The Power of Reading 

This year a big initiative in our school is to promote more free reading time in school. The studies show that the more students read the better readers they will become. This seems like common sense but so many times as a teacher, I feel like instructional time during the day should be spent providing instruction or students practicing skills taught. If an administrator walked through my room and saw students just sitting and reading would they think I wasn’t doing me job? Well after reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, with a group of teachers at school the power […]

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Schools Around the World

I couldn’t be more excited about the story in student’s anthology this past week called, Schools Around the World. I mean could there have been a more perfect story for me to talk about?! This week has given me a chance to share with students my travels and visits to schools around the world. Sharing my experiences went perfectly with the text. Students started the week by listening to the story online and answering a few questions on our classroom blog. Later in the day we talked about some of the things they learned in the story and how that connected to […]

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New Year, New Adventures 

Where did 2016 go? I know I am a bit late to the party, and we’ve already had more than a full week of 2017, but better late than never.  Before we get too far into 2017 I thought it would be good to take a moment to stop and take a look back at all that 2016 had to offer. It was certainly a whirlwind year of travel, new friends, and new adventures. Here are some of my favorite highlights from the past year:  1. I started blogging about teaching and traveling. Blogging has given me a great outlet […]

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Holidays Around The World 

Starting next week my students will begin a big journey traveling around the world. And while we will be doing this trip virtually, since a teacher salary is not quite enough to buy a class set of multi country plane tickets, I know students will love it. At each country we stop at along the way we will take a close look at how people from that country celebrate the holidays. These are some of my favorite lessons to do with studnets and this year it will be even better.  This year in addition to readings, videos, doing a few […]

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Family Holiday Traditions 

With the month of December comes lots of excitement and traditions that students are eager to share. At morning meeting on Monday I kicked off talking about holiday traditions by sharing one from my family in Finland. Last week our family received a package from our family for Christmas. It was filled with a few little goodies from some of our favorite Finnish shops and an advent calendar for both my sister and I. Right away I knew it would be perfect to share with my students at school to kick off our study of holiday traditions around the world. […]

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Summer in South Africa

Well I finally did it, I booked my flight to South Africa for two weeks this July! This will mark continent number six for me and be fulfilling a long time dream to travel to Africa. When my friend Christine asked me last spring if I was interested in traveling with her to South Africa this summer, I didn’t hesitate in telling her of course I would go! We talked about going and what we would do for months. And now talk has turned into action. It was time to make traveling there a reality. We finally sat down and […]

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles 

There is one thing that always marvels me whenever I travel abroad, and that is the efficient public transportation systems of other countries. Bus, trains, trams, boats, it doesn’t matter how you need to get around, I find that countries around the world have lots of public options for people. When I think about how the public transportation stacks up to that in the US, all I can think is how we pale in comparison.  Back to even my earliest travel days when I use to just travel with my family, we always used public transportation. In general, my experience […]

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What’s In A Map?

One of the social studies topics we cover in second grade are types of maps and how we use them. Obviously this is a perfect opportunity to share with students maps I have picked up over the years during my travels. I have to admit that everywhere I have been I have collected maps, brochures and other literature just waiting for the right opportunity to use them one day. That day has finally arrived!   By using real maps of places around the world, it will be an authentic way of showing students different styles of maps to students. I […]

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Ugly Vegetables and Fruits 

Our story for the week is called The Ugly Vegetable by Grace Lin. It focuses on a family that grows Chinese vegetables in their garden rather than flowers like the rest of their neighbors. The little girl in the story wonders why her families garden is so different from everyone else’s and calls the vegetables they grow ugly.  This story prompted great discussion on diversity and how just because something is looks different doesn’t make it ugly or bad. There was a great lesson at the end when all the neighbors come to the house where the vegetables are cooked into […]

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States of Matter Around the World

Science is universal. Take the states of matter for example. No matter where you go in the world matter will still be matter. We are currently studying states of matter and of course I have been thinking, “How can I take this study international?” Well I think I have found a way. Students are gearing up to start a big science project that integrates science and technology. Using information they have learned so far about the three states of matter we focus on, solid, liquid and gas; students will go on a scavenger hunt outside around the school to take pictures […]

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