KISS – Classroom Management for 2nd Grade Teachers


2nd grade classroom managementHere’s our new KISS article – Keep it Simple Strategies – for 2nd Grade Teachers.

Start off the New Year by applying some of these great strategies in your 2nd Grade classroom!

In the Second Grade, you now have emerging readers. You can most definitely see differences in students’ abilities to learn. This is the year where reading instruction becomes differentiated, and interventions for students who are falling behind become necessary. If you have good K and 1st Grade teachers in your building, you have a built-in team to help you set up your room for these disparities in learning abilities.

Here are some of the tips we’ve collected from other second grade teachers:

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Education and Fitness For Africa


Fitness For Africa in UgandaHeather Parisi is the founder of the Fitness for Africa program and the Pearl Of Hope School in Uganda, Africa. She shares with us her incredible and inspiring story of her journey to Africa that made such a difference in the lives of the children in Uganda. This is her story:

It was a trip to Uganda to visit the Silverback Gorillas that changed my life forever. Always having a calling within to visit Africa and experience the animals and Safari, never did I imagine that five years after my first trip to Uganda I would have my own Not For Profit Organization and be operating a Nursery and Primary School based on bringing healthy lifestyles and opportunity to the vulnerable and forgotten people of Uganda.

Fitness For Africa is the result of my experience in Uganda five years ago, and Pearl of Hope Nursery and Primary School is my thriving and fully operational school now serving 60 students and their families in the village of Lela Obaro, Uganda.

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Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids to Make & Gift


Valentine’s Day is such a fun day full of I love you’s, hearts, and adorable Valentine Crafts and Decorations. I’ve been searching through the S&S Worldwide Valentine’s Day Shop to try and narrow down a list of my favorites to share with you, but I’m having a hard time choosing because there are so many adorable kits and activities. So instead I’m sharing Valentine’s Day craft activities for kids to make and give to family or friends, that allow their creativity to shine through. Each Valentine idea that I’ve chosen allows the crafter to put their imagination to work. Plus, they are crafts that are appropriate for a wide range of age groups AND are perfect for them to give to parents or other family members. I hope you LOVE what I picked as much as I do!

Heart Magnets

These DIY Valentine’s Day heart magnets are the perfect craft to hang on the refrigerator or in a work space with a handmade Valentine’s Day card.

DIY heart magnets

Valentine’s Day DIY Keepsake Boxes

There are a few different options for a Valentine’s Day Keepsake Box for you to choose from. Crafters can enjoy just painting their creation for a special Valentine, or we’ve listed a few other inspiring ideas you can try. Regardless of which box you choose, make sure to have or create something to put inside like Hershey kisses, candy hearts, a sweet note, or these adorable Valentine’s Day pom pom monsters. The different boxes and links to them are below (My personal favorite is the last one, which features our quilling tutorial!)

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Tips to Start your New MakerSpace


We are all about MakerSpaces here at S&S and have been immersing ourselves in the concepts and ideas surrounding them. We even have a dedicated MakerSpace Shop! I find it fascinating that there are so many options for a MakerSpace and so many wonderful opportunities to get students engaged in learning and problem solving.  If you have decided to create a Space in your school or program for tinkering, we have some tips below for how to start today!

MakerSpace Tools

Tips to Start Your MakerSpace Today

Keep in mind that these tips are for beginner MakerSpaces and to get started with “basic” and guided projects. Teachers, librarians, and program directors that are looking to introduce children to the Maker concept, will be starting with some of these ideas. As your MakerSpace develops and the Makers using it become more advanced, you will progress your activities and the tools and materials you use.

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The Best Parachute Game for P.E. Class


parachute pe activityBest selling author and award winning P.E. teacher J.D. Hughes shares with us his best parachute game:

The Mountain Climber is one of many tricks you can perform with the parachute. I purchased my 45″ parachute from S&S Worldwide. It is very durable, made with a very strong nylon material and comes with a mesh center. There are 4 different colors or 8 of each color, creating 32 individual spaces. My classes are typically large so I allow students to double up and share colors when all of the colors are taken.

Instructions for The Mountain Climber

The key to the mountain climber is capturing and keeping all of the air inside the parachute for as long as possible. Try a few practice runs before allowing students to climb by instructing students to go up with the parachute and then down, but instead of squatting down to trap the air inside, practice lying down sideways on top of the parachute at the very edge of the parachute.

Now students are ready for the actual Mountain Climber. Note: before actually starting, remind students that there will be a hole left by the color (called out by the teacher) that begins climbing the mountain. It’s the job of those students lying at the bottom of the parachute to completely cover their hole and the hole of the climbers to eliminate, as much as possible, the air from escaping.

Begin the process of going up and then down and immediately lie down to trap the air inside. Next call one color to begin crawling/climbing up and on top of the parachute with the goal of reaching the center before turning around and coming back. Remind these students to move slowly and carefully and not to jump or belly flop on top of the parachute because it is only air that is holding them up. See the video below for an example:



About J.D. Hughes

parachute gameJ.D. Hughes has taught elementary physical education since 1995 in Douglasville, GA. He has received numerous awards including 2015 Georgia and Southern District SHAPE America Elementary PE Teacher of the Year and the GAHPERD Acknowledgement Award. J.D. provides a challenging yet developmentally appropriate physical education learning environment striving for motor skill and social skills development, physical fitness and cognitive awareness as recognized by SHAPE standards. He has published five books and produced four related DVDs including No Standing Around in My Gym, PE2theMax, PE2theMax II, PE² and HyPEd Up.

Check out his page on our site!

For more fun parachute games, check out our blog Parachute Basics – Introductory Games for Kids

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