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August 27, 2015

Undercover CIA (Math Lesson)

 Yesterday we started chapter 2, we're moving onto addition! When learning about Commutative, Identity, and Associative properties, I like to use the acronym CIA.  The kids totally get it, and I get to have fun with it. When I think of CIA (probably because of all the spy shows I have watched over the years - Alias, Burn Notice, Chuck, Covert Affairs), I tend to think of those dark sunglasses that hide true identities.  

The students took a piece of copy paper and folded it in half.  Then, with the fold on the top of the paper, we drew a line across the paper as the top part of a pair of sunglasses.  Then we drew 3 lines underneath - one on each side for the temples, and then one in the middle for the nose bridge.  After drawing the lines, we then drew 2 U shapes for the lens, and filled in the details like above.  

Cutting was a big deal.  When folded, they cut along the bottom 3 lines and the lens.  The top was left intact to make it a flip up book.  Inside we wrote our notes for Addition Properties and the Subtraction Rules.  The kids were able to decorate their sunglasses in any way (as long as they could still read the notes).  

I used Ashley Hughes' cute sunglasses to create a version that is easy to print!  Just click the picture!

  Have a great day!

August 26, 2015

Day 12... ELA Bulletin Boards

Hi Everyone.  I've fallen into the black hole that is called Back to School.  Where the days are long, sleep is short, and a teacher's energy is zapped!  I wanted to share what we've been up to the past 12 days of school.  Yep, only 12!  I can't believe August is almost over - time has seemed to move at record speeds!

We started our novel studies.  Each week we have been focused on a specific reading strategy, but also spiraling through all of them.  I've been using my Reading Exit slips on Fridays as a quick check of what the kids should be able to identify.  The kids drop them off on this pocket chart, right next to their classroom number.

Nearby this entire wall has turned into a reading center.   Don't mind the mail crates underneath. :)  

Over in the corner are character traits from Joanne Miller (our intro. to that was this week), and then our strategies.  The kids brainstorm different examples from our text, and I stick them on to the reading graphic organizers.  The kids have the same ones in the front of their reading comprehension notebooks as a reference of what we are learning.  It has made it pretty easy to fill out!  

Across the room is our Writing wall.  We have started Rainbow Editing and Word of the Day.  Little by little this wall is filling up, which makes me happy!  

How are you doing?  Are you surviving Back to School?  

August 19, 2015

Using Games to Teach Vocabulary

Good morning everyone!  Today I have guest blogger, Corrine Jacob, from the Alternate Tutelage blog popping by to share some great information regarding teaching vocabulary!


I believe educational games are a great way to practice lessons, review concepts and in some cases even introduce new ones. When it comes to vocabulary, I love learning games all the more, because vocabulary as a subject can get pretty boring. A lot of vocabulary building is about memorizing word meanings, and we all know that memorizing isnít much fun. Fortunately, though, word games are plenty of fun, and are incredibly easy to adapt to whatever words you are currently working on in your classroom.

Further, vocabulary games help with vocabulary building in multiple ways: 1. They encourage active participation from students ñ Word games often require the players to make use of their problem solving and critical thinking skills. This forces students to actively engage with the words and increases the chances that they will be able to remember them later on. 2. They create a safe environment for practice ñ In a traditional classroom setting, students may be hesitant to participate for fear of failure. They may be wary of exposing their ëignoranceí to their classmates, and hence remain a mute observer. With games, on the other hand, students are more relaxed and participative, allowing them to benefit more from the exercise. 3. They are effective with all types of learners ñ Games use a wide variety of stimuli at once: players take in visual and auditory cues and often move around as they play. They also interact with each other and engage in teamwork. These experiences allow all types of learners to benefit from and enjoy the activity. Whether you prefer online games or traditional classroom games, here are a few fun vocabulary games you can use with your students.

Online Vocabulary Games is a great educational website that makes vocabulary building addictive and fun. The word game is designed based on the science of vocabulary building, to make sure that players learn words in a manner that is most effective. The website allows players to compete with their friends in real life, on social media or even strangers on the internet. Students in the United States and Canada can compete in the Vocabulary Bowl that pits schools across the country against each other. The game has plenty of exciting features, including the option to play with customized lists or copied text. Interested? Check it out! Other fun online word games include ëWord Rageí from, which requires players to make as many words as possible from a larger word within a specified time period and Word Slamm from, which requires players to form words with moving letter tiles before they fill up the space provided.

Classroom Vocabulary Games Here are two fun classroom games that are great to play with your weekly vocabulary words. Memory ñCreate index cards with vocabulary words and related clues such as images, definitions and synonyms/antonyms. Place the cards face down in rows and columns on a table. Have students take turns turning over two of the cards. If they match, the student can keep the cards and take another turn. If not, the next student gets to try. At the end of the game, the student with the most cards wins. Vocabulary Bingo ñ Write down all the vocabulary words on the board. Allow each student to choose five words from the list. Describe the words in various ways ñ call out the definition, give the antonym, or use any other method that you like. Students who believe they have the corresponding word can tick it from their list. The first to tick all five words wins. This game is good for introducing new words before a lesson. Do you think you can use these vocabulary games in your class? Are there any other word games you like to play? Comment and let me know!

Author Bio: Corinne Jacob is a wannabe writer who is convinced that kids learn best when theyíre having fun. She is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. Corinne loves all things that scream out un-schooling, alternative education and holistic learning.