Graphic organizer anyone? I love a T-Chart, KWL, Word Diagram, Tree Map, or Bubble Map in the classroom! Graphic organizers are a powerful tool for students to extend and deepen their understanding in the classroom. Graphic organizers allow students to … Continue reading
As a former reading teacher, I am always looking for ways my students can become better readers. One of the ways they do this is become exposed to as many words as possible and look for words everywhere! Have you … Continue reading
Do your students like games? Are they willing to learn without realizing they are learning because it feels like a game? I know my classes (especially the morning class) will do anything if it is a game. Vocabulary acquisition can … Continue reading
Using new vocabulary words in our daily lingo is a fast track way to making these new words a permanent part of our personal dictionary. So how do we help students use their new vocabulary on a daily basis? The … Continue reading
Vocabulary is one of the most important parts of science and social studies instruction. Students who do not know the meaning of words or have the background knowledge to make connections to, struggle the most with science and social studies. … Continue reading
We have started state testing and after testing each day I wanted the kids to have fun while still going back over standards from the year, so I planned a mini-transformation. By “mini” I mean minimum amount of transformation— it is state testing after all. I have no decorations up in the classroom, but I have plenty of excitement!
Let’s start with my getup! I am wearing my husband’s referee shirt over my regular school clothes each day, a black baseball hat (Walmart for $7) and a whistle on my lanyard.
I found some old trophies under our new house and decided to clean them up, spray paint them solid gold, and give them to the winning team each day. They can take pictures with them, share them (who gets to have it on their desk), and I send a brag picture to the parents at the end of the day.
Then I needed to build the hype. I made a few short clips on Snap Chat using the filters and put them on Google Classroom for the kids to watch during homeroom. They were cheesy (me as an old lady talking about my grand kids telling me about a championship review at school, me as a girl with curlers in my hair talking about the latest gossip – something about a review championship, etc.). The giggles were contagious as they watched and re-watched the videos during homeroom.
Now, for the games! I picked a new game for each day. Some they had played before, some they hadn’t. Some games had a spin on them, but all were guaranteed to have each student working and able to earn points for their team.
This was the first game and had us all laughing. This idea came from Wade King of RCA (I follow him on Instagram and always get good ideas from him). How it works: Each team is assigned a color of paper to get off the floor. Students have Vaseline on their nose (you can add green food coloring to make it look like snot) and have to pick up the questions with their noses (NO HANDS!). After the entire group has answered the question and agrees on an answer, they can “pick” another question! The only problem I had with this game was the dependence on the whole group to work at the same pace…it didn’t work for some of my ESS students, so I will make adjustments to this game next year for sure! If you want to use my questions (adding fractions) or get the directions for the game for FREE click here.
They have team names with a running score board that continues to grow throughout the championship! We have had several different winners throughout the first week and all of them have enjoyed the trophy!
The second day, we played Jenga! For each correct answer students earned a point for their team and were able to move a Jenga block. At the end of the time, the team earned bonus points for how many rows high their Jenga towers were. If you would like my Jenga questions (subtracting fractions) for FREE click here.
The third day, we played corn hole! For each correct answer, students earned a point for their team and were able to toss a bean bag. If the bag landed on the corn hole board they earned one bonus point. If the bag went into the hole in the board, they earned three bonus points.
The fourth day, we played Trashketball! For each correct answer, students earned a point for their team and a shot at the trashcan. If they made their shots, they earned bonus points!
The fifth day, we played Connect Four! The teams were given the same color post it notes, but were assigned to play on different Connect Four boards. The students were given 10 word problems. They had to write the question number and answer on the post it notes and place them on the Connect Four boards. They were only allowed to place one post it note at a time, couldn’t move any post it notes on the board including their own after it was placed. I was going around checking answers on the post it notes. If they had the correct answer, the post it note stayed on the board. If it was incorrect, I would take the note off the board and throw it away. Teams earn points for correct answers and bonus points for having four post it notes in a row.
As a closing for each day, we do a Number Talk with the points they earned for the day and the previous day’s total. It is a great way to keep our mental math sharp and bring everyone back down to reality from the awesomeness of the games!
I cannot wait for the second week of games! it is going to be a BLAST!!!
My students LOVE science, so when we came back to science after several weeks of social studies they were pumped! We have done several fun and easy science activities with this standard and I wanted to share some of them … Continue reading
As a science teacher it is our jobs to teach the information, give students opportunities to explore the standards, and engage the learners in real science! This year I started my cells unit with a great video. The video has dramatic music, but I wanted to make it more dramatic, SO not only did we turn the lights off and turn the volume up, I read the words that come across the screen in my best and most serious dramatic movie introduction voice.
Then we began our unit. We talked about the standard, achievement descriptors and I gave them a few teasers on what was coming their way (Fear Factor lesson, growing mold, and medical masks). We also put our vocabulary into our journals (I still haven’t found a way to do digital interactive notebooks, but I am open to suggestions) You can grab my vocabulary packets (which also have the standard posters in them) for these two units here and here. They will be on sale until February 1st!
We will look at several power point presentations during this unit, but that is not the focus I want to give you. We used technology (computers, cameras, microscopes) to look at cells. My new school had several prepared slides for the kids to look at cells under microscopes and I had a few slides to share with them also. While I was pulling kids up to the microscopes the rest of the kiddos were playing games with our vocabulary words on Quizlet. You can access my word set for FREE here. If you haven’t used quizlet before, now is the day to start. As a teacher you type your words and definitions in and share the link. Quizlet does the rest! They make several games and activities out of the words you enter in. My students love it and we have access without a username or password because my word sets are not private.
We start looking at the organelles of the cells using Jennifer Findley’s FREE poster resource found here.
Then we complete a webquest here. I like for students to have as few struggles as possible though, so I offer diagrams for my students who do not want to draw. Smith Science and Lit has a great set of FREE plant and animal cell diagrams here.
After this we really get into the hands-on stuff!!!!! Eeeeekkkkk!!! I love hands-on learning and so do my students!
My students had done the glow germ lesson before, so I wanted to do something different. I started the lesson with putting on my lab coat (one of my new “costumes” for teaching), lab safety glasses (the kids each had a pair to wear too!) and medical mask! We talked about sneezing and the different ways kids sneeze (uncovered mouth, Kleenex, into their hands, into their sleeve. Then we started our lesson!
Each team had a piece of large white construction paper (I would have preferred white bulletin board paper but we didn’t have any at school —also next year I will have 4 different sheets of paper for each table), a spray bottle with water and food coloring in it (I did all different colors, but that didn’t matter —next year I will not use yellow because it didn’t show as big of an impact), a Kleenex (they really need about 5 Kleenex though), a piece of a T-shirt (I used gray this time because it is what I had with me, but next year I will use white), and a latex glove.
We used a spinner with the four different options on sneezes today and did 20 spins for the 20 sneezes. Next year I will do 5 sneezes of each type onto their own piece of paper for better scientific analysis.
When we landed on uncovered sneeze, the students simply sprayed the paper with the colored water. When we landed on sneezed into hand, the students sprayed the glove (on one of their hands) and then touched the paper once. When we landed on sneezed into sleeve, the students sprayed into the piece of T-shirt. When we landed on sneezed into Kleenex, the students sprayed the Kleenex and then crumpled it and set it on the paper.
We talked about which one had the least spread of “germs” (colored water), which one had the most, why they should cover their mouths with something when the cough, sneeze, or having a runny nose, etc.
It was a great lesson! They had so much fun with it! And the safety glasses and masks were a hit!
Fear Factor Lesson
I started with a Google Slide presentation on the board that had the Fear Factor logo on it. I also played some dramatic music. You can find a YouTube video of the Fear Factor theme music here. I used blind folds to add to the intensity of the moment, but I didn’t blind fold the students until I explained how the game would work.
Students would roll a dice to get a random number. Each number on the dice correlated to a edible microorganism. I promise that none of the foods will cause them to be sick or die, but that they may or may not taste very good. Then we put on our blind folds!
My six foods are:
- vanilla yogurt
- blue cheese crumbles
- bakery fresh bread (yeast!)
With each student, I place a die in their hand and have them roll it. Then I give them the food that they have rolled. Some of them feel all over it. Others smell the food. A few will decided not to eat what they are given. Others will dive right in!
We have a great discussion afterwards of why foods would have microorganisms in them, like bacteria.
As a math teacher, I am constantly trying to get my students to give me more details, explain their thinking, represent their answers…it’s a struggle. After a training with Brenda Erwin I decided I needed to make a poster of one of her slides (and then of course one slide turned into 5 more).
She suggested having students solve a problem using more than one point on the star. Encouraging them to answer with 2 or 3 points on the star. I loved the idea and hope to be putting it into practice more the second half of this year.
Grab the posters HERE for FREE!!!
If you like the RACE image, I have it as a poster in all of my Moving Kids UP! products!
As I shared on the Facebook page a few weeks ago, I am piloting standards based reporting with two other fifth grade math, science, and social studies teachers. So far we all love how well we know our students. We know who needs to continue to work on each standard. Who has met the standard and needs to be pushed to exceed it. We know our kids. The struggle for me has come in getting the students (and parents) to understand that standards based reporting is a growth model. We want to see students grow throughout the year! Success does not come immediately but must develop over time!
So I have finished teaching Unit 1 (order of operations, numeric expressions, multiplying and dividing large whole numbers, and powers of ten with whole numbers). These standards have made their way through Teach 5. Now I need to work with the students in small focus groups to Move Them UP to the next level.
We are using the Georgia Milestones Achievement Level Descriptors to determine the level of mastery on our report cards. This has allowed us to align ourselves to the state’s assessment and should give us a good idea of how the student will perform on the standardized test at the end of the school year. It also allows us to know how to move our kids up to the next level.
I am meeting with all of my level one students in a standard one day, doing a few practice problems, talking about what they are capable of doing on this standard and what I want them to try to do on this standard. Then I reassess with a quick “Move UP!” sheet. Some students show they deserve to move up a level, and others show we need more time working on this standard. The next day I will meet with my level twos, then my level threes on the following day. My goal is to meet with my students each nine weeks to work on our “Move UP!”s.
I have two Moving Kids UP! products completed and will add more throughout the year as I get them ready. And of course, as I grow my resources for this, I will add to these packets. But as the packets get bigger the cost gets higher, so grab them while they are cheap and redownload them as I update them!