Wow! I blinked and it was almost November....where did October go annnnnnddddd everyone is forgetting November because Michael's had Thanksgiving items for 50% off and the entire store was decorated for December Holidays on October 15th same for Home Goods!!!

I can't even think about December yet...November just about to start...this is cray cray!!

With that being said, I want to quickly give you some fun days in November you can celebrate at home or with your students. I am not including Thanksgiving because that is a well known holiday!

So...Here we go!  6 Fun Days to Celebrate in November!

1.  Did you Know that November 8th is STEM/STEAM DAY? 

Everyday activities at home or in school can be fun and transformed into STEM challenges with the right questions to motivate STEM thinking!

Use of the correct questioning technique can encourage your kiddos to think outside the box, which is exactly what is needed with STEM activities.
  • Ask questions that require more than one-word answers, which allows for students to think deeper to answer and promotes higher order thinking.
  • Ask questions that focus on processes and reasoning, not solutions.
  • Ask “why” questions that require examples and reasons as the justification and make sure studentes explain their thinking.

I found these great Stem activities at THE STEM Laboratory. Check them out to celebrate STEM DAY!

2.  I am pretty sure that most of your classrooms have a set or 2 of Dominoes.  Guess what?  November 10th is Domino Day!

AND......I am willing to guess that you might have more than 2 sets depending on the Math program your district I right?

I am sure your brain is bursting with ideas for Domino Day, but just incase your brain is fried from teaching all week, here are a few ideas:

I thought this was a bit different in that the sums are provided and the kiddos have to find the part/part that equals the sum to complete the puzzle or game.

This Domino resource is exactly one of the ways that I used Dominoes in my classroom to learn math facts. The Kiddos loved it and it became a popular choice activity after our "Have to" math was completed!  

Another fun idea might be to play dominoes exactly the way the kids love to play them and we all know what that is...simply line them up and knock them down. You might even want to time them and see if they can arrange the dominoes in a different way to beat the clock or who has the longest run of dominoes knock down. Here is a fun one I found that is just fun to watch!

Any way you decide to celebrate Domino Day will be fun for everyone...oh and before I forget, here is a Wikipedia about dominoes. You can pick out a few ideas to share with your kiddos: Dominoes


Have you met Domino Dominic and Domino Dominique? You haven't?  Well let me introduce this couple to you NOW! This would be a great Domino Day Craft after teaching domino fact families or part- part -whole with dominos!  

This fun craft also includes poster to teach or reteach how to find domino sums using the PART-PART-TOTAL concept.

This is one you will not want to miss!

3.  Veteran's Day is celebrated on November 11th!  Why not teach your students about the meaning of Veteran's Day? 
Need a video that explains Veteran's Day?  Here You GO!

Here is a cute and easy idea for your little learners or not so little learners:
Tissue paper crumbled flag and a cute poem you can copy to use.

For the flags simply use white
8 1/2 x 11 cardstock.  If you are doing these with an older class, you can create the flag with the correct amount of stripes, but with 5 or 6 year olds, I would just worry about making sure there are red stripes with white between them.

The blue tissue won't really matter as long as it looks proportional. Older children can try to fit 50 stars, which are simply small silver sticky stars.
The poem is an easy one that is written in kid friendly language.  You might want to use it as a morning message and look for rhyming words, 1-2 or 3 syllable words and any skill you are working on with your class.

This is a great anchor chart for Veteran's Day that really summarizes the day!

4.  We can't forget World Kindness Day on November 13th!

Teaching kids kindness is so important for building community and character education.
I firmly believe that we should celebrate kindness every single day of our lives.  
Here is a post that I that I thought would be perfect to share with you here:  

I know I said I would not mention Thanksgiving since it is an obvious day in November to celebrate BUT...this is a great activity to use for your family and classroom family to understand and show Gratitude. 

Teaching gratitude has many social and emotional benefits; such as, encouraging well-being, supporting optimism and positivity, building confidence, encourages empathy, supports giving to others, reduces materialism and stress. It supports children in being thankful for what they have and to be less materialistic.

This Gratitude Thanksgiving activity will support your children in their journey to understanding and showing gratitude.


5. OOPS! I almost forgot about Button Day! 

Yes in 1938 November 16th was set aside as National Button Day to celebrate those who collected buttons. Here is a cute craft with some math and ELA ideas to have a little fun with buttons!
So there you have it...a few awesome days with educational ideas to integrate into your daily learning to bring a little fun back into learning.

So, there you have it...a few days to celebrate in November to bring some fun activities into your classroom...ENJOY!

Please comment and share your November activity ideas!

Spread kindness like confetti.  There is power in kindness.  A little kindness goes a long way.  These are all so true.  But lately my experiences have been a bit different.

A bit ago, as I walked into Wawa, which, for those who do not live in the Delaware Valley, is an awesome convenience store that has everything from great coffee and soup to nuts and breakfast sandwiches to name a few things,  I saw an older gentleman running toward me as I was about to open the door. 

He was wearing an US Navy baseball cap and said, "No, let me get that door for you!"  I looked a bit bewildered because I had nothing but my pocket book on my shoulder and by no means did I need any help whatsoever, but I replied,"Sure, Thank you! Now aren't you kind." He limped into the store and wore a smile from ear to ear and I...well...I wallowed for a while in his kindness and began to reminisce to "the old days" when doors were held and opened for others and people...well...people seemed to expect that these actions were simply what you did without even thinking about it!

I grabbed my coffee and juggled my purse as I threw the change into it and walked behind a man who opened the door to exit and well...he just looked straight ahead, unaware of me behind him, and simply let the door swing back at me...good thing I had the change in my purse and had a free hand or I would probably have a broken nose...well that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point.

"POOF" in 2 minutes I went from experiencing a simple kind gesture to a who cares if the door slams into a person attitude and then I had a revelation (soft inspirational music please).

In my opinion, kindness is becoming a lost social grace.  With Covid, masks, social distancing and more, it seems as though kindness has taken a back seat.

I am not saying that no one shows kindness, because they do...but what I am saying is we need to demonstrate kind actions everyday not just when our schools and neighborhoods decide to have a "pay it forward" or a "100 Acts of Kindness Week."  It reminds me of Mother's Day...we should be celebrating our moms everyday...not just one day a year...I know, I know...actually it is nice to have a special day where we celebrate kindness for moms or dads and especially is important to demonstrate love, kindness and consideration every single day!

I am sure by now you are wondering where I am going with this, but just give me a few more point is..

I think that Kindness is one of the most important behaviors that we can teach  our children and students.

 I want it and I am sure you want it too...I mean everyone wants their students and children to be kind and show kindness in school and at home. At times it can be a difficult task, especially in a world where children are exposed to so much more than years ago.

In order to be kind it is necessary to ignite thought patterns that encourage children to think beyond themselves and to think about others. Purposeful acts of kindness that encourage a strong foundation to embed positive lifelong character traits.

It is almost like stepping into the shoes of others to understand how they might feel. When children read a book, we ask them to imagine how a character might feel in a certain situation or even how they might feel if they were to experience what is happening in the story.  This is a form of empathy and a way to teach children how others might feel in different situations.  So it is important to give children opportunities to use real life situations.  For example, if they see a classmate crying, what would they do? A reminder to treat others the way they would want to be treated! YES..."The Golden Rule!"

So, here are 5 Ideas to Create a Culture of Kindness in your Primary Classroom That Will Make you SMILE!

1. Role Model and Practice Kindness:  You know the saying:  "Children Learn What They Live" if "Children Live with Kindness and Consideration, They Learn Respect."

We need to model kindness and consideration so our students will understand kindness and how to be kind.  We need to be aware of the words WE use when dealing with our students and our tone of voice. We need to USE those "Magic Words"or polite words..please, thank you, May I, Can I, etc.

I have created a resource entitled:  Social Skills Manners Be Polite and Use Those Magic Words.  This resource will encourage your students or children to remember these words with posters and situational task cards to reinforce how to be polite and kind!

Another way to model kindness is as your students come into the classroom, greet them at the door to make them feel special. This small kind gesture will stay with them the entire day!
If children feel good about themselves, they will be calmer, more positive and ready to learn not to mention if you demonstrate this small act of kindness, you will see your students being kind to each other throughout the day!

2. Morning Meetings:  

As soon as everyone is ready and all morning jobs are completed, provide a morning meeting where everyone joins in a circle on the rug and classmates greet each other in different ways.  They can pass a smile, shake hands to welcome their neighbor, elbow shake, butterfly greet or any ideas that you might think of for students to greet each other.  

You can also encourage a Compliment Greeting where each student gives a compliment to the person sitting next to them as they greet each other.  If you choose to do this, I always make sure that we compliment kind gestures or actions,
"Jimmy sat with me at lunch or Kelly shared her book with me" and not simply,"I like Johnny or I like Chrissy's dress!"

A morning meeting provides a positive time for students to interact get to know each other better and when you nod or shake a hand and say, “Good Morning, Jake. I am really glad you are here today,” it sets a positive tone for your class and supports expected behaviors throughout the school day as well as supporting kindness, consideration for others and respect for each other.

A Morning Meeting consists of a Greeting, quick Game, Sharing Time and a Class Message, which all provide a positive way to start the day and encourage positive classroom behavior. 

3. Teach about Kindness and What it is and Means:  

There are many resources out there and on Teachers Pay Teachers that have great ideas on how to encourage kindness and a plethora of books.

Here are a few books you may want to consider when teaching about kindness:
🌟  What Does It Mean to Be Kind? (Rana Diorio)
🌟  Kindness Counts (Brian Smith)
🌟  Kindness is Cooler Mrs. Ruler (Margery Cuyler)
🌟 Small Acts of Kindness (James R. Vollbracht)
🌟 Hey Little Ant (Phil and Hannah Hoose

Perhaps you may want to think about using my most recent resource:  I am Kind      

This extensive resource, jammed packed with many activities and ideas, will support your students and/or children to understand and be aware of ways to spread kindness.  I cannot think of a better time than NOW to empower your students to demonstrate kindness and be kind to others!  You know the quote, "One Day OR Day One...YOU CHOOSE!"

4. "Talking Turtle" a Spot to Talk and Work Out Problems:  

I had a turtle, which was an old sandbox I found at a garage sale...don't you just LOVE garage sales?  I mean they are right up there with Dollar Stores and the Target Dollar Spot as well as Wednesday trash days...I have been known to find some great FREE deals walking around the know the old saying "Someone's Junk is another's Treasure" or something like that!  Any way you can use anything even just 2 pillows in a corner or a table with a few chairs in the back of the room.  

The main idea is to provide a spot where your students or children can talk out their problems independently in a nonthreatening considerate way giving each person a chance to talk and then coming up with a common solution on which everyone agrees. I can hear you right long do you let them talk? What if they never come up with a solution and yadda, yadda, yadda! 

I place a poster with steps to solve problems and how to fix what you have broken in a kind and considerate way so everyone can feel good with the solution...I have to admit that sometimes it can go a bit long, but the upside is...they are learning how to take responsibility for their actions and how to solve problems...I may just have to write another post on "Talking Turtle" or a "conflict Corner as others call it.

5. Kindness Jar All Year Long:  

Have a Compliment or Kindness Jar during February or any month, for that matter.  I always placed the "jar" on a counter where it was easily accessible so children were able to write compliments about a classmate.  At the end of the day, I would simply pull a few out and read them to the class. This was also done during our morning meeting.  The jar I used was decorated with hearts to symbol kindness and I simply had a pencil/pen and heart-shaped sticky notes or paper next to the jar for students to write their compliments. If you notice that not everyone is getting a compliment, be sure to add some of your own so there is always smile!
Here is one I made for Kindergarten that was created from a clear flexible plastic container.
Any container or basket will work!

So...there you have it...5 Ideas to Create a Culture of Kindness in your Classroom...I hope you are smiling...I promised these ideas would make you smile and I never go back on my promises and after all...Kindness is a friendly smile!

Parent Conferences, Data, Report Cards...OH NO!  OH YES!  8 SWEET Tips to have the BEST Conferences Yet!! If you follow these SWEET tips, your conferences will so as smooth as icing a cake...well even icing a cake can be a little lumpy...let's just say these tips will help your parent/teacher conferences go as smooth as possible. i KNOW you will love #4 and you are probably already doing #2! Here's to some fabulous conference this year!

Well is that time of year know the time when eager parents want to see how their children are progressing in school.  Now..I have over 30 years experience with parent conferences as a teacher not to mention the ones I have attended as a parent and I would be lying if I said," Oh all my conferences were as sweet as sour spots here! You just tell the parents how their little cherubs are doing and that's that...WRONG!"  Having a great Teacher/Parent conference takes a little more than that, but if you follow a few of these easy sweet steps, which I am sure some of you are already doing or at least thinking about, your conferences will go down in the books as the BEST EVER...well maybe I am exaggerating a little bit...let's just say you won't go home crying your eyes out like I did my first year even though I was told I did a fabulous job with a very difficult parent...the stress was so high before, during and after this least it was my last one for the night....that I got home, ran upstairs and literally cried my eyes out and then picked myself up, wiped my tears and started all over the next day. That's the teacher spirit! (I may have to write a blog abut my most memorable conferences sometime soon...30 years encourages many, many interesting conference stories to say the least!)

So here are a few tips that can be easily incorporated into your already fabulous conference ideas:

1. Be Prepared and remember parents are only concerned about their child. 

You may have 15-30 or more students in your class, but the only child who is the most important to them is THEIR child.  So make sure you take a few minutes to jot down some positives and some areas with which the child needs to work. You can certainly make up your own frame, but here is one I have used to help me have some notes on hand to glance at as needed. Have all data ready to go to show baselines, progress, reading levels and whatever else is important to you as a teacher and your district guidelines.  I also send a reflection sheet home prior to conferences so parents can jot down what they may want to chat about. They return it to school and then you can use this as a guide and be proactive during your conference.

PS.  Have as conference schedule hanging outside your door, chairs for waiting, class books to browse as parents wait, lots of KID work displayed outside your classroom. Inside the classroom, have a BIG bowl of candy, some Sticky Notes for you and anyone else who might need to take notes, a duplicate schedule with phone numbers and times as well as a file with everything in conference order.        

2. Always start the conversation with an enthusiastic handshake and "It is so great to see you again!" or "Oh my Johnny looks just like you!"  

Something positive to encourage light conversation. Eye contact and a welcoming phrase will make everyone feel more comfortable and add a little SUNSHINE to the opening greeting.

3.  Start the conference on a positive note.  

A compliment about their child, a cute story jotted down the other day in your notes as it was happening....anything you can think of....."Mia was so helpful the other day when Julia fell on the playground......."

4.  Another Tip for adding a bit of positivity:  

For about 25 years or so, I have always started my
conferences with a self-reflection sheet either written or in Kindergarten dictated depending on the student's level along with a self-portrait. This has been extremely successful over the years.  First, parent LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see their children's portraits and when they read the self-evaluation about what their 

best work is in school and what they think they might need to do better, they are right on and funny to boot. I have the students use kid writing and then edit on a sticky as needed so we can read them together...we always have a blast with this!

5. Have a portfolio of student work ready to show ...

as you are going through strengths and weaknesses so parents can see first hand and understand what you mean.  I always had these ready to share right under the self-evaluation sheet so I was able to pull them out and then "show and tell" starting with the strengths so when you get to some "areas of concern," the parents know you are positive, like their child and are working to support and help them.  I will never forget a conference I attended as a support for a parent and when I asked, "Can you tell us something positive about Lilly...we know she is social and has a great imagination, but what about her academic strengths?" and the teacher replied...and I kid you not..."What do you mean?" So, then I began to chat about the positives and strengths I noticed in her work...."  I wasn't even the teacher...I was along for the ride.  You can imagine the conversation in the car on the way home...this goes back to the old Girl Scout Rule:  BE PREPARED!

6.  Think of positive ways to say something that might be a bit negative...this does not mean to SUGAR COAT!!  

You need to be honest with parents. They deserve the truth about their child even if the truth is difficult to express. Just think of a positive way to say it!  For example:  Instead of saying Johnny is running all over the classroom, interrupting his classmates and will not stop.  He is always in might say:  Johnny enjoys movement in and around the classroom.  He loves to visit and chat with his classmates. We are working with Johnny to understand when is the best time or appropriate time in our schedule to socialize with his classmates. You are basically saying the same thing, but in a more positive way.

7.  Ask what the parents are seeing at home so you can understand their situation a bit more.

Sometimes parents will share something that is going on at home that may explain some of the actions or behaviors you are seeing at school. Parents are busy, too and sometimes their own personal lives are filled with ups and downs that they may have simply forgot to mention!  I am sure that if you see behaviors that are unusual from a child, you will call the parent, but perhaps this just started to surface a day ago and your antennae are posed and ready to zoom in.  You can learn so much from giving a listening ear to a parent or guardian.

8.  Send parents home with a list or checklist ...

of what they can do to support their child at home.  You can have a generic form or a checklist where you simply think of each child and check off what parents might need to do at home to support their child.

Don't forget to End on a positive 
note:  "I am so glad that we were able to chat about Johnny's progress today! I am thrilled he is in my class this year! He makes me smile everyday!  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns OR I will contact you in a few days to let you know the results of ...OR to share how things are going..." SMILE, SMILE, SMILE...NEXT PLEASE! Here's to some SWEET, Fabulous Parent Conferences...Let's Go!!!              A Free Sample FOR YOU!                                                                                                   

A  complete parent teacher communication resource 
for your convenience with forms that you can use all 
year long.    

One last minute thought about conferences...DATA!

Why is collecting Data for Parent Teacher Conferences so important?

First...Objective Assessment:  Sharing Student data provides concrete objective evidence of a student's development, progress and behavior, which allows for a balanced assessment of a student's academic  performance and challenges.

Second...Data Supports Informed Decision Making :  With access to student data, teachers along with parents can make informed decisions about the best strategies and interventions to support the student's learning.  parent can see their child's strengths and weaknesses and can easier support their child's needs.

Third...Targeted Feedback:  Specific feedback about various skills and concepts can be used to highlight areas of strength and ares where improvement is needed leading to more effective goal-setting and growth.

Last...Monitoring Progress:  Comapring current data with previous assessments both formal and actual student work, which can track student's progress over time. this helps to identify trends and potential areas of concern and the effectiveness of implemented strategiescor interventions.

Sharing student data serves aas a important tool for fostering an effective communication between parents and teachers which allows them to work together for a common goal...THE SUCCESS OF THEIR CHILD!

If you have not already collected some specific data or need a bit more to show evidence of student levels, Here is an editable ELA, Math, Social Skill Resource for K-2 that will help you stay on track now and for the rest of the year!      

We all know a few days in October that are fun to celebrate in our classrooms. Obviously, if you are a primary teacher, you can find lots of days to celebrate in many ways. With Common Core coming our way, it is a bit more difficult to bring fun activities in to our classrooms. BUT...I think and I am sure you will agree that there are a plethora of ways to have fun with Common Core and there are definitely some Special Days to celebrate in October besides Halloween...BUT we have to include Halloween for October or our kiddos will be sooooooo upset!

Sooooooo what days can be celebrated in school or at home during October? 

Here are some ideas and activities for Special days to celebrate in October and still have a bit of fun learning in your classroom:

🎃 World Smile Day is October 2nd!

What a great way to start the month of October. Tell children to bring their smiles to school or virtually to class that day and try a few of these activities to brighten their DAY!

Partner children 6 feet a part of course and see who can get the other to smile...but if in person, you can only tell by their eyes.

Have a joke telling chat.  With this kids simply tell jokes to make each other laugh!

If virtual these can be done in break out rooms.

🎃 Name your Car Day, Too...Say What?  

Now this is also another fun day to write about and have some fun with at home or at school.

At home, you might want to give your car a granddaughter named my car "Vanilla Caramel Brownie" because it is white with tan interior and my perfume smells like vanilla sugar. and Brownie because it is not always the cleanest car on the road! You can have a lot of fun with this one and also get a few laughs or smiles since they are both celebrated on October 2nd!

🎃 Did you know that October 4th is Taco Day?  

Here is a cute book to celebrate tasty taco treats.

  • Before reading the story, you can access prior knowledge to find out what your students know about tacos, what their favorite taco is and maybe where they like to buy or eat their tacos.
  • During reading stop every so often to have your students think, pair, share as you ask questions, have students make predictions or inferences as well as answer some questions about the text. Here is a fun interactive Reading Resource with ideas for use that you might want to use for shared reading for this text or any text!

🎃How about Cake Decorating DAY? 

You can give each child a writing frame, which I have links to at the bottom of this post and have them decorate a cake and then write about it.

If they have a picture of a favorite birthday cake, have them share it during sharing time or reserve a few minutes to have children share or tell about their favorite birthday cake of all time!

🎃 Another Fun Day to celebrate is PUMPKIN DAY.

Did you know that National Pumpkin Day is October 26th? 

Let's take a look at a few ideas for Pumpkin Day which is celebrated right before Halloween...perfect Timing!

This pumpkin resource includes everything you need to celebrate pumpkins from facts to opinions, measuring, graphing and more.  check it out Right here

Need some Great Books to go along with Pumpkins? 

here are 4 of my faves:  

1.  How Many Seeds in a Pumpkins works fabulous with Pumpkin "Fun"tivities. Read it before you do the measuring activities. it is super for making predictions and works great with the interavtive props and ideas!

2.  Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie is great text to use to learn about how pumpkins grow and for facts and opinions about pumpkins.

3.  The Biggest Pumpkin Ever is another great story that is fun to use as a shared reading and the kiddos LOVE it!

4. My all time favorite book is the The Little Woman who wasn't Afraid of Anything.

I used this as an interactive shared reading with props and you could hear a pin drop as we shared the story and acted out the parts with  real items! 

Here is a link for Ideas to go along with this book!
Let's Get Interactive!

🎃 If you Don't Like Pumpkins, you Can Always Celebrate Cupcake Day on the 26th or Both Days and Make Pumpkin Cupcakes!

YES! You read that right...CUPCAKE DAY!  Kids can draw cupcakes or make them out of construction paper and share about their favorite cupcake of all time!

Click on the picture to get this Dollar Deal to help you celebrate and use these 5 fun writing prompts! 

🎃 And Let's Not Forget Halloween    

Here are some tried and true Halloween Resources
Take a look and see if these might be something you want to try out this year!

Well...there you have it! Some Special Days to Celebrate in October...NEXT UP Some fun days to celebrate in November!

Have a great October!

Make this October the BEST EVER!

Keep Smiling...the BEST is yet to Come!