Help me be more fun!

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by Mrs_B, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Mrs_B

    Mrs_B Comrade

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    Jun 13, 2008

    This was my first year in 4th and I had a VERY challenging class. They would get really out of control any time I tried to play games or even joke around with them. SO I ended up not doing much fun stuff with them. As a result, they basically told me they did not have fun this year. (Guess what, neither did I and it was your fault!)

    Next year I have been promised I will have a better class but now I feel like I have had all the fun ideas beat out of me. Can you tell me what you do that is fun in your class? Academic I know about Sparkle, Who Has games, Multiplication Around the World. I feel like maybe I should schedule in games for myself to make sure I do them, like at least once a week play some type of game? Maybe more often? I hear the teacher next doors kids cheering a lot so she must play games.

    How often do you do games that are not academic? We already don't have enough time to teach all the standards we are required to, so I feel guilty doing non-academic games/activities. But, I can also see that the kids deserve a break now and then and I don't want school to be a drudgery. I remember playing silent ball when I was in grade school. Other ideas? How often do you do these type and do you use these as rewards?

    See, I have become FUN IMPAIRED!!! :) HELP!
     
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  3. peachieteachie

    peachieteachie Comrade

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    Jun 13, 2008

    My kids LOVED math fact football. Basically, I threw a football to them really hard. If they caught the ball I gave them a math fact like 8 X 7. If they got the answer correct they could keep playing. If they did not catch the ball then they were out and had to complete a Math Fact worksheet or practice math facts in a small group with flash cards. We would keep playing until we had a math fact football champion.

    I also use whole group rewards. When my students fill up the marble jar we have some sort of party. For the 2007-2008 school year we had a pizza party, pajama party, dance competition, rootbeer float party, and water balloon fight party. They students really seemed to enjoy all of the parties. They parties never got out of control, but if they did I would stop the party immediately.
     
  4. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jun 13, 2008

    My fifth graders were the same. They would start talking a lot as soon as we started sparkle or around the world or some other fun sort of game. I would just stand and wait until it got quiet before continuing. Eventually, they got it. We would still have fun, but on my terms.
     
  5. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jun 13, 2008

    I would suggest that you check out the Fred Jones articles here: http://www.fredjones.com/Tools-for-Teaching/Tools-for-Teaching-main.html. He uses PAT (Preferred Activity Time) that the kids earn and they choose from an acceptable list of things that you allow them to do. They also list PAT bank with game ideas for the classroom. It feels less like play time if the kids have earned it and even fun games have some educational value even if it is remembering to take turns.
     
  6. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    Jun 13, 2008

    Last year, I did tons of hands-on science experiments and demonstrations. We did Reader's Theater for SS, made timelines, log cabins, posters; did research; used individual white boards; and one of their favorite things - I have a class set of touch lights...I turned out the overhead lights, kept on a few lamps and they used their touchlights when reading silently and for many writing projects. They absolutely loved it. I also let them read wherever they wanted for silent reading (in my rocking chair, a bean bag chair, under a desk, in a corner..letting them choose made them happy). I also used United Streaming a lot, it's amazing how a 5-10 minute video to start a lesson gets them involved.

    All of these were academic, but my kids had "fun" every day!
     
  7. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jun 13, 2008


    Goopp, what kind of touch lights? This sounds promising . . . :)
     
  8. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Jun 13, 2008

    You can find these at the dollar store a lot. They come in different shapes, but they pretty flat with a round top, and you 'touch' (push them in) to get them to turn on and off. They are battery operated, so you can put them anywhere. They are also great for quiz games-first light to go on wins the question-it's like a real gameshow.
     
  9. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jun 13, 2008

    and this was enough light for them to work by? that does sound awesome - hate my overhead lights . . ..
     
  10. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    Jun 13, 2008

    They don't give off a lot of light, but if you have some lamps on in the room, they give off enough for kids to read. The kids love this as a special treat. It's great to use when you need some quiet time, to grade papers or conference with students or whatever. My kids lay on the floor with their light and they will read forever like this.

    The only problem with them is they use a lot of AA batteries. The lights are only $1 at dollar tree, but they each take 4 batterires. I asked my parents for batteries all of the time. The kids knew that if we didn't have enough batteries for everyone to use the lights, no one could, so they asked their parents if we ever ran low. I probably changed batteries in the lights twice last year and we used them a lot.
     
  11. AbbyR

    AbbyR Rookie

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    Jun 14, 2008

    I could have written this - I think we have the same class, same students, same problem, same comments. My plan for this year is to work on lots of fun ideas and games for various concepts and to schedule them into the day, especially on Friday, which is also test day. I will begin the year by working on procedures for each games (Thou shalt not become rowdy) and for that first practice time, we will stop and go over procedures if there is a problem, then go on with the game or activity. After the first couple of weeks, when there is a problem, I will stop the activity immediately, remind them of the procedures, and tell them we can try again the next time. We will then go immediately to a written assignment on the same topic. We will have to see if it works.
     
  12. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Jun 14, 2008

    How about some sort of Science challenge each week? Something for the kids to look forward to every week. I used to have a book that contained a bunch of hands on explorations that would work beautifully for this. My kids LOVED this time. Really looked forward to it. You are also teaching them team work etc.
     
  13. Mrs_B

    Mrs_B Comrade

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    Jun 14, 2008

    AbbyR,
    I could have written your response! That is my plan as well. I need to be more willing to stop an activity. When I taught how to walk in the halls I made them go back multiple times until they learned I was serious and they were golden at that! They ONLY thing they were golden at :) I guess there is my answer, huh. It helps me to PLAN on them messing up to teach the lesson. Now I know to have that attitude about games as well.

    So back to my question...who has some fun games for me??? The teacher next door teaches his 5th grade class to juggle every year. Wish I had something cool like that!
     
  14. Matt633

    Matt633 Comrade

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    Jun 16, 2008

    Mrs. B, Last year being my first year with fourth graders I did not play tons of games. I was relational with them. I had bean bags and huge pillows and they were allowed to read where ever they were comfortable( within reason) but lost the privilege if they started talking. They also were allowed to work on clipboards on the floor from time to time.

    Since I had a sports theme I played alot of baseball/football games. You can switch it up to do many different subjects. I would draw a baseball diamond and one team would be up to bat I would put a "magnet man" on home base and if they spelled a word right /answered a question correctly grammer or math whatever they moved to 1st base, if not they were out. etc. etc. etc. I have a football carpet and they would advance 10 yards if they answered correctly.

    You can use folder games, board games, make your own jeopardy game, look around on the teacher websites there are alot of games listed. I also played alot of games with cards....my kids loved "war" Hope this gives you some ideas
     
  15. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jun 17, 2008

    some interactive ideas . . .

    They aren't really games - but the kids like them, they make lessons more interactive, and they are fast:

    Response cards:
    I have a class set of strips labeled A B C D (on both sides). I'll show a multiple choice review question and the kids show me their answer on the strip.

    You can use this for inference by having a strip with a smiley face, serious face, frowning face. Ask how characters felt at certain points, etc.

    I also use them when we're studying a lot of people or comparing/contrasting two ideas. I'll give statements and the kids show me the person/idea they apply to.

    White Boards:
    Mine have a world map on the back, but you can make plain ones uber cheap with a piece of shower board from home depot or lowes. One 10 board will give you 32 1 foot square tiles. The kids love them - work math problems, answer questions, etc.

    Kagan Structures - either go to a training or buy/borrow the book. Lots of quick interactive ideas.

    Eggspert - ok, now this one is a game. :) You can get one for about $35 -50, and you use it like game show. There are six eggs that act as buzzers. You can set the teacher control to choose which team will answer, or see who buzzes in first. Very cool.

    Create games with these:
    http://jc-schools.net/tutorials/gameboard.htm

    I have them laminated, and just change out the questions with each unit.

    Hope some of this helps! :)
     
  16. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jun 27, 2008

    I had the Talkative Class of the Century, but I never let up on them. I had to stand and have them re-state procedures to me... I didn't want to deprive any of them of an exciting year, particularly those who cared the very most.

    Go to Laura Candler's website, where there is something about how from the beginning you ask your students which kind of classroom they want to have. Come up with an action plan to get students to work for what they want to have.
     
  17. 100%Canadian

    100%Canadian Companion

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    Jun 28, 2008

    Two good word related games I'd recommend are "Blurt!" and "Pass the Bomb".

    Blurt is a game where you read the definition of a word (there are four words/definitions on each card) and the first one to "blurt" out the answer gets the point. I seat my class in groups/teams so I use it with that setup. To keep things quieter, you could select one player from each group/team to participate per word and that might quell the noise a bit.

    Pass the Bomb is one of my kids' favourites. The box comes with a plastic, battery operated bomb that has a random ticker inside it (ranges from 15s to about a minute). There is also a stack of cards with letters on it. You hold up a card with the letters on it, say "al", and the students need to come up with words that have "al" in them, either at the beginning, middle or end, before the timer on the bomb "explodes". I've played it two ways with my kids. One way is to have the entire class circle around you; choose one to hold the bomb to start and, as they say their word according to the card, they pass it on to the next person; the same word can't be used twice. However, it teaches them about prefixes, suffixes and verb tenses. Someone might say "alert" and the next person will pick up on that and say "alerted". Anyway, if the bomb goes off in your hand, you're out and you sit down. The other method involves white boards. Each student has his/her own and they write their answers down before the bomb detonates. However, there's a catch: if you have the same word as someone else, you're both out. It forces them to think of less obvious words. Where the word "all" might be obvious, some would come up with different words like "altimeter". Definitely the favourite one among my games.

    Mindtrap is another "riddle" type game but it may be a bit challenging for grade fours. I've used it before - they like it but they're not always successful in getting the right answers.
     
  18. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2008

    Do you have access to an lcd projector? I had a smartboard this year and one thing that my kids loved was doing powerpoint jeopardy. You can do a search for these words on the internet and will be provided with a template where you can insert your own quiz questions. We often played this at the end of a social studies unit, the day before the test. And, get this, the kids would actually study because they wanted their team to win the game! One unit, I passed on the jeopardy and there was a recognizable difference in test scores (lower). As you play the game, not only are you reviewing, but the kids have actually taken time to review at home, also.

    This could get crazy, but I made it clear that we would stop if they couldn't handle it. You have to follow through with this and be firm. I've definitely stopped right in the middle of a game and moved on when the class was crazy. Hopefully, if you do this enough, your kids will "get it." Good luck! My first year with 4th grade, I really didn't do much "fun" stuff because they just couldn't handle it and trying to rationalize with 9-10 year olds of why you can't be fun (it's THEIR fault), doesn't always work.
     
  19. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jun 28, 2008

    I don't play games that aren't educational, except maybe during testing week and the last week of school. But, I make sure we have fun things to do every day, even if it is just to start the day with a Mad Libs or play Around the World.

    My kids loved Blurt, too. Thanks for the time bomb game, 100%Canadian! I will use that one.

    Other games I use are Boggle and Outburst. Both are great for language practice.
     
  20. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jun 30, 2008

    I love the touch light idea-especially for games!!! Thanks for sharing!!!:2up:
     
  21. Mrs_B

    Mrs_B Comrade

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    Jun 30, 2008

    Thanks everybody, these are helping! Keep them coming! :)
     

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