Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun State History Project

I'm not sure how it is for other teachers across the US, but here we have to teach students about our state's history. In fact, every grade K-6 has to teach some state history. This can get really boring after a few years,  and it seems like all the good ideas have been taken by the lower grades. My grade level started having a County Float Parade a few years ago, and it is a huge hits with parents and students.
This project is pretty simple to implement. The students simply choose a county in their state to research and create a float to represent the history of it. I usually let them choose two or three counties they are interested in and then select one of these for them to complete the project on. Every student has a different county to complete.

Some teachers choose to have students complete this as a home project. I don't like home projects, so my students complete it in class. I let them bring items from home, and I have a huge craft box for them to choose items from.  Al the shoe boxes must be covered. Craft paper of wrapping paper work great for this. The students usually do a really good job of wrapping the boxes.

Of course, some are better than others. I've used a rubric before, but this year I used a Do and Don't list. I think it worked just as well. You can tweak them to fit your needs. Click on the picture for a free copy of the list and research outline.

When all the floats are finished, we have a parade for all the other grades to see. The students attach wheels or put the float on a toy car and roll them down the hallway. We always have a couple of floats that lose their wheels halfway through the parade. Those students just pick them up and carry them the rest of the way.

This project is so much fun! Let me know what ideas you have for teaching your state history. Good luck as you continue to create magic in your classroom!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Classroom Jeopardy

I was SO excited to review Classroom Jeopardy from Educational Insights! My students were even MORE excited. They couldn't wait to get their hands on the controllers. They kept saying it was just like the real game show. I totally agreed with them. "This is Epic!" they said over and over. In other words, it's SUPER COOL!
Now you know I don't like to read directions. A fact that drives my hubby insane. Since he wouldn't read the directions for me, I looked for another alternative. Woot! Woot! Educational Insights has several VIDEOS that explains it all!
This game is absolutely perfect for test prep or reviewing for any subject. The game is so much fun to play students don't know they are learning. The game allows you to create and customize your own games. You can import videos and images into the game. The possibilities are endless. I promise your students can't help but be impressed.

Now I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to having ALL my students engaged. I also want to hold students accountable for their learning, so I created this game board. Students not holding the clicker must write the question in the printable. I broke the class up in teams of three, so everyone gets a chance to play. If there is any time left when we are finished with the game, they look at the questions they've written and try to come up with the answer.  Click the picture for a copy of the printable.
This game really is amazing and perfect for creating magic in the classroom. This will eliminate the need to buy pre-made Jeopardy games. I know I've bought several over the years. I've paid as much as $5.00 for one game. This is a much better alternative. This is something that could be shared with your whole school. It would be perfect for Quiz Bowls and Social Studies Bees. Be sure to check out this awesome product. You will not be disappointed with CLASSROOM JEOPARDY!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Earth Science Freebie

I don't know about you, but as the end of the year draws near, I'm completely worn out. I'm looking forward to a much needed break!
I'm finishing up on my last science unit of the year, Earth Science. This freebie is for a fun activity that involves students taking core samples of a cupcake. I even added a few fossils, raisins and chocolate chips. This was my first attempt at this but I think it turned out ok.  Some of the layers ran together a little. I'm thinking I might bake each layer a few minutes before pouring in the next batter layer.  My best friend and colleague suggested using Jello. The layers would be a lot clearer I think. Also, I found the plastic tubes in a science kit, but if you can't find something that will work, try rolling up and taping overhead transparency sheets into a tube. If you have any suggestions or comments, I would love to hear from you! Click the picture for your free copy and good luck as you continue to make magic in your classroom!

With or without icing!