Monday, April 23, 2012

Geo Board Match

There is an unexplained attraction to geo boards.  The moment my students see these surface, there is a round of "yay, I love these!".  For a bit of review we pulled these out and had at it.

My students partnered up for this activity.  Each set of partners had a set of geo board match cards, rubber bands, and two geo boards.  Partners would draw a card to take the challenge.  They would independently create the figure using the available clues.  After they each finished creating the figure, they would compare their boards.  Of course their figures may have varied and may not have necessarily looked like the answer on the back, but if they could prove the clues then they were good to go.  That is the beauty of geometry, as long as the figure was created by following the clues, by definition, they are correct.

As an extension, I had students create their own shapes and then they identified the attributes of their individual figures.  These activities differentiated their learning and allowed them to think outside the box.

To grab a free copy of the Geo Board Match cards that we used, click HERE!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Exciting News

I am excited to announce that I am now a contributing author for Teaching Blog Addict!!.  I have been a fan of TBA for quite sometime now.  It's a community for educators, the authors are quite inspiring and the resources are out of this world!  

Honestly I'm a little bit nervous, this is big time for me.  I never dreamed I would be a part of something so amazing!  You can find my introductory post here.

If you aren't familiar with TBA, which I'm not sure who isn't :-), head that way.  I do you have to warn you ahead of time though, it is quite addicting!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

End That Test With a Bang!

When testing is over, we make a lot of noise down my end of the hallway!  As funny as it sounds and as funny as it looks, my students LOVE this.  Each student is given a balloon to blow up and write their name on.  As you can see in the picture there are a variety of sizes.  It is kind of funny, because their balloons tend to match their personalities.

After we have completed our state test, we take them down and of course we pop them!!  For a short period of time we are a classroom full of chaos, but it's worth it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

April is of Course...Poetry Month!

For the past four years I have entered my students’ poetry in Creative Communication’s Poetry Contest.  I really like this contest for a couple of reasons.  First, I like that it is not an all those who enter shall win.  I think that winning and losing is a part of life and this gives students an opportunity to put themselves out there.  They are excited to take the chance and even more excited when their poem is chosen.  I also like this contest, because it is not impossible for my students to be chosen.  Every year I have had students published in their anthology. 

In the past, to prepare my students for entering the contest I have required my students to write specific poems, but after reflecting I changed my ways!  To introduce writing poetry, I read a number of poetry books.  Two of the books I chose were based on topic poetry.   Toasting Marshmallows:  Camping Poems and Little Dog Poems both by Kristine O'Connell George contain a collection of poems centered around a specific topic.  Love this idea by the way!

For each student, I put together a Poetry Handbook as a resource.  In the handbook, I included some of HeatherRenz’s examples from her Poetry Unit and I printed off poems from Poetry for Children (there are a lot of pop-ups on this site) to include.

There were two requirements that I had.  One was that all their poems had to be centered on one specific topic.  Second, they had to have a total of five poems.  These poems could be of any form, but had to be five different forms. 

When it came time for publishing our poems, students got creative.  They each got a file folder and access to a wide variety of scrapbook paper and stickers.  Here is what a couple of them came up with.  Not bad for saying, have at it!

As always, they were excited to share their published work.  We did a traveling author’s chair.  Before we began, they chose their two favorite poems that they would read to their classmates.  To start I appointed one person from each team to share.  They read their poems to their own team and stood up when they were finished.  This was my cue that they were ready to go on.  Once the reader from each team was standing, they rotated to the next team to follow the same steps.  This continued until each student was back at their home team.  At that point another student shared their poetry and the process started over.  

I liked the traveling author’s chair.  It was a nice change from the traditional author's chair where a few students share while the rest of the class listens.  This gave all students an opportunity to share while having the attention of a small group.  The entire process took us about 30 minutes.  This is definitely not something that I would do every day but it was a great way to mix it up and get students moving while limiting the intimidation of “whole” class sharing.

 Creative Communication has extended their Spring deadline until April 19.  If you are interested, there is still time to enter and it is super easy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

National Volunteer Week Freebie

It wasn't until last week that I realized National Volunteer Week is April 15-21.  I am so glad that I came across this, because I have some of the most amazing classroom volunteers!  I have been overly impressed with the parent volunteers in my school district over the years.  I have been in this district for four years, and I have NEVER had to organize a classroom party.  You read that right!  I have never had to organize a party!  We all know how much we love those parties.  My parents have taken on this responsibility and it has been fantastic!

This year has been no different.  Our classroom is never in need, and if there is anything that we need help with the response is unbelievable!  I'm am so lucky and thankful to have such amazing classroom volunteers.

Among many other things, we are planning on creating a thank you gift for our classroom volunteers.  I came across this great site today, Room Mom Spot, and they have a lot of great ideas.  One of the ideas that grabbed my attention was creating a note with cute sayings.  I am going to use them for our gifts so I typed them out and made them eye appealing. 

You can download this freebie HERE.

What do you do for your volunteers?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

And there were more.... Earth Day Freebies!

Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade is holding an Earth Day Freebie Linky.  Not only are there some amazing freebies to grab, but her post about her school's theme, Get Into a Green Routine, is absolutely inspiring!! 

To read more about her school's theme and to grab some fantastic freebies, head to Sunny Days in Second Grade!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Great Kapok Tree~Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day is quickly approaching.  Even though we want our students to be conscientious of recycling, reducing, and reusing on a daily basis this gives us a time to celebrate and educate the younger generation.  

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry has been one of my favorites for years.  The vibrant illustrations and the story that is told is a memorable one.  In order to celebrate Earth Day, I wanted to incorporate one of my favorites with the importance of the 3 Rs.  

Here it is and it's a Freebie for you!  Students will:
Conduct an open sort with animals of the Rainforest
Compare and contrast the Canopy with the Understory
Compare and contrast the Rainforest with a regular forest
Choose projects to complete based on their preference and learning style with a Choice Menu
Create their own plant
Identify where specific animals live within the layers of the rainforest
Collaborate with classmates on ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce
Choose projects to complete on ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce based on their preference and learning style with a Think-Tac-Toe

You can download it for free HERE at my TpT store.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Variations for the I have... Who has.. Game

I have quite a collection of I have...Who has... cards. When I create a class set, I copy them onto cardstock and laminate for durability.    I decided to begin using my cards with small groups.  Since I needed six sets, I simply copied them on plain paper.   Plain paper is much cheaper and very quick to copy, cut, and put to instant use.

When we first began using them in teams of 3-4, I had them pick any card from the stack.  This was the card that they would start with.   The teams spread the cards out on their table so they could see all the cards at once.  This turned out to be like putting a puzzle together.  There are times when they think they have finished matching the cards but end up with one left.  They then have to go back and see where they went wrong.

After a few times of putting these "puzzles" together, they have started to create their own variations of play.  I have a couple of teams that divide their cards equally among each other and play a mini game of I have...Who has...  I like the idea that they are coming up with their own way to play.  As long as they are using the cards, I'm certainly not picking on how they use them! 

Click the I have...Who has... to see what games I have available.