Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pick-a-Partner Cards for Random Student Pairing

I created some cards as a resource for letting student pick partners in class. These cards can be used much the same way as you would use cards in the Kagan cooperative learning structure, Mix-n-Match. There are 50 cards. Just laminate and cut apart. You can store them on a ring or keep them rubber banded in a safe spot for easy access. I am having a sale on these cards on TpT - you can get them for $1 until Wednesday 7/25/12 at 11:59pm. See the last paragraph of this post for some other ideas on how you could use this same idea with general classroom objects you might already have in your classroom! If you'd like to see these cards, click HERE to go to my TpT store and purchase them. You can also click the preview picture(s) below.

You could just pass these cards out to the students and have them find their match. However, I have students use these like they would in the Kagan cooperative learning structure “Mix-and-Match”. This allows students to not only choose a partner randomly, but it also allows them to get up and move around (very important in the primary classroom)! To use, pass one card to each student (if there is an uneven number, place the extra card in the “unmatched area”). Have the students spread out in the room. Then, play some music or say a chant or something as a class. While the music is playing, have students walk around and trade cards (I always go over my expectations when it comes to this – students are to be constantly moving and constantly trading). When the music stops, students freeze. When you say, “Go!”, the students will try to find their match. When students find their match, you can either have them sit knee-to-knee, hand up/pair up, or stand back to back. They can then go do whatever it is you want them to do as a pair! If you have an odd number of students, and a player’s match is in the “unmatched area”, you can then just have him/her join a group or be your helper/checker.

I created these cards just to have something fun for the kiddos, but you certainly do not have to have set cards. In the past, I've used a regular deck of playing cards (partners have to find a number or symbol matching their number or symbol), colored puff ball (partners find their same color), pattern blocks, regular number cards (like we use in math), unifix cubes, or even sight word cards (you just need a double set and students match the sight word). You could also use rhyming word cards, vowel cards, addition/subtraction flash cards (same sums or differences), etc... This activity can be fun, educational, or both, and it allows students to interact in a positive manner that makes finding a partner an easy thing.  I hope your kiddos have as much fun with this as mine do! :-)
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Back to School Checklist Pack

Here is a helpful document I created for TpT. This Back to School Checklist Pack has everything you will need to help you get the year started off with a bang. The beginning of the school year can be such a fun, but busy, time, and these 3 checklists will keep you on track. Checklists included are:

- Back to School Checklist: Planning for the Beginning of the Year
- Beginning of Year Procedures Checklist: Ideas for Procedures to Plan for
- First Days of School Checklist: Things to Remember for the First Few Days

It's normally priced at $1.99, but I'm running a 1 day sale on it that will go until 11:59pm Saturday, 7/14/12. Come get it now for $1.00!!!

Let me know if you have any questions. To view and download, click HERE to go to my TpT store. You can also click the pictures below.

Cover Page

Preview of Procedures Checklist Page 1

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Yellow Pages - Activity for the Beginning of the School Year to Identify Student Experts in the Primary Classroom

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Ask 3 Before Me"? Well, I for one teach little kids... Even though I loop with my students, it's always a shocker to go from end of the year 2nd graders down to beginning of the year 1st graders. I always think to myself, "They're such babies!!!" The 1 thing that really gets me, EVERY YEAR, is the shoe tying.... Boy howdy, that just really wears me down. So, I finally came up with a system for identifying students who are GREAT at shoe tying to relieve me of my duties. :-)

Here is a great way to organize and implement that philosophy. This document is called, "The Yellow Pages", and it is a free printable to help you organize the various student experts in your classroom (including Shoe Tying, Super Spellers, Roaring Readers, Math Minds, Good Listeners, Artists and Craftsmen, and Caring Friends).

After having a short class meeting or minilesson on how (and when) to ask other students for help, you would display these pages (first print the pages on yellow card stock and laminate) up front for the students to see. Start by discussing what a phone book is and how to use it. Show students pictures of phone books on the screen, or bring real phone books for students to see.

Talk about how each student in the class is an "expert" helper, and discuss what that word "expert" means. Talk about how every child is different, and that not all students will be an expert in the same area. Also discuss that even though you may think you are an expert in lots of areas, you could choose 1 or 2 areas to really excel.

Then, come up with a system for having students sign up on 1 or 2 expert pages. Read through the different expert areas first, and then discuss what each expert does. Have students decide where they would excel. You could even have them think-pair-share before deciding. You could also use your professional judgement as far as guiding students on what they might be experts in..... ;-) I have my students take an overhead or dry-erase marker and just come up a few at a time to sign their names. When they're done, they sit right back down. When everyone has signed up on the sheets, go over them together as a class so students can see who they can go to in each event.

This is not only a great activity to do for having students ask each other for help, but this activity lends itself so well to teambuilding at the beginning of the year. Students will get to know each other in a positive way, and it's really cute to see them encouraging each other, cheering for each other, and eventually, throughout the year, going to each other for help after "looking each other up" in the "phonebook." You could easily incorporate and introduce fun cheers after going over each expert area. In addition, this is a great activity for students to practice recognizing and reading each others' names.

After students have signed up, bind the pages together (you can put them together however you like, but if you are older, you could put them in abc order like the phonebook), and then post The Yellow Pages book somewhere in the room that is accessible to the students (hanging on a hook, posted on the white board, or perhaps bound and placed in the class library in the student-made book section). Have the students then refer to it whenever they need help with something in the classroom! Enjoy, and please let me know if you have any questions! Sorry I don't have any pictures of the students signing up, but here are some pictures below of the document (I don't know what happened to the Super Speller page, but when you download the document it looks fine). To download free from my TPT store, click HERE, or click on any of the pictures below.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Beginning of Year - Classroom Procedures Tic-Tac-Toe

As promised, I'm back to blogging (or at least starting up again)! I made a free printable for all my loyal fans who were checking on my page during my absence. :-) Here is an activity for the beginning of the school year, after you've taught some of your basic classroom procedures. After downloading this game, copy on cardstock or paper and have students play in partners. To play, students will use red/yellow chips (or something comparable). Students will take turns reading a box, answering the question, and placing a chip on the box. The partner should then agree or disagree with the student, and the pair can discuss the procedure in question together. The first person to get 3 in a row first is the winner! Please let me know if you have any questions at all. To download, please go to my TPT store HERE and download for free (just click the highlighted link or click the picture below)!

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Broken Ankles and Dashed Summer Dreams...

Oh dear me... I haven't posted in just the longest time, but I promise I will get on that again soon. I just needed a break after the school year wrapped up! It was one of those things where I didn't even want to pin anything school related on my Pinterest (I did of course), and I just wanted a few weeks to myself. As it turns out, lucky me, I broke my ankle in a couple spots, and yes, I had to have surgery. Woohoo! What a way to spend the summer, right? Ugh... I've basically been on bed rest, having to keep my ankle elevated, for the last 4 weeks, and I still have a few to go. They don't think I'll be walking or driving again until August. Oh boy... I tell ya what, there went my plans for the summer as far as traveling, getting projects done, and visiting friends. :-( HOWEVER, I will say, on the flip side, it has forced me to slow down and relax, as there really isn't much else I can do. I'm sure I will look back on this time come October, and I will be wishing I had time to watch billions of tv shows and read trillions of books. ;-) That's what I'm telling myself anyway, ha! So, long story short, now that I'm starting to gain a little more energy and am not getting as tired so quickly, I will be posting again soon, so look out blogging world! Hope you all are having a MUCH better summer than I am, and I will live vicariously through all of your adventures!
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