Classroom Solutions > 90 posts categorized "Projects"

Connecting Children With Nature: Learning About Trees

IMG_0387

Our playground is surrounded by an abundance of beautiful trees, which always seem to captivate my very curious kindergartners. Who would have guessed that a group of five- and six-year-olds would find trees more intriguing than slides and swings? Read on as I share the lessons I created to capitalize on my students' natural enthusiasm for trees.

Read More »

October Read-Alouds: Literacy Fun With Pumpkins, Leaves, and Bats

Pumpkin patch Depending on where you live, you may have recently noticed a chill in the air, and the leaves may be turning from green to brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. While many of your students may be focusing on how much candy they will receive trick-or-treating at the end of month, here are three of my favorite read-aloud books with accompanying activities that won’t require a trip to the dentist.

Read More »

Beware of Bias -- Graphing With a Critical Eye


Calories Tricky GraphMy students studied graphing during our first math unit this year. Graphing lends itself to get-to-know-you activities — students can survey each other to collect data — and it provides an entry point for students of all math abilities.

Once my students understood how graphs work and how to create accurate graphs, I started to wonder how I could up the ante. How could I promote critical thinking with this relatively straightforward math unit? 

One of my students handed me the answer when he brought in a graph that he had clipped from the newspaper to add to our graph collection. As I looked over his graph, I thought, "Hey, wait a sec! This graph is downright misleading." As I pointed out the graph’s flaws to my students, their eyes widened at the idea that a newspaper might seek to mislead with a graph.

Read More »

The Challenge Based Classroom: Using Curriculum to Serve the Community

HabitatLast year I came to a crossroads in my teaching. During my annual review, I found myself agonizing over my goals for this upcoming school year. I was completely stuck. I browsed through our district's professional development opportunities with a sense of “been there, done that.” It surprised me that so early in my career I would feel this way. My classroom certainly kept me on my toes, but I was missing that spark that ignited my planning each year. An offer to explore curriculum development made me even more confused. Was I really ready to leave the classroom? I needed a teaching makeover!

As if on cue, two amazing things happened that would transform my teaching: the opportunity to be a teacher advisor here and the discovery of Apple’s Challenge Based Learning. The journey outside of my comfort zone had begun.  

 

Read More »

Art and Poetry Through the Year: Notebooks and Keepsakes for Your Students

How Do You Do

Students in 1st grade need to have many experiences in language arts to become independent readers and writers. Shared reading is a great way for students to “play” with language to become fluent readers. Fluency is further developed when children have ample opportunities to read text that is familiar and easy for them. In my class, we love to use poetry to build our fluency. Read on to find out more about our poetry notebooks and our yearlong poetry keepsake project.

 

Read More »

Comments: 2

Hands-On Geography: "Paint a Partner" Topographic Maps

Map

"Where in the world is Randolph, NY? Is that near New York City?"

I smile every time I hear that question because our little corner of Western New York is nowhere near — and geographically nothing like — the big city. Modern technologies such as Google Earth show students the world through a whole new lens and offer exciting opportunities for them to improve their geography. But unfortunately most of my students still can't identify basic geologic formations on a topographic map: they're far more used to the flat, traditional maps they see online. For teaching topographic maps, modern technology just won't cut it.

Instead, I take an old-fashioned, hands-on approach that gives my students a solid understanding of how topographic maps work. Read on to turn your students into expert cartographers using their classmates as canvases.

 

 

 

Read More »

Comments: 1

Proposing the Use of E-readers in the Classroom

KindlepostThe idea of using e-readers in my classroom came to me several years ago. As textbooks become more expensive and school budgets continue to shrink, e-readers and e-books have become a popular option for schools. After researching e-readers and programs at other schools, I decided to put a proposal together for my school. 

Before launching a schoolwide program, I proposed that my school board pilot e-readers in my English classroom. As I prepared my proposal, I realized that my proposal revolved around three key questions: 1) Which e-reader best fits my school's needs? 2) How will e-readers be used? 3) How will e-readers benefit students in my classroom? These questions, along with a discussion of the benefits of e-readers, possible outcomes of the program, and the replacement cost of current materials, were all included in my proposal to use e-readers in the classroom.

 

Read More »

Comments: 4

Developing Hopes and Dreams

Cloud

The goal of every teacher is to help students reach their fullest potential. Teaching students to develop their hopes and dreams for the new school year is a key skill for achievement. It helps them make the connection between their personal choices and the end results. Read on for ideas on how to encourage this important skill.

 

Read More »

Three Classroom Activities to Celebrate Banned Books Week

Bbw11poster In the movie Field of Dreams, there is a scene at a school board meeting where PTO members are attempting to ban a book: The Boat Rocker by Terrence Mann. This scene is not far from reality. According to Banned Books Week.org, 348 books were challenged by various groups last year. As an English teacher, I see value in teaching literature. As a parent, I see value in censoring certain material for particular age groups. It is important that teachers select appropriate materials, but let's face it: Our students see many things that are far from appropriate. It is our responsibility also to teach life lessons to the best of our ability, though we have to be careful about how much we allow. As teachers, we must learn from the community and use our best judgment in the materials we select. With that said, September 24 - October 1 is Banned Books Week. I've created three activities to explore the concept of censorship, book bans, and specific titles that have been challenged or banned by particular groups.

 

Read More »

Comments: 2

Poetic Beginnings: Four Poetry Lessons to Get to Know Your Students

Amys PoemMany curriculum guides would have us believe that poetry and April are conjoined twins, never to be parted, but we teachers know better. Poetry is powerful stuff, and cramming it into a single month is unfair to our students and to poetry! In my class, we read, write, and publish poetry throughout the year, and I frontload the first two months of school with even more poetry. We gain deep insights about each other while sharing our poetry, we luxuriate in words, and we celebrate creative risks –- important back-to-school practices. Here are four of my back-to-school poetry lessons that I use to get to really know my students.

 

Amy shares one of her published poems.

Read More »

Comments: 4

Easing the Middle School Transition: "Getting to Know You" Geocaching

225 "Middle School" - Just the words alone can strike fear into the hearts of students and parents alike. Sixth- through eighth-grade teachers will agree these years can be the some of the toughest, and most tumultous, in a child's life. For some, it will mean a chance to advance to a higher-level floor in a familiar building, but for others it might mean acclimating to an entirely different school. While this is a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends, it may mean leaving lifelong friendships behind - which can be one of many scary steps to endure. In addition, there seems to be a laundry list of changes that middle-schoolers can expect, such as:

Read More »

Comments: 8

Getting-To-Know-You Activities: The First Week and Beyond

I Love SchoolThe desks are arranged, favorite books are displayed, math manipulatives are sorted, and lesson plans are being written. It’s time to start building the classroom community. As I write my lesson plans, I include getting-to-know-you activities. These activities provide opportunities for the students to interact positively with one another. The children are eager to make new friends, learn about the classroom environment, and become part of a school family. After all, the classroom will become a home away from home for the next ten months.

Read More »

Ten Years Later: Remembering September 11th With an Oral History Project

Scholasticsept11postOn the morning of September 11, 2001, I was on my way to work in Springfield, Illinois.  Many people remember where they were and what they were doing when terrorists attacked our country 10 years ago this year. My current students, however, may have a difficult time remembering as freshman students were 4 to 5 years old when this significant event changed the course of history. Since I often refer to 9/11 when discussing various pieces of literature, I wanted my students to have a firm understanding of the event, and so created the Remembering September 11th lesson. This lesson is broken into three phases: class discussion, group research, and individual project.

Read More »

Comments: 4

Back-to-School Read Alouds: Favorite Books and First Week Activities

DSC00282Reading aloud to children is one of my favorite activities of the day and it is a critical part of literacy instruction. In my classroom, I integrate children’s literature across the curriculum and read to the children throughout the day. The read-aloud books I choose for the first week of school help set the tone for the year and help begin to build our classroom community. These books feature characters about the same age as my students and allow us to discuss prior knowledge, build thinking skills, and make connections. Here are some of my favorite books and activities that engage my enthusiastic young readers.

Read More »

Comments: 38

What’s in a Name? A Back-to-School Literacy Unit

NametagDuring the first few weeks of school, I always find it challenging to come up with a meaningful unit of study so that my students can feel as though they are accomplishing something beyond learning a bunch of routines. There’s the obvious imperative to build our classroom community. On top of that, the empty bulletin boards in the classroom are glaring at us, demanding student work so our classroom can begin to look “lived in.”

Last year, I had wonderful results using a name unit as our first shared literacy experience. Read on to find out what my students did. (This post includes a list of read-alouds and graphic organizers to support the unit.)

 

Read More »

Comments: 24

My Top Five Tips on How to Celebrate Summer in Style

VacationLike most teachers, I am relishing every moment of summer, but before we know it the days of grading papers and creating dynamic lesson plans will be upon us. Therefore, let's live each day of the next few weeks to the fullest so we can return to our classrooms refreshed and ready to go. Here are my top five ways to celebrate summer. You can use these tips to make the most of your time off and rejuvenate yourself and your teaching as well!

Read More »

Comments: 6

Literacy in Kindergarten Dramatic Play Centers, Part 4

Kindergarten Weather Station CenterWhen we study weather in science, our dramatic play center becomes a weather station. With self-made instruments, hands-on experiments, and — as always — plenty of literacy, the weather station inspires the children with a sense of wonder and awe for the natural world.

Read More »

Comments: 4

Stretch Your Dime and Save Your Time

Miss Bindergarten Saves Money and Time Teachers need all the help they can get, financially and otherwise. Use these tips, shortcuts, and dollar store ideas to save your budget and your sanity.

Read More »

Simple and Impressive Planet Art

Vasicek Final PlanetMy art skills were arrested at about the 4th grade level: My students can attest to that! So, when I was able to produce a pretty impressive planet scene in under 15 minutes, I was very proud of myself. When I told my students that I used spray paint to do it, they were impressed as well.

 

 

 

Read More »

Comments: 10

Character Education and the Green Classroom

Thinking It really is easy being green. In this post, you'll find some great ideas for teaching character education in the context of the green classroom — just in time to plan for Earth Day.

 

Read More »

Comments: 1

Celebrating Poetry

Vasicek Poetry Practice DrumsA recurring theme in many of my blog posts is the importance of providing students with an authentic audience for their knowledge and skills. Sure, some students will do a great job in school because they have that kind of work ethic, but others need to know that there is a bigger purpose. One of the top five memories in my class for the past six years is Poetry Night. This is a night that stretches comfort zones, demonstrates extreme teamwork, and allows students to showcase their creativity and poetic talents. And when it is all over, what a sense of accomplishment!   

Photo: Rehearsing the drums that are played in between poems.

 

Read More »

Comments: 2

Adventures With Books: One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies

One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies
Join my class as we turn the book One Tiny Turtle into a unit of fun and exciting learning experiences. This lyrical and informative look at the elusive and endangered loggerhead turtle is sure to delight young nature lovers.

Read More »

Comments: 3

Celebrating Eric Carle and The Tiny Seed

 DSC00580

One of my favorite children's book authors and illustrators is Eric Carle. He is one of our classroom favorites as well. A while back, I even had the pleasure of hearing him read The Very Hungry Caterpillar LIVE at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Read on to get some fabulous resources for The Tiny Seed, watch a book trailer featuring Eric Carle, and listen to our Tiny Seed podcast!

Read More »

Comments: 2

Explore Childhood Themes With a Kevin Henkes Author Study

Kevin Henkes Author StudyTo strengthen my students as readers and writers, I had them take to the Reader's Chair and the Author's Chair to share their responses to a study on Kevin Henkes, who writes and illustrates books about lovable mouse characters who express common childhood feelings, fears, and fantasies. After evaluating his writing style and comparing the characters, settings, and themes of four of his books, my students showed off their own reading, writing, artistic, and critical-thinking skills.

Read More »

Comments: 9

Cool Web Tools for Teachers and Kids! Part One

DSC00459
I just came home from a fantastic technology conference in Palm Springs called Computer-Using Educators, or CUE, and my head is about to explode (in a good way). I would love to share some of these fantastic cool tools and apps with you. If you ever do any projects online or offline, have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, or are just a tech geek like me, hold on to your heads for some AMAZING tools that you can use right away, to make teaching easier in almost any grade level or to make your life easier at home. Special thanks to all the presenters at CUE for inspiring others to bring tech into their classrooms! Read on to check out some super amazing techy things to do with your class and some cool apps for you!

 

Read More »

Comments: 7

The Good Old Book Report

DSC01391 Book reports seem part of the realm of middle school and elementary school. You don't often hear of students doing book reports in high school, but I feel much can be learned by doing such an assignment in the higher grades. A book report can challenge the student to use higher order thinking skills in order to understand and interpret literature.

Read More »

Comments: 6

I Love to Read! Surefire Ways to Create Lifelong Book Lovers

I Love to Read Month February is “I Love to Read Month,” the perfect time to assess if your students do, in fact, love to read. Are they captivated by good stories? Does reading fill them with excitement and enthusiasm? Do they play with the sounds of language in a literature-rich environment that promotes active learning through highly engaging activities? If the answer to any of these questions is no (and even if it’s yes!), it may be time to arm yourself with a repertoire of techniques guaranteed to get every child in your class saying “I love to read!”

Read More »

Comments: 12

Character Education in PreK & Kindergarten

Character Education in PreK and KindergartenWhat children learn about character in the early childhood classroom can shape their character for the rest of their lives. So how do you teach it?

 

Read More »

Comments: 10

Valentine's Day Sweets & Heartbeats Across the Curriculum

The Heart on Valentine's DayValentine's Day is my favorite holiday at school. It's easy for kids to understand.  The decorations are pretty hearts and flowers, and the focus is on friendship, love, and kindness. I like to extend the easygoing and cheerful atmosphere all day and all across the curriculum. Read on to find activities in every subject area that center around my favorite thing: the heart.

Read More »

Comments: 2

Heroes

MLK speech pic In California, studying famous people and heroes is a 2nd grade social studies standard. In my class, we begin our studies with Martin Luther King, Jr., and then move on to President Lincoln and President Washington.

After watching short videos and reading nonfiction books, we create projects together in class. Then, having learned about each of these men, we compare them and discuss why they are considered heroes. We also talk about the difference between a hero and someone who is merely famous.

Read on to learn more about our unit on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and heroes.

 

Read More »

Comments: 12

A Teen Soap Opera to Learn SAT Vocabulary

DSC01247 Because I teach in a low-income, urban high school, where many students do not speak English as their first language, my students often have difficulty building their vocabulary. Yet increasing their vocabulary is extremely important: vocabulary is critical to students' reading success, and a wide-ranging vocabulary helps students communicate more effectively when writing, speaking, and listening. In addition, students' confidence improves both academically and socially when their vocabulary increases. Further, students will soon face state testing, SAT testing, and Advanced Placement courses, all of which will require them to employ an ever-increasing vocabulary.

Read on to find out how my class learned new vocabulary words and so much more when they wrote and produced their own high school soap opera.

Read More »

Comments: 6

Axis of Hope

Axis of Hope Double Circl I recently attended a New England Association of Schools and Colleges conference. The luncheon keynote speaker was a man named Carl Hobert, who is the founder and director of an organization called Axis of Hope. I was riveted by Mr. Hobert's address, in which he discussed how Axis of Hope works with adolescents to help them develop an understanding of alternative, nonviolent approaches to resolving complex conflicts locally, nationally, and internationally. I knew right away that this was something that would be powerful in my own school. Read on to find out what happened when we held an Axis of Hope workshop at Revere High School.

Read More »

Comments: 4

12 Unforgettable Days of Christmas

Christmas in Kindergarten and PreK
How can you celebrate Christmas for twelve days, and what makes it unforgettable? Open the link to find out. Just a peek . . . you know you want to!

Read More »

Comments: 2

Christmas Sensory Integration — Rudolph's Light, Frosty's Snow, Jingle Bells, & the Gingerbread Man

Christmas Sensory Integration - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snoman, Jingle Bells, and the Gingerbread Man Next week I will share 12 incredibly fun Christmas activities (so don't forget to check back!), but first I wanted to share some super simple ways to celebrate Christmas using all five senses. You probably already do at least one of these things. Do them all to bring the full sensory experience of Christmas into your classroom!

Read More »

Thanksgiving Crafts: Food, Feathers, and Floats

Miss Bindergarten on ThanksgivingAt this time of year, I love to get crafty with my class. Read on to see some of the fun and creative crafts we made this month in celebration of Thanksgiving!

 

 

Read More »

Comments: 6

Time for Thanksgiving!

WebcastGetting your Thanksgiving unit ready? Scholastic has some awesome resources to help you plan a great one. Sign up for the FREE Webcast now! This event will be on November 16, 1 p.m. ET, and you must be signed up to view it. But you can take advantage of the vast variety of other multimedia and more traditional resources available on the site right now. There are videos, tours of the Mayflower, and slide shows that really bring the spirit of Thanksgiving into your classroom. Check it out.

 

Read More »

Comments: 2

Hats for Humanity Project

Vasicek Hat Measure 2"Say it. Mean it. Do it!" is a phrase I repeat on a daily basis in the classroom. A person is only as good as his or her word. Too often we say things we do not mean. Too often we make commitments and do not follow through. I believe that teachers need to act with the utmost integrity and model every action they suggest to students. So, when it comes to our country's Core Democratic Values (CDVs), we have our work cut out for us. This social studies lesson focuses on economics and the "common good," and has a little bit of math thrown in for some cross-curricular flavor.

 

This post contains a video demonstration of how to make fleece hats.

Read More »

Comments: 8

Easy Halloween Tricks & Treats Across the Curriculum

Masks As if teaching weren't chaotic and stressful enough, there's holidays to deal with. The first major holiday of the school year is Halloween, and aside from all the projects, parties, and pigging out you'll have to consider, there's also the question of whether you should celebrate at all. First of all, 5-year-olds don't always like spooky things. And second, some parents don't approve of the holiday. What's a stressed-out teacher to do?

 

Read More »

Comments: 6

Fire Safety With Smokey, Sparky, and Sesame Street

TheGang   :

 

Hello, readers! I know this is the last day of fire prevention week and many teachers have had enough of fire prevention activities. If this describes you, then these ideas could come in handy next year. If you haven't started yet, you're probably wondering how you can do anything in one day. One day is better than none at all, but I think it will be okay if you break the rules and teach fire safety next week, too. It's relevant all year round, and you can use any opportunity, like when a fire engine goes by or just after a fire drill, to talk about fire with your students. And Smokey Bear, Sparky the Fire Dog, and the Sesame Street muppets are all iconic, loveable characters who can help you.

 

 

 

 

Read More »

Comments: 6

Pumpkins, Ghosts, and Witches, OH MY! October Books, Parties, and Crafts

PumpkinsEvery year, in the beginning of October, the kids are abuzz with talk of costumes and trick or treating. They are beyond excited. Every day they ask me, "How many days until Halloween?"  and "Miss Jang, what are you going to be for Halloween?" Then they begin asking me about our in-class celebration. I try and harness that interest and excitement with themed activities and great books. This post includes a short video on how to make a 3-D pumpkin from construction paper. Giveaway winner announced at the end of this post!

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Word Clip Art.

Read More »

Comments: 9

ALL SOULS & the Theme of Resilience

All Souls 

A few years ago, my good friend and fellow teacher, Bill O'Brien, called in sick to school on a Monday morning. When I talked to him later that day, he told me that he had been up all night reading a book called All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. The book had so profoundly affected Bill that he actually needed a day to process what he had read. Later in the year, Bill fought to have the book added to the senior summer reading list as the social studies requirement.


Read More »

Comments: 6

Data Gleaning From Glyphs: Math in Pictures for Kindergartners

IntroGlyph12 You may have heard the words pictograph, pictogram, ideograph, ideogram, logogram, phonogram, grapheme, petroform, petroglyph, hieroglyph, etc. These are all forms of writing that use pictures or symbols to represent things such as sounds, letters, words, phrases, concepts, and data. A more general term is simply glyph. Any picture that represents something can be called a "glyph." And for your class, the construction and interpretation of glyphs that represent information about themselves and other topics is an interesting, useful, and engaging math lesson!

Read More »

Comments: 9

Making Connections Using Similes and Metaphors

DSC00371 

Making connections to their learning is absolutely essential for high school students. If the literature has no relevancy, and students cannot envision its use in a contemporary context, interest levels — as well as the learning — drop off significantly. For this reason, it is always fun to find new ways to help students understand figurative language in an up-to-date way.

Read More »

Comments: 11

Teaching English Language Arts to the Tough Kids

DSC00304

It's back to school time, and we all have dreams of reaching each and every student. However, there are some kids who just hate English class! I know. I can't imagine it, either. When I hear students say "I hate to read " or "I hate writing," I might as well be hearing them say "I hate water" because I am so appalled.

Read More »

Comments: 10

Using Web 2.0 Tools in Your Classroom

Computer
There are many teachers at various levels of tech savviness that are charging into the classroom armed with awesome tools from the Web. Many of these programs can be used with kids and adults in many capacities. Your imagination will determine how to use it. The sky's the limit!

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com.

Read More »

Comments: 24

Film and Feminist Criticism in the High School Classroom

Film and Feminist 

Millions of teenagers view movies at the theater, on DVDs, or on cable television each day. Teenagers need to be aware of the rhetoric specifically targeting them as a demographic group.

Read More »

Comments: 18

A Chrysanthemum by Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

4389159595_e25cb68cb4

A child's name is their first gift, the first thing that gives them an identity. It's placed on hospital cards. It's made official on a birth certificate. It's lovingly handwritten in baby books. It might even be announced in the newspaper. A name says "I am a specific and unique individual."

Photo © Juliana Coutinho

Read More »

Comments: 25

Destroy All Cars

Boys Reading Girl 

As an English teacher, it has been my goal to help my students find the joy in reading for pleasure. For that reason, my classroom library is stacked with young adult literature with which I know students will connect.

Read More »

Comments: 8

Here's Hoping for You, Kid

3370498053_612bf01ac8
The beginning of a school year is all about hope. 
Classrooms are as neat and tidy as they'll ever be.  Crayons and pencils are as fresh and sharp as they'll ever be.  Everything is new.  For students and teachers alike, a new beginning rings in excitement and expectation, new experiences and expansive possibilities.  And for kindergartners, it's not just a beginning, it's the beginning. 

Photo © D. Sharon Pruitt.

Read More »

Comments: 46

Shake the Money Tree!

Nancyb_shake School's about to start, and I bet you're wishing you had a few more items and supplies for your classroom. In these tough economic times, teachers need to be as resourceful as possible to get materials and create fun learning experiences for their students. I'm going to show you how easy it is to SHAKE THE MONEY TREE, and get what you need to start the year out right.

Read More »

Browse by Grade
PreK - K1 - 23 - 56 - 89 - 12
Real Teachers’ Tips & Teaching Strategies
FacebookFacebookTwitterRSS

Advertisement

The opinions expressed in Classroom Solutions are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Scholastic Inc.