Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Book Club and Giveaway: Unshakeable!

It's a tough time to be a teacher! Expectations are getting tougher, and there seems to be less and less time to do all the work expected! Yet, somehow, we go on! 

Here's a chance to win a book that will help you continue to ENJOY being a teacher!
My blogging friend, Angela Watson from The Cornerstone has published her third book, Unshakable!

To make this even more fun, you can join in on a summer book club featuring Angela and her book by visiting HERE. It doesn't cost a thing! It's a closed facebook group, and it's going to be awesome! (You'll find me there!)

Are you excited yet? Well, here's a little "sneak preview" of what's coming:

Here's the best part: you might actually win an e-copy of this awesome book! Just enter the Rafflecopter below!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Active Students? Try Scoot!

Active Students? Try Scoot! The game, Scoot, can be played a number of ways for a variety of reasons. Here are the basics of the game, and a few suggestions!

It's time for another Bright Ideas Link up! 
Several of my blogging friends and I get together once a month to link up great ideas!

Today I'm sharing a game that helped me through those last hectic weeks of school where the kiddos just couldn't concentrate on much of anything...Scoot!

All you need to play scoot is a set of task cards (I know we all have plenty of those!) an answer sheet, and some desks or tables.

In the picture above, we put the desks into a big square, which is perfect for scoot, but rows, tables, or sets of desks in any arrangement can work. You just need to set a pattern for movement.

The basis of the game:
  1.  There is a numbered task card on each desk. 
  2. Students do the task card at their desk, and write their answer on the answer sheet.
  3. When the teacher calls "Scoot", the children all move to the next desk in the sequence, and do that task card.
  4. Children continue to "scoot" from desk to desk until all cards have been completed.
After completion, I usually let the children self-correct while we go over the cards. (Self correcting with highlighters makes it more fun!)

For added fun for squirmy kids, replace one of the task cards with a brain break. My kids LOVE brain breaks, and look forward to that part of scoot!

If you enjoyed my bright idea, feel free to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Teachers Pay Teachers

For more bright ideas from my teaching/ blogger friends, please browse through the link up below and choose a topic/ grade level that interests you! Thanks for visiting!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Makeover Madness, and a Crazy Week Altogether!

It was a crazy busy week! Even more crazy busy than most. It was a week that had me feeling very sad, and very happy, and absolutely exhausted!

Why happy? Well, because I'm on vacation! Look at the sweet mug and the sweet flowers I got from some of my students.  Oh yes, and ice cream sundaes on the last day of school! Of course, I'm quite sad to have to say goodbye to these kiddos. It's not easy. I was on the verge of tears most of that last day, and not just because I was so tired!

Totally exhausted because I had to do this: pack  up my entire room. Yes, I've done this 38 times in my career, and it seems to get harder, not easier! You'd think I'd have this down to a science! Luckily, I had some fabulous help, and not just the kiddos!

Wednesday was my last day, so Thursday I treated myself! Here it is Friday, and my feet are still achy from those marathon days of packing my classroom. But at least they look great!

Besides packing, I've spent the last week or so putting the final touches on my class "End of the Year" slide show.  Seriously, I've been working on it all year, and shared it at the Open House in April, but a lot had to be added since April, including the pages where the children made comments about their classmates and teachers. See what they said about me? The Final Slide show had 132 slides. Yes, there were 3-4 pictures. per page. After I looked at the whole thing, I thought, boy, no wonder I'm so tired! We really did do a lot of great stuff this year, and I hope the kids saved that slide show to show their own kids someday! 

Well, I haven't been completely idol since we got out on Wednesday! I finally got a chance to join in on the Makeover Madness!  I freshened up one of my phonics games: Touchdown R Controlled Vowels.  I'm MUCH happier with the changes I've made!

I also made over one of the first freebies I ever had! I love the new colors, fonts, and graphics! I even added some mini-posters on the parts of a letter!

Here's what the whole set looks like! You can download this freebie HERE!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pulling Out All the Stops!

We have 3 days before summer vacation, and these kids are SOOOO ready!
This year seems worse than usual. I blame the rough winter.

Seriously, it really was a rough winter here in New England, and I truly believe it took its toll on the kiddos. 

They're done. They're so done. They are like a saturated sponge... you know when the sponge just can't hold any more water and it's just dripping excess water? Yep, that's the kids. They just can't take any more in! They need the time to let all the learning settle so there will be room for more.

People who don't work in education don't understand this. Those of us who work in the trenches understand the need for vacations.

Yet we have 3 more days to work. I've been pulling out all the stops. Trying every trick I know to hold their attention, to keep them behaving, and maybe help all that learning from the year stick!

I've been having the kids play a lot of review games! The card game you see is the only remnant of my Everyday Math Program: Name That Number! The kids get hooked on this game, and it's a great way to combine addition, subtraction, multiplication, and strategy! The goal is to use as many of the 5 cards as they can to equal the target number. They love it!

Scoot is a great game to play this time of year! It can be used with any task cards, but I tend to use my review cards like the Social Studies Review seen above. (It's a freebie!) The children go from desk to desk responding to the task cards on each desk. (No time to sit down!) I usually put a brain break or two on some of the desks. After they've visited each desk, we go over them and they self correct with a highlighter. (Fun with highlighters and immediate feedback for them, no correcting for me!)
See also these review Scoot games:
Language Review (parts of speech)
Vocabulary Review (prefixes, suffixes, antonyms, synonyms)

We had a day to honor our Assistant Principal, who is about to retire. We've been lucky to have him for the last 4 years, when he was originally going to be at our school for only one year. I guess these kiddos are tough to leave! They dressed like him, all the way down to the details on the nametag he wears, and his mustache! (Unfortunately, since I cover the kids' faces, you can't really see the "mustache on a stick" the kids made!)

We finished the BEST read aloud! I wasn't familiar with the Lulu books before, but on the recommendations of a couple of teacher friends, as well as a couple of the kids who had read the book, we've had a blast these last couple of weeks! 
This is the second book in a series of 3 by Judith Viorst.

Lulu and the Brontosaurus is the first.
Lulu's Mysterious Mission is the third. 
I'm going to have to buy the set! 
(Each image is a link to Amazon for more information.)
Our Enrichment teacher came into the class and did a whole group/ 3 session science/ engineering challenge with the kiddos. Their challenge was to create a structure that would float a peeled orange. Luckily, with an extra adult in the classroom, it was controlled chaos rather than the total chaos it would have been! The children worked with partners drawing plans, choosing materials, revising plans, and testing to see if their structure worked. I wish you could see the intensity in their eyes! They were amazing! (Plus, they didn't realize they were learning, they were so busy having fun!)
At the beginning of the school year, we chose a tree in the school yard to be our class tree, and sketched it at various points through the year. Last August, when school started, the tree was leafy and green. Later it changed to orange and red (we sketched several times through this process.) Later, all the leaves fell off and we sketched a bare tree. In the dead of winter, we sketched a tree with snow on the branches. (Luckily, we could see it through the window, since it was way too cold and snowy to go outside to sketch!) Finally this spring it started to bud, then grow leaves, and finally it has full grown leaves like it did at the beginning of the school year. As the children looked back through their sketch books, they realized their sketches weren't quite the same as last August: Their sketches were much more detailed! Their sketching skills had grown! As they have! :)

Here are a couple of freebies to get you through the rest of the year, if you're not on vacation yet!
Everyone needs Thank You Cards this time of year!

Tips for reading with children

Let's hope those kiddos are read to this summer! 
I'll be sending How to Help Children at Home with Literacy Skills home on Wednesday!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Doing the Tango! (Learning about Argentina!)

We had one of our Enrichment Days today! Our theme was Around the World in One Day, and it was fabulous!

All the teachers sponsored workshops about different countries, the children got tickets to different workshops, and everyone had a blast!

My country was Argentina!
The first thing I did was show where Argentina was on the map, and discussed what we knew about it from the map:
  1. Most of Argentina is the temperate zone, so it gets all 4 seasons. 
  2. Since Argentina is in the southern hemisphere, they are coming into their winter, like we are coming into our summer.
  3. There is a good deal of coastline. Argentinians probably enjoy their beaches as well as fishing.
  4. There are mountains along the boarder to Chili. They probably enjoy skiing and hiking.
Then we watched this video and found out we were right!

They loved the video, and all want to visit Argentina!

Then I showed this video of the Argentinian Tango from So You Think You Can Dance.

Then I showed this "How to Tango" video for kids. It was a little dorky, but they got it!

Of course, not everyone wanted to Tango, but they had THESE adorable little Argentina booklets to color, so everyone was happy. 
Sorry I didn't get a better picture of the booklets!
But many kids wanted to Tango. So I played this You Tube video with plenty of Tango music:

Of course, I had to give them roses to carry in their teeth while they danced! (Look closely, they've got them!)

Everyone had a great time! I ended with a quick "Triva Time" to see if they remembered what they learned about Argentina, and they did! I think they'll remember the Tango most of all!

Stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Five for Friday!

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