Best Friends Day and 
Other Special One Day Themes

Teachers need some very engaging special themes to use in those days between spring break and the last day of school.  Celebrating wacky holidays can bring lots of fun and learning to your students.

April 16 is Wear Pajamas to Work Day.    Who doesn’t love pajama days at school?  Have your students wear pajamas and have a read-in on that day.  Llama, Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney is a great read  aloud. Students can bring favorite bedtime story books to school and write a different ending to them.

April 24 is Poem in Your Pocket Day.  What a great day to read Shel Silverstein poems to the class!  Have the students write and illustrate poems of their own.

May 4 is Star Wars Day. May The Fourth Be With You.  Read a child friendly Star Wars book to the children and then have them write Star Wars themed stories with prompts such as It isn’t easy being a Jedi or Why you should stay away from the dark side.

May 10 is Clean Up your Room Day. Read The Toy Troll by Joshua Hawkins. Students can write procedural stories about how to clean up their rooms.

June 1st is Say Something Nice Day. Talk about complements. Have the students write compliments to each other.

June 8th is Best Friends Day. Read any of the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel. Have students work in groups to create posters about the characteristics of best friends.

Share your fun special day ideas with us in the comments.

March Math for Basketball Fans

Great teachers make a point of getting to know every student. Great teachers know what their students like and dislike.  Teachers can do this by talking with student and by having students write about what their interests.  This valuable knowledge can be used for choosing guided reading books or read-a-louds.  I know a teacher who used "I Want You to Know" journals. Each morning the journals would be on tables ready for students to use.  Students could draw or write about anything that they wanted their teacher to know.  Students would often write or draw about activities that they loved.  Sports that the students participated in were often a big source of interest.

Do you have young basketball players or fans in your class?  March is a great time to use basketball themed activities.  One of my favorite basketball themed books is Salt in His Shoes:Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan.

How would you like to get your students engaged in any subject and up and moving at the same time?  Students will need whiteboards, wipe of markers, and a sock to use as an eraser.  Divide the students into  two teams.  Have the teams sit in two straight lines.  Put a trash can between the two teams.  Ask any question and have the students respond by writing on their white board.  Pick a student with a correct answer and have him come to a line of tape on the floor and try to throw the basketball into the trash can.  Award the team 2 points for every basket.  Students love this game.

Would you like some math station activities with basketball themes?  Check out this activity in our store. And for kindergarten check out this activity.

Smooth Sailing Sunday Linky Party March 19, 2017

Come and join our Smooth Sailing Sunday Link up Party. Link up to 3 products, free and paid products are always welcome. Visit Learning Harbor Resources for Teachers for more great Teacher Resources. Thank you for stopping by. Comments and Suggestions are always welcome.


Burst into song!  Kids don’t care if you can’t sing.  Go ahead and sing like no one is listening.  Actually sing WHEN no one is listening!  Teach your students calls to attention that are based on songs.  For example, in December you might sing Fa La La La La and the kids would sing La La La La , then everyone would put one finger on their finger on their lips and very softly.  This works even during the last week before Winter Break.

Singing during transition times works wonders. Sing directions to a familiar tune.  I know a teacher who sang “Chair helper, chair helper, put up the chairs” to the tune of a song from Fiddler on the Roof.  Use a small part of the melody from a song that you love and substitute your own directions for the lyrics.

Sing to start your day.  There is time to work a song or two into your morning routine.

Sing to teach concepts. Kids retain more when they sing, whether they are singing about math, literacy, science or social studies concepts.

Sing to celebrate the little achievements.  If your goal is for a student to read 50 sight words, and the student meets the goal. Sing – Who can read 50 words?  Liam can read 50 words.   50 Words! 50 Words!  Hurray for Liam! You don’t have to disrupt instruction do this.  Do it at the end of the day or just before recess.

If you really don’t want to sing, chant.  Kids love to chant and chanting also improves learning and retention.

Along with singing a capella style, you may want to use music from a cd or from a computer. My favorite cd and digital downloads are by Dr. Jean Feldman.  She has songs for language, math, science, and social studies concepts, and for brain breaks.  You and your kids can sing along.

Singing improves your breathing and lifts your mood. Sing, chant, or sing along.  You can’t go wrong when your teach with a song.

Would You LIke Some Free Exclusive Full Size Products?

Just follow are blog or sign up for our newsletter and you will receive a full size product for free every month.

We know how much of their own money teachers spend on classroom materials.  Even economical items can add up quickly.  We are going to give our followers and newsletter subscribers a free full size product every month!  These freebies are not currently available in our TpT store.   When we do add them to our store, they will be not be free. Would you like to have 12 free products by this time next year? All you need to do is Follow our blog and/ or subscribe to our once monthly newsletter. After this month, the newsletter will come out on the second of each month.  These will be timely materials.  The March freebie has a springtime theme with baby birds in nests.  The skill is practice with doubles and near doubles, with a response sheet and an answer key provided.

Just follow us and / or sign up for our monthly newsletter to start getting these great freebies!

The Teddy Bear Project

Helping students cope when their teacher becomes seriously ill.

When a teacher becomes seriously ill and must go on medical leave without having time to say goodbye to her kids, it can be traumatic for the children.  This happened to my wife a few years ago. The following is a project she used to help her kids understand that she was ok and she loved them.

In April of 2013, Cheryl was teaching kindergarten and everything seemed normal, except that she was having a great deal of back pain.  She had an MRI done to see if she had a slipped disc, and learned that she had a tumor the size of her little finger inside her spine.  Upon hearing this news, she and I were both in shock.  She was terrified about the surgery, but she was also worried about her kids. She couldn’t go back to school, but she didn’t want to just disappear and have them wondering what happened to her.  Then she remembered the special teddy bear that had been her class mascot that year.  The teddy bear had left notes and little treats for the children throughout the school year. I took the teddy bear with me when I took Cheryl to the hospital for pre-surgery tests and paperwork. I took pictures of the teddy bear with nurses and doctors.

Prior to her surgery, Cheryl wrote a short note for each day that was left in the school year.  The notes were in the teddy bear’s voice and would tell the students something like, “I saw Mrs. Litton yesterday and she is doing very well.  She misses you and wants you to remember to practice your sight words.”  I typed the notes into emails and added a picture of the teddy bear at the hospital to each email and then I sent them to a dear friend, who would make sure that the substitute read a letter from teddy each day.

 Her kindergarten kids loved the Teddy Bear Project.  They thought that the teddy bear went to see Cheryl at the hospital after school each day, so they began writing letters and drawing pictures for the teddy bear to deliver to her.  Concentrating on getting the teddy bear project ready helped Cheryl by giving her something positive to think about during those stressful days before surgery and helped her kindergarten kids deal with the trauma of their teacher suddenly disappearing.

I highly recommend having a stuffed animal as a class mascot.  Cheryl’s kindergarten kids already had a connection with the teddy bear because she used him in class.  He sat at the table were everyone was on task.  Her kids read to him.  He reminded her kids that he had tiny little ears and they hurt when they were too loud.  She never dreamed that she would use the teddy bear to stay connected to her kids when she was having emergency surgery. Now she is now so grateful that using him bridged the distance from her hospital room to her classroom.

Smooth Sailing Sunday Linky Party March 12, 2017

Come and join our Smooth Sailing Sunday Link up Party. Link up to 3 products, free and paid products are always welcome. Visit Learning Harbor Resources for Teachers for more great Teacher Resources. Thank you for stopping by. Comments and Suggestions are always welcome.


YaaaHooo,!! It's Spring Break.

 Shake off the cold and look for the flip flops. Spring break is here and now we can enjoy the beautiful weather. One whole week of no worries. Sleep late, stay up late and by all means catch up on the favorite shows. 
Are you traveling to the fun destination to lay in the sun or maybe hit the snowy slope? How about a bit of shopping, or maybe visit family?
We want to know your what you  have planned and or what you did on your Spring Break. Post a pic or tell us about your adventure.


Sorting Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives St Patrick's Day Theme

Do you need a literacy center for March? This St. Patrick's Day themed, parts of speech sorting activity will have your students engaged as they sort nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Sorting mats, as well as, noun, verb, and adjective cards are included in both color and black and white. A recording sheet and an answer key are also included.

If you are looking to increase your teaching resources without increasing your expenses this and other Learning Harbor Resources for Teachers Lifesaver Activities. All the Learning Harbor Resources for Teachers Lifesaver Activities are designed to provide affordable educational activities. Click here to see more of this activity. Many other Learning Harbor Resources Lifesaver Activities can be found at Learning Harbor Resources for Teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Turn Around Facts Commutative Property

This is a Learning Harbor Resources Lifesaver Activity. It is super quick and easy prep. All cutting is on a straight line. If you laminate the cards they can be used for years.  An answer key, recording sheet, and directions sign are included.  Signs and cards are included in both color and black & white.

The student choose a card and looks at the equation. He finds the matching box on the recording sheet and writes the equation that is the turn around fact. A turn around fact demonstrates the commutative property of addition.

If you are looking to increase your teaching resources without increasing your expenses this and other Learning Harbor Resources for Teachers Lifesaver Activities. All the Learning Harbor Resources for Teachers Lifesaver Activities are designed to provide affordable educational activites. Click here to see more of this activity. Many other Learning Harbor Resources Lifesaver Activities can be found at Learning Harbor Resources for Teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers.


Math Center Telling Time to the Hour and Half Hour Spring Rainy Day

Telling Time to the Hour and Half Hour With a Rainy Day Theme.This is a great resource to use after students have been introduced to telling time by the hour and half hour.

This resource includes:
24 clip cards for telling time practice
The same 24 clip cards in black & white.
Bonus 1 – Free game board, Free Zap cards and directions for playing both games. 
Bonus 2 - My list of 20 ways to use task cards.

Students will clip the correct answer on each card with a clothespin, leading to interaction and fine motor development.
A recording sheet and an answer key are included if you would like to use them.

Time to Spring Forward Daylight Savings Time is here

We are just in time for the time change. Are you just now getting used to Standard Time? Too bad, it is that time of year again. That's right, it's time to "spring forward" to Daylight Savings Time.. You know what that means. The time of year that everyone feels good about going home with daylight left to enjoy and is grumpy because its still dark when they have to get up or leave for work.

The idea of Daylight Savings Time came from Benjamin Franklin. A London builder named William Willett wrote in the pamphlet "Waste of Daylight" "Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shortage as Autumn approaches; and everyone has given utterance to regret that the clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used."

For the United States the time change was used during both World War I and World War II. But it wasn't standardized in peace time until 1966 and went effective in 1967. Both Arizona and Michigan chose to exempt themselves from Daylight Savings Time. Then in 1972 Michigan became the 48th state to accept the change in time.  Most of Arizona still doesn't observe the DST except for the Navajo on their tribal lands. Hawaii still doesn't make the time change either.

The only way to look at the clock on Sunday evening is to know that Monday comes just a bit sooner. On the bright side,time to go home from work or school seems to come a bit sooner too.  When it comes to Daylight Savings Time, would you rather love it or leave it?  If you love it, how do you use the extra hour of daylight each day?

Do you need a math activity for practicing telling time?  Here is a spring themed, set of clip style task cards that help students practice time to the hour and half hour.

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