3 Must Do's On the First Day of School

The beginning of the school year is like a long, focused run.


Ready, Set, Go!  The beginning of the school year is like a long, focused run.  


Before students enter your classroom, you have spent hours getting ready. There are many important things to remember and share with students on the first day of school.  


When the big day arrives, there’s no better time to give yourself extra time by getting to school early and making sure everything is in place. The extra minutes provide a buffer for the unexpected and allow you to stay calm. That way you can welcome your newcomers with a smile and a good morning ritual to start the year. Once it’s time to get down to business, incorporate this list of First School Day Must Do’s.

  1. Positive teacher-student relationships start on the first day. Introduce yourself by sharing a bit of your personality. Tell them about your family, your interests, and the books you read over summer.  (If we want students to read, they need to know how much we like to read.) The students will quickly gauge your interaction style, and you want it to be one that is warm and respectful. While it takes time for everyone to get to know each other, the first day/week of school should include activities that focus on welcoming students, making them feel comfortable, and building a sense of community in your classroom.
  1. The procedural filled first day is exhausting for students, so build in time for movement breaks. Educator Aleta Margolis, founder and president of the Center for Inspired Teaching, emphasizes the important role that physical movement can and should play within the classroom, “For school to be a place where the talents of young people are cultivated rather than extinguished, we need to give students the freedom and responsibility to tinker, explore, test, prod, and physically interact with the world around them.” One way to do that is by incorporating movement into lessons.  
  1. A first day “must do” is to establish procedures, your management plan, and student expectations. However, it is also a day for enthusiasm about the coming attractions students will learn. Elementary students get excited about learning new topics and skills. Get them motivated by sharing a few highlights of the year ahead. Share sample projects from previous years, and empower them with your belief in their skills.

The first day never quite goes according to plan – especially the end of the day with all of the bus delay confusion.


Be patient with yourself and with your first day expectations. It’s an exciting day, but plans can go awry. That’s the beauty of teaching. No two days are the same. As day #1 comes to an end, thank students for a great day, and share how much you’re looking forward to seeing them again for day #2.

5 Great Films About Teaching for the Start of the School Year

5 great teacher movies

Looking for a great teacher movie to get you inspired for the start the school year?  Grab some popcorn, and watch one of the following selections.  


Captain Fantastic

Ben Cash is the ultimate homeschool parent.  Raising six kids in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, he teaches his amazing children how to be self-sufficient, well-read, and strong.  Their nonconformist life- style has consequences that eventually force Ben to face some hard truths. Poignant and thought-provoking.  


The Miracle Worker

A timeless classic starring Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft who recreated their stage roles as Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan.  The famous water scene (when Anne takes Helen to the water pump, and Helen understands the word w-a-t-e-r ) is legendary.  It’s the perfect movie example of teaching from the heart.  


Monsieur Lazar

After a school trauma, a compassionate, substitute teacher deals with his students’ emotions. Guiding the students through a difficult time, Monsieur Lazar does his best to make a difference in their lives while trying to build a new life of his own.  


Moonrise Kingdom

This is a movie about young love.  Two pre-adolescent runaways, Sam and Suzy, experience a thrilling adventure while the clueless adults set off on a mad search to find them.  Sam and Suzy are outcasts, but you will embrace the wonderful qualities that make them fascinating and endearing.  I would love to have Sam and Suzy in my classroom.   



Scary teacher alert.  I’ve sat in on a few testy band practices, but nothing compares to the agony delivered by jazz band director, Terence Fletcher.  In his teaching philosophy, the most harmful words are “Good Job!”  He pushes his ambitious student beyond limits with a teaching style I would NOT recommend.  Every teacher yells at some point, but this man’s fury is terrifying.

4 Ways to Communicate with Your New Students Before the First Day of School

Welcome new students wtih these strategies


“I haven’t received my ‘welcome back’ letter yet.”


With many weeks remaining before the official start of school, my young friend was worried about not receiving her official back-to-school letter. Her words made me realize the power simple letters/notes have in building a positive home-school connection. Students look forward to mail personally addressed to them, and the “official” letter builds excitement for the new year.  


Here are four ways to create a sense of classroom community before the first day of school.

  1. Update the “old-fashioned” letter with a QR code. Make the letter talk with an audio QR code of you reading the letter. Add back-to-school tips, fun information about you, and a reminder to keep reading before the first day. I recorded in Audacity, saved the audio link in Dropbox, and created the QR code with QR Code Generator.

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  1.  Hold a welcome back team-based Twitter chat session. Share books each teacher read over the summer, school news, and what to expect in the upcoming year. Email transcripts of the sessions to families that don’t use Twitter.  
  1. Post a 10-day countdown on your school’s website. Each day, post a “get ready for school” tip. For example, “There are only ten day until school starts. How many books have you read this summer? If you read one each remaining day, you’ll have read ten books this summer. Wow!”  
  1. Leverage the popularity of webcomics, graphic novels and comics with a back-to-school comic strip. Canva’s comic strip maker is easy to use and has free images, templates, and quick tutorials. It’s a great way to introduce yourself and make your students laugh. Post the comic strip on your school/classroom website, email it to families, or mail it in the form of a comic strip postcard:
Back-to-school comic strip


The beginning of school is exciting for everyone. After a summer spent recharging, it’s a time of clean slates, optimism, and nervous energy – the perfect time to start building a positive home-school connection. Letting students know you’re looking forward to meeting them sets a welcoming tone for a fresh, new start. 


6 Great Ice Breaker Activities for the First Week of School

Build community in your classroom with these ice breaker activities

The first day of school can be overwhelming for many students (and teachers). Despite new supplies and the promise of seeing friends, many students are nervous, and some are even a little scared. What can we do to alleviate some of these first week of school jitters?


While it takes time for everyone to get to know each other, the first week of school should include activities that focus on welcoming students, making them feel comfortable, and building a sense of community in your classroom.

  1. Use a spinner, a container filled with numbers, or a die. Whatever number appears after a spin, draw, or toss is the number of things the chosen student has to share about her/himself. Do this with students each day during the first week of school.  
  1. Add humor. It is a great stress reliever. Share a funny picture book to develop a positive connection on the first day. A classroom filled with laughter is a classroom with positive energy.
  1. Hearing soothing music when students arrive provides a welcoming atmosphere. As the year progresses, have students select different songs to begin and end each day or create “theme” songs for your classroom.  
  1. Create a “Getting-to-Know You” survey. Have students post and share their responses on a bulletin board. Information from the survey helps students get to know each other and helps you discover their reading and project interests. Sample questions include:
  • If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?  
  • What do you like to do away from school?
  • What do you want to learn this year?  
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  1. Examining the role of “favorite things” is a creative way for children to express their interests and feelings.  Ask children to think of (or bring in) an object that is special to them. How does the object represent their interests? What impact does it have on their lives?  
  1. Take student movement breaks. Like children, I have trouble sitting still, so movement helps me focus. We all need movement to perform at our very best – especially during the procedural-filled first week of school. Simple stretches and tossing a nerf ball while asking and answering questions are easy ways to integrate movement with learning. 

5 Things Teachers Can Do Right Now to Prepare for the New School Year

Early bird teachers start everthing early.  Non-early-birders prepare at their own pace.


Early bird teachers start everything early. They wake up early (even on vacation), they arrive early to meetings, submit their lesson plans early, and are prepared for the first day of school weeks in advance.  


Non-early birders prepare and plan at their own pace by setting deadlines to get things done. With the days of summer still plentiful, here are five, easy new school year tasks for teachers of all paces to add to their teacher survival kit.

  1. Read children’s and young-adult books. Discover new authors you enjoy and authors for all age levels. In the fall, as you guide students to new books appropriate for their age and interests, your summer reading will pay off with a “What Your Teacher Read This Summer” bulletin board.  
  1. After reading books you enjoy, create fun literacy centers. For example, reinforce these clever “wordplay” picture books with “brain game” word centers.  

The Alphabet Thief  Brain Game  

What is the pattern you see?

If Then Creativity Brain GamesCan you come up with two more that fit the pattern?  

  1. Make or buy a retro pocket apron. It will definitely come in handy the first week of school!
  1. Cultivate a growth mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck’s theory details how two mindsets – fixed and growth – exist in all of all us. Whether we view aspects of our lives through the fixed or growth mindset can make a big difference. The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher’s Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve is an excellent how-to-guide for teachers to implement a growth-oriented atmosphere in their classrooms and in themselves.  

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  1. As you prepare for the new school year, continue to relax and decompress. Don’t overdo it; relish the sweet days of the fleeting summer. 

Lesson Plans Revisited: How Veteran Teachers Can Improve Existing Approaches

Today, there are countless ways to plan and deliver a lesson, but teachers still seek ways to simplify the process.

The days of writing lesson plan goals, objectives and procedures, and saving supplemental materials in a big 3-ring binder are fast disappearing.  


Today, there are countless ways to plan and deliver a lesson, but teachers still seek ways to simplify the process. If you’re looking for new ways to streamline and/or enrich your planning, try one of the following and see how it works for you.  


Gather lessons online with open online educational resources (OER) such as OER Commons.  

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain. In other words, you can use the plans with students and share them with colleagues without asking for permission.  


Enliven a current plan with a new tool such as Google Maps.  

For example, educator Caitlin Tucker (ASCD, 2016) drops pins in different locations on Google Maps to teach story setting. Each pin has a creative writing prompt or the first line of a story that students need to complete. After students select their pins, they explore the area surrounding their pins via Google Earth to write their setting descriptions. This activity personalizes the lesson by providing students with choice and voice in how they learn.  


Get resources and lessons from a museum.  

Smithsonian Science How is a live middle school program streamed through the web that takes questions from students. It provides students with real-world science through free webcasts and supplements it with plans and resources. You can also use the resources to personalize your own lessons, develop a research project, or generate an interactive class experience.  


Use templates to streamline planning.  

Common Curriculum is an online lesson-planning and calendar tool. Teachers can customize plans with templates for subject areas and personal teaching styles. The site is easy to navigate and can definitely streamline the process. Their motto is “Take the busy work out of lesson planning, and spend more time changing lives.”  


Draw your plans with a visual, graphic organizer such as a concept map or a mind map.

Some teachers feel concept maps are designed for conveying knowledge, while mind maps are better at capturing information, but both are effective tools for planning. With concept maps, teachers identify key concepts and themes and draw connecting lines between related concepts. Connector lines contain keywords or phrases that summarize the relationship between the topics they connect.  


Mind maps branch off from a central idea into other associations and/or ideas. Teachers can mind map what they know about a unit by using key concepts and related information that adds depth and detail. Ideas can be grouped and topics prioritized. The process is one of discovery, classification, and decision making.

If Then Creativity: June Newsletter Educational Content Roundup


Summer is officially underway!  I hope everyone is enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation.


  • Congratulations on your accomplishments, hard work and the difference you made in the lives of many students.  Hopefully, our tips, ideas, and techniques for thriving during the end of year rush came in handy.  A special thank you to the teachers who shared stories and memories from their last days of school for our Last Day of School Diary.  


As you relax, enhance the post school year decompression process with the following posts:


5 Reasons Why Teachers Need Their Summers Off

Why Students Need Their Summers Off

You Made It!  6 Great Ways for Teachers to Decompress After a Demanding Year


Those of you who feel summer is the perfect time to earn extra money should read,


5 Great Ways to Have Fun, Learn and Earn During the Summer


If you find yourself reflecting on the past year, pat yourself on the back and remember the countless ways you changed lives for the better.  


If positive reflection is a practice you want to continue in your classroom this fall, download my 20 Day Self-Reflection Plan. The twenty daily reflections are grouped into four teaching domains (planning & preparation, classroom environment, instruction, professional responsibilities) and focus on the positive actions and strategies teachers perform in their classrooms.  Thinking about these positive accomplishments will lead to creative ideas and/or actions that help reframe issues and perspectives.


20 Day Self-Reflection Plan
The 20 Day Self-Reflection provides teachers with a simple way to incorporate reflection.
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Here are 7 great articles about teaching/education/learning I read in June.  

5 Great Ways for Teachers to Earn Extra Money During the Summer

Taking a summer job doesn’t have to be drudgery. If you’re a teacher looking for fun ways to earn extra money this summer, consider the following summer job ideas for teachers. 

While doing something you enjoy probably won’t make you rich overnight, it might put a little extra cash in your pocket. Here are 5 great ways for teachers to earn extra money during the summer:

  1.  Monetize Your Talents

Turn your extracurricular hobbies into earning opportunities. If you play an instrument, locate a few venues that book your type of music. Artists, create and sell your own art. Athletes, earn extra money with summer camps. Whatever your talent may be, you might be surprised at the opportunities available to you.  

  1.  Educate Outdoors

If you love the outdoors and have an interest and/or training in environmental education, many environmental/nature centers need seasonal educators to lead guided tours and to teach nature programs. An added perk is the stress reduction you will experience from walking in nature and inhaling the fresh air.  

  1.  Boost SAT and ACT Scores

If you enjoy tutoring and mentoring, many learning centers and education companies need teachers to assist high school students in one or more of the following subject areas. A helpful place for potential tutors to learn about the tests is at The College Board website where you can take practice tests.  

  • ACT English
  • ACT Math
  • ACT Reading
  • ACT Science
  • SAT Math
  • SAT Writing
  • SAT Critical Reading
  1.  Land a Seasonal Job

Part-time seasonal work can be a great way to earn extra income and try something different. Positions in demand in the summer months include: lifeguard, outdoor theatre/festival/sporting event assistant, garden center coordinator, retail, farmer’s market vendor, museum tour guide etc.

  1. Invest in Yourself

Pursuing an advanced degree may not earn you money this summer, but it will pay off down the road because teachers with advanced degrees earn more money. Become an educational specialist in instructional technology, media, reading, science, special education, gifted & talented, math or an ESOL teacher who teaches English to students who grew up speaking a different language. Perhaps you possess leadership skills and are looking for more responsibility through educational  administration.


Investing in yourself brings new skills, ideas, and pursuits.  And, as any good teacher knows, lifelong learning is the key to success. Incorporate what you love into your summer job and earn some extra cash while doing it.

You Made It! 6 Great Ways for Teachers to Decompress After a Demanding Year

Teacher decompression suggestions.

After the hectic pace of the end of the school year, it is difficult to decompress and settle into a new routine. Even if you are working throughout the summer, it’s important to take time for rest and relaxation. View the summer as an opportunity to enjoy well-earned leisure time. Consider doing some or all of the following teacher decompression suggestions.


Here are 6 great ways for teachers to decompress after a demanding year:

  1.  Spend more time with family and friends

During the school year, it is sometimes difficult to spend quality time with our family and friends. This summer, make time to nurture relationships. Catch up with someone you haven’t talked with in awhile. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and long days to share common interests.  Go for a walk together. Eat dinner outside. Watch the sunset. Meaningful time spent with others is always time well spent.  

  1.  Read for pleasure

What’s on your reading list? Reading is a great way to relax – especially in the summer – by the pool, at the beach, in a hammock, at a park. You have just finished helping countless students discover the joys of reading, summer is your time. Read works from your favorite authors, or find your next great read at:  What Should I Read Next?, Goodreads, or Olmenta.      

  1.  Plan a day of fun

Relaxation can also be whatever comes to mind when you think of fun: Play a round of golf, tend to a garden, visit a museum, attend a baseball game, pick berries, take photos, find geocache treasures, attend a concert, go fishing/biking/hiking/swimming/dancing etc. Whatever you do, have fun, unwind, and decompress.  

  1. Exercise (walk in nature)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes provides many mental health benefits. It can also reduce the risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Some scientific evidence has also shown that even lower levels of physical activity can be beneficial. Walk in nature to receive both restorative and health benefits.  

  1.  Create something

Your summer “get to-do” list might include making something with your own hands – knitting, painting, woodworking, or gardening. Clear your mind and discover your “flow.” Positive psychologist, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, believes creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives and describes flow as “the creative moment when a person is involved in an activity for its own sake.”  

  1.  Pamper Yourself

Disconnect from technology for a few hours while you take a luxurious bath. Sit back, unwind, and let the warm tranquility take you away. Enjoy a piece of chocolate or a cup of tea too, and congratulate yourself for making it through another year. 


There you have it: 6 great ways teachers can decompress after a demanding year. Try a few teacher decompression ideas. You'll be happy you did.


Activities for Keeping Students Engaged the Last Few Weeks of School

The end of the school year rush isn’t for the faint-hearted.


There are year-end events and activities to coordinate, supplies to order for next year, grades to finalize, cumulative record forms to complete, media materials to return, student portfolios to discuss with next year’s teachers, displays to remove from classroom walls and bulletin boards, boxes to pack, reviews of test data...the list seems never-ending.  


It takes endurance and patience to survive the last few weeks of school.  It also takes a toolbox of activities for keeping students engaged.


At the same time that the teacher end-of-year-rush is on, students start losing their focus, dreaming of summer days free of classes and homework.  


They have worked hard all year, and many are ready for some well-deserved time off.  Everyone is tired.  

To keep everyone engaged down the home stretch of a long school year, use the following activities to motivate your students and to help you survive the last few weeks of school.  


End-of-Year Top Ten Lists

Kids love making top ten lists because they are fun. Teachers like them because students have to think critically about the order and reasoning of their responses. Add a written component in which students justify their top three choices.  Students can choose from the following ideas or generate their own.  

  • Top Ten Things I Learned This Year
  • Top Ten Books for (Insert Grade) Graders
  • Top Ten Ways to Succeed in (Insert Grade)
  • Top Ten Adjectives That Describe This Year
  • Top Ten Things That Make (Add Teacher Name) Happy
  • Top Ten Things I Will Remember About (Insert Grade)
  • Top Ten Things We Accomplished This Year

Final Feedback Report Card

Teachers spend so much time giving constructive feedback to students, but students like to provide feedback about your teaching, too.  


Have them create a final feedback report card for you with sections detailing teaching techniques, lesson delivery, classroom environment, what they liked most/least about the year, commendable comments, and suggestions for how to be a better teacher.  

Their expert educational advice will offer you new perspectives and ways to improve.  


Embellished Nursery Rhymes

Expand your students’ vocabulary skills by having them write a sophisticated book of nursery rhymes. They will enjoy embellishing and revising traditional nursery rhymes by replacing words in the original rhymes with synonyms chosen to entertain, amuse, and educate readers.


“Take Ten” Dance Countdown

Brain breaks are especially important this time of year. 

Why not create an end of the year dance countdown? “Take Ten” would incorporate a new dance movement for each of the final ten days.  Start with a conga line and build from there.  Did students learn about plants and seeds?  Add a “sprout and grow” sequence.  Students crouch low to the ground as small seeds and slowly stretch upward to sprout and grow.   Let students continue the countdown by suggesting other movements that integrate curriculum topics.  


Flag Etiquette

Prepare students for summertime’s patriotic holidays (Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July) by having them learn more about our flag’s history, symbolism, and etiquette.  The National Flag Foundation lists rules for honoring our flag.  Students can write a poem, speech, song, or create a poster that highlights how our flag should be respected, used, and cared for.


If you'd like to receive more helpful teaching tips and student activity ideas like these from experienced teachers, join the conversation by subscribing to our blog or by contacting us below.

Quotes in the Classroom

Quotes in the Classroom

Inspirational quotes are abundant on social media. As we scroll though our lives, they offer wisdom and motivation.  Recently, a “quote activity” caught my attention with its ability to create and maintain online conversation.  Engaged participants were thinking about, discussing, and interpreting various quotes.  It was introduced as follows:

“Post a movie quote that gives away the film without saying the title.”

For example, “To infinity . . . and beyond!” is a quote from the movie Toy Story. “There’s no place like home.” is from The Wizard of Oz.  “You’re going to need a bigger boat” is from . . . 

Like a great classroom prompt, friends eagerly responded and began challenging each other.  They posted movie quotes, debated the quality of the movies, and enlivened the conversation with obscure movie facts. 

Their online conversations made me wonder how and why certain movie quotes become memorable.  Do only classic movies have memorable quotes?  Are some quotes more significant to those of certain generations?  Doesn’t everyone agree with Ferris Bueller’s quote, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”?

My friend’s movie post could be adapted for the classroom as a device for a lively literature activity and discussion.  Working in groups, students compile and/or ask others for their favorite book quotes.  After the quotes have been compiled and shared, each group selects their top ten quotations to share with the other students.  Can students name the titles of the books based on the quotes? Extend and enrich the activity by discussing the following: 

  • Do any of the quotes inspire you to read (or reread) the book?  Why? 
  • Explain what the quote tells us about the character or the situation. 
  • How do these quotes connect to our own lives? 
  • Is there a particular quote that resonates with you?  Why? 

Encourage the students to use their creativity to create a collaborative quote journal/collage, or an inspirational bulletin board.  The quote journal/bulletin board can be used for future activities that promote engaging conversation, personal reflection, and a love of literature. 


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Using Visual Data to Engage and Inspire

Visual Data Postcard of Email Usage

McDaniel College student's data postcard

One of the defining features of 21st century life is the prevalence of data.  Whether it is the complexity of Google algorithms or the simplicity of a Fitbit’s measurements, data is everywhere.  Standing at the center of this data vortex is . . . you.  The activities that comprise our daily lives are what give meaning to the data.

Visual information designers Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec see data as a creative material like paint or paper. Their engaging book, Dear Data, depicts how they became friends by revealing to one another details of their daily lives. Every week, for a year, they sent each other postcards describing the details of their lives. But they didn’t write about their lives, they drew it.  “Every Monday we chose a particular subject on which to collect data about ourselves for the whole week:  how often we complained, or the times when we felt envious; when we came into physical contact and with whom; the sounds we heard around us.  We then created a drawing representing this data on a postcard-sized sheet of paper, and dropped the postcard into an English post box (Stefanie) or an American mail box (Giorgia). 

Dear Data:  A Friendship in 52 weeks of Postcards

Inspired by the book, students at McDaniel College collected and visually presented data associated with their “ordinary” lives and created a visual data timeline.  Like the book, their depicted activities capture patterns and creativity in even “the smallest details of our lives.” 


Finding and visually displaying data is an excellent project for students of all ages, from elementary students to graduate students. Using data to quantify the self will interest students because they can choose which data set to explore and collect.  Critical and creative thinking skills combine as they consider the best way to visually represent the information.  It’s an excellent project-based learning activity because students learn more about themselves as they explore the world around them.  To learn more, visit dear-data.com

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Finding Signs of Spring

Finding the Signs of Spring

Despite the snow on the ground, spring is on the way. Celebrate the new season with the following spring-themed scavenger hunt.  It builds vocabulary and creativity and helps young children enjoy the beautiful signs of the season. 

Finding the Signs of Spring:  An activity to build creativity and vocabulary with primary-aged children.
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Finding the Signs of Spring

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March Into Healthy Eating During National Nutrition Month

March into Healthy Eating During National Nutrition Month

We all know that what we eat is vital to good health, but it’s often hard to convey that to children.  We say, “eat your vegetables” and and they think, “stop nagging me.”  Learning about nutritious fruits and vegetables can be fun when we get creative

Fruits and vegetables come in many colors including, red, blue/purple, yellow, green, and orange.  Once children know a balanced diet includes foods from each of these colors, they start looking for vibrant colored food at the grocery store and during mealtime.  They can list the new foods by writing the fruit and vegetable names in their corresponding colors.  For example, they would write “lemon” with a yellow marker or crayon.  

In the classroom, I would share my “favorites” within the various colors.  For example, I might mention that my favorite orange food is a kumquat. Of course, the students had many questions about kumquats (excellent mini-research opportunity) and wanted to see me eat one. 

Sometimes, the students and I did not know if a certain food was a fruit or a vegetable, such as peas. Our uncertainty was another great opportunity to consult the computer or the dictionary to build our vocabularies and food knowledge. Invariably, students were interested in why foods are a certain color.  This is when I would introduce my Nutrition Question Board with “Why are foods certain colors?”  More questions followed such as, “Why are vegetables different shapes and sizes?” and “How are seedless fruits made?”

At this point, I did not have to tell them about the healthy benefits and nutrients in colorful foods.  They were well on their way to harvesting their own healthy habits.  All I had to do was provide the resources for them to begin their independent research. 

Fruit or Vegetable?  March into Healthy Eating During National Nutrition Month
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Notes on How to Encourage a Child's Music Abilities

Notes on How to Encourage a Child's Music Ability

We all know the importance of nurturing children’s strengths and interests.  Whether it’s praise for reading or a conversation about their artistic creations, encouraging a child’s self-expression, creativity, and excitement is important.

For example, I have watched many children develop an interest in music.  Some liked creating silly songs or singing in our classroom.  Others discovered a serious passion for an instrument and would practice daily. Whatever their capabilities, nurturing their enjoyment of music was as important as nurturing their skills.  Students enjoyed building their musical creative expression with activities such as: 

  • Leading the class in a song to start or end the day.
  • Performing in the cafeteria or library.
  • Writing songs to help others learn something such as state capitals, foreign language words, math facts, directions, etc. 
  • Listening to music from other countries to learn words in another language.
  • Using song lyrics as writing prompts for short stories, journal entries, poems, or even other songs.
  • Creating learning contracts that combined their musical interests with other subjects.
  • Writing songs about favorite books or book characters. 

The enhancement of cognitive abilities occurs when children have learning opportunities that encourage creativity and self-expression.  Music can play a role in expanding your children’s interests and motivation.  


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Debra Lemieux

If Then Creativity



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