Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thank You Booklets

This creativity project can work for many times of the school year - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Veteran's Day, and many more.  Appreciating others is an important piece of student growth.

Students chose a piece of scrapbook paper. They chose who they wanted to make a Thank You Booklet for.  They were given a few minutes to plan what they would write on each of the pages.

I walked them through how to fold and cut the scrapbook paper to make the booklet.  Here's a link so I won't have to try to explain - One Sheet 8 pages!

Then, their creativity took hold of the room! My favorite part of this project was how different they all were. Some were professional, some were funny, some were heartfelt. All of them seemed to bring up memories of events they were truly thankful for.

Make sure your students are given time to make a quality product. They also love to have time to share their work with their peers so plan for this.

After doing this project with gifted and talented students identified in Creativity, I began to hear from parents, siblings, and other teachers about how much the Thank You booklet meant to them.  I have a feeling many of them will be kept and treasured for years to come.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Historical Overview of Inventions Bulletin Board and Unit Ideas

If you teach the Seven Habits in your classroom and happen to be fortunate enough to have a huge bulletin board, you might want to set it up like this.  This 15-foot  bulletin board was in the Gifted and Talented wing where I taught the last 3 years before I retired. My team teacher and I set up the right end of the board with the word LEADERS. Under that we switched out each of the seven habits every few weeks, and focused on them in all of the study and research the students were involved in. The rest of the board always held current projects from 4th or 5th grade district-wide gifted students.

(SOMEWHERE in all the tubs of things I brought home after retirement are lots of my big watercolors of the characters. Watch for them on Ebay - the plan is to get lots of my decorations on there for other classrooms to enjoy!)

Here is just one sample of the many great uses for student work on the big bulletin board. (This idea took up so much room we had to put the current habit on the other board across from this one.) In this photo, we see the board almost finished - as students shared their inventor of choice research, they added it to the board in the timeline section.

My team teacher and I threw this Unit together so that it fit our student needs from several sources. This one, on Amazon, might be a great place to start if you want to do the same:  Inventions Thematic Unit 

This is what the students viewed at the beginning of the unit. The title "Historical Overview of Inventions" was at the top, timeline chunks of years were left to right, Inventor cards were in groups all around the edges, and (not in photos) to the left of the bulletin board was a color-code chart that explained, for instance, technology - green, etc.  Students were given a reasonable amount of time to explore the categories and inventors on the board, then took the name of the one they wanted to research.

When the research was done and students had written up a paper to share with the class, they gave a speech and then put their writing on the board in the correct timeline section with construction paper coordinated with the category behind it.   

The students who were listening to each speech had a short rubric to fill out. This kept them engaged and reinforced our study of the things that make good speeches. Each student also did a rubric on themselves, to self-assess. 

We all learned a lot, and when the parents came later for student-led conferences, this board was great  way to share knowledge. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

This ANTicipate Challenge Bulletin Board promotes teamwork through The 7 Habits of Happy Kids


Take a look at our new bulletin board idea. If you want to promote teamwork among the students in your classroom you can't go wrong with The 7 Habits of Happy Kids. Our students wrote about how the ants connect to them as students who work together to achieve more. They get a kick out of these big personality-rich ants and how they are stepping on each other and the ones on the bottom are struggling. I've heard them talk about which ones are most like themselves.  

Click here to see all the details:    READ MORE HERE

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Use Creativity and Math to Make Perimeter and Area 3D Animals

These 3D Perimeter and Area Animals are a great way to assess student knowledge while giving them a chance to make choices and use their creativity in math class. My students had a great time with this activity and I was able to make sure that everyone held deep understanding and was able to put it into practice and then write about it in their math journals. We were very happy with the finished products! Click here to see more photos and our procedure:  Perimeter and Area 3D Animals for the Classroom

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cover that classroom clutter with easy curtains

It's that time of year.
We're all in our classrooms, getting ready for the best year ever.
We straighten. We plan. We buy things. We try to declutter, but everything we pick up, we think we just might need we don't throw it away.
We organize.
We know that a nice-looking classroom contributes to great learning, teamwork, rising test scores, and all the rest.
So, take the time to cover up all the manipulatives in this easy way. The things we need are still close by.
Whether you have an Animal Print Classroom theme, a Dog Classroom theme, Superheroes Classroom theme, or anything else, you can find a coordinating set of sheets to make these simple and economical clutter-covering classroom curtains.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tissue paper and glue can really make your classroom theme stand out!

Students can make some amazing things for a classroom theme with paper, tissue paper, and watered down glue. Take a look at the colorful animals in this Animal Print Classroom/Jungle/Rainforest. The students are going to love these big decorations because they helped to make them. It's going to be a great year when the students have a room they want to learn in every single day!  Read more  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Animal Theme Classroom Tic Tac Toe Boards

 Wouldn't these Tic Tac Toe boards look great in your Animal Print classroom?  I made these Animal Print Tic Tac Toe boards for a Gifted Leadership event called The Shoe Carnival. Our GT Leadership middle school students headed up a carnival to raise money for Amy for Africa when they were taking 26,000 pair of Sketchers to Uganda. So, all the carnival events were focused on shoes, socks, feet, and toes and ALL with an African decorative touch. The event was a success and we surpassed our fundraising goal.

I also knew these Tic Tac Toe boards would come in handy in the classroom.
Tic Tac Toe can be pulled out for those rainy day recess games.
They can be used in math class and not just for simple Tic Tac Toe. You can tic tac toe multiplication facts, factors, multiples and many other great games. Just look it up on Pinterest!
Once the students know some of the other games, these Animal Print Tic Tac Toe boards can be put into your Centers rotations, too.

I took one piece of white poster board and cut it into 4 pieces.  I ran copies of a tic tac toe board (just Google it) in a color to match my theme and picked out Duck Tape to coordinate. (so, this idea will work for whatever your classroom theme is)  I glued the tic tac toe board onto the poster boards and then put Duck Tape around the edges by taping it half-way along the edge and then flipping it over and taping down the other half onto the back of the board. (see photos)

These versatile Tic Tac Toe Boards will stand the test of time. I also have some that have a page protector pocket in the center so I can switch the game out and students can write on them with an Expo marker.
If you make some to match your classroom, post a photo in the comments - I'd love to see yours!