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March 4, 2015 March Month by Month Must-Haves By Lindsey Petlak
Grades 3–5, 6–8

    I don’t know about you, but March is a crazy month at our school, with Read Across America, Women’s History Month, the Iditarod, testing, and parent/teacher conferences all crammed in before a much-needed spring break. Scholastic Month by Month is a handy spot for quick ideas, activities, printables, and more to help you plan and prep. Here are my favorite March features for intermediate grades that I’m planning on using in my classroom to survive the sprint between now and spring break!

     

    TEACH

    Women’s History: The ready-to-use lesson plans on Amelia Earhart and Women’s History Month have everything you need to start teaching on this topic IMMEDIATELY. From vocabulary, to interactive links, printables, books, extensions, and more — it's all there. Just click, download, and teach!  

    Writing Prompts: I always love shaking up prompts I use for modeled, whole class, and independent writing at centers. Sometimes I just need something new to spark the kiddos’ interest. My brain is still in “Chicago frozen winter mode,” so this resource with prompts relevant to March is perfect, because Scholastic has done the work. 

    For more awesome ideas for March-themed lesson plans/units, be sure to check out these outstanding blog posts from fellow Top Teaching Bloggers, Kriscia Cabral and Alycia Zimmerman

     

    ORGANIZE

    What can I say — by March, no matter how hard we try, I always feel like our classroom is a mess. March is the perfect time to kick off some serious spring cleaning for many reasons, and spring parent/teacher conferences are certainly motivation. I love EVERY SINGLE IDEA on the Organize page this month.

    Check it out and walk away with strategies you can use immediately to chip away at your spring cleaning to-do list in order to ensure your room is conference (and spring break) ready!

    Want more ideas on STORAGE for spring cleaning? Check out my previous posts (1)(2) on clever classroom storage solutions! I feature creative ways to use everyday, inexpensive items to effectively store the plethora of classroom materials we use each day.

     

    CREATE

    I can’t think of creativity in the month of March without my thoughts instantly turning to the infamous Dr. Seuss. While his birthday is early in the month, he is too much a legend to confine celebrating to just one day.

    With our kindergarten buddies, I plan to collaboratively have students create these darling Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat masks. They are a little too juvenile for my fourth graders, but a perfect craftivity for my students to help create for our kinder-buddies. Then, our kinder-friends will have masks for their big Dr. Seuss celebrations!

    For a Seuss-tastic array of other creative ideas for classroom decor, crafts, and even snacks that look (almost) too good to eat, be sure to explore the link to the Dr. Seuss celebration blog post written by Top Teaching blogger, Meghan Everette. She has pictures of her multi-grade collaborative celebration that are sure to inspire and get your creative juices flowing!

    BOOKS

    Sticking with the themes that I mentioned above, the books below are perfect for shared and independent reading choices in the upcoming month. I’m making a list and going to pick these books up from our school library tomorrow!

     

    Who Was Dr. Seuss?  by Tanya Janet Pascal

    Theodore Seuss Geisel loved to doodle from the time he was a kid. He had an offbeat, fun-loving personality. He often threw dinner parties where guests had to wear outrageous hats! And he donned quirky hats when thinking up ideas for books, such as his classic, The Cat in the Hat. This biography, with black-and-white illustrations throughout, brings an amazingly gifted author/illustrator to life.

     

    Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone

    Celebrate Women’s History Month with the empowering story of Elizabeth Blackwell, a young girl in the 1830s who became the first female doctor in the United States. Follow Elizabeth through childhood, her decision to become a doctor, and overcoming rejection. The end of the short story includes biographical details and authentic photos to learn even more.

     

    Remember the Ladies: 100 Great American Women by Cheryl Harness

    Cheryl Harness illuminates our nation's history from the early 1600s to the present by telling readers about the women "who, all along, have held up half of the American sky." From poet Phillis Wheatley and nurse Clara Barton to actress Lucille Ball and architect Maya Ying Lin, the author-illustrator portrays women of all talents, races, and eras, showing how the achievements of the present have grown from the courageous actions of women throughout our history.

     

    Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

    Since the death of her mother, Miyax, an Eskimo girl in Alaska, has been reared by her father, Kapugen, who has been bringing her up in the ways of a traditional Inuit. It is a life based on the rhythms of the natural world.

    When Miyax is 9, her aunt takes her away from her father to enroll her in an American school. There, she is around Americanized Eskimos who call her "Julie," and she starts to believe her former life was a strange one. At 13, she not only finds herself without her family, but unhappily living in an arranged marriage. Desperate to escape, she leaves for San Francisco, the home of her pen pal, but soon Julie becomes lost in the vast Alaskan tundra, with no food or direction. She then becomes Miyax again, reverting to the traditional ways of her father, and gradually befriends a pack of wolves, which she communicates with, just as her father taught her.

    But Miyax's life is again complicated when she discovers her father's whereabouts, and finds out that this time it is he who has tragically forsaken the old ways, which have become so crucial to her survival. John Schoenherr's line drawings subtly illustrate. Named an ALA Notable Book and the recipient of the Newbery Medal in 1973, Julie of the Wolves is a unique coming-of-age story, which explores the arduous and complex journey of searching for one's origins.

    WORD WALLS

    To supplement your text collections, lesson plans, and creative crafts for the month, download and print these thematic word walls to reinforce content area academic vocabulary. My favorites for March are the Harriet Tubman, Dr. Seuss, and Women's History word walls.

     If you haven’t already done so, be sure to read Genia Connell’s post on Scholastic's New, Free, Time-Saving Tool: Word Workshop. In addition to the Month by Month ready-to-use word wall cards, you can follow  her recommendations for creating your own for the month of March and beyond!

    PRINTABLES

    Sometimes you just need a quick printable to use instantly, and I’ve found three favorites I’m sure to use throughout March on the Month by Month site.

    • I love this Women’s History word find. Students always love a good word search, and this is the perfect quick pick activity for early finishers, fun “homework,” etc.

    • Spring conferences/open house are quickly approaching, and so I’ll be reading up on some fresh ideas and printing off the ready-to-go forms provided in the conference prep resource from Scholastic this month. They have included so many instant printables you can use for open house, that you can check several items off your to-do list!

    • As much as keeping the classroom is the responsibility of the teacher, it’s also important for students to help clean and maintain their own learning space. I’ll be printing off this “pledge” for my kiddos to read and sign as a commitment to our spring cleaning (and maintaining) efforts prior conferences and break

    PLAYS & POEMS

    The Plays & Poems section has two sure-fire hits for Women’s History Month resources for reader’s theater with "Susan Speaks Out" and Lucy Stone. Simply print, make copies, assign parts, and your students have a great way to practice fluency, accuracy, and tone while learning about Women’s History!

    TIPS & TIDBITS

    Do NOT make the mistake of passing up the Tips & Tidbits section of the March Month by Month. I LOVE the ideas in Meghan Everette’s Classroom Cleaning Games for fun ways to spruce up and spring clean before conferences. Also, don’t miss the FREE PRINTABLE Read Across America bookmarks. The whiteboard cleaning tips are genius, and be the first on your team to discover the amazingly user friendly Word Workshop tool that has endless possibilities for classroom use. Create, print, and use today. For more information on the Word Workshop tool, be sure to read Genia Connell’s blog post for full details! 

     

    I don’t know about you, but March is a crazy month at our school, with Read Across America, Women’s History Month, the Iditarod, testing, and parent/teacher conferences all crammed in before a much-needed spring break. Scholastic Month by Month is a handy spot for quick ideas, activities, printables, and more to help you plan and prep. Here are my favorite March features for intermediate grades that I’m planning on using in my classroom to survive the sprint between now and spring break!

     

    TEACH

    Women’s History: The ready-to-use lesson plans on Amelia Earhart and Women’s History Month have everything you need to start teaching on this topic IMMEDIATELY. From vocabulary, to interactive links, printables, books, extensions, and more — it's all there. Just click, download, and teach!  

    Writing Prompts: I always love shaking up prompts I use for modeled, whole class, and independent writing at centers. Sometimes I just need something new to spark the kiddos’ interest. My brain is still in “Chicago frozen winter mode,” so this resource with prompts relevant to March is perfect, because Scholastic has done the work. 

    For more awesome ideas for March-themed lesson plans/units, be sure to check out these outstanding blog posts from fellow Top Teaching Bloggers, Kriscia Cabral and Alycia Zimmerman

     

    ORGANIZE

    What can I say — by March, no matter how hard we try, I always feel like our classroom is a mess. March is the perfect time to kick off some serious spring cleaning for many reasons, and spring parent/teacher conferences are certainly motivation. I love EVERY SINGLE IDEA on the Organize page this month.

    Check it out and walk away with strategies you can use immediately to chip away at your spring cleaning to-do list in order to ensure your room is conference (and spring break) ready!

    Want more ideas on STORAGE for spring cleaning? Check out my previous posts (1)(2) on clever classroom storage solutions! I feature creative ways to use everyday, inexpensive items to effectively store the plethora of classroom materials we use each day.

     

    CREATE

    I can’t think of creativity in the month of March without my thoughts instantly turning to the infamous Dr. Seuss. While his birthday is early in the month, he is too much a legend to confine celebrating to just one day.

    With our kindergarten buddies, I plan to collaboratively have students create these darling Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat masks. They are a little too juvenile for my fourth graders, but a perfect craftivity for my students to help create for our kinder-buddies. Then, our kinder-friends will have masks for their big Dr. Seuss celebrations!

    For a Seuss-tastic array of other creative ideas for classroom decor, crafts, and even snacks that look (almost) too good to eat, be sure to explore the link to the Dr. Seuss celebration blog post written by Top Teaching blogger, Meghan Everette. She has pictures of her multi-grade collaborative celebration that are sure to inspire and get your creative juices flowing!

    BOOKS

    Sticking with the themes that I mentioned above, the books below are perfect for shared and independent reading choices in the upcoming month. I’m making a list and going to pick these books up from our school library tomorrow!

     

    Who Was Dr. Seuss?  by Tanya Janet Pascal

    Theodore Seuss Geisel loved to doodle from the time he was a kid. He had an offbeat, fun-loving personality. He often threw dinner parties where guests had to wear outrageous hats! And he donned quirky hats when thinking up ideas for books, such as his classic, The Cat in the Hat. This biography, with black-and-white illustrations throughout, brings an amazingly gifted author/illustrator to life.

     

    Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone

    Celebrate Women’s History Month with the empowering story of Elizabeth Blackwell, a young girl in the 1830s who became the first female doctor in the United States. Follow Elizabeth through childhood, her decision to become a doctor, and overcoming rejection. The end of the short story includes biographical details and authentic photos to learn even more.

     

    Remember the Ladies: 100 Great American Women by Cheryl Harness

    Cheryl Harness illuminates our nation's history from the early 1600s to the present by telling readers about the women "who, all along, have held up half of the American sky." From poet Phillis Wheatley and nurse Clara Barton to actress Lucille Ball and architect Maya Ying Lin, the author-illustrator portrays women of all talents, races, and eras, showing how the achievements of the present have grown from the courageous actions of women throughout our history.

     

    Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

    Since the death of her mother, Miyax, an Eskimo girl in Alaska, has been reared by her father, Kapugen, who has been bringing her up in the ways of a traditional Inuit. It is a life based on the rhythms of the natural world.

    When Miyax is 9, her aunt takes her away from her father to enroll her in an American school. There, she is around Americanized Eskimos who call her "Julie," and she starts to believe her former life was a strange one. At 13, she not only finds herself without her family, but unhappily living in an arranged marriage. Desperate to escape, she leaves for San Francisco, the home of her pen pal, but soon Julie becomes lost in the vast Alaskan tundra, with no food or direction. She then becomes Miyax again, reverting to the traditional ways of her father, and gradually befriends a pack of wolves, which she communicates with, just as her father taught her.

    But Miyax's life is again complicated when she discovers her father's whereabouts, and finds out that this time it is he who has tragically forsaken the old ways, which have become so crucial to her survival. John Schoenherr's line drawings subtly illustrate. Named an ALA Notable Book and the recipient of the Newbery Medal in 1973, Julie of the Wolves is a unique coming-of-age story, which explores the arduous and complex journey of searching for one's origins.

    WORD WALLS

    To supplement your text collections, lesson plans, and creative crafts for the month, download and print these thematic word walls to reinforce content area academic vocabulary. My favorites for March are the Harriet Tubman, Dr. Seuss, and Women's History word walls.

     If you haven’t already done so, be sure to read Genia Connell’s post on Scholastic's New, Free, Time-Saving Tool: Word Workshop. In addition to the Month by Month ready-to-use word wall cards, you can follow  her recommendations for creating your own for the month of March and beyond!

    PRINTABLES

    Sometimes you just need a quick printable to use instantly, and I’ve found three favorites I’m sure to use throughout March on the Month by Month site.

    • I love this Women’s History word find. Students always love a good word search, and this is the perfect quick pick activity for early finishers, fun “homework,” etc.

    • Spring conferences/open house are quickly approaching, and so I’ll be reading up on some fresh ideas and printing off the ready-to-go forms provided in the conference prep resource from Scholastic this month. They have included so many instant printables you can use for open house, that you can check several items off your to-do list!

    • As much as keeping the classroom is the responsibility of the teacher, it’s also important for students to help clean and maintain their own learning space. I’ll be printing off this “pledge” for my kiddos to read and sign as a commitment to our spring cleaning (and maintaining) efforts prior conferences and break

    PLAYS & POEMS

    The Plays & Poems section has two sure-fire hits for Women’s History Month resources for reader’s theater with "Susan Speaks Out" and Lucy Stone. Simply print, make copies, assign parts, and your students have a great way to practice fluency, accuracy, and tone while learning about Women’s History!

    TIPS & TIDBITS

    Do NOT make the mistake of passing up the Tips & Tidbits section of the March Month by Month. I LOVE the ideas in Meghan Everette’s Classroom Cleaning Games for fun ways to spruce up and spring clean before conferences. Also, don’t miss the FREE PRINTABLE Read Across America bookmarks. The whiteboard cleaning tips are genius, and be the first on your team to discover the amazingly user friendly Word Workshop tool that has endless possibilities for classroom use. Create, print, and use today. For more information on the Word Workshop tool, be sure to read Genia Connell’s blog post for full details! 

     

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