Saturday, October 5, 2013

You've Got it in the Bag!

As most of you know, I'm all about playing games in the classroom.  If I'm bored, then they are bored, and sadly....I bore easily.  This is an easy and cheap, but fun game that kids can play when reviewing for an assessment.  It does require your putting a couple of things together, but it won't take more than five minutes to prepare, and you'll have it for the life of the bag.

Educational Game--Review

 Preparing the game:
1.  Print off these templates from my google docs.
(BTW, when you look at the doc in google docs, it doesn't look right, but it does download right.  Weird.)
2.  Collect three grocery bags from your local grocer.
3.  Glue the 100 template to one bag, the 200 to another, and the 300 to another.
4.  Bring in a small ball, around the size of a tennis/baseball. If you don't have one and don't want to buy one, take a couple of sheets of paper and ball them up.
5.  Gather a list of questions to ask the students for review.

1.   Line the bags up one behind the other (you determine how far apart the bags should be and where they should stand to shoot the ball according to your student's age and skill).
2.  Divide the class into teams (this can vary...I use two)
3.  Ask Team A, student 1 a question.  If the answer is incorrect, nothing happens and you move on to the next team.  If the answer is correct he/she gets 100 points on the scoreboard for getting it right.  That student then has the opportunity to shoot the ball into whichever bag he/she would like (100, 200, or 300).  If the student misses, no points are awarded.  If the ball goes in the bag, the student's team receives the amount of points on the outside of the bag.
4.  Repeat with Team B, student 1 and so on.
5.  At the end, we add up all the points to determine the winning team.  Of course, in the upper grades, the students will have been doing mental math all along. 

Bag on.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throw Back Thursday Linky--Back to School

Today I'm linking up with The First Grade Parade for Throw Back Thursday!   With the beginning of school right around the corner, I thought it was time to start thinking about Back to School Night.  Here is a post from September 28, 2012.  Enjoy!  :)

Back to School Night 
Last night was Back to School Night for my school.  Of course this time is designed to make sure our parents are "in the know" about what happens in the fifth grade.   We do a PowerPoint and go over the EXTREMELY condensed version of the curriculum, upcoming field trips, what's expected of them, etc. Blah, blah, blah.  This is also a great time for our kids to showcase their work.  I always make sure that the hallway is decked out and there is something on their desks that they are proud of to share with their parents.  Here are a couple of projects we show off:
Shades of summer: In Writer's Workshop the kids write at least two paragraphs about what they did this summer.  They publish their work and then make these awesome faces to go along with the writing.  They draw  pictures representing the writing in the shades.  Quite funny!

Mrs. Hager's Fifth Graders Are Starting Off on the Right Foot:  The right foot is traced and then they draw their foot just like they see it.  The kids do a nametag glyph to go under each of their right feet. 

Bio Poems and Silouettes:  The students create their Bio Poems and then make thier own silouettes.  We did this activity when I was younger.  This is when I realized that I had no chin from the profile view!  lol

Paper Class: My favorite part of Back to School Night is the fake class. You let the kids trace each other onto bulletin board paper (or you trace them yourself), then you let them design themselves. When finished you tape them up in their seats so that when the parents walk in they see a class full of fake kids. It cracks me up every year!! The parents love it, but even more...the kids love it. Here are a couple of my faves from the 5th grade:

What great ideas do you have for Back to School Night??? 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mother Lode of Creative Writing Prompts

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!  I spent the day yesterday procrastinating from unpacking, painting, and cleaning.  The good news?  I found some incredible sites for writing!  My kids in the past have always been more interested in my writing lessons that have been centered around images.  I decided to do a google search to find some interesting pictures that they could write from and I came across the mother lode!!!

 If you don't know about Luke Neff already, you MUST click here.  His writing prompts are A-mazing!  They are geared to the upper grades, but I can completely see some higher fourth graders or any fifth graders digging these prompts. For you younger grade teachers, I can see you getting some good ideas and adapting them to meet the needs of your kids.  I spent hours yesterday going through his archived prompts.  Again...A-mazing!  I will definitely be using some of them next year in my writing block!  If you are overwhelmed by the amount of writing prompts at my link above, here is a list of Luke's "most tried and true" writing prompts he uses.  If you have the time though, it's worth going through the others as well.  Of course, some of the prompts are way too difficult and/or not appropriate for the younger students, so use your best judgment! :) 

In one of Luke's posts, he mentions Karen Hallion.  She has these really cool images of different Disney characters in front of a booth of some sort, among other things.  Click here for her cool images that could really stimulate some creative writing!  Here, here, here, here are other sites I found with good pictures to write about. 

And wait...what about video writing prompts?  Check out this great writing prompt from Teacher Hub.  Click here for Teacher Hub's complete list of video writing prompts.  Here is a Pinterest page with a bunch of video prompts (most of which are from Teacher Hub). 

Now if this post doesn't keep you busy for hours....well...then you're nothing like me.  LOL  I was sucked in for HOOOOUUUURRRRS!! 

Write on.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

From VA Lovers to GA Peaches & Contractions

 I'VE MOVED!  I'm no longer a Virginia blogger....I'm now a Georgia blogger.  The move has been in the works for quite some time, but I was just worried to go public for fear of jinxing myself.  I've moved to the greater ATL area and I'll be teaching 5th grade next year!  (good thing because 5th Grade Rocks, 5th Grade Rules just wouldn't be the same)  My life has been one big ball of stress for the last couple of months, but with the move all has calmed (knock on wood) and hopefully it's smooth sailing from here.

Other news, better late than never, I've been selected as one of the Top 30 Blogs on the site Top Teaching Colleges!  Cool!  This is pressure to get me back on track and blog like I used to!  I'm going to try to catch up (I have a million pictures of all the things I WANTED to blog about and have never gotten to). 

Okay, so now onto why you read this blog to begin with....


You've probably seen my post on an easy, cheap way to practice plurals (Posting Plurals).  Well, this year, some of my kids struggled with contractions, so I did the exact same thing (see picture below--self-explanatory), but with contractions instead.  It was a great review.  Click here for a fun rock song, here for an R&B song, here for the lyrics to a rap.  Check out Carl's Corner to see a bunch of activities on contractions.
My life.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

HELP ME...if I've helped you!!

Have I shared an idea with you that has impacted your student's learning in a positive way?  Have you benefited from something I've created or shown?  I'm currently pursuing my National Boards and would like to use this blog as one of my accomplishments.  I have to verify with documentation that this accomplishment shows me as a learner, leader, and collaborator; what better way to show than an email from one of you providing me with some positive feedback?  If you are willing to write an email (doesn't have to be long, but does have to be convincing) about how I have collaborated, helped, inspired, shared, etc through this blog and some how what I have shared has helped your students in some way, please send it to and tell me all about it.  Please! Please!  Please!  :)  I would greatly appreciate it!  The sooner I'm done with these boards, the sooner I'm back to blogging!  :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Review Time

I know I've been a terrible blogger--do I still even qualify as a blogger?  I'll explain it all later (why I've been MIA) but just wanted to quickly share a couple of my favorite review videos, as the state tests creep up on us!

First of all, my new FAVORITE videos are from Flocabulary, a site that reviews concepts through hip hop.  My kids are enthralled!  It covers writing, reading, math, science, and some social studies.  This is a paid site, but you can get a two week free trial.  It's only $5 a month...and I feel like it's worth it.  They do free songs and videos each month as well if your trial is up or you can't do the $5.  Click here to see the free titles.  So far, my favorites are prefixes, story elements, figurative language, states of matter, and energy. 

Also, on YouTube, here are a couple of my favorites: 
Cells:  Parts of a cell
Rocks:  Fossil Rocks
Order of Operations: Mr. QUE PEMDAS
Prime: prime numbers rap
***Thanks to a follower Ecosystems:  Mr. Parr

Here is a link to all Study Jams (all free). 
My favorite Study Jams:
Air Masses: fronts
Plants:  Photosynthesis
Water Cycle:  water cycle
Fractions:  Fractions are your friend
Matter:  solids, liquids, gases
Rocks:  Rock Cycle

Also, don't forget Brainpop and Brainpop Jr.! 

For those of you who teach atoms, I leave you with a little adult, cheesy humor:

Study on.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Writer's Toolbox

Yep!  It's that time of year AGAIN.  The countdown to the state writing test has begun.  Our children are writing, writing, writing.  My coworker, Mrs. Efird, came up with the idea of using a toolbox.  The kids helped us make anchor charts with all of the things they would want in a writer's toolbox.  We merged our two anchor charts, and I  took all of those ideas and made this little poster to the left.  These are some tools that can help fix your students' writings!  Click here to download your copy of our toolbox and here for an explanation handout on each of the tools. 

Write on.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Capacity Full

Last Friday, we were messing around with fraction strips while working with equivalent fractions.  I was thinking to myself just how brilliant fraction strips are.  I can't tell you how many light bulb moments my kids had when we work with them.  Then it dawned on me....why not make fractions strips for different math strands?  So here you have it, my version of capacity strips (they aren't really strips...but play along).  Click on this link to download your own capacity strips.  My plan is to color copy them onto cardstock, laminate, and use them just like fraction strips. How many cups are in a gallon?  Place the cup pieces on top of the gallon to find out.  How many cups are in a pint?  Place the cup pieces on the pint strip to find out. Endless possibilities.  Move over gallon man, capacity strips are here!  LOL  J/K  I say use them both!  Or the big G...whatever works! The more ways they see it, the better they understand!  There is a labeled version and an unlabeled version.  I'm going to use the labeled version first and then the unlabeled to make sure they can identify pictures. 
Along with the capacity strips you have to sing the Alice the Camel Capacity Song.  I sang this back in the fourth grade and still use it today with my fifth graders. Who doesn't love to sing?  Make sure you have them roll their hands and shake their hips to the chorus!  :)
Camel Capacity Song
Sung to the tune Alice the Camel
2 half gallons in one gallon
2 half gallons in one gallon
2 half gallons in one gallon
So roll, baby roll
A boom, boom, boom
4 quarts in one gallon
4 quarts in one gallon
4quarts in one gallon
So roll, baby roll
A boom, boom, boom
8 pints in one gallon
8 pints in one gallon
8 pints in one gallon
So roll, baby roll
A boom, boom, boom
16 cups in one gallon
16 cups in one gallon
16 cups in one gallon
So roll, baby roll
A boom, boom, boom
Also, check out this video; it's a good introduction video.  Don't forget the Brainpops too!  Also, there is this interactive game that you can play where you have to fill different shaped containers with different amounts. How about this BBC game?
Measure on.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lone Nut or Follower?

I came across this video this morning.  Don't be afraid to be the leader or the follower!  You never know what kind of opportunities could open up....

Btw, I have mad dance skills just like the "Lone Nut"!

Crack on.                                     

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Do You Need A Pep Talk?

It's that time of the year:  Christmas is over, the weather is crazy, testing is looming.  Do you need a pep talk?  We had a professional development day on Monday and our reading specialist shared this video with us.  Kid President's Pep Talk:

He's right; we all have work to do.  Will you cry about it or dance about it?  YOU, teachers, were made to be awesome!  What Will Be Your Space Jam?

Dance on.

P.S. Check out some of Kid President's other messages...quite funny. My favorites:  #choosefun and diabetes vs. diabeetus

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dreams, Snow, and the Beach

New Year's Resolution...FAIL!  I missed my post last week.  First of all, I forgot to take pictures of my Martin's (below). Friday was a two hour delay and I was working diligently to fit everything in before the long weekend.  To the left, a pic of the snow that got us a two hour delay: 34, chilly. Secondly, I took MLK weekend and enjoyed myself; I thought nothing of school. To the right, a picture of what I did the very next day: 60, beautiful.  I figure I'll do two this week and that will make up for it? 

To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, before we left for the break, we wrote essays.  These essays weren't about MLK, but we used him as our inspiration.  We watched some Brainpops, read some stories, and had some discussions about what Dr. King did to make our world a different place.  We talked about his dream.  THEN, we talked about our dreams.  Where did we see the world in five years...ten....twenty?  How could they help make a difference?  They wrote about the dreams they had for the community, the country, and the world.  My kids are going to stop bullying, feed the hungry, run football camps, be role models to younger children, help refugees, teach adults how to read, etc.  The list goes on and on.  They have some big dreams, and MLK left some pretty big shoes to fill.  (Literally and figuratively...supposedly he wore a 10.5, according to ChaCha) :)  Not only did they write essays, but my favorite part....the MLK portraits.  Gotta love some 5th grade art!!!  Here are some of our final products:

If you didn't get a chance to do something to honor MLK, it's not too late. Black history month is coming up next month.  Tie this activity to anyone who helped change our world. Make sure your students know they can make a change, no matter how big or small! Happy MLK! 

Write on.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Show! Don't Tell!

Fifth grade writing is a bear!  It generally has not been a focus previously and we struggle all year to get our kids excited about writing!  Show, Don't Tell is always something that our kids have a hard time with in the beginning, but then just excel once they get the hang of it.  Last year, I found a lesson online added some different images from google images, put them in a word document and wrote one "telling" sentence.  The kids paired up to turn those "telling" sentences into "showing" paragraphs.  They wrote some really great paragraphs this year!  Check out these two examples (these are not edited by me, this is their original work):

Picture 1: 
Telling sentence:  The girls were shopping.
Showing:  I walked in the store with happiness and excitement, thinking of all the things I was going to buy today.  I was so fascinated by all the cute designer pumps and the beautiful expensive dresses.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on the latest designer purse that hadn't even come out yet.  It has a nice black strap with leopard print and a splash of red on it.  It is so unique.  This is my favorite forever store!

Picture 2: 
Telling sentence:  They danced.
Showing:  Our faces were sweating as we glanced across the stage trying to impress the judges.  I can see the judges smiling and people clapping after my first dance.  As I went home I thought about the second day of the competition.  I can't wait until the judges see my next dance.  I stepped on the stage and got ready for my brand new dance.  We twisted and twirled.  We did everything we could to impress the judges.  When we were finished we saw a faint smirk on the judges.  Then we finally heard..."You're going to Hollywood!" 

The students really enjoyed this activity and really showed what was in the pictures!  Try this works....and it's fun!  **You could also have your students bring in pictures and do the activity from his/her own pictures, or you bring in pictures from your childhood, your children, your family gatherings, etc. 

Write on.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Is your grammar up to par?

I just had to share! I make lots of silly grammatical errors all the time. It's not because I don't know the difference, but because I type fast and am careless. (You probably already know this if you are a regular reader) :) My biggest pet peeve is number 11. So few people use these two words correctly, and it's one of the easiest rules in the book! Do you make any of these mistakes? Upper grade teachers, this might be something good to share with your kids! 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger. Write on.

Friday, January 4, 2013


So, with the new year brings healing for this girl!  On December 23rd, I took a little spill and created the ugly monster to the right--severly sprained ankle.  I'd like to tell you the story of how I carried a dog out of a burning building....but the truth is that I was heading to the bathroom and missed the step down (in my defense I was at a new friend's house and wasn't familiar with the step down).  Oh, did I mention that I was in Georgia visiting my husband's family and friends?  So, $250 dollars, an air cast , a pair of crutches, and a new set of arm muscles later I'm hanging out on the couch, healing.  This lull means....BLOG TIME! 

Along with this new found blog time comes the infamous sub plans.  The first day back in January is usually my "GAME ON" time.  The kids are ready to get back to school, I'm rejuvinated, and the count down to the writing test begins.  This year it meant limping all around, explaining my non-climatic story to everyone, and getting sub plans and supplies together.  So what will the sub be covering?

Order of Operations (OoO) is coming up in math.  Easy enough to teach!  Actually one of my favorite math topics. We teach them that there are three levels to OoO: Level 1-Parentheses (or any type of grouping symbol) and then exponents, Level 2-multiplication or division (left to right), Level 3-addition or subtraction (left to right). In fifth grade we don't cover exponents, so our tests don't include them, BUT I usually explain them and the kids catch on pretty quickly.

 I thought I'd share with you some of the things I do to cover this topic:

First of all, have you ever seen this video?  My kids this year already knew about it from my kids from last year. I <3 Mr. Q-U-E! Head over to his website to find more math topics.

Head over to TPT to download Mike's cute OoO poster.

Here is a pretty fun BINGO game. 

The Virginia Department of Education has provided the lessons Order Out of Chaos. I, personally, like the 4s activity.  It's a brain buster for some.  One of the acitivities requires number tiles.  Make your own with shower tiles from your local hardware store.  Cheap and easy.  Plus, the magic eraser can take off the permanent marker so you can use the tiles again for letters, words, etc. 

Anyhoo, if you teach OoO, feel free to add these things to your plans...and also share with me links or ideas you use! 

Teach on.