Teacher’s Brain

How Education Can End Poverty and Improve Quality of Life

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Poverty harms children in many ways. Impoverished children experience a reduction in their quality of life, develop fewer skills, and suffer from inadequate living standards. They become vulnerable to disease and get exposed to high mortality rates. Despite these wide-reaching and lifelong consequences, UNICEF still reports that an estimated 356 million children live in extreme poverty worldwide.

The Link Between Poverty and Education

Various interlinked factors cause poverty, and there is no one cause that we can easily identify. There is no doubt, however, that poverty and education are inextricably linked. Children who go to work instead of school do not acquire advanced literacy and numeracy skills essential for better and more sustainable careers. When low-income families cannot cope with the financial burdens attached to education, such as textbooks, tuition fees, and school supplies, children are left with no choice but to drop out. This unfortunate situation often leads to a vicious cycle of poverty that can span generations.

Education Can Break the Cycle of Poverty

Successful case studies that exhibit the instrumental role of education in eradicating poverty can be found all over the world. In Africa, children from impoverished communities have benefited from the standardized learning methodology by Bridge International Schools. Reports have shown that their approach helped impoverished children catch up with their peers in a shorter period while bridging inequities in gender and socioeconomic classes. To put it into context, 82% of Grade 1 pupils in Bridge International Schools were able to read a sentence compared to 27% of children in other schools. Parents of Bridge International Academy students were also reported to have higher engagement in their children’s education.

Having a systematic approach to education in poor communities can ensure that the programs are responsive to the needs of the students. While certain skills are indispensable to academic success, having a context-specific method such as the process employed by Bridge International Schools can bring exponential learning gains to a child’s education journey.

Parents also play a critical role in maintaining their interest in completing their education. When they show their active encouragement, they help keep their children in school. Answering worksheets together on practical topics can help parents take a more proactive part in their children’s learning journey. Together, they can access guided resources such as the ones provided by Teacher’s Brain, which cover lessons on economics, civics, geography, and various other topics.

Accessing quality primary education is also key to breaking the cycle of poverty, especially for children in developing countries like Cambodia. As a country marred with a history of conflict, having a successful educational program for children as soon as they enter the right school age improves the country’s overall human capital and economic development. Cambodia has been making strides in this aspect, with the USAID reporting a 97% enrollment rate of primary education students in 2020.

Because the memories of conflict are still part of recent history in Cambodia, teaching children about its effects is a defining characteristic of Cambodian education. We mentioned in our blog post entitled Tips for Talking to Students About War” how talking about civil and international conflict is a crucial aspect of an educator’s job. Discussing history, no matter how difficult, is a challenge that a learning system must be willing to address to educate its students effectively. This helps students understand factors that lead to class and socioeconomic struggles that presently exist, including poverty.

Talking about past hardships isn’t just applicable to developing countries. This approach has been applied to first-world countries like Germany, where learning has an emphasis on World War II, and even America, where the civil war is studied in detail.

These successful examples demonstrate how education can provide a path to a promising future by giving children a ladder out of poverty. Having a responsive and supportive educational system can tackle the barriers that hinder students from accessing and completing their schooling and securing a stable future.

5 Reasons To Do Virtual Field Trips

Thinking about your next field trip and feeling exhausted by the thought of it? You’re not alone! Field trips are fun but they are overwhelming, to say the least. With so much to coordinate and do, they leave teachers and students alike completely worn out by the end of the day. 

This is why I have always preferred virtual field trips!  I know what you may be thinking, what is that?! Virtual field trips are a new way to experience new places with your students without leaving the comfort of your classroom. 

virtual field trips pin image boy at computer learning

How do you do a virtual field trip?

Using technology! Start by deciding where you want to go. Do you want a virtual field trip to the zoo? Virtual field trip to space? Virtual field trip to a museum? All of these are totally possible! Set the tone in your classroom by turning off the lights (or having students do it from home if doing it while distance learning!) and you can either do a virtual tour using a free website or get a resource to use with Google Classroom.  

Here are the top reasons you should do virtual field trips

  1. You don’t have to leave the classroom. It is so much work to leave the school! You have to get your field trip approved, send out notices, plan ahead, arrange bus transportation, parent permission, etc. By staying in the classroom for your field trip, you skip all of that extra work and get straight to the fun stuff. 
  2. You’re not exhausted. It’s no secret that field trips are tiring. Organizing a trip for tons of kids would wear anyone out. Save some energy by making it fun right where you are! 
  3. No permission slips to worry about. Chasing down permission slips is one of the not-so-fun parts of field trips. You can’t take students out of the school without them, but hunting them down can be a chore. No permission slips are needed when you stay at school! 
  4. Student engagement increases. Framing the day as a field trip, even if you are in the classroom, is guaranteed to get students excited and ready for an adventure! 
  5. Cheaper than going somewhere. Field trips are fun but they cost money! Cut out all that money and keep it cost-effective by investing in a couple of virtual options that students will love. 

What are some good virtual field trips? 

If you’re looking for virtual field trips for kids that you can do easily from your classroom, you’re in the right place. You can take a “trip” anywhere that students would want to go that can be educational. This means the zoo, space, camping, the beach, Egypt, etc! 

If you want to kick your virtual field trip up a notch and get all of the educational activities done for you, I have you covered! 

This camping field trip is the perfect way to get your students engaged. 

camping virtual field trip preview

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

virtual field trip to go camping preview

What is in this download?

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
  • 9-minute Camping Field Trip Video (Car Ride to the Campsite, Camping Adventure)
  • Sequencing Events, 3 Writing Prompts, Counting Objects (under 10), Labeling Parts, Going on a BEAR HUNT 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 design a map with a map key. 
  • Black and white ink-saving Writing Pages and Home Connection Page for in-person teaching.
virtual field trip camping preview

If you love this idea, make sure to check out my other virtual field trips here! You can take a trip to the beach, the zoo, a wizard school, and more!

To learn more about virtual field trips, check out my post here!

Summer Packets To Prevent The Summer Slide

Summer is just around the corner! This is one of the best times of the year because not only do you get a much-needed break, but you get to see all of the progress your students have made throughout the year and celebrate them for it. Seeing how far they have come in their reading levels or math skills is just wonderful. Even better, it’s amazing to see how their confidence has grown throughout the year! 

With the long relaxing break, however, comes one not-so-fun thing. The summer slide. 

summer packets for 1st grade pin image

What is the summer slide? 

This is the tendency of students to lose some of the achievement gains that they made during the school year and regress academically. This is especially prevalent in low-income areas. 

How do you beat the summer slide? 

I know, the last thing you want is for your students to go backward. But what can you do? One of the best ways to keep that knowledge fresh is to assign some educational activities for students to complete during summer break. Another idea is to keep them reading with some fun reading summer challenges. You could send home a reading log for students to fill in with everything they read on their own during the summer and if they bring it back completed they get to go to an ice cream party. 

For more reasons to keep students learning during summer break, check out my post here! 

How do you engage students over the summer? 

You’ll want activities that are engaging enough that they will stick to it and be excited to do. Need summer activities for students? Don’t worry, I have you covered! 

These summer packets for 1st grade are all you need! 

summer packets

I love these packets because they are completely digital. This means that you don’t need to print out a bunch of packets and spend time putting them together. Students can complete it all online! 

This is designed with Google Slides. It includes a parent letter, physical and oral suggestions, a reading log, and a review of math and language arts activities. Students do not need to have Google Classroom to participate.

Here’s what’s included: 

  • How to use this packet and Parent Tips
  • Oral and physical activity suggestions
  • Reading Log
  • Sight Word List
  • Sight Word Sort Review Activities
  • Word Families
  • ABC Order Printables
  • Correcting Sentences
  • (Nouns, Verbs, Proper Nouns, Long and Short Vowels)
  • WRITING – Narrative, Opinion, Creative (Some printable to encourage handwriting)
  • Comprehension & Fluency
  • MATH Number Bonds, Addition, Subtraction, Shapes, measurement, 10 More 10 Less

Check out the summer packets for 1st grade video tutorial here! 

If you love this summer packet, make sure to check out the packet for each grade in elementary school! 

summer packets bundle preview

These are perfect no matter what grade you teach. The activities can be explained by the adult, but on most pages, it should not be necessary since it is a review. Children should be able to complete most activities independently. 

I recommend setting a 20 to 30-minute block of time for the student daily to work on these activities. They should enhance their vacation! Each packet includes a summer journal, sight words, reading logs, math, and LA printables.

Do you assign summer activity packets? Let me know in the comments!

Star Wars Day School Activities Students Will Love

May 4th will now forever be known as Star Wars Day! This is a day where we all happily showcase our love for the beloved franchise by greeting everyone around us with a happy “May the 4th Be With You” and participating in some fun and stellar Star Wars activities! 

This day is particularly fun with kids. If you are an elementary teacher looking for ways to celebrate, you’re in the right place! You may be wondering- how do people celebrate May 4th? Or what can kids do on Star Wars Day? 

Don’t worry, I have you covered! I knew students would love the galactic theme so of course, I came up with some super fun, low-prep activities that you can use to get your students engaged in Star Wars-themed activities. 

Star Wars day Activities for school pin image

Check out these Star Wars Day school activities!

My May the 4th Be With You Star Wars Themed Day Plan is full of Star Wars Day printables that will get students engaged in their lessons all day long. 

Star Wars day activities for kids

This resource includes a full day of fun with training, activities for finding planets, instructions for cool intergalactic treats, and activities to learn force and motion. These activities are perfect for pre-k, kindergarten, first, or second grade students. 

Here’s what’s included

Donations Please Page for Parents, Create a Space Creature activity, Give you space creature a personality activity, Sweet Fighter Treats instructions (EASY to Make), Venn diagram of Earth vs any other planet you choose, Venn diagram of Earth vs a star, Venn Diagram answer key, I SPY Planets activity, ODA SODA (ingredients and directions to make punch, galactic water labels for water bottles, fight training code of conduct poster, training laser directions, Training Academy certificate, Push, Pull, Force, and Motion Posters. 

Star Wars day printables for kids

Check it out here! 

Another one of my favorite May the 4th activities is this Star Wars Day digital escape room!

Star Wars Day online games

This space escape activity will help students to review planets, and practice problem-solving. Digital Escapes™ is a fun way to get students to learn without even realizing it. No printing and no prep needed for this digital escape! Students will love these Star Wars-inspired challenges! 

To play, students will click an audio button for directions and watch a short video with a problem to solve to help with their first clue. During the escape, students will be tasked with solving 4 lock clues to escape the room.

Star Wars day online games preview

There is a pdf included in this download with directions, the link to the site, an answer key, and an optional note-taking worksheet for students. This activity takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete but students will remember it for years! 

Check out the video preview!

Check it out here! 

I hope these Star Wars Day ideas inspired you to have an out-of-this-world celebration with your elementary students! What’s your favorite May the 4th activity? Let me know in the comments!

For more themed day fun, check out my post here!