Merry Christmas from the USAF Band–Flash Mob at the Smithsonian

Merry Christmas!  I hope you enjoy this flash-mob style performance by the U.S. Air Force Band.  They performed at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.  Both of my parents and both of my grandfathers are Air Force veterans–this is a perfect Christmas celebration at our house!

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Posted in Holidays by Corey Green @ Dec 25, 2013


Teach About the Children of WWII Using Resources from the BBC

ww2_children_evac_kentish_townThe BBC Primary History Children of WWII feature is an excellent educational resource to share with your class.  Use the site to bring the sweeping subject of WWII to a human level—a child-sized level. 

This site coordinates well with WWII history lessons as well as literature studies of books such as Number the Stars or the Molly books  books in the American Girl collection.  Explain to students that this site shows what Emily experienced before she came to live with Molly in the States.

The Children of WWII site features information, an interactive timeline, and a fun game called Dig it Up!

Your students will like the information. Use is as a review, a preview, or as part of an Internet activity:

Your students will enjoy the game Time Capsules WW2.  In the game, students must figure out which person buried which time capsule.  Students use their problem solving skills and knowledge of history to solve the puzzle.  They also have to practice important skills like reading a timeline.

Your students will enjoy the British accents of the narrator and characters.  The acting is good for a video game—it’s easy to empathize with the characters who buried the time capsules.

The teacher’s resource area is extensive.  There are free worksheets and lesson plans, an online quiz, pictures, and videos.  The site links you to other Internet resources to teach Ancient Roman history.

Photo courtesy of the BBC teacher’s resource page.

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Posted in Academics,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Dec 20, 2013


Introduce academic subjects with a cheer!

Elementary classes spend a whole school year in the same room, studying one academic subject after another.  There is no natural transition time like in high school, so you have to create it yourself.  Break up the day by introducing your subjects with a cheer, song, rhyme, or fun little ritual.

Why a cheer?

  • Clear transition—a cheer lets students know when it’s time to switch from reading to math.
  • Quick break—taking the time to say a few rhyming words wakes students up.  Bonus points if your cheer involves movement.
  • Build enthusiasm—even long division is a little more fun if you give it a big buildup.

My students and I don’t have a cheer for every subject—that might be excessive.  However, we developed cheers for some of our favorite subjects and lessons.  Examples:

  • For a few years, I used a series of math lessons I created called “Macho Math.”  As you can imagine, our song was a variation on that Village People classic.   (“Macho, macho math!  Smart kids do..their macho math!”)
  • For one class, I created a grammar series called Go Go Grammar.  We began each lesson with a song I put to the tune of “Greased Lightning.”  (That song is a little too long and silly to reproduce here, but you get the idea.)
  • We created our own cheer to pep up a subject nobody really liked.  That cheer got us through the first half of the lesson each day.  Knowing we were almost there pulled us through the second half.

If you use cheers, start small and build up.  You want the process to happen naturally.  It’s nice if the students start making up their own cheers.  Try to vary the cheer/song styles.  That way, you please more students and avoid annoying some with a style they just don’t like.

Happy cheering!

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Posted in Academics,Classroom Management,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Dec 13, 2013