Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why School Matters for Students: Dream Job Unit

This unit was created to help intermediate age (grades 3-5) and middle school (grades 6-8) students find meaning in why school is important to them. Many students don't realize that school is the stepping stone for them to get the jobs they really want when they are adults.

Included in this unit are: lesson plans for the three day unit and beyond, a 30 slide powerpoint geared to make the students think about their future jobs, a student planning worksheet with questions to answer, and then two different examples of contracts you could have the students sign.

I did it this year with my students and it seemed to make school have much more purpose for many of them. They saw the importance of how school will help shape their character and will help them on their way to the job that they want as an adult.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Creative Math Vacation of a Lifetime Unit for Students

Are you tired of your math textbook? Then this 13 page creative math activity is just for you. Have your students go on "The Vacation of a Lifetime" in your math class. Your students will create their dream vacations! They get to pick their destination and plan everything from travel, to hotels, to food and more!

This 13 page packet includes: a student direction sheet, a 10 day lesson plan, recording sheets for lodging, transportation, food, and souvenirs, a daily journal, a final rubric and so much more. My students love this project!

They will be using math skills of addition, multiplication, division, and decimals to name a few. They will also be using reading and writing skills by doing their daily journals. Finally, they will be using geography and technology skills too.

Common Core Math Standards:Number and Operations in Base Ten, Mathematical Processes
Common Core Writing Standards: 2,3,4,5

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Top 5 End of the School Year Activities for the Elementary Classroom

Another end of the school year is rapidly approaching! We have came up with our top 5 end of the school year ideas and activities. We hope you can use some of these in your own classrooms!

1. End of the Year Morning Meeting
It is important to bring closure to the school year with your students. For that reason, and end of the school year morning meeting with your class should be scheduled. I usually take the class outside, if the weather permits, on the last day. We still sit in our circle, so everyone can see each other. For a greeting, we say "Have a great summer (and then person's name!)" The response is, "Thank you (the person's name)." You can either go around the circle, or use popsicle sticks with students' names on them to decide the order of the greeting. The next part, sharing, is one of my favorites. The first question I pose to the class is, "What was the funnies thing you remember about (your) grade?" We go around the circle and share. Then the second question I pose is, "What was your favorite part of (your) grade?" It is great to hear all the wonderful things they liked about 5th grade. For the activity, I usually have the students pick a few of their favorite morning meeting games, and we play as many as we can. They love this! For news and announcements I share with the class how much I will miss them and how much I have seen them grow during the school year (academically, emotionally, and physically-many students pass me in height!). I talk about their moving on to the next grade level as a positive step in their lives and how they can build on that success each year. I never want these end of the year morning meetings to stop.

2. You're Famous! Personalized Baseball Cards!
A fun activity (that does require some work on the teacher's part) is to make individualized trading cards of each student. I have modeled my design after baseball cards that I have seen. Basically you take a digital picture of each student, save it to your computer, then upload it into the template of the card that I have provided in the link below, and you are on your way to making the students famous with their own trading cards. The template is editable so you can change up what you want on the back of the card. The full directions are included in the activity. You can access it by clicking here or by clicking on the picture below.

3. End of the Year Activities and Worksheets
Self-reflection is an important way to bring closure to the school year. We have developed some fun activities that are included in a 25 page packet that you could use at the end of the year! Here are some examples:
Comic Book Strip
Subject Reflections
Time Capsule

4. End of the Year Party
Whether it be a popcorn/movie party, a sweet treat party, or just a simple time to play games, we feel it is important to celebrate the accomplishments of the school year by having a celebration the last week of school. Students have worked hard the entire school year and they deserve to have a party for all of their efforts. As mentioned above, this could take on many different forms. Decide what fits your classroom and your tolerance level, and make sure to celebrate the school year with your class!

5. End of the Year Cleaning Stations
If you are a teacher of students in 3rd grade or higher, this next activity will be a huge time saver for you! We have our students help with cleaning the classroom the last week of school. The students love to do this, believe it or not! It shows that they have had ownership of the classroom for the entire school year, and they love taking down the posters, and decorations that were in the room. Please click on the below picture to access what we allow the students to do in our rooms.
Another school year has come to a close. We hope that we have provided you with some end of the school year ideas that you can use in your classroom!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Jackpot May 6th!


Take a look at the other items in our Wise Guys TPT Store.

Thanks so much for all you do! We appreciate your commitment to your students and your dedication as an educator!