Halloween Freebie

Halloween is one of my favorite "holidays" of the year!  I love to dress up in a silly costume for school and really enjoy seeing the creativity of the students - some of their ideas are incredible. (Last year, we had 5 students come as different Tetris pieces that all fit together!)

Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year... smack in the middle of the school week!  I know that my students will have the "Halloween Wiggles" so I like to have some activities that I can do with them to help them focus and get back on track!

Here's a fun freebie for you to use as a writing prompt, poetry prompt, art prompt or simply as classroom decor!  You can download it at my TpT store OR by clicking the image below. 

I like to display the poster (or project it with a document camera) and have the students use the words or images as prompts for a story or poem.  Perhaps they have to include the purple words in their first paragraph, or put 2 orange words in their first sentence.... Why not write a haiku using a word from each color?? Or write a poem using the images as a starting point? 

Students could also use the poster as an inspiration to create their own "word art" or "subway art". (You can find lots of other examples of "subway art" online.)

I'm sure you can think of even more ways to use the poster!  Please share your ideas... I'd love to hear more!

The full download includes a copy of the poster in color, a copy in black/white and a sheet of b/w pumpkin writing paper!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Pinterest Power

So, I'm a huge fan of the visual clipboard site called Pinterest... it's like eye-candy for me!  I could spend hours browsing the beautiful pictures and never grow tired!   I've found amazing recipes, unique craft ideas, some of the most hilarious quotes, incredible blogs and unbelievable teaching ideas.  (My classroom has never looked so good!)

I've started posting a "Quote of the Week" in my room and I love the discussions my students and I have had as a result.  I've got an entire stash of quotes that I've found on Pinterest at the ready for each Monday.  If you'd like some inspiration check out my board of Quotes, Posters and Sayings!

There are literally thousands of teachers using Pinterest to gather ideas and inspiration... it's really amazing what people come up with and are so willing to share.  Here's my board of School Stuff.

Another fun aspect of Pinterest is the fact that people from all over the world can collaborate and all pin to the same board! What an amazing concept!  A global village of teachers connecting through Pinterest.  Some of my favorite collaborative boards are The Lesson Cloud, Connect-A-Blog, and the fantastic boards organized by The OC Blog.

There are entire teacher boards dedicated to FREEBIES!! Who doesn't love a good freebie?!  Check out Fabulous & Free and Free Lessons for some fun and free ideas and products!

Be sure to check out this list of teachers using Pinterest at Debbie Clement's incredible blog Rainbows Within Reach.  Add your link below... but be sure to head over to her blog to see the links she's organized over the last few weeks - she's sooo organized to have them sorted into categories. 

photo of: The Great Upper Elementary Pinterest Link UP hosted by RainbowsWithinReach

Have fun pinning!!

Classroom Ipad Rules

I was thrilled last year to be given a class set of ipads!! I can't believe what a difference they've made for my teaching!  However, I knew that before I could hand them out to my high-school students I'd have to develop a list of rules about their use and a system to keep track of them.

My new students are very excited about using the ipads and can't wait to get their hands on one next week.  However, before I let them loose I need to go over some of the basic rules for their use.  I spend some time talking about how lucky we are to have them (one of only 2 classrooms at my school with access to ipads) and that using them is a privilege.  Luckily the students really seem to pick up on this and respond well to the rules that I've established for their use.

The first day I allow the students on the ipads I go over the rules that I have posted in the classroom.   We spend some time talking about why the rules are in place and the importance of following them. And we talk about consequences... which are really very simple in my class... you break a rule, you lose the ipad for the day.  You break a rule twice and you lose the right to an ipad for a month.  Last year... I only had one student break a rule twice. (He somehow managed to put a lock on the ipad that only he could undo. Sooo frustrating!!)

After talking about the rules... I let the students just play!  They love it! They take pictures, they distort the pictures, they watch videos, they web surf and they giggle! I let them get the giggly "oh my goodness these ipads are soo cool, I can't believe we get to use them"... giggles out of their system. It seems to work!  The second time we use them... it's all business.

Luckily, the settings on an ipad can be locked down very well. My students cannot download programs, change settings, add / delete an app or do anything too terrible to them.  Frustratingly, they can change the language (I once opened an ipad to see Japanese!) and change the wallpaper settings.  Minor inconveniences that I can ask the students to fix... they do it once, get caught and never do it again!  (Having a good sign-out system means I know who changed things!)

What are some systems you have in place for using ipads or technology in your classroom?? Have I missed something hugely important?? Would love to hear what some of you do? 

To read more about why I love my ipads check out this previous blog post.  Stay tuned for more posts this year too!  I plan to write about some of my favorite apps and uses for the ipads.


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