Thursday, April 21, 2016

Paint Chip Vocabulary Flashcards

 There are so many different ways to use paint chips as a teacher but one of my favorites is the one above. I've found that having them make flash cards this way is more fun and engaging and they tend to be a little more excited about creating them. The best part about this wonderful creation is that it is completely free!! Just go to your local hardware store, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. and grab some paint chips. I'm not exactly sure which brand has the square holes already in them but those are the best for this project since you can put the ring right through it and save time versus hole punching each one. 
I decided to save time and use a stapler to attach each chip back-to-back so that the definition and word would be on color versus the white backing of the chips. I'm sure you could use double sided tape or glue to make it look more flush and clean but for the sake of time- I just stapled them.
I had the plastic rings lying around from a few years ago- I think they were $3-$4 at a teacher store but you could use metal rings, a twist tie, etc. to attach them together. Since I teach math this is a great way for students to practice their math vocabulary words for each unit. You could even have them put math facts on them.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Upcycling An Old Classic

As I was organizing the upstairs a few weeks ago I came across a Rubbermaid container of childhood games that my parents handed down to me before my move to Texas. I dusted off the top and opened it up to find so many of my childhood favorites. They were mainly the classics; Monopoly, Scrabble, Battleship, Uno, Yatzee, Boggle, etc. Growing up we didn't have any electronic gaming systems so my sisters and I played a TON of board games. We had an entire closet in our basement just for the storage of all of our board games- serious business. While I was finding places on shelves to store the games I thought about how much fun we had as kids playing these games and how educational most of them actually are. We never knew we were "doing math" while playing Yatzee or "learning how to spell" during an intense game of Scrabble. 

So, as I looked down at Boggle I thought about how I could adapt it for my students. Of course, if I taught reading or writing it would be perfect just the way it is. So, I decided to swap out the letter dice for regular old number dice. Then, I sat there and stared at it for a while to decide how I actually wanted to use it, effectively. I work with 4th and 5th grade special education students who struggle with their facts and fluency and number sense in general. I decided to start with, "making 10" and the kids LOVE IT. I set a timer for 2 or 3 minutes, they grab a white board and expo, shake it up and go! The rules are simple: find numbers that are next to each other (cannot be diagonal) that when added up give you the sum of 10. Some highlighted examples are shown below:

Once the timer goes off they share with each other the combinations they found and where they were on the board. Similar to Scattegories, if they both had the same equation, neither gets the point and if they found a combination that is unique, they score a point.

My kids are having a blast finding combinations of 10 while working on our social skills of being a good winner/loser. Another reason I love this is because I can use it in a small group setting- it doesn't require a whole class to play. 

The versatility is endless. New ideas that the students and I have thought of are; Multiplication combinations that are divisible by: 2 or 3 or 5, etc. Sums of 5, Differences of 5, as many math facts you can find until the timer goes off. Do you have some other ideas of ways to use this? I'd love to hear them in the comment section below!


Friday, April 1, 2016

State Testing Treat

For all of us teachers, it's that time of year again- state testing (cue the violins). My fifth graders finished their math and reading tests this week and my fourth graders took their writing exam. I wanted to give them a little "good luck note/treat" before their tests and I loved the idea of the mints, since they are allowed to have them during testing. It was super easy to make (a bag of life saver mints and colored card stock) and my kids loved them!