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Ms. K

Two Fun Valentine’s Day Activities

I always love doing this in February with my students. Students measure their kiss.

And, what Valentine Party is complete without Valentine Bingo? This is always a great time filler to any class party! Play with candy conversation hearts or red hots for extra fun! Snag this one at Superteacherworksheets.com

Passion Projects Part 2

As my students floundered to decide on a topic, I revisited the website I mentioned in then previous post–keepemthinking.com. I went back to use the book she suggested Junkyard Wonders. Whether this helped students pick a “passion” or not doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the book had a very powerful message about pursuing what matters to you and how it can pave the way for a successful future. I had planned to show it over two class periods because it is a long story, but the students really wanted to hear the second part, so I acquiesced.

The students made the connection from the book to the project without me saying much except for “why do you think I showed you this?” I used her idea for a project proposal. Finally the project started to take shape. Those students who wouldn’t commit to a topic before were now committing. The fact that I make them have everything laid out, that they have to create a “burning question”, and that we both sign off on it leads to their committal. Then when they think about changing ideas, they aren’t allowed to because we signed and committed.

I love the Wonderopolis website she suggests, too! What a wealth of curiosities to help students settle on a question. Make sure you check out this website!

I am sure that the author of this blog has a quality passion project unit. I probably would have bought it if I hadn’t already bought two other people’s resources. What I did like about the other resources, however, is that they had plenty of space for brainstorming. I also like that they had a place for students to check in with one another. Instead of all my students checking in with me, they are telling each other the progress they made. No one wants to tell someone else they accomplished nothing so this becomes affective. I love it!

Passion Projects

A couple of teacher friends of mine had talked about Passion Projects and I was intrigued. Does it not sound SO great to allow students to study their own passions and turn it into some type of presentation? I started where one of my friends said to start. That was on Teachers Pay Teachers. I stopped there and bought a couple of units. Feeling armed, I made a packet out of the two products I bought. It was a nice start, but I soon discovered I hadn’t given enough background information for a successful start. I had students who didn’t know what “passion” they wanted to pursue. I had other students who wanted to study sports or video games. At the time I asked them to let me think about it and that they better have a great way to learn something from these. A while later I went ahead and told them that sports and video games were off limits.

Then one of these teacher friends told me about this website and things started to take a turn for the better! Check out this post on using passion projects in elementary school at Keepemthinking.com. I really love the books this blogger suggests you start with– especially Junkyard Wonders. My students had such a great response to this book! I will update you in a several weeks to let you know how their projects are going.

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Happy New Year!

Thank you to Littlenerdyteachers.com and P4 Kids Trioriginals for the beautiful clipart.

Quick and Easy Christmas Lesson!

Like any good teacher, I got some ideas from multiple places to adapt and make a quick and easy Christmas lesson. I used a worksheet from superteacherworksheets.com that had students brainstorm different ideas about Christmas. Superteacherworksheets.com is totally worth their subscription–such a great value! I didn’t use this sheet in its entirety, but I did use the brainstorm different Christmas movies list. Students enjoyed the opportunity to interact in our “much virtual” world. I had students brainstorm at least 15 different Christmas movies that weren’t sequels (like Part 1, Part 2 etc.) Then I also had students think of the characters in each of the movies. Students’ job was to think of the most creative characters in their list. This required them to think and to have constructive conversation–WIN WIN! Next I had them list their eight most creative characters from the Christmas movie list. Thanks to Ian Byrd over at byrdseed.com for his idea to create tournaments. (The byrdseed.tv subscription is totally worth it, too.)

Then students make a tournament like you would make for sports teams with their eight creative characters until they have a winner. Ian has a printable tournament page which is great for many ideas. (I do believe it is only available if you have the subscription, however.) With my students Kevin McCallister from Home Alone won two of the tournaments for most creative character from a Christmas movie. He is definitely one I had in mind!

Next time you get ready to teach a Christmas lesson, I hope this gives you a quick and easy lesson idea.

Merry Christmas!

So Fun Thanksgiving Lesson!

This is probably one of the best lessons I have ever done for Thanksgiving, and it worked so well for including virtual students! I changed the idea a bit from Ian Byrd of birdseed.com where he talks about switching poems around from one holiday to another. Instead of doing this, I decided to have students switch around a Christmas carol to a Thanksgiving carol.

First I asked students to think of a carol for Thanksgiving. Of course I knew they wouldn’t be able to think of one because as far as I know, there are none. I let the students think it was their idea to make Thanksgiving carols. Then I gave students about five well known carols to choose from. I told them to consider syllables and rhyming words. Then I told them to change the words to a Thanksgiving song. I got some really great songs. My favorite part was having them preform their songs on Zoom. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” became “Robert the Blue Beaked Turkey” and I heard “five roast beefs” sung where “five gold rings” would have otherwise been proudly belted out. Then I uploaded the recordings to Class Dojo. I received great comments from parents and teachers!

I hope this gives you a way to add fun and creativity to your next Thanksgiving season!

Tag You’re It! Spread a Little Needed Sunshine!

I am on the Sunshine Committee. I assume you have one of these at your school, too. In case you don’t, this is a group of teachers who makes sure kind things happen to people having babies, getting married, having deaths in the family and so forth. In other words they do kind things to help spread building happiness.

This year since morale is pretty low from all the extra work load which teachers everywhere are facing, I decided to do this. You are welcome to copy my idea. I put small candles in three people’s boxes throughout the school. These candles had a note attached which reads like below.

TAG You’re It!

Do something kind for someone else in the building NOT on your team (grade levels etc.). Then you give the candle to the person you did something kind for. It will be “IT’s” job to “tag” someone else by doing something kind for them. It could be anything–a kind email, a kind note, a kind act, a gift, a compliment or whatever. At times,,try to think of someone who may go unnoticed. Keep the candle burning and pass it on!. Pass it within three days so more kindness can be spread. You can be anonymous or not.

Happy Cyber Monday!

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