New Year, New Goals, New Teaching Activity!

Looking for something to start off the new year with your students?  Here's an easy and fun activity to do with students from 4th-10th grade!

I use these graphic organizers as a way to get students thinking about their goals for the new year!  I've included two organizers in the download - one with 10 questions for the new year and another one that is blank.  Use the blank one to reflect back on the Top 10 events of 2014, the Top 10 books they read... lots of ideas to get students reflecting on their past or thinking forward to their future.  Click the image to grab a FREE copy from my TpT Store.

I like to do the activity too and share my goals and dreams with the class - it helps them to connect with me and see me as a real person.  These make a nice bulletin board or classroom display - students love to read and share their goals with each other.

Happy New Year!
~ Addie ~

2014 Holiday Blog Hop for Secondary!

I'm so excited to be hopping on board this Christmas Blog Hop for Secondary Teachers!  Thanks to Faulkner's Fast Five and The Language Arts Classroom for hosting!

Holiday Fast Five

One Thing On My Bucket List for the Holidays  - I am determined to learn how to knit... it seems like everyone around me is knitting up wonderful scarves and hats and I'd love to join in the fun.  I'm hoping my mother in law will show me the basics over the break. However, I think I may have two left thumbs...

One Special Tradition - We cheat and open a present on Christmas Eve... but it's so much fun!

One Gift Idea - I love to give homemade gifts and this year I'm going to make spiced nuts.  So yummy, so easy, and so easy to put into a cellophane bag tied up with a pretty ribbon.

One Activity for the Classroom - I have read "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" aloud to my ELA classes (yes, even my seniors!!) over the last few years and they love it! Some great discussions about memories, the message of Christmas, commercialization and more always follow.

One Freebie - Here's a fun and easy to use writing prompt using Winter themed words.  Use it as a story starter, poetry starter, inspiration to make their own and more!  Just click the image below to grab a FREE copy!

Wishing you all the best this holiday season!


Secondary Smorgasbord - Happy Hour - Writing Freebie

So excited to be linking up with the inaugural Secondary Smorgasbord Linky!!  A great way to connect and see what other Secondary teachers are doing in their classrooms.  Be sure to hop over to the ELA Buffet or Desktop Learning Adventures to see what other great bloggers have linked up and grab some great resources at the same time.

Here's a freebie activity that can be adapted for many different subjects and themes.  Students are asked to write a themed newspaper about a topic of their choice.  A great activity for expository writing OR change the topic to suit your needs.  Students could write about an event in history, a scientific discovery, an invention, a current event... Includes all templates and even a marking rubric!!

Have fun discovering more freebies in the Secondary Smorgasbord Linky!!



Music in My Science Classroom

Music in science class you ask??  How do you combine music with science???

I teach Earth Science and I love it... it's one of my favorite subjects to teach.  I love the hands on activities we can do, how easy it is to connect to the real world and I love that there soooo many songs that I can play in class.

In my room, if we're not doing a lab or activity I allow my students to listen to music.  However, I want us all to be listening to the same music, rather than allow them to plug into their own ipod or phone.  So I need to find music to relate to what we're doing in class.

Here are some examples:

If we're studying ROCKS... we only listen to songs with the word "rock" in the title.  I know, I know... there's no educational value to listening to "We Will Rock You" or "Jailhouse Rock"... but it's fun, the kids love to think of songs that work and it tends to put everyone in a good mood.  Plus... you might even educate them about some classic music!

Here are few more songs with "ROCK" in the title...

 - Like a Rock - Bob Seeger
 - Rock With You - Micheal Jackson
 - R.O.C.K In the USA - John Couger Mellancamp
 - Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley and the Comets
 - I Love Rock and Roll - Joan Jett
 - Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young

But this works for so many of the topics we can cover in class...

Astronomy - look for songs with the word "STAR" or "SUN" or "MOON" in the title... you'll be amazed at how many songs do!!

Weathering / Erosion - look for songs with the word "RAIN", "WIND", "ICE", or "RIVER" in the title.

Weather - some good key words are "SUN", "WIND", "STORM", "WATER" OR "CLOUD".

Plate Tectonics - look for "FIRE" and "EARTH" in the title.

I'm quite sure that once you start looking you'll be amazed at what is out there that you can tie into your class sometimes.  It doesn't work with every unit and not every class is conducive to listening to music... but when I can play music I find it does wonders for my students' productive and their mood.

You're probably wondering how I have access to 1000s of titles of songs.... I just go to Youtube and play the songs from there.  I don't show the video... just play the music on my speakers.

Best of luck looking for music to play in class... I'm sure that other subjects are just as easy to find music for... you just might have to do a little digging.


Who or What Am I Review Game With Sticky Notes

My students and I had a lot of fun with a review game this year - in fact, they often asked if we could play!  I used it successfully with grade 8-12 students, but I think you could easily play this activity with kids as young as 7 or 8.

In the subjects I teach there is often a lot of vocabulary that students need to learn in order to understand the larger concepts.  So when it comes time to do our unit review, I write down vocabulary words on a sticky note and stick a note to each student's back.  Then, either as a small group sitting together, or a large class working together, they must ask each other questions to determine what word they have stuck to their back.  It's the same idea as the game Headbanz, but without the fancy headband!   Students can only ask questions that can be answered with a "yes" or "no".  

This game can be modified for several different subjects - students could try to guess important events in a Social Studies, famous people, an element on the periodic table, characters in a novel, a number...  

I was blown away by how much my students loved this game!  They began to challenge each other to get the word in 5 questions or less, they wanted me to play with them and took great joy in trying to stump me, and they eventually played all on their own.  I gave out several sticky note pads and they would decide on words for each other!  

Super easy, super fun and super effective!!



End of Year - Survival Tip

Are you counting down the days until summer vacation? or are you already basking in the glory days of summer?   I'm still counting down... it feels like it's going to take forever for June 27th to get here!!

If your students are anything like mine they are having a hard time focusing on school work when summer vacation is just around the corner.  Good weather here is making this more and more of a challenge as classrooms heat up (no A/C) and the lure of the great outdoors beckons!

Here is what I do to to that help keep me and my students going the last few weeks of the school year...

Review Games:  My students are required to write final exams in all subjects and so we spend quite a bit of time playing games to review for their tests. 

Here are a few of my favourites.

Draw It! - have students pick a vocabulary term from a hat and draw it on the board, while others guess the term.  I also use small whiteboards to allow play with smaller teams.

Question Challenge - divide your class into two teams.  Give each team 20-30 minutes to create 30 short answer questions.  Teams / players take turns asking the other team a question.

What Am I? - write key vocabulary words on sticky notes and stick one on each student's back.  Students must figure out what they are by asking others in the class questions that can only be answered with yes or no.  I've been playing this game all week and my students have totally jumped on board.  They put themselves into groups, I gave them a sticky note pad and they've been having a ball coming up with the words to review and put on each other's backs.  They've even been trying to stump me with vocabulary words... and challenge me to get the word in 6 questions or less!  So much fun!

There are also lots of free templates available on-line for games like Jeopardy, I Have-Who Has, Dominoes...  why not put a little fun into review!

Thanks for joining our end of the school year blog hop today. We had a great turn out of hoppers. The prize pack part of the hop is now closed. Stay tuned for blog excitement in mid July.  
Please keep hoping along to read our tried, tested and true survival tips.


Plate Tectonic Play Dough

One of my favourite units to teach is Plate Tectonics - it's a great unit to hook kids and get them excited about geology and earth sciences.  It does not seem to matter if my students are 10 or 20 years old, videos and stories about erupting volcanoes and earthquakes never fail to impress.

One of the ways I like to wrap up this unit is with an assessment using Play Dough.... and again, whether my students are 10 or 20 years old, they get excited about the chance to play with Play Dough.  There's just something about the smell and feel that takes everyone back to their childhood.

This activity takes about 60-90 minutes and can be done with just a few simple and inexpensive supplies.
                  -  paper / styrofoam plates (from our school cafeteria)
                  -  plastic knives for "carving" the playdough (also from the cafeteria)
                  -  a "can" of play dough for each student 
                  -  plain white or lined paper

I hand out a "can" of Play Dough to each student and then ask them to form groups of 2-3.  I leave the rest of the supplies on my lab table at the front of the room and let students gather what they need throughout the lesson.

I ask students to do the following:

Plate Boundaries
- You must demonstrate your understanding of the three types of plate boundaries (converging, diverging and sliding).
- You must include all features associated with each boundary - trench, volcano, ridge...

- You must demonstrate your understanding of the three types of volcanoes (cinder cone, strata, shield)

- You must demonstrate your understanding of the three types of faults we studied in class (normal, reverse, transform)

They may use any of the supplies I have in the classroom or their school bags (I've had some creative ideas used before!).  My students often add little flags or signs, they add writing to the plate or paper that their Play Dough is displayed on or they carve symbols or words into the Play Dough.

I also wander around the classroom and ask each student in the group to orally explain one aspect of their Play Dough creations.  I give students a mark as I go through the room based on the level of detail that they have included and their ability to explain what's going on.

Have fun! I hope you and your students have as much fun with 
Play Dough as we do!

Enjoy! Addie


New Year's Goals and Resolutions Activity - FREE

Wow... where did the holidays go!?  Unfortunately, I spent most of my Christmas break dealing with a nasty cold - this one really knocked me out!  Hoping that most of you managed to escape the cold season and spent some great time with your families and friends.

Have you made some New Year's Resolutions???  I like to think about ideas for the year and see how many I can stick to... some years I'm better than other!  Here's what I came up with for 2014 - I'm going to print it out and stick it on the bulletin board in my office - I figure if I stare at it often enough, I might just remember to follow some of them!  Grab a copy of the organizer below to make your own!

Grab a copy of the worksheet I used for my own resolutions - I think it's important to do this activity if I am going to ask my students to do it.

 These two worksheets are simple and so can be used in a variety of classrooms with a variety of ages and abilities!

To download a FREE copy of both of these worksheets head to my TpT Store and download it FREE!

new year's resolutions

Happy New Year ~Addie

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