Thursday, April 27, 2017

Let's Glow! A classroom transformation that your students will LOVE!

(Affilate links are provided in this post for your convenience.)

Let's GLOW! After visiting RCA last October, myself and my teacher bestie committed to planning and completing an RCA inspired classroom transformation before the end of the year. Our first transformation took place last Wednesday, and OH MY GOSH, I am obsessed and 100% committed to doing several next school year! Keep reading and I PROMISE to tell you all about it! = )

Over the course of the last month we have been prepping for state testing like CRAZY. We have been  reviewing and re-covering and practicing, practicing, practicing. Both myself and my teacher bestie both tested on Thursday, so we thought Wednesday would be a fun day for some last minute testing review through a classroom transformation so... GLOW DAY 2017 was born!

I'd like to start by saying that all of our ideas were adapted from the AMAZING Hope King over at Elementary Shenanigans. We decided to use her "glow games" theme because when doing something new, why recreate the wheel when someone else has already
done something amazing?

We started by gathering the supplies that we needed. The hardest thing to find was most definitely black lights. We didn't want to spend money on black lights, so I reached out to anyone and everyone in search of some we could borrow. A local fire station who has a haunted house in October had some we were able to borrow! Whew! I suggest trying to find some before buying your own! If you can't find any, you can grab these off of Amazon.  Since we were able to get our backlights for free, we spend a total of about $40-50 a piece on our classroom transformation. SO cheap... music to my ears. Hah!

Okay, now for the details! Eek!
In order to get the kids intrigued and excited, I sent them each home with a ticket the night before our glow day. Other than what the ticket told them, the knew nothing. They were asking all sorts of questions but I kept it all a mystery!
You can grab these tickets as an editable freebie HERE on my TPT store. They are also included in the Glow Day Pack on my TPT store as well.

The next day when they entered our classroom, they had to provide their ticket. When they walked through the classroom door,
this is what they found...

The picture honestly doesn't do it justice. I LOVED hearing my kiddos reactions as they entered our transformed classroom. On the way in the door they grabbed some super cool glow stick glasses I purchased on Amazon and our day of amazingness began.

Alright, now for the stations...
We had 5 different stations and students stayed at
each station for 30-40 minutes.
It took our students the entire day to work through all 5 stations. 

Station 1: Ring Toss
(Supplies needed: the jugs, glow sticks, task cards)
At this station there were three different colored task cards. Each color card was a different skill. Students picked a card and answered the question independently. Once everyone answered independently and then agreed on an answer, each student got to throw a ring at the appropriately colored jug. Once everyone tossed, they moved on to the next task card.

Station 2: Geometry that GLOWS!
(Supplies needed: iPad with PicCollage, glowsticks, task cards)
This station was super simple, but the kiddos loved it. Students worked to create different shapes/angles/etc. using glow sticks and they took pictures of them and posted them into PicCollage on a graphic organizer. There were a few task cards sprinkled in on the graphic organizer so that students would have plenty to do.

Station 3: Let's Bowl!

(Supplies needed: water bottles, glow sticks, hamster ball, dice)
The station was one of the more elaborate ones. Students practiced creating numbers/fractions/decimals, ordering them, writing them in multiple forms, and rounding them. Students rolled the dice to create the numbers. Once they completed one "round" in their student booklet (more on that later) each student got one bowl. They recorded the number of pens that knocked down on a bowling sheet.

Station 4: Jenga
We wrapped each Jenga block with backlight reactive tape. We had five colors of tape and each color went with the same color task card. A student pulled a task card, everyone answered the question/discussed, and then the student who pulled the card got to pull a Jenga block. 

Like I said earlier, all students rotated through all 4 stations. Student each had a recording book where they organized and recorded their work all day long. I had a light up wand that I passed to different groups as I caught them working well together and staying on task. This motivated the students to work as a team because they wanted to hold the magical wand!
It was an AMAZING day. I have never seen my students so engaged and motivated as they were on this day. I am not gonna lie, I was a bit scared about doing a classroom transformation. Would my kids be CRAZY? Would they stay on task? I was CRAZY to even question them. I cannot wait to do more of these transformations next year!

So, now that I’ve told you all about our AMAZING day, have I convinced you to give it a try? If you are a 5th grade teacher, you can grab 90+ pages worth of resources and task cards that go with all four of these stations over on my TPTpage. Everything you need to complete the educational side of these centers is in this pack!
Grab the Pack HERE.

Have you done a transformation?
What was your theme? I'd love to hear all about it!

Grab all of the supplies you need off of Amazon Prime below!
(I split the glasses and glowsticks with a teammate in order to cut down on the cost.)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Need an Absolutely Perfect New Classwide Behavior Incentive?

(Affilate links are provided in this post for your convenience.)

Compliment Clips...
Brownie Points...
Bravo Board...
Behavior Bingo...
Jar Filling...

We've ALL tried numerous types of whole class behavior incentive. I, myself, have tried compliment clips and brownie points (in two different years). My kiddos worked to earn 20 of each and once they earned 20, they earned a behavior party, brownies, game time, etc. 

I personally think that it is SUPER important and effective to do a positive behavior incentive that is whole class because it encourages unity and teamwork! I feel like in previous years my students have really responded to it. This past summer I decided I wanted to put a fun spin on whole class behavior reinforcement. I was tired of the predictable "earn 20 of this or that" and get a prize. When I was walking through Target this summer and saw these guys, I KNEW I had found my new whole class behavior management tool.

I immediately knew I had found a fun, mysterious form of whole class behavior management! I decided to go with the Giant Kerplunk and named my new behavior incentive "Compliment Kerplunk". 

How we play:
Giant Kerplunk is set up in my classroom. Every time I catch my students doing something AMAZING as an entire class, I pick a student to draw a stick. The class also gets to pull a stick if they get a compliment from an administrator or another teacher. The goal is to get ALL of the balls to drop. I was worried that it wouldn't take very long, but it took pulling almost ALL of the sticks. Perfect. I love this SO much because the kids have NO clue when they will earn their reward and each time a ball or balls drop their excitement level increases. It's so much fun to see them get so excited when several balls drop or so sad when they pull a stick and nothing falls. The anticipation (and positive behavior) continuously builds until all of the balls are gone. I love the way this has added a fun element of surprise and anticipation to our class wide behavior incentive. 
(You should also know that this Kerplunk was VERY easy to put together and is sturdy.)

We also used this fun Giant Kerplunk for a class wide "get to know you" game at the beginning of the year and I hope to use it at the end of the year before state testing with a review game. I love buying things that have multiple purposes! 

Ok - you've heard about how I reinforce whole class GREAT behavior...what do you do in your classroom? 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Years Writing Activities that your students will LOVE!

New Years... a time for new goals, new plans, new you! I always love starting the New Year (whether it be a calendar year or a school year) with fun writing where my students can reflect about the previous year and plan for the new year. I think reflecting and planning is something you should do whether you are 9 or 99! Keep reading to see the fun ways we bring in the new year in my 5th grade classroom! All of my paid products are on SALE for the next 24 hours. Snatch them up and use them when you return to school next week!

In this fun writing and craft activity, students will create their own spaceship and complete a writing piece. They have two different options for their writing. They can write about how they think the new year will be a BLAST or they can reflect on why the previous year was a BLAST. Students love space so this craft is always a hit. Templates are super easy to use and you can choose long or short writing paper. 
What's included:

OK... I am SUPER pumped about this one. My kiddos are obsessed with social media so I know they will be PUMPED about this writing activity... and we love when they get pumped... am I right?! Using Snapchat filters, I will take pictures of my kiddos and they will complete a writing piece about why they are excited about the coming year or why they loved the previous year. Each snapchat filter has a unique journal page that relates directly to the filter. Don't have snap chat? Don't worry! There are several other free apps that allow you to add filters to your pictures! These apps include: Snow and MSQRD.
Whats included: 
I included three different versions of each sheet so that this can work in any age classroom. The first option includes a place for students to draw a picture (far left). The other two options just include lines, but one is more suitable for younger kids and one is more suitable for older kids. = )

HAPPY NEW YEAR and best wishes in 2017! One of my resolutions is to get better at blogging! Fingers crossed I can stick with it! Do you have a great resolution?! I'd love to hear it! = )