April 22nd is Earth Day, a day when (historically) more than 1 billion people in 192 countries put the Earth’s health ahead of convenience, habits, and cultural norms. It’s a day when teachers of all kinds encourage an understanding of how mankind’s actions affect the planet we call home. This is a time to learn how the ingrained habits of a throw-away society imperil our future. On Earth Day, we as cohabitants of this great planet evaluate how changes in our actions can improve the environment.
There are a wide variety of websites to help you in this endeavor, from analyzing what you’re doing that threatens the Earth to finding alternatives. Here are some of my favorites:
Online; Grades 5-12
In this Earth Day webquest, student teams vie for $1 million in funding from the fictional nonprofit, Help Our World (HOW) Foundation. Each team builds a case to address the particular environmental concern they consider to be the most critical by researching, building a convincing argument, and then presenting it to their audience. Presentations are voted on my fellow students to determine who will be awarded the grant.
The webquest includes everything you need for this activity including a list of materials required, student assignments, step-by-step and day-to-day instructions, worksheets, lots of Earth Day resources, reflections, and national standards addressed. This is a deep dive into a particular environmental concern encouraging students to investigate, support their opinions with evidence, and then share their passion with classmates.
Many Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. To non-Christians (or non-traditional Christians), that event signifies a rebirth of spring that is filled with joy and gifts — and chocolate! Overall, it is America’s most-popular holiday with Christmas a close second. The date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. This year, it’s April 4, 2020.
Here’s a good mixture of games, lesson plans, stories, and songs that can be blended into many academic subjects (for updates on this Easter-themed list of websites, click here):
This website includes a colorful collection of Easter (and Spring) games and information that is visual and enticing to youngers. Games are Easter Math, Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Egg Dress-up, Easter Word hunt, complete-the-sentence, and more. Also, viewers will find websites about the history of Easter around the world.
Like all of ABCYa’s games and activities, Easter Egg Hunt is a colorful and intuitive educational game for young children. It is easy-to-understand, playful, with favorite Easter symbols and energetic music that will engage children. The five Easter-themed games are easy-to-understand (no directions required) with a countdown clock to motivate activity. Nicely, it also aligns gameplay with the national standards met.
- Puzzle–St. Pat’s Puzzle
- Puzzle–St. Pat’s drag-and-drop puzzle
- Puzzle–St. Pat’s slide puzzle
- Puzzles and games
- Physical Education St. Patrick’s Day Activities from Elementary PE Teacher.com
- Resources for St. Pat’s Day from Education.com by grade and subject
- St. Patrick’s Day history–video
- St. Pat’s Day songs–videoSt
- Tic tac toe
Two math celebrations are coming up this month:
World Maths Day
Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form.
Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning autistic savant, holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes.
Before becoming a teacher, I didn’t understand why the 100th day of school was a big deal. At first, I thought it had to do with finding something exciting about the dreariness of post-Christmas January but when I counted school days from Labor Day to the hundred-day mark (skipping weekends, two weeks at Christmas and a week at Thanksgiving), that put me in the second week of February. Some colleagues say the 100th Day is a rich teachable moment that revolves around math. One efriend told me it occurs about the time when most kindergarten curricula cover how to count to 100. Others tell me it’s simply a milestone, important to young children and passe to olders.
How to celebrate
Turns out, the reason doesn’t really matter because celebrating isn’t a problem with kids. They love parties. So I decided to accommodate the 100th Day fever by wrapping it in learning. Here are thirteen activities I like that blend learning into a celebration of the 100th Day of School:
As a class, come up with two locations in each state, to total 100. One will be oriented around geography and one around history (such as “Kansas became a state January 29, 1861”). Include a brief description and a picture and then share the collection with parents and schoolmates in the class newsletter or another vehicle.
Research what happened the hundredth year of your home country’s existence. What was the country like a hundred years ago? What caused it to change? Who was president? What has been invented since then? Divide the class into groups so the project can be completed in one class period. Then, have everyone copy their information to a digital magazine (like you can create in Canva or Adobe) and share it with everyone.
Until January 18th:
Free Martin Luther King Day Lesson Plans
- brief summary of the project
- Essential Question
- Big Idea
- Common Core and ISTE alignment
- materials required
- teacher prep required
- step-by-step instructions
- extensions to dig deeper into the subject
- assessment strategies
- sample grading rubric
- sample project
Every year, January 1st, is Public Domain Day. This is an observance of when copyrights expire and works enter into the public domain–free for all to use. According to Duke Law Center for the Study of the Public Domain, here are some of the newly-available artistic works you might like a/o January 1, 2021:
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
- Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
- Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time
- Franz Kafka, The Trial (in German)
- Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy
- Sinclair Lewis, Arrowsmith
- Agatha Christie, The Secret of Chimneys
- Aldous Huxley, Those Barren Leaves
- W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil
- Edith Wharton, The Writing of Fiction
- Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto, A Daughter of the Samurai
–Comments are closed but feel free to contact me via Twitter (@askatechteacher). (more…)
I’ll be taking a few weeks off–until after the New Year–to edit/format my website, work on projects with a deadline, prioritize life, and wish my two adult military children could come home to visit. I may drop in on you-all as you enjoy your holidays, but mostly I’ll be regenerating.
I wish you a wonderful season, safe and filled with family.
See you in a few weeks!
–Comments are closed but feel free to contact me via Twitter (@askatechteacher).
DialMyCalls (an AATT sponsor) has a special Christmas offer for kids:
Free Santa Calls To Your Family This Christmas
This Christmas we have a great gift for everyone! Whether you’re an existing DialMyCalls user or not, you can take advantage of our completely free phone call from Santa. Imagine the look on your child’s face when they receive a personalized phone call from Santa with his or her name on it!
- Simply select your child’s name and the message from Santa you want sent on this link.
- Pick the time, date and phone number you want the call sent to.
- We create a personalized message and send the call when you want it sent!
- Each household can send up to 3 free calls from Santa Claus.
- Additional Santa Calls may be purchased for a small fee.
What an amazing gift to any child for Christmas!
Holiday gifts for teachers are a challenge. If your child has many teachers, it’s difficult to find a personalized gift for each that is both affordable and valued. For me, as a teacher, I am always happy with a gift certificate that works anywhere but there are time-proven ways to get more creative than a gift that sounds like “money”.
When I chat with teacher friends, here are the most popular gifts they’ve gotten over the years. Many are free and others allow you to spend only what you can afford while still giving a gift the teacher will love.
Most popular gifts
The suggestions below provide ample choices of gifts for your child’s teacher regardless of how well you know them.
Compliments to the Administration
Happy parents often forget to share their joy with the teachers’ administrators. Too often, Principals hear from parents only when they’re angry about the teacher or some class activity. Providing unsolicited good news about the teacher’s effectiveness is a wonderful treat for both the teacher and the school’s administrators.
A Thank You Letter
Handwrite a note to the teacher telling them how much you and your child appreciate what they do. There’s little more valuable to a teacher than the acknowledgment from stakeholders that their efforts are appreciated.