Friday, June 21, 2013



This summer one of the tasks on my TO DO LIST is to find games.
I have been scouting out a few garage sales and Goodwill.
Yesterday, I hit the jackpot!!
I found two Chutes and Ladders, Boggle Jr., and another Connect Four.
Connect Four - I have many ideas swimming in my head because of Penterest.
(Check out my Penterest boards , reading, word work & math, to see some of the ideas.)
Chutes and Ladders - This board has soooo many uses.  Just add any set of cards (comprehension questions, flashcards, even use worksheets as the questions).  Student picks a card, gives an answer, and checks answer. If they are correct, spin and move! That simple and FUN way to practice.
Boggle Jr. - I have two ideas. One is to give it to a Kindergarten or first grade class. 
Secondly, using just the cubes, students will roll and see how many words they can make.
Monopoly - This is a special set that I picked up just for the game pieces. 
Fun game pieces can be found on the cheap this way.
(Getting large sets of mini erasers can be used for interesting game pieces as well.  Oriental Trading offer all kinds of little trinkets in large quantities and can be found for themes or holidays.)
My plan is to have a large container filled with different items so they can choose their game pieces.

Think of my surprise as I walked by a bin of binders to see this 5" binder sticking out!
YES!! I am always in need of LARGE binders. 
Upon investigating the bin I found 3 of them!
They have the clear sides so I can make colorful titles. I am in teacher heaven.

What kinds of items are you looking for this summer?
What are you doing with them?
What SURPRISE items have you found and turned into exciting educational items?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What would you do with this spinner?


SOOOO....many ideas floating through my head!

Found in Oriental Trading carnival catalog 2013., I bought this along with one of my teaching partners from last year.  
Here are the ideas I have so far:
lining up...spin for who gets to line up
active learning ... Each team sends up a representative to spin to see which problem 
they will work on first.  Once they complete that answer, they can check with
the teacher or other answer holder.  If it is correct, spin and do the next
problem. If not, team tries again.
points....I give points for doing the right thing.  I imagine having a "secret" behavior
for the week or day and spinning to see how many points it is worth.  Normally,
students earn one point at a time.
review game...the same as the active learning but maybe the students complete
the review problem individually. Then discuss as teams how they
came to their answers.  Great resource, I just downloaded and printed,
are discussion cards that each team can use to help deepen conversations.
multiplication practice... center idea...spin for two numbers then multiply.
coordinate idea...spin two numbers find the plot. 
There were two more ideas...they are now lost somewhere in the grey matter
contained within my cranium. 
Now I want to pick your brains...

Just a quick thought

I was reading through several of my favorite blogs.  The Peanut Gallery came up through another blog I follow.  I have seen this game and even have fly swatters that say "SPLAT" on them just to play it.  Well...we played it once! Why? I don't like games where two kids are at a board and the "team" just sits back and watches. (Engagement???)   BUT as I read the game this time and author mentioned putting the words on a poster board, the light bulb lite up!  Make it part of your Daily 5 routine.  Make it a game/center to practice vocabulary.  YES!!! I could then see three kids in a group sitting around the "SPLAT" board.  Swat is the name I have heard it called but I call it Splat due to my flyswatters. One student would read a card with a definition or sentence containing a blank or synonym of the desired vocabulary word. The reason for the differing "question" cards is to differentiate.  The other two students with swatters in hand search for the vocabulary word.  I am now pumped to use my little used SPLAT swatters. add yet another project to my long "Do Over Summer" list. :)   Thank you Peanut Gallery author (sorry don't know your name) for your inspiration!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Teacher Always Says...

I am trying my first Linky Party!!! WOOO HOOO....

Jumping in.... can I swim?

This party is all about those tidbits that come out of our mouths on a regular basis. 

Here are mine!

 *Ducklings follow around their mommas. I don't like to have students follow me around the room.
* I enjoy questioning the kids so they have to stand up and own their answer. 
 I also expect evidence which leads them to their answers.

*Celebrate GREAT thinking!!

*(SOAPBOX ALERT) My weird way to answer kids who ask for extra credit or if they accidently did extra work.  I don't give extra work for extra credit.  There are times when there may be a extra credit on a test. However, if a student (parent) wants it so they can get a 4 instead of a 3 on the report card, I explain they earn their grades and I expect their best as they go.  The way our school grades are set up (Grading for Learning) an extra credit project would not change the grade enough to make the difference they want anyway.  If they need help on a concept, I will give it
 They want extra practice, they can do it.  Meanwhile, their brain would love them for the workout
and the next time the concept shows up they will do better.
(Normally, those asking for extra credit could have done it correctly the first time.)

Again, I LOVE this one, especially for my higher kiddos.  They think or have learned that as long as they do what will get the good grade, it is acceptable.  They find out quickly. I do not let them give the easy answer .  If I know they can provide deeper answers, I expect them.

* I truly believe in my students.  I wish those who lack self concept could see themselves as I see them.  Every child has talents and gifts to share with the class.

 *Personal responsibility is the basis of this mantra.  Actually, "Whose responsibility is that?" or "Can I learn for you?" would be two other sayings, which come out of my mouth 
fall into this category as well. 
Wow, I didn't realize how many one liners or questions I say almost everyday, all year long!
*I found that  I said this A LOT the last three weeks of school, as if things changed after 170 days.
(The two ways are the dictionary or try three then see me.)

*This is another one of the "take responsibility for your learning" sayings.  I teach (as we all do) that they have the resources or can find them.  I don't let them off the hook.  I am happy to help after they have exhausted those resources. (21st Century Education) I will help
use the resources, as needed.  But will not play into just giving them the answer
 because they asked.
Now it is your turn!
What are your mantras?
How do they demonstrate or exemplify what you want your students to learn or do?
~ Growing brain cells together through daily talk ~

A little Freebie..

I was just printing my new cards for next year's schedule. I decided that I wanted a few extras and decided to share them with my fellow teachers.   Here you go! ENJOY!!!

Winding down....Celebrate good times...COME ON!!

Here is a blog I started 5 weeks ago.... hmmm...well, why not post it anyway!

   I was thinking about this blog the other day.  I have never been a journal writer or "in my day" diary keeper.  So why did I start this thing?  Why am I worried about keeping it going?  It probably has more to do with my convictions of you start it you see it through. 
   This year is coming to an end.  I once again have seen several children walk into my room, and walked with them as we did some very interesting things (they call them crazy).  I have seen these students through from start of the year to these last few days.  As I talked to a couple parents today, I realized that even on these last few days, I cannot just give up on them.  I told one mom that I needed some of them for just another month.  They were on the edge of knowing it or almost to the top of the mountain where the sparkle in their eyes say, "IT CLICKED!!"  I don't have them for another month.  Some of these children have been entrusted to me for two years. 
   No child clicks on any one concept/standard/essential at the same time.  Wouldn't our lives be so much easier if they did!  I can say that the data proves that they have made terrific gains this year.  Math: pre-assessment over 5th grade material....2 out of 20 proficient.  post-17 out of 20.  Cause to celebrate!! I have the same to celebrate with language arts. 
NOTE: I am about ready to send out mid summer letters to my class from last year.  This blog started and not posted reminds me that great things happened this past year.  My prayer is that all my students who are headed off to Hastings Middle School, will find success and continue to be responsible for who they are and what they learn! I believe that is going to be my central theme for this year's summer letter.

Keeping track....

   I have seen colored cups and tickets on desks for how to keep track of students who come and go.  Then I saw on a website and Pinterest that a teacher used magnets on a piece of metal.  She suggested a flat cookie sheet.  LOVED THE IDEA!!!  Students come and go all day.  I am sure it is the same in your room.  I am good at remembering the regularly scheduled places and times.  However, DIBELS testing comes and kids are in and out.  Band lessons rotate every week.  It makes me dizzy! 
   So...I drove right down to the Goodwill (love it for recyclable/reusable items).  Could not find a cookie sheet. :( Did see tv trays.  The ones I bought are smaller than the usual but I thought they were different. Stopped by ACE Hardware to buy spray paint and painters tape.

                                   (Sorry, cannot seem to get it to rotate and stay rotated!)

  Then went to work.  Sketched how I wanted the layout to look.  Taped up the parts I was not going to paint maroon and went to town on spraying.  The maroon did not cover well.  It took several coats but all the others were only one or two coats.  Waiting between coats and between colors is VERY important.  Green was dry to the touch.  However, when the paper was taped down it did not all come back off.

   After all four were painted, I used Sharpies to decorate, divide, and label the parts.  Since the main objective is to know where my students are located, I make various sections for them to place their magnet when leaving the room.

   The pictures no matter how I try are not coming out well.  I hope you get the idea. I plan to use the Command Velcro wall hangers to put them on my wall. My magnets and glue gun are at school which makes it hard to finish this project.  I will be using flat round glass beads used for the bottom of aquariums or vases to write their numbers.  (Each student is given a number which is used for various organizational areas in the classroom.)  Magnets will be hot glued onto the back.  I will then be able to use the glass beads year after year.  
     When I finish this and put it up, I will add an up date.  Maybe with various pictures of this year's classroom set up.  I am going with an extreme sports theme.  Any ideas?  Seen any on the internet?  Love to see what ideas are out there!