Teacher’s Brain

Why You Should Take a Virtual Field Trip To The Zoo With Your Students

Thinking about making a trip to the zoo with your students? Zoo field trips are an elementary school classic. Don’t we all remember going on one at some point in our childhood? 

It’s now one of my favorite things to do with students because It’s an experience that combines fun, hands-on learning, and a chance for our little ones to connect with nature and wildlife.

Why should you take a field trip to the zoo? 

There are so many reasons! First and foremost, a trip to the zoo offers a unique opportunity for our students to observe animals up close and personal. Seeing these creatures in their natural habitats helps them develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the diversity of the animal kingdom. 

It sparks their curiosity and allows them to make real-world connections with the concepts we’ve been teaching in the classroom, like animal classification, habitats, and adaptations. 

What are some other benefits?

Additionally, a trip to the zoo supports the development of observation and critical thinking skills. Encouraging our students to carefully observe and compare different animal behaviors, physical characteristics, and habitats helps them develop their powers of observation and critical thinking. 

They can make predictions, draw conclusions, and discuss their findings, strengthening their scientific inquiry skills- score!

Finally, let’s not forget the joy and excitement that a zoo visit brings to our students. It’s an experience that they’ll remember for years to come.

The sheer awe and wonder they experience while watching a giraffe or a monkey in action can inspire a lifelong love for animals and conservation.

Ready to take a field trip to the zoo but can’t make it happen? Try a virtual field trip to the zoo! 

Virtual field trips are an amazing way to enhance a student’s learning right from the safety of your four walls. I have the perfect virtual field trip to the zoo resource for you! 

This Virtual Field Trip to the Zoo Google Slides resource is all you need to create a magical zoo experience with your students. 

virtual field trip to the zoo

Use these interactive, editable Google Slides to easily have students copy and paste movable parts, learn about zoo animals, facts, what to bring on a trip and so much more! 

virtual field trip to the zoo

Here’s what’s included: 

28 Google Slides with Titles, Edit Text Boxes, Directions, Movable Parts 

  • KWL Chart
  • Packing A Suitcase for the Trip
  • 1 Minute Take Off Flight Video
  • 10-minute Zoo Field Trip Video (Car Ride to the Zoo, Animal Facts)
  • Sequencing Events, 3 Writing Prompts, Counting Objects (under 10), Labeling Parts, Zoo Counting Song, and Comprehension Questions
  • One extra slide for you to add anything you would like to the lesson. (videos or an assignment)
  • Home Connection Optional Assignment for students to build an animal habitat. 
  • Black and white ink-saving Writing Pages and Home Connection Page for in-person teaching.
field trip to the zoo

I hope your students love this resource as much as I do! If you want more virtual field trip ideas, check out my post here!

The Perfect PBL Project for Summer in Elementary!

Let’s chat about project-based learning (PBL) and why it’s such an awesome approach for our elementary students. 

Picture this: Instead of the traditional classroom setup where we dole out information and expect kids to memorize it, PBL takes a more hands-on, engaging, and exciting approach to learning.

summer pbl

So, what exactly is project-based learning? 

Glad you asked! It’s an instructional method where students actively explore real-world problems and challenges. They work on projects that allow them to dive deep into a topic, investigate, ask questions, and find creative solutions. The projects are typically open-ended, which means students have the freedom to make choices, collaborate, and use critical thinking skills to solve problems.

What are the benefits of project based learning for students? 

First and foremost, PBL sparks their natural curiosity and love for learning. By presenting them with real-world scenarios, they become invested in their projects and genuinely excited to find solutions. They become active participants in their own education, and that’s pretty amazing to witness!

Another fantastic benefit is that PBL helps develop essential 21st-century skills. Our students learn to think critically, communicate effectively, collaborate with their peers, and become creative problem solvers. These are the skills they’ll need to thrive in the future job market, so we’re setting them up for success.

PBL makes learning relevant and meaningful. Instead of studying isolated concepts, our students see how everything connects and applies to the real world. They understand the purpose behind their learning, and that drives their motivation to excel.

If you’re looking for PBL project ideas for this summer that will engage your students in learning and teach them real-life skills in business, addition, and measurement, you’ll love this Project Based Learning project! 

My PBL Lemonade Stand Project is the perfect way to do some summer learning! 

pbl project ideas

This engaging two week unit teaches students how to make a successful lemonade stand! They will learn math skills, teamwork, build a model, design a lemonade stand and end with a group presentation to entice investors to give them funding for their project.

pbl project

Here’s what’s included! 

Focus: Design, Economics, Math, Writing, and Speaking

  • Directions
  • Suggested Lesson Plans for a two week PBL Unit
  • A 7 Page Journal 
  • Planning Sheets
  • Design Printables
  • Vocabulary Poster
  • Money Posters
  • Teacher and Student Rubrics
  • Recipes 
  • Extra Activities
  • MORE 

Students are encouraged to broaden their research skills and do some research on their own about lemonade stand designs. For K students, the teacher can do research whole group! 

pbl project

Check it out here! 

I hope this post inspires you to delve into the world of project based learning this summer! What’s your favorite PBL project to do with students? Let me know in the comments!

Want to learn more about PBL projects? Check out my post here!

How To Create A Positive Affirmations Station in Your Classroom

As elementary teachers, we all know how important it is to create a positive and nurturing environment in our classrooms. We all strive to build strong relationships with our students and help them develop the skills they need to succeed both in and out of the classroom. One of my favorite tools to achieve that is positive affirmations!

positive affirmations for kids

Positive affirmations for kids are short, powerful statements that are used to challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more positive and empowering beliefs. It’s powerful to teach them the vocabulary that they need to have a positive mindset!

Do positive affirmations work for kids? 

Yes! When used in the classroom, they can help students develop a more positive self-image, build self-confidence, and improve their overall mental health and wellbeing.

How do you teach positive affirmations for kids? 

Start by explaining what positive affirmations are and why they are important. You can help your students understand that these are short, positive statements that they can use to remind themselves of how amazing they are!

Here are a few tips for teaching affirmations: 

  1. Create a list of affirmations. Together with your students, create a list of affirmations that they can use in their daily lives. Encourage them to think about their strengths, accomplishments, and qualities, and to come up with affirmations that feel right to them and make them feel good. 
  2. Use visualization. Visualization is a powerful tool that can help students to internalize their affirmations. Encourage your students to close their eyes and imagine how they will feel when they reach a goal. 
  3. Practice daily in a designated space. These are most effective when they are used regularly! Place affirmations around a mirror or create an affirmation station by setting aside a space in your classroom just for positive affirmation work. You can place a mirror here or just create a board with many positive affirmation cards displayed that students can use to remind themselves of how amazing they are.
  4. Celebrate successes. Finally, be sure to celebrate your students’ successes as they begin to use positive affirmations in their daily lives. Acknowledge their efforts and encourage them to continue using affirmations to build self-confidence and develop a positive mindset.

If you’re looking for a list of positive affirmations for kids or a positive affirmations resource that you can use to create your own Affirmation Station, I have you covered! 

I created these Positive Affirmation Cards that you can display on a mirror or elsewhere in your classroom. 

positive affirmations resource

In this resource, you’ll find pre-made cards and editable cards full of positive affirmations that you can place around a mirror in your classroom or at an affirmation station.

printable positive affirmation cards

Included in this download:

Black and White Themed Editable PowerPoint:

  • 24 Pre-made Affirmation Cards (4 per page)
  • 4 different types of Titles Cards
  • 2 Worksheets (To help students understand how to turn a negative thought into a positive thought.)
  • 2 Blank editable pages for you to easily add your own affirmations and titles.
  • Directions with Suggestions
  • A Definition Affirmation Poster

If you want to add a pop of color, consider adding construction paper to the back for a border.

affirmation station

This is a wonderful and easy way to incorporate the power of affirmations into your classroom and help your students develop the positive mindset that they need to thrive. 

Are you using affirmations in your classroom? Let me know in the comments! For more classroom management resources, check out my post here!

Simple Steps To Beginner Letter Practice

Letter writing is an important skill for early elementary or kindergarten students. They not only have to learn to recognize the letters and the sounds they make, but they also have to learn how to write them. This sounds simple, but to little learners, the fine motor skills needed for writing is something they are still perfecting. 

There is a correlation between letter recognition fluency and successful reading development. As students learn how to write those letters, they learn to recognize them easily!

Here are some simple steps to practice letter writing. 

  1. Teach the proper pencil grip. Many kindergarten-level students don’t yet understand how to properly grasp a pencil so this is the first skill. 
  2. Letter formation. While this part of writing becomes second nature eventually, it takes a lot of practice and patience in the beginning. 
  3. Next, perfect those skills and make them legible! We’ve all seen those sweet sentences before students get their letters figured out. Lots of practice will make handwriting more legible. 

So how do you practice writing letters? 

Perhaps the most straightforward way is with fun kindergarten worksheets like letter tracing worksheets. These are simple but incredibly effective! 

You can add some variety to students’ letter writing practice by trying out using markers and whiteboards, shaving cream on desks, sand, finger paint, and so much more. 

I shared tons of fun ways to practice the alphabet in kindergarten in last week’s blog post. You can check it out here! 

Looking for some letter writing and other kindergarten worksheets and activities? I have you covered! 

This Kindergarten Everything Mega Bundle has everything you need for a fantastic year with your students with minimal prep. 

letter practice activities preview

Not only will you get letter practice sheets, but you’ll also get everything you need to teach kindergarten all year! 

letter practice fluency book preview

You’ll get engaging activities for every subject area in Kindergarten. This endless curriculum bundle has a massive amount of materials made with kindergarten in mind! 

  • Year-Long Subjects
    • Guided Reading
    • Monthly Writing Themed Journals
    • Morning Work Journals
    • Kindergarten Math Centers
    • Science
    • Social Studies

Check out the YouTube tutorial below!

  • Reading Curriculum includes activities, lesson plans, and assessments for:
    • Phonics
    • Phonemic awareness
    • Comprehension
    • Vocabulary
    • Fluency
  • Kindergarten Math Centers include activities, lesson plans, and assessments
math salad bar set up
  • Science includes activities, lesson plans, and assessments
  • Social Studies includes activities, lesson plans, and assessments
  • Bonus – Butterfly Life Cycle Flip Book
  • Writing Journals for every month
  • Bonus – Silly Story Starters and Kindergarten morning work
kindergarten activities and letter practice worksheets preview

What are your favorite letter practice activities for kindergarten? Let me know in the comments!