Monday, October 30, 2017

Teaching Thankfulness in the Primary Classroom

No matter what your age, two little words go such a long way. Thank you


Free ideas and resources to teach children gratitude. #thankfulness #gratitude #thankyounotes  #thanksgivingactivities


Teaching thankfulness in the primary classroom through not only words but actions has so many benefits for our students from character development to overall well-being. 

When kids can show appreciation for what they have and for those around them, they’ll feel happier. Here are some ways to teach thankfulness in the primary grades. 

Write a happiness list. 
Invite your students to think of all the people and things in their lives that make them happy. Together as a class create a happiness circle map anchor chart and post it near a writing center as a springboard for new stories. Be sure to also jot down what makes you smile. Your students may be surprised at just how many things they have that give them joy. 


Free ideas and resources to teach children gratitude. #thankfulness #gratitude #thankyounotes  #thanksgivingactivities


Encourage your students to create their own happiness maps to keep in their writing folder or notebook that they can continue to add to as they discover new joys. Younger primary students or those who struggle with writing may do this with pictures while others can use both pictures and words. 

Send thank you notes. 
Good manners dictate that we should send notes of appreciation after someone does something kind for us.When you receive a gift or a favor, it’s typical and expected to show thanks by writing a considerate note. 

What about the thank you notes that no one expects? Encourage your students to write thank you notes (in words, pictures, or both) to people who have influenced them in a positive way or made a difference in their lives. Think about the custodian that keeps the school clean and running, the school secretary that relays messages from their parents, or their mother who drops off their forgotten jacket on a chilly day. Have them reflect on a teacher that has helped them or a friend who always has something good-natured to say. Surprise thank you notes not only show appreciation and make others feel good; they make the giver feel great too! 


Free ideas and resources to teach children gratitude. #thankfulness #gratitude #thankyounotes  #thanksgivingactivities

I like to keep a stack of these thank you notes in a basket at the writing center so my students can write to a special person when they have feelings of gratitude. You can grab these free Thank You Notes for your class! 

Reflect on nature’s gifts. 
Have your students look at and reflect upon the world around them. The earth gives us so much for which to be thankful! One of my favorite activities to do with students is create layered ”I Am Thankful” books. This creative and crafty activity allows your students to share all they are thankful from the sky to the earth. This book is such a precious keepsake! 


Free ideas and resources to teach children gratitude. #thankfulness #gratitude #thankyounotes  #thanksgivingactivities


Practice random acts of kindness. 
Doing nice things for others “just because” is an excellent way to demonstrate gratitude. There are little things students can do to show kindness without expecting recognition. Sharing school supplies with someone in need, helping a classmate pick up their materials, giving someone a smile (or even a cute smiley sticker), or paying a kind compliment are just a few ways to make someone feel wanted and appreciated. 

 Practicing kindness and thankfulness in school not only helps our students realize the good they have in their lives, but it also serves as bullying prevention. When kids are kind to each other and show appreciation, the effects are enormously positive. 

Teaching thankfulness in the primary classroom enables our students to building good character and a positive classroom community . Use some of these strategies to help your kids be mindful of what they have and share their gifts with others. 

Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving resources you may want to take a closer look at, lots of meaningful, engaging activities. :) 


Free ideas and resources to teach children gratitude. #thankfulness #gratitude #thankyounotes  #thanksgivingactivities


Free ideas and resources to teach children gratitude. #thankfulness #gratitude #thankyounotes  #thanksgivingactivities

Free ideas and resources to teach children gratitude. #thankfulness #gratitude #thankyounotes  #thanksgivingactivities


Finally here are a few of our favorite Thankful read alouds!



 For your convenience I have included links to the texts that are affiliate links, I may earn a small commission to keep this site running at no cost to you. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Teacher’s Guide to Fine Motor Skills for Young Learners

Hello Friend!

Are your students struggling with basic skills such as buttoning or zipping his or her coat, building block towers, or cutting and pasting? These are all signs that their fine motor skills aren't as developed as they should be. Fine motor abilities help children coordinate their hand movements and are critical to building other learning skills. 

Children start to develop fine motor skills many years before they enter our classrooms. Just as babies learn to use their pinchers, our young learners are learning to  
  • Use safely scissors
  • Paste objects onto paper
  • Hold and use pencils or crayons well enough to color
  • Finish puzzles with at least five pieces
  • Build with blocks
  • Use a zipper
  • Button and unbutton
The development of these skills is an important foundation for the success of other important skills in the future such as writing, drawing, and self care.
As with other areas of development, we play an important role in providing activities and resources to help our students develop their fine motor skills. A lack of fine motor skills can lead to learning and attention issues later on. As teachers, we want to do everything in our power set our children up for success. 
The best way to set our students up for success is by offering multiple, creative, ways for them to develop these skills. I like to combine developing fine motor abilities with other learning opportunities. 

As our young learners are developing fine motor skills they are often also learning to identify and form the letters of the alphabet.  

With this outcome in mind I created Fine Motor Alphabet Activities for young learners to practice both skills in an engaging way. As a teacher I know we have a million things on our never ending lists I wanted the activities to be teacher friendly with very little cost for materials or prep work! Most of these activities can be printed out and used year after year!

Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!

Develop Fine Motor Skills Through Learning

For your convenience I have included some links on this site that are affiliate links, I may earn a small commission to keep this site running at no cost to you.

A good place to start is by having students fill in the letters. This is a great activity for pre-k and kindergarten students. There are a lot of different ways they can fill the letters in. 

You could supply a basket of some fun erasers and having them simply place the erasers inside to build the letters. I pick up seasonal erasers at the Target dollar spot but I have also found them at Amazon


Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!


An always engaging option for students to help build hand and finger muscles is to roll out Play-Doh "snakes" and fill in the letters. Play-Doh never gets old for our young learners! 


Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!

Using tweezers is an excellent way to develop thumb-forefinger pincer grasp while manipulating small objects like mini pom poms to fill in the letters. Being able to squeeze the tweezers and place the pom-poms is both challenging and rewarding for little hands.

Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!


The next activity focuses on correct letter formation and writing skills. Have your students start by tracing the letters with their fingers to learn proper letter formation. If you have parent volunteers or an assistant, an excellent option would be to use hot glue over the letter so your students have a tactile experience with the letter.  

Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!


Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!

Students will also have an opportunity to follow the letter formation arrows to correctly to build or trace the shape of each letter before using the starting dots to write their own letters. Using dry erase plastic pockets makes this an easy to prep center that can be used over and over again! 

Finally, you can have advanced young learners do more precise handiwork. Students will enjoy using a Q-tip to paint the little circles in the letters. Developing this fine skill takes a lot more hand-eye coordination. A great enrichment for students who have already mastered the lower level fine motor abilities. 


Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!


If Q-tip painting is too difficult, have students start by using dot markers and filling in bigger circles with dot markers. These pages could be saved so each student can make an alphabet book.


Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!


Develop Fine Motor Skills Through Creativity

Letting your students use their own creativity is one of the best ways to build hand-related skills.  Giving students freedom to build the letters using their own creativity helps them grow on multiple levels. 


Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!

Students will love having a choice to find different ways to build the letters. They can use beads, wiki sticks, stickers, and even Legos to build letters. Being able to grab these small objects and purposefully place them helps children build hand-eye coordination.  


Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!

Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!


Develop Fine Motor Skills Through Playing

Young learners need play time just as much as they need formal classroom learning, maybe even more so. You should be intentional to make time for your students to explore their hand-related skills through play. 

At such a young age, most children aren't thinking of end results. For example, they don't see a block and think, "I should build a house out of those." Instead, they begin to stack blocks and go until they can't stack them any higher. Their purpose isn't to be the best four-year-old architect, but to learn what happens when they stack. 

These everyday experiences help children build fine motor skills without pressure.

 

Get These Fine Motor Alphabet Activities Resources for Your Students
Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!


Get a FREE sample to start using with your students today! 

Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!

Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!

Fine motor alphabet activities are a fun learning center for preschool and kindergarten kids. In this blog post get free printables to use with your children today!




Friday, August 25, 2017

The Best Growth Mindset Picture Books

Hello Friend! 

Growth Mindset! When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Even at such a young age, it is essential for us to teach our students that their intelligence can be grown or developed with persistence and effort. 

Last year I saw a huge shift in my student's determination and effort as I worked hard to build a growth mindset culture. 

As a teacher who loves teaching through mentor texts, I am sharing a few of my favorites that lend themselves perfectly to fostering a growth mindset. 


The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View full disclosure policy here.**

The Most Magnificent Thing is a perfect text to help students distinguish both fixed and growth mindset traits in a character.  In this story the girl has a wonderful idea to make the most magnificent thing. But making the magnificent thing turns out to be a challenge. The girl tries and fails, gets really mad and quits. But after a while she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. 

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It is a fun and engaging introduction to the anatomy and functions of the brain for young readers. The text also teaches that making mistakes and doing challenging things are one of the best ways for our brain to learn and get stronger. A perfect read to help students understand the concept of neuroplasticity!


The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

Do you strive to make your classroom a safe and nurturing place for your students to grow and soar to new heights but teach that THEY they must make themselves vulnerable to take risks while learning? The Dot is a perfect text to use. When Vashti took a risk and tried something new, she created amazing art better than she could have ever imagined. She even encouraged another boy to change from a fixed to a growth mindset and create his own art. 


The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

Thanks for the Feedback, I Think is a story about RJ who isn’t sure how to respond to positive and negative feedback. He learns to accept and grow from criticism and compliments at home, school, and with friends. This book is a great way to help growth minded students understand why receiving feedback is so useful. The text also portrays how to give constructive feedback to others. 


The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

Have you taught your kids the power of yet? In Not Yet Lorisa, the main character takes you through her day at home and at school as she models for children a positive attitude as she makes some mistakes and experiences successes, too.  


The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

In the text The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes the character Beatrice Bottomwell: a nine-year-old girl never wanted to make a mistake and she did not take risks (ice skating) for fear of failure.  Later she had a growth mindset when she learned making mistakes is more fun and interesting. 


The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds


The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds

Bubble Gum Brain is such a fun read!  In the text you meet Bubble Gum Brain and Brick Brain: two kids with two VERY different mindsets. Bubble Gum Brain likes to have fun adventures, learn new things, and doesn't worry about making great mistakes. Brick Brain is convinced that things are just fine the way they are and there's not much he can do to change them, so why try? When Bubble Gum Brain shows Brick Brain how to peel off his wrapper, Brick Brain begins to realize just how much more fun school...and life... can be! 


The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds
The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds


The best books to teach kids about growth mindset! Take a peek inside these read alouds
Do you have any favorites to add to this list? Leave the title in the comments below so I can check them out!

If you are interested in more growth mindset ideas and resources check out these blog posts