End your year with a bang and a $1 sale!

Whew!  It’s quiet again at my house.  I am really lucky to have all my children and grandchildren within a day’s drive of my home.  Christmas  was a hectic, loud, and wonderful day spent with our three adult kids and six grandkids. One family came from out-of-town and was able to spend several days with us.  Cousins played and spent time getting acquainted again.

and it was so wonderful to see!   Our adult children grew up away from relatives and missed getting to know cousins, so we really treasure the time their children spend together.

With the quiet of the house, I find myself thinking about the coming of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  When I was younger, my hubby and I attended our fair share of parties and celebrations.  A good, albeit very late, time was had.  Cue the coming of our children and New Year’s Eve was better celebrated at home, in the comfort of our family room, as the ball dropped.

Well, you don’t have to wait until Dec. 31 to celebrate the New Year!!!  A terrific group of Teacher pay Teacher sellers are having a $1 sale on selected items from their store!  Yes, you read that right…$1 products!!!    To find these great deals, just type #Ringin2019 in the search bar and go shopping!

   

  All you have to do is click on the pictures to find my two $1 deals! 

 

Happy shopping!!!

Sue

 

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Fraction Lessons Have You Tearing Out Your Hair?

Trying to make teaching fraction more interesting?   Tearing out your hair? It was that frustration that had me looking for a way to give my students information they could understand and more opportunities to practice those skills.   The math book just didn’t seem to meet the needs of my students.  I was reminded by my mentor that textbooks should be a supplemental tool and not the curriculum.

Let me help you by showing you what I did to make multiplying and dividing fractions less frustrating!

I decided to take the textbook information and put  it into kid-friendly words.  

I had the kids glue the notes into their journals so the information would be at their fingertips!

And because the dreaded “End of Grade” test looms all year…I decided to create word problems to go along with the note students put into their journals.  That would give my students more practice than what was in our math textbook.

I also used the word problems as a review game.  I put one word problem on each student’s desk, in no particular order.  Students stand behind their chairs and the game begins as each student solves the problem on their desk.  As they finish, students put their hands on their shoulders.  When everyone has solved the problem on their desk, students move to the next desk.  When all the students have moved around the room and are back at their own desk, we go over the answers and students share how they solved the problems.

The word problems can be used in a lot of different ways in your classroom, beyond just a review game!  The word problems can be used as bell ringers to get students thinking.  You could put the word problems in your math center for independent work.

If you want to check out my word problems, just click on my picture.

How To Begin The Year Positive

Every teacher enters the classroom on the first day of school with high hopes and expectations.  I sure do!  Well, this year, instead of hoping the year stays positive, I decided take direct  steps to keep my students on the positive path and off the side  paths of negativity.  So what am I doing?  I’m so glad you asked!!!

*THE WRINKLED HEART activity :  A few years ago I saw this on  Pinterest and  “grabbed” this activity with both hands!!!  I wish I could find the person who first posted this idea because I’d hug them!!  This activity is a winner!

Give each student a sheet of red construction paper.  Have your students fold their paper and then cut out a heart.  Size doesn’t matter.  After their heart is cut out, ask your students to wad up their heart and WHISPER insults to the heart….just a short time!  Don’t want the students to get carried away.  After a minute or two of whispers, I ask the students to smooth out their heart and tell it , “I was just playing” or “I was just kidding”.   Have them continue to smooth out their heart.  Then ask the students if the marks on the heart disappeared after telling the heart they were “just kidding” or “just playing”.    Of course the marks are still there.  I remind the students that their hearts are just like the hearts they insulted.  While the words may be gone, the heart still shows the scars…just like our hearts can be scarred by careless or negative words.    It really got to my students…as I had hoped.  Words have power to scar and we resolved to make sure our words didn’t leave scars on anyone’s heart this year.

 

Let me know how you build community in your own classroom.

Thanks!

A Fabulous Sale You SHOULDN’T Miss!

it’s SAving season!!!

Hi folks!  So many of our colleagues are in testing or review mode right now.  It is NOT a time that any teacher likes.  I sometimes think that the time  AFTER testing is the hardest time of all!  A lot of students see the tests as the end of the school year and yet as many of us know, there are still weeks of school left!!!

#SPRINGSAVINGS to the rescue!

Today and tomorrow, there is a fabulous sale going on right now on TeacherspayTeachers!  Over 600 products have been discounted 50% !!!  Use the hashtag #SPRINGSAVINGS to locate them  Here’s your opportunity to grab some new activities that will engage your students and keep them from zoning out after testing is over!!

Use the #SPRINGSAVINGS and have fun perusing all the goodies!  Good hunting and may your new lessons engage your students and make your last weeks of school smooth fun and engaging!

 

Make Earth Day Fun and Meaningful

Two for the Price of One!

With Earth Day right around the corner,  those pesky end of the year tests are also beginning to show on the horizon, too.  As  a public school teacher,  I was ALWAYS looking for thematic activities that would also help my students sharpen their tested skills.  Sort of a twofer!  I think my Earth Day Activities will do both for you!

earth day 1970

Earth Day itself began in 1970 and was the brainchild of U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson.  He was very concerned that the Earth’s environment did not seem to be an important political issue and his first Earth Day drew millions of people to his cause.  Later that year President Nixon and Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency as a result along with legislation concerning both water and Endangered Species Act.

Earth day today!

In the 48 years since that first Earth Day, there has been a lot  more awareness of our need to recycle, reuse, and reduce.  I decided to combine facts about cleaning our environment with my students need to practice their math skills.  As a result, I created 24 word problems that will help my students learn how recycling can help improve our environment AND work on their problem solving skills at the same time!  I love being able to combine two school subjects; in this case, science and math within a single lesson!!

 

I also added a fun activity using Earth Day vocabulary.  My kids love, love word searches and so my Earth Day Activities also include a word search AND a writing activity!  I also included answer keys for both the 24 math problems and the word search.  Take a look and let me make your Earth Day lesson a snap!

 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Earth-Day-Activities-3755809

What are you doing for Earth Day?  Share your ideas with me!

 

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!

 

 

 

How I Improved My Grammar Lessons By Not Teaching!

when students talk, i listen

A few weeks ago, in the midst of coming in from recess, I was given the word by several students that my English lessons were boring  less engaging than some of my other subject lessons.  Now I could have gotten angry, or bent out of shape, or any other teacher emotion that comes to mind when told a lesson was not all that it could be.  Truth be told, my lessons had gotten stale…that after holidays, after January, waiting for Presidents’ Day time of year.  I won’t lie, grammar often got the short end of the stick in the day as I tried to fit everything in, as I am a self-contained fifth grade teacher!

Students step up!

While I’ve been teaching for more than 20 years, I’m pretty open to new ideas to improve the learning in my classroom.  Trust me, I’ve known a few  “done it this way for years so why change?.” teachers.  That’s not me, so I tuned in with all ears as I entered the conversation.  “How could I fix the lessons?, ” was what I asked.  Imagine my surprise when one of my best students asked if she could teach the next lesson!  We were both surprised when the words, “Sure, let’s do this!,” came out of my mouth.  Next thing I knew, several more students volunteered to teach lessons.

How do I do this, Teacher?

I sat down with my first volunteer and together we chose the lesson…Object Pronouns!  We chose a date…three days in the future and I gave her my teacher edition.  “I’ve got this, Mrs. Mescall” was what I heard until the day of the lesson.

D-Day or should I say T-Day (teach)!  My student did an amazing job…she taught us with a fun game using large dice.  The students rolled the two dice of different colors.  Each number on one of the dice corresponded to a specific object pronoun.  The second dice numbers corresponded to a specific subject pronoun.  Students then took those two pronouns and created a sentence with both pronouns used correctly.  The students loved the game and my teacher student then walked around checking sentences and having the class read their sentences!    SCORE!!  It was a good lesson and I will totally be stealing her game for another time!!!

Lining Up!

Our second student-led  lesson was about possessive pronouns.  I again shared my teacher edition and  that Brainpop had a good videos and activities.  My second student-led class was also a success! My second student’s lesson was more digital and the class really enjoyed it.   We did so well as a class that we were rewarded with “thin mints” as we were “smart cookies”!

Have I totally given up teaching grammar and English…not really.  I do still teach them both, but I have continued to offer the opportunity to teach the class.  Several more students are eager to teach and I will certainly be letting them try out their teaching skills!

Thanks,

 

 

I do have some games and activities you might want to try to add some fun and spice to your English lessons!  Check out the links below!

A fun game with verb tenses!

Here are activities to help master there, their, and they’re!

Here are 3 levels of antonyms to meet the needs of all!