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Learning Events - Engagement made easy!



I am loving transforming my classroom to enhance student learning!  It has been such a creative outlet for me as well as my kiddos! I want to share some reasons why these learning events are so fun and how they are tied to content.





1.  Plan around what your kids love!  Mario, Pokemon? Plan a video game day with different levels tied to "content skills." We did this already this year and students went absolutely GA-GA for it!  They had to save Princess Peach and raise the flag.  We got temporary tattoos as prizes.  Easy and cheap but unforgettable!



2.  Take one subject to the EXTREME!  Last year we had "Grammar Surgery" that focused on 9 different skills we had worked on throughout the year.  The "heavy hitters" for our grade level.  We had supplies donated and it hardly cost anything to put together plus I'll have it all ready for this year!


now tell me that's not going to stick with them forever!

3.  Builds Anticipation - Learning is Fun!   Students cannot wait once they see me start to put things together or any sign that says they have to wait.  Sometimes it's weeks in advance that I lay clues.  They are always dying and so excited to come into class. Can you remember that feeling from school? Even if it is only a couple times  year (because hey these do take some planning!) they will remember THOSE experiences all tied to content.  Usually mine are planned around reviewing skills not teaching anything new but still so valuable....especially before testing.

This was from our Awesome Cave Day - which coincides great with Missouri history!

Stretchy headbands with touch lights attached - they were on sale at Walmart.  We live in a hunting community so headlights borrowed from students was possible as well.


4.  Extend learning to places not thought possible! 
After reading the BFG we extended our learning by drinking Frobscottle (which causes farts in the book) and reading articles that discussed why we fart/burp tying in some science.  We then had a mission from the CIA to create lunch menus (health) that would have students producing "less gas in class" it sounds hilarious but boy did they take it seriously when working for the CIA.

I had a fingerprint scanner app (that didn't do anything but looked cool) they had to do that before we started work so CIA could keep tabs.

They had to write official letters (writing, parts of a letter) back to the CIA with their specific menu and reasoning for choices based on what they read - talk about deep meaning of a text and APPLYING it to a real world (albeit funny) situation.  UNFORGETTABLE!!





Amazing Race - Classroom Edition


A photo posted by Amber Nicole (@sssteaching) on



TONS of people were asking and wanting more details about our Amazing Race coming up in our classroom!  Here are some details about what we did: 

- 7 "check points"
- review of all subjects and major content so far this year
- books wrapped as prizes
- varying amounts of 100 grand as prizes! 



The key to this being successful is organization!  I worked on this weeks in advance just little by little to make it exactly what I wanted.  My parents donated bandanas for each team (from Hobby Lobby only 99 cents or cheaper with coupons!)

I made each team a rotation schedule that they would do the stations in.  I had ONE GIANT PROBLEM!  I had 11 groups of 2 and only 7 stations.  Hmmmm.... what could the others be working on ....I get to that later!





First I went through and explained all the stations. In my teacher dreams, I'd have these located around school with poems or clues to each - in reality I didn't get a chance to book rooms and didn't want to deal with weather so we had it all in my room, marked with letters.  Boring but efficient.  They have been looking forward to it for weeks so I know this was ok.  

I also would have loved not having to go over all the directions before and have them read and figure out what to do, but short on help it was necessary so I didn't have to answer every single "What do I do?"   

so let me explain the stations to you and where they went in between.  




Station 1: Map of Missouri                                                                                               Students had to locate major cities and rivers and velcro them to the map.  I made an  answer key for easy checking.  They also took a picture for Seesaw for their team. 



Station 2: US Puzzles                                                                      Students had to complete a US puzzle and then list the first 5 capitals in alphabetical order.  We start this right after Christmas so this was like an intro to it.  We've been slowing working this in with our postcard exchange as well. ***Note*** 3 groups could do this one at once




Station 3: Rebus clue to Nonfiction book                                                                                      This picture puzzle (just like in Mr. Lemoncello's Library - our first read aloud) led them to our library where they had a "Road Block" they must read one of the 4 nonfiction books about creepy, crawly, undersea animals and get a 90% above on a comprehension quiz to move on.   **4 groups could do at once** they had to show me scores for initials and to move on.    (People who don't like AR hide your eyes!!!!)




Station 4: Parts of Speech Mad Lib                           I modified a Mad Lib just found from the internet ( a great one for this time of year would be from my Poultry Parts of Speech though!) I blew it up left blanks for the words.  In a baggie, I laminated some cardstock with the numbers and part of speech that they need to fill in and then add to the Mad Lib with velcro. They will take a video for Seesaw reading it when finished for completion.  Only 1 group did this at a time.




















Station 5: Math "Detour"                   Students have 2 paths they could choose to take.  Each had 5 problems they had to solve using tougher concepts they had learned so far this year.  Numbers 2 and 5 from each column matched and opened the lock box so they could do on their next clue.  Only 1 group could do at a time and I had to make sure they remixed the numbers for the next people.  It was easy to check and move on.  




Station 6: Nonfiction Article Comprehension                           I got an article from the "Missouri" section of Newsela at a 5th grade reading level to challenge us.   Students had to read and complete the 4 tough questions regarding the article before moving on.  I did have a parent volunteer check this one and tell them which ones needed to be fixed before moving on.  If they attempted 3 times that was the score they received - or you could put a time deduction because I really wanted them to focus their efforts on correct questions not just rushing.   Up to 4 teams could be doing this, checking answers could get a little rushed. 


Station 7: American Symbols                   We touched on this at the beginning of the year and it was brief so I wanted a little review.  I made a page and pictures with clues.  The underlined "red" letters make up a word that unlocks the spelling lock indicating they got it right.  Only 1 team at a time can do this. 




Logistics:

We played Theme music in the background and I had a timer going on the board to record times after all 7 stations were complete.  They did know that extra prizes were involved for not just speed but other essential teamwork skills. 

Each team got their own colored bandanas (we took team pictures a couple weeks before) and they worked with those partners anytime we had partner work to get ready for the race!  We made a short video showing our team names and they got to pick nicknames. - I so wish I could show it because IT ROCKS!

Each team got an order to complete stations so they would not all start at station 1 and be stuck!  That was also what I initialed or they used for notes if need be.  While they were not working on a station (it was full) then they had questions to complete on our main back table.  Take a look at some of them below.  


I had a rotation schedule for all the teams but they ended up moving to which stations were open which worked out great!
  • What is 1 mistake that we learned about from history that you think won't be made again, why? 
  • How have you grown to meet our morning meeting challenges (Ron Clark Essential 55)
  • Explain the forces and energy transfer in something you did yesterday
  • describe a time this year where your learning changed
  • when specifically have you challenged yourself in reading?
*Each time writes in their team color - they know that an extra award can depend on the thoroughness of their answers.*







Awards Ceremony:

 I called up team colors to receive their books to unwrap for our classroom and some 100 grand bars.  Each team got called up and received 2 books at the least and "200 grand".  Our top team opened 6 new books for our library and more "grand" than others but each team received "prizes."

We also received some special awards (just special candy - I would have done some medals, whistles, glow sticks, etc... but pregnancy got the best of me and we ended up with special candy from dollar store)
Some of the extra awards are: 
  • Best Perseverance -  working hard even through a tough time
  • Above and Beyond award - answered questions most thoroughly from the extra table 
  • teamwork - worked together even though maybe not fastest but showed courtesy
  • attitude - kept up good attitude throughout whole race and was positive with teammate and other teams.
  • Team Spirit - wearing their team colors and making up a handshake or cheer to promote team spirit




We then filled out a google Form to reflect on our learning and after submitting they posted on a Padlet their favorite part from the day!

Here is the link to our reflections questions and Padlet.  We used this to help determine our "extra" award winners and reflect on our learning!




Poultry Parts of Speech





Are you looking for a great Parts of Speech review and craftivity?!  These Poultry Parts of Speech turned out HILARIOUS!   

My students loved making and reading the funny sentences! 


Basically students create feathers for their "bird" in a _________ (adjective) _________ (adjective) _________ (noun)  ________ (verb) ___________ (prepositional phrase) format.

















We put all of our feathers in different bags/groups then draw out a sentence.  

Students have to cut and paste their "new" turkey together and draw the action from the sentence.  Here is how mine turned out. 


Here are some that students created as well: 


Hilarious, right?!

If you are interested in learning more details about this activity or how to get the printables - click on any of the pictures above.  

It also comes with a fun Mad Lib like activity and a color the turkey by part of speech page that we do for homework right after doing this project!







Here's how they look up in our classroom:





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