Monday, October 14, 2013

Goldfish Games and Fire Safety

Love these!
Last weekend, when I was doing the dreaded grocery shopping (ugh!), I spotted some FABULOUS new goldfish crackers.  They are made for GAMES!  No way, right?  Of course I bought a few bags.  How could I say no?  The crackers are white and dark blue (almost black).  My kiddos used them for playing sight word Connect Four.  I have Connect Four mats in my store that go with my reading series so we used those.  There are also some really great Dolch Phrase mats over at the School Bell that you can download for free!  You guys all know, right?  I get lots of classroom resources there.  I plan on using these goldfish for math activities in the near future.  We are going to use them for adding, subtracting (yum!), and greater than/less than.  I love it when school tastes good!  If you have any ideas for using goldfish games, please share them below! 

 We also had a visitor from the fire department teach us about what to do in case of a fire. He comes every year and I love this demonstration he does with balloons.  

Here, he is telling the kids that the blue balloon is the clean air, the black is the smoke, and the orange is the fire.  The balloons are all tied in a cluster while he is explaining this.

Next, he tells them how the fire and smoke rise to the top, but the clean air stays down low.

Finally, he releases the clip and the kids SEE the smoke and fire rise and the clean air sinks to the floor.  I think this is SUCH a great visual and I have not seen this done by other firefighters who visited us.  (Of course this works because the black and orange are full of helium and blue is full of regular air.  I am a visual learner so I thought this was awesome! 

Well, that about wraps up my week.  I hope you all have a great week.  Play some games, eat some snacks, make it fun!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spider Math Craftivity FREEBIE!!!


I love to make cute projects to decorate my room, but always feel the need to make them as educational as possible.  These spiders are the perfect cuties for my smarties! 
We painted the outside of two small paper plates purple.  I printed blank addition sentences on purple paper.  In my class, all students are working on mastering facts at various levels.  They move on once they can pass timed tests - no time for counting fingers!  This is nice because it really tied into what the kids are working on.  I have differentiated spiders on my ceiling!  Kids wrote facts on the legs of the spiders.  We accordion folded them and stapled the plates together.  One side of the spider got google eyes and the kids painted mouths.  The other side is totally math! 
These little guys look so cute hanging from my ceiling.  Click here to get the printable for legs and math fact circles. I have included circles for facts 8-22. 

Thanks for reading.  Have a great week!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Differentiating Instruction with Watch, Think, Color games

Watch, Think, Color bundles contain several designs in many different skills.  I have had teachers ask "why would we want to do this game over and over when we are making the same picture?"  That is not the purpose of the bundles.  I want to share with you how I use bundles to differentiate instruction in my classroom.  This is how I Watch, Think, Color!

I download a WTC bundle on the computer that runs my board and on all of my laptops.  I open the same design but in a variety of skills on the different laptops. 

All of these computers are showing number 114 but in a variety of ways.

I make the timing the same on all the games.  There are directions to do this in the games.  It is usually on the third or fourth slide.  I need the timings to be the same so that we finish at the same time.  I get all the games to the slide that says "get your crayons ready".  MOST of my class will play the game on the board.  I make a group of kids who need to review a skill that has already been taught and the majority of the kids are ready to move past.  I make a group of kids who are ready for a challenge.  They could easily do the game on the board but would benefit from a more difficult skill.  I put somebody in each group in charge of pressing enter when I say "go".  We count "1, 2, 3, GO" and the games are started.  One more important thing is to turn off the sound on the laptops.  There is a chime sound at each transition.  This draws the attention back to the game and keeps kids focused and on-task.  It is super annoying to hear multiple chimes!  When the game is finished, we have all made the same game but in a variety of ways.  My groups are always changing and it is not a big deal who is doing what.  I collect the pictures and can quickly assess who struggled with a concept. 

Look at the pictures on the left.  This student needs more practice of the skills.  The student on the right has mastered the skill and is ready to move on to a new skill. 

This game used the skill 10 More/10 Less.  By looking at the finished pictures, I can see that the student on the top really struggled with this concept.  I will pull them for one-on-one help with this concept and they will continue to play 10 More/10 Less WTC games for the next few weeks or until they have mastered this skill.
My friend had a special education student who loved WTC, but was frustrated by the timings.  She just turned them off for him and gave him a laptop to use.  When he was ready, he pressed enter to move to the next slide. 

I have used WTC during math centers this way.  My different groups work on different skills.  I prefer for my whole class to WTC at the same time because it keeps them all engaged, focused, and quiet.  There are not many things that keep an ENTIRE class focused for the same length of time.  All assignments have some early finishers and some slow pokies.  I know I can count on 15-20 minutes of work time with WTC games.  I have built Watch, Think, Color into my weekly lesson plans.  Every Monday, they WTC while I get homework ready for the week.  It is a huge time-saver for me plus it is great math practice for my kiddos.  With weekly practice, kids get SO fluent with numbers and such a strong foundation of number sense.  I see HUGE math progress with repeated practice of these games.  Visit my TpT store to check out my Watch, Think, Color Bundles!

Please let me know if you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions.  Thanks for reading!  Have a wonderful week!