Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Breaking Out of the Classroom

Are you looking for a fun and rigorous way to end the school year? A colleague recently introduced me to an amazing site called BreakoutEDU. This site has tons of breakout room games ready to go for your classroom.  The breakout games work like the fun breakout rooms that seem to be popping up everywhere. Your students are introduced to a problem that they need to work with the class or small groups to solve in a certain amount of time. These games are great because they make students think outside of the box. The students have to collaborate, use higher level thinking skills, and work as a team.

The best part about this site is that these games are 100% free and teacher friendly. Each game includes a teacher guide and instructional video to help you set up your classroom. All you need to do to access these games is create an account, find a game that works for your class, print the resources, and you are good to go! The only thing you need to purchase to complete these activities is the Breakout Kit. These kits are amazing, but can be pricey. They would make an awesome Donors Choose grant. However, if you are like me and on a tight classroom budget, you can purchase the materials much cheaper on your own.  I ordered my supplies from Amazon because I absolutely love Prime. Here’s a list of the materials you will need to purchase (I’ve included links to items I purchased using Prime):

- 1 Hasp
-1 UV Light (optional)
-1 Invisible Ink Pen (optional)
-1 Small Lockable Box

I wanted to end the school year with a fun activity that would give my students a chance to use their higher level thinking skills, and practice the team work skills they spent the whole year building. When I found the Oh, The Place You'll Go Activity, I knew that I found the perfect breakout session! I always read the Dr. Seuss story to my students at the end of the school year and this activity ties into it perfectly. This game was made with the intent to use it at the beginning of the school year, but you can easily use it for the end of the school year too. When we started the game, I told my students that they had to breakout of third grade in order to go on to fourth.

The game designer, Patti Harju, has done an amazing job making this game teacher friendly. All I needed to do was print out the activity sheets, read the teacher guide, and watch the video on how to setup my classroom. Below are some pictures of how I setup my classroom.

This game gave my students a 45 minute time period to solve the problem. My students were so engaged throughout the entire 45 minutes. They absolutely loved this activity, and I loved watching them think outside of the box! I will definitely be using more of these games in the future!

Monday, February 6, 2017

New Math Resoureces & the Love TpT Sale

I have been hard at work creating some new math resources for my store. I have new third grade math units that align perfectly with the CCSS. I have been using them in my classroom and my students are loving the lessons. I like to use math group rotations while teaching and these lessons are a perfect fit. They give me time to introduce each skill, work with small groups, and keep the other students actively engaged with centers and assessment. So far I have created the following units:

This unit is perfect for introducing multiplication to your students. Teaching your students how to use different multiplication strategies deepens their understanding of multiplication. The strategies explored in this unit are skip counting, using a number line, making arrays, making equal groups, and repeated addition. This unit gives students time to explore, understand, and explain multiplication. 
This unit includes:
-A Smart Board presentation explaining each strategy with assessment
-Homework for each strategy
-Math centers for each strategy
-Anchor charts for key vocabulary
-Multiplication strategy puzzles
-An interactive notebook flipbook on the different strategies

Understanding the properties multiplication can be difficult for students. Teaching your students how to correctly use these properties helps them understand multiplication. The properties explored in this unit are the Zero, Identity, Commutative, Associative, and Distributive Properties. This unit gives students time to explore, understand, and explain the different properties of multiplication.  
This unit includes:
-A Smart Board presentation explaining each property with assessment
-Homework for each property
-Math puzzles for each property
-Anchor charts for key vocabulary
-An interactive notebook flipbook on the different properties

Fractions can be a difficult concept for students. Teaching your students how to correctly read and use fractions helps deepens their understanding. The skills addressed in this pack are fraction basics, unit fractions, fractions of a group, fractions of a set, fractions on a number line, and fractions greater than one. This unit gives students time to explore, understand, and explain fractions. 

This unit includes:
-A Smart Board presentation explaining each skill with assessment
-Homework for each skill
-Math puzzles for each skill
-A choice board for a project based learning approach
-Anchor charts for key vocabulary
-An interactive notebook flipbook on the different fraction skills

Now it's time to show a little love, just in time for Valentine's Day! These resources and everything in my store will be 28% off for the Love TpT sale on February 7-8! Enter the code LOVETpT to receive 28% off all of your purchases. Happy Valentine's Day and happy shopping!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cyber Monday SALE!

Who doesn't love a sale!?! It's time for the Teachers Pay Teachers annual Cyber Monday Sale! Time to stock up your classrooms and save!

If you are looking for some holiday activities for your classroom, check out my store. I have added a bunch of fun holiday projects and activities.

It's Gingerbread Baby!

If you are planning a gingerbread unit for the holidays, check out my Work, Work as Hard as You Can! It’s a Unit of Fun with theGingerbread Man!  and Area and Perimeter Gingerbread House Project.

The Gingerbread Unit includes activities for each subject area so it can be used for a day of gingerbread fun, over a couple of days, or throughout a week. This unit contains the following five activities:
  1. Search, Search as Hard as You Can! Can You Catch the Gingerbread Man- This activity is played like the game Battleship and reviews using ordered pairs.
  2. Gingerbread Story Activity- During this activity students will read different versions of the Gingerbread Man (a book list is provided to help you easily find books). They will compare the different stories, and use planning sheets to help them create their own version of this classic folktale. Gingerbread publishing papers are included.
  3. Gingerbread Man Measurement- Students will use a Gingerbread Man cut out to measure different items in the room. A recording sheet is provided for this activity along with extension activities for early finishers.
  4. Run, Run as Fast as You Can!- The students join the Gingerbread Man Capture Squad during this science experiment, and explore what happens to their pulse before, during, and after exercise.
  5. The History of the Gingerbread Man- This activity goes over the Gingerbread Man's history and has the student practice their map skills.

This Area & Perimeter Gingerbread House Project is perfect for area and perimeter review during the holiday season. Use this project while teaching to reinforce measurement skills. During this project, students are asked to create a gingerbread house for their school's winter festival. While designing their house, they will include certain design elements and find the different areas and perimeters. A rubric is included for easy grading.

This project is aligned with the Common Core Standards and gives students time to work on their project independently. Use this during math instruction and watch your students blossom!

Christmas Around the World

If you are planning a cultural celebration, check out my Christmas Around the World Packs. I have activities for the following countries; EnglandGermany, MexicoThe Netherlands, and France. Each set includes: 

  • a presentation on each country, and their holiday traditions
  • one or two crafts for each country
  • carol sing-a-longs-a passport with passport stamps
  • a recipe for a traditional dish from each country
  • a word search for each country exploring the new words learned in each lesson

If you want all of the countries listed, I have a complete Christmas Around the World Pack.

Winter Math Games and Centers

If you are looking for winter themed math products, check out my Winter Olympics Multiplication and Division Games and Centers Pack, and my Measurement Winter Olympics Activities. These packs are full of fun math activities that make learning fun!

Happy shopping and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Challenging Little Learners

I like to offer students choices in their learning. Giving my students the freedom to make choices makes learning meaningful to them.  Every student is unique and learns differently. Some students are musicians, artists, actors, authors, scientists, or engineers. I feel as educators we sometimes forget this. It’s easy to do when you are in the school year rush desperately trying to teach all of the standards before the dreaded state tests. Districts tend to forget this too and try to make us “cookie cutter teachers.” Which is ironic. We teach differently, just like our students learn differently. What works for one teacher may not work for another. We teach through our strengths.

That being said, it’s important that we challenge all of our little learners. We need to give all of our students a chance to grow.  I don’t know about you, but every school year I always have a group of kiddos that need to be challenged. Learning comes easy for this group and they need that extra push. Over the years, I have created different activities for them to complete when they finish their work. I try to make these activities meaningful for them, so they don’t feel like I am punishing them for finishing early.  I feel like I am always looking for activities that will keep those students engaged and deepen their learning.

Over the summer, I came across some great products from MindWare. If you haven’t heard about this company, you need to check them out.  They have amazing products that get children to use their higher level thinking skills and think outside of the box. Which is perfect for my classroom!  

This year I started using the Brain Builders and PerplexorsLet me tell you, they are game changers! They are perfect for integrating STEAM skills into your classroom. The best part is that my students absolutely love using these products!  I have students asking me if they can work on these activities all of the time.

My students LOVE logic problems, so I knew that the Perplexors were a perfect fit for my classroom. My students like the mystery aspect of these problems, and I love the high-level thinking that goes on during these activities.

I like to copy the Perplexors and place them in plastic sleeves so my students can use their dry erase markers and easily erase mistakes.  
The Brain Builders are my favorite. This product is perfect for challenging your visual learners. Brain Builders get students to change the way they look at solving a problem and are a great interactive STEM tool. Each Brain Builder set comes with 20 KEVA planks and a set of double-sided puzzle cards. The puzzles cards have a 2-D challenge on one side and its solution on the other side. When students are completing these tasks, they have to recreate 2D patterns into 3D structures. This is perfect for your visual learners! The 2-D cards show the design from different angles to challenge the students to see things differently. These activities are a perfect addition to any STEM-focused lesson.

When I first started using these products, I had the activities set up in stations throughout the room. Then I did a quick mini-lesson to demonstrate procedures and expectations. When I felt like my students understood these activities, I had them work with partners and complete center rotations. I wanted to make sure that each student felt comfortable with these activities so I could use them throughout the school year.  Now that the students are comfortable with these tools, I use them for early finisher work and problem-solving centers. I feel like these products help teach valuable learning skills for the next generation of learners.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Best Year Ever Bonus Sale & TpT Gift Card Giveaway!

If you missed the Best Year Ever Sale, you are in luck! On August 22nd TpT is having the Best Year Ever Sale part two! I'm giving away a $10 TpT gift card for your back to school goodies. This giveaway is for one day only so you can enjoy the sale. Use the Rafflecopter link below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! Now go load up your wishlists and get ready to shop for an amazing school year. Happy shopping!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stock Up During the TpT Best Year Ever Sale!

It's time to load up your wishlists, and stock up your classroom! It's time for the annual TpT back to school sale. I love this sale! I have a bunch of great products in my wishlist ready to go for August 1st. I also have some great products in my store to make going back to school much easier.

If you are looking for easy to use writing centers for upper elementary students,check out my Write 'N' Roll Writing Centers. These centers are aligned with the CCSS and cover the four main types of writing; descriptive, persuasive, expository, and narrative. To do these centers, your students just need to write and roll!

This pack has 21 different centers that focus on the following skills...

-Writing a Paragraph
-Story Starters
-Vivid Vocabulary
-Writing a Friendly Letter
-Narrative Writing
-Writing a Personal Narrative
-Persuasive Writing
-Tall Tales
-Fairy Tales
-Opinion Writing
-Expository Writing- How-To Writing
-Descriptive Writing
-Informative Writing
-Creating Comics Using Figurative Language
-Informative Writing-Writing a Newspaper Article
-Persuasive Writing- Writing a Speech
-Writing a Book Review
-Play Writing
-Song Writing

If you are looking for some fun centers for your writing time, feel free to check them out! You can download a sample center on fairy tales for free here

If you are looking for early finisher activities, check out my Early Finisher Activity LotusThis product includes 32 weeks of early finisher work. Each week is set up as a lotus diagram and includes 8 activities. The activities are designed to meet the needs of diverse learners. This product was designed to take up minimal space in the classroom and use few supplies. All you need to do is print, display, and you are ready to go! 

Choice boards are one of my favorite learning tools. They challenge students and offer them a choice in their learning. I have to yearlong sets for both reading and math.

I hope you have a great school year! Now get your wishlists ready!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Back to School Gift Ideas

I like to give gifts to my students and coworkers at the beginning of the school year. This year I found two cute ideas that didn't break the bank! My husband will thank me later :-). 

For my students, I made these cute glow stick cards for Meet the Teacher Night. You can get a pack of 5 glow stick bracelets at Party City for $.99! I was able to get a present for all of my students for only $6! Which means more money for classroom supplies! Woo hoo! You can get these Glow and Grow Back to School cards for free at my TpT store. I made cards for kindergarten through fifth grade. Enjoy!

You can get these bracelets in tons of different colors at Party City!

I wanted to give my team something they could use. Maybe it's just the southern girl in me, but I think that thank you notes are a must! I found these adorable monogrammed thank you notes from the Christmas Tree Shop for $1 a pack. Each pack has ten cards to use during the school year.

I made labels for the cards using my Burlap and Barnwood Editable Classroom Decor labels. I think they turned out pretty cute. I can't wait to give them to my team on our first day back!