4 Tips on Encouraging Healthy Habits for Kids

April 14th, 2014 by TC Bear

Healthy Habits Pledge_Teacher Created Resources

Incorporating fun physical outdoor games and indoor classroom exercises are great ways for teachers to encourage students to establish healthy habits. The National Health Education Standards & Common Core State Standards aim to support a whole-child approach to education-one that that ensures that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged in their learning. Here are a few tips for establishing healthy habits in the classroom.

 

  1. Share the Healthy Habits Pledge above with students and discuss each line. Challenge students to learn the pledge and share it with family members. The goal here is to inspire the whole family to focus on good nutrition and support healthy habits. Post the pledge in the classroom and review it from time to time as students gain more insights into personal health.
  2. Introduce daily exercise to your students. Use physical activities to start the day and/or to transition from one activity to another. Throw in an extra exercise on tough days, or use more than one when weather conditions inhibit outdoor activity. These short, physical exercise breaks are a positive way to settle students for their day’s work.  And don’t forget breathing exercises! They can be done at any time of day and can help refocus or calm students as needed.
  3. Gather and display reference materials for the classroom on topics of nutrition, fitness, and overall health. Resources might include library or trade books, magazines, posters, and kid-friendly materials printed from government websites.  If appropriate, save links to relevant websites in a dedicated folder on classroom computers.
  4. Encourage students to start collecting packaging and nutritional labels from food products. Explain that they will be learning to read them and using them for comparisons. Establish an area in the classroom where these can be stores or displayed.

For free sample pages, classroom exercises, and ideas see Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids.

 

 

Spring Bulletin Board & Activity: We’re Leaving Winter Behind

April 3rd, 2014 by Brenda Stickland-Guest Blogger

 

Spring Bulletin Board-Teacher Created Resources

Out with the cold, and in with the Spring! A few students helped me create this “We’re Leaving Winter Behind!” Bulletin Board. The background was white bulletin board paper painted with purple and blue streaks. Instead of doing traditional bunny faces, I decided it would be fun to show off their cute little bunny tails using cotton batting. The students helped paint the bunnies with brown paint.  The butterflies and ladybugs were die cut.  I used Blue Polka Dots Scalloped Border Trim and Blue Polka Dot Letters to match the sky.

Spring Bulletin Board-Teacher Created Resources

The flowers were made using students’  handprints. You can use paint to make simple flowers, or try something a little different. Below are instructions to make Tulip and Daisy handprint flowers.

Spring Handprint Flowers

Materials:5140 Spring Flower Template-Teacher Created Resources

  • Green, white, and pastel-colored construction paper
  • Multi-colored paper cupcake liners
  • Leaves and stems patterns
  • Pencils
  • Safety scissors
  • Glue
  • Free Leaves and Stems template

Instruction for Tulip Flowers:

  1. On a pastel-colored construction paper, have students place their hands face down with their fingers open and trace their hand.
  2. Have students cut out their hand tracing. Encourage them to round the base of the flower (palm of the hand) to create a tulip-like shape.
  3. Have students color and cut out the leaves and stems template.
  4. Glue the handprint flower to the stem.

Instructions for Daisy Flower

  1. Trace hands with fingers spread apart on white construction paper.
  2. Have students cut out their hand tracing.
  3. Have four or five students combine their handprints (at the palms) and attach them to the back of the cupcake liner to create a flower
  4. Have students color and cut out the leaves and stems template.
  5. Glue the flower handprint flower to the stem.

Additional Display Suggestion

  • Cover a display area or bulletin board to create a spring outdoor scene.
  • Use blue paper at the top for the sky. Add white, fluffy clouds and a sun.
  • Use green paper at the bottom for grass. Snip the edge of the green paper to give the suggestion of individual blades.
  • Add the “flowers” to create a spring garden. Encourage students to choose where to put their flowers. Ask them to use directional worlds like above, below, and beside.

For more handprint activities and idea see Handprints, Footprints and Holidays!

Spring Craft: Egg Carton Caterpillar

March 25th, 2014 by Portia Stewart

Caterpillar TCR-Art for All Seasons

This spring craft offers kids so much room for imagination and learning. This is a great craft to bring a butterfly life cycle lesson to life! This project requires some recycled egg cartons so this would also be a perfect classroom craft for earth day to demonstrate recycling and reusing materials for new projects.

Materials:

-Cardboard Egg Cartons
-Scissors
-Green Paint
-Paintbrushes
-Markers
-Pipe Cleaners
-Tape (optional)
-Wiggly eyes (optional)

Let’s Do It!

  1. Cut off the top of the egg carton, and cut the bottom half into two strips to make two caterpillars.
  2. Place the egg carton strips upside down so the hollow of the cups cannot be seen. Paint them green, then allow the paint to dry.
  3. Once dry, use markers to add details, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth, or glue on wiggly eyes.
  4. Cut two pipe cleaners into thirds. Insert one piece of pipe cleaner on the side of each cup to create the caterpillar’s legs.
  5. Cut two pipe cleaners into thirds. Insert one piece of pipe cleaner on the side of each cup to create the caterpillar’s legs.
  6. Inside each egg cup, bend down the ends of the pipe cleaners. Tape can be used to secure the antennae and legs.

Our little crafters loved the caterpillars so much they immediately took them to the trees so their caterpillars could eat leaves!

TCR Caterpillar-Art for All Seasons

Butterfly Life Cycle Idea: 

TCR Caterpillar

Have the students make butterfly wings out of construction paper and hold on to these for later. Keep the caterpillars in the trees. The next day, before the students come to class, add the butterfly wings to their caterpillars and put each caterpillar in a brown bag, like a chrysalis.  Hang them up in the trees and when they notice them, tell them we will have to wait and see what “those bags” could be.  The following morning, tear open the bags and have the caterpillars hanging half in and half outside the chrysalises, drying their butterfly wings.

More Ideas

-Add more personality to your caterpillars by using plastic wiggly eyes or construction paper for clothes and shoes.

-Other insects can be made from single sections of an egg carton. Try making ladybugs, painted black with red spots, or spiders, painted black with eight pipe cleaner legs.

-Obtain a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Putnam, 1969) and A Guide for Using The Very Hungry Caterpillar in the Classroom and try some of the creative writing activities and pocket chart patterns.

For more spring crafts and activities see, Art for All Seasons.

Reading Strategies for ELL (English Language Learners)

March 20th, 2014 by TC Bear

Reading Strategies for ELL/ESL

As teachers receive more and more ESL/ELLs (English Language Learners) into their classrooms, it’s important that they learn to integrate them with the rest of their student population.  The following reading strategies will help you with the process. Comprehensiable instruction and opportunities for verbal interaction will motivate students to engage in learning and actively participate in classroom activities. Here are some great reading strategies to help ELLs be more comfortable with reading.

Echo Reading

Use this strategy to help struggling readers with fluency, pronunciation, intonation, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. The teacher (or other native English speaker) reads the text first, using proper intonation and a good pace. Students follow along silently and then “echo”, or imitate, the first reader.

Echo reading helps ELL students 
-Improve sight reading and speaking skills.
-Build confidence in their pronunciations.
-Remember important concepts.

Ways to Use Echo Reading: During chants, jingles, songs, poetry, and short stories.

Tips for Teaching this Strategy:
-Use gestures to show students which text to read.
-Have Students who are native English speakers lead the reading; it’s helpful for ELLs to hear voices similar to their own.
-Adjust the length of the text being read to meet the needs of your students. (e.g. For Emerging ELLs, the first reader should read one line of text; for Developing ELLs (and higher levels), the first reader can read several lines of text.)

Sample Activity
Hold a hand to an ear to demonstrate the idea of hearing an echo. Explain that bats use echoes and different tones to locate food sources and other important information. Vary the pitch (higher or lower) while reading to encourage students to practice different intonations when they echo read.

 

Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DRTA)

Use this strategy to model how to make and confirm predictions. Here are the steps to DRTA:
1) Choose a text. Preselect stopping points where students can pause while reading.
2) Preview keywords or pictures. Ask questions to guide students’ thinking.
3) Have students make prediction about what they will read.
4) Stop at set points so students can check predictions, revise them, and make new predictions.
5) Ask questions to help students match their predictions to the reading.
6) Discuss what has been read before reading the next section.

Examples: Use objects or pictures to preview a text and make predictions; ask questions about keywords and vocabulary; focus on characters and what they might do.

Tips for Teaching this ELL Strategy
-Use as a whole-class or small-group activity
-Remind students to use what they already know to make predictions

Sample Activity
Have students look at pictures in a book to predict what a story or text might be about. Have them write one or two questions they have about the story. Review the students’ questions to determine where to stop and discuss the story. Read the selection as a class, pausing as planned. Call on the students who quote questions related to that part of the story, and conduct discussion about the reading thus far.

For more strategies on teach ESL/ELLs, see Strategies to use with your English Language Learners