Friday, April 27, 2012

Silence is Golden....Super Silence Game
Have you ever had one of those afternoons when you just can't deal anymore? You know, the one where you just might not make it until the end of the day?  They won't stop talking; they aren't doing their work.  I personally haven't (please note the sarcasm), but I thought I'd share a simple trick with you to help you get through the next time this happens to you. :) Play the silent game...with a twist!

Pass out a piece of candy (I get the dollar bags from WalMart) to EVERY student and tell them that they are going to play the Super Silence Game.  They may NOT eat their piece of candy until they get home.
The rules for the kids are quite simple:
1.  Stay quiet.
2.  Look for students who are talking.  If you (the student) catch someone, you (the student) get to take the talking student's candy. (depending on your children you may not want to give them the power of taking other kid's candy)

That's it.  It's another one of those games, like Kings and Queens, that you think won't work, but you'll be pleasantly surprised! You can read aloud, have them do silent work, have them clean the room, pack up...whatever!  It only works about 20-30 minutes, so don't abuse it.  They will even walk quietly down the hallway on the way out.  Golden!

Silence on!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Magic is in the Air

Do you ever have a hard time getting your children to clean the room at the end of the day?  Well, those days are over!  Magic Piece of Trash and Magic Chair are your new best friends.  I TOTALLY forgot about this excellent trick until my student teacher called out for a magic piece of trash the other day (she found the idea on another blog).  I had been doing this trick for YEARS (I learned it from one of my high school teachers back in the 90s...ugh, that hurts to even say that....90s) and somehow it just got lost in all the other good ideas I have found over the years...but don't worry...It's baaaaaaack!  :)  Here's how you do it:
1.  Scan the room for trash.  When I say scan...I mean scan the WHOLE room (or your sneaky kids will see where you are looking and always know where to go).
2.  Call out to the students, "I see a magic piece of trash."
3.  Students scramble around (safely of course) and collect all the trash they can.
4.  Once all the trash has been picked up, you announce to everyone that the magic piece of trash has been found.  Call the child's name and have them pick a piece of candy, healthy snack, homework pass, DOJO points, whatever it is that you reward your kids with.  
You will be amazed just how exciting it is to pick up trash!!  This can also be done with stacking chairs at the end of the day.  My kids love it! You can be as honest or dishonest as you'd like to be when picking the winner of the magic piece of trash or chair.  I always find this a good time to reward my little friends that don't get rewarded very often academically.  :)  It works for kids of all ages ( as a high-schooler in the 90s used to scramble for that darned piece of trash). 

Clean on.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Calculator Fun!

So, with the math test coming up, I have to make sure that my kids know how to use a calculator.  Since I'm looping, that shouldn't be a problem...I taught them last year....BUT, for those of you who might be teaching calculator skills for the first time, I'm sharing with you the lesson that I do each year.

HOOK:  Ask a student for a whole number 1-20.  Have them write it down on a piece of paper or tell a friend.  You may not see the number!  Tell the students that you are a "mathemagician" and you are going to use your math powers to figure out the number they chose.

Have the student type the secret number into their calculator.  Then have them follow these steps:
1.  Multiply by 3
2.  Add the secret number, then subtract 5.
3.  Multiply by 3, then multiply by 3 again.
4.  Add the secret number, then subtract the number of their favorite month (month doesn't matter to you)
5.  Multiply by 3, then multiply by 3 again, and then again a third time.
6.  Add the secret number, then subtract their favorite day of the month (again, doesn't matter to you)
7.  Have them show you what they got.
Here is where you become a magician in their minds:

The number is going to be big.  No worries, it just makes you seem that much smarter!!

If the result is negative, their secret number was 1 (or they cheated or messed up)
If the result has only three digits, their secret number was 2
If neither of those are the case, ignore the last three digits, and add 2!  That's the secret number!  It works, try it!  :)

Then we break into partners.  I then have them do birthday math (2 times-1 for each partner).
 I tell them to have partner 1 type in the month and day of their birthday into the calculator.  If the day is a single digit it should be recorded as a two-digit number (example June 7 would be 0607).  I usually have to talk them through that the first time.  Then I call out the following rules:
1.  Multiply the birthday number by 2
2.  Add 5
3. Multiply this answer by 50
4.  Subtract 250. The first four digits disclose the person’s birthday.
 They then switch partners and do the same thing again.  I usually have these steps on the Smartboard and pull down the shade one step at a time on the first rotation, then let them loose on the second.  I  then give them this worksheet and let them work in partners. 

They think it's SOOOOO cool! If your kids already know how to use calculators, they will still love this!  I won't lie, I'm always amazed that it works...every year.  Silly, I know. This can be a center too. 

 9078 on.
(in digital number font, upside down)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

We Have a First Timer!

I'm super excited to announce that in my belt loop I can officially punch a hole for guest blogging!  WOOHOO!  Misty, over at Think, Wonder, & Teach and creator of 3-6 Free Resources, has invited me to blog on her page. If you aren't a follower of hers yet, you must head on over there and see all the great ideas she has to offer (and her guest bloggers).  Read what I said here or there:

(For the 18 of you that read the Kaboom post that I made earlier today, disregard.  I accidentally published a draft I made a long time ago and should have deleted.   Click here for the real Kaboom link.  SORRY! )

3 M Olympics, Water/Beach Day, and a Little Bonus

Hey Y'all!  It's Mimi from 5thGradeRocks, 5thGradeRules!  I am so honored and excited to be a guest blogger today here at Think, Wonder, & Teach.  Thanks so much for this awesome opportunity, Misty!  Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a first timer!  :)

I'm currently a fifth grade teacher in the good ol' Commonwealth of Virginia.  I've been teaching for a couple of years (13) and the fire is still burnin'.  :)  My kids refer to me as, "strict, but fun."  See, what they don't realize is that I was a kid too....who tried to get away with everything that they do....and talked as much as they do...and loved boys as much as they do....and wrote as many notes as they do.....and put gum under my tongue in hopes that my teacher wouldn't see, just as much as they do.  To me, this is an advantage.  To them, I'm pretty sure they see it as a disadvantage.  Muhaha!  Anyway, I make funny faces, tell jokes, make noises, jump up and down....whatever it takes to get their attention!!!  Pretty much, if they are bored, so am I!

So, how does Mimi keep from getting bored, you might ask?  (Just play along)

THE 3 M Olympics

I've recently had the most wonderful student teacher take over my class.  With her time coming to an end, I'm having to take back some responsibilities.  Having fifth graders, I knew my debut back into the class had to be a good one.  With the 2012 Summer Olympics coming up, what better way to make them happy than to take them outside and get that blood pumping...all the while, doing math!

 Mean, median, mode, and range aren't really hard for kids to understand, they are just hard to differentiate.  I teach my children that your MEAN (average) old teacher makes you add up ALL of the data and divide it by however many numbers were added.  We refer to the MEDIAN as the middle of our data, just like the middle of the road (I always show a picture of a median or two for my visual learners).  The MOde is the number that shows up the MOst.  My favorite of them all, the range.  I tell them to think of a park RANGEr.  If there is a bear in the park, the RANGEr would look HIGH and LOW for that bear so that it wouldn't hurt anyone.  Then once he found it, he would call Animal Control and TAKE AWAY the bear.  Poor bear.  But, I digress...We had five stations:  laps, situps, stair stepper, ball toss, and jump rope.  I divided the class into five teams.  Within each of those teams, the students had to pair up with a partner.  Here is the rotation that I followed:

  Each rotation was ten minutes total.   I let the laps station and ball station have all the team members go for ten straight minutes.  I split the other stations into to five minute sessions, switching partners.  They completed each station and recorded the data for themselves and their partner.  After they had rotated through every station, we came inside and got the rest of the team's data.  I passed out calculators and they found the mean, median, mode, and range of each of the their team's stations.  It was a huge success! Click here to download The 3M Olympics activity sheet.


With Spring Break out of the way, the end of the year is just around the corner. After all the testing is done it's time to celebrate!  Every year, the last week of school, the fifth graders get to earn WATER/BEACH DAY! This takes place the last hour and a half of the day.  The kids get to wear their bathing suits to school (under their uniform of course...and no, the uniform doesn't ever come off), flip flops, and sunglasses. We send home a permission slip the same way we would if it was a field trip.  Oh, and the reason this is at the end of the day is so that we can stick them straight on the bus, soaking wet.  LOL  :)  Make sure you clear this with your principal!  

Beach Day consist of five stations:
1.  Dribble, Dribble, DRENCH- You need a large cup and a bucket of water.  Students sit in a big circle on the grass.  Fill a large cup with water.  Follow the rules of the traditional game Duck, Duck, Goose, BUT instead of tapping the student on the head when you say duck, you dribble a little water on their back. Instead of tapping the student on the head and saying goose, you empty out the remaining contents of the cup on their back and run for your life (not literally, they have to walk fast since they have on flip flops)!  lol  It is soooo much fun! 
2.  Beach Ball Hockey-You need hockey sticks, beach balls, and cones. (you of course can improvise with meter sticks, a chair, and a ball of any sort if need be)  Divide the class into relay teams.  Each team has to go from the starting point, hitting the beach ball with the hockey stick down and around the cone and then back to the starting point.  Easy?  No.  Funny?  YES!
3.  Over Under- You need one big sponge and two buckets filled with water per team.  Divide the class into two straight lines.  Have the student in the front dunk their sponge.  Explain that the first child will pass the sponge backwards over their head, the second child will take the sponge and pass it backwards through their legs, the third child will take the sponge and pass the it backwards over their head and so on.  The person at the end of the line dunks the sponge in their bucket and everyone turns around and faces the other way and repeats.  Whichever team gets the sponge all the way back first is the winner!  Hysterical.  (I'm laughing just thinking about last year!)
4.  Water Volleyball-You need two large sheets and some water balloons.  Divide into two teams of four and stand on opposite sides of the net. Each team holds one sheet (a person at each corner). Place a water balloon in the center of one team's sheet. The idea is to toss the balloon over the net, into the other team's sheet. This can be played with large beach towels and only two teams of two as well!  If you don't have a volleyball net, no worries, just do it without the's still quite hard.
5. Beach Time Relay Race-You need 2 beach chairs and 2 beach bags filled with a towel, sunglasses, and a magazine.  Each team gets to go to the beach in a relay.  They carry the beach chair and bag down to the designated spot.  They put up the beach chair, lay down the towel, put on the sunglasses, and open up the magazine as if they are reading it.  Then pack everything back up and carry it back to the team.  Whichever team gets through everyone first wins!  :)  

Pinterest Inspired BONUS!
I am in love with Pinterest (I mean, who isn't???)!  I find so many cute and fun ideas there and I wanted to share one that I found that just warms my little heart. I made a couple of adjustments and have different fonts, but all you have to do is download, print, cut, glue, and tape it up! Click here. Score! 
This is the picture I found on Pinterest.  Sadly it doesn't have a link to give credit where credit is due. 
Well, that's all folks!    If you aren't already a follower, come on over to 5thGradeRocks, 5thGradeRules and check out some other great games, ideas, and freebies.  I'm not always this long-winded, I promise.  LOL  

Play on.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

20 Day Countdown Begins

20 DAYS UNTIL THE SCIENCE SOL TEST....AHHHHHH!  This is my first year in 5th grade and science has definitely been my weakness.  I was so worried about teaching writing for the first time (not really the first time, this is just the first time my kids have been tested in writing) that I have neglected science like a champ....and's only 20 days until the science test.  Uh oh.  Virginia tests fourth grade and fifth grade science in fifth grade only.  This means I have 20 days to review 14 units of science.  Awesome!  So, in order to get my friends ready for the test I'm doing some MAJOR bribing motivating! Pinterest inspired:  I have hung 20 balloons from the ceiling, with little activities/rewards inside.  At the end of the day, if they have had good behavior and have given me their 120%, I choose someone to pop the balloon.  The next day they get to complete the activity listed in the balloon.  Sometimes the activity is just for that person, sometimes it's for the entire class.  Click here for the download of the activities that I have found various places online. I've been waiting all winter to do this, ever since I found it on Pinterest.  I know the kids love the balloons, I just hope they love the activities too!  I really, really need them to give me their best the next couple of weeks!

Other countdown ideas:  winter break, spring break, end of school, field day, assemblies, a competition, etc. I was also thinking that those of you that are parents could do this for your kid's bdays, with different activities inside.  Make sure to label the balloons with the corresponding day so that you know what is coming up.  I feel like I'm going to have to be mentally prepared for some of the activities I put in there!  LOL  One more thing...when you tie the string to the balloon, tie a paper clip to the other end so you can just lift the tiles and lay the paperclip on the metal part (clearly my drop ceiling vocab is lacking).  Oh, and one more thing, if you aren't allowed to hang things from your ceiling you could put these same ideas or activities in 20 different envelopes and let a child open the envelope each day.  You could even make a bulletin board out of it!  :)

 Pop on.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Peeps Show

Another successful year of 5th Grade Family Book Club down! We went out with a bang!  This one was my favorite yet! We read the book Phantom Tollbooth.  Based on the Washington Post's Yearly Peep Show, each family was asked to create a diorama of their favorite setting in the book (if you have read the book, you know there are MANY).  We provided them with boxes, paper, and peeps.  We were missing a couple of families this week, but what we got was really cute.  Check them out:
This is AWESOME!  Such great detail...and check out the shirt!!
Milo and Tock driving into the Market Place

Our next activity after going over our "Peeps Show"?  THE LORAX!!! Kayla and Briana read the story to everyone. 

THEN, we went on a field trip to the Regal Theater to watch the movie!  It was soooo much fun! 

Kids in the back of the theater...luckily we had the place to ourselves!

Teachers in the front row!

All of us in front of "The Lorax" sign.  Such a great time!  :)

Have I mentioned how much fun tonight's 5th Grade Book Club was?  I definitely recommend doing a "Peeps Show"!  The kids and families loved it! 

In honor of The Lorax...
Grow on.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I'm Baaaaaaaaaack! Class Dojo

I've been gone for quite some time.  Did you notice?  I promised myself and my friends that I wouldn't let my school life, Pinterest life, or blog life get in my way of Spring Break!  I packed up Bailey the Super Dog and headed down to Charleston to visit a friend for the week.  Ahhhhhh, Charleston!  One of my many happy places.  I'll save you all the details of my trip, but I did want to share with you something I learned while visiting a small bar on Folley Beach.  Yes, you read that right...I received something to share with y'all from the CUTE, male bartender at Snapper Jacks.  Who knew? Didn't see that one coming.  LOL

Class Dojo (click here for link
Apparently, the bartender's girlfriend is a teacher and he says she swears by it!  I sent myself an email from my phone that night and checked it out as soon as I got back. It's pretty darned sweet!  It's a behavior program that allows each student in your room to have their own avatar. Points are rewarded or taken away in real time while displayed on a whiteboard (or not for that matter).  You can customize what and how many behaviors you want for your own classroom.  Have a smartphone?  Carry your phone around and update the behaviors as you monitor the students...from the  PHONE!!!  I LOVE IT!!!    I've done some more research on the program and here is a great blog that gives good details about the program.  Cool Blog  Here is a video for those of you who are more visual learners (me!).

I think this may be my newest obsession!  :) I was super bummed about coming back to real life, but this little program has fired me up and gotten me ready to conquer the last part of the year.  If you already use this in your classroom, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I want to know how you use it.  What do you love about it?  What do you not like about it?  I'm definitely starting this on Tuesday when I return. 

Monitor on.