Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Black History Month Spot It & Steal It

February is Black History Month!

My Black History Month Spot It & Steal It game is a FUN way to introduce your students to some significant historical figures!

Before I get into the game cards... know that you can use the cards in other ways, not just as a game. For instance... you can use the "picture cards" to create a bulletin board display of all the significant people. Here's a closer look at the "picture cards":
This game has 48 cards (24 clue cards and 24 picture cards) so you can play it as a class OR you can divide the cards up to create a few centres. I find that having groups of 4 players and handing out 3-4 cards per player makes for a great game.

Each "Spot It" card has a clue about an important historical figure and students have to find the "Picture Card" that corresponds...

If you SPOT IT in another player's pile...  shout "STEAL"... the first person to shout "steal" gets to keep the picture card. To keep your own cards from being stolen, slap your card before someone yells steal...and the card is kept safe!

The player with the most picture cards WINS.

I've included several print options in this game: color, white background, and black & white.
There is also the option to play with answer clues or without!
If you're looking for some good books for Black History Month, I found these books on Amazon.

The website http://www.biography.com is great for showing your class videos of some of the amazing people mentioned in my game.

To make your life easier I've included links to bios for each historical figure (note: some do not have videos):

1.) Booker T Washington 

2.) Harriet Tubman

3.) Frederick Douglas

4.) Marcus Garvey

5.) Rosa Parks

6.) Jesse Owens

7.) Sojourner Truth

8.) Martin Luther King JR

9.) Billie Holiday

10.) Ruby Bridges

11.) Bill Pickett

12.) Edna Lewis

13.) Thurgood Marshall

14.) Bessie Coleman

15.) George W. Carver

16.) Marian Anderson

17.) Langston Hughes

18.) Wilma Rudolph

19.) Tuskegee Airman

20.) Phyllis Wheatley

21.) Michael Jackson

22.) Jackie Robinson

23.) Sarah E Goode

24.) Benjamin Banneker

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Time to the hour and half hour {Spot It & Steal It}

With new year's eve creeping up, I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce the concept of time to my lil Cinnabun. He has been showing an interest in watches and telling time, so I figure... why not nurture his interest. Plus, since new years is all about watching the clock strike 12, it just seemed like perfect TIMING ;)

My son loves playing card games so I knew that he would enjoy my new TIME Spot It & Steal It game. The interactive element of the game is just what he needs - he is not into boring worksheets!! This pack comes with hour and half hour cards!

Yesterday we were with the fam so my lil man got to play the game with his cousins! I love how they were learning without even realizing it!!

Here's how to play in pairs: Lay out all the "picture cards" and take turns reading the "spot it" cards. Reading the cards allows kids to practice reading the time in different ways. I have included "spot it" cards that are written in word form and digital form.

Whoever spots the "picture card" that corresponds with the "spot it" card can SPOT IT (or in this case, SWAT it!) & STEAL it!!

You can put this little spin on any of my Spot It & Steal It games if you'd rather have students use the cards in pairs versus groups!! All you need is a fly swatter!

I left my swatters at school so I made my own with a spatula and yogurt lid! I just inserted the paper into the lid and voila - homemade Time Spot It & Steal It swatter done! I actually like it better than a boring ol' fly swatter... so it all worked out!

You can download the template for free HERE.

Later, my nephew wanted to join so we changed the set up to allow for more players.

In this set-up, each kid gets 2-4 cards (depending on how many players) and they take turns reading the "spot it" cards.  Again, if you spot it, you can steal it! The player with the most cards wins!!

You can save your card from being stolen by slapping your card before anyone can steal it!! This element of the game really forces everyone to pay attention! It also increases the FUN factor!

If you want to use this game in your classroom, you can use it in the ways mentioned above (in pairs or small groups)... but you can also play as a class. Just combine a couple of the centres in the pack (there are 4 centre options) to play as a class.

time, games, hour, half hour


Friday, August 14, 2015

5 Reasons You Should Get Rid of Your Classroom Thesauruses & Why You Should Use Picture Thesauruses Instead!!

Several years ago I was teaching grade one and then moved onto teaching grade 4 the year after - a huge jump! One thing that really stuck with me is how:
1. The elementary grades had limited resources to help students write descriptively (i.e., a thesaurus isn't exactly a kid friendly tool).
2. It was NO DIFFERENT in the higher grades. Students would often select synonyms at random when asked to be more descriptive! A regular thesaurus was just not cutting it.

This is when I KNEW I had to create a resource to help my students... something that would serve as the "Angry Birds" of thesauruses. Like Angry Birds, it had to be something young kids could use (and enjoy) just as effectively as older students.

After hearing from all the wonderful teachers who have left me feedback on my Picture Thesauruses (click HERE to read all the feedback comments), I am delighted to know that teachers spanning from the elementary grades to the upper grades...and even up to high school... are enjoying the books.  If this is your first time hearing about the books... or you're on the fence about grabbing a set for your class, this post serves to show you 5 REASONS why I think you should get rid of your classroom library of thesauruses and use Picture Thesauruses instead! Oh, and I have a couple of FREE books for you to try out... keep reading... the links are at the end!

You can also ENTER TO WIN a Picture Thesaurus Bundle AND a $100 TpT Gift Card!!
{You'll see more details on this at the end of this post!}

Here is an example of a page in a Picture Thesaurus booklet, just to give you an idea of how they are organized. 

A complete booklet would look something like this:

Now for WHY I got rid of my classroom thesauruses and created Picture Thesauruses to use with my students instead:

My Picture Thesauruses get used A LOT in my class... so I also created some quick reference cards that students can use when a booklet is in use. Once students have used the booklets several times, and have a sense of the word they're looking for (but just need to double check spelling etc.), the reference cards are the perfect tool.

You can also choose to use them in an interactive notebook! Click the image below to learn more!

If you're thinking "How will I organize the Picture Thesauruses in my classroom?", I have some ideas for you!
I put my cards on magnetic hooks on the black board:

But you could also put them on a cork board with push-pins:
(Thanks Amy Mezni from Teaching Ideas 4U for snapping a pic of how you organize them in your class!!).

She sent me a message the other day saying she had room for a few more books on the bottom and that I should get on it and add some MORE in my store!! Well, little did she know, I was in the middle of adding "SAID" to my store just as she sent me the message! Ask and you shall receive, haha! 

Another option is to put the books on a peg board. 
I organize my books by senses (the 5 senses + emotions). 

For the longest time I just had them on the ledge of my blackboard. Whatever works!!

NOW... if you want to WIN A SET for your class ENTER the raffle below!!

To enter all you have to do is download the FREEBIES listed below and leave a lil love in the feedback section for each book in my store! 

It really is a win-win... you were going to download these freebies anyway!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
WAIT...that's not all I'm giving away!! My friends at the Lesson Deli and I are ALSO giving away a $100 TpT GIFT CARD!! This is happening on our collaborative blog, here:

But before you make your way there, be sure to hop on to the next blog in our hop!

Monday, July 27, 2015

BTS Essentials Giveaway!

Wow... I can't even remember the last time I wrote a blog post. I am so sorry to anyone who follows my blog. Are you out there?? Is there anyone following my blog... my wonderful, post-lacking blog??

I do have a reason. The last four months have been filled with nausea, fatigue and naps... lots of naps. Why? You may have guessed it... I have a little CINNA-"BUN" IN THE OVEN!! Yay!!!

Now that I'm over the first trimester hump AND thanks to my pals at UGM who are throwing a fun giveaway for back to school, I've dusted off my macbook and here I am writing a post ...all so I can have some giveaway fun too!!

Each of us are raffling off a "back to school essential" we can not live without.... for me, that  is COFFEE!!  I can not start my school day without coffee!!

So come and enter to win this $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Try It Free Tuesday: Homophones Spot It & Steal It Game!

I am so excited to be a part of Miss. Kindergarten's "Try It Free Tuesday" fun!!  Every Tuesday this summer, she will be featuring free resources for you to try in your classroom! This week, my Homophones Spot It & Steal It game is being featured on her blog!  Be sure to head over there TODAY because my game is free for ONE DAY ONLY!  But not to worry... you will be able to purchase it on TpT after that!

My students LOVE playing my Spot It & Steal It games because they are fun and interactive. For this game, students take turns reading the "Spot the homophone" card and everyone has to be on the lookout for the corresponding "picture card".  If you SPOT IT, you can STEAL IT.  If it's in your own pile, SLAP IT so no one can steal your card!!  Perfect for centers... and for making your little ones laugh!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Go Green!

Earth Day is just around the corner... but at our school Earth Day truly is EVERY DAY... because we are an ECO SCHOOL! Nevertheless, it is nice to have these special days to inspire extra awareness around the impact our decisions have on our planet!

Several weeks ago, our school celebrated Earth Hour by turning off all the lights for an hour and unplugging our electronics! Our window lets in a lot of light so we didn't have to work in complete darkness at all.  It was neat because it made us realize just how much energy we actually get from the sun. Maybe we will work with the lights off more often!

I introduced the class to my Go Green Spot It & Steal It game cards the week of Earth Hour and we've been using the pack for various activities ever since...not just for playing the game!

You can use all my games in the ways I'm about to describe...so if you have the Figurative Language set for instance, you can use the same strategies.

One example: Instead of creating my own anchor chart, I like having my students get involved in the process. We use the black and white versions of the game cards to do this!

Recently, I asked my students to brainstorm ways that we could be kind to the Earth. Each time a student mentioned an idea that I had a "picture card" for, I handed the black and white version of the card out to the student who shared the idea. For this game, I had enough cards to hand out to everyone. For the games where I don't have enough picture cards for the whole class, I just use the colored cards and have students put them up as key ideas/concepts are mentioned. {You can see an example of how I did this with my Graphing Spot It & Steal It cards HERE}

After our brainstorming session, students colored in their cards:
Then we pasted the cards onto chart paper! You could also use the cards to create a display or make a class book! For the book, you can have students write a blurb about how they conserve energy at home and place this with the picture.

I think there's real benefit in doing a collaborative anchor chart because students are more likely to refer to it if they played a role in creating it.

We are now working on creating Earth Day posters! Students used the anchor chart to come up with ideas for their posters! Since they had tons of ideas to refer to, they had no problem coming up with a plan!  Below, you can see students gathered around the chart!

Next week we will play the game!

So you see, my Spot It & Steal It games can act as a word wall (see that post HERE); you can create an anchor chart; have students write a class book; put the cards up on a bulletin board for a visual reminder; use it as a GAME to review concepts... and more. The options are endless!

Here are some more of my Spot It & Steal It games! Click on a box to learn more!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Art with Jenny K!

Can I just say thank goodness for Jenny K!! I just love the guided art lesson on "How to Draw a Bunny" that she has on her blog!

Students can add their own flair to the bunnies by deciding how to finish them off.   I had my students come up with a design for the center (using various types of lines and shapes - we reviewed these first).  They also picked a medium of their choice.

A couple of them chose to use pastels...

...but most chose paint (surprise, surprise!!).

Although I have paints for every color in the rainbow,  I decided to give my kiddos ONLY the primary colors so that they could create their own hues.

To my delight, there was some great vocabulary building going on...

"This looks MAROON"

...were just some of the descriptive color words (and phrases) I heard!

I'm sure if I had just given my kiddos all the paint colors to start with, these conversations would not have taken place! Instead, I might have heard "Can you pass me the purple please!".

We also added art terms to our vocabulary like: hue, shade, tint, primary colors, secondary colors, as well as words to describe various types of lines (horizontal, vertical, wavy etc.)!  See, art can turn into a mini language lesson too!

Back to the paints... when I bring out paints, I like to use q-tips!  For starters, they allow students to get into all those tiny details. But to be completely honest... it just makes clean up a BREEZE!! No paintbrushes to wash, no fuss, no muss!

We used small paper plates as pallets (another easy clean-up solution!).  Three plates were used for the primary colors and students were given a plate of their own to experiment and mix!

I'd love to hear your easy clean up solutions when it comes to painting! Comment below!

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