Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fabulous Freebies: Common Core Reading Activities

Common core is the educational buzz phrase.  This week I'm posting some fabulous freebies that correlate with the reading standards: reading (I'm combining reading literature and informational texts into one), writing, speaking and language.  These can be used by parents out there looking for activities or teachers looking for something to send along to parents.  Or, it can just get tucked away in a folder to be pulled out at a later date.  But, without further ado, here they are....

#1-Reading: Check out this reading contract and log.  It is simple and attractive.  It is a great resource to use with parents and students because it provides an explanation of the importance of reading, a contract that lays out the logistics and a log to track their reading.  There are several ways it can be used:

a) Send it home to be used by your students.
b) Keep for next year.  (You are probably already on summer mode and not thinking about work.)
c) Start a summer reading club.  This can even be a neighborhood thing or a once-a-week get together at school to promote reading.  There are a number of free reading incentive programs that promote summer reading.  Check out one of our previous blogs about free summer reading programs.

#2-Language: Check out this antonyms puzzle.  It is a fun way to go over vocabulary and opposites.  Once kids/students have put it together, they can create their own puzzle using more difficult vocabulary, synonyms, word analogies, etc.

#3-Writing: This is essentially summer stationary.  It can be used several ways.  Here are a few ideas:

a) Have kids use it to write about your family vacations.  They can add some color and you can put it in a scrapbook.
b) Visiting the grandparents in another state this summer?  Have the kids write about the visit and send it in the thank you note.
c) Have your kids write to pen pals using the stationary.

#4-Listening & Speaking: This is a simple question and answer activity with vocabulary.  It practices the 5 W questions.  Going through it orally helps students with their listening skills.  It can be made more fun if played as a game.  Take out the oral piece and it can become memory.  Just cut the cards apart, place them face down and match the picture and corresponding question.  Keep the oral piece and it can be a version of go fish where students draw rectangular cards that are made up of the picture and question.  When it is their turn they have to ask the question to see if one of the other players has the item.  This is great for early elementary, but the idea can be adapted and used with more difficult vocabulary.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Websites: Ways to Recycle in Your Classroom

I have always been thrifty which has come in handy being an art teacher on a low budget. However, even I learned many new tricks with these ideas! Here are some sites with ways to help you recycle in your classroom and reuse materials you may not have even thought about keeping.

Repurpose Old Art Supplies - Reuse old art supplies that are down to the last nub or even broken! I always had a habit of keeping supplies going for a long time but these tips gave me lots of ideas so they could even have more life!

Reuse Bottle Caps to Play and Learn - I enjoyed this article geared towards early elementary students with 30 ways you can reuse bottle caps to help play and learn. I loved these ideas and they don't take up much space either which is a bonus!

Keep Kids' Artwork Safe - I have never done this before as an art teacher but after I read this tip I wish I had! I love the idea of rolling artwork and securing it with a cardboard tube! This would make it much easier for kids to take home and much less chance of damage. This would also work for posters and other large projects for other subject areas.

Reuse Your Plastic Easter Eggs - If you went to any egg hunts this year you might have a ton of plastic Easter eggs laying around. I know I do! Here are some great ways you can reuse those eggs in your classroom.

Make a Biodegradable Seed Pot - Since it is spring it's the perfect time to start growing plants and this biodegradable seed pot uses recycled materials and can be planted directly into the ground. This is a fun way to incorporate science into your classroom.

Do you recycle in your classroom? Share your ideas below!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Fabulous Freebies: Fun Spring Things

Despite the fact that I had to brush two inches of snow off of my car before I left for work today, it is officially spring.  So, here are a few great freebies to check out...

This spring fractions matching game is a sure hit with your primary students who are just learning fractions.  The packet includes fraction cards with the fractions written as a number, word and visual (separately).  Student can have fun playing memory or roll-it, read-it, keep-it with the cards.

This spring packet for K-1 includes 40 pages of literacy and numeracy activities.  There are alphabetizing activities, writing booklets, addition problems and much more.  This would be a great packet to have in your files as it can be used a variety of ways: learning stations, sub plans, etc.

This spring dice game is a fun way to have primary students practice their math skills.  It practices addition, subtraction, and place value.  This would be a great activity to use as a math station, review activity, or celebration game for a job well done.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Fabulous Freebies: Lessons on Weather

This week's Fabulous Freebies focus on weather lessons.  Here they are....

#1: Weather Graphing Activity  is a fun activity that has your students track weather and graph it over time.  This activity is perfect for the younger grades.

#2: Weather and Climate Unit is a package of materials with assessments, power points and notes on weather.  There is so much there, it is hard to believe it is free.  It is ideal for the middle school grades.

#3: April Showers Bring May Flowers Clipart  is an eight page packet with spring clipart.

#4: Weather Whiz Kids is a website on how to conduct close to forty weather related experiments.  It is definitely worth checking out.

#5: The Weather Channel also has a ton of free lesson plans to check out.  

There are so many ways to bring it into the classroom in cross-curricular ways.  Students can work on data analysis by graphing weather, conduct science experiment to help them understand it more and journal about what they like to do in different climates.  The possibilities are virtually endless, but hopefully this blog can help you take some concrete first steps!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fabulous Freebies: Fun April Fools Ideas for the Classroom

Here are some fun and free April Fool ideas for the classroom!

Following Directions Test - I'm sure we have all seen a test like this that asks readers to read through the test before starting. Not many students actually do this though! This is a fun one.

Squarehead's No Prep Pranks - I loved this list of no prep pranks of funny things you could tell your students! There is also a list of short prep items as well.

Printable April Fools Pranks - This list of printable April Fools pranks are great ideas as well and pretty quick to pull together!

April Fool Poems - Here are two poems with a funny and cute April Fools twist.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wednesday Websites: Sites for the Emergent Reader

A second one is Fun Brain.  This site has games for students in grades K-8.  Again, students do not have to register to play.  They simply identify their gender and grade level.  The site is designed to be highly engaging, using games to teach math and graphic novels to engage them in reading.  The book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney is posted on it.  The Lost Side of Suburbia, a slightly scary graphic novel by Kory Merritt, is also on there.  There are also a variety of madlibs.  This site has done its research and uses activities that are highly engaging to encourage students to play and learn at the same time.  My nephew in upper elementary gives it two thumbs up!

Finally, there is PBS.  This site has a wide range of educational games for a variety of subjects and topics.  The site is very comprehensive and easy to navigate.  The range of activities is expanding all the time.  And again, all the kids I know like this site, using it at school and home.

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