Monday, September 30, 2013

Top Ten Ways to Make Our "I Have...Who Has? Games Even More Fun!

My students love a game. I do too, but a game's got to earn its keep in my classroom. A great classroom game is fun, challenging and curriculum-based. A perfect game is all that times ten! So here are my top ten ways I take a hard-working "I have...Who has...?"" game and make it my multi-tasking classroom star!  

10. Tisket-Tasket              Students use game cards as task cards. They can write their  
                                             answers on a worksheet.

9.   Jeopardy Style           Start the cards and do it backwards. Students read the  
                                            answer and the students look to their card for the correct     

8.   Exit Slip                       Better than a Group A boarding pass, students line up or 
                                            leave a few seconds early according to correct answers. Do 
                                            just a few for maximum interest.

7.  Kid Version                  Students make their own short game choosing 5-10 vocab 
                                            words, writing definitions and illustrating. Laminate and         
                                            keep the good ones for the archives.

6.  Whole Group-Off      Follow the usual rules, keeping track of time. Instead of trying
                                           to beat your own class CR (classroom record), compete
                                           against another classroom for bragging rights. Got an old
                                           trophy in the garage? Pass it from class to class as the 
                                           students jockey for first place.

5. Memory Game           A small group of students lay the cards face down, then flip 
                                           the first card. They turn over cards looking for the correct
                                           answer. The student who finds the answer reads the next
                                           question. Student with the most cards wins.

4. Ducks in a Row           Great for individuals, partners, small groups and OCD types.
                                           Take the mixed up cards and put them all in order.

3. Poster Child                Each student makes a poster for their vocab term. The term,
                                          definition, example or use in a sentence, and illustration must
                                          be included. Hang all over the classroom.

2. World Series               Kids play the game as partners or small groups. Get sporty
                                           and have team names and play-offs, etc.

1. Secret Word                Find a word in the cards that repeats 3-5 times like   
                                           ecosystem or globe. When ever someone says that word   
                                           everyone has to do a special action. It could be to quack like 
                                           a  duck, do the Dougie, play rock, paper scissors with their 
                                           neighbor. It’s up to you the funnier the better!

Have fun and learn! Jody & LeAnn

Follow us and check out all our “I Have…Who Has?” cards available in all subject areas at our Tpt store: 
These are just a few of our games available!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

How to Make Your Own Student Tech Team

Problem: Teachers at my elementary school sometimes needed assistance with computer and tech issues during class time.

Solution: I started a Tech Team Club last year with my 4th graders. We met weekly at lunch in my classroom for 20 minutes, ate and discussed how to troubleshoot common technology problems teachers encountered at school. Each student kept notes in a composition notebook on how to solve an issue. Students meet with the teachers right after our weekly meeting to check in. Teachers also have a tech request form that they can put in my mailbox.

Our school has netbooks, thin client computers, old PCs and Promethean Boards. Students help get frozen computers back on track, help keep computer carts organized, help any students with programs, help them save files properly, help get pens to work on the smart board. Whenever a problem occurs we discuss it and add it to our notebooks. Then the students have a reference to look at when they are in the classroom.

I also kept the notes on the Promethen board while we had lunch and added those to our digital file that students could access if they missed a lunch meeting. I have last year's notebooks so we don't have to start all over. I assigned each student to a particular teacher. They meet with them with their notebook and forms to fill out if the problem went beyond their expertise. I created a form that has the information I need to call in the problem to our district help desk. I can also use these forms to keep track of what has been fixed and what is still pending.

Only teachers who requested help received it. We didn't want to bother teachers! Because students might need to leave their class to help, students on the Tech Team needed permission from their own teacher to participate. The Tech Team kids enjoyed troubleshooting so much that they would often go on their own time to help their teacher.

To identify students who would be working around the school, I bought yellow traffic vests in kid sizes from Ikea and wrote titles and slogans on the back: These cost about $3 a piece and I bought 3. This year I want everyone to have their own club tshirt. It turned out that students didn't miss much class because they were always checking in with their assigned classroom during their recess breaks. The students were so professional and it really became their club. I called in things we couldn't fix to the help desk, but that was only because they wouldn't allow the students to call.

Here is an example of our vests:

Hearst Tech Team
Hearst Tech Team to the Rescue!
Students loved wearing them. They felt proud and professional!

I allowed any student in my class to participate on the condition they came to the weekly meeting. What I found was that I had some real gems. The students who just wanted to play quickly stopped coming. One of my best students was actually very low academically in class, but this gave her an area to shine! I love technology and I enthusiastically encourage girls to join.

The results were fantastic!
  • Equipment was getting fixed, thus making it useful.
  • Netbooks were repaired before the warranty expired.
  • Teachers raved about the helpfulness of the students.
  • Students loved the confident feeling of being an expert for an adult. 
  • Students were solving real world problems in creative and challenging ways.
  • I now had a core of tech helpers in my class!
  • All technology was cleaned and repaired before the end of the school year.
  • It was a great bonding experience.
  • School start-up will be smoother when getting all the computers back up and running.
  • We problem-solved together and shared our experiences to create a trouble-shooting notebook we can add to next year.
Next Steps!

This year I am going to add a fundraising component. I want to obtain funds for special equipment and came up with an idea that is fun, cheap and easy!

Cell Phone Cleaning and Disinfecting $1.00

Students, I'd like to have 2 each morning if possible will set up a table before school to catch parents dropping off their children. Wearing plastic gloves, the kids will clean phones with antibacterial computer/phone wipes from Fry's Electronics. The wipes cost $5.00 for 100, a profit of 95%! Phones are always getting dirty, so it is a built-in repeat fundraiser that is easy to set-up and run. At only a dollar, parents and students both win! Parents get a clean phone and a good feeling about benefiting the school and the kids are getting satisfaction and new tech equipment.
Follow up: We made $40 in two days. Students are running it themselves and the parents love it! We practiced answering questions such as what the money was used for and how to thank the customer.

Last, I will be making t-shirts for the students to wear on meeting days. I want the students to feel proud to help their school!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Heroes of 9/11: Thanking Our First Responders

Problem: How to commemorate 9/11 with elementary age children without focusing on frightening elements.

Solution: I have created a thank you letter template for students to show appreciation to their neighborhood First Responders.  Jody wrote the included student friendly article that details the important role First Responders play in protecting our communities. Students can use ideas from the article to be a spring board for larger projects beyond the classroom.
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Thanks LeAnn & Jody

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cursive Joke Book: 35 weeks of Cursive

Students will learn D’Nealian cursive by tracing, practicing and then writing their best sample. The top half of the worksheet is for learning the proper technique. The letters show direction arrows. The bottom half has a frame can be cut out and glued into a journal or spiral bound to create a personal Cursive Joke Book. Students can then share their jokes with friends and family.

These jokes practice all the lower and upper case letters. Students will trace the letters first then copy the words on the lines. Finally, they will write the joke in their best handwriting. These worksheets focus on letter formation, letter size, alignment , and spacing.

This Cursive Joke Book can be used as a center, whole class
lesson, or for homework. Great for Homeschoolers or just extra practice.

Enjoy cursive made fun! Available for $5 at Teachers Pay Teachers