Blogs on Primary (K-2)

Blogs on Primary (K-2)RSS
Judy Willis MDNovember 19, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect

For many students, the brain isn't a hot topic of conversation. This is especially true for younger students who are still trying to understand the world around them, and are still far from developing physiological self-awareness of the very thing that gives them that self-awareness.

But helping students develop "brain literacy" doesn't have to be a matter of dry science pumped full of confusing jargon. Understanding the brain can be empowering for students as they recognize their ability to strengthen it each time they use it. As a teacher, you can emphasize how using the executive functions, both in the classroom and outside of school, increases their strength for academic success. Practice makes perfect!

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Monica BurnsNovember 15, 2013

For families traveling this winter or teachers simply looking for an alternative to tablet games, there are lots of great apps for winter reading. Android devices, iPhones and iPads can be turned into ebook readers with a quick tap or swipe. Portable and kid-friendly, these interactive storybooks will support and engage young readers.

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I'll admit, as the mom of a toddler I may be excessively preoccupied with the alphabet. But truly, letters are the building blocks of the English language and early literacy. Since November is National Novel Writing Month, I indulged in sharing a few of my favorite ABC videos. I started this playlist just for fun, and quickly found that the constraints of the 26-letter sequence provide a great framework for engaging lists of all kinds. As an exercise for your students, little and big, ask them to use the letters of the alphabet as a structure to get creative around a topic -- just see what they come up with!

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Monica BurnsOctober 25, 2013

More and more classrooms are gaining access to technology that can be used with students. Whether you're modeling a lesson, creating stations or working in a one-to-one classroom, virtual tools can promote student engagement while increasing academic success.

Here are some free apps for iPads -- along with a few other tips -- that can transform your daily lessons and are definitely worth checking out! Read More
Erin KleinOctober 15, 2013

As a classroom teacher, it was never my intention to integrate technology into all facets of my instruction. I knew that I would be encouraged to use such digital devices in my practice, but I hesitated to introduce a tool simply because it was flashy. After all, I thought of my traditional lessons as being flashy enough. I didn't need a device to amp up my creative curriculum.

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Anna AdamOctober 10, 2013

Editor’s Note: Helen Mowers, co-creator of the Tech Chicks podcast, contributed to this post.

It's hard to imagine a single career that doesn't have a need for someone who can code. Everything that "just works" has some type of code that makes it run. Coding (a.k.a. programming) is all around us. That's why all the cool kids are coding . . . or should be. Programming is not just the province of pale twenty-somethings in skinny jeans, hunched over three monitors, swigging Red Bull. Not any more! The newest pint-sized coders have just begun elementary school.

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Maurice EliasOctober 8, 2013

In Dan Goleman's new book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, he shows the importance of being able to direct and sustain our attention on everything from, well, everything! Not paying attention is downright dangerous. The inability to focus and sustain attention can rob us of relationships, deep knowledge, career accomplishment, peace of mind, and high test scores. But, as Goleman's book makes clear, we can learn to focus.

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Harvey ZahnOctober 7, 2013

In physical education, curricular requirements such as fitness development, motor skills and health knowledge must be pursued with vigor. But after my 38 years in the field, let me state the obvious. All teachers, specialists included, should consider their subject matter as secondary to teaching children. This primary mission occurs when we prioritize two goals:

  1. Building a sound relationship between teacher and student
  2. Guiding the student in the study of personal/social management skills (PSMS)
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Beth HollandSeptember 23, 2013

"Television rots your brain." In a similar vein, video games turn your mind to mush, and staring at a screen for too long potentially makes you a zombie. In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a report suggesting that children under two should not have any screen time. Since the release of that report, numerous studies have emerged to address this issue of screen time, from the 2012 report Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education to Lisa Guernsey's Screen Time: How Electronic Media - From Baby Videos to Educational Software - Affects Your Young Child.

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Bob LenzSeptember 20, 2013

Last spring, 450 elementary students in San Rafael, Calif., turned their classroom lessons into a school-wide celebration of learning in the first-ever Classroom Connections Festival. Students performed dances, made music, and displayed works of art that were aligned with their grade-level curriculum, exploring subjects from animal behavior and math facts to American history and electromagnetism.

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