Friday, January 29, 2016

Five For Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching this week for Five For Friday!  And I'm going with a BOARD GAME theme! These are games that I have been LOVING recently, and playing with my friends OUTSIDE of school! :)

Ticket to Ride
We are railroad tycoons laying tracks across the country! Race your friends to complete your routes and earn the most points. This game is addictive, easy to learn and easy to play, and comes in other versions, too!

Sheriff of Nottingham
This game is great for everyone with a love of swindling! Basically, players take turns as the sheriff. Everyone else is trying to smuggle contraband and sell goods at the market. You place your goods (and maybe contraband) in a pouch. The sheriff decides if they are going to check the bag or not. If they check your bag and you had contraband, you pay the sheriff a penalty. If he checks your bag and you didn't lie about your goods, the sheriff pays you. People try to bribe the sheriff with coins, sweet talk the sheriff, lie, and cheat their way to victory!

Of course, the times I've played, the winner was the person who lied the LEAST about their goods. Hmmm. Is there a lesson to be learned here? :)

Forbidden Island
This is a cooperative game. Not usually my style(I LIKE WINNING), but I like it. 

Basically, you are on an island with a group of explorers. You are working together to collect treasure and make it back to the helicopter with all four pieces of treasure.


The island is sinking!

Win together, or lose together!

This is a Greek gods and goddesses themed game! 
I love Greek myths!

Basically, you are collecting Greek families, kind of like rummy. You have different family cards at levels 1, 2, or 3. So you might collect an Athena family set or an Ares family set. You might also collect all 1s, 2s, or 3s cards with multiple families. All of these cards accumulate points for you at the end of the games. Each card also has actions to earn you points throughout the game.

It's fun! And I'm really good at this game.

What games are YOU enjoying?
(As an adult, outside of school, with your pals!)

I RELY on the Youtube channel called Table Top. It's hosted by Will Wheaten and basically he just plays all kinds of awesome games with his celebrity friends. If I get a new game, I watch him play it first, laugh a bit, and learn a lot! If you haven't used his youtube channel for learning how to play new games or just finding out about different games, I highly recommend it!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Spark Student Motivation Saturdays

Meg here, linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching, for Spark Student Motivation Saturday!

I set up a new writing station using this gem from Mel D-Seusstastic.

We do SO MUCH nonfiction writing, and the kiddos in second grade needed some help with their creative writing game. These organizers and templates help the kiddos jump right into writing.

....Instead of "thinking" about what to write for 20 minutes. :)

I'm really liking the set up, too! I used file folders stapled on the bulletin board as pockets. The colors go with my classroom color scheme and it's easy access for kiddos! I also put the example writing piece on the outside of the file folder so 1) the kids can see an example and 2) I know what to photocopy more of when they run out!

This has been a hit during Work on Writing time in Daily 5, so YAY!!!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching this week for Five For Friday! 

I still love it.
And so do my kiddos.

We spend 15 minutes every Friday reading in the dark, with flashlights, all around the classroom. It's so popular that one little girl came into my room on the first day of school and brought in her own flashlight because she had heard about it from one of my former students and was excited!

It's definitely a lot of fun!
And even kiddos who don't always choose to read during Daily 5 are pretty engaged during Flashlight Friday!
Yep, we used stick puppets earlier this year to retell our Greek myths. It was tons of fun, and some kids STILL pull them out, months later, to retell Greek myths that they really enjoyed. 
Still love me some GoNoodle. Last year I used it as an incentive to pack up quickly so we could watch a video before the end of the day announcements came on. This year I have a special the last half hour of the day, so my kiddos are dismissed right from special! They don't even come back to the room! So, I throw this up during indoor recess and it's always a big hit. They love taking turns choosing videos to watch.

I even have a few girls who talk Irish Step Dancing classes. They throw up Call Me Maybe and do their class dance! They're teaching the other girls, too!

Keeping kiddos occupied during indoor recess all year!

Does anyone else love Trivia Crack?
I do.

It's addictive.

I have the app on my phone and play whenever I get the chance. Play against your friends and get competitive answering silly trivia questions about everything and anything!

And a little Lucy for the road!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tech Thursday

I'm linking up with the Teaching Trio for Tech Thursday again! I'm liking this link up because I'm a younger teacher in my school, and everybody expects the youngins to be so techy. Sometimes I luck out and discover great websites or apps, but I get my best ideas from other bloggers sharing out what they are using in their classrooms!

I've loved GoNoodle for YEARS now, and it just keeps getting better! Basically, you sign up for free, and let your class choose a CHAMPION. This is a monster that grows as the kids complete more levels by watching videos. Some videos are silly, some are songs, some are academic, some are thinkers, etc. The kids LOVE them all! When you "max out" a champion, you choose a new champion and continue playing. You also get a reward certificate that kids can color.

As a fourth grade teacher, we used this at the end of the day as an incentive to pack up quick! Fourth graders love to dawdle. We know. So, they would pack up quick to play a GoNoodle or two before the end of day announcements came on.

Now, as a second grade teacher, my kiddos have their special the last half hour of the day and are dismissed right from the special. They don't come back to the room. So we use GoNoodle for indoor recess. It's a big hit! Instead of running around my cute room like monkeys, or fighting over our five computers, they are captivated by videos. For indoor recess we usually have five kids on computers, a group of kids at the guided reading table doing crafts (glitter glue symmetry has been a big hit this year), and the rest watching GoNoodle videos and dancing!

My favorite videos are Pop Se Ko, and anything with Mr. Cat Man!

If you haven't tried GoNoodle yet, I highly recommend it! :)

A Champion Certificate.
They have color pictures and ones that kids can color.

A transformed champion gaining points with each video played.

My class loving "Happy" by Pharell.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunday Scoop

I'm back this week, linking up with The Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop!

It's been snowing for HOURS and it's supposed to snow ALL NIGHT and ALL DAY TOMORROW!
So, we'll wear our pajamas inside out and backwards, crossing our fingers for a snow day!
(I love school and teaching, but I live 45 minutes away from my school. If the weather really is bad, I'd rather stay home than battle the conditions and poor visibility! Plus, wearing pajamas all day is always sweet!)

Now, I'm thinking that going to bed after writing this post will be good for me. Last night I stayed up WAY TOO LATE. I got sucked into that Netflix documentary, Making a Murderer. I can't say how many episodes I watched in a row, only that it was too many.

Oh, and I definitely need to buy white string before Thursday. I got a bunch of black lights from the store this weekend. I'm planning a secret agent laser themed afternoon, where the missions include review from our insects unit. I think it will be a lot of fun!

And don't forget about the TPT sale coming up! I have a TON of stuff wish listed. As always.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Spark Student Motivation Saturday

I'm here, linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching, for Spark Student Motivation Saturday!

Class t-shirts!

I think that making your class as EXCITING as possible is always the way to motivate kiddos! Every child in my school knows that our class creates these AWESOME class t-shirts every year, and if you're in my class, it's definitely something to look forward to.

Each child uses a fine Sharpie to draw themselves and sign their name on an index card. (We discuss exaggerating our character traits or something unique that makes us special - like glasses, curly hair, earrings, etc.)

Next, we choose a t-shirt color. Kids pay $8 for a t-shirt. If they can't pay, I usually pay for them. Every year, I've had at least one parent send in extra money to help pay for another student's t-shirt because I do work in a lower income district and $8 is not easy for everyone to come by.
I send our pictures and money to Whitney Daniels Designs, where they are famous for this "self portrait" t-shirt. In about 6 weeks, we are sporting these stylish t-shirts that kids can keep for years to come!

I've been creating these t-shirts for five years now, and they are always beautiful. I do order a few extra, just in case we get new students throughout the year. We wear them for special days at school, field trips, etc.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching this week for Five For Friday! 

We celebrated the winter solstice on December 21 with an indoor campout! I set up a real life tent. I also used bulletin board paper to make some lean to's. I also brought in some real wood and set it up around a touch light for a camp fire in our meeting area. We even had smores! Well, graham crackers, chocolate bars, and fluff! :)
Before winter vacation I downloaded Hope King's science experiments file from TPT. We had been learning about matter, but the kiddos were struggling. I had a few days before winter break, and instead of starting a new unit, I stayed with matter a bit and tried out some experiments and hands on activities. Obviously, they loved it!

We don't actually have science built into our schedule in my school. (I know, crazy.) Especially for me, someone coming from teaching fourth grade for five years and knowing that there is a state science test, well, I can't NOT teach science. So, I squeeze it in whenever I can. Plus, science experiments are SUPER engaging and fun for kiddos!

The experiment above is neat. We put pop rocks into the balloon, attached it to the soda top, and flipped the balloons at the same time. The pop rocks fell into the soda, created gas, and inflated our balloons. The kiddos went nuts!!! I think it was one of their favorite experiments. 

We also made ice cream, made root beer floats, dressed up in clear garbage bags and added balloons to represent molecules for solids, liquids, and gases, AND A LOT MORE!

We finished up our life cycles unit, so I took ten minutes in a day for some fun! We each had a partner and wrapped each other up in a chrysalis! And then we EMERGED! It was a hoot.

Each child had a black chenille pipe cleaner wrapped onto their fingers to look like antennae and butterfly feet. We then dug through the Cheetohs (pollen) for the candy (nectar). When the victor emerged from the bag with the candy, their pipe cleaner was covered in Cheetohs dust. We made some great connections to our life cycles unit as we finished it up!

You may not be able to see, but my friend had the polka dot dog mat embroidered with Lucy's name! My entire classroom is black and white polka dots with splashes of yellow, so it is very fitting and I love it. :)