Wednesday, February 29, 2012

100th Day Gumball Machine

Made this using a pattern at the LRC. On the first day of school it starts off empty. Each day a gumball is added to count up to the 100th day of school. The gumballs' colors also repeat in a pattern so it is a great opportunity to have students make predictions each day as well.

Daily 5 Board

My centers board to guide students through my adaptation of Daily 5. Each student has his/her name on a magnet that I move each day to schedule my students for guided reading. Notice when they read with me they see a picture of me...a great way to use those silly school photos that I have never found a use for.

The Brainiac Award!

I use this as a way to reward hard working students and to motivate others. Print out a clip art picture of a brain and attach it to a sentence strip. Write "Good Thinking" on the front. On the back attach a small certificate to let others know when and why the students were rewarded. The student can wear it proudly throughout the day!

Flippin Flapjacks Word Work Game

This game was also adapted from an idea I got from a presenter at a BER workshop. It is called Flipping Flapjacks. Use an old frying pan and spatula as the game "board." Create the flapjacks by cutting out brown and tan circles and gluing them back to back and then laminating them. Then you can create any kind of questions you would like. I created mine with homophone, magic e, and past tense questions.

To play the students put three flapjacks in the pan with the question side up. When it is their turn they must read the question aloud and say their answer aloud. Then they use the spatula to flip it over. If they are correct they get to put the flapjack on their plates. The winner is the one with the most flapjacks.

Spell the Beans Word Work Game

This is a game that was adapted from an idea I got from a presenter at a BER workshop. Letters were written on lima beans...both lowercase and capitals and multiples of each. Then I covered an empty container (from breadcrumbs) with construction paper and attached a label that I created. Using an old medicine cup the students scoop some beans out and then create words from the beans in front of them. You can adapt this activity in any way you like. For example, you can have the students write down the words they create or you can tell them the words that you want them to create. Also, if there is someone who has an allergy to legumes you could always use beads or other small item that can manipulated.

President Day facts

George Washingtons and Abe Lincolns created for President's Day. The students traced a semicircle onto oaktag and cut it out. Then they traced either a three point hat or top hat. After these were glued together they drew a face. Then they glued the facts onto the hats which they had previsouly written. Last they added hair or a beard to their presidents.

Dr. Seuss-The Lorax

These Lorax decorations were done for Read Across America week. The Lorax image was enlarged using a poster machine. It was then colored in and laminated. The truffula tree leaves were created using hands that the students traced and cut out. Each student them colored in a barbaloot or humming fish and wrote in a speech bubble to tell a way to care for the earth.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Where are You From?

Some of my classes have been very diverse and I love celebrating this diversity. First, each student creates a "paper doll" to represent him/herself. They use multicultural cutouts and scrapbook paper with various patterns to create clothes. These creations are hung on a bulletin board surrounding a map of the world. Next each student is assigned a week to present a report on their country of origin. They are given questions to report orally such as the population, climate, etc. They are also asked to bring/demonstrate  anything that would represent their country. In the past this has ranged from a flag, music, carnival costume, ethnic food, traditional clothing, a dance, etc. The students had a lot of fun with these projects and learned a lot too. I always go first to set the tone and expectations. After presenting their project the students put a push pin in the map to show what part of the world their families originated from. (This was done with a third grade class but could be adjusted for any grade level.)

We're Nuts About Fall!

This was done with 3rd graders although it can be adjusted for any grade level. The student drew a face on the acorn and colored it in. Each acorn opened like a book and on the inside the students wrote about the reasons that they like fall. Then I made a tree using brown bulletin board paper that I crumpled and twisted to look like a tree trunk and branches.

Peaceful, just like Dr. King

To celebrate MLK students write a peaceful way to solve a problem inside of a peace sign and then color it in. Use the sentence starter..."I can act peacefully by..."


A great cross curricular activity where students learn about snowflakes and then write narratives to describe their uniqueness. They also have lots of fun making snowflakes. These were done by first graders but this project could be adjusted for any grade level.

Feed My Heart Valentine Bag

These were a BIG hit with my first graders. I had to cut out the openings in each heart and each bag but they were so worth it. The students had so much fun handing out their valentine cards to each other using their bags and it was a great way for them to carry all their goodies home.

Great Endings

When writing personal narratives my students would often write what my colleagues and I have referred to as the "diving off the cliff" ending. You know the ones...."And then I went home and went to bed," "Then I ate breakfast," 'Then we went home." This chart is used during an endings lesson to instruct students to climb back down the mountain and wrap their stories up with a feeling statement (at the first grade level) or perhaps a circular ending (in the upper grades).

For the 100th Day of School- "When I am 100 years old..."

Each student drew a portrait of themselves as one hundred years old and wrote a paragraph to tell what their lives will be like as a 100  year old person. These were completed by first graders.

Everybirdy is Welcome

Everybirdy is Welcome! This was created using a large schoolhouse pattern that I traced onto two pieces of poster board. The smaller top portion was also traced separately.  I then added the letters that were cut out from Ellison die cuts. It was then laminated in three pieces and assembled.

Welcome to 1st Grade

A cute way to welcome your students to school on the first day and to let them know they are all your stars for the year. I keep this displayed all year outside our classroom door.

A Child is Like a Butterfly in the Wind

I have done this bulletin board every year that I have been teaching. The poem is a great teaching philosophy that I also share with the parents on Back to School Night.

Magic Math Words

This "Magic Math" word wall was created using a poster maker and Ellison Die Cuts. The rabbit was enlarged from an image on the poster maker, colored in and laminated. The hat and magic wand were Ellison die cuts that were attached. All of the words were also created using Ellison die cuts. My first graders refer to this word wall often during problem solving activities.

Sharing is Caring

After nine years of teaching and nine years of searching for ideas to use in the classroom I have realized that I have many to offer others as well. we go....a spot for sharing. Since, just like we teach our students....sharing is caring! I hope you find many ideas that you like and that you can use!