Let's GLOW! A Classroom Transformation your Students will LOVE! (Part 3: The Academics)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 No comments

Alright - Are yall ready for ALL THE DETAILS on the academic side of our GLOW DAY Transformation? If you are looking for the decor details, click here. If you are looking for the academic stuff, you are in the right place! Woohoo! You can also read my FIRST EVER Glow Day blog post HERE. It has more details about the stations. = ) 

Alright - Let's jump right in! Just like Part 2, I'm going to answer ALL of the questions you guys asked me over on Instagram. If I miss anything, shoot me a message and I'll get it added! 

Question 1: What are the stations?
For our glow day we have six stations each year. From year to year they change based on what I feel like doing or what I think my kiddos will like best. The stations I had this year are: bowling, ring toss, geo build, ping pong toss, glow targets, and Jenga. I've also done corn hole in the past! For more details about the stations, you can head over to my original blog post HERE.

Question 2: What do I need for the stations?
Alright, for this I'm just going to cover the stations I used this year. = ) Links for each of these items can be found at the bottom of this blog post. 
*Bowling - water bottles, "bowling ball"
*Jenga - Jenga set (with blacklight reactive tape)
*Geobuild - glow sticks, i-Pad
*Ping Pong Toss - cups, Ping Pong balls
*Ring Toss - Gallon Jugs (3 of them), hoops made from glow sticks
*Glow Targets - painted targets, pennies

Question 3: What academic activities do the students do at each station?
We do GLOW DAY before our standardized math test, so we always spend the entire day focusing on math skills. At each station, students focus on different math standards that have been covered, but need to be reviewed. You can grab the task cards I use in my TpT store. I have them made for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. The task cards in my store only work for FOUR stations: Jenga, Geobuild, Bowling, and Ring Toss. I chose to add a couple additional stations so that I could make my groups smaller. I just shift some of the task cards from the other stations to the two additional stations. = )
3rd Grade Pack
4th Grade Pack
5th Grade Pack
*Unfortunately at this time, I don't have time to add two additional stations to these packs (there are only four included), but I encourage you to just split up some of the task cards from other stations and put them there. Thats what I did! There are plenty of task cards. = )
Question 4: How long do students spend at each station and
how many students are in each group?
Students are at each station from 30-50 minutes. This time FLIES! I try to have groups of 4-5 if at all possible! The smaller, the better in my opinion. 

Question 5: How do you check student work?
This is a BIG JOB, but I check every single group's answer before they are able to play the game. I keep the answer keys in my hands at all times and I hop from group to group checking student answers. I often ask for different students to explain their answers and always look for everyone to have the correct work. This is a busy job, but I feel like it keeps my students accountable.

Question 6: Where can I get the entry tickets you used?
They are a freebie in my TpT store! I printed and laminated mine and I have used them three years in a row. I collect them the morning of Glow Day and store them away for the next year.
Question 7: Do you keep score in the games?
Students do keep scores, but there isn't a prize or anything. They keep scores for bragging rights. It also helps motivate students to work fast so that they can beat other teams' scores. Scores are kept on a dry erase board or piece of paper. The easier, the better.
Question 8: How often do you do this transformation?
I do this transformation once a year, typically the day before our math state test. Its a fun review that really helps drive home some skills that need to be refreshed before the big test. 

Question 9: What center supplies did you buy on Amazon?

Let's GLOW! A Classroom Transformation your Students will LOVE! (Part 2:Decor Edition)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 No comments

Guys - its been THREE years since my first ever transformation, which was GLOW DAY 2017 (you can read about the original transformation HERE.). It was the start of a WHOLE lot of transformation magic in my room and I am so thankful that I took the leap three years ago. GLOW DAY is STILL one of my absolute favorite days of the year. There is just something magical about the blue lights and the neon colors. I think it's safe to say its normally my students' favorite day too! I get SOOO many questions about all things glow day so I am going to write two blog posts for you guys. This blog post is going to be ALL about GLOW DAY DECOR. What do you need? How do you set up your room? Etc. Then, I'll work on a post to go over the stations that I do and how I've changed them up since my first year.  If you want to know the logistics of the day, you can read about that HERE.

Alright - GLOW DAY DECOR. Are yall ready? I took to Instagram to ask you guys what questions you had about the decor in my GLOW DAY transformation and you guys asked some awesome questions. I am going to use those questions on this post. If you have a question that wasn't covered, let me know and I'll add it. = )
Question #1 - What do I need to buy and where do I buy it?
I buy 99% of my supplies from Amazon because PRIME. But, you could probably buy a lot of it at Party City, Walmart, and Target. I'll break down the decor purchases in today's post, and I'll cover purchases I used in centers in the next post.
*Item #1 - Blacklights - I am linking the ones I have and they are AMAZING! I have five in my room, but I tested them out and you could definitely get by with only three. I wouldn't spend your money on five. 
*Item #2 - Disco Balls - I use two disco balls on glow day and they add some light and color. I keep these up ALL year long. They are great for celebrations and other transformations.
*Item #3 - Balloons - Blacklight balloons are the coolest! I use fishing wire to hang them from the ceiling and I love the color the add to the room. (I order a 50 pack and use for two years.)
*Item #4 - Blacklight Reactive Paint - I use this paint to paint signs and I even used it on my t-shirt! I roll the signs up and reuse year after year. (I have only bought paint once and have used multiple years and multiple coworkers have used the paint too.)
*Item #5 - Blacklight Reactive Tape - This tape is great for ALL sorts of things. I use it on station items, on the floor, etc. I would definitely grab a pack. (The tape can't be reused so I normally buy a new pack every year or two.)

Question #2 - How do I make my classroom completely dark?
Cover up ALL of your windows! Figuring out how to COMPLETELY darken my windows has been a work in progress, but I have learned that it works best to place black poster board up directly against the class so that the window is completely covered. Then, I go over the top part of the window with black butcher paper. Two layers (using the thick, black poster board), has been doing the trick for me!

Question #3 - Where should I place the black lights in my room?
I place a blacklight on each wall in my classroom. The main goal is to scatter them around. I also like to put them at different heights. I find that if I place one up hight on a bookshelf, it helps ensure that the balloons are glowing extra brightly. It is important to stick them lower as well so that the tape on the games is lit up brightly as well. With my five black lights, I have three up high on bookshelves and two lower on tables.

Question #4 - My room is darker than yours with the black lights, how do I brighten it up?
The black lights I have are SUPER bright, but if your stuck with some of the more old-school versions, try scattering some white sheets around your room on unused tables. The white reflects the black lights and it will really brighten up the space.

Question #5 - Was there anything that was a FAIL and didn't work under the black lights?
My first year I tried glow in the dark easter eggs and they were a MAJOR fail. Ha! Also, I have found that most of the blue items don't glow very well. I avoid using the blue balloons, blue tape, and blue paint.

AMAZING Ways to Use Pixar Shorts in the Classroom

Thursday, February 28, 2019 No comments

Last week I shared one of my FAVORITE Pixar shorts "Mike's New Car" on Instagram as a
way we practiced recording cause and effect relationships in our classroom. Although the
number one way our students should practice reading skills is through their own books, my
students REALLY enjoy when I throw a Pixar short at them to practice skills with. These
shorts are SO SO cute and you can literally find one for EVERYTHING.

I had LOTS of requests to share my favorite Pixar Shorts and skills they can be used with
in the classroom. My BIGGEST suggestion to you is to simply watch any Pixar short you
think you might want to use and decide what skill it would work best for. Most of them work
for plot, but seriously just watch them! You will see SO many different ways they can be
used! They are AWESOME and your kiddos will LOVE them.

I also had lots of requests for the graphic organizers I use with these Pixar shorts in my classroom! I created a pack for you guys that contains over 20 different generic graphic organizers that can be used with any Pixar Short. The file has a PDF version if you want to be able to just print and go, and an editable version in case you'd like to add in some starting points for your kiddos before printing.

Alright... now for the moment you've ALL been waiting for... 
a list of ALL the Pixar shorts I use and LOVE LOVE LOVE! I know I haven't included every single short out there, so if you see one missing that you love, let us know in the comments! 

Boost Engagement Around the Holidays with Scavenger Hunts

Saturday, December 8, 2018 No comments
One way I LOVE boosting engagement is through the use of scavenger hunts. I have started placing them strategically right before breaks, on holidays, and on typical crazy days so that crazy days become crazy productive instead of just crazy!

Creating a scavenger hunt for your kiddos does NOT have to be difficult, and my goal of this blog post is to share a few tips and tricks that will make creating and implementing scavenger hunts even more easy for you to do in your classroom.

There are two main types of scavenger hunts I like to use in my classroom - around the classroom and around the school. My kiddos are obsessed with the around the school scavenger hunts, but if you aren't ready to release your kiddos into the school, simply do the scavenger hunt in your own classroom - it will still be just as FUN.

How to create your own around the school scavenger hunt:

1) Grab or create a set of task cards. I choose to do between 8-10 task cards. I aim to make them more challenging since there are fewer of them. Print however many you need for each group to have one and place them in large envelopes.

2) Develop clues that your students will solve in order to find the next task card. I have created different riddles students have to solve, and I've also just scrambled up words that students have to unscramble. You can scramble words such as "cafeteria" or you can scramble teacher's names. Print enough of each clue for each group to have one.

3) Write the answers to each task card on the outside of a small envelope and place one set of clues inside each small envelope.

4) Lay out the large envelopes and place the corresponding small envelope on top.

5) Step five is the MOST IMPORTANT step! = ) After everything is laid out, move each small envelope to the right one space. This movement creates a loop. If you don't create this loop, the scavenger hunt won't work.

6) After you've moved each small envelope, write the location of the clue in the small envelope on the back of the large envelope it is on top of - this is reminding you were you need to hide the large envelope.

7) Hide the large envelopes around the school and place the small envelopes on the board. At this point, you are ready to go hunting! = )

*I choose to add a joke that students have to solve to my scavenger hunts. Please look at my products to see an example with how I did this. = )

Pre-Created Scavenger Hunts: 

If you don't want to create your own scavenger hunts, I have already created some really fun scavenger hunts for several different holidays. You will still have to create the loop, but each product includes detailed directions on how to do this. All three products are fully editable so that you can create your own questions if you don't teach 4th/5th grade. = )
This Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt includes a mixture of adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing whole numbers, along with some decimal practice, but the product is fully editable in case you would like to create your own problems. CLICK HERE to learn more.
The Christmas Scavenger hunt includes a variety of math skills including: ordering decimals, adding decimals, multiplying decimals, and multiplication and division of whole numbers, but the product is fully editable in case you would like to create your own problems. CLICK HERE to learn more.

The Valentine's Day scavenger hunt includes: adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals, but the product is fully editable in case you would like to create your own problems. Click HERE to learn more. *Some problems are two step.

A Gift Your Students Will ORBEEZ-lutely LOVE!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 No comments

Looking for a cheap gift for an upcoming holiday that your students will still LOVE? My kiddos are currently obsessed with Orbeez, or water beads. Why? I'm not so sure. They are typically used in water tables and as sensory toys, but my 5th grade kiddos are absolutely LOVING them. My 5th graders love them, so I feel certain that any kiddo grades K-5 would think these are the most perfect gift. 

This year I have 26 kiddos so I bought one box of Ziploc baggies, two bags of Orbeez (water beads) for $6.99 each, and printed enough gift tags for each kiddo to get one. These gifts came in at less that 70 cents per kiddos - can't beat that! 

Making these Christmas gifts for your kiddos is SO SO easy. Simply grab Orbeez and baggies off of Amazon, download the gift tag FREEBIE from TpT and add your name to the editable portion of the gift tag. Print enough for your kiddos and add both the gift tag and the directions to a Ziploc baggie with one spoonful of Orbeez. 

Do you have a super fun, but easy and cheap Christmas gift idea?!
I'd love to hear it in the comments below! = )