Halloween in the Classroom Doesn't Have to Be Scary

Want to know the secret to a stress-free Halloween in the classroom!?

Ignoring the fact that Halloween is far from a “normal” day in the classroom can often do more harm than good. The solution is to keep students on schedule while choosing to embrace the chaos. This is done by incorporating fun, hands-on, holiday themed learning activities across all subject areas!

Need some ideas? Don’t stress! We have got you covered with plenty of ideas to get you through the day.

Yes, You CAN Teach Growth Mindset in October!

Growth Mindset is a huge trend in teaching, but I get it, it’s hard to add one more thing to your instruction. However, you CAN integrate growth mindset in your classroom.

Teaching growth mindset is a best practice. Research has proven its many benefits. Teaching and learning growth mindset is a process. This process may not be easy, but it is definitely worth it for our students!

The following are 3 simple and easy ways to make growth mindset instruction work during the month of October!

October STEM Read Alouds

Read-alouds are one of the best ways to introduce new concepts to students. By integrating stories in lessons, students are introduced to quality books. When students are exposed to engaging literature, it fosters a life-long love of reading.

There are even greater benefits when these engaging read-alouds are connected to a STEM activity! STEM promotes 21st century skills all while allowing students to connect their learning to science, technology, engineering, and mathematical principles. This creates learning opportunities that are rigorous while maintaining a high level of student engagement.

The following are our top 5 STEM read-alouds and activities for October.

Growth Mindset is a Process

Did you know that when it comes to mindset it is not an either or? No one has a growth mindset 100% of the time. For example, there may be a student in your class who finds it easy to have a growth mindset during math, however, once it is time for reading, his mindset shifts. 

We all have areas of our learning that we view with a fixed mindset. The goal is to be able to recognize those areas where we default to a fixed mindset, and set goals for growth. This is what we want for our students and ourselves as teachers!

Growth Mindset Read Alouds

Have you ever heard any of these comments from you students?

"I'm just not good at math" 

"I'll never be good at reading."

This type of thinking emerges from a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is the belief that our intelligence, abilities, and talents are fixed traits that are out of our control.

On the other hand, a growth mindset is the belief that through hard work and perseverance our intelligence, abilities, and talents can be developed. 

Celebrate International Dot Day with STEM

International Dot Day is celebrated on September 15th. It is a day meant to encourage students to be creative, curious, and brave. The inspiration for the day comes for the book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds.  

The story of The Dot centers around the main character, Vashti, who doesn't believe she is a good artist. However, after some encouragement from her teacher, Vashti begins drawing dots. At the end of the story, Vashti learns to be brave and use her creativity to make her mark on the world.

Back to School STEM Challenges

STEM challenges are the best way to begin building classroom community and teamwork at the beginning of the year. They are also a great way to introduce problem solving skills and get students thinking creatively and outside the box. 

The best part is students LOVE them, and they don't even realize they are learning!

The following are our top 5 picks for back to school STEM activities.

How to Teach Growth Mindset with STEAM

Growth mindset is the idea that the brain is like a muscle that continues to grow with practice. This is in contrast to the idea of a fixed mindset, which is the belief that your intelligence and talents are fixed traits that cannot be improved over time.

According to research, students with a growth mindset are more likely to try hard things and persevere through difficult task. This is why growth mindset is such an important lesson to teach and help students develop.

5 Myths About Makerspaces

There are many misconceptions about what a makerspace is and what is required to set up and run a successful space. Unfortunately many of these misconceptions create unnecessary barriers for teachers looking to set up a makerspace.

The following are 5 myths that hold teachers back from setting up a makerspace or using their makerspace to its full potential. If you are looking at getting started with makerspaces be sure to sign up for our FREE Building a Makerspace E-mail Course

Building Teamwork at the Beginning of the Year with STEM

Did you know that STEM activities are a great way to build classroom community and teamwork at the beginning of the year?

Unfortunately,  STEM challenges can tend to be used as a classroom competition where students and groups are competing against each other. While classroom competitions can be fun, the goal of STEM should be to encourage a growth mindset in students.

How do we accomplish this?

First Week of School Read Alouds

It's a fact..teachers love books! Discovering new read alouds is always an exciting adventure. The following are my favorite first week of school read alouds. Most of these titles have lesson ideas that go along with them. You can find the coordinating lesson plans and activities in our First Week of School Lesson Plans resource.  

For a break down of how these books can be used to jump start a successful first week of school be sure to download our FREE First Week of School Schedule!

5 Things to Do Before the End of the Year

The end of the year is definitely one of the busiest times for teachers. With packing, checklists, filling out technology and supply inventories, and not to mention trying to keep a classroom full of students engaged and yourself sane.

While it may seem like you can not add one more thing to your plate, if you are able to get all or at least some of these 5 things done you will set yourself up for a less stressful beginning of the year next year.

Making Slime in the Classroom Tips and Tricks

Slime...it is a sticky, squishy, messy substance, and kids love it!

I have to admit that I was that teacher that tended to avoid "messy learning" in the classroom. Fortunately, over the years, I learned to embrace some mess and craziness for the sake of student engagement and learning. 

With the following tips and tricks you can engage students in learning about states of matter with slime while limiting the mess.   

Mother's Day STEM and Writing Activities

Mother's Day has definitely taken on a whole new meaning for Adam and I over the past couple years with the arrival of our daughter who will be two this month. We are also expecting a baby boy in September. 

As I started brainstorming educational and fun gift ideas students could make for Mother's Day, I began by thinking of what I would like to receive. This led me to the idea of...BATH BOMBS!