As always, these are FREE to download. We love sharing this free resource for those who need or want it. These bingo charts have been great for readers who want a challenge and for readers who need some motivation or direction to get started.
On the bingo chart, there are several squares for reading books about different winter celebrations and holidays. If you don’t know where to find these books, look no further! We did the work for you last winter! Check out our winter holiday book lists:
The bingo charts are available in both color and black and white, for whatever your preference is. Download them here!
Thanksgiving can be a tricky topic in school to learn about and celebrate, especially when we want to be respectful of those who may not celebrate the holiday.
At its very core, Thanksgiving is about being thankful, which is always a great topic and value to teach to all ages of children in schools. You don’t have to explicitly celebrate Thanksgiving in your classroom to celebrate and learn about being thankful.
We can start off by having a simple conversation about being thankful and what it means to us. We can talk about the different things we can be thankful for from everyday necessities like water, food, and shelter, to the bigger things like our gaming systems at home, bikes, etc. There are also things to be thankful for like friends, family, and teachers.
Ways we can incorporate thankfulness in the classroom-
A thankful tree art project- an empty tree trunk that eventually is filled with leaves that are written with what the students are thankful for.
A thankful turkey art project- similar to the thankful tree, but a more “Thanksgiving” approach if you’re wanting to head that way.
Write thank-you notes to teachers, janitors, administration, cafeteria workers, and more.
Take a few minutes of class each day to have the students tell everyone what they are thankful for.
Create thankful journals in class and write in them when possible.
Have students write what they are thankful for on a strip of paper and draw a few each day to read to the class.
Let the students highlight each other when they see the kindness their peers are showing.
When we are looking at the good, positive aspects of our lives, the good only gets better. That’s why promoting and talking about being thankful in our classrooms is only a net positive for everyone. It’s eye-opening for everyone to see what others value and are thankful for in their lives, and can remind us more about what we are thankful for in our lives.
Do you talk about being thankful with your students? What does this look like in your classroom?
My daughter brought home her first spelling list to practice this school year, you can read about how hard she worked for her spelling test in my post here.
Recently, we had quite the opposite experience with her. After a few weeks of great scores on spelling tests, she started becoming incredibly confident in her work, which really was great! Until that translated to being too confident. I think you already know where this is going, don’t you?
We had a week where homework was a fight. I tried to find a good balance of prompting and encouraging, but not pushing too hard either and causing more pushback from the constant nagging. It’s a delicate balance! By the time the spelling test came around, she hadn’t practiced the words at all. They also do a reading test, where they read a passage and answer questions about the passage… This also was never practiced during the week prior to the test. I figured there were probably going to be some great natural consequences for her when she realized how much harder the tests would be when she didn’t spend the time practicing.
We had dealt with some academic-related anxiety with her earlier in the school year, so knowing this, I had a conversation with her before the school day to prep her for the pending spelling test that I was anticipating ending in tears. We talked about trying our best and how sometimes when we don’t practice, the test can be a lot harder for us. When we do practice, it’s much easier because we know what to expect. She took it all in and seemed like she understood what I was saying.
That afternoon she came home with a spelling test in her hand. Her final score? 100%. She completely aced it! I couldn’t believe it. Everything I was trying to do had backfired completely. What she had just learned was “I can get a good score even when I don’t put in the time and effort.”
This is why differentiated spelling lists are so important. Because odds are, there was also a child in that class who despite the work, time, and effort put in, still did poorly. This doesn’t mean one child is better or worse than another, it means that the needs and levels are different and therefore should be differentiated.
Reading groups are differentiated for the most part in our school, why can’t we include spelling words and tests in that as well?
What are our students actually learning if they are either trying too hard or not trying hard enough on their spelling tests each week?
Many of us have specific guidelines and curriculums we must follow as a teacher, but how can we still use these, but work around them in creating and using differentiated spelling lists?
Other posts on spelling words that may be helpful:
When I was in sixth grade I had a teacher who would take the time every single day to read the Joke of the Day in the newspaper. Every day, without fail.
We all looked forward to hearing the joke of the day and sometimes we would have a fun discussion about the joke, too.
It was the very first thing we did in his classroom each day and it set the tone for the remainder of the school day.
Laughing and joking immediately puts your mind at ease, it tells your body, “I am safe here, this place is okay.” This is why some people like to joke around when they are in dangerous or stressful situations, they are trying to trick their bodies into thinking they are safe and okay.
School can feel stressful and scary for many students, but starting the school year, and even just your day, in a setting where joking and laughing and great discussions are held tells the mind, “This is somewhere we like to be. This is safe.”
If you’re not already doing something similar to Joke of the Day or adding humor into your classrooms or schools, I would strongly suggest finding a way to implement it.
It’s a simple, easy way to tell your students that they are welcome, safe, needed, and happy in their environment.
Do you do a joke of the day in your classroom?
Photo by Katerina Holmes: https://www.pexels.com/photo/cheerful-black-teacher-with-diverse-schoolkids-5905918/
The world is a heavy place right now. With wars raging in Ukraine, Israel, and multiple other places dotted across the globe, there is a lot to process. There is also a lot out there throughout the media to sift through, some facts being truthful and some unfortunately not.
How do we talk to our students about these heartbreaking events going on right now? Especially in a day and age where teachers can easily be attacked for what is said in the classroom.
Teach your students how to find factual sources. No need to lead them to specific news websites or bring up current events if it’s not on the schedule. But in almost every classroom, a lesson on how to find and cite factual sources is relevant. Help them to decipher the information on their own, if their parents allow.
Remind your students that they are safe. Allow them to use your classroom as a safe space emotionally and remind them of all the safety protocols around your school that keep it physically safe as well.
Just listen. Sometimes, human beings don’t need someone else to pass facts and opinions back and forth. Not everyone is out there looking for a debate. Sometimes, people just need a listening ear. No words are needed, just validating feelings and thoughts and turning into a listening ear.
Stick to facts. If the topic of wars, presidential elections, or something else comes up in your classroom, stick to the facts. There is a time and place for debate and opinions, but to stay on the safe side, the classroom is not this place. Stick to facts when students have worries or questions, and refer them to school counselors when and if needed.
We as humans need the time and space to process everything going on around us. It seems as if every day there is something new going on to add to our worry list. But as teachers, we can put on a strong face and support our students who have heavy hearts and are struggling during this time.
Going to school can be anxiety-ridden for some students for many different reasons. Some ways to help combat anxiety in situations include practicing affirmations and utilizing deep breathing techniques. Here are some of our favorite affirmations that parents and teachers can use and teach to those anxious littles.
“I don’t know this… yet.”
“I am smart and know the answers. But if I don’t, I can ask for help.”
We’ve been getting creative at our house working on spelling words each week and developing new ways to practice. Here are a few of our favorites:
Type out the spelling words on the computer using fun fonts and different sizing.
Write out spelling words on sticky notes and hide them around the room. Have your child find the sticky notes, read the word, then spell the word.
Use the sticky note method above, but this time create different sentences with the spelling words. The sillier the better!
Play freeze dance, and when it’s time to freeze, choose a word to spell out loud. We love The Kiboomers Party Freeze Dance song, you can find it on most music streaming services.
Write the spelling words on personal whiteboards (or a big whiteboard if you have one accessible!) Changing the medium that the words are being written can be helpful.
Another change of medium is writing the spelling words on a mirror or window with a dry-erase marker. After the words are written, spell out loud a word for your child and have them erase the word you spelled out loud.
Sit down together with the spelling word list and find repeating patterns within the words. Give words in different categories and organize them. Pulling apart and analyzing the words can help with spelling them later on.