Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
A spoonerism is made when the initial sounds of two words in a phrase are switched. A great way to introduce a unit on spoonerisms is to read Shel Silverstein's last book (published from his notes, after his death) Runny Babbit. As always with Silverstein, the book is immediately engaging:
So if you say, 'Let's bead a rookFrom there you can have students make up their own spoonerisms to share with classmates. You might try a spoonerism class story as well. Older kids will enjoy reading and decoding stories like The Pea Little Thrigs.
That's billy as can se,'
You're talkin' Runny Babbit talk,
Just like mim and he.
One small warning: If you are doing this with older kids, be careful. They love to push the boundries. Might want to double check some of those 4-letter spoonerisms.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
17 newt eyeballs
3/4 cup powdered goat hooves
1 1/3 cups sour milk
48 yak hairs
1/2 cup bat guano
Cook over a hot fire for 4 hours, stirring every 17 minutes. Serve warm.
_______ newt eyeballs
_______ cups powdered goat hooves
_______ cups sour milk
_______ yak hairs
_______ cups bat guano
- For little kids get one with the ABCs, roads (like a map), or colorful pictures. The one in the picture is an English-Spanish one.
- Older kids might enjoy the states or a checkers/chess board (but then you need the pieces to go with it).
- A colorful welcome mat by your outside door is nice.
- My first year teaching I was broke, but I did find someone selling brand new carpet sample squares at a yard sale for a quarter each. So I duct-taped a bunch of them together (on the back) in an interesting pattern for our Book Nook. Worked out great!
A Place to be Messy You might not be too keen on making paper mache dinosaurs if your room is covered in wall-to-wall carpet. Hopefully, you have some floor space for these messy projects, but if you don't, make some.
- If you have a lot of cash at your disposal, you could cover a corner of your classroom in those plastic office mats (the ones people put under wheelie chairs to keep them from damaging the carpet).
- If you are short on cash (uh, yeah, I'm a teacher, duh!) you could buy one of those bright blue tarps and tape it down with brightly colored duct tape.
- In a pinch, get painting tarps (those really thin plastic ones). Not great, but they are cheap and big. Good for a one time project - get 'em messy, throw 'em out.
A Final Thought If you teach little kids, take a minute to get down on the floor (you probably do this a lot a lot during the school day. Try it when your students aren't around). Look around. This is the view your students have. Make sure it is a good one. Sometimes things that look fine from up above don't look so great from down below.
Next week, we'll be exploring desks, tables, and chairs, oh my!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
He especially enjoys beetles and spiders
Today he ate 23 bugs.
Altogether, the bugs he ate had 162 legs.
How many of each bug did Mr. Tuttle eat?
This is the first in a series about how to add creativity and critical thinking to your classroom environment - the walls, the desks, the book area, and of course the door, which is where I am starting, because that is where every one come in!
On the Outside
If you teach in a school where you are allowed to decorate the outside of your door than by all means, do! Here are some ideas to consider:
- The picture above features kid-generated ways to say hello. The class was celebrating the 100th day of school, so there must be 100 of them! Always great to incorporate student work. I think it gives students a feeling of pride and ownership in their classroom.
- Doing a creative project in which each child's name is displayed is a great way to start the year. My favorite is the giant puzzle - cut a large piece of white butcher paper into enough jigsaw puzzle pieces so each student has one. Students (or you if they are very young) write their names in the center and then decorate any way they wish. Then they work together to assemble the puzzle and you put it on the door. Decorating stars with names is another nice approach.
- How about having your students decorate the letters in WELCOME TO OUR CLASS (or the room number, or teacher's name)
- When I had a classroom, I always posted a copy of Shel Silverstein's poem, Invitation on the door (I copied the original from the book and enlarged it on the copier). I think it sets a nice tone.
Kids spend a lot of time looking at the door. They line up there and wait quite a bit. They probably stare at it a lot in the few minutes before the recess bell rings, so why not give them something interesting to look at?
- I didn't know what this door was at first. Turns out is a plant cell, because Kila Young's 5th graders were studying cells. How clever is that? Consider changing your door with your units.
- Other interesting things to look at: optical illusions, brain teasers, or inspirational quote of the day.
- Try a magnetic white board - write a daily or weekly student poll or would you rather question and have students move magnetic name tags to their choice.
- Another idea for that white board - divide it into areas with a different emotion in each one (basic ones like sad, happy, angry, tired etc. work well). Have each student put his/her name strip in which ever space fits his/her current emotional state. Strips can be moved as emotions change. Gives you and your students a nice little window into the emotional climate of the class, and might even help you to alter your teaching style or lesson plan to fit how kids are feeling.
Please feel free to share your ideas and be sure and check back tomorrow when we move on to....the floor!
*I suspect that those teachers with ultra-neat classrooms, bare walls, and desks that are lined up in neat rows are not big fans of Minds in Bloom.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Carnival of Homeschooling at Consent of the Governed is celebrating its 200th edition with an amazing party of links.
Carnival of Educators has its very first carnival at Notes from a Homeschooling Mom
Monday, October 26, 2009
- Make a grouping of 7 or 8 objects from the table: sugar packets, silver wear, salt shaker etc.
- Give the other players 10 or so seconds to look at it.
- Have them cover their eyes while you remove one object.
- Now the players get to guess which object is missing.
- The winner of the first round gets to be the one to choose the item to hide for the next round.
- This is a game for two players.
- Place 7 sugar packets in a row.
- Player one may take away 1 or 2 sugar packets.
- Player two may also take away 1 or 2 packets.
- Continue to take turns in this manner
- The one who is left with the last sugar packet loses.
- The loser gets to go first in the next round.
- Watch your kids figure out the best strategy for winning.
- Draw a large Tic-Tac-Toe board on a napkin or the back of a place mat
- Give each player 3 markers - these could be different color sugar packets, or different flavored jams.
- Begin playing in the usual way. When a player runs out of markers, she must move one of her markers that is on the board to another space in the grid.
- Play until someone wins.
200 Would You Rather Questions for Kids
More Creative and Critical Thinking Activities
Example: sugary snack = sweet treat
- scary evening _________
- chubby flying mammal ____________
- cooked bread for a spirit ___________
- graveyard sweeper__________
- wealthy spell-caster_________
- frightening sprite ___________
- where monsters learn ___________
- ogre on a walk ___________
- delicious preserved dead guy __________
- bleeding friend __________
Sunday, October 25, 2009
- It is such a clear, graphic representation of what is truly important to the artist.
- There is so much room for creativity - what a great display they would make!
- Pretty much any age child can do this. In fact, it would be neat to see the same child do this project once every year or two.
- They are beautiful!
Classroom Cooking Single-Serving Recipes
Friday, October 23, 2009
He can knit one mitten in 45 minutes.
He started knitting at 9:30 in the morning.
"The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
And, he wrote that before personal computers were part of everyday life!
So, if it isn't working (the lesson, the diet, the classroom management strategy, the nagging, the software, the job, the lifestyle, the healthcare system, whatever...) try something else. Doing something different could require some creative thought and possibly a great deal of courage, but it could also reap life changing results.
Picture above from the book The Key: and the Name of the Key is Willingness by Cheri Huber.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
- Poke holes in this page using a pencil
- Scribble wildly, violently with reckless abandon
- Pour, spill, drip, spit, fling your coffee here
- Give away your favorite page. Accept the loss.Tear this page out Put it in your pocket. Put it through the wash, stick it back in.
- Cover this page using only office supplies (picture from Camp Creek Blog )
I think it would be fun to complete a Wreck that Journal on your own, but it could also be a great group project. I am thinking of buying a copy and putting it on our coffee table. That way I, my two teens, and any guests we might have could contribute.
Any List Spelling Activities
More Literature Questions
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Richie and Joanie had an adventurous night. They talked to a ghost before they killed a vampire. They ran away from a zombie after they made friends with a werewolf. They ran away from the zombie before they talked to the ghost. In what order did they encounter each monster?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The brain needs time to rest, regroup, and to put everything you have been feeding into it together in meaningful ways. The perfect solution may pop into your head when you are focused on something completely different, or you may find the solution easily when you come back to your problem after a break.
So, if you or your students are stuck try...
- Doing something different - going outside, playing a quick game, getting a snack.
- Physical activity. Seems to clear the head. Sweat a little
- Talking to others. Sometimes something someone else says or does (completely unrelated to your problem) triggers an idea that can help you with your problem
- Watching the fire, or tabletop fountain, lava lamp, or screen saver. When you are looking at one of those mesmerizing things, the brain sometimes wanders into interesting places.
- Listening to music...better yet, dance!
- Doing an activity that only takes part of your brain, like folding laundry, knitting, or weeding.
- Taking a nap (okay, maybe not in the classroom!). Sometimes ideas come in dreams or when you are in that half-awake-half-asleep phase.
- Taking a long break. I find this especially helpful with writing projects. Things that just won't fit together or flow, suddenly do when I come back to a writing project after a few days away.
Have a story to tell about how taking a break worked for you, or an idea to add? Comments always welcome.
*MindBlossom: an idea
Monday, October 19, 2009
Use the number and initial clues to complete these time-related statements.
Example: 60 m__________ in an h_________ =
60 minutes in an hour.
7 d________ in a w_________
12 m_______in a y_________
60 s_______ in a m_________
24 h_______ in a d_________
100 y______ in a c_________
52 w_______in a y_________
10 y_______ in a d_________
20 y________ in a s_________
2 w_________in a f_________
1000 y_______in a m________
If you like this activity, you may want to check out Wordlinks Lateral Thinking Cardsmail ~ shoe ~ lunch
What do these three words have in common?
TriBonds, or as it is sometimes called, the Game of Threes is yet another way to practice higher level thinking. Finding the common link that joins three words, that on first glance seem to have nothing in common, requires analysis and deductive reasoning. Just another way to help children learn to think out of the box, and yes, box is the answer to that first TriBond.
TriBonds can be relatively easy:
carrots ~celery ~ lettuce
Or much more challenging:
car tires ~ planets ~ crops
Depending on the age of your students. Here are some ways that you can use TriBonds:
Here are some (kid's) TriBonds that are all connected by a single word to get you started:
- Play the board game. Here is the kids' version
- Make a worksheet in which students need to give the connecting word or concept.Or use these.
- Have students come up with their own Tribonds. I have found the best way to do this is to come up with a common word and then try to find three words to go with it. You could all of your students' TriBonds into one activity for the whole class.
- Keep a list of TriBonds (or the cards from the game) nearby for those extra few minutes between lessons.
- Make them up as a game in the car, while waiting for the dentist etc.
- Have a "Daily TriBond."
- book ~ cell ~ number
- head ~ marching ~ aid
- sauce ~ seed ~ core
- camp ~ house ~ wild
- town ~ work ~ base
- board ~ out ~ house
- work ~ rocky ~ rail
- seat ~ fan ~ leather
- house ~ day ~ lucky
- rose ~ soup ~ dust
- foot ~ snow ~ room
- seat ~ box ~ pane
- pad ~ trap ~ field
- tug ~ motor ~ life
- fall ~ fresh ~ bottle
- plug ~ ring ~ phone
- walk ~ game ~ diving
- up, pack, switch
- pig ~ light ~ fountain
- brain ~ house ~ blue
- snow ~ drain ~ sand
- shelf ~ phone ~ mark
- hard ~ top ~ sun
- business ~ playing ~ index
- mate ~ class ~ bath
- chocolate ~ maid ~ carton
- sea ~ egg ~ turtle
- swing ~ spare ~ track
- bell ~ mat ~ knob
- sweat ~ tail ~polo
- ache ~ band ~ board
- house ~ fire ~ flash
- bed ~ computer ~ bite
- ground ~ house ~ doubleI know I should probably give the answers. But then what fun would that be?
Friday, October 16, 2009
Q: What did the Buddhist monk say to the hot dog vendor?
A: Make me one with everything.
First Atom: I think I lost an electron.
Second Atom: Are you sure?
First Atom: I'm positive.
Q: Why do seagulls fly by the sea?
A: Because if they flew by the bay they would be bagels.
Guy walks into a bar holding a chunk of asphalt and says to the bartender, "I'll have a beer and one for the road."
A bear walks into a bar and says, "I'll have a beer..........................and some peanuts." The bartender says, "Why the big pause?"
Two muffins are baking in an oven. The first muffin says, "Whew, it sure is hot in here."
The second muffin says, "Help, a talking muffin!"
And finally, if you want your students to just stare at you with blank faces tell the reverse knock-knock joke (I never get tired of seeing kids react to this).
Teacher: Say "knock, knock"
Students: Knock, knock
Teacher: Who's there?
Students: (stare blankly, then after a pause, some of them laugh)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
WakerUppers were created byGreta and Ted Rasmussen at Tin Man Press, a small family-owned company in Eugene, Oregon. They focus on developing thinking skills, and do it with an original flair that can't be found anywhere else. You can find sample pages on their website. Here is a sample from WakerUppers.
My experience with WakerUppers (and in fact everything I have used from Tin Man Press) has been very positive. Each page seems to have something for everyone - there are opportunities to draw, imagine, analyze, invent, play with words, and explore spatial skills. Kids love finding a WakerUpper on their desks first thing in the morning. Each student page includes a teacher page with answers, comments, and suggestion for extending some of the activities.
Note: I have not been paid or given any products related to this post.
Use the ten words below to form five compound words. You must use each word one time.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
- Have each student choose a picture to use as a writing prompt - magazines are great for this.
- Instruct students to start a story about the picture. The goal is not to finish it. Give them a set period of time to write - maybe 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the grade level. Let them know a few minutes before time is up so they can finish their last sentence or thought.
- Now students pass their papers one student over (make sure they don't just trade with another student, they should all pass in the same direction). Instruct students to read the story start and then add to it. Make sure they know that they are contributing the middle, so they should not end the story. Set the timer - adding a few minutes for reading the story and thinking about it, and let the kids write again.
- One more pass in the same direction. Now students end the story.
- Return stories to their original authors. Allow students time to share stories.
- Make sure each author puts his or her name on the paper.
- For older students, consider doing five rounds instead of three.
- It might be good to discuss the process, how it felt to add on to someone else's work, and how it felt to have your story go in a different direction than you'd planned.
- You can also do this with art by having students begin a picture instead of a story.
- I am not exactly sure why, but this project tends to help bond a group. I have felt that way both when I have participated and facilitated the process.
More Literature Questions for Any Book
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Here are some questions to ask:
- Think about the setting of the book. Did the setting in the movie look like you had imagined it (Good ones for this are Harry Potter, Holes, Narnia, and Where the Wild Things Are)? If not, how was it different?
- Think about the main character. How was he/she different than you had imagined? How was he/she the same?
- Were there any changes in characters between the book and the movie? Why do you think the people who made the movie would leave out or add a character?
- What parts were in the book but were not in the movie? Why do you think the people who made the movie left those parts out?
- Were there any parts that were in the movie that were not in the book? Why do you think the people that made the movie added those parts?
- Do you think the people who made the movie did a good job of portraying the book? Why or why not?
- Which did you enjoy more, the book or the movie? Why?
You could also:
- Brainstorm all the ways the movie was different from the book.
- Make a Venn Diagram using one circle for the book and one for the movie.
- Discuss a book that has not been made into a movie - what are the challenges? What would you need to leave out? Who would you cast for each character?
- For fun (and fluency), list all the books that you can think of that have been made into movies.
What has your experience been reading a book and then watching the movie?
How many stars are in...
Only the triangle _____
Only the circle ______ Only the rectangle _____
Both the rectangle and the circle, but not in the triangle_____
Both the circle and the triangle but not in the rectangle_____
Both the triangle and the rectangle, but not in the circle____