My latest project was to jazz up my classroom door. My class wrote a letter to the local hardware asking for black chalkboard paint donations. I spent the last school holidays painting, adding a border and creating a welcome to stencil. The kids were delighted to be able to add their names and artworks. What was a tired and drab looking door has now become a feature in our classroom. It can easily be washed and changed for other classes in the future.
I'm always looking for new ways and ideas. Truth is, there are so many great ideas out there! I stumbled across these the other day. They are little animals/ critters on grid paper, for area and perimeter. Visit http://krokotak.com/2013/01/zhivotni-ot-hartiya-v-kvadrattcheta/ to download the free PDF template. I can't wait to try them out with my class.
A fantastic resource a colleague of mine came across is http://interactivemaths.wikispaces.com. A dedicated teacher has spent hours creating an interactive maths website. Resources, websites and interactive activities are grouped according to maths strands. Its organised and easy to follow.
My class can't get enough of Class Dojo. They look forward to changing their avatars, enjoy seeing their name flash up when they receive a point and keeping track of their points.
Class Dojo does have the option to involve parents and give them log in access. However, not all families at my school have the technology at home to do this. So I decided to come up with small things to allow kids to share their Dojo success with their families.
The little certificates can be printed on coloured card and sent home so parents can understand what these illusive DOJOS things are that their child has been talking about.
I involved my class with the choice of rewards and made a poster to suit. In the pack is a blank version (no numbers in the circles or prizes written next to them).
As part of my classroom revamp I dabbled with a great idea I came across, called 'Melted Crayon Art'. I made a sign for my new class reading area.
Its very simple to make and cost me absolutely nothing as I had all the materials lying around. You will need:
Canvas or boards
A hot glue gun
Cardboard/foil to make font templates
I had this giant box of crayola crayons laying around from when I was a kid (preserved as a result of my OCD habits as a child).
Decide on the order you want your colours. Find out how many you need to cover your area. My boards were small so I only used 12 per board. I then made a template out of contact for each letter. This failed terribly as the heat from the hair dryer melted the letters and they curled. I think cardboard or foil would work. I ended up sticking cardboard cutout letters on afterward.
Use the hot glue gun to stick them along the top of the board. Use your hair dryer to melt the crayons, allowing the colours to run down and mix. Make sure you cover your area in newspaper as the melted crayons pool and make a huge mess.
Over the weekend I spent hours trawling blogs and felt inspired to revamp my own classroom. One of the ideas I came across was to turn the boring classroom clock into a helpful (yet funky) tool for teaching kids how to tell the time.
Face it, learning to tell the time is tricky. This makes it so much easier.
The petals have the minutes past the hour on them, and the long leaf shows the minute hand, with the shorter leaf representing the hour hand. It was a simple yet creative idea, thought up by another teacher at some point in time.
So I spent last night making my own template and installed it today. The kids loved it! At times during the day I would stop and ask, "How many minutes past 10 is it?" Or, "How many what it the time now?"
Not your ordinary Father's Day card.... make dad into a nerdy version of himself. My class thought this was hilarious to make. Just draw dad onto the card, then have fun transforming him. Add a moustache, glasses and bow tie. Take a look at some of the nerdy dads my class created.
I have been hearing about a behaviour management tool/ website for some time now called Class Dojo. It wasn't until recently I realised how interactive and amazing this site is. Students go crazy for it and it is super easy to use.
As a teacher you create a class and add student names. Students are given a randomly selected avatar (very cute little monsters). Students can later select and change their avatars.
You can then award students points or dojos as reward for targeted behaviours. The great thing is, you can change the behaviours. So to suit the behaviour policy at my school, I added our core values and other behaviours such as hands and feet to self, listen etc. Points are accumulated and shown next to each students' name and avatar. As they are awarded the point, their name, the achieved behaviour and the point appear at the bottom.
Students keep track of their behaviour and can see their accomplishments on display. The best thing about Class Dojo is you can have it on more than one device. This is great as when you are doing reading groups or helping elsewhere, you can access dojo without having to move to the front of the room.
In my classroom, I keep it on the board using the smartboard and have it on an iPad simultaneously. I can give points from where ever I am. I can take it with me to the library, assembly, out to sport or on excursions. Class Dojo can also be installed on iPhone or android phones.
Another great function Class Dojo includes is the random button. By clicking this, a student will be selected at random, making a noise as it does this. If the selected student is on task, I reward them the dojo point. It is a good tool to keep students on task.
Check it out and let me know what you think. Other users of Class Dojo, let me know other uses you have for it too.
An activity my kids LOVED this week was completely simple and almost effortless to arrange. I gave my class a word search which had each of their names in it. They enjoyed finding each other's names and were ecstatic to locate their own. This activity would be a great back to school idea for students to get to know their new classmates.
There are several tools on the web you could use to do this. A-Z Teacher Stuff has a word search generator tool. It's very simple to use. You just enter the words you wish to appear in your word search, select your shape (circle, smiley face, rectangle, star etc) and choose word directions, click generate and print. http://tools.atozteacherstuff.com/word-search-maker/
Do your students groan when they hear the word writing? Try squiggle stories, the idea kept popping up as I trawled the internet and thought I'd see if my class liked it. Students are given a page with handwriting lines and a squiggle to change into a picture. It's great because they are encouraged to use their imagination and every story is different.
I first showed my class a Mr Squiggle clip off Youtube (a show I remember watching as a kid and being fascinated with). I then put a blank squiggle on the board using, my eBeam. I got the class to offer ideas as to what they saw the squiggle as. We then jointly constructed a story together. They then got to complete one independently. They were very excited and couldn't wait to start.
I now use this activity as an independent writing task on a weekly basis. The handwriting lines are great for those kids still learning to form their letters correctly. I've made a booklet of my own which includes more lines for those better writers who are capable of writing more.
I was very excited to see that people actually downloaded my Helping Hands templates from TPT. Now I want to try and see if people will be happy to buy my resources. So here it goes....
Check out TPT for these student desk mats. I find that there are always a few kids in my class that are still spelling basic words incorrectly (whether it be laziness or they just don't have the capability), or they can't spell their surname yet. These mats are like name tags I guess. Each has:
Space to write each student's full name on handwriting lines
Just print and laminate. The PDF has a colour version and a black and white version. If you print the black and white version, just add the colours yourself with texta or pencil. Let me know what you think.
Welcome to Mrs Possum's Classroom. Exploring teaching blogs has become a new hobby of mine, so I've decided to start one of my own. I'm slowly learning the ins and outs of blogging. Hopefully within no time, I can post ideas and resources for all those other teachers out there.