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Sunday, December 1, 2019

Harry Potter Professional Development

After attending the Ron Clark Academy, my colleagues and I were privileged to share what we learned and what we can implement in the classroom and school community. I attended RCA in Sept. 2016 with some blog and instagram friends, which was AMAZING!! However, going with teachers and our principal will make the biggest impact at our school.  The excitement spreads faster and with greater impact when there is a cluster of teachers on board with this revolution in our school system. 
We had great discussion on changes to make in our classrooms and how best to begin the house system at our school.  We planned out our professional development day that we would do about RCA while on our trip and wanted it to be completely inspirational like the trip to RCA.  So of course we had to do a Harry Potter themed professional development.  Here is how it went down...
We met in the library to give instruction to our Harry Potter themed "escape room." We started with a short clip from Harry Potter when Hermione was showing Ron how to do the Wingardium levioso wand flick.
This was our launch of how we learn best from peers and by doing. So the staff was divided into the 6 house teams and were given a spell-book that told them where to go.  There were 3 stations they had to go to, to get a number that would unlock a lock on a suitcase. 
One station was the quidditch room.  The house had to work together to solve a giant Sudoku puzzle. Numbers were highlighted that gave a room number in the building that had a golden snitch with a number on it in the classroom door window. We even had these amazing quidditch goals my colleague's husband made.
  This station was to represent rigor, because those puzzles can be tricky and working with others to solve them can even be more challenging.
The next station was the Ollivander's Wand shop.
 At this shop, the houses would read the clues on wands to discover who the magical teacher at the school the wand belongs too.  I made wands with chopsticks and hot glue.  You can find tutorials for this on youtube.
 When they figured out who the wand belonged to, they would find the name in the staff pictures. I highlighted a letter in their name that when they unscrambled all the highlighted letters, they would spell out another number. This station represented culture and the relationships we have within the school.
 The last station was the potions class.  I set this up in the teacher lounge.   The house teams had to follow their house recipe for their potion to reveal their number. I made baking soda balls with a plastic number button inside and would use colored vinegar to dissolve the baking soda.
This station represented engagement as it created excitement to see the baking soda and vinegar react to each other to magically reveal their number. 
 Once the teams had all three numbers, they could go back to the library get their house team suitcase and unlock the magical words. 
We had the words culture, engagement and rigor inside the suitcase and they had to unscramble the words to create their anchor chart for the remainder of the professional development presentation.
If the houses were able to unlock and unscramble those magical words, they were able to pick something off the trolley.
The staff was engaged and it could not have gone any better.  As we presented what we learned, the house teams wrote questions and key points that stuck with them on their anchor chart. 
We had many questions and discussion about what we can do at our school and in our houses.  We have a lot of work to do but our school is invested in what is best for our school and students. I can not wait to see how we grow and change to be even better for our community.  House teams also had fun with the Harry Potter Props/Photo Booth.
We had a local business (BIG O-Thank You) provide lunch for our professional development after we finished our presentation.
  We ate with our houses and the discussion continued which was a great indicator that our school is ready for this revolution.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

50th Day Celebration

We had a great time celebrating the 50th day of school.  My kindergarten team had 50s day attire from a previous event and we did simple decorations. 
 This was a simple classroom transformation if you could even call it that.   We painted some signs to put up in the hallway and over the doors of our classroom.  We put music notes on the wall and had 50s music playing in the hallway as the students entered the classrooms and ate breakfast.

After breakfast, students went in the hall for a little dance break while we set up the stations for the 50th day celebration.
When students came in, I launched the 50th day launch.  I let them know Mel from Mel's Diner has run out of ice cream and we must make some for her. I told the students they must get the ingredients to make the ice cream. I explained each station so students could rotate through the stations.

 Students had to complete 5 tasks and after each task they would get an ingredient to make the ice cream.  I kept the decorations simple with just a checkered bandana as the center piece and station placed on top.
At the first station, I told students how Mel's supply shelf was knocked over and they had to fill the shelves, sorting out the items by their 3-Dimensional shapes.
At the 2nd station students must help Mel fill the ice cream orders and total the checks by counting by 10s. 
At this station, students must help seat customers.  They had to count how many were in each party and put them at a table that matches the number.
At the 4th station, Mel dropped the tickets and students must put the tickets back in order.
At this last station, students had to build cones for the ice cream at Mel's Diner.  Once students finish the tasks, they were able to make the ice cream.
 This was a fun day and simple to put together.  You can find all the pieces to this simple 50s day transformation here.
It also has something for the early finishers you may have. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Jurassic Park Classroom Transformation

This was a fun flip! I teamed up with a colleague and that made it even better. Mrs. B and I came in on Sunday and got this done to my room in just a few hours.  Yes it does take time to do something like this and yes it almost guarantees you will get a surprise visit from the fire Marshall, but it is worth it when you see the kids amazement and engagement in the classroom.
I used phosphate font to type out letters and then cut out to make sign.  
This is an old box I found to make into a jeep-it was a bit difficult so next year I will be turning my writing table into a Jeep.
I needed my guided reading supplies so I covered my books and filing cabinet with volcano but left hole for my tools for guided reading and math.
We happened to have a box of bones in our kinder closet so it was perfect to add a few- random I know!! I also got the camo burlap on clearance from Walmart years ago and thought I may need it someday.

The only thing I had to buy for this transformation but didn't really have to was a roll of black tablecloth from Hobby Lobby and some streamers.  Another colleague who ended up jumping on the Jurassic Park theme also added a waterfall with Christmas lights and blue butcher paper.
 The morning the students came and saw Jurassic Park for the first time, I had them wait outside so they could all enter together.  I played the theme song on my promethean board.

Students put thing away and I had them come to the carpet.  I told them they were hired by Jurassic Park. We talked about how dinosaurs have been extinct but because of science we have been able to bring dinosaurs back from extinction.  I told them we must learn everything we can about dinosaurs before the dinosaurs come and the visitors come to the park.  During the next few days we did all kinds of dinosaur activities such as books, poems, digging up dinosaur bones, writing, making predictions about what different bones were, and various other activities.

On the final day of Jurassic Park, I had arranged for parent volunteers to come in and run some stations I had planned.  I even had my formal observation this day. I told my principals I have no guarantees of what she will see but come on in and join the crazy.

I am blessed to have an educational assistant who is wonderful with the students, here we are here ready for this fun and dangerous day.

I had here take the students to the bathrooms and read the history of Jurassic Park. (I found this book recently on a trip to Albuquerque)
While she was out with them I put out each mission and explain to the volunteers what they would be doing at each station. When students returned, I told them "the dinosaurs have gone crazy and are very dangerous. We must get off this Jurassic Park island.  To do this, we must complete 6 missions and we must hurry before they return." I gave each students a colored Jurassic Park ID badge.  I grouped them with high/med/low students in them, however the volunteers were there to make sure not just one student was doing all the work.  Students rotated through each station and they knew it was time to move when the heard the alarm.  This is the sound I played to clean up and rotate:

Mission 1: Sick Triceratops
Students had to put the Triceratops back together by adding one more and one less.
Mission 2: Stolen Egg
Students must find the canister that holds the stolen dinosaur egg. They are given clues to put the canisters in order and must measure and weigh the canisters to determine which is holding the dinosaur egg.
Mission 3: Jeep Breakdown
Students must connect the circuits to get the Jeep running again. To do this they had to understand basic features of sentences and sentence structure.
Mission 4: Capture the Dinosaur
The students had to track a dinosaur. Students had to sequence events to capture the dinosaur.
Mission 5: T-Rex Attack
Students must build a boat to escape the island.  This was a fun STEM exploratory activity.

Mission 6: Erupting Volcano
Students must rush to get all the dinosaurs back in their cages before the volcano erupts. 
Students also had field guides that were exit tickets for each station and had extra practice pages if they finished before the alarm went off.  These missions took about 2 hours and the students were fully engaged the whole 2 hours. It was amazing and the students still are talking about it 2 weeks later.  I am happy to have my room back to normal but I am already planning another transformation before the year ends.

Transformations take more time and energy so I do not do them often but they bring excitement to your teaching and to your students. The missions I talked about in this post are available for purchase in my TPT store. You can find it here.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Three Pigs Construction

This was so much for me and my students.  I loved seeing the excitement in my students to build and work with shapes in these activities.  We started the week reading The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall.,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
  We used the book with vocabulary and focused on character traits.  After reading several times, students sorted the character traits cards. We created this anchor chart together during this activity.
This week I brought in a tool box so that the students could see and explore some of the tools. We did this whole group and safely.  Next year I would like to have some screws for students to use a screwdriver and some nuts and bolts. Towards the end of the week we had a building day.  I asked a local builder for old blueprints.  I put a blueprint on each table.  Students were also supplied with a highlighter and a tool belt filled with shapes that they would use when building houses. The first activity we did was to find shapes in the blueprints with our highlighters. I gave students this task one shape at a time.
After this, students were "hired" by the Three Pigs Construction Company to build some houses.  They were given specific instructions and tools to fulfill their building assignments.  The built a "straw" house, a "stick" house and a "brick" house. The students really got into this role playing.

During this week, I continued the building theme in the centers for math and literacy. Here are some sample pictures of these centers.  Next year maybe I can get a builder to come in and talk with my students. 

You can find my plans and 3 literacy and 3 math centers along with tool belt instructions and hard hat printable for a day full of building. I give suggestions on how to really make this STEM building activity engaging for your students. This was a big hit with my students and I think it will be a fun engaging day for your students. Here is a link to the resources found in this post.