Boost Engagement Around the Holidays with Scavenger Hunts

Saturday, December 8, 2018 1 comment
One way I LOVE boosting engagement is through the use of scavenger hunts. I have started placing them strategically right before breaks, on holidays, and on typical crazy days so that crazy days become crazy productive instead of just crazy! 

Creating a scavenger hunt for your kiddos does NOT have to be difficult, and my goal of this blog post is to share a few tips and tricks that will make creating and implementing scavenger hunts even more easy for you to do in your classroom. 

There are two main types of scavenger hunts I like to use in my classroom - around the classroom and around the school. My kiddos are obsessed with the around the school scavenger hunts, but if you aren't ready to release your kiddos into the school, simply do the scavenger hunt in your own classroom - it will still be just as FUN. 

How to create your own around the school scavenger hunt:

1) Grab or create a set of task cards. I choose to do between 8-10 task cards. I aim to make them more challenging since there are fewer of them. Print however many you need for each group to have one and place them in large envelopes.

2) Develop clues that your students will solve in order to find the next task card. I have created different riddles students have to solve, and I've also just scrambled up words that students have to unscramble. You can scramble words such as "cafeteria" or you can scramble teacher's names. Print enough of each clue for each group to have one.

3) Write the answers to each task card on the outside of a small envelope and place one set of clues inside each small envelope.

4) Lay out the large envelopes and place the corresponding small envelope on top.

5) Step five is the MOST IMPORTANT step! = ) After everything is laid out, move each small envelope to the right one space. This movement creates a loop. If you don't create this loop, the scavenger hunt won't work.

6) After you've moved each small envelope, write the location of the clue in the small envelope on the back of the large envelope it is on top of - this is reminding you were you need to hide the large envelope.

7) Hide the large envelopes around the school and place the small envelopes on the board. At this point, you are ready to go hunting! = ) 

*I choose to add a joke that students have to solve to my scavenger hunts. Please look at my products to see an example with how I did this. = )

Pre-Created Scavenger Hunts: 

If you don't want to create your own scavenger hunts, I have already created some really fun scavenger hunts for several different holidays. You will still have to create the loop, but each product includes detailed directions on how to do this. All three products are fully editable so that you can create your own questions if you don't teach 4th/5th grade. = )
This Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt includes a mixture of adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing whole numbers, along with some decimal practice, but the product is fully editable in case you would like to create your own problems. CLICK HERE to learn more.
The Christmas Scavenger hunt includes a variety of math skills including: ordering decimals, adding decimals, multiplying decimals, and multiplication and division of whole numbers, but the product is fully editable in case you would like to create your own problems. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

The Valentine's Day scavenger hunt includes: adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals, but the product is fully editable in case you would like to create your own problems. Click HERE to learn more. *Some problems are two step.

A Gift Your Students Will ORBEEZ-lutely LOVE!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 No comments

Looking for a cheap gift for an upcoming holiday that your students will still LOVE? My kiddos are currently obsessed with Orbeez, or water beads. Why? I'm not so sure. They are typically used in water tables and as sensory toys, but my 5th grade kiddos are absolutely LOVING them. My 5th graders love them, so I feel certain that any kiddo grades K-5 would think these are the most perfect gift. 

This year I have 26 kiddos so I bought one box of Ziploc baggies, two bags of Orbeez (water beads) for $6.99 each, and printed enough gift tags for each kiddo to get one. These gifts came in at less that 70 cents per kiddos - can't beat that! 

Making these Christmas gifts for your kiddos is SO SO easy. Simply grab Orbeez and baggies off of Amazon, download the gift tag FREEBIE from TpT and add your name to the editable portion of the gift tag. Print enough for your kiddos and add both the gift tag and the directions to a Ziploc baggie with one spoonful of Orbeez. 

Do you have a super fun, but easy and cheap Christmas gift idea?!
I'd love to hear it in the comments below! = ) 

HAUNTED HOUSE Transformation: Halloween FUN!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 No comments

Halloween is one of my FAVORITE days in the classroom! It used to be a day of chaos and candy, but now it’s a day of engagement and FUN! Last year for Halloween I transformed my classroom into a haunted house using a few cheap supplies from Walmart, and did three fun stations that kept my kiddos busy all day! Keep reading for ALL the details and a complete breakdown of every thing I used to make Halloween SPOOKY and FUN!


Making my classroom look like a Haunted house was really quite simple. I love transformations when the lights can be turned off because decorating is that much easier! I started off by covering the windows with some black butcher paper in order to get it as dark as possible. I wanted to be able to use the tables throughout the day so I kept them where they normally are and I simply covered them with black tablecloths and added some fun decorations to the top - spiderwebs and spiders. I hung fake spiderweb literally EVERYWHERE and turned on a couple disco lights to set the mood. I also turned my under board LED lighting to green, and turned on a couple black-lights. I asked parents to help with classroom decor since I wasn't asking for party supplies! I sent home a list of items I needed a couple weeks before the transformation and got everything I needed. I made sure items were cheap and easy to grab at Walmart or Dollar General.

Supplies I asked for:
Black tablecloths, spiderwebs (LOTS of them), plastic spiders, 6 black bowls, candy corn, and toothpicks, food items needed for fear factor (noodles, cabbage, rice, raisins, oil, etc.)
Items I already had:
black lights, blacklight flashlights, and a strobe light



Do your students have the courage to reach in and find a task card for their group? For this station students simply took turns reaching in and grabbing out a math task card for their group to solve. I made two sets of task cards for each box, which allowed me to differentiate my groups. These task cards are simply computation. The looks on my kiddos faces when they reached into these boxes was THE BEST! It made the peeling of grapes that took place long after my bedtime the night before the transformation totally worth it! Ha!

What you will need to create fear factor math in your classroom:
I created four different fear factor boxes. 
Intestines – Spaghetti noodles/oil
Maggots/Bugs- Overcooked rice/raisins/oil
Eyeballs – Peeled grapes/oil
Human Skin – Cooked cabbage
(There are lots of other options online.)
You will also need four boxes to put each of these in and wet wipes and paper towels near by. 

How to set up fear factor: Prepare each different type of food and place in separate plastic boxes. Cut and laminate task cards for each box and mix them into the food items. Find four boxes that can be placed on top of the plastic boxes that contain the fear factor items. I used copy paper boxes that we had lying around the school. I just used the bottom portion of the box and flipped them over on top of the plastic containers. I cut a hole just large enough for a hand in the middle of the bottom of the box (which becomes the top when flipped over).

**GRAB MATH TASK CARDS HERE. The pack includes 4th and 5th grade level task cards, along with an editable file so that you can create your own task cards and box labels in case you want to do something slightly different than what I did! 

For this station, students played bean boozled. To set this station up, I grabbed the bean boozle refillable packs on Amazon and printed (and laminated) the spinner off of google. I put the beans in a black bowl and positioned it in the middle of the table. Students took turns drawing task cards. Students would ALL solve the task card and discuss the answer. Once everyone had the same answer, the person who picked the task card then got to spin the bean-boozled wheel. Kiddos LOVE gross things, so they thought that this game was AMAZING!

*Please note that I did NOT make any student participate in the eating of the jelly beans if they didn't want to! ... and you will definitely want to keep a trash can near by. = )

You can grab the task cards I used HERE on TpT. They can be used for simple practice or another game if you don't want to use them for Bean Boozled.

Items needed to do Bean-Boozled Math in your classroom:  Bean BoozledJelly Beans (and a spinner – I printed a spinner off the internet), task cards, paper towels, and a trashcan

For this station, I used Hope Kings Neon – Read On Resources with a Halloween passage. You can learn more about her activity by checking out her blog HERE or by attending a Get Your Teach On conference!

Items needed to do Neon Read On in your classroom: Blacklight flashlights, highlighters, and a passage.

(New this year)
This year I plan on adding a fourth station using Skeleton FLINGERS I found in the Target Dollar spot. Students will solve a reading task card and then fling a skeleton onto a Target to earn points for their team! Check back for photos of this station! My goal is to get photos up for you BEFORE Halloween! = ) If you can’t find flingers in your dollar spot, you could simply pair reading task cards with any Halloween themed game. My next goal is to get task cards made for this activity so check back in a week or two and see if I was able to get them done. = )