Monday, November 25, 2013

Need a Fun Review?

Problem:   You've taught the unit and want to review for the test but how can you make it memorable?

Solution: Make it a Family Feud Game! My class loves these! It takes about 30 minutes and everyone is totally engaged.

Results: Content is not only remembered but students have to classify the information by importance to gain points and their team advantage!

Games Available:

Geography Family Feud
California Native American Food
California Explorers
California Missions

Give them a try and save at the upcoming TPT cybersale!

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Problem: If you teach 4th grade in California you know that resources are difficult to find about the California Native American tribes and if you do find them they are usually not written at an engaging appropriate reading level for upper elementary students.

Solution: We have created this series about Native American Tribes in California. These short expository texts are aligned to the Common Core can be used as guided reading resources, close reading texts, and resource information that you can make digitally available for your students.

Color copy on cardstock and laminate for multiple years of use!

Text, photos and comprehension questions are included as well as a full preview! Please follow us to be updated when we add new tribes. Email us if you want a particular tribe and we will do that one next!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Veterans Day Free Activity

Problem: How to get students to understand the real meaning of Veterans Day and to make the day personal to them.

Solution: Students will ask their parents to help them compile a list of Veterans in their family and group of friends. They can go back as far in history as they know. They copy each Veteran's info down on a star, then decorate and display at school.

Results: Students are astounded by how many friends and relatives, both past and present, have served in the Armed Forces. The sheer number of stars on the classroom door or windows sends a visual message that this holiday is one where students get to honor their own military heroes.


Twice a year we celebrate the United States Armed Forces. Do you know the names of the two holidays? Do you know the difference between the two?

If you said Memorial Day and Veterans Day, you were right! Memorial Day is a day to honor the men and women who died while serving in the military. It is always observed on the last Monday in May, so the actual date changes from year to year.

Veterans Day honors all people who served in the Armed Forces. It originally marked the anniversary of the end of World War I which ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918. That is why we observe Veterans Day on November 11th.

You may notice that Veterans Day is sometimes spelled with an apostrophe and sometimes not. Even though there should be an apostrophe in "Veterans," most sources skip it!


Have students take home the stars and fill out a star with the name and branch for any family member or friend, past or present. If they know more information, they can add it.

For example:      (Basic Info)  Joe Smith       Air Force

 (Added Info) Joe Smith, Air Force; WWII/Korean War; Radar Operator; Good Conduct Medal

 Students can decorate their stars however they wish. Hang stars on classroom doors. If you want to do as a school-wide activity, have students tape up their stars at the front of the school or another visible spot. Students will get a visual image of how personal this holiday really is for all of us and how important it is to honor all military veterans' service to our country.
While you are there follow us for more freebies and fabulous curriculum!

Friday, November 1, 2013

My Favorite Clean Up Game Freebie

Problem: How to get students to clean up after themselves?

Solution: Secret Trash Game

The object of the game is for the students to clean up the classroom quickly! 
How to Play: I identify something that is trash, or needs to be put away. Sometimes I pick one thing and sometimes it is several. I don't tell the students what it is. I give them a 1-2 minute time limit and tell them to GO! They will come up to me and say, "Is this it?" but I never tell until the room is clean.
I remind them that it isn't just trash! It can be a chair that needs to be put up or a glue bottle put away. I gather everyone around and announce the winners! In the past I've given a prize from my prize box but I've started doing brag tags this year.

Brag tags are laminated cardstock tags that student collect for rewards. I give them for academic achievements, good citizenship, special events, and celebrations. The students are given a metal bead necklace and collect these all year long.

Results: The classroom is clean without complaint, and they even ask to play Secret Trash! The students love the brag tags! I love them because they are not candy, are inexpensive and easy to make. I'm giving away the "Secret Trash" Freebie on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.