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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Labor Day Bundle!

Labor Day!  While I know many teachers will just be gearing up to start school again after Labor Day (I’m looking at you friends and colleagues in Chicago!), many of us have already been back to school for weeks!   

Typically, especially as time marches out, Labor Day is thought to be just another day off of work and school.  My goal for this year is to create meaningful classroom materials for these holidays that might otherwise be overlooked or brushed aside.

A lot of the materials floating around the internet in regards to Labor Day is very much aimed at Jr. High (or Middle School if you prefer...the kids around here in Knoxville look at me like I'm crazy when I say Jr. High!) students and beyond.  I wanted to create something accessible and appropriate for the early grades that would resonate and impress upon students the importance of Labor Day and why it should matter to them!

I came up with this fun interactive book that focuses on what Labor Day is, dictionary skills, and text features such as bold words and a glossary.  The book is intended to be colored in, drawn in, and written in.  I have found that allowing young students this opportunity to interact with the material that they are supposed to be learning from increases their engagement and understanding.  I also chose to focus on things that need repetitive reinforcement for mastery in the classroom such as dictionary skills and text features. Also included is a vocabulary activity to draw upon those text features and help students synthesize the information they just learned! Check it out in my TpT store  by clicking here or clicking on the pictures below!

Next is my favorite part of the bundle!  I must admit that having worked with 3rd graders for the first time last year, I came to realize that I have not been teaching writing using best practices!  When my 3rd graders took the standardized state test writing portion, they were given several pieces of information (written essays, etc.) and then asked to answer a prompt using the information they just read!  I absolutely LOVED this format…only I hadn’t once exposed them to this unfamiliar way of doing things.  I felt terrible and spent the rest of the year (albeit short) doing as many writing activities in this manner as possible. (Check out my kiddos’ favorite, our Who Would Win writing activity!) 

Now whenever I create a writing prompt, I do so using the aforementioned format to prepare students for what writing assignments will be like all the way through college! (I see what you did there college and career readiness standards...)  For Labor Day I have created one essay for the students to read and 3 different prompts that can be used with it.  Use 1, 2, or all 3! The essay delves into the laws and protections that have been afforded to laborers as well as a little on child labor (meant to resonate with the young students and have them think globally!) The informative prompt asks students to tell about three laws that now exist to help protect workers, the persuasive asks students why child labor should not be allowed, and the creative asks students to imagine what it would be like to be a child laborer and how they would feel.

The last page includes and extension activity to support an organization aimed at stopping child labor around the world.  Volunteerism can be a great way to unite a classroom and teach students about the importance of community and what people can accomplish when they work together!  Choosing one cause to focus on all year is a great way to teach kids about follow through as well as allow ample learning opportunities and opportunities to see their effort grow into tangible results! The fact that it is focused on children should heighten your students' interest and empathy. Hope you all enjoy the back to school season and the first day off from school to celebrate all the hard work you do ;)

Happy teaching y’all!

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