Sunday, December 13, 2015

MERRY AND BRIGHT: Christmas Themed Activities

Come on, you can do it! We're almost there! We know this week can be a little hectic, so some of my blogging friends and I want to share some tips to make this week before Christmas a little easier for you!
 
 
Just take a deep breath...
 
 
 
My students love "Christmas" themed activities! So, as soon as I change up a reading or math lesson and make it "Christmassy", they get excited and there's no groaning! :) It's amazing how changing the name of an activity, wrapping books up, adding Christmas clipart, copying on red or green paper, or making paper chains for each Reading Counts or behavior point earned will change the mood and mindset of kids!
 
I created this math game for math intervention and early finishers. Using dice, they calculate a number using any operation and then color in the ornament. Whichever players has the most colored ornaments is the winner. They BEG me to do math (play)!
 

Click here to get your copy. Your students will spend lots of "quiet time" playing this game! I plan on making several for the year! Stay tuned....
 
 
Want something to brighten your spirits too? This "Christmas" themed reading wreath will excite everyone and make an adorable display! Use with any fiction or non-fiction text. Your students won't mind thinking critically when they can sprinkle some creativity in their assignment!
This is part of a Reading Wreath Bundle!
 
 
Enter to win this and so many other goodies from the Merry and Bright Bloggers! You'll win lots of lessons for this last week and for January when we return! Our gift to you! :)
 
 
 
 
Check out some other fun ideas from other great bloggers!
  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: 12 Gifts of Christmas-Easy Way to Get Excited About Books!

The countdown to Christmas has begun!

I love when I get an idea that's simple and gets my students excited!
And, basically it's FREE!
Disclaimer: I actually got the title "12 Gifts of Christmas" from a Hallmark movie! LOL! Yes, I'm addicted to those holiday movies!

First, you need to select 12 books. At first, I was going to have a mixture of subjects and topics, but then I was able to find enough winter and Christmas themed books to make it work. (I didn't think I could find enough in my personal and school library since I shared so many with my class last year.) I chose a variety of genres to mix it up (realistic fiction, poetry, fantasy, fairy tale, humorous fiction, and non-fiction).


I then wrote little notes to myself about each book, so I could plan an activity or mini-lesson for each book.


Time to wrap! This is what creates the element of surprise! It's amazing what a little wrapping paper will do! I precut strips of paper at home and quickly wrapped them at school. (I ended up only using the black and white designed paper-I just love Hobby Lobby's wrapping paper!)
 
I randomly selected 12 students to "tag" our books for the order they will be read. This was a big deal too! :) We will share all of them, but I guess it's fun to put the tag on the package!
 
During our reading block, I share our "Gift of Christmas" book. We've only read two books, but as soon as they walk in they remind me that we have to get our book ready!
(Yes, those are high heels ornaments! Aren't they amazing? My students find them everywhere!) 
 
I pull sticks to see who will open our "gift" book. Even though they know all the gifts are books, they all get excited to watch it opened!
 
 
Some of the books that are wrapped under the tree are just for pleasure, but I also plan on using some of these mentor texts for some mini-lessons too! These are from my Christmas Graphic Organizers pack. (They just make "working" during the holidays a little more fun!)


 
 When I was wrote my notes on each book, I wrote down a few skills I could focus on during my mini-lesson. The graphic organizers below are from my Ultimate Response to Reading Bundle.
 
 

I've also displayed a "12 Gifts of Christmas" countdown to excite my students about opening the gifts of reading!

There you have it! Wrap some books to surprise your students each day until Christmas! The wrapping piques their curiosity and ties into the theme for Christmas!


 I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: Personalized Stickers

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Now let the countdown to Christmas begin...
(28 days if you're counting!)



This is idea is added to my collection of simple ideas (my favorite ideas). I like to change things up to keep it fresh and new in my class, but not have to be super elaborate or expensive.

 
I got these circle labels on clearance a while back, but you could also use full sheet labels and a circle punch to make the same stickers. Or... the most common label (30 count) rectangular labels would work too-picture on the left and message on the right. Doesn't matter which sticker, as long as you make it your own!
Disclosure: When my husband saw these stickers he just shook his head...he thinks I'm crazy! :)
 
 
 
If you follow my blog you know I like to leave things on my desk or table for a few days before I use them to build excitement. So, of course my students wanted to know how they could "get" one of these "Mrs. Miller" stickers! Score! I didn't even have to sell it! :)
 
 
So excited for this math whiz! She's been trying so hard! Reading comes very easy for her, but math she has to work at. After triple checking her assignments and completing extra practice, she's got it!
 
 
Look at this student! This is her Reading Counts report! She now has 500 points for this school year! That definitely deserves a WHOOP WHOOP! She's incredible and is determined to keep her school lead!
 

I love recognizing students when their hard work pays off! This young man studies his vocabulary words every night and I'm so proud of him! (He goes by his middle name, but writes his first name on his papers-I didn't want you to think I wrote the wrong name. LOL)

There you go! A simple idea that's different from an ordinary sticker that will make your students smile! What do you think? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

 
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: Kind is the New Cool!




Kind is the New Cool!

 
This blog post is very special and motivational to my students and myself. Our hope is that if we spread more kindness, we will wipe out the meanness in the world! Please help us spread kindness by using some of the materials or ideas in your classroom/school and share, pin, and spread the word for us!

I've told by students they can make a difference and we're acting on it. My job isn't only to teach academics, but to create leaders and doers...and my kids are running with it!

I purchased these shirts for my class to wear while presenting. I wanted to look united and spread our message loud and clear! These shirts have gained much attention at our school! Everyone wants one! (We're working on getting every faculty member and student one for our school!)


We started our spread kindness campaign by presenting to our office staff and other classes. Each student selected or created a quote to share about kindness and what it meant to them.

 
 
 We've invited all the classes at our school to join us on our campaign and challenged them to spread kindness everywhere! Each class received a large poster reading "Don't Let Anyone Ever Dull Your Sparkle" as a reminder to stay strong and don't let others bring you down.



I was so proud of what my students wrote for their quote meanings/examples to present to other classes. They were from the heart and inspirational. All of the random acts of kindness we've done, books we've shared, and teaching I've done about being kind was shining through during these presentations!



With each presentation my students' presenting skills improved and they gained confidence and excitement in our mission! Each time they hear each others' words, they are further engrained. It's important to start in elementary while they're still so impressionable, so it carries with them to the upper grades.


We wanted to go bigger than just our school...so we invited Fox News to come out and help us get the word out about spreading kindness! This was also a great experience for my students.
(They just filmed yesterday and with the heartbreaking news in Paris (please pray for the victims and families) our story wasn't shown, but as soon as it is aired,  I will add the link.



We share all of these goodies with each class in hopes they will use them and be kind with one another.


This is our Random Acts of Kindness Bulletin Board-it's a great visual and reminder for us to complete these kind acts and to recognize each other when someone else completes one.



We give each class a poster and post-its to get started on their "kindness kick". I've received several emails and students coming to tell me how many post-its their class has used! It's so exciting to see we're already making a difference just at our own school!


Positive Tear Offs are also given to each class-these are kind compliments that are just SUPER FUN! Kids love ripping them off and kids love receiving them! A few classes have already run out! :)


These posters are our kindness quotes we selected for our presentations. They are the perfect visual to remind students of  how easy and important it is to be kind!


Pay it Forward! We've "Positive Pranked" over 20 classes now and my kids love this random act of kindness! They get to be sneaky, knock on doors, and RUN! In return, we've been positive pranked too!
This class wrote individual notes and attached candy to them for my class. My class loved it!


This class left a yummy goodie bag of Blow Pops for us! My students are starting to see how kindness pays off! These random acts on us are making them realize they ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!


Here are some books we've shared in class that promote kindness, uniqueness, and compassion. I know there are dozens more titles for kindness, so please share them in the comments below. (these are just the titles I own and have read with my class). These books will definitely spark discussion and give your students a better understanding of the importance of kindness. (If  you don't have all of these titles, you can usually find the titles read aloud online).





I hope you are able to use some of these ideas to spread kindness in your classroom, school, or community. Please help this movement by sharing this link, we need everyone to help!


Want all of these goodies?
WE WANT YOU TO HAVE THEM! :)
They are free, just be KIND and leave feedback and have others come download too!

Click here. :)
 
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Organizing Work For Absent Students

I'm blogging over at the iTeach Fifth blog today!
 
Come check out my post about organizing work for absent students and grab a FREEBIE!
 
 
http://bit.ly/1RHw84A
 


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: Glow in the Dark Dance Party

 
Want your students GLOWING with excitement?
 
video
 
Looks fun right?
 
All you need is 5 minutes and about $5!

 Materials:
  • Black paper to cover windows if your classroom is still bright with the lights off.
  • Glow sticks (bracelets, necklaces).
  • Fun dance song!
Instructions:
  1. Have your windows covered when your students enter the room to pique their curiosity.
  2. Bring out the glow sticks, let your students select their favorite color, and crack it.
  3. Cue music!
  4. Let the fun begin!!
Prep Time:
  • 5-10 minutes to set up room.
  • 5 minute dance party!
Easy, fun, and memorable for your students!
 
 These glow sticks were from Dollar Tree and they were SUPER bright! You might be able to find some on clearance leftover from Halloween-be on the lookout!
 
 Before I cued the music, I did go over the expectations so it didn't get too wild! You can still be safe and have fun!
 
 
 I like the glow sticks better than the necklaces and bracelets because of their brightness and they can use them as props! (They make great microphones!)

  video
 
They get to bring their glow stick souvenir home!
And, I promise...this five minutes will get your students motivated to talk about their school day at home too!

There you have it! A super easy idea that will get your students
GLOWING with excitement!!!

 
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: Positive Pranking

Happy Halloween! You made it through the week!
Let's spark some motivation and spread some kindness!


This is an idea YOU HAVE to use in your classroom! It will motivate your students, spread kindness, and make another classroom happy all at the same time!
What is it called? POSITIVE PRANKING!

Positive Pranking is doing something nice for someone else, the reverse of the pranking that's hurtful and sometimes destructive. The form of positive pranking we're doing is the reverse of "ding-dong-ditching". Instead of knocking on a house door and leaving without a trace, we're knocking on classroom doors and leaving a goodie bag!

I filled treat bags with lollipops and pencil cap erasers and topped it with a note to explain the special delivery. We didn't sign the notes, but we did leave a "clue". We stamped them with a high heel stamp...do you think they'll guess who it is??!!


video
 
 We plan "MISSIONS" as a class (who will receive the positive prank, the route the positive pranker will take, and where to hide after they knock). One of my students is keeping track in a notebook of all the classrooms we've hit and which students have had a turn to carry out the prank

This student wanted to "dress up" for his mission! So cute!
 
 My class is so funny the way they pile at the door to watch the mission. Then we have to quickly close the door before the other class answers. We don't get to see the reactions of the teacher or students, but we love imagining it!


My students are BEGGING me to do the positive pranking! I tell them I'm looking for someone who is a leader in our class and someone who can pull off the mission!


This is seriously one of the BEST things I've implemented in our classroom! It makes EVERYONE happy and feel good! We've pranked 6 classrooms so far! We plan to do one a day until we've pranked the whole school!!!
 
Help spread kindness and positive prank someone today!
 
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

 

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