentum of reading like having to stop and look for a book. Keep your leveled readers nearby and avoid stopping.

3. Plan Ahead
Spend time thinking about each activity before you bring your kids to the table. Jot down some quick notes to organize your lesson in your head and be familiar with the text.

4. Color Code
Give each group a different color and use that color for your book bins, folders and notebooks for that group.

5. Take Notes
Have a notebook for each child and take notes in it while they read. It will give you a quick reference for parent conferences and report cards.

6. Use Checklists
To keep track of levels and who is ready to move up or down, keep skill level checklists that you can quickly refer to if you are not sure about a student’s level.

7. Bind Your Resources
Keep a three-ring binder of generic graphic organizers that you can easily call on if needed. Make sure the kids know how to use each worksheet before offering it.

8. Keep Useful Tools Handy
In your designated guided reading spot, be sure to keep handy the things that can help you teach. A dry erase board, markers, lined paper and pencils, and magnet letters are all great things to include.

9. Inform Parents
Keep a pre-made form available so that after meeting individually with a child, you can inform their parents of how they did, what skills they worked on and what they can do at home to help. A simple half-sheet is enough.

10. Establish a Routine
Perhaps the best way to organize your guided reading is to establish a good routine with your students that they know and follow regularly. You will spend less time enforcing rules and more time helping readers.

With these easy-to-follow steps, you can have the guided reading program you’ve always wanted. You will feel more organized and effective and your students will benefit from a well-established routine.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Sponge Activities, Mini Lessons, 5 Min. Fillers

10 Things to Do When You Only Have 5 Minutes Left in Class

So, you completed your lessons for the day, but you still have some time left and a group of eager students with nothing productive to do. What can you do in this time to keep your class under control until the bell rings? Here is a list of 10 things to do when you only have 5 minutes left in class.

1. Journal writing:
Have your students write a journal entry to summarize the things that they learned in class that particular day. Make sure they date their entries so that they will have a record of when they wrote in their journals. This is a particular good exercise to help kids reinforce what they learned, as well as provide them with questions that they may have the following day on something they did not understand completely.

2. Conduct a poll:
With only 5 minutes left in class, this is the perfect time to have a poll for the students to vote on. You can use facts to get the kids feelings about whether or not they think something was fair, or list possible responses as ways that the kids would do something different than what actually happened. For instance, when talking about Abraham Lincoln and freeing the slaves, perhaps students would have handled the situation in a different way than Abe.

3. Writing notes:
Students are always writing notes in class, but usually get in trouble when they get caught. This time give permission for kids to write notes, but it has to be a fact that they learned in class and pass it to another student. This way the whole class is getting a fact that they might not have know about the lesson. Collect the notes as students leave the class.
Writing Worksheets

4. The Toilet Paper Game:
This game is a fun way to review what kids learned in class. Because they pick up on the way the game is played very quickly, you will have to change it every time you use it. How it works is that you tell the students to pull off anywhere from 1 to 5 pieces of toilet paper from a roll, but do not tell them the rule of the game until everyone has done so. Then, use the amount of paper each student pulled off to give you that number of facts about the lesson they learned that particular day. For instance, if a student pulls of one piece of the roll, they have to give one fact about the lesson, and so on. The next time you will probably have lots of kids pull off one piece (because they think they are getting off easy), and you will need to switch the rules a bit to catch them off guard.

5. Ticket to Leave:
Give each student a ticket. Ask each student to write a fact about the lesson they learned on their ticket. As the students are leaving they must present their ticket to you. If they do not have a correct fact on their ticket, give them a chance to answer a review question that you have already prepared before they leave the classroom.

6. Read a book:
You can read part of a book to the class during the last 5 minutes. Eventually you will read an entire book.

7. Play Hangman:
Use this game to have kids guess words related to the lesson they learned that day.

8. Toss a ball:
Have the students sit in a circle. Using a small rubber ball, toss it to a student. The student who catches the ball has to give you a fact about the lesson they are learning, or ask you a question about something they do not understand. When that student is done he tosses the ball to another student, and it keeps repeating until the bell rings.

9. Pictionary:
Students enjoy the opportunity to write on the board. Make up about 3 to 5 words that have to do with a lesson the kids are learning. Give a student the chance to draw the word out on the board. When another student guess what the drawing is, they get to come up and draw the next word.

10. Puzzle worksheets:
A good teacher always has a set of puzzle sheets for students to complete when there is time left in class. You can have word searches, crossword, cryptogram, and hidden picture puzzles ready to go for any lesson that you are teaching. You can view all of
classroom game worksheets.

Worksheet Library Newsletter Source- Worksheet Library
Week of November 11, 2009
Remember you matter, educators make the world go around!Cynthia Hughes & Carol Bailus (Newsletter Editors)

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Thanksgiving Lesson Plan Ideas

Lesson Plan Ideas For Thanksgiving
By: Teachnology Staff

We pooled our brain-power to design an interdisciplinary Thanksgiving feast. Here is how we would do it:

1. Make thankful placemats.

2. Graph your favorite Thanksgiving foods.

3. Do a nutritional breakdown of the foods.

4. Nominate and vote for 5-7 items to have at your feast.

5. Use the scientific method to create an experiment to determine how fast turkeys can run.

6. See if you can forecast the weather for Thanksgiving Day.

7. Send invitations.

8. Teach students how to set a table.

9. Let students learn to cook.

10. Learn to say "Thank you!" in 10 languages.

Inspiring Teacher Quote"Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task." Haim G. Ginott

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gratitude at Thanksgiving and Year Long Theme

Gratitude is a Year Long Theme

Friendship, kindness, responsibility, and gratitude are yearlong curriculum themes in many of our classrooms. “Thank you” is a caring phrase that builds healthy relationships and positive attitudes about friends and life inside and outside of the classroom.

Consider opportunities for children to share appreciation:

Teach children in pairs to turn and look at their classmates and talk (eye-to-eye and knee-to-knee) about an idea, a feeling, or curriculum theme. Model polite communication and invite the children to practice. Teach them to end the brief dialog with “Jeremy, thank you for sharing…” and “Thank you for sharing too, Ryan!”

Teach children American Sign Language for “thank you” (with a smile on their faces ). They can sign “Thank you” to visitors and to each other. Again, see the ASL Browser for Sign Language Instruction: Michigan State University ASL (American Sign Language) Browser

Teach children to read, write, and spell “Thank you”. A memorable spelling song for “thank” uses the old folk melody, What Do We Do With a Drunken Sailor? Sing the letters “t-h-a-n-k”four times – once with each line of the song – and watch the children quickly learn to spell, write, and read “thank”! They will know “you” from our M-O-M Spells Mom song that teaches Mom, Dad, you and me. (Listen to the free audio from the Music is Magic CD with Nellie Edge and Tom Hunter.)

Children can surprise parents with “thank-you” notes.
After children have practiced writing “thank you” repeatedly for fluency building, give them 3″ x 8½″ strips of paper to make several “thank you” notes to take home in an envelope. A child can hide them under pillows, by the phone, in Dad’s shoes, etc. (Thank you, Patti Peck, for this delightful literacy gift idea.)

Look for opportunities within the classroom for children to establish eye contact and practice saying “thank you” to each other: When someone passes them snacks, pushes chairs in, or holds the door open, etc.

Three wonderful books on gratitude: Thank you!
These delightful books invite children to have "grand conversations" about all the things they are thankful for:

1. Thank You, World, by Alice B. McGinty (Dial Books, 2007). Publisher description: “The joys of childhood are the same the whole world over. In this compelling book of celebratory rhyme and glowing pictures, eight very different kids from eight different countries all go about their day and experience the same moments of happiness: greeting the sun in the morning, swinging on a swing, flying a kite, being tucked in by Mommy at bedtime. Uplifting and visually rich, this book reminds us that the world isn’t as large as it seems and that life’s greatest pleasures are the simple ones.”

2. Giving Thanks, by Jonathan London (Candlewick Press, 2003). A young boy learns to show gratitude for all the beauty he sees from his father, who thanks the sky and animals and trees. Like his Indian friends, this father believes that things of nature are a gift that requires something be given back – a thank you. The Booklist review says it, “…fosters respect for the natural world through a relatively simple text and illustrations and express the beauty and dignity of nature.” And we agree!

3. Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Marks (Harper Collins, 2004). This warm, joyful book celebrates the many things children are thankful for – from Thanksgiving turkey and pie to hopscotch and fall leaves. Sharing this simple book is a wonderful way to foster a spirit of gratitude. The message inspires children to think about the many things they have to say “Thank you” for. As an extra bonus, the print is clear and large enough to engage early readers.

November Themes
The story of Thanksgiving and a study of the gifts of the Native Americans to the pilgrims and the Native American view of the natural world provide an opportunity to create rich November curriculum themes including foods and nutrition. Wise kindergarten teacher Joanie Cuttler involved families in creating a “Thankful Feast for Native Americans,” held in the classroom for families. Before the feast, the children performed songs and dances. (Always, there are celebrations of language…)

Source: Nellie Edge Kindergarten and Early Literacy Site
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thanksgiving Themes in Your Classroom

Top 10 Tips for Incorporating Thanksgiving Themes in Your Classroom

Unlike the other holidays that arise during the fall and winter months of the school year, the Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated by the majority of students. However, making handprint turkeys does not usually fill out a lesson plan. There are several creative and fun ways that help your class appreciate the holiday of Thanksgiving.

1. Turn negatives into positives: Thanksgiving is often about being thankful, but many students have trouble thinking of things for which they are thankful. Have them write down ten things that they dislike, leaving a line or two of space between each one. Then, have them go back and add "but I am thankful because…" followed by a way to make that negative a positive. For instance, if a child writes "I hate doing the dishes," they could add, "but I am thankful because it means that I have food to eat."
2. The menu of the first Thanksgiving: Many students will be eating turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes for their Thanksgiving dinner. However, they may be surprised at the foods that the Pilgrims actually may have eaten. Older students can research the menu the Pilgrims might have eaten, and younger children will enjoy designing restaurant-like menus of the unusual dishes the Pilgrims might have served.
3. Study the Native Americans: The Native Americans have a rich and colorful history all of their own. You can have students study the different tribes that were in the area the Pilgrims landed, or have students study the culture and traditions of one particular tribe. Tell the Thanksgiving story from the other side!
4. Art of the 17th century: You can use the Pilgrims as a way to introduce students to 17th century art forms. Have them look at how portraits were painted and explain what the portraits tell about the people in them. You can compare the culture of the Pilgrims to your students' cultures, or have them paint their own portraits of a partner.
5. A look at President Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation: Older students can look at the famous Thanksgiving Proclamation and how it relates to the civil war at the time. This can also be used as an introduction to Lincoln's other great speeches, such as the Gettysburg Address.
6. Get creative with Thanksgiving compliments: Have students write a report on their favorite Thanksgiving foods. Encourage rich adjective use that describes the food so that it is good enough to eat! You can also have them describe a food without actually telling the reader what it is. See if their partner can guess what your favorite dish is by the description alone.
7. Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts: Of course, there are always the traditional handprint turkeys. You can also have students weave placemats for their family dinner out of paper, decorate cornucopias, or make Native American headbands and Pilgrim hats.
8. History of the Pilgrims: The life of the Pilgrims included much more than the first Thanksgiving dinner. Older students can review the religious persecutions and the reasons why the Pilgrims made the trip to North America. Younger students will enjoy hearing about what life was like for the average Pilgrim child and creating their own stories about this time.
9. The cost of Thanksgiving: Have students bring in ads from local grocery stores. Alone or in groups, ask students to plan out a menu for the big day, and then compare prices at the stores to see where it is most cost effective to buy groceries that week. Include bonus points for using coupons.
10. Cook your own feast: For younger students, this will require some adult participation. Prepare your own Thanksgiving "feast" in the traditional style with every student bringing in their own dish to share. Have students share why they picked the particular dish to bring.
Thanksgiving is not only a time to be thankful for the things that you have, but also an interesting historical event. Help to bring it alive to your students with a few of these fun activities.

Worksheet Library Newsletter Week of November 4, 2009 at: