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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back to School Resource Guide

Tips and Strategies for the Elementary School Years

As a parent, you know all too well that elementary school is one big adventure. The first-grader in the family is excited about going to school with the big kids; the kids in the other grades are happy to get back into the schoolroom with their friends.
For the most part, these little learners are thrilled about the school days ahead. They’ve been told for a long time that school is a great deal of fun. They can’t wait to get there—or to get back there.
As you start gathering up new clothes, lunch boxes, backpacks and more for the school year ahead, here are some tips to help get things off to a smooth and happy start.

Before School Starts
Make sure to attend your school’s open house. This event offers the chance to meet the teachers and help the students get an understanding of the school, the classroom and the things that will be expected of them in the year ahead.

Learn about the school dress code. Some schools have a rigid uniform policy (requiring specific clothing), some schools have a relaxed uniform plan (requiring clothing in specific colors or styles), and some schools simply list attire that’s determined to be inappropriate for the classroom (shirts with certain slogans or off-color language, midriff baring tops, etc.).

Spend some time talking with your youngster about clothing and the way it contributes to the creation of that all-important first impression. Think about the child’s school day and make certain the clothing choices—and the shoes—are appropriate for the classroom and the playground. Help your child learn to dress for success, regardless of her or his age.

Make sure you have a copy of the summer reading list well in advance so that your child can work on summer reading in a leisurely manner. You can find a great deal of information on children’s books on the American Association of School Librarians web site at

Create opportunities to read with your elementary student. Get to know your school and public librarians. During trips to the library, let your child pick out a chapter book just for fun, to keep him or her reading throughout the summer.

Obtain copies of all supply and requirement lists as early as possible. Buy the supplies as soon as you can. Younger students will enjoy taking a look at the new items and learning about their possible uses.

Check the school policy on electronic devices. In some school districts, children are not permitted to bring phones and MP3 players to school.

School Prep
Communicate with other parents; start a parent networking group. Ask the parents of older students if they have any tips for students of your child’s age. Learn from those who have already had the experience.

Although you may not know who’s in which class for a while, this is still a good time to build a directory of contacts in the same grade. Gather phone numbers and email addresses. Buddy up now so that you can ask questions later.

Help your youngster practice going to bed on time with a regular sleep schedule well in advance of the start of school. Make sure your child doesn’t arrive at school exhausted after staying up until midnight. An extremely tired learner will be unable to absorb anything during the school day.

Establish a plan for a healthy breakfast for your child, especially if she or he is responsible for making the morning meal. Proper nutrition at the start of the day will help a student work well; inadequate nutrition can lead a student to lose a good piece of the morning because he or she is too hungry to function.

Create a nutritious lunch plan for your youngster. Make sure that your child has a good lunch, whether it’s brought from home or purchased at the school. If your student is bringing lunch from home, make sure that the food choices are things that she or he is willing to eat. The school lunchroom isn’t the place for experimentation; a child must be well-fed to learn well.

Talk about transportation plans with your youngsters. Make sure they understand how they will be getting to school and getting home. Talk about the importance of getting to the bus stop early. Let them know who will be waiting for them when they arrive at the bus stop, car pool location, or at home.

School Days
As school gets under way, you can be certain that your little learner will have a great time in the classroom. Keep in mind that, as long as he or she is physically ready—well rested, cleaned up and nutritiously fed—everything else will flow smoothly at school.
-- Kathie Felix Kathie Felix writes about education for a variety of national news media outlets.

Tips & Strategies
Starting School - Welcome to Kindergarten: Tips for the Kindergarten-bound
Back to School: Tips and Strategies for the Elementary School Years
Back to School: Tips and Strategies for the Middle School Years
Back to School: Tips and Strategies for the High School Years
A New School Year and a New School: Tips for the New Kid in Class


Apples4TheTeacher-News ( Back to School

For Other Back to School Resources, go to: .

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Friendship Day First Sunday in August

Friendship Day First Sunday in August
What is Friendship Day? It is a time to honor friends and to encourage people to be kind and friendly to all with whom they come in contact. Friendship Day was started in the United States in 1935. Now many countries around the world celebrate the day. It is normally held on the first Sunday of August each year.
Source: Sounds of Encouragement Making Friends Paper Dolls & Projects

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Amelia Earhart Day-July 24

Amelia Earhart Day - July 24th

Born July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, Amelia flew her first plane in 1921. Her name became a household word in 1932 when she was the 2nd person to fly solo across the Atlantic. In 1935, she was the first person to fly solo across the Pacific. Her next flight was planned to circle the globe at the equator. On July 2, 1937, she and her navigator disappeared at sea just 2 days short of finishing the trip.

Amelia Earhart has inspired generations of women to do things that had never been done by women before.

"Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace with yourself." --Amelia Earhart


You can explore the challenges, achievements, and lives of several women that helped shape history: Amelia Earhart and Clara Barton and others.

More Resources: Amelia Earhart Official Site

Young Amelia Earhart - ( Troll First-Start Biographies) by Sarah Alcott, James Anton

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Apollo Moon Mission

TeachersFirst Update - July 20 & 27, 2009

To The Moon!
If you are teaching this week --or even if you are not -- do not miss the first featured site this week, the John F. Kennedy Library's online re-enactment of the Apollo 11 moon mission, in "real time" but 40 years later. If you cannot use this site with students this week, fear not. It will remain online for your use indefinitely, allowing you to "experience" the events all over again, complete with all the NASA transmissions. No longer is the moon landing a "once in a lifetime," but it still feels like one. Read more about it.

We Choose the Moon - John F. Kennedy Library Grades 0 to 12

Relive the Apollo 11 moon mission in rich multimedia format. Follow the mission in "real time" exactly 40 years later, including all transmissions. For those who are not old enough to remember the 1969 mission, the real experience is powerful. For those who do remember, this site can spark personal commentary and oral history of the historic days during the summer of 1969. Offered by the John F. Kennedy library, this re-enactment started in 40-year-old "real time in July, 2009, but can be accessed and experienced in all or in part at any time after its "conclusion" on July 20, 2009. This is the ultimate "primary source"!

In the Classroom:
Bring your class into the space exploration era on a projector or interactive whiteboard (be sure to turn on speakers!). Include this experience as part of a unit on the 1960s, a science study and comparison of technologies since the 1960s, or as part of a unit about the moon. Allow students to explore and navigate the site on their own, then write a "blog post" as an astronaut or a NASA worker in 1969. "Follow" the mission in real time over a period of several days, letting it run on your classroom computer, and assigning different students to report on the day's events. Explore some of the actual flight data in physics class as a practical application of some of Newton's laws. Use this site as a spark for students to collect oral histories on this and other events of the 1960s, using media resources as prompts to talk with family and friends about their recollections.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Fun Activities for Kids

About Summer About Summer
Learn about summer - the season. When does it start? When does it end? What makes summer?
Fun Summer color pages Summer Coloring Pages
Use our interactive crayon to color these fun pictures associated with summer: a day at the beach, golfing, baseball, a beach trip, butterfly, canoeing, dirty kids, frog, hiking, BBQ hotdog and hamburg, lemonade stand, mermaid, camping games, seashore, shark, sunshine, ocean swimmer and a water balloon fight.
Summer crafts Summer Craft Ideas
Tons of fun craft ideas for summer! Make a fish photo frame, a watermelon photo frame, a seashell frame, summer fun photo magnets, or tissue fish!
Summer craft books for kids Summer Craft Books
Want more ideas for Summer Crafts? Check out our craft book reviews.
Summer books for kids Thematic Reading List - Kids Books
Summer book descriptions and reviews for preschool and elementary reading. Titles include: Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping, It's Summer!, Last Day, Hooray, Sam and the Firefly, The Summer Solstice, When It's the Last Day Of School, and various summer workbooks to keep the kids busy during vacation!
Short stories about Summer Summer Short Stories
Great stories to share with children to celebrate summertime. Some stories include: Celebrating Grandmother's Birthday, How Brother Rabbit Fooled the Whale and the Elephant, Little Jack Rollaround, Mary's Story, Sheep Shearing, The Blackberry Bush, The Castle of Fortune, The Brahmin, the Tiger, and the Jackal, The Cloud, The Frog King, The Gulls of Salt Lakes, The Sun and the Wind and Willie and Bounce.
Summer Poems and Rhymes Summer Poetry - Poems, Rhymes and Recitals
Children's favorite poems and rhymes include: At the Seaside, Bed in Summer, Birds in Summer, Daisies, Daybreak, Fireflies, Four Leaf Clovers, In July, June, Midsummer Joys, My Kingdom, On Midsummer Night, Rain in Summer, Summer is Coming, Summer Sun, The Brook Song, The Flowers, The Gardener, The Unseen Playmate, The Violet and the Bee and Where Go the Boats?
Fun Symbols of Summer Memory Match Game Symbols of Summer Memory Match Game
This concentration game has you match up symbols of summer pictures. A summer surprise is revealed when you match all the pairs!
Summer Printables - Word Jumbles Word Jumble Printables
Can you unscramble the letters of these vocabulary words having to do with summer fun, the beach or baseball? Worksheets are interactive - can be typed in online or printed and finished by hand.
Summer Printables Printable Word Search Puzzles
Can you find these summer vocabulary words in the puzzles? These printables are perfect for beginner readers.
Summer Printables Counting, Numerals and Number Words Flash Cards
Printable preschool - grade 1 flashcards with symbols of summer. Cards teach number recognition, number words and counting skills.
Addition Flashcards - Mini Printable Mini-Flashcards for Addition.
Great math practice for summer vacation. Answers print on separate cards. Blank cards can be used for extra challenge facts.
Summer Printables Printable Mini-Flashcards for Multiplication
Get a jump on next year's homework - memorize your multiplication tables now! Answers print on separate cards. Blank cards can be used for extra challenge facts.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

National Ice Cream Day

National Ice Cream Day

When: National Ice Cream Day - 3rd Sunday in July

Ice Cream Day - December 13

When you get the urge for a snack on a hot, humid summer night, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? That's right....Ice Cream! Therefore, it's only fitting that ice cream be given it's own special day. On this day, we hope you enjoy an ice cream cone, a sundae, or a milk shake. Set the diet aside and splurge a little...have one of each!

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month. He also established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in the month.

Ice cream is nutritious. A little heavy on the sugar and calories, ice cream is otherwise good for you. Its base ingredient is milk, which is loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals.

Did you know? Charles E. Minches of St. Louis, Missouri is credited with inventing the ice cream cone. On July 23, 1904 at the World's Fair in St. Louis, he filled a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream to make the first ice cream cone. There is some controversy over this claim. Italo Marchiony of New York City filed a patent for the ice cream cone months before the fair opened. And, he was selling lemon ice in comes as early as 1896.

About Ice Cream Day in December: There is also a celebration of Ice Cream Day on December 13th. We found no factual information about this day. We suspect that it evolved from some local event. Perhaps a school ice cream social somehow took on an undocumented, national recognition as a special day.


Lee Wardlow's We All Scream for Ice Cream: The Scoop on America's Favorite Dessert is a fascinating book.

More Information:

July is National Ice Cream Month from the International Dairy Foods Association

Ice Cream History and Folklore History Social Theme Resources Coffee Can Ice Cream Recipe Making Ice Cream in Can Ice Cream in Baggies

Hand Calculator


Your friends will be amazed when you magically transform your hands into a calculator and multiply on your fingers!


PREPARATION: Draw calculator keys on your palms with a ballpoint pen. For example write the number 1 on you left hand under your thumb; number 2 on your left hand under your index finger; write up until you get to your right hand and the number 10 under your thumb. (see diagram below)

PRESENTATION: Tell your friend that she can multiply by 9 on your hands just as she would on a regular calculator. After she enters the numbers and pushes [=], just bend over the finger that is multiplied by 9. The fingers that are standing up tell her the answer.

Example: 9 x 4 = 36 (see diagram)

Taken from The Hand Calculator Useful Tips

July Is Strengthening Reading Month

July Is Strengthening Reading Month

Author Week - 2nd Week of July
  1. Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell and Ayn Rand
  2. Great Authors Lesson Plans
  3. Great Authors Teaching Theme
  4. Great Authors Vocabulary Worksheets
  5. High School Level Reading Comprehension
  6. J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut and James Joyce
  7. K-12 Reading Rubrics
  8. Mark Twain and Virginia Woolf Lesson Set
  9. William Shakespeare and William Faulkner
Taken from: Monthly Teacher Resource Guide for July @
See More Author Resources @

Friday, July 10, 2009

Working With ESL/ELL Students

Top Ten Tips for Working With ESL/ELL Students

Teaching ESL./ELL students in your regular classroom can be a challenge. You feel great empathy for the children who enter your room, bewildered, but you have the rest of the class to think of, too.

TeachersFirst offers these Top Ten Tips for Teachers working with ESL/ELL students to help you find appropriate ways to differentiate instruction and make minor adjustments for the individual student and maximize the benefit of having these new students in the class.

Click on the hint numbers or titles below to read each tip.

10. Become familiar with ESL websites.

9. Have realistic expectations of your ESL student.

8. Check your own attitude.

7. Capitalize on holidays.

6. Try to incorporate aspects of your student’s culture into your plans.

5. Give the students extra grammar practice.

4. Work on your language skills.

3. Provide extra vocabulary help with every lesson.

2. Learn about gestures from other cultures.

1. Don’t assume students know how the American educational system works.

Taken from:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Top Ten Reasons for Becoming an Elementary School Teacher

Top Ten Reasons for Becoming an Elementary School Teacher

Being an elementary school teacher is a highly rewarding profession. Building the academic foundation of young minds can be challenging, but is incredibly worthwhile. If you are considering becoming an elementary school teacher, here are the top ten reasons why you may want to take the leap into the classroom:

1. You have a broad appreciation of school subjects.

To be an elementary school teacher, you have to be versed in a variety of subjects, such as reading, math, science, and social studies. Your students might go to a special teacher for art, computers, and language, but otherwise you are in charge of their entire curriculum. Being an elementary school teacher is great for an individual who enjoys teaching and learning about different subjects, and who does not want to feel limited by teaching only one subject.

2. You like kids.

Otherwise, you would not be considering teaching. If you like kids, elementary school is a great place to interact with them. You can shape their minds, create innovative ways for them to learn, and help them grow to their fullest potential. If you do not enjoy the company of children, then becoming an elementary school teacher is not the job for you. And if you are already an elementary school teacher and do not like kids - you might want to think about changing jobs!

3. You are good with kids.

We established about that you like them, but it takes much more than liking kids to be able to work with your students. You must be able to understand their psychological and emotional needs, while simultaneously ensuring that they are learning at their fullest abilities. In addition, with elementary school kids, you need good class control skills. Plus, you have to communicate with the students at their own level, whether it's kindergarten or 6th grade.

4. You enjoy repeating important material.

When working with young minds, you often have to repeat ideas before they are fully comprehended. This can mean printing up different types of teacher worksheets and grading them. It can also mean going over a student's work with her privately, or sitting down to complete the worksheet together. It may involve significantly writing on the board or telling stories that repeat important vocabulary words.

5. You are highly creative.

Creative people make great teachers! It takes talent and real skill to make repetitive material engaging. Whether you design interesting and educational worksheets, create highly interactive lesson plans, or put together lions from pipe cleaners - being an elementary school teacher is a great way to use your creative skills to help children open their minds.

6. You are a good communicator.

Being a teacher is all about effective communication, verbal and nonverbal. If you are a creative communicator, being an elementary school teacher is a rewarding outlet. In addition, it is important that you can alter your communication levels between children and their parents.

7. You prefer children to adults.

You do not necessarily have to prefer kids in order to be a good elementary school teacher. However, if you do, being a teacher is the perfect job. Perhaps you like being around kids because they are always learning, or you enjoy hearing their perspective. If you do prefer being around children, being an elementary school teacher is definitely the right job for you!

8. You feel a call to serve others.

As a teacher, you are serving others everyday, equipping them with valuable information and teaching them important skills. The demands of the job can be tiring and rigorous, which is why feeling a call to serve others is a great inspiration source. Even if you did not see progress that particular school day, you still fulfilled your calling to make a difference in a child's life.

9. You like seeing progress.

One of the best parts about being a teacher is watching your students learn and grow. A girl who did not know her ABC's four months ago can now spell out her own name. A boy can recite multiplication tables and complete complex worksheets. A whole class learns to read. Progress in a classroom is a beautiful thing.

10. You value the building blocks of education.

This is the most important reason to become an elementary school teacher. Elementary school is where the foundation of the future starts. If you believe in thoroughly education young people, then you will want to get build a solid foundation. As an elementary school teacher, you help students learn and develop in ways that will serve them for the rest of their lives!

There are so many reasons to become an elementary school teacher. What are yours?

Remember you matter, educators make the world go around!

Cynthia Hughes & Carol Bailus (Newsletter Editors)

Worksheet Library Newsletter Week of June 30, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

Express your good wishes with this warm and cute 'Red, white and Blue' wish.

An inspirational wish expressing the true spirit of America while reaching out with a warm wish.

Let this eagle set off the 4th of July celebration for you.