What is the coolest/most innovative thing you do in your classroom?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by armygirl8894, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. armygirl8894

    armygirl8894 Rookie

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    Fellow teachers, time to brag about and share what you are most proud of. I'm trying to get different ideas about teaching techniques, classroom decorations, etc. You know all the stuff great, creative teachers are known for. Will you share your ideas? Thanks! ;)
     
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  3. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I get to brag? Aaaaaaaaaaa! I am not going to be a braggart because nothing I do is out of the ordinary... some things, maybe, but not too much.

    Okay, I'll pick some things I really like doing.

    -An annual class play pertaining to Florida history/St. Augustine- the music teacher just started helping us last year by teaching the students to play instruments.
    -This may sound simple, but I love the Thanksgiving feast.
    -We go to St. Augustine.
    -Funny- the kids in advanced reading get cards as if they are on the Titanic and find out their fate. They split into two groups, and then I act like American Idol and state, "Group two, you guys... are.... safe. That means group one, you did not survive." They then write a story about the moment they discover the ship is sinking- and how they get to their rescue or how they die. They later participate in a "televised news conference" (Lord have mercy; this was the moment in September when they came out of their shell and never went back in. :rolleyes: )
    -The kids also have a publishing project at the end of the school year and get Newbery/Caldecott medals.
     
  4. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

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    What a fun idea!! :)
     
  5. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    It's FUNNY when they present what they wrote- one of them last year said he was in the hot tub with his ladies when the Titanic hit the iceberg. They were still talking about it the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL. That's where being a creative teacher gets you. :rolleyes:
     
  6. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Priceless!! LOL!!
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 11, 2007

    I sponsor and organize Mix It Up day, which is from the Teaching Tolerance website. Basically, on one day in November (usually right before Thanksgiving), the kids sit somewhere new with someone new. The idea is that the cafeteria is a microcosm for what we see in the real world. Kids tend to isolate themselves based on a variety of stereotypes and cliques. The goal is to help them break those barriers down.

    I know there website has been mentioned many times before on this site, but it bears repeating:

    http://www.tolerance.org
     
  8. hbdb

    hbdb Rookie

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    Worm Bins! We feed our worms, make soil, and donate it to the preschool and help them plant flowers in their garden.
     
  9. uclalum

    uclalum Groupie

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    Our third unit is Heritage, and when we end the unit we have a big feast in the auditorium. The parents are invited and they bring cultural meals and we celebrate our diversity in a very positive, uplifting way.
     
  10. preggers

    preggers Rookie

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    Uclalum: I've been put in charge of Multicultural Week at my school later this year and would love to know more about your Heritage feast... Is there any chance you would be willing to share more about this event?
     
  11. BethMI

    BethMI Cohort

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    I also do a feast. I call it a FAmily Cultural Feast-right before Thanksgiving. Each kid researches where his/her family is from and then picks one country (since most are a Heinz 57 variety!) and a dish form that country. He/she gets help making the dish and brings in a taste for everyone (this way there aren't 30 burritos from one kid, but 2 or 3 cut up into at least 30 bites). They have to show the country on the map, tell what family member is from there and what the dish is. I encourage tasting, but never force it. My saying is, "If you never tried chocolate, you wouldn't know you love that!" Parents and grandparents come to help heat dishes and serve. It's been a big hit.

    Also, a bulletin board to go with it is to make a giant salad bowl and (I make mine stick off the wall so it looks 3D) fill with tissue paper lettuce, and veggies. Then put a sign that says "We 'Saladbrate' Our Differences". When I was in college I learned that the US is no longer referred to as a melting pot b/c that implies that we have all melted together and are the same. A tossed salad is more accurate b/c we are all different and special in one bowl. Without the carrots, eggs, croutons... the salad isn't as good. Make sense?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  12. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Ahh, I have one for you. I had my students recreate the Oklahoma Land Rush. First they were immigrants from Europe who saw the ads, the went to New York to earn money in a factory. Then the leave in January to get to Okalahoma by April 1st. I have them pack their wagons, no more than 2000lbs, chose a route (do not go through Buffalo in January!), when the get to Arkansas they have to decide how to deal with no more formal roads and mountains. Then they have to learn how to buid a sod house and how it is different from log cabin (worksheet for this). Then the day arrives, I have the classroom set up with numbers on the desk, set up on a grid the students have. Then the students have flags. When I say go, they run to get the claim they want, now if they can get around me and become a sooner they can, but it is hard to do!

    I had students with 4 claims spread out trying to hold onto every desk in those claims, so some students were yanking chairs away (claim jumping). All in good fun, and they were laughing. But trust me, when I used the example of the land rush with the unit on the great depression and made the grandchildren write the grandparents that did the land rush and apologize that they lost the claim, they all remembered what they had on that claim!
     
  13. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    Aug 10, 2007

    Awesome! I remember every year having our Land Rush. We had it outside on the playground. We would all drag our wagons that we had decorated and find an area to stake our claim. Then we would pound in wooden stakes with string around them. Next we would have to go to the claim office before anyone else and register our claim. Finally, we would settle down for a nice picnic lunch. Of course, the areas under the trees were the most sought after claims.
    I am hoping to recreate this activity with my class this year to celebrate Oklahoma's centennial.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  14. devama

    devama Companion

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    LOVE it! I wanted to do that when I own a home, but trying it in the classroom is a great idea...;) ;)
     
  15. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I never do the same thing each year, just because of the nature of the school... but some memorable projects:

    -Making movies with the class (one on Guide Dogs, and one about our school... you can see it at http://progressiveed.blogspot.com/ )

    - We made math menus one year... this totally evolved from the kids pretending to make menus and play restaurant, which happened to be during our money, addition and subtraction unit. I used lessons from another text book about menus, but then also, each child created a menu. They researched a country and the food in that country. We created a rubric together and studied graphic design elements. We compared and contrased menus that I got from other restaurants to help them determine what made a good menu design. We talked about descriptive language and how to write a description of the food that would really entice the visitor to the restaurant to buy that dish.

    The menus took a long time but looked really good. Then, we went to a restaurant as a class and the kids ordered food. They all only had $10 to spend and had to do the subtraction to find what their change was, find the tip (this was 3rd grade, so only some actually were ready to learn this, but finding 10% and doubling gave the restaurant a nice tip. Others were ready, and I taught them how to find a percentage.) They checked their reciepts for accuracy, and then did a writing project about it. I like this about my school, because it just happened with the emergent curriculum. I never could have pre-planned something like that.

    - I did another project called Small World. I did that one last year, and it's on the blog. It was pretty cool.

    - We go on an overnight every year. I think that's pretty fun. It's often the first time camping for some kids, or their first time away from home.

    I hope next year is full of great projects... I have a lot of ideas, so we will see how it goes with the group!
     
  16. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    When I was teaching 5th grade I started an activity that has become a tradition in 5th.
    They study Native Americans and we do a modified pow-wow. Each of the 3 classes is a tribe and they break into cooperative learning groups to create stations about their tribes.
    They start with a skit about their tribes, do a dance, and then rotate through the stations (food, games, housing, and clothing) they complete a question scavenger hunt as they rotate that has questions that the groups made up on it.
    They had a blast!
     
  17. kiraj

    kiraj Companion

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    :lol: This one made me laugh out loud! I'm sure YOU were still talking about it too! Too funny...
     
  18. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    We are starting a slam poetry unit this year with an after-school component (optional). I'm really excited about it but since we'll be basically making it up as we go along, I can't share the details yet. I'm anticipating lots of great poetry, though!
     
  19. gab

    gab Comrade

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    Compliment Chain. My students earn as a class compliments. In years past I would add a paper link to our Compliment Chain. Our goal was to earn enough class compliments in and round our room to have the chain first circle our classroom. I hang the chain around the ceiling using paper clips. After circling our room we headed down the hallway, passed the gym, music room, library, into the foyer, through the office until we reached the Principal's Office. Compliments for appropriate hallway behavior, lunchroom behavior, fire drill beh., politeness, etc earned the class links. My students loved the challenge of making it to the Principal's Office by the end of the year...they loved telling me how they earned compliments, just being what they should...polite, responsible, helpful. Some years we even started heading back to our class from the Principal's office. Only myself and other adults could issue to the compliment to have it count. Such a positive way to cooperate as a class. Due to fire codes we weren't allowed to hang things from the ceiling so students earned a penny. Once the tennis ball tube was filled we counted and I had my second grade students write persuasive letters(short but good practice) for what we should spend the money on. It took till the first week of June to earn $11. We had ice cream floats. Yum!
     
  20. BethMI

    BethMI Cohort

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    GAb, what an awesome idea. GOing to have to steal it this year, thanks! :)
     
  21. uclalum

    uclalum Groupie

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    Our third unit in Open Court is Heritage so for 7 weeks, we read stories about children from different cultures. We have a board at the front of the room (our concept/question board) and the kids bring in items from home that have been passed down or anything else that represents their culture. Posted in the middle of the board are little paper doll kids with cultural clothing. They have these online for FREE at makingfriends.com .During the unit, the kids make a heritage album. In the album they make a family tree, a crest, insert pictures, write about their culture, and include a dedication page. We display these albums at heritage feast at the end of the unit. At the feast, the parents bring in cultural food and everyone gets to sample a little bit of each item. Last year we had a mother do a Hawaiian dance. I will post a picture of the bulletin board and the dance in a moment.
     
  22. uclalum

    uclalum Groupie

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    Here is the bulletin board
    [​IMG]
     
  23. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    When I taught 4th grade we studied Ohio History. Each student selected a city and wrote the chamber a letter requesting information about their city. The students were very excited when they got mail at school with their name on it. Many cities sent large envelopes full of info. We also sent thank you notes once we received the info. The students also used our classroom computer to reseach info. The students then had to take the information and create a brochure about their city and present it to the class. The end products were great and I was able to incorporate many language arts concepts into it. :)
     
  24. [gloworm]

    [gloworm] Rookie

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    Thank you uclalum!

    I've been looking for something just like these paper dolls from making friends to go along with our "imagination vacations". I teach in an area that is NOT diverse, but I still feel it's important to teach my little ones that they are citizens of the world. Each month we "travel" somewhere new and learn about the culture. We include literature, food, photos, etc. I think these paper dolls will add another dimension to my centers that will really speak to my 4-5 year olds. I love the "dress a friend game" idea, great for fine motor skills!

    For elementary students, may I also suggest Children Just Like Me, a Dorling Kindersley book with real photos of children and their signatures, their families, homes, schools, and more, from around the world. My own children (now ages 5-10) love this book as much as my students!

    Great thread! :2up: Love all these ideas! Keep 'em comin'!
     
  25. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I taught my three year olds with special needs to use a $300.00 digitial camera. Some of them are pretty good. Some of them are better than some adults.
     
  26. preggers

    preggers Rookie

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    Uclalum: Thank you for the info and the picture, too!!! Our district doesn't use Open Court (we have Houghton Mifflin) so we don't have a theme specifically geared towards learning about different cultures. I've definitely thought about somehow incorporating that theme on my own for my class. Anyway, I'm really excited to be getting ideas for our school's Multicultural Week! Thanks again!
     
  27. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Love the compliment chain . . . I may have to steal it this year :)

    Last year I had a compliment box. Every couple of weeks we would sit down and write a compliment to someone else in the class. We drew names from a Popsicle stick jar so no one would get left out. The funniest would be when someone would get their own name: "Johnny, you are the best looking and smartest boy in the class". If nothing else, they gained self confidence!!
     
  28. gab

    gab Comrade

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    COMPLIMENT CHAIN NOTES:
    To do the compliment chain I used my paper shredder as it made nice, thin strips of the lightweight card stock I used. I used card stock because I love the color selections and so they wouldn't sag overly much because of the weight. I think big size paper clips could work as well...that would be more heavy & costly but they have those fun color coated paper clips.

    Also, I neglected to mention that at the end of the school year I would give each student a part of the chain as a reminder of their hard work all year long. Some students have told me, years later, that they still have their piece of the chain hanging in their bedrooms.

    Good luck!
     
  29. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 12, 2007

    This coming year I'm starting a Read for 500 Challenge. My students are very reluctant readers, so hopefully this will motivate them somewhat. They will receive small rewards for evey 100 minutes they read outside of class and a larger reward (pizza lunch) when they reach 500 minutes.

    Here's a link to some of the info:
    http://teacherweb.com/ON/PoplarBankPublicSchool/MrsCadel/photo4.stm
     
  30. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    When I teach American Lit in 11th grade, at the end I have an American Literature Dinner Party. Each student picks a character or author from our readings throughout the year, and they have to dress like their character, bring a food dish to share that represents their character (Huckleberry Muffins, for example), and they have to be prepared to discuss a number of topics over dinner, IN character. It really wraps up their overall understanding of Am lit and the different time periods when they can converse about topics like education, women's rights, and even the war in Iraq through the time periods.

    Last time I did this, there was a fire drill. The kids dressed like Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Jim though I set them up! lol. It was hilarious when they had to walk outside in front of all their friends, but they took it well.
     
  31. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    My school is in Yuma County AZ, There will be a Remake of the Movie "3:10 to Yuma" I am hopping I will be able to use the theme in my classroom.
     

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