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Showing posts from April, 2009

Vocabulary BINGO

This was another fabulous idea I got from another teacher (thank you Ms. Larson!) and tweaked. In the middle school last year I was SHOCKED at the amount of new vocabulary students had to learn in the sixth grade (I am equally shocked at the limited amount of new vocabulary fourth graders have to learn in comparison...oh well). To help students remember the vocabulary word and its definition we played BINGO, usually within the last 10 minutes of class if we had extra time or more often the closer we were to a big test or state exam. Here is how it works. Put together a list of 24 vocabulary words for a unit. I was struggling to find 24 words in one unit and pulled words from another unit we had done to round it out. For the notebook, I put the words in Microsoft Publisher "catalog format" and gave it a cover so I could fold and glue into the book (see next to last and last picture). I then made a BINGO board in word (using their "table" format) making sure to have …

Damaged Notebooks

Since I decided to use only one notebook this year, instead of starting new ones in January, student books are showing wear and tear - primarily with the binding. To counteract that I have reinforced the binding using clear packing tape, which seems to work. Next year I think I might have a classroom volunteer start out at the beginning of the year reinforcing the binding with clear tape so it doesn't become a problem. Student do tend to pick at the tape so I told students that any book without any picked tape at the end of the year will get a treat. This has worked well with their desk name tags. I got tired of replacing their names on the desk (which I just use blue thick painters tape - the good kind 3M - and write their name on it - nothing fancy here!). Anyone who has their name still on their desk, and I can read it, on the last day of school will get a treat. My kids switch classes so their table partner (the person who sits at their table in the morning or afternoon) will …

Menus - Trying it End of Year

I really really really like this idea and think it will work well with the notebooks. This book was recommended by a friend of mine (she has the social studies menu book) and I promptly bought the science book. The premise is that students are given a menu option of things to do to demonstrate (at different levels) their understanding of what they learned in a unit. Each activity is given a different point value and students have to accrue a certain amount of points by picking and choosing off a menu, bingo board (pictured above), etc. The book is fairly new to me so I am looking through it and plan to try one of the "menus" (modified to fit our standards) at the end of the year (we have state testing coming up three weeks after we return from spring break so it will be after that). This way I can iron out the kinks and see how it would work within a unit. I thought some other teachers might want to investigate the book before my "experiment", which I will definit…

Recommended Books

I know I have mentioned the author Dinah Zike before but here are three of my favorite books by her. I use ideas from these books constantly in the classroom. They are well worth the money I spent on them. I currently have my fingers crossed that I get a NEA grant I applied for to attend her "foldables" workshop in Texas this summer (too expensive on my own and remains listed under my dream professional development list).

Currently I am on spring break and I grabbed these three off my school bookshelf to take home and see what will jump out at me as I plan for the end of the year. I have spoken to pre-service teachers at our local university and I always bring them with me and recommend them as "must haves" on any teachers bookshelf (she also has other books but obviously I am focused on science...I know after bringing them to school the fourth grade social studies teachers purchased her social studies book).