Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Memory Jog, Brain Dump, Fact Slap

How do you have students show what they know? 

Sticky Notes

I seriously have a love affair with sticky notes. In Kindergarten, I didn't get to use them as much as I wanted to. Now that I'm in 5th... oh man! I have created a slightly more interactive way for the kids to show what they know.

Yesterday, after our 3 day weekend, I had the students do an activity to show what they remember from last weekend. You could call it a lot of things: Memory Jog, Brain Dump,Fact Slap, What Stuck with You? 

Simply give the students sticky notes (1-3 usually do it). Have them write the desired content. For example, 'What do you remember about our unit: Changes on the Plains?'

You can differentiate by giving hints, clues, and asking questions.

When they have it written, it goes up on the board around your 'thinking cloud'.

Between the colors, the sticky notes, and getting up to stick it to the board... it's incredibly engaging and makes them want to reach deep down to find what they remember!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!

Does your school decorate pumpkins? My old school did this every single year. When I switched schools, I offered up the idea to add to our Fall Festival (this coming Friday). Here are the pumpkins that came out... so, so cute!!

Does your school do a pumpkin decorating competition? I'd love to hear about it if they do!!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Happenings

It is starting to look and feel like fall around here. So glad! It's definitely my fav! This weekend we were all hold up on the couch with colds. Which meant that I was able to stay home, hang out, and get my 'fall' on!

I started off with a cake. Growing up, my mom loved to decorate cakes. It was always a big thing around the holidays to see what she would make. I loved helping. Since she's gone... I miss it. It's just not the same with out it. So, I decided that I would make my own kids a great cake:

Isn't he sweet?! 

Speaking of sweet... as in cute. Take a peek at my pumpkin for this year's pumpkin competition.
 I L-O-V-E Olaf! It is too, too cute! Of course, he's 1 of 2 Olaf's in the pumpkin line up this year. No shock there. But I still love this little guy!

Plus, I have a new Donor's Choose project up! Please take a minute to check it out and share it via Facebook!

Classroom Photo

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday

Holla! I'm here! Look at me--- 2 posts in one week... I'm on FIRE! It's definitely been one of those weeks were I'm slowly beginning to emerge from underneath the 'Back to School' haze. You know what I mean... here's what I've been up to lately:

I've been getting my craft on a little bit here and there.. Totally loving being close to home and not being DEAD tired when I get home at night! It's so, so much better!

I've been teaching about Westward movement onto the Great Plains and my rug map has been wooooonderful! I'm telling you, it's the perfect rug for ANY grade level. I use it at least 4-5 times a week.

I've been trying lots of great new teaching strategies too! I love, love this one. It's called a Visual Tug of War. It's a lot of fun to give the kids a question and let them defend their answer. They like to see their thoughts on the board too! If you click on the picture, it will link you to where I pinned the original idea.

I made a new product! Yay!!! I am super duper excited about my newest product. With learning a brand new curriculum, creating has been few and far between when it comes to having TPT in mind. But I am really happy about putting ALL of my Civil War assessments into 1 pack for you!These are great assessments: quizzes, tests. study guides, and even a pre-test post-test.

I updated my Facebook page AND I sent out a newsletter to all of my followers. Make sure to follow me by subscribing at the top (Facebook) or on the sidebar (Newsletter). I love sending out treats and freebies in my monthly newsletter. Can't wait to see those you sign up!! I'll even send you a treat for registering!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Quick Fall Craft Idea

I got crafty about a week ago. My project turned out so, so cute! I can't wait to show you!

Here's what I started with:

And I turned it into this!

This most important aspect.... they are filled with M & Ms.. YUM! I need to touch up a few last spots and then they are off to school to my kiddo's teachers. 

Here was my inspiration/tutorial:

PS.- Happy October 1st!!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Increasing Literacy by Increasing Interest

One of the most basic ideas that is expressed to teachers to increase their student's literacy is to meet their interests..... which works until you teach Science and Social Studies and most non fiction is cut and dry... aka boring.

I discovered this summer some of the very best REALISTIC fiction books to go along with my Social Studies topics. Check this great books out:

The best part about all of these books is that this entire series is INTERACTIVE! They are similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books that I remember reading growing up. Totally awesome and attention grabbing!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Should Floods Be Controlled? (A Visual Tug of War)

This summer while Pinterest-ing (that's a word, right?) I saw an awesome idea about discussing and debating a topic or question by using a visual tug of war. You can post the question on the board and the students voice their opinion on a sticky note. I have been waiting to try it and love the results of our basic beginning!

We have worked our way through our first unit of science. Earth science has been a blast to teach! As a culmination type of activity, we have been studying how we can use technology to intercept or change constructive and destructive forces in nature.

Our beginning was studying about floods- what they are, what they do, how they occur, etc. We learned how they can be stopped (dams, levees, floodways, etc.).

The first step of our Visual Tug of War was to have our thoughts organized. I teach several different classes so each class made a chart of the Pros and Cons of controlling flood waters:

Then we pretended that we were the city council and had to make a decision on if we should control the yearly flooding (pretend for us). They had to decide on an answer to my question:

Then they had to explain their reasoning:

While my first attempt at this did not have rebuttals and defense statements, I think they accomplished the overall activity. It was great and the students did an awesome job of applying their learning!

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