Elementary Education Monthly Update

May 2019

Primary Connection (K-2)

It's May! I know there are so many things on your to-do lists and the most important one is ending the year on a positive note with your students and families. I found this free Farewell to Kindergarten (also included are grades 1- 4) activity that would be a keepsake for kids as well as their family. Scholastic has several great activities to help younger students remember their school year and how much they have learned. Most of all, enjoy each and every minute of your time with these little people!

Intermediate Connection (3-4)

Saying goodbye to this age student for the summer is bittersweet! They still love school and you and they like to keep busy. I found a cool activity that only uses three materials. You could challenge your kids to build several of these structures. This site offers a variety of reader's theater scripts for all size casts. Read, Write, Think has a rubric to help guide your students through participating in reader's theater. You could also engage students in creating an ABC book of all of the things they learned this year. This could be done with partners, in small groups, or individually.

Upper Elementary Connection (5-6)

It is tempting to watch a movie on these last days with older elementary students. I would encourage you to get hands-on with this level and really keep them engaged until the last minute of school. Teach your class some fun dance moves like the Cupid Shuffle, Macarena, or even the Hustle, you will all have a ball. Another idea is creating a progressive story with your whole class. Everyone writes the first three lines of a story and then passes it to the next person or shares it via electronic media. The next person writes 2 -3 more sentences and continues to pass it around until stories are complete. These are fun to read aloud with your class and you could even make a book or electronic keepsake for students. Of course, breakout.edu is super fun hands-on learning activity that all students love.

Summer Self-Care for Teachers

You rock! You've been on your game for 180 days of school, but now you are spent. Take advantage of the downtime that summer can provide to rejuvenate and recharge. To keep your promise to take care of yourself make a summer bucket list (yes really write it down or put these things into your planner/calendar).


First and foremost get outdoors. You've been confined to outdoor time via recess duty since August no doubt. Enjoy what summers in Kansas offer which is abundant sunshine, cool mornings, and longer days. Take a walk, walk your dog, walk with your neighbor, or just go outdoors and play with your kids if you have them. Check out summer programs at local rec centers or swimming pools. Breathe...


I highly encourage you to shut down and unplug at least one day per week. Really! Be brave and go without your phone, social media, text messages, iPads, etc. for one full day per week. You will be so surprised how much more relaxed you will feel and how much we often take for granted simple things that our tech takes us away from. For example, having real conversations at mealtime with family, making actual phone calls to relatives and not just a quick Facebook check-in or text message. Go ahead and give it try!


Do not, I repeat, do not go to your classroom for at least 3 weeks. Leave it be. The more you go to your classroom the more you start to get anxious and begin prepping for next year. Mark some dates off on your calendar that are no-school-zone days. Enjoy the gift of time that you have!


Thank you for a wonderful school year. Now, rest up, take care of you, and come back in August ready to rock it once again!

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Student Summer Learning

The statistics on summer learning loss are staggering. Children for whom the school is their sanctuary, have to adapt for the long weeks of summer break. These children see school as a safe place from the trauma in their home, a place to get two warm meals per day, and a place to learn. This all stops in the summer and below are some resources that will engage families of all kinds to keep learning alive over the summer break.


Teacher Summer Professional Development Opportunites

Teachers, listed here are a few wonderful summer professional learning opportunities for you. I hope that you can find one (or more) that will suit your summer learning.


Great Summer Reads

Here is a list of books to put on your summer reading lists. These books are engaging and will spark ideas, creativity, and impact your instruction.

  • What School Could Be by Ted Dintersmith
  • Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator, by Dave Burgess
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, by Zaretta Hammond
  • Adventures in Teacher Leadership: Pathways, Strategies, and Inspiration for Every Teacher, by Rebecca Mieliwocki and Joseph Fatheree
  • The Burnout Cure: Learn to Love Teaching Again, by Chase Mielke
  • Engage the Brain: How to Design for Learning that Taps into the Power of Emotion, by Allison Posey
  • Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom K-5, by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie
  • Project Based Learning: How to Create Rigorous and Engaging Learning Experiences, by Suzie Boss
  • The Writing Strategies Book, by Jennifer Serravallo

Happenings Around KSDE

KSDE Impact Institute

Thursday, June 27th, 8am to Friday, June 28th, 4pm

1820 Southwest Jewell Avenue

Topeka, KS

Please join us at the Kansas State Department of Education Division of Learning Services’ 2019 Impact Institutes. Kansas teachers, counselors, principals, curriculum coordinators, instructional coaches, and educational professionals at all levels (birth through high school) will have the opportunity to select sessions and workshops on topics connected to many academic areas. These workshops will provide the help you need in providing our students the academic and cognitive preparation, the technical and employability skills, and the civic engagement opportunities to allow them to be successful. TO REGISTER: click here - Washburn Impact Institute COST $25 per person

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KSDE Impact Institute

Wednesday, July 17th, 8am to Thursday, July 18th, 4pm

348 Kansas 61

Pratt, KS

Please join us at the Kansas State Department of Education Division of Learning Services’ 2019 Impact Institutes. Kansas teachers, counselors, principals, curriculum coordinators, instructional coaches, and educational professionals at all levels (birth through high school) will have the opportunity to select sessions and workshops on topics connected to many academic areas. These workshops will provide the help you need in providing our students the academic and cognitive preparation, the technical and employability skills, and the civic engagement opportunities to allow them to be successful. TO REGISTER: click here - Pratt Community College Impact Institute COST $25 per person

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Kansas Excellence in Math and Science Teaching Conference

Monday, June 17th, 8am to Tuesday, June 18th, 4pm

3100 McCormick Street

Wichita, KS

This conference will help you use the implementation of the Kansas Standards for Science as an opportunity to advance instruction in your classroom, building, and district. Math and science teachers from across the state will come together to review, refresh, and retool current math and science practices and inspire educators with a focus on problem-based learning.

The mornings will include guest speakers from KATS, KATM, and other chances to learn from expert math and science teachers. The elementary, middle, and high school educators that joined us for the Learn While Teach PD project will be leading our science sessions. Come learn more about using driving questions boards, talk move questioning techniques, and how to really anchor science learning in phenomena from this great group.


College credit available, fees vary depending on membership(s), includes lunch each day and snack each afternoon. To enroll or for more information - click here KS Excellence in Math and Science Teaching Conference

Cindy Hadicke, Elementary Program Consultant

Kansas State Department of Education