Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Show & Tell Tuesday - Spring Has Sprung!


We are one day into spring, and I am definitely ready for some warmer weather!  Mother Nature in Michigan doesn't really pay attention to the date on the calendar though.  We had snow just a couple days ago!



Barnaby loves the snow!  Here are a few more of my favorite pictures from our first few weeks with the newest member of our family!


It took some time for Barnaby to win Emmitt over, but now they are best buddies!






This year I once again did the Certified Kind Classroom Challenge with my class while reading the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  The students were encouraged to do kind things for others both at home and at school.  Then they would write about what they did in our Kindness Notebook.  


A couple times a week during lunch, the "Kindness Ambassadors" would read all the entries in the notebook and let me know how many marbles should be placed in our kindness jar (one marble for each act of kindness).  At the beginning of our challenge, they also placed hearts around the room for each act of kindness, but that became overwhelming after a while!


When we filled our jar, we sent a picture of it in to become certified kind officially!


A couple weeks later we received this awesome banner to hang up in our room!


If you would like more information about this challenge, you can find it here.  


We have been dealing with a bit of spring fever, and Class Dojo seemed to have lost its power.  So, I needed to change things up a bit until 4th marking period rolled around.  I thought I would try doing a group challenge.  Each group would earn points for following directions, being ready quickly, staying on task, etc.  At the end of the week, the group with the most points wins.  I decided to offer my students two prizes, free time on the ipads and a spin on the prize wheel!  



The prizes on my wheel are homework passes for their reading log and word work, free popcorn next popcorn day, and sitting in the reading area to read all week.  I have spinners that go with my math materials, but I have also seen easy directions for making a spinner with a paper clip and a brad.  You can have your own group challenge and make your own prize wheel by picking up this free set at my TPT Store!


Now here's what you need to know to link up and share your Show & Tells!

Linky Information:

1. This is a monthly linky.  The idea is to “Show” up to four pictures of things from school, home, etc. and “Tell” us all about them.  Created the most amazing bulletin board ever?  Show & Tell us about it!  Have the best seats at a Red Wings game, right next to the bench?  Show & Tell us about it!  Play the best game at a party with your class?  Have a pet that just got the worst haircut ever?  Show & Tell us about it!  Only have one thing to Show & Tell about?  Not a problem! 

2. Product promotion will be limited to one and only if you are introducing a brand new product or sharing pictures of how you just used a product in your classroom.  The focus should be on sharing, not pushing things to sell. 

3. Please choose one of your Show & Tell pictures as your image for the thumbnail and type your blog name to go below the picture. 

4.  Use the main Show & Tell Tuesday button and link back to my post.  Use the numbered Show & Tell buttons in your post to share your pictures.

5. Please leave comments on at least three other posts, including the ones before and after yours.  It's always nice to get feedback from your blogging buddies!



Sunday, March 12, 2017

March Madness Reading Month

A couple years ago I saw a great idea on Pinterest for reading month that I have been wanting to get my school to try, but I never got around to getting things organized in time to make it happen.  If I had a dollar for every idea I saw on Pinterest that I wish I could do but don't have time to do, I could retire!  The idea was to do a March Madness theme tied to reading month.  Each classroom would be represented by an NCAA basketball team, and the kids would earn points by reading at home.  Isn't it genius?!

So, this year I finally took the time to figure out the details and pitch the idea to the reading month committee.  Everybody was excited to give it a try!

Here's the gist of how it works:

Each classroom was randomly drawn out of a hat to choose their NCAA team.  The post I had read a couple years ago said their classrooms were randomly assigned a team, but many of us feel very strongly about certain NCAA teams and weren't willing to make that completely up to chance.  (It would be a difficult and sad day for me if I actually had to root for Michigan State!)  By the time my class got drawn Michigan had already been chosen, so we went for the top NCAA basketball team out of the ones remaining, the mighty Villanova Wildcats!

Each classroom can earn bonus points for their team by completing a team research form and by decorating their door.  So, I put a team of kids on the task, and they scored us some valuable points!


Mrs. Anderson, from down the hall, was talking smack after she finished her door, but I think my kids definitely did us proud.  I do have to say that Mrs. Anderson's door turned out great too, but those gators don't stand a chance against us wildcats!


Your team can also earn bonus points if you make it into the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4, or win the whole thing!  So, I will be rooting for the Wildcats along with my Wolverines!  

Your team earns the majority of its points, though, by reading outside of school.  For every 30 minutes read, your team earns 10 points.  All the reading needs to be kept track on a reading log which is signed by a parent and turned in each Friday.  


I have students that are helping me total up the points each Friday, and another teacher is figuring out the points for the 4th grade.  The points for each team are displayed in the main hall to further motivate the students to put in some extra reading time.  At the end of week 1, the Villanova Wildcats were in the lead! 



As you can see, the display was pretty easy to make.  We simply printed out each school's logo with the teacher's name underneath.  Each team's total score is written on a laminated basketball, so it can be updated each week.  Thankfully, Ms. Henson, who helped make the display is tall enough to reach the ceiling!

On a whim, I decided to reach out to Villanova to see if they would support our team by sending us some goodies to further motivate my students.  I went on their website and found an email for their media department.  I wrote up a quick message about our reading month competition and attached a picture of our door.  I was thrilled when I got a response within 24 hours saying they were sending us a box right away!  I told the rest of the teachers about it, and a couple others reached out to their adopted schools too with positive results.  

A week later, our box arrived!


I added the banners to liven up our door even more, and the students got their Villanova pencils when they brought in their next reading log.  



If this isn't something you can do with your whole school, you could easily do it within your own classroom, where each student could be a different team.  I'm sure you could put together your own March Madness reading month, but if you'd like a little help, you can check out my March Madness Reading Month Set at my TPT Store.  The set includes the March Madness Reading Month rules, a weekly reading log, an editable reading month calendar, an editable letter to parents, a research form, bookmarks, banner, and more!





I hope your reading month is a slam dunk!