Thursday, February 26, 2015

When Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies Collide!

When Language Arts and Science collide with Social Studies, wonderful things can happen!

Today we conducted a little experiment to accompany our lesson about the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.  Here are the details in case you'd like to do the same...
These are the supplies we needed: 2 cups of water, vegetable oil, 2 feathers, 2 cotton balls, a permanent marker, and paper plate.  
After reading a comprehension passage about the Exxon Valdez disaster (found in my Polar Regions unit) and visiting National Geographic online to see and discuss photos of the spill and clean up (, it was time for our own classroom oil spill.

The students generated ideas about how an oil spill could impact animals living in an Arctic habitat.  Then we added an Arctic animal (cotton ball) and an Arctic bird (feather) to Prince William Sound (cups of water).  Time for the spill...we added several tablespoons of vegetable oil to 1 cup and not to the other.  We labeled these cups accordingly.

While students answered questions about the Exxon Valdez reading passage that we had read earlier in the lesson, we watched and waited.  Just look at what we discovered!  
The students were shocked by the impact of the oil on the "fur" and "feathers" in just a matter of minutes.    We removed the feathers and cotton balls and placed them in 2 labeled sections of a paper plate.  Students were then given the opportunity to touch and feel the difference...this made such an impression on them!

I love when hands-on learning leads to real understanding and learning connections!  Want more ideas like these?  My polar unit is available at

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TPT Super Sale for Super Teachers...Extended for a Bonus Day!

Just an update on the extended sitewide TPT sale...YAY!!!  Teachers...definitely some of the best superheroes that I know!!!  Hope you're having a great week!  Shannon :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Math Linky and Fraction Fun!

Time for another Math Link Up!  Today's math moment from me is all about fractions!

Thought I would share a couple of the ideas that I have found to be super-beneficial to my students and my personal children throughout their learning of fractions...
Have you seen this adorable fraction pizza on Pinterest--  LOVE IT!  What a terrific idea for building creativity and critical thinking at the same time!

Oh my!  And what about this fraction song--Here I Go!  Precious!

There are also several great online games that we love. Click on the links below, just to see a few... 

My favorite fraction memory of all time, though, has to be the board game my mom bought for my sister and me when we were little girls.  Did you have one like this?
Thanks for stopping by!  And may all of your fraction instruction be completely fabulous!  Shannon

PS--For more of the posts in this math linky, visit

Sunday, February 22, 2015

10 Classroom Management Tips and Tricks to Try in Your Classroom!

With almost 20 years of classroom experience under my belt, classroom management is a topic that has come up in plenty of faculty meetings, collaborative planning sessions, and even professional learning courses!  From Harry Wong to Ron Clark, I have been blessed to hear and learn from the very best throughout my tenure as a teacher.

  A few years ago, I had the opportunity to write my own classroom management resource for teachers.  These 10 tips and tricks are ones that I have found to be of benefit in my own classroom, so I thought you might enjoy hearing them from me as well. 

Trust me--there are days that I am far from perfect, but these really have been a guiding beacon to help me through even the craziest of days!  Hoping they will benefit you as well...Blessings, Shannon
Top 10 Classroom Management Tips and Tricks from Shannon Bryant's Brain Train:

1.Never let them see you sweat--EVER! Appear to be in control, even if you are not! LOL

2.Be prepared and organized, yet flexible! You need to expect the unexpected because with children if it can happen, it will happen! Never lose sight of the fact that you are the adult in the room!

3.Never yell! Speak authoritatively in a deep, calm tone, but never shriek, scream, squeal, or lose it! They will have won, and you will be the one to appear out of control! 

4.Be creative! Have fun with teaching and guiding, and children will have fun with learning!

5.Parents are your best allies! If you are a teacher, win them over right off the bat! Persuade them that you also want the best for their child! Enlist the help of parents whom you trust and admire!

6.You are as much an actor as you are a teacher/parent. Just dispensing information is not enough. Be animated, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and innovative!

7.Except respect! I try to create a safe, secure learning environment for all of my students. I will respect them, they will respect me, and they will respect each other!
8.Use redirection as a chance to improve vocabulary. Big words sound so impressive and intimidating anyway!  I do not hesitate to use words like inappropriate, intractable, loquacious, etc. in my redirects.

9.Always debrief after a redirection. This gives children the opportunity to talk about better decision-making in the future, and it brings closure to the incident.

10.Be positive, be positive, be positive!!!! Attitudes are contagious! Positivity goes a long away in creating a safe, supportive, optimistic environment!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Lent FREEBIE to Share! :-)

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday; Mardi Gras if we were French! Ever wondered what Mardi Gras really signifies? Have you heard of Lent or Ash Wednesday and just had no idea where to begin? 

 This free resource was designed to help you and your children begin to establish traditions of prayer, fasting, and honoring the Lord through our choices and actions. Hope you enjoy and find this helpful to you and yours! God bless! Shannon :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oh, Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Hi, winter friends!  No snow here today in our part of GA, but BRRRRRRR!  I had to go the dentist bright and early this morning and was so thankful for the seat warmers in my car!!!!!  

In honor of these winter temps that continue to hang around, (even though our GA groundhog said spring was coming!) I thought I would share with you what my students are doing this week.  We are continuing our super-fun unit on polar regions...

For the last couple of weeks, students have been busy researching and designing Power Point presentations about polar animals of their choice.  I have been amazed at their creativity...we have projects on everything from narwhals to penguins, krill to beluga whales!

Tomorrow is the day they have all been waiting for...the day they get to stand in front of the SMARTboard and share their research.  They are so excited!  I snuck a peek at some of their presentations before our Presidents' Day holidays, and I was blown away!  

Their background, pictures, and even videos are AMAZING!  Here is just one fun example.  Guess we'll be doing the penguin dance with someone tomorrow!

As my students share, we also use listening guides like the one shown.  These help students stay focused during the presentations, as well as share their favorite parts/facts from each report.  

Interested in seeing more?  The link to my complete unit is included here...  Hope your family stays safe and warm!  

Blessings, Shannon :-)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cool Math and a Math Linky!

I wanted to invite you to sneak a peek at a math linky I am participating in at the following link:  Pop over for some great math-based ideas for your own classroom on every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month!
I also wanted to take a moment this Monday to tell you about a math website that I absolutely LOVE! 
Cool Math is one of our absolute classroom favorites!  These games are excellent for developing critical and strategic thinking.  In fact, we love using the game Lemonade Stand ( to accompany our economics unit (   I love the math content my students are learning, and they love working on lemonade recipes, setting prices, and watching the reactions of their customers when the lemonade is just a bit too sour! LOL

There are other great economics games there as well, including Coffee Shop.  I would definitely recommend checking it out with your little learners (you might also love playing it yourself in your spare "teacher time")!

Connecting math in a meaningful way to other parts of the curriculum is so critical, and that's why I love so much...because of its excellent variety and content!

Shannon :-)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

We've Got the WRITE Stuff!

This past week at school is always one of my very favorites!  We dedicate a week to celebrating authors and illustrators, including the ones in our very own classrooms!  
Our week kicked off on Monday with a visit from Mike Thaler, author of the Black Lagoon series of books.  His wisdom and wit were so engaging to the children!  He is still writing and visiting schools at an age that many of us might be thinking about retiring. In case you are interested in finding out more about him or purchasing his books for your own classroom library, here are a few links for your convenience...
My daughter was so excited about her own signed copy of "Bible Knock Knock Jokes from the Back Pew."  
Fun author and illustrator-based fun continued throughout the week!  Wednesday was a day inspired by Amelia Bedelia and her misunderstanding of idioms.  Here is my own little one--ready for school wearing a "boatneck" collar and her hair in a "ponytail!" LOL  
Other hilarious costumes included ball gowns (beach balls attached to princess dresses), children "made of money" (covered in paper money from head to toe), etc.

Friday is my FAVORITE day of all, however, because that is the day that parents are invited in to see their own children's writing portfolios and to share in reading and writing activities throughout the school.  My mom came as Sadie's special guest, so we couldn't resist a selfie...
It was such a blessing to see the school buzzing with moms, dads, and children celebrating their written pieces together!!!  I hope these ideas inspire you to cultivate a love of books, authors, illustrators, and sharing in your own classroom!  Have a wonderful week!  Shannon :-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits!

Hope your week has been a good one!  Can you believe we are in February...FEBRUARY!  Unbelievable!!!
Just a couple of quick tidbits for your Tuesday.  I wanted to share the following FB post from Jen Hatmaker today!  Such a funny real writer's struggle that many of us share...  Read, laugh, and enjoy!

Love That Lasts (Family Valentine's Day Devotions)
Secondly, looking for some free Valentine devotion ideas for your students or personal children?  This link will take you to my free "Love That Lasts" February family devotion pack:  It truly is such a blessing to read your sweet feedback for these family devotion resources!

February Pre-K and Kindergarten Morning Work (Common Core
Last but not least, here is a goodie from my friend Hope Grace for you teachers of the littles...her February morning work pack is available now for just $4.00:

Hump day, tomorrow!!!  Enjoy, Shannon :-)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Superb Owl Sale!!!

My son is invited to a football/SUPERB OWL party tonight!  I couldn't resist such an adorable idea, so I am throwing a SUPERB OWL sale in my teacher stores!!!  LOL Be sure to stop by for savings, as well as to see many of my new resources.   

For example, I just revised my Valentine's Day/February unit, so be sure to redownload if you have already purchased it.  If you haven't, be sure to get it while you can...83 pages for just $4.

Enjoy the big game and have a wonderful week!!!  Shannon :-)