Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review Games

This week is the students first big test so we are going to spend the day before reviewing the information.  They also have vocabulary quizzes every Friday during their enrichment class.  Here are a few games I found online, came up with myself, or found similar ones and changed a few things.  I try to do ones that are different from the usual relays etc. (Although I do throw in a relay race one every once in a while.) Enjoy!

1 vs. The Class
This is based off the TV show 1 vs. 100 and works really well with multiple choice questions for a review.  The point of the game is for one student to answer all the questions correctly and knock out the rest of the class. Choose one student from the class to be at the front (I pull a popsicle stick with their names).  Ask students a question with 3 possible answers.  The class is given ten seconds to choose an answer by selecting a card from their desk that has A, B, or C written on it.  The other cards go on to their lap.  The student at the front answers the question in their own time.  Everyone at their seat holds up their cards and if they got it wrong they are out of the game.  If the person at the front eliminates all of their classmates they get a prize.  If they lose, everyone that is still left in the class gets a prize.
Puzzle Game
Split the class into groups of 3 or 4.  Ask questions and have students write down their answer as a group.  If they get it correct they get a piece to their puzzle.  First group to complete their puzzle wins. You can use puzzles that you buy or can always make your own.
Luck of the Draw
This game can be played many different ways.  I used it for spelling when I student taught but I don't teach spelling in my class so I'm going to use it with just regular questions or vocabulary words.  Split the class into teams and give them each a whiteboard or piece of paper.  Ask a question and the first team to get the correct answer written down gets to choose from the bag.  I put colored dice in the bag so that they all feel the same.  If you pull a red your team gets two points, yellow your team loses two points, blue your team gets one point, green you get make another team lose two points. 
When I did it with spelling we played Sparkle and whoever said sparkle picked from the bag.  If it was red they got to stay in, blue they got to eliminate a boy, green they got to eliminate a girl, and yellow they were out.  There was one or two dice I put a sticker on and if that was pulled (rarely) the game was over and that person automatically won.
Clue Review
Split students into even groups if possible.  Pull one student from each team to the front of the room with their back to the board.  Write a word on the board that relates to what you're reviewing.  Each team member then gives one clue to what the word is without saying the actual word.  If a student cannot think of a clue or doesn't know what the word is they have to pass and that student up front gets one less clue.  At the end of their clues they have to guess what the word is on the board. If they get it right their team gets a point.  If they get it wrong one of the other students up front gets a chance to steal. 
Paper Fight
Split the class into two teams and set up desks in two lines.  On half sheets of paper write down questions for students to answer.  Give them a time limit to throw the paper at each other.  When time is up, it is up!  The idea is to get as much paper on the other side.  Each question has to be answered that was on their sides.  If they get it wrong their team gets a point, the most points at the end wins.  You have to make the rules clear at the beginning: No head shots, no throwing at the teacher, volume level has to stay low, and when time is up there is no more throwing.  Any rules not followed, you're out.
If you have any review games your students like I would love to hear them! I'm always looking for new ones.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11

Even though 9/11 isn't technically in the curriculum I really wanted to spend the day teaching it to my students...especially since they were only babies when it happened. It was very interesting, exciting, and sad to teach all at the same time. It was a little hard to express to them in words what it is like to be able to teach such a huge event that I got to experience.  Most things in history I have to teach based on what I learned and what is in history books.  September 11 is something I can actually tell to them in my perspective and what I remember about the day.

Since my students can't remember the events of 9/11 (some weren't born and most were under a year old) I thought it would make more of an impact if they each chose someone to interview.  As their homework they were to interview someone they know about September 11.  We had a variety of people from parents, step-parents, grandparents, teachers, and neighbors.  A few students had relatives that were only 10 miles away from the attacks.  A lot of them really got into it and interviewed multiple people and wrote down complete stories.  I only required them to answer the basic five questions that we came up with together.
1. How old were they?
2. Where were they?
3. What were they doing?
4. How did they find out?
5. How did they feel?

I also got to share my story with them too.  I was in 8th grade English class when another classmate came back from an appointment and said he heard about it.  All we did the whole day was watch the news footage.

We also watched a short clip on the twin towers and I read them a timeline of 9/11 and facts of the day.  I'm hoping that all of the students now have a better idea and appreciation for 9/11.
Here is the clip that I showed to my students. 

Here is a quote that a student shared from her grandma and grandpa that summed up September 11.  "You can rebuild buildings, but you can't rebuild the lives that were lost."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

So the school year begins...

We are now 5 days down into the school year and it is off to an awesome start.  I started off last week with having them create biography maps. They could either do the map on one main thing that interests them or a variety of different ideas.  They had a list of requirements (5 cities, capital city, landorms, etc.) and then could take it in any direction that they wanted.  It was fun to see all the different personalities/interests of each student.  I have to say I was pretty excited to see a few Hunger Games themed countries ;)

Here is an example of one of the maps..

Next week we are venturing into the physical features of Latin America and Canada.  We are also going to do something for September 11 on Tuesday.  Friday...iPads! I'm lucky to work at a school that has an entire cart of iPads so we will be doing some different things on them.

Also, I finally got my Homeworkopoly bulletin board up.  I'm doing mine a little different since I have five different classes.  At the end of the week I'm going to pull a student's name from each class.  They will roll the dice once to see how many times they actually get to roll to move around the board.  Here it is...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bulletin Board Time

It is official... the last week of summer vacation.  I got my classroom ready today and it was just a little hot in the room.  I thought I would post a few pictures of the bulletin boards and explain them.
I have two normal bulletin boards and then an ugly green old chalkboard in the back (new black one in the front!) so I decided to make them into bulletin boards as well.

This is one of my "boards" to cover some of the green chalkboard.  Each class has a corresponding popcorn bin on the top.  If they have a great day they get a piece of popcorn in it (yellow crumpled up paper).  If they get a certain amount by Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Cinco de Mayo (I had to throw in a Spanish holiday) they get to have a movie/popcorn party the day before break.  If they don't make it, they will have to do work packets for the class.  It is based on all class behavior so they have to work together to do well.  I decided if there is one student that misbehaves a lot I will just have them go to another room during the movie.  I don't want to punish a whole class if one student is holding them back.
Here is another one to cover the green boards.  Since our school mascot is the Sailors I found this bulletin board set to use.  I left a blank spot in the middle so that students can volunteer to put up a picture of a country we are studying along with interesting information that goes with it. This actually said "Sail Off To A Great Year" but I cut the "Great Year" off and covered the "A" up so that we can put the country's name on the board.
This is the bulletin board for absent students.  One column is Classwork that was done and the other is Homework.  Each folder is for a different day of the week.  Since I am teaching 6th grade, students need to learn a lot about responsibility.  Instead of me telling students what they missed, they can grab the work out of the folders and then come to me with any questions that they have about their work.  I stapled the tops and bottoms of folders and turn them sideways so that papers will stick out of them a little bit.
I am in the process of finishing my "Homeworkopoly" bulletin board and my general information board.  A few of the things I need are getting laminated so those will be finished on Monday after inservice.  Look for more pictures soon.
Tuesday=1st Day of School!!! :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"The Yellow Sheet"

I just came across this on a teacher's blog and absolutely HAD to post it immediately.  It is probably the best teaching item I have came across. 
"The Yellow Sheet" (<-----To view the teacher's blog and description click on the link to the left)

Here is a short description of "The Yellow Sheet". 
When a student misses an assignment they have to go retrieve a yellow sheet of paper and fill it out with the date, assignment topic, actual assignment, and their signature.  They turn in the sheet to the teacher and is kept on record.  When a student finally turns in their homework the bottom portion of the paper is cut off and stapled to the student's work with the grade that they received from being late.  If they never turn it in, it is recorded with a 0.  The teacher keeps the top half on record (great for parent/teacher conference and questions).

I will definitely be having a folder of these (hoping they don't get used often!).  I will put up a copy of my own version once I make it over the next few weeks.
What a great idea to keep track of students' work and to make them be responsible and held accountable.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interactive Notebook Resources

For any of you that are new to interactive notebooks (as am I), I found this great youtube video that really breaks down how to set them up. I plan on giving students different foldable, graphic organizers, and specific ideas on what to put on the left side and then letting them take it from there.  I want to have some specific requirements for the left side so that those students who tend to not to do work will have a requirement.

*I really like how he numbers the pages rather than just doing 1, 2, 3...

Here is another short video that shows more examples of the left side of the notebook.

Last, I came across this AWESOME PDF file (from Dinah Zike's resources) that has a lot (I mean a LOT) of foldables with specific directions on how to create them.  It also gives some topics and examples of ones that have been done on that topic.  Click on the link below to view it. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Mid-Summer

Happy middle of the summer (already)!

I have decided since I am moving to our middle school and into 6th grade Social Studies that I would start blogging to share my teaching ideas and keep track of them for myself.
Hopefully I will remember to update pretty frequently and maybe someone out there will find something I post useful. I know that I have found lots of great ideas from other teachers' blogs.
Since I live/teach in Pennsylvania I will be teaching the Western Hemisphere to my 6th graders. I am actually really excited about it since I have been going through the book. 

Interactive Notebooks
I decided that I am going to have my students create/keep interactive notebooks for class. I have been looking into a lot of different resources online and decided that it will be a lot of work (more for me than them), but very beneficial to the students.  Everything they need will be in one place and they will get to put their own creative twist on the notes that they'll have to take.

In case you haven't heard of interactive notebooks I highly recommend looking into it for almost any grade and subject.  There are lots of options for doing it....writing notes on right side of the page and students can turn it into drawings/graphic organizers/etc. on the left side of the page, creating different graphic organizers that can be drawn in, graphic organizers students tape or paste in, mini flip charts, tri-fold charts, and the list goes on and on!

I am going to try to post pictures of all the different things I'm going to have my students draw/write/paste into their notebooks so hopefully you can get some ideas.  Eventually I will hopefully get them up on so other people can use them if they're interested in it.

Okay, I am done writing my first blog and am going to go back to starting to plan ideas for their lessons and notebooks. :)