It’s a Cyber Tuesday Sale!

Here’s a quick note for all of you! Teacherspayteachers is have a two day cyber sale and I don’t want you to miss out!! It started Dec. 2 and will continue through Tuesday, Dec. 3!

It’s time to empty your shopping cart and save money at the same time! All my store products are discounted 20%. I’d love for you to check out the savings in my store, so click on the link below…https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Susan-Mescall

You work so hard creating fabulous lessons for your students, so let me help you in this busy, sometimes crazy, month! Don’t forget to use the promo code CYBER19 as you check out. You’ll earn an additional 5% off your purchase.

 

Happy shopping!

 

 

Are You Looking for Engaging U.S. History Activities?

Does the idea of trying to find time to teach Social Studies give you a pain as you are trying to plan your school schedule?  With all the emphasis on the testing of math, science, and reading in my state, it was really hard to find activities that would help my students learn about our country’s history AND engage my students attention. Since social studies and history are not  state tested subjects in elementary school in my state, too often I had to leave the subject as an afterthought…a subject to visit AFTER end of grade testing was finished.

Let me help you make U.S. History a part of your reading lessons with a great book AND a variety of engaging activities for both reading and social studies lessons.  I found Blood on the River  by Elise Carbone!  A great novel about the founding of James Town as seen through the eyes of a young boy who is servant to Captain John Smith.  My students love this book and I am able to slip social studies lessons into my reading lessons!  WALLAH!

Blood on the River  allowed me to introduce vocabulary of the times, explore primary sources, compare characters and discussion questions along with meeting historical figures such as John Smith and Pocahontas.  All this and more is included in my TpT store product  Blood on the River Activities  Just clink on the link to check out my Blood on the River products!

If you aren’t able to choose your reading materials, don’t despair!  I have a bundle of activities that you can use to add hands-on, rigorous, yet engaging activities to go along with your studies of America from the early explorers to the American Revolution.  You can find this fabulous bundle in my TpT store American Social Studies Activities

Check out some really fun activities…my students really like the United States Branches activities. Make history come alive with the I Have, Who Has of the American Revolution!

I hope these activities will help your students develop an interest in the history of our country!!

Kick worksheets to the curb and engage your students!

Mid Year slump

Check this scenario…It’s March and you’re lesson planning for next week.  Suddenly, you look at what you’ve written!  It’s the same as what you have written for this week…Intro, teach lesson, practice worksheet, assign homework, moving on!  Where did the beginning of the school year eagerness and fun activities go?  I know, I know….those activities got lost in the day to day paperwork, school meetings, pacing guides, benchmark testing…and on and on!  I know because I’ve been there many, many times!  You’re draggin’ and so are your lessons!

What to do?

I decided to look back at my beginning of the year lesson and WALAA!  It was right there in front of me…activities that I used before the day to day of school dragged me down!  I want to share some ideas with you and I hope you’ll do the same for me, as I am always lookin’ to add to my own bag of “tricks”!

here we go!!!

#1  Dictionary Dash!!!  I teach reading using novels and one of my favorite is Blood on the River.  It’s a historical fiction novel about the founding of Jamestown.  The vocabulary in the novel can be a challenge, but the idea of making students sitting at their desks,  looking up definitions of unknown words and writing them in their journal gave me chills!!

Dictionary Dash to the rescue…My students, the year I created it,  were VERY competitive and this was right up their alley.  I let my kids partner with a friend and gave each pair a dictionary.  On my white board I created a chart:     Word                      Part of Speech                    Definition

I wrote the vocabulary word in the “Word” column and then I said, “Go!”  The first group that located the word got the privilege of writing the part of speech and definition on the board.  When all the words were defined and written on the board, the students then copied down the vocabulary words into their journals.  My students BEG to play this game once I have them play it.

While I have used it for reading, I have also used this game in Science and Social Studies.  Let your imagination be your guide!!

#2 Task Cards!!!! 

  Love, love, love task cards!  The cards lend themselves to SOOOO many uses and really energize my students.  I print them out on card stock, laminate, and they are ready!!

A Pass A Problem  I put one or two cards on each student’s desk.  I have my students record the number on the task card on their answer sheet and then solve the problems.  They record their answers and put their hands on their shoulders.  This lets me know and once students have recorded their answers, they move to the next desk and start the process of recording and solving the task card problem.  The students move clockwise around the room solving problems at each desk.  When the students arrive back at their desk, the game is over and now the class checks their answers.

B.  Station/center lesson  They can be differentiated to meet the needs of all your students very easily.  Print the cards on different colored paper and WALAA!  Stations/center planning done!  Here are a couple of examples I use with my class.  Click on them to check out some of my task cards or the  Upper Elementary Measurement Activities task cards located  in my TpT store.

2c. Small guided group lessons  Task cards fit really well into small group lessons.  They allowed me to really  differentiate my tasks without spending a lot of time looking for the exact activity.  Task cards made it a snap! to meet the needs of all the levels of my students and reinforce what had been taught or reviewed in the whole group lesson.

3.  Whiteboard Jeopardy!!!  My first year at a new school left me without a SMARTboard so I created a paper and pencil version of Jeopardy.  I created a grid with letter columns across the whiteboard and numbers down the whiteboard.  Within each box of the grid, I placed an index card with such messages as “100 pts.” or “Lose 25 pts.” and placed them face down on the white board with magnets.  The students were placed on two teams and each team was given a question to answer.  If correct, the students then chose a card using the grid addresses.  The message was read and points added or subtracted.  Teams also could win extra turns.  The game is only limited by the creator’s imagination.  I like to use this one for review.

I hope some of my ideas have generated some more ideas for you!  Please share what you do to overcome the mid year slump that seems to grab us every year!!!

Thanks!

 

 

 

Get Ahead of the Summer Slide!

Are you worried about your K-2 reader losing some ground as summer rolls in? There’s a quick and easy game you can play with your K-2 child that will help them keep their reading skills sharp!  Here it is…

Slide1Outdoor Bingo! Picture and Word Game K-2

Here’s the better news!!!  It’s on sale right now until June 5!  Have fun!

Sue

Do You Need to Engage and Excite Students? Use these words!

The words are, “Shall we play a game?“, which  is a throw back to an old 1980’s movie…”War Games”.  Sometimes trying to get our students excited about class work can be like a battle.  I have a very competitive group of students this year. They really love to outdo each other but I also want them to pull together as a team.

I tapped into that competitive streak to get them excited about doing classwork earlier this week.  I have a game I call “Captain and the Crew”.  It takes nothing more than a worksheet, white boards, markers, and erasers.  This game really appeals to them as it pits the class against me!!

As the teacher, I am the “Captain” of my class and my students are my “Crew“.  I handed out the worksheet and then wrote the words “Captain” and “Crew” on my whiteboard at the front of the room. The students work a problem independently.  When the lid is on the marker of all the students, we are ready to share our answers.

Students hold up their individual white boards to show the answer.  If everyone is correct, the students earn 2 tally marks.  If even one student is wrong, I earn 5 tally marks.  That’s not fair, you say? The students were more excited about beating me and me not being “fair” then really had them fired up!

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How did I use the worksheet?  I had the students use the worksheet problems as the questions for our game.  See the results of our first game below…

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I already have my students begging for a rematch!  Who knew a worksheet could be so fun?

Let me know what you think and if you use it in your classroom!Signature

 

 

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The Free Dictionary Game Students Will Beg For!

Here’s the dictionary dilemma, teachers!  We want our students to increase their knowledge of vocabulary in all subjects, but too often our go-to assignment has students  looking up the words in a dictionary and copy the meaning into a notebook.  For myself, even I used to shudder at the idea of looking up  unknown words in the dictionary!

Engage students are learning students and the best is when they don’t even realize they are learning!!!  I was racking my brain for a new way to introduce the vocabulary in a novel I wanted the class to read.  It came to me like a flash!!!!  I find that most students get very competitive in a game situation and that is what led to, TA DAH!!!  DICTIONARY DASH!!  Even better, the game is free AND easy to implement!!!

Here’s how it works in my room.  I have my students get themselves into groups of three.  Each group gets a dictionary.  Because my students are so competitive,  I have the students put their hands on the closed dictionary BEFORE I write the word to be looked up on the board.  On the board I have drawn a chart.  Word/Part of Speech/Definition.   After the word is written  on the whiteboard, they can’t start their search until I say “Go!”

The first group to find the word yells “We got it!’ and they send one of the students to the board.   The chosen student writes the part of speech and the definition on the whiteboard.  I will check the student’s choice of definition to make sure it is the one needed for the day’s reading.

The other students are reading the meaning of the word as it is written on the board.  After that, the groups put their hands on the closed dictionary and the game continues until all vocabulary words needed for that day have been defined.

That being said, let me add a few pointers about the game:

  1.  DO NOT use this game every day in all subjects!  Anything done a lot gets boring and that’s what you’re trying to avoid!!!
  2. DO NOT use this game to look up EVERY vocabulary word in the lesson.  Why?  See #1!
  3. DO use it in subjects other than just Reading.  Students need to see the need for increased vocabulary in all subjects.

I have the students put the vocabulary words and meanings into their subject journal and glossary. We then jump into the lesson.

That’s it…that’s all it took to get my kids excited about using the dictionary!!  What’s the worst?  You lose a bit of time…What’s the best? A new game that takes little to no prep and excites students!   

If you try the game, let me know how it worked.  If you have some fun ideas for vocabulary, share those too!!!!  Thanks!

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