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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Top 10 Tips for Incorporating Valentine's Day Themes in Your Classroom

Top 10 Tips for Incorporating Valentine's Day Themes in Your Classroom

When many people think of Valentine's Day, they picture chocolate hearts, roses, and gushy cards. However, there are other ways that you can incorporate this romantic holiday into your classroom. Here are some fun and creative ways to add learning to the love.

1. Get some hearty exercise.
Your heart is one of the most important muscles in your body, supplying all the other parts with the oxygen and nutrients that they need to thrive. You can incorporate this into your Valentine's Day lesson plans with cardiovascular activities, learning to take heart rates, or discussing the effects of fatty foods or drugs on the heart.

2. Make a heart.
Valentines have been a long-standing tradition of Valentine's Day, so here is a good chance to bring out the creative skills. Beyond the classic cutting, pasting, and applying glitter, you can have students work on their writing skills, penmanship, or spelling. Consider having them make cards for members of the staff, such as janitors or the food service workers.

3. Start a conversation.
Conversation hearts have been around since the civil war, and each year, new sayings are added. Challenge your students to create their own custom sayings that would fit on the average conversation heart (five or less characters in one line, or two lines of less than four characters). Or, have students pull out half a dozen candy hearts and work them into a story line.

4. Graph it out.
Younger students will enjoy learning to count and graph with the assistance of conversation hearts. Give each student a single serving box and have them graph the contents (how many pink ones, how many yellow ones, etc.) You can even compare as a class to see which color was the most popular.

5. Heart healthy menus.
Since Valentine's Day is all about heart, how about the health of your heart? Encourage students to come up with ways that they can eat better to make their heart healthier (such as skipping fast food for the month of February), come up with balanced meal plans, or even cook some heart healthy recipes.
6. How the heart works.
Your study of Valentine's Day and the heart can also look into heart health and diseases. Talk about the different chambers of the heart, listen to each other's heartbeats with stethoscopes, or discuss heart diagnostic equipment like EKGs.

7. Share heart quotes.
Love has been an often quoted subject throughout literature. Have students match the quote to the original source, or look up their own quotes that convey their feelings.

8. It is all in the blood.
A study of the heart can also take a look at the entire circulatory system. Talk about the heart, lungs, and different blood vessels and their jobs. Older students can discuss the different blood types and how different cells in the blood have different jobs.

9. The heart has a rhythm.
Students are usually familiar with the rhythmic sounds that the heart makes as it is beating. You can use this as an introduction to rhythm in music classes, and have students clap out other rhythms in song.

10. The heart is in the mail.
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.
Since not every person that you send a Valentine to lives in the same home, this can be a good opportunity to discuss how the mail system works. You can also look into the history of mail, like the Pony Express, or discuss how stamps are made. Since the post office often puts out holiday stamps, you can have students design their own stamps for Valentine's Day.
Sharing the love and the science behind Valentine's Day is easy to do with these activities.

Penguins Arts and Crafts Projects

Paper Tube Zoo (Paperback) by Joy Evans (Illustrator), Jo Ellen Moore (Author)

I hope these links help you find a penguin pattern and craft project for you class.

Black History Month Projects

By: Teachnology Staff:

Here are some ideas for incorporating Black History Month in your classroom.

1. Build a walk through time mural.

2. Perform skits of the life of important moments in the civil rights movement.

3. Create a Black History Month ABC book. Use each letter of the alphabet to commemorate a person, event, or idea.

4. Write letters of nomination for honoring African-American heroes.

5. Discuss whether Dr. Martin Luther King Junior´s dream came true.

Inspiring Quote--“A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism.”— Louis A. Berman

Black History Month Resources Black American History Unit for All Grade Levels

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Great Classroom Icebreakers

10 Great Classroom Icebreakers

1. Self-Portrait.

Have your students draw themselves. After they have done this, collect the papers and hang them up for the whole class to see. Now have students try to guess who the artists was for each picture.

2. Letter Writing.

At the beginning of the year, write a short letter about yourself as the teacher. Tell the students where you live, what your hobbies are, and if you have any children, pets, etc. Hand out your letter to each student in your class and ask them to write you back with similar information about themselves.

3. The Mingle Game.

Give each student an index card. Have them write a question that they would like to ask the other students in the class. Examples might include, "What is your favorite song?" or "What is your favorite sport?" Next, have the students get up and walk around the room. When you say, "stop," students have to stand beside the person closest to them and ask the question that is on their own card. Both students have to answer the questions. Now have them mingle again and meet a new person.

4. The "What Am I?" Game.

Have the students get into a circle. Give each student a post-it note. Have each person write a noun on the post-it note. Then stick the post-it on the forehead of the person standing to right of them with the noun showing. Now have student take a turn to ask the group a "yes/no" question that will help them guess the noun on their forehead. If they do not guess correctly, the person on their right gets to ask a question. Keep going until all of the noun have been guessed, or your time limit has expired.

5. These are a few of my favorite things.

Pass around a sheet of paper and some pens. Ask the students to write their name and their favorite TV shows (you can come up with your own topic for favorite things). Collect the papers and pens. Begin reading the answers, but have the class guess who wrote the response.

6. Birthday Lineup.

Call out any month of the year and have all students born in that month come up to the front of the room. It is up to the students to decide who stands first, second, etc., so they are standing from the first day of the month to the last day of the month. Now call out another month (don't call the months in order), and have those students try to position themselves correctly by day and by where they should stand as an entire month. This is a great way to get kids working together and knowing each other. Once all of the kids have lined up, test them to see if they are correct.

7. Icebreaker Pictionary.

Have the students draw pictures about what they like to do, what their favorite foods are, and what is their favorite subject in school. Have each student come up and show their pictures to the class. See if the students can guess what each student drew that tells a little bit about themselves. For instance, if a student draws a yellow M, can anyone guess that she likes McDonalds?

8. Show and Tell.

Don't forget about this old time favorite part of class. Instruct students to bring in something that they cherish, or just want to share with the class. Give each student a turn to come up and tell about the item that they brought in. This way the class will get to know each other and something that makes each student happy.

9. The Snowball Activity.

Have students write three things about themselves on a piece of paper. Then have them crumble up the paper to resemble a snowball. Let the students have a snowball fight for about one minute. Now everyone grabs one of the snowballs and has to try and find the person who wrote on it. Once they find their partner, they have to bring that person up in front of the class and explain what they learned about their new friend with the three facts written on the piece of paper.

10. The Observation Game.

Line up the students in two lines facing each other. If there is an odd number of students, you can play the game, too. Give students 30 seconds to look each other over really good, paying attention to all details about their partner. The students in one line now turn facing the other way while the other line of students changes something about themselves. For example, a girl might take off a hair bow, or a boy might un-tuck his shirt. When the kids in the first line turn back around, they have to guess what their partner changed. Now switch and let the first line make the change and the second line guess the difference.

By Worksheet Library Weekly Worksheets at

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More Teaching Tips and Resources

Saturday, January 24, 2009

February Lesson Plan Ideas and Teaching Tips

Teaching Tip: February Lesson Plan Ideas
By: Teachnology Staff:

Here are some February events you are going to want to include in your class.

1. Super Bowl Sunday- A great compare and contrast opportunity.

2. Ground Hog Day- Time to poll the entire grade level and graph the expected outcome.

3. Weatherman´s Day- Discuss and write: how would your life change if we were not able to predict the weather?

5. Get a Different Name Day- What would you change your name to and why? Write a story.

6. Valentine´s Day- Check out our Valentine´s Day theme for tons of ideas.

7. World Thinking Day- Ask a simple question: “What can you do to change the world?”

8. President´s Day- Visit our President´s Day theme for all kinds of ideas.

This Week in History
1926: The first television is demonstrated.
1948: The first tape recorder is sold.

Inspiring Quote

“In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day´s work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years.” — Jacques Barzun


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was the most famous leader of the American civil rights movement, a political activist, and a Baptist minister. In 1964, King became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (for his work as a peacemaker, promoting nonviolence and equal treatment for different races). On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1977, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter. In 1986, Martin Luther King Day was established as a United States holiday. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.) Theme Unit, Ideas, Books, Songs, Lessons, and More Theme Unit and Activities Theme Unit Links to Resources Theme Unit Theme Page Theme Unit Theme Unit & Resources Martin Luther King Day Resources