Cool ideas in your classroom??? - Share them.

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by katenar, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    Hi Everyone ~

    I know we all do some really cool things in our classroom and I am really interested in hearing about them.

    A few things that I do are:

    Mystery Math Box - Each week I have 3 math problems for the students to solve. Once they have the answer they can check it by going to our Mystery Math Box and inputting their answer into the combination lock on the box. If they have the correct answer the lock opens and they get to take a prize from the box. The prizes are very simple. Perhaps a sweet, free homework pass, etc. The students are told not to share their answers and if they do they won't be able to participate - so far no problems.

    These next two are things that I'm implementing this year - I got the ideas from www.mrcoley.com. I've tweaked them just a little - but they are great as they are so not much change was needed. Just personal touches.

    Jensen's Journalist - A student is chosen every day and they need to write about what we did in class. They may also use the digital camera to take pictures as well. That evening they write up their article and I post it on our website (www.kyrene.org/staff/kjensen). I think it will be a great way to utilize the technology and writing skills.

    Club R.A.D. - Stands for Club Research and Discover (took me forever to come up with a name.....I think I like this one). Every two weeks I'll post questions and if the students answer them correctly they will get points. I will have a scoreboard in the classroom and on the website. The student with the most points at the end of the quarter will get a prize. I'm going to start by using the Brain Quest questions...just to start with. (I also have a link on my website about this idea.)

    Sock Day - this is an activity that another teacher and I do at the end of the school year just for fun. The kids decorate (at home) a sock and we have a contest for Most Beautiful, Scary, Originial, etc. We hang those up around the classroom and the kids vote on each others. Next the kids go around to a variety of centers that all have things that are related to fee, socks, shoes, etc. The kids absolutely love it and don't realize (or maybe they do) that while they are doing this they are practicing their reading, math, etc. It's a lot of fun.

    If anyone wants more info on any of this let me know....I'll try to help as best as I can. I love to share.

    So what do you do in your classroom? Any fun or unique ideas? Please share? :D

    Katie
     
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  3. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Mine was thought up in a moment of desparation during PT conferences last November. I was feeling the need to lighten up things in my 7th grade LA class. I came up with a wacky project entitled "Attack of the Potato People". Basically, students had to come up with a complete persona (including backstory) for a person. They then had to create that person out of a potato. They could not cut the potato in any way (I didn't want my room to smell like rotten potatoes). Then we did about a week and a half of writing assignments from the point of view of their potato people, including having them write letters to each other. Mine was "Gue Pomme de Terre"; he was French,and the kids got a kick out of the fact that I did the project, too.
     
  4. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    I'm going to steal this! Awesome idea!
     
  5. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Katie, awesome ideas-all of them! What grade do you use these with? On the Mystery Math idea, how does the combination lock part of it work? :)

    I like how you plan to implement the Journal idea-I saw it on Mr. Coley's site, too, but wasn't sure how to go about doing it. Great idea to let them add pictures! :)

    I really like your Club RAD idea, too! I have done a Question of the Day where I gave out a smartie candy for all who got it right, but I really like the idea of having it on the classroom website!

    Thanks so much for sharing!! :angel:
     
  6. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    I use these with my 5th grade class.

    For my mystery math box I bought one of those combination locks from the $1 store. It has 3 rows of numbers 0-9, so I need to make sure my final answer is one of those numbers. An example with the mystery math box question would be:

    Kayla made a poster for Eye Safety Day. She divided the poster into four parts. One part was blue. One part was red. One part was green. One part was yellow. She put an equal number of pictures in each part. She used 24 pictures. How many were in each part?

    Answer: 6 - They would input this number into the combination lock.

    Sometimes, the answer may be like 34 or something, than I would just have directions for the kids to subtract 32 from their final answer.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Thanks! It really does help! :) BUT, I am severely challenged when it comes to combination locks! Because in Middle School, the students will have lockers with combination locks, I always suggest to my parents and kids to purchase one to practice with over the summer. Little do they know that I seldom can make one work! :D

    The part I don't understand is this: can you program the lock to open to different combinations? How does the answer not always come out to the same answer in order to open the lock? Sorry to be such an idiot!! :eek: Thanks so much for taking the time to help me with this! :) :thanks:
     
  8. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    I love this idea!!! What fun.

    My kids love a game called Magic Three Minutes. I pull down the big map (either the US map or the world map) and one kid comes up to the map. I set a timer for three minutes, and during those three minutes, the rest of the class is supposed to stump the student at the map. They raise their hands and the student in front calls on them one at a time. When they are called on, they name a place for the front student to find on the map. If the person at the map can find it, I make a tally mark on the board. If they can't find it, they have the other person come up and show them where it is. My kids got very into stumping each other - their assignment books have a map in the back, and on their own, they came up with the idea to pull those out to find obscure places. It was great. We didn't play this all the time, just when we had an extra few minutes, which kept it interesting and exciting for the kids. I keep track of who has been up to the front, and make sure that everyone has had a turn before we start going through them again.
     
  9. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    What a cool way to build those geography skills!! :cool: I am going to do that! :) :thanks:
     
  10. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    Good question - I should have mentioned this. First the combination lock I got is NOT one of those that you have to turn to the right, left, right - I know the kids would have a hard time :confused: with that and I wanted it to be something that they could do without my help. The lock I bought was from the $1 store and can be reprogramed weekly to give different answers. I found a link that has one sort of like mine - like I said though go to the $1 tree and it will say you can reset the combination. Of course the one I got there isn't nearly as heavy duty as the one in the picture but at least you get the idea. :)

    http://www.wesecure.com/combination-lock.htm
     
  11. Mrs. Schulte

    Mrs. Schulte Rookie

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    All great ideas! I'm going to try a few of them. I like the map stumper, may help me too. I stink at geography.
     
  12. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Thanks, Katie!! This I think I can handle! :D What a super idea!!! :)
     
  13. ysalazar

    ysalazar Rookie

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    I have a question about the Magic Three Minutes. If the student doesn't know the answer, then he's out, right? What was the tally mark for? Do they get more than one chance? Please let me know how you reward them. I think it's an awesome way of getting children excited about geography.
     
  14. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    In Magic Three Minutes the student stays at the map for the whole three minutes, whether they are finding the places or not. If they called on Suzy and found her place, they get a tally. Then they call on Johnny and if they can't find his place, Johnny comes up, shows them, and then they can call on Billy. If they find Billy's place, they get another tally. It goes on like this until the time is up. Their goal is to get as many tally marks in the three minutes as they can. I really don't use any rewards for this. They just like seeing a lot of tallies on the board, and we always clap for them afterwards, even if they only got one or two right.
    I hope this helps. Let me know if you need more explanation.
     
  15. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    Your welcome! I hope the kids enjoy it. :D

    Does anyone else have some interesting ideas? Share them please.
     
  16. MisterG

    MisterG Comrade

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    One thing Im going to try this year is something that I originally planned for social studies. Although it is hard to explain

    What it is.....hmm

    Its basically the students playing a game of World. Its something where we break the class up into groups and each group is a country of the world that we create (with land, water...etc). From there, the students in each group elect presidents of their countries and they have to deal with challenges I give them.

    One can make this as easy or as challenging as they want. I hope to incorporate other stuff like science and math into it as well. Would be interesting to see how each group deals with challenges and the like and then reviewing as a class.

    I was thinking that for older grades (ie middle school) one can introduce concepts and figures...such as a war and diseases...etc.

    I dunno...kind of a work in progress.
     
  17. yclark

    yclark Comrade

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    I like this idea. My children both have a small safe with a combination lock on it. We got them at Radio Shack a couple of years ago, on sale for $9.99. They enjoy changing the combinations and trying to outsmart each other, always using birthdates or number patterns gets predictable so they have to change them often. This way you change the combination to suit the problem not manipulate the problem to the combination.
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    MisterG, would you keep us posted on the progress of this idea? It sounds great.
     
  19. MissV

    MissV Companion

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  20. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    Thanks for sharing!! I love it. I may have to make a Mystery Spelling Box too! :D
     
  21. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Keep the ideas coming. I'm definitely going to use the 3min game:thanks: . A math activity I'm going to use this year is the estimation station. You fill a jar up with different items(usually candy), and the students must make an accurate estimation of how much is in the jar. The students will have all week to come up with the answer, and on Friday that are allowed to guess. The student who makes the correct guess wins whatever is in the jar. I'm going to start the year off with erasers.
     
  22. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    That's a good idea. What size jar are you going to use? What if no one guesses the correct amount? Does the person who has the was closest to it win the stuff in the jar?
     
  23. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    I'm going to use a regular size Mason Jar. If the students don't guess the correct amount in a month I will give the correct answer, and the goodies will go back in the pot.
     
  24. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I do estimation jar every morning and we do it as part of our calendar routine. We write down their guesses, count and then they have to figure out how many more they needed to get the correct amount or how many less they needed. I use anything from blocks, to lego, to beads, to pencils... I have never used food. The person who guesses the closest gets a 'cheer' --no prizes.

    Sometimes I fill up two containers with different items and they have to guess which one has more/less or where they are equal.
     
  25. Mrs. Mom

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    This is along the lines of the Club R.A.D. questions from the original post. I did my student teaching years ago with a lady who put a brain teaser up on her wall on a piece of poster board. The question stayed there until a student could answer correctly. They could ask parents, and she gave some sort of small reward (candy, I think) when someone figured it out. There is a game called MindTrap that has tons of question cards. I have 4th graders, and some of the questions are rather hard, but since I do have several gifted kids I thought I would use some. Just thought those of you with older students might be interested!

    Here is an example of a question from the game:

    "This is a most unusual paragraph. How quickly can you find out what is so unusual about it? It looks so ordinary you'd think nothing was wrong with it - and in fact, nothing IS wrong with it. It is unusual though. Why? Study it, think about it, and you may find out. Try to do it without coaching. If you work at it for a bit it will dawn on you. So jump to it and try your skill at figuring it out. Good luck - don't blow your cool!
    ANSWER: The letter "e" (the most common letter in our language) does not appear in the paragraph!
     
  26. Mrs. Schulte

    Mrs. Schulte Rookie

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    I would have NEVER gotten that one right. :)
     
  27. Mrs. Mom

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    Some of them are harder than others! :) My thinking is that even if the kid can't get it, some of them might be interested enough to copy one down and start a family group effort to solve it. If it promotes family time, then I guess it's worth it! Like I said, the actual game is for 12 and up, so I'll have to only use the "easiest" ones!!
     
  28. 6thgradeteacher

    6thgradeteacher Rookie

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    I also do this....Although at times I get stuck on cheap fillers....what all have you used???
     
  29. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dominoes, counters, peppermints, smarties, buttons, paper clips, rubber bands, feathers, erasers....
     
  30. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    I would like to do a board with Rebus Puzzles for the students to guess each week. I like the idea of adding MindTrap questions to it as well, and just making it a weekly puzzle board.
     
  31. Ms.S60074

    Ms.S60074 Rookie

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    I've used this book with over 1000 wacky trivia questions broken down into catergories such as, history, food, movies, etc. Some of them are outrageously hard, but easily found with a little research. If the student goes home and does some research do you think they should get the prize? Also, I have a system where I have them write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. This takes practice with my impulsive kids not to yell out an answer when they first come in the room. Do you think after one submission, that should be it? Also, how about using trivial pursuit for juniors?
     
  32. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I finally got rid of my Mind Trap game because I thought most of the questions were too difficult. I love the idea of problems which take longer to solve and involve higher level thinking skills, though, as long as they don't completely mystify the kids.
     
  33. 6thgradeteacher

    6thgradeteacher Rookie

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    I do a rebus of the week....the kids love it!! If I forget to put it up on Monday, they surely remind me! I draw one name out of a bin and the one who got it right gets a prize.
     
  34. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    You can use candy corn, popcorn kernels, paper clips, erasers, and all sorts of little candies such as m&ms, skittles, and starburst. I rarely give out candy in my room(except for pepper mints during pepper mint reading), so the kids love this.
     
  35. Ali

    Ali Companion

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    shasha~ What is "peppermint reading"?
     
  36. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I am assuming the students get a peppermint candy while they read independently.
     
  37. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Actually I pair my students according to their reading abilities, and allow them to read together out loud( a little noisy a lot effect). I give each person in the pair a peppermint so that no one will say the other's breath stinks. I usually have them re-read the basal in peppermint pairs. I walk around the room listening and monitoring. This would also be a good time to make anecdotal notes. Kids who may not want to read in front of the whole class get the opportunity to work on ORF. I give them about 25 min. Just in case a group finishes early I assign 2-3 comp. questions.
     
  38. Mrs.Sheila

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    I use this in my preschool class! They don't get the concept of that many numbers so ours is "scoops" of things. I use a coffee scoop as our measuring tool.
     
  39. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    Now this is a good idea! :D
     

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