Fun Cricut Projects to make from Home!

Thursday, March 26, 2020 2 comments
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.

Let me tell yall about my newest obsession... My Cricut Air Explore 2! It's so fun! I held off on getting one for SO LONG because I thought it would be intimidating to use, but boy was I wrong! This little machine has been easy and fun and now that I'm stuck at home for a while, I can't wait to try out some new FUN projects! 

1. Infusible Ink Coasters

If you are like me - you've been using this time at home to clean and organize, so why not add some fun new decorations?! For this project you'll need something that would work for coasters and infusible ink! So FUN!

2. Match Up Your Socks!

We've ALL got Sock drawers full of socks... Am I right? Might as well use this time at home to create some funny socks for all of that couch sitting we are doing! I love the idea of repurposing and old sock and making it FUN! 

3. Decorate Your Home with SPRING Decor

In Alabama Spring has for sure SPRUNG! It is HOT here! Can't wait to make some fun spring decor using some card stock and ribbon I already have on hand! 

4. Send a Card to Someone! 

Everyone loves getting mail, so I am SO excited about this fun find! All you need is card-stock to make the cutest ice-cream card for a friend! 

5. Label EVERYTHING in Your House!

Anyone else organizing ALL THE THINGS in their house right now? The last step to organizing is Labeling! Super excited to label all the bins and baskets in my house and this tutorial is SO helpful!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine. This post also contains Affiliate links. If a purchase is made after clicking through one of my affiliate links I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. 

Upper Elementary Digital Resource Round-Up!

Monday, March 23, 2020 No comments
Hey friends! I hope everyone is staying healthy through this crazy! I have been working SO hard to create digital resources that you might find helpful during this time. My plan is to keep a running list of digital resources I have created here, so you can check them all out in one place. If you have ideas for a resource you need, let me know! I am happy to help in ANY way I can! Happy Distance Learning!

Item #1 - Digital Breakouts (using Google Forms):

These digital breakouts are PERFECT because all you need is a Google Form. These can be used with Google Classroom, or you can just send the Google Form link out to parents and they can solve it from their phones! I have created two different versions - a whole number one and a decimal one! Students solve 7-8 word problems and collect keywords as they answer correctly. At the end, they unscramble their keywords to answer a riddle. SO FUN! Check out this YouTube video for a better preview and explanation! 

Item #2 - Interactive Geometry Activities on Google Slides: 

I am SO excited about this resource! Students will complete ten different activities reviewing: angles, polygons, 3-d shapes, and Coordinate grids! The activities involve dragging and dropping, typing, etc. so it is very interactive! This was so much fun to create and I know your kiddos will enjoy completing it too! 

Item #3 - Digital Boggle Boards using Google Slides (and PDF):

I had several friends ask me for some Language Arts activities digital so I created some FUN Boggle Boards. These encourage critical thinking and are definitely going to keep students engaged. This resource has ten different boards: three 3x3 boards, five 4x4 boards, and two 5x5 boards. 

As I keep creating new items, I will add them here! If you have any suggestions for a creation, let me know! Stay safe and healthy, friends! 

Online Challenges for "at home" Learning!

Monday, March 16, 2020 2 comments
With all of the "at home" learning that will be happening for the next several weeks, I thought I would share what I plan on doing with my students because maybe, just maybe, it can help you too! Read below for the answers to some questions about my school district and my plan, and then all the way at the end I will share what resource I plan on sharing with my kids. I will continue updating the resource as I make more. Of course, it's free to anyone that might find it helpful! = ) 

Is "at home" learning required at your school?
I teach in the state of Alabama and as of now, schools are completely shut down and digital learning/at home learning isn't required. In order to keep my kiddos thinking critically, my goal is to pump out some FUN challenges for them to do at home that doesn't require much technology or internet. 

How will you push these ideas and challenges out to your students?
Thankfully most of parents are connected to my classroom using REMIND HQ, an text messaging communication system. I also have a blog, similar to this one for my classroom. It is very basic and can be accessed on any cell phone that has data. My goal is to send these challenges out to my students via remind and our blog. Students can then complete the challenges and send them back to me via commenting on the blog or responding to the remind. I will also let them know that they can compile daily challenges into a pile and bring them back whenever we return to school.

Are you requiring students to complete your challenges?
What will they earn for completing them?
No - challenges are not required and just for fun! I told the kids that if we did have to move learning "at home" based, I would give away some fun prizes for students that complete the challenges! 

How often do you plan on releasing challenges?
I plan on releasing three or so a week! If I get the urge to release more, then I will! Ha! 

Alright - CLICK HERE - to grab this resource in my TPT store for FREE. Right now there is only one challenge available, but I will continue updating the product as I make more. = ) 

Challenge #1 is below, but can also be downloaded on TPT! Enjoy! 

**If you have any FUN challenges I could add to this pack, comment below and let me know! I will use any help I can take in creating FUN and engaging activities for our kiddos.

Morning Choice in my 5th Grade Classroom: OBSESSED!

Friday, January 3, 2020 1 comment
Alright guys - I've gotten lots of questions about morning choice since I started this year. I learned about the idea of morning choice from Adam Dovico at GYTO two summers ago, but I have to be honest, I was too scared to try it last year. I am a fan of structure, and the thought of kids coming in and making a mess kind of stressed me out a bit. My coworker Jessica isn't scared of anything, so she did it last year and it was a huge success in her room. Her success and positive words about morning choice gave me the PUSH I needed to try it in my own room during the 2019-2020 school year. Well, here we are - halfway through the year - and I'm here to give you an update.

The update? I'M OBSESSED. Morning choice has CHANGED our classroom mornings for the BETTER.
In order to learn about morning choice, you'll need to head over to Adam's blog. He has three great blog posts on morning choice, but I would start with this one. Since the idea of morning choice was Adam's, I'm not going to talk about what it is - I'm simply going to fill you in on how it's going in my classroom.
Alright - Let's go back to the summer and discuss my FEARS and HESITATIONS.   
I had two major concerns when it came to morning choice.
1) Would the lack of structure and morning mess impact our day?
2) Would I have to constantly buy new activities so kids don't get bored?

I was SO concerned about the lack of structure, but there really hasn't been a lack of structure at all. During the first week of school we went over expectations, and because students love morning choice so much, they follow those expectations every single day. 

What are our expectations for morning choice?
When students enter our classroom, they must unpack, write down any announcements in their assignment pad, put up their backpack, and make sure they are completely ready for our day. Only once they are completely ready for the day they may play morning choice. This means that the quicker they come in and get ready, the longer they have to play. Another expectation is that whatever morning choice activity the student picks, they must stay with that activity for the entire duration of morning choice. No jumping from activity to activity. This means students must choose wisely. At the beginning of the year, I created signs for each morning choice activity that stated how many students are allowed to be at that particular activity. Those really helped as we began morning choice so that I wasn't answering lots of questions. When morning choice is over, I set a timer for two minutes. Students understand that by the time the timer goes off, morning choice should be completely cleaned up and students should be at their seats with their reading out ready to go. If students aren't ready, morning choice will be shortened to allow for additional clean up time the next day. These expectations have worked SO WELL for us! I highly recommend grabbing a GIANT timer for your classroom. If you are just starting out with morning choice, I also suggest making directions for each station. You can grab the ones I made HERE. They are editable and you can make them for any activity.
How often are new activities needed for morning choice?
Another MAJOR worry for me is that I would be constantly having to switch out or buy new games and activities to keep my students engaged and interested. Well, I'm here to report that halfway through the year, my students are still in LOVE with the original morning choice activities I stuck out and I haven't felt the need to buy new stuff at all. My kiddos have brought in some of their own activities based on their own interests, but I haven't bought anything new! 
Favorite Morning Choice Activities:
Now that we've discussed by fears and hesitation, let's discuss what morning choice activities my students LOVE. Don't spend lots of money on morning choice items. I asked friends and family for games. Everyone has a game closet with tons of games that they never use! Ha! Don't be afraid to ask! I also went to garage sales and thrift stores to grab some activities! Lastly, there are some pretty cheap items at Target and Amazon that can get you started! Instead of just listing favorite games and activities, I am going to post Amazon pictures. I highly suggest you try your local stores for the best deals before ordering on Amazon! = ) 

If you are looking for board games, I have found that Walmart and Target have the best deals. Click HERE to check out Walmart's selection! If you are more found of shopping at Target, click here for board games and click here for some great card game options!

New Ideas I plan on Implementing this Spring: 
These ideas were given to me on Instagram and I am excited to try them out this spring!

Alright - any questions you still have for me? Any awesome morning choice games I'm missing out on? If so- leave me a comment and let me know! Happy Morning Choice-ing! = ) 

Holiday Hoopla: A December Classroom Transformation!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019 No comments

The week before Christmas break = MASSIVE Chaos! Anyone else agree? Last year, in an attempt to AVOID the chaos, myself and my coworkers created a classroom transformation to keep the learning going and the engagement at a high! It was a SUCCESS and I cannot wait to do it again this year. Let's all keep the learning happening down to the final day! This year we plan on having three different theme days. Two are educational, and the last one is our Christmas party day. Read below for the scoop on EVERYTHING.

I created a HOLIDAY HOOPLA pack that can be found on TPT that has EVERYTHING you need for a successful two day transformation, but you could easily use my ideas below and use resources you already have!

Holiday Hoopla Transformation: The Decor
Decor for this transformation is EASY. I string lights EVERYWHERE and wrap our tables with wrapping paper. I also traced a Grinch and displayed him on my board. In order to make this transformation affordable, I asked parents for lights they didn't plan on using this year and for old wrapping paper. I simply labeled the lights so they could be returned after Christmas!

For supplies, I also asked parents to bring in items. All of the supplies needed were SUPER cheap, so they each grabbed an item or two. I purchased the rest on a super fun Walmart trip with my coworker Hannah! Hah!

Holiday Hoopla Transformation Day 1: Whooooville Day 
Our first theme day will be full of STEM challenges and a fun ELA activity. To start the day, students will come in and create their own WHO name. It is so fun! They will wear their names around their necks for the day. We will also tell our students to wear crazy hair like the people of Whoville. = ) 

STEAM ACTIVITIES: Students will also complete three STEM Challenges. The first challenge is to build a GRINCH SLED. Students will be given the scenario that the Grinch needed a sled that could hold ALL the presents from Whoville. The objective is to build the stage that would be able to hold the most presents. The second STEM Challenge we will do is from the amazing Brooke Brown. She has an incredibly fun STEM challenge called "SNOWBALL SHOOTERS" that is so easy and fun to do with PVC piping. In order to tie this into STEM day, students are given the scenario that the people of Whoville created shooters to defend themselves from the Grinch. The final challenge is the PRESENT PARACHUTE. Students create parachutes using any type of stem materials in your classroom! Once they are created we go outside to see if they can handle a BIG drop! The parachute is so that the Grinch can quickly get all of the gifts back to Whoville.

Items you'll want to grab for the stem challenges are: paper plates, straws, popsicle sticks, etc. I always ask parents to send in these items. They are inexpensive and I normally get good participation. 

ELA ACTIVITY: For ELA on this day we will make Mexican Hot Chocolate and Hot Chocolate. The people of Whoville need to warm up with hot chocolate around the fire after caroling. Some love hot chocolate, while others love Mexican hot chocolate. For this activity, while the hot chocolate is being made, students will read a passage about the hot chocolate and compare and contrast them. They will also compare and contrast using their senses once the hot chocolate is made. Mexican hot chocolate was so unique and last year my kiddos really enjoyed it! 

Holiday Hoopla Transformation Day 2: Reindeer Games 

Our second day will consist of lots of fun and reindeer games! For this day we will ask students to wear brown and they will come in and pick a reindeer name. They will also make antlers using brown paper and sentence strips. I was worried my 5th graders would be too old for this last year, but they LOVED it. They wore their hats all day long! = ) 

Activity #1: Scavenger Hunt - For this, students will go around the school and gather math problems and solve a riddle. Students LOVE these scavenger hunts and the engagement is always through the roof. 

Activity #2: Snowman Bowling - For this game, students read a task card and then students will get to bowl in between each round. I made this station pretty easily with a foam ball from the craft store and solo cups! Doesn't have to be fancy to be fun. (For this activity, I pair math word problems with the game.)

Activity #3: Snow in the Face - This game is a twist on Pie Face. The whipped topping? It's actually snow! For this activity students solve another task card and then one student gets to play a round of pie face. This was a major hit last year! (For this activity, I pair ELA snow-themed task cards.)

Activity #4: Antler Toss - For this activity, students will answer task cards and then play a round of antler toss. Antler toss is a super cheap game I grabbed on Amazon. The task cards I use for this game are reindeer themed context clues task cards.

SO EXCITED for a fun week before Christmas! Let me know what questions you have! I'm happy to help! Happy transforming!