Memorial Day Activities For Elementary

While some students may just see Memorial Day as a day off from school, it is a great time to teach them about Memorial Day and why we celebrate it. It is important for them to know about those who gave their lives while serving our country. 

Here are some ways you can teach elementary students about Memorial Day in your classroom.

  1. Start by giving them the definition. It seems simple, but this is something that not a lot of students know or understand. 
  2. Read a book about the holiday. Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops by Jill Biden and Raul Colon is a great book written by the First Lady. 
  3. Write a letter to a hero. If your students have any friends or family members that served they can write a letter to them. For other students you can have them write a letter to hero you select for them. This is a great way to give students perspective and a chance to express their gratitude. 
  4. Discuss the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. On Veterans Day we celebrate those still living who served our country, on Memorial Day we celebrate those we lost. 

My Memorial Day Writing Activity is the perfect addition to your lesson!

Memorial Day

 Perfect for students in first through third grade, you’ll get a variety of writing activities. 

Included with this resource, you’ll get 

  • an informational sheet about the holiday
  • acrostic poems with self rating systems
  • Home of the Free Because of the Brave printable
  • Informational writing planning page
  • Informational writing page
  • Thank you, Hero Letter
  • Thank You Letter
  • Posters for students to fill out
  • Poster about informative writing
  • Transitional words and phrases list
  • Word wall words
  • Rubric

You’ll get everything you need to get your students engaged in learning about our American heroes.

memorial day

Looking for more teaching activities for May? Check out Mother’s Day ideas here! 


 

Fluency Practice Ideas That Are Actually Fun

In early education classrooms, fluency is a major part of the reading curriculum.

In order to comprehend text, students must be able to read with speed and accuracy. If they are unable to read fluently, they can become so focused on decoding or recalling words that they will lose the meaning of the text. When reading out loud, fluency also becomes an important part of conveying meaning to the listeners.

So- how can teachers provide effective instruction in fluency in their already cramped schedules? Read on for some of my favorite strategies! 

One of the easiest ways to increase fluency is by re-reading passages.

As students become more familiar with a text, they can add speed and expression to their reading. This strategy is important to introduce in the early grades so students will become comfortable with re-reading as texts become longer and more difficult.

A similar tool for teaching fluency is to use small phrases that children can read, re-read, and add onto. Once they are able to recognize the short phrase as one unit, they can add more words to make complex sentences. Again, repeated reading of the same phrases will increase speed, accuracy, and confidence. 

Another tool in my fluency arsenal is the use of homonyms.

Homonyms are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. For example, a bat is an animal or a piece of sports equipment. Helping students recognize homonyms will not only improve their fluency but increase their comprehension. I like to use a “word web” with the target homonym in the middle. Then, as a class or independently, students can add words to the web that connect to the different meanings. Keeping the word webs for review later is a great way for students to increase their recognition of homonyms in later texts. 

Perhaps the most fun way to increase fluency skills is with reader’s theater.

Children are able to read and re-read their parts before “performing” the script. They can improve their speed, accuracy, and especially expression in doing so. As they read along with a group, they can hear their peers reading with fluency as well. It’s a lot of fun to perform short scripts in front of the class, and provides an opportunity for students to become comfortable speaking in front of a group. 

Are you ready to use all of the strategies in your kindergarten or first-grade class? Grab my Reading Fluency Activities today and your entire school year of fluency lessons will be ready!

This bundle includes sentence building worksheets, word webs, mini-books, and reader’s theater scripts for each week of the year. It also includes fluency assessments so you can track what your students are learning. Using these activities weekly will lead to fluent readers who are confident in their skills!

fluency

Looking for more reading strategies? Check out my post here! 

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

fluency


 

Thanksgiving Escape Rooms For Kids

As we approach the holiday season, your students might be growing weary of the usual classroom activities. Are you detecting a little bit of restlessness when you assign a reading comprehension passage? Don’t worry, I have the perfect activity to inject some life into your reading practice- escape rooms!

 Students will have a blast using their reading skills to solve the puzzles and escape the room. Trust me, it will be one of the most memorable activities of the year! 

There is even a Thanksgiving Escape Room perfect for the fall- The Thanksgiving Mystery. 

To successfully complete this activity, students have to “break the box” to “escape the room”. As they try to solve the mystery, they will practice their reading skills as well as using teamwork and critical thinking skills. 

thanksgiving escape room

 

Your students will be having so much fun trying to escape, they might not even notice that they are developing higher level comprehension skills. Application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation are all necessary to open the box. Rather than using simple worksheets, you will be letting your students develop their higher order thinking skills while having fun! 

Thanksgiving Escape Room

This Thanksgiving Mystery video will introduce the activity to your students and hook them in.

The Thanksgiving Escape the Room resource includes all the steps you need to engage your students in the Thanksgiving Mystery. After a little bit of preparation following the easy checklist, you’ll be ready to guide your students through their adventure. 

The escape room can be used if your children are in the classroom, or easily adapted for at home learners. Your kids are going to have a blast exploring the different steps including a corn maze!

For more Thanksgiving fun, check out my Thanksgiving Turkey Run Digital Escape Room.

This activity would be perfect for the days leading up to Thanksgiving break. Have you used escape rooms in your classroom yet? Tell me in the comments! 

thanksgiving escape room

 

 

Facts About Bats For Kids

There are so many things to love about fall besides the pumpkin spice and fall scented candles, it is also so fun to bring fall and Halloween themes into the classroom. Integrating seasons and holidays gets your students excited to learn, and what teacher doesn’t love that? 

One topic that my students love to learn about is bats! They only come out at night, they’re spooky, and might just share some qualities with vampires. They make a great science topic for fall or Halloween! Teaching facts about bats to your kiddos is exciting and will help increase engagement and retention. 

Here are some bat facts to include in your lessons:

  • Bats are flying mammals
  • There are over 1000 different species of bat
  • They are nocturnal or active at night
  • They feed on insects, fruit, fish, and some even on blood

To help you take your bats unit up to the next level, I created a special Bat Facts Escape Room! This game is so fun, your students will be learning without even realizing it. 

Check out my Bats Escape Room Video Tutorial here

This escape room requires no prep and is super easy to use. It is great for in person learning or distance learning. 

During the escape, students will be tasked with solving 4 lock clues in order to escape the bizarre bats buzzing around their building. 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 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

Students will:

  • Listen to short audio directions and a YouTube video
  • Solve 5 Comprehension Questions
  • Solve a Jigsaw Puzzle
  • Count BATS
  • Work on problem solving as a group or individually
  • Learn about echolocation, colonies, different types of bats, vampire bats, and nocturnal animals

Do you have any tips for teaching students about these nocturnal animals? Let me know in the comments!

bats

 

Want more Halloween fun? Check out my Halloween Escape Room here!