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Best Teacher Ideas for Valentine's Day

Valentine_Vennogram Celebrate Valentine’s Day with cross-curricular crafts and lesson plans in math, language arts, and health. Sing a Valentine's Day Song. Find out how our Teacher Advisors are incorporating Valentine's Day into their teaching.

Fourth grade teacher Angela Bunyi combined her love of books and libraries and held a discussion on how our libraries differ compared to 2,000 years ago in Greece. For this month of love, she decided to turn the Venn-Diagram into a Valentine Venn-O-Gram instead.

In Jennifer Atkinson's 1st grade classroom, her students create a “Heart to Heart” display with illustrations of phrases that contain the word "heart." Find "heart" words or phrases you can use on Jennifer's blog.

Sandra Blair, our Middle School READ 180 teacher, uses Valentine's Day vocabulary games to turn her students' distraction with this holiday into a learning opportunity.

Valentine candy writing is an engaging and hands-on writing activity. Marissa Ochoa's ELL students enjoy creating a story using the phrases on the hearts.

Alyssa Zelkowitz, our Special Education blogger, shares her HeartSmart data analysis activity as a way to maximize the Valentine's Day sugar rush. Students act as Quality Control Officials at a candy hearts factory, and they have to complete various data-gathering and analysis activities to help their employer ensure that the factory's candy production stays up to snuff.

Don't forget to send Clifford a Valentine!

Fun at FETC 2009

Teacher_share Attending conferences and meeting teachers is my favorite perk of the job. I am always amazed by the enthusiasm and dedication that teachers have for finding and bringing their students the best resources available.

I spent last weekend at the Florida Educational Technology Conference in Orlando, demonstrating Scholastic Teacher Share beta, a new, free resource-sharing tool that allows you to find, create, and share classroom resources with other teachers.

Join our Scholastic Teacher Share beta and let us know how you would describe it in under two minutes.

Our Scholastic bloggers were also out in force on the exhibit floor and at sessions, capturing their favorite moments and products:

Thanks to all the teachers who stopped by the Scholastic booth. If you are in Austin, TX next week for the TCEA Convention, please stop by the Scholastic Booth and ask Kathy Walsh or Mark Barrett for a demo of Teacher Share.

Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration

9780545163668_xlg_4President's Obama inauguration is an unique opportunity for teachers to incorporate real-world events into classroom teaching and give their students an authentic learning experience. In reading our blogs, I am amazed at the creativity of our teachers' lessons and how they are able to connect the Presidential Inauguration with their curriculum.

Here are the best teacher ideas for President Obama's inauguration on January 20:

In addition to top ten resources for January I mentioned in my earlier post, we've recently added these Presidential Inauguration resources:

I have never been so excited about a Presidential Inauguration. Here at Scholastic, three viewing areas will be set up so that we can watch Barack Obama take the Oath of Office and give the Inaugural Address. At my sister's school, they are trying to figure out how 800 students can share this historic event when they are limited to one Internet connection and an auditorium with a maximum capacity of 250. My mom, a Chinese immigrant, will watching the live television broadcast and listening to a Chinese translation on the radio. We will be talking about this day for years to come.

Top Ten Teaching Resources for January

martin_l_king_xlg This January will be one for the history books: just days after what would have been the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s  80th birthday, America's first African-American President will be sworn in.

As Inauguration Day (January 20) approaches, more teachers are visiting Scholastic.com to find the resources they need to teach about President-elect Barack Obama and the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

We've tallied the results, and here are the top ten resources that teachers were looking at this past week (January 1-8):

  1. Commemorate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  2. Inauguration Day Printables
  3. Winter Fun
  4. Teaching Resources for Barack Obama
  5. The Greats of 2008
  6. Celebrating the 100th Day of School
  7. Chinese New Year
  8. The Presidency of the United States
  9. Book Video Library of 150+ author interviews, book trailers, and booktalks
  10. 12 Ways to Energize Your Lessons

Here are more teaching Ideas for Martin Luther King, Jr. and Inauguration Day from Our Teacher Advisors:

Nine New Year's Resolutions for 2009

Updated January 5, 2009 with bonus teaching ideas for the New Year.

Resolution Making New Year's Resolutions is a great opportunity for you and your students to reflect on the past year's accomplishments and set goals for the coming year.

Here are nine ways Scholastic can help you reach your goals.

For Your Students

1. Create a New Year's Resolution Time Capsule
In Beth Newingham's 3rd grade classroom, students complete a worksheet to make two PERSONAL IMPROVEMENT resolutions and at least two resolutions that involve FAMILY OR FRIENDS and SCHOOL. Students share their top two resolutions with the class before they put them in a “Resolution Time Capsule.” She then decorates a shoebox with New Year’s Eve decorations and has each student ceremoniously place their resolutions into the box. The box is not opened until the end of the year when students see if they have accomplished their goals.

2. Set Goals for the New Year
In Kechia Williams' 6th grade classroom, she brainstorms with her students about the issues or problems they encountered during the first semester. To help her students get started thinking about solutions, she shares her biggest problem -- not having enough time to complete EVERYTHING -- and asks them for advice. For homework, students write three goals and a plan for each goal. She then posts their goals in the classroom so they will be constantly reminded.

3. Start the New Year With a Healthy Habit
Use the clean slate of a new year to break a bad habit or take on a good one. Have your students share their resolutions on the Scholastic News Online blog. If one of their New Year's resolutions is to take action to help others, students can follow the example of Scholastic News Kid Reporter Ashlyn Stewart who donated her hair to Locks of Love.

For You

4. Top Eight in '08: List the Memorable Moments in Your Classroom
In looking back on the year, Alyssa Zelkowitz, our Special Education blogger, realizes that her most profound emotion is pride in her students: how smart, how capable, and how enthusiastic to learn they are. What are your top eight moments of 2008?

5. Take the Time to Learn Online
Our Tech Tutors Michelle Bourgeois and Gayle Berthiaume show how easy it is to meet your professional development goals by visiting tutorial sites to learn new technology skills or attending online conferences or courses to learn new teaching skills.

6. Tame Your File Cabinet
Chances are your file cabinet is overflowing with a semi-organized jumble of packed folders and teaching materials. Save time with these organizing tips.

7. Refresh Your Classroom Library
2nd grade teacher Elizabeth Mazzurco starts January by rotating the books in her classroom library. She has so many series books that she can't fit them all at once in her library. By January, the students have grown so much as readers that she puts away the easier books and adds more challenging series books.

8. Earn Extra Cash
Sign up for a free sellers membership on TeachersPayTeachers.com. The best selling teacher has already earned more than $18,000 selling her literature guides on TeachersPayTeachers.com.

9. Dust off Your Resume
Search School Jobs Now for teaching opportunities throughout the country. Visit the resource center for help updating your resume and cover letters and brush up on your interview skills.

Happy New Year!

Bonus Teaching Ideas For the New Year

In Jennifer's 2nd grade class, her students will spend the week celebrating the New Year by writing New Year's Resolutions and "Top 10 Lists". This can be done individually, in small group or as a class.

Patty Blome, our High School Teacher Advisor
, reminds us that this January will be a momentous month: a new President with immense historical significance will be sworn in a day after we honor what would have been the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s  80th birthday. Read her blog for amazing teaching ideas for the Presidential inauguration and Dr. King's birthday.

Andrea Spillett, one of our English Language Learners bloggers
, brainstorms ideas on how she plans to implement her new iPod as a teaching tool to increase fluency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in her ELL classroom.

Rob Southworth, one of the Strategies for Arts Integration bloggers, announces a new way for artists to share their work: the Online Evidence of Teacher and Student Learning (ETSL) Database.

Best Teacher Ideas for the Holidays

Find out how our Teacher Advisors are incorporating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the theme of giving and sharing into their teaching. These fun activities are guaranteed to bring holiday cheer into your classroom.

Window_candle_2 In Naomi and Alexandra's Kindergarten classroom, they make stained "glass" candles for a lesson about the four festivals of light: Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

Carolyn Elwood, one of the advisors for our Strategies for Arts Integration blog, explains how creating a three-dimensional snowflake builds skills that last long after the holiday season.

Goodnight_angel Jennifer's 1st Grade class and her school staged a “Winter Holidays Around the World” program with songs about Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and more. She shares 26 ideas, from art projects and writing prompts to how to make a home connection this season. I am amazed at the art that her students created for "Peace on Earth."

Bracelet_lg Angela Bunyi, our Grades 3-5 Teacher Advisor, shares how she manages to create holiday gifts for her class on a $10 budget and a holiday math site with an activity using the 12 Days of Christmas and Pascal's triangle patterns.

Holiday_store Jill White, one of the advisors for our Strategies for Gifted Learners blog, continues with her Toys for Tots drive but with a different spin. See last year's class creating crafts for the holiday store and shopping for gifts that were donated to Toys for Tots.

Hanukkah_song In Andrea's ELL classroom, students sing holidays songs as a way to increase their English language skills by working on vocabulary, rhythm, and pronunciation. Or, try this project of making holiday centerpieces as a thoughtful gift for parents.

Tech Tutor Michelle Bourgeois has fun and easy computer craft projects for student elves to create holiday gifts for mom and dad.

Check out Kid Lit Kit blogger Hannah Trierweiler's recommendations for new holiday books for your classroom.

Alyssa Zelkowitz, our Special Education Strategies blogger, shares her interdisciplinary math, music, and literacy mini-unit on Hanukkah, with assessment and differentiation options for each lesson. Instead of a KWL chart, have your students create a KWL dreidel.

Top Thanksgiving Lessons & Books

Illustrating_stories_2 If you are looking for last-minute Thanksgiving lessons and books, check out how our Teacher Advisors are celebrating Thanksgiving in their classrooms.

In Andrea Spillett's ELL classroom, students work in pairs to retell and draw their own version of the Thanksgiving story. [Strategies for English Language Learners]

In Tech Tutor Gayle Berthiaume's classroom, her students use these "Giving Thanks" online resources for writing and creating projects around the topic of being thankful.

In Jennifer's 1st Grade classroom, she adds a language arts twist to the art project of turning a student's handprint into a turkey. Jennifer asks her students to write on conversation bubbles glued around the turkey handprint. Students can reinforce what they have learned about quotation marks by writing what they have learned about turkeys, favorite parts of a book, things that they are thankful for or things they would like to thank their friends or family for. Read her Thanksgiving Activities blog post for even more great ideas.

Check out these Kid Lit Kit blog recommendations for Thanksgiving books:

I am counting down the days to Thanksgiving: great food, family hijinks, and a few days off. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Top Five Halloween Activities & Lessons

Turn Halloween into a learning holiday with these classroom-tested Halloween activities, books, and lessons. A big thank you to our Scholastic Teacher Bloggers for sharing these great Halloween photos and ideas.

Sinkfloat_3_2 I would love to be a student in Naomi and Alexandra's Kindergarten class this week. From language arts to math to science and art, they are able to weave the Halloween fun into all parts of their curriculum. Find out for yourselves if pumpkins float.

Kitty In Jennifer's 1st Grade classroom, she works with her students to write a class book The A-Z of Halloween and prompts students to write about what scares them and why. Read her blog for more quick Halloween-themed language arts activities.

When Gayle's 1st grade students start thinking about monsters, this Tech Tutor gathers online and technology monsters resources. Find out how she adds technology to the students' learning experiences using monsters as a theme.

Vocab_ghastly Students in Angela's 4th grade class dress up like a vocabulary word and join in a school-wide Halloween vocabulary parade, inspired by Debra Frasier's Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster.

Gandalf Patty is excited to share a great, fun, high school level seasonal activity called Literary Pumpkins, which has become a big hit at Patty's high school.

Also, check out these Halloween books and videos recommended by our Kid Lit Kit bloggers:

Have more spooky fun using our collection of Halloween lessons and activities, including a Halloween history WebQuest.

Back by Popular Demand: Your Favorite Teacher Advisors

Adv_jbrunaccioni Weekly Picture Book Reviews
Last year's PreK-K Teacher Advisor Jeremy Brunaccioni is back as a contributor for the new Kid Lit Kit blog, your toolkit for teaching with books. Tune in Thursdays for picture book-based activities and Fridays for a round-up of kid lit Web sites. [Kid Lit Kit]

Adv_mochoa Story Writing
Last year's Grades 3-5 Teacher Advisor Marissa Ochoa teams up with former PreK-K Teacher Advisor Andrea Spillett to share their ELL teaching strategies. In a recent post, Marissa uses the 4-square writing strategy of who, what, where, and why with her ELL students to develop a story -- with very funny results! [Strategies for English Language Learners]

Adv_jwhite_2 Let Them Use Their Imaginations...
Last year's Grades 1-2 Teacher Advisor Jill White teams up with former Grades 6-8 Teacher Advisor Jennifer Chandler to share ideas for motivating gifted learners. In a recent post, Jill uses reading as an opportunity for students to take an imagination journey and think creatively about what they are reading. [Strategies for Gifted Learners]

Play it S.A.F.E.R. - 5 Basic Rules for Kids' Online Behavior
Our Tech Tutors, Michelle Bourgeois and Gayle Berthiaume, are back! In a recent post, Michelle helps make online communication, learning and publishing real and safe for her students by giving them five basic rules for online behavior. [Tech Tutors: Supporting Teachers' Use of Technology]

Strategies for Arts Integration
A new and welcome addition to our teacher blogger team is Rob Southworth, who shares strategies for making personal and meaningful connections for deeper learning through the arts.

Visit our Teacher Advisors

The first few weeks of school are usually a whirlwind. Meeting new students and parents and establishing classroom routines are exhausting work after the long summer break. At the end of the day, you wonder where you'll find the energy for tomorrow's activities.

Peek inside our Teacher Advisors' classrooms for inspiration and strategies to super-charge your teaching.

Randolph_savvas_xlg_4 A Day in San Diego with Teacher Advisor Patty Blome
While on vacation, Naomi observed Patty at work with at-risk teens in her READ 180 classroom. Patty's passion and energy inspired her students to write honestly about the challenges they face. [Inside Naomi and Alexandra's Kindergarten Classroom]

Atkinson_jennifer_xlg_2 First Grade Classroom Management Wrap-Up
Jennifer’s wrap up includes descriptions about whole class consequences, time-out recess, stickers, sad sticks, incentive charts, nice notes, red notes, and what’s inside the treasure box. [Inside Jennifer's 1st Grade Classroom]

Bunyi_angela_xlg_2 A Blended Approach to Reading and Writing Conferences
A self-appointed reading/writing physician, Angela shares her prescription for blending reading and writing conferences. [Inside Angela's 4th Grade Classroom]

Blair_sandra_xlg_2 Teaching Vocabulary Can Be Comical
Sandra discusses how a colleague uses newspaper comic strips to get students reading and learning new vocabulary. [Inside Sandra's Middle School Classroom]

Blome_patty_xlg_2 Know Your Teacher Persona
Teachers need to find their persona and accentuate it for maximum effect on their students and to stay relevant in their lives. [Inside Patty's High School Classroom]

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in What's New @ Scholastic.com are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.