Monday, February 29, 2016

Some of my products have been updated!

I am continously revising and updating  my older products, and I thought I'd take this opportunity to show off how great they look. These oldies, but goodies have been in my store for 2 plus years and I have learned a lot since I created these first products. I remember being at the TPT conference last summer in Vegas and jotting down so many notes with tips and tricks that I learned from other great sellers and I finally have time to do some revising. My updated products do have a similar 'look' or 'feel' to them I'm hoping they look fresh and unique and I'm really liking the layered look of real photos with cartoon clipart from talented clip artists such as Creative Clips by Krista Wallden, Educlips, or Graphics from the Pond

 My most recent product that I have updated is my Nutrition and Healthy Living Unit. This unit includes 18 activities designed to get your students excited and thinking about ways to keep our bodies strong and healthy. 

My salmon Unit has also received a well deserved face list. My salmon unit contains 20 highly engaging activities that will making learning about salmon habitat,  life cycles, and the parts of the salmon interactive and exciting. 

Last, but not least, I have updated my best selling Measurement Magicians: A Measuring Length Unit which includes a variety of  practice worksheets and hands on measurement activities with a fun magic theme. This unit includes both inches and centimetres activities for both Canadian and U.S. teachers. If you have purchased any updated units from me make sure to download the updated version and don't forget to check my store regularly for new products. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Creative and Fun Ways to Get Students to Line Up

Thank you to Graphics From the Pond and KB3 Teach for the graphics.
Lining up can be a real chore for some students! Practicing lining up and walking down the hallway is not fun, and it wastes precious class time. You can make lining up fun and novel by varying the way that you have the class line up.  During the first week of the school year you will need to set up your expectations for lining up quickly and quietly. These line up games will also encourage and practice following directions and being courteous to others in the building by respecting their right to learn in a quiet school.

Line up ideas: 

1. Line up according to seating arrangements. Row 4, Row 3, Row 2… or Sally’s Table, Tim’s Table… 

2. Line up according to what you are wearing today. Everyone wearing black today lines up first, everyone wearing purple lines up second…

3. Ask students to line up like: slow moving robots, like they are mice sneaking across the kitchen floor, like they are sloths moving towards a tasty tree leaf…

4. You can also test students memories of what they have learned that day. Line up if you remember three things that penguins eat. Next, line up if your remember two species of penguins. Next line up if you can remember…

5. Have students line up according to age or height. This one may take a little longer because they will need to chat with each other and find out their birthdays. 

6. Give students a list of tasks to do in under one minute with the last one being line up at the door. For example: pat your head and rub your belly, pick up 2 pieces of garbage in the classroom, and then line up at the door. 

7. Have students line up based on behaviour. I like the way Ian and Kim are sitting nicely, please line up… I like the way Melanie finished her work and found a quietly activity to do earlier  today please line up… 

8. Copy the leader to the line up. Have students copy one student while they do 4 or 5 different movements. They may choose to do some stretches and everyone follows, hang loose like a rag doll, and walk like a zombie…. the fifth movement most be some type of movement to the door and everyone follows in a quiet straight line up and the game is over. 

9. Songs you can sing to get students to line up. For example: to the tune of ‘The Farmer in the Dell’…"My hands are by my side. My eyes are straight ahead, I will not talk and I'm ready to walk down the hall”. 

10. Lastly, you can also make a line up signal. For example challenge the students to line up quickly and quietly every time they hear you clap 3 times. -This one may need to be practiced a few times. 
If you have any blog posts for free classroom management techniques feel free to add to the links to the linky party. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Letter Matching Freebie

My newest freebie is for students a little younger than I usually work with. Recently I was lucky enough to get to work with some preschool aged children and I created some activities for a literacy evening. One of the activities I created was a letter matching activity using an alphabet wheel and clothes pegs. This activity does require some prep, but it is worth it as little ones get to practice their letter matching, and also practice their fine motor control with clothes pegs. Click on the image below to get this fabulous new freebie! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Brain Breaks and Why Every Classroom Should Have Them: Includes 10 Brain Breaks to Use in Your Classroom

Brain breaks are important to keep the class stimulated, focused, motivated, and ready to learn. I use brain breaks in my classroom to help keep the class going when I can tell I’m about to lose them. The class loves the novelty of the breaks because although we do use the same brain breaks multiple times I do add new ones in every so often. I also find having a 5 minute brain break between transitions can make the flow from one subject to another easier for some students. A brain break, or a quick review game, which I will talk about in future blog post are a great way to kill 10 minutes if you have time to spare at the end of the day.

What is a brain break? 
A brain break is a quick 2-5 minute break where the class gets out of their seats and moves around. 

Setting the expectations:
Before you can do brain breaks in your classroom you do need to explain to the class why brain breaks are important, and what kind of behaviour expectations you have during brain breaks. The brain break is meant to be fun, and it is meant to get students moving, but you do not want your class’s brain breaks to be so loud that others in the building can hear your students.

Fun brain breaks you can use in your classroom: 

Don’t drop it
This brain break can be played with cut up pieces of a styrofoam swimming noodle, or it can be played with pom poms and spoons. During this game students need to get out of their seat and walk around with either their pom poms on their spoons or their piece of styrofoam resting on the back of their hands. If their pom pom or styrofoam fall they need to sit down. Students can also try to knock other student’s styrofoam or pom poms on the floor without letting their own fall. This brain break is over when everyone is sitting on the floor. 

Zip, Zap, Zoop 
This is a fun brain break where students stand in a circle and one student has the “power”  which they need to give away immediately or they will be zonked. They can zip the power to the person to their right, or zap the power to the person to their left, or they can zoop the power to someone across the circle. If a student holds onto “the power” for too long they get zonked that means their power gets taken away and the game starts over with someone else. 

Songs with actions 
This is most fun if you have a smart board in your classroom. You can youtube your favourite ‘action songs’ and have the class do the actions along with the video. 

Student lead stretches
This is as simple as that. One student is the leader and everyone else does the stretches that the leader chooses. 

Simon Says 
This classic game is another good one where students can take turns being the leader. 

Keep the ballon or ball from dropping
Students sit on their desks and use their hands to keep a balloon or ball (or 2 balloons or balls) from touching the ground. 

Apples, oranges, bananas 
This game is similar to musical chairs. Each student needs to sit in a circle on a chair. Once you get going you need to take away one chair. Each student is then given a name: apple, orange, or banana. The person in the middle calls out a fruit name and everyone who is that fruit switches chairs. (Students can also call out “fruit bowl” which means everyone switches chairs) the student left in the middle gets to call out the next fruit. 

Murder mystery game
For this game you need a detective and a murderer. I have everyone put their heads on their desks and I choose the detective by taping on a student’s shoulder once, and the murderer gets tapped twice. When everyone opens their eyes the students begin walking around the classroom and shaking hands with one another. When the murderer shakes hands he or she is going to lightly scratch the palm of other students. If your palm gets scratched you need to count to 10 in your head and die a silent, but dramatic death. The detective then needs to guess who the murderer is within the first 5-7 deaths. 

Follow the leader
This is a fun game where one student “the guesser” must guess who the leader is. The guesser must leave the classroom while the leader is being chosen. When the guesser comes back into the classroom the leader will start doing an action and everyone else in the class is going to copy that action so that everyone is making the same movements. The guesser needs to guess who is starting the actions. 

Freeze Dance
This is a simple game where the teacher puts music on and everyone dances. Once the music stops everyone in the class freezes until the music comes back on. 

Move around the room and find a…

This is a simple brain break that you can chose to set to music but it doesn’t have to. The students move around the room until the music stops and you call out what they need to find. (ex. ‘put your finger on a triangle’) and everyone needs to put one finger on a triangle as fast as they can. Student can find shapes, colours, letters, numbers, objects, fabrics..)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Walking Water Science Experiment

The walking water experiment is a fun, easy, and inexpensive science experiment that I have seen on other blogs and wanted to try out in my classroom, and it was a huge hit with my students! 

What you need is: 
-2 cups per student
-food colouring (any colour you want) 
-paper towels

  1. Fill one cup with water and a few drops of food colouring. 
  2. Set an empty cup next to the first cup. 
  3. Take a piece of white paper towel and fold it hot dog style and place it so that the paper towel is half in the one cup and half in the other cup. 
  4. Watch what happens to the water. The water in the one cup will ‘walk up’ the paper towel and fill the empty cup until both cups are half full. (*Please note: this experiment does take some time. We ended up monitoring the progress of the water, and then doing to P.E. class, and then coming back and checking on the water again). 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Solids, Liquids, and Gases Oh My…

This week I uploaded a new TPT product titled: ‘Solids, Liquids, and Gas: A Matter Unit’ to my TPT store. Can you guess what this product is about? You’re right, it’s all about the science of matter! This 52 page product is packed full of activities, posters, hand outs, and science experiments that help teach the subject of matter in a fun and hands-on way.

Below are a few examples of a few of the hands on activities you can find in my newest unit. Each of these experiments include a directions pages and a hand out with an emphasis on questioning, predicting, doing, and what happened...

To give you a sneak peak at some of the hands-on activities in this unit I have included some of the directions and pictures of a few of the matter experiments found in this product. 

First is the root beer float experiment which shows students an example of a solid, liquid, and gas in one experiment. 

The next experiment is all about watching liquid turn into a solid when turning cream into butter.  This experiment is a fun and hands-on way to learn about solids and liquids, and this experiment is also great conversation starter about chemical changes because once the cream turns into butter it  cannot be changed back, therefore a chemical change has occurred. For this experiment I have included directions and a graphic organizer where students can make predictions and document the progress of cream to butter with illustrations. 

During this simple experiment you can show the class how water can be a solid, liquid, and a gas with ice, warm water, and a kettle. 

You can find these and other fabulous activities and printables in my newest TPT unit: 'Solids, Liquids, and Gases: A Matter Unit'.