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Showing posts with label task cards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label task cards. Show all posts

Pay it Forward for Evan

My community is in shock due to the loss of one of its gems.
The untimely loss of a young man makes me want to pay it forward.
Evan in the musical Chicago. My daughter is in the foreground.

Evan had just finished his freshman year in college and was on an archaeological dig in Scotland when he collapsed. Attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at the local hospital.

I am stunned by this event. Not only because it's a local kid, but because I knew the family. Evan's dad teaches Social Studies in my school district. Evan's mom is my acupuncturist. (I had a stroke in 2010, and acupuncture has been an amazing help in my recovery.) Evan and his twin brother were friends with my daughter, and graduated from high school together in 2011. Evan and my daughter starred in the school's musical, Chicago, last spring.

My whole body aches for Evan's family. Having a daughter the same age, I just don't know how anyone can deal with the loss of a child.

I ache for his brother. The boys were twins and rarely left each others' sides until college.

All those high school classmates who just finished their freshman year of college are in shock. This was one of their finest: an honor student, active in many activities: debate club, theatre, president of the honor society, and an all around good kid. Everyone liked him. He even spoke at their graduation. What a horrible loss!


Evan's Dad, the Social Studies teacher at our local high school asked people to Find a way to "Pay Something Forward" in Evan's honor. I recently posted this end of the year Social Studies review Scoot game on Teachers Pay Teachers. I thought, in honor of Evan's memory, I would offer this item for free to teachers who will Pay it Forward in honor of a great young man.

See THIS LINK to obtain the Social Studies Review Task Cards free, in honor of Evan. Of course, this means you will Pay it Forward in some way to honor Evan.

Thanks so much!

Ten Easy Learning Games

I love to use games for my students to practice their skills. Games bring into play several important concepts from Brain Based Learning. (Pardon the pun!) Plus, they're fun!

Ten Easy Learning Games -  Here are some easy ways to make learning fun, and all you need are some games you probably have on hand!
FYI - Images are affiliate links to Amazon, in case you're interested!

Here are ten games that are easy to use:

1. Around the World  

This is typically a game to drill basic math facts, but it really can be used in many different ways. The children sit in a circle. One person starts the game by standing behind another child. Those two children compete to be the first to answer a fact. Whoever wins, goes to stand behind the next child. The contests continue around the circle until someone moves all the way "around the world". Math facts on cards work well, but I've also used clocks, cards with money, or fraction cards. I've never tried, but I'm sure it can be played with sight words, too.

 2. Twenty questions 

This game is older than I am, but really gets the kids thinking and asking questions. It's a great time filler.  The only rule: all questions must be "yes or no" questions. After a few times through, the kids catch onto generalities such as "Is it an animal?" With my little ones, I try to limit it to general categories, and I have them write down what they've chosen for the others to guess. (Sometimes I'll even give them slips of paper to choose that are related to things we've been learning.)

3. Jeopardy  

There are so many possibilities with Jeopardy! It does take a little planning, but the kids love it! Here's a link to make your own game!

4. Yahtzee 

This is a great way to practice those addition skills as well as add the thinking skills! It takes some strategy to play Yahtzee! Beware, it's addicting!

5. Apples to Apples  

My students could play this all day, and why not? It practices their reading skills as well as thinking skills such as categorizing. The best part:  you'll hear lots of giggling!

6. Scrabble 

 Combining spelling, vocabulary, adding, and strategy, it's a win-win-win-win, even if they lose!

7. Dominoes 

Dominoes are great for practicing math facts! They add the two sides together to find the sum! The best part is when they get the fact correct, they can build with the dominoes. My kids LOVE this!

8. Twenty One 

If we were in Vegas, they'd call it Black Jack. Yep, it's the same game, without the gambling. Students get two cards, add them together, and decide if they want another card. It's addition and strategy, and it's fun!

9. Dice 

There are tons of games to be played with dice. I have lots of them! The children can add the sum of two dice, or they can add three (or more) if they're ready! They also can roll two dice and make a two digit number out of it, then roll a second two digit number to add (or subtract). I do these two digit number games often, where the children write the numbers on their whiteboards and add them up. Sometimes we use the base ten blocks to "act it out" as well.

10. Any Board Game  

With a little tweaking, one can turn any board game into a learning game. Before each turn, the children have to perform some sort of task. It can be a math fact, a vocabulary word, a math challenge, task cards, or just about anything.

Games are a big part of my classroom, as you might have guessed. This is just the beginning. I'd love to hear your ideas for classroom games, too!

Ten Easy Learning Games -  Here are some easy ways to make learning fun, and all you need are some games you probably have on hand!

Ten Things for Students to do While You're Teaching Reading Groups

One of the toughest things about being a classroom teacher is keeping those other kids engaged and learning, so I can teach reading groups.  

Ten Things for Students to do While You're Teaching Reading Groups: It can be tricky to find activities that will keep them engaged and learning, but not distracting to others. Here are some ideas!

Here are some of the things I have my students work on while I'm teaching groups:

Ten Things for Students to do While You're Teaching Reading Groups: It can be tricky to find activities that will keep them engaged and learning, but not distracting to others. Here are some ideas!

1.  Independent Reading  

This is the most important one! They do need to read daily, and it should be books at their reading level. My students browse for books from our classroom library, and keep books in book bags for independent reading time. I also let them relax with pillows. I try to make Independent Reading the best part of the day... it should be! See this post for more about my Independent Reading: Relax and Read!

2.  Content Reading

This is a great time to read about other topics, like science or social studies topics! I'm sure you'll find plenty of books or resources they'll love!

3. Read With a Partner 

This is very motivational for the children, and I sometimes use it instead of Independent Reading. They do love anything social!

4.  Independent Writing  

We do have Writer's Workshop nearly every day, but some of the children really love some time to get some writing done during reading group time. Since writing is usually at the very end of the day, they tend to be more productive when they get a slot of time for writing in the morning. It's a win-win! Here's a fun resource that mine have always found super motivating: ABC Book.

5.  Word Work 

This is an opportunity to work on those phonics skills! I tend to keep my word work connected to skills and patterns that we are working on in the reading program, but many of my students also need lots of review on short and long vowels, rhyming words, word families, and, of course, sight words.  There are plenty of resources out there, or make your own! My students love to use their whiteboards, letter tiles, and manipulatives for their word work. Click the images below for links to Amazon. (Affiliate links.) 

6.  Literacy Games and activities

Literacy games and activities can include word work, comprehension skills, grammar practice, developing vocabulary, reader's theater, or any combination of these. Again, adding that social component motivates the children. Games are such a great opportunity to practice skills, and they keep the children engaged and happy! Here are a few my students have enjoyed: Word Work Games.

7.  Digital Task Cards  

Any type of task cards are perfect for this time of day, but I happen to be a big fan of Boom Learning Digital Task cards! The cards (digital or other) can practice work work, comprehension skills, grammar skills, thinking skills, or even social studies or science! You can make your own or use task card you've found. Here are some ideas: Combined Review Task Cards.

8. Read with a Teacher Assistant or Parent Volunteer 

I do have a few little ones with very short attention spans or who just need a little more guidance. These children really benefit from reading with an adult. The adults are encouraged to stop and chat about the story and encourage understanding as well as enjoyment.

9. Practice Handwriting Skills 

Sometimes they just have to focus on making the letters touch the lines in the right places! We are lucky enough to have Handwriting workbooks, but any paper will do! They can even practice handwriting skills on whiteboards or chalkboards. Try this self-directed Cursive Writing bundle!

10. STEM Activities

This is a wonderful time for children to focus on a STEM project given at another time of the day or perhaps simply explore some of their STEM materials! 

Here are some ideas on how I organize these activities in the classroom, including a Dollar Deal resource to help you get organized!

What do your students do while you're teaching reading groups?

Ten Things for Students to do While You're Teaching Reading Groups: It can be tricky to find activities that will keep them engaged and learning, but not distracting to others. Here are some ideas!

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