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The Secret of Working with Children

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Years ago I graduated from high school, eager to enter college to pursue a career in education. My mother handed me a scrapbook she had been diligently putting together as a gift. In the book, I turned to a page which included a small paper I wrote in second grade. The paper stated, “When I grow up I want to be a Teacher. I love school and my teacher. I want to be just like her.” That mindset fluctuated some throughout my school years but the yearn for becoming a teacher was ingrained inside me. My many experiences working with children of all ages and a variety of demographics has helped mold my teaching style. A teacher holds many hats. Teachers are educators, counselors, actors, comedians, etc. I think about that wonderful second grade teacher from time to time and the type of teacher I aspire to be.

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Engagement is all about Relationships

nrm3.jpgLast week we discussed my top 3 ways to engage students.  Today, I want to focus one more strategy: Relationships.
Most students won’t remember every math and reading lesson this year. I’m sorry to break the news to you. Students will remember how they felt about their teacher.  Yes, the relationship with their teacher is what matters. As you spend the final hours of the school year with your students, I hope that you will remember this and keep things in perspective.  YOU are what engages students! That relationship is what allows you to teach any type lessons.
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The Importance of Reading To a Child


Did you know that 93% of adults in the United States read at or below the basic level needed to successfully navigate in our society! Yikes! For those of them who have children, they are responsible for their earliest language. Sadly, by the age of 3, a 30 million word gap has already been created. Reading to children, all children, regardless of socioeconomic status, is crucial. Reading aloud stimulates children’s imaginations, it expands their understanding of the world not to mention it develops their language and listening skills.

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Motivating Students

student-motivation.jpg As the school year is coming to a close, I find myself reflecting upon the year. I think about how my sweet first graders have grown in so many ways and how I influenced those changes.


When children enter the classroom during those first days of school, they are so eager to learn and excited for the many possibilities of the year. Children are excited about meeting their teachers, talking with friends, and exploring new subjects. Recognizing a child’s innate motivation and discovering the tools to reinforce motivation is key to a successful school year.

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Student Engagement Part I

12 20 photo collage.pngAre your students engaged or just entertained?  Wait, there’s a difference? Yes! Engagement is active learning where as entertainment is a passive activity.  With the end of the year weeks away, how can you eek out any sort of learning let alone engagement? There are many ideas educators can use to engage students. Today, I will focus on my top three ways to increase engagement anytime of year (especially at the end of the school year).

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Take Learning Outdoors

Who says that learning has to do be done inside a classroom?! There’s no reason learning the ABCs needs to be learned inside. In fact, there are lots of ways to encourage a love of reading and writing by spending time outdoors! Listed below are some of the ways that I have found to get kids outdoors and learning, some of which I have used with my own 10 and 7 year old kiddos.reading-outdoors-300x168.jpg

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Planning a Writing Lesson


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From a young age people learn to speak a language before they can write. Speaking skills are a more natural way of communication until written language has been explicitly taught. When preparing a writing lesson, consider the age group and prior knowledge with speaking and writing skills. Choose a topic your students are more likely to be intrigued by and provide the correct tools to allow creativity. Teaching writing is not just about spelling or grammar but understanding what is expected with different writing genres. The following steps can guide you to selecting a genre, collecting ideas, planning and writing.

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Asian Pacific American History Month: Five Ways to Celebrate

map-23520_1280.pngThis April is the 25th year for Asian Pacific American Month, and here at Big Universe, we want to recognize the great value Asian Americans and Pacific Americans give our society.  Representing cultures from the Asian continent as well as the island nations of the Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia, it’s a time to celebrate the diversity of the culture and the people with heritage from those places.  Let these ideas below give your lesson plans life.

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