Teaching

Departures from Curriculum | Benefits of the Bunny Trails

Does the picture above remind you of something you’ve ever experienced?

When I was teaching and then after I became a homeschool mom, this was (all too often) ME!

I was always looking for ideas to make learning more fun and develop and nurture a student’s love for learning. I quickly realized that taking a short departure from the curriculum was all it took!

Advantages in taking short departures from scheduled curriculum

What do I mean by a short departure? It’s simply adding a quick, short unit study or bunny trail spurred by something not in the curriculum.

By doing this you can:

  • – Provide a productive break from the curriculum routine
  • – Open a child’s mind to new interests
  • – Continue to provide structure within which students can develop valuable skills in writing, research, observation, reading comprehension, and critical thinking all while widening content area learning in areas like science, geography, history or even math.

Where can you get some ideas?

It can be as simple as a quick trip to My Teaching Library’s Calendar page! On My Teaching Library, I have place hundreds of historical events, observations, holidays, and more on the calendar. I’ve done so to give you some ideas to take little detours in learning!

One thing I learned while teaching is this…Sometimes the most valuable lessons or biggest improvements in a student’s skill set came from what I call a ‘bunny trail’ lesson or a departure from the curriculum.

Finding My Teaching Library’s Calendar page

To check out the MTL calendar, simply go to the home page, scroll down past the “Skills & Concepts to Teach” and keep scrolling until you see Educational Planning Calendar

Then click on the words, View Calendar!

Here are a few examples of what you can find…

Example #1

On May 1st, you’ll see that the first U.S. Postal Card was issued. So, where could you go with this?

Perhaps you could do a quick study on the U.S. postal service. The end product could be asking students to do a timeline of what they found, do an oral report or for older students, create a PowerPoint.

Another idea would be to take the year, 1873, and investigate what other events occurred in the U.S. or even world history during that same year!

Example #2

On June 2, 1924, the U.S. granted citizenship to all Native Americans. WOW, this could lead to so many ‘bunny trail’ possibilities such as…

  • – A study of citizenship and the benefits that come with being a U.S. citizen
  • – A study on the process immigrants must go through to become U.S. citizens
  • – The effects (intended or otherwise) of this act in 1924 on Native Americans
  • – A study of a specific group of Native Americans, perhaps from your region of the country
  • -Native American reservations in the U.S. today

I could go on and on!

Finding Resources

I wish I could tell you that My Teaching Library has every resource you’ll ever need for all your ‘detours’. I can’t. However, I’m working on it! LOL

You can always do a key word search to see if MTL does…and remember that if your first key word doesn’t bring up something, try multiple different key words.

What I can do right this moment is to direct you to products that can be used again and again in multiple ‘detour’ studies.

The first is MTL’s Graphic Organizers. This is a set of 80 organizers from Venn diagrams to timelines that can be used for almost any study!

Another product is Generic Vocabulary Terms – Definitions Worksheet. This worksheet can be used for any study where students may be learning new words.

MTL also has Mini-Book Templates! Younger students can use these again and again to make mini-books about things they study.

If you want students to write on a topic, why not have them use MTL’s Newspaper Templates for Expository Writing! These templates can be used across the curriculum, for any study and students love to be a reporter!

I do hope I’ve given you some ideas on how you can expand learning while taking short departures from curriculum!

Lynda

Fun Holiday Downloads, Holidays

Hop on over to get your Easter Resources!

To help you get ready, I wanted to share with you some great My Teaching Library resources designed just for the holiday. The first category I’ll share are considered neutral / non-religious (meaning their graphics will contain bunnies, chicks, eggs, etc.). The second category I’ll share are religious (meaning they will include graphics related to and or actual scriptures surrounding the Christian Easter story).

1st Category: Neutral (Bunnies, Chicks, Eggs, etc.)
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Color Words | Easter Practice Help your students practice valuable reading, writing and following directions skills with these Easter egg – color word themed pages! Students will be asked to read, trace and copy words and sentences, identify color words, unscramble and spell color words correctly and follow directions. Their creativity can also shine on the last 2 pages where they color two different Easter quilts!
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My Easter Friends Mini-Story Book Students will love creating their own Easter mini-book about fun Easter characters! Characters in the story: Easter Duck, Little Duck, Easter Bunny, Little Lamb and Easter Bear. Students will practice fine motor skills as the color and trace. Once complete, they’ll have a fun, little 18 page book to read and share!
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Easter Language Arts Unit | Vocabulary $4.00 Help your students learn and practice using new vocabulary words during March and April with a fun, Easter themed resource which contains a variety of Language Arts skills throughout including grammar, spelling, alphabetizing, using words in context, sentence writing and more. (Includes some differentiated activities)
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Easter Writing Paper Give your students beautiful stationary paper to use when publishing around the Easter holiday. This specific set is secular – with bunnies, eggs, and baskets. There are 21 different designs, each in color and in b/w and designed to use with a variety of ages as I’ve included a variety of pages with dashed-center lines as well as pages with single solid lines.
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Easter Word Challenge Here is a fun code puzzle where students must figure out the words (without text clues) to complete a crossword puzzle! Students are given 4 ‘clue’ letters and the rest will be for them to discover…using critical thinking skills and their knowledge of Easter related vocabulary. After the students have found the words and completed the puzzle, they are then asked to write a story using each of the words at least once.
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Easter Crossword Puzzle An Easter crossword puzzle which will give students a fun way to work with holiday related vocabulary: candy, basket, hunt, eggs, lamb, chocolate, Spring, April, bunny, flower, jelly beans and chick.
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Easter Early Learning Activities Help your young learners practice counting, fine motor skills and writing through tracing with this ‘Easter egg hunt’ resource with chicks, bunnies, eggs and baskets this March or April. Designed to teach Math and Language Arts skills to Preschool, PreK and Kindergarten, students will color, count and trace as they color pictures, count eggs, and trace numbers and a sentence on each page.
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Easter Cursive Handwriting Sheets Easter Cursive Handwriting Sheets includes 6 student pages to give students handwriting practice (cursive) with the letters of E-A-S-T-E-R (capital and lower case) and a few Easter related words!
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Easter Manuscript Handwriting Practice Provide your students with extra handwriting practice with these Easter themed (bunny and eggs) pages. Students will practice printing manuscript letters and words such as Easter, bunny, basket, eggs as well as two simple sentences: ‘The Easter eggs are in the Easter basket” and “The Easter eggs are dyed many colors.” Students will also love coloring the pictures!
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Easter Vocabulary Work for 1st and 2nd Grades Students will learn new vocabulary and practice handwriting, spelling, categorizing, alphabetizing, counting syllables, and creating plurals. There is also a word search puzzle! Studies have shown that word search and other word puzzles can help improve memory, focus, vocabulary, word recognition, pattern recognition, and overall mental acuity!
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Easter Mazes Here are 10 fun Easter mazes for your students!
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Five Colorful Easter Eggs Your preschool students will love Five Colorful Easter Eggs! Includes: A colorful story for you to read to your students, b/w student pages of the story for them to color the pictures and trace number words (and a few others as well), a set of items to use interactively with students and Math center materials!
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Easter Coloring Pages | Bunnies, Chicks and Eggs Here are 20 fun, Easter coloring pages with plenty of bunnies, chicks and eggs to color!
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Easter Egg Coloring Pages 10 different Easter egg patterns to color!
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The Egg Tree | Caldecott Book Guided Reading and Response This Reading / Literacy resource offers guided reading questions and student journal responses that will help students enjoy and appreciate the book and illustrations of The Egg Tree, written and illustrated (1951 Caldecott Medal) by Katherine Milhous. During this unit, students will be asked to give opinions, answer factual questions about the story, use critical thinking skills and be creative!
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An Enchanted Egg | Cross-Curricular Easter Unit Designed for 4th-6th Grades – Students will enjoy this engaging Easter resource that is centered around Faberge eggs! It begins with a fun story about a boy named, Neil and his ‘trip in time to Russia’. After reading students will complete several worksheets.
2nd Category: Religious
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Easter Writing Paper | Christian Give your students beautiful stationary paper to use when publishing around the Easter holiday. This specific set of designs are Christian based. There are 14 different designs, each in color and in b/w. Students will love publishing stories, essays, poems and more on these pages!
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Coloring the Easter Story (FREE) Free Easter coloring book!
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Easter Scriptures Workbook: Manuscript – NIV Help students learn the Easter story by copying scripture! This version of Easter Scriptures Copy Work and Handwriting Practice uses scriptures are from the NIV, New International Version. Students will be provided scriptures to copy as well as well as pages to draw pictures (about the scripture) AND write about (reflect) on the scriptures. There are 41 student pages.
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Easter Scriptures Workbook: Manuscript – KJV Help students learn the Easter story by copying scripture! This version of Easter Scriptures Copy Work and Handwriting Practice uses scriptures are from the KJV, King James Version. Students will be provided scriptures to copy as well as well as pages to draw pictures (about the scripture) AND write about (reflect) on the scriptures. There are 41 student pages.
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Easter Scriptures Handwriting by Tracing for Young Students Help young students learn the Easter story through tracing scripture. Both NIV and KJV scriptures are included in this version. This resource, Easter Scriptures Handwriting by Tracing for Young Students, is designed for students who would benefit from ‘tracing’ words instead of copy work. Each page has a scripture for tracing as well a place for the student to draw a picture reflecting the scripture.
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The Easter Story Scripture Cursive Handwriting Help students learn the Easter story with this cursive handwriting, copy work resource which contains important Easter story scriptures! It includes 2 sections: NIV using scriptures from the New International Version bible and KJV using scriptures from the King James bible. Students will be provided scriptures to copy as well as well as pages to draw pictures (about the scripture) AND write about (reflect) on the scriptures. There are 41 student pages for each section (NIV and KJV)
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MTL News

Have you visited the NEW website?

CHSH-Teach unveiled a NEW website over the summer and if you haven’t visited it yet, you will definitely want to do so!

Our History

My Teaching Library has evolved from very small beginnings. In 2010, a small site was created to help homeschooling families come together and support one another. It quickly became apparent that there was a need for quality, low-cost, educational material for these families. Lynda Ackert (the founder) was a veteran education of 20+ years and knew she could begin compiling and creating these materials and created the Download Club. As the site began to offer more materials, teachers outside the homeschooling community began to find and want access. The site grew and a company was formed: CHSH-Teach, LLC. Over the next several years, platforms changed and demand for materials increased. The company needed to expand, secure and create a space for everyone to find the educational materials they needed. Thus, My Teaching Library was created.

The Download Club

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Our Names

Because of our history, you may see “My Teaching Library” and “CHSH-Teach” used interchangeably.

What you will find on the NEW My Teaching Library

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