Free Boggle Templates for your Classroom

Boggle is such an amazing game! Not only is it fun and engaging, but it also helps students to recognize letter patterns and facilitates fluency. 

My students loved playing Boggle so much that I made free templates to share the fun. The first one is for use with a document camera - students can write their words on notebook paper. The second is a worksheet version that allows students to work individually.

Because this is in MS Word, you can change the letters - get a whole new game every time!

Article about Teachers pay Teachers

Check out this great article about The money I make on TpT will help pay for my son's college education. If you are a teacher or homeschooler, it is totally worth checking out.


FREE Grammar & Language Arts Worksheets - 16 Printable Pages

Check Out Amazing Kids!

Amazing Kids! is a great resource for you and your students! Amazing Kids! is an online magazine created for kids by kids (with a little adult help). In addition to reading some great articles on a variety of interesting and educational subjects, there are many ways for your students to get involved. Among other things, Amazing Kids! holds contests, sponsors a pen-pal program, and accepts submissions for kids ages 5-18. Kids can submit individually or as a class. Submissions include fictional stories, nonfiction articles, recipes, travel articles, jokes, poems, movie, books, and music reviews,  photos, artwork, and videos. Amazing kids also features an Amazing Kid of the month to help inspire other kids to do amazing things.

The Amazing Kids! website was recently honored to be selected as one of the Top 24 “Great Web Sites for Kids” by the American Library Association (ALA), specifically under the category: “Writing by Kids.”

Amazing Kids! has high standards for writing and content. You can safely send your students to the website and be sure they will not find any inappropriate content or ads. So check it out!

Using Authentic Assessment in Your K-12 Classroom

Minds in Bloom is pleased to welcome guest blogger, Charity Preston, M.A.
Authentic assessment is basically any type of assessment that is not paper-and-pencil type of testing. It can include projects, portfolios, or running records. I first really used authentic assessment when I student taught in a preschool program for my undergraduate degree. It was used mostly because traditional assessment becomes much more difficult for that age bracket. But now, as I work mostly in elementary and middle school levels, I realize that many assessments in the classroom can also be authentic, though it is rarely used.
Most teachers would justify the idea of not using authentic assessment more because of time constraints.  The trick to authentic assessment is not to take on too much at one time. One type of authentic assessment per chapter or unit is fine to begin. As long as the project sheet and rubric are kept in a safe place for retrieval, adding another the following year is simple. Eventually as more is added to your toolbox, portfolios will be available to be included as a culminating assessment.
When starting out, think of the essential learning goals for the chapter or unit (or just look at the state standards being taught). Always have the end in mind first. After knowing that the project is geared toward those end goals, begin by creating a project that will reflect a student having knowledge of those end goals. Great ideas to keep in mind include using multiple intelligences, Bloom's taxonomy, as well as a variety of learning style formats to present the end result. Always leave an option for the student to create a project of choice, with teacher permission, as long as the project matches the learning goals set for all. Another fantastic idea is to create a sample project that shows students the level to which is expected, or keep exceptional projects from the previous years (with permission) to show current students examples of grades at each level so all are more acutely aware of expectations. 
After designing a great project idea, make sure students (and parents) know what is expected to be turned in for a grade. If a rubric is unclear, there will be a lot of negative feedback from all involved. If the grading criteria is crystal clear, there is no room for argument and the final projects will be much better. There are several websites that offer free rubric creations, along with examples that others have created for inspiration. I suggest starting there when first beginning. Make sure the rubric is complete, but do not include more than five or six categories or the assessment becomes overwhelming. 
Authentic assessment is a great way for students to really showcase talents and knowledge level of the material that has been presented. Give them a chance, and chances are you will be blown away by what students can show.
By guest blogger and K-12 teacher, Charity Preston, M.A. Areas of expertise include curriculum development, technology integration into content areas, and data-driven instruction. Find Charity at The Organized Classroom Blog and on Facebook

Harry Potter Would You Rather Questions

You've read the books. You have probably seen the movies...why not try these Harry Potter Would You Rather Questions? Great fun for your and your students!

Would You Rather...
1 Have Ron for a friendor Have Hermione for a friend
2 Fight the Basiliskor Fight a Dementor
3 Spend a weekend with Dudley Dursleyor Spend a weekend with Kreacher the house elf
4 Be a Quidditch Keeperor Be a Quidditch Beater
5 Be sorted into Ravenclawor Be sorted into Hufflepuff
6 Have an Invisibility Cloakor Have a Time-Turner
Receive a Howler in front of your friends
Eat a vomit flavored Every Flavored Bean
8 Attend the Yule Ballor Attend the Quidditch World Cup
9 Spend an afternoon in the Burrow with the Weasley's or Spend an afternoon in Diagon Alley
10 Have Severus Snape as your fatheror Have Delores Umbridge as your mother
Have a pet Hippogriff
Have a pet Phoenix
12 Take a class in potionsor Take a class in caring for magical creatures
13 Have a flying broomstickor Have an enchanted flying car
14 Be a werewolf like Remus Lupinor Be a ghost like Nearly Headless Nick
15 Spend a week lost in the Forbidden ForestorSpend a day in Azkaban
16 Play Quidditchor Play Wizard's Chess
17 Be a teacher at Hogwartsor Be an Auror
18 Have Hagrid as a friendor Have Dobby as a friend
19 Change the story so that Dumbledore does not get killedor Change the story so that Sirius does not get killed
20 Spend an hour talking with J.K. Rowlingor Spend an hour talking with Daniel Radcliffe
Want more Would You Rathers? You can get  200 More Would You Rather Questions here

Are your students crazy about Harry Potter? You can get a  Harry Potter Game Similar to Apples to Apples® here

Communication on tchr2tchr

John Blake has written an excellent article on  Teacher Communication on the tchr2tchr blog. Totally worth a read!

Teaching Resources

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