Teachable Moments: Guess Who?

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We all know how much I love to design curriculum from scratch for my students.  Yet it has been such a long time since I shared one of the resources I have developed for my classroom.  Life has been so grad school centric, which when compounded by the regular of end of the year school year crazy is leaving me with little time for much else.  So in honor of the last day of school here is one of my favorite lessons I have created -Guess who? I originally saw the idea of converting an old Guess Who? game into an educational resources on Pinterest and began scrounging for old game boards so my students could make their own.  However, even the Salvation Army prices were too rich for my blood so I decided to design and create my own game pieces that can be simply printed and constructed in the classroom.   Continue reading “Teachable Moments: Guess Who?”

Teaching Moments: Valentine’s Day Game

Love Bug Game_000001With Valentine’s day right around the corner I thought I would share a simple Valentine’s day game I created last year while I was substitute teaching.  I always tried to bring in my own creative lessons and activities that I could bring with me to classrooms in different grades.  I found this left the kids excited to have me, and relieved some of the pressure the classroom teacher felt to ensure they left me full day plans.  However, as a sub who is trouncing from classroom to classroom you can’t always be lugging around mass quantities of materials, so simple is always the best approach.

This game is just that.   All you need is a set of dice for half the class and the handout, leaving both the prep and needed materials minimal.  I used this as an early finisher activity all the way up to grade 8 (even the older kids like a break to be a kid now and again) or paired it with a Valentine’s day picture book to turn it into a math activity for the primary grades.  I always kept the students switching partners which made this is a great social and interactive activity that fills up the spare moments of time before transitioning to something else.

Here is the pdf version of the activity for you to download: Love Bug Game

Teachable Moment: Poster Board Stars

Well, every couple who lives in our apartment in the following decades is going to be finding gold glitter in every nook and cranny.  Jay came home from Crossfit and lunch with friends to find that Martha Stewart had exploded all over what used to be our living room.  He accurately  remarked that ours was either the apartment of the happiest, rowdiest, creative child and/or one, singular elementary school teacher.  At present there happens to be sparkles, paper scraps and paint brushes spanning the length between our the front door and bedroom.

The reason: star costumes for my Saturday afternoon kids.

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Here is my second installment of how to create vibrant, eye catching ( albeit inexpensive) costumes out of poster board.  You will find my tutorial on Poster Board flowers here, which was the costume for my first dance.  The stars that follow are for a song title My Whole Body Can Move which my students will be performing at a their fundraiser in February.  So if you are looking for easy decor for a dance or graduation ceremony, simple stage props for a pageant or like me costumes for your dance or play, here is your answer.  Continue reading “Teachable Moment: Poster Board Stars”

Teachable Moments: How to (cheaply) Make Large Flowers from Poster Board

I volunteer Saturday afternoons to help with an eduction program for children with Autism in New York’s Chinatown.  It is run out of the Chinese Christian Herald Crusaders Church which is a subsidiary of the non profit organization Hope for New York.  The organization strives to serve immigrant families by providing them with a community center to connect with one another and a variety of social services.  Currently, there is work underway for a fundraiser in February, where proceeds will help support the center’s valuable activities throughout 2014.

For the event, I have choreographed three dances for my students to preform.  The kids have enthusiastically spent the last three months practicing our pieces over and over.  My dedication to this endeavor even went as far as to (embarrassingly) have Jay film me preforming the numbers in our apartment living room so that my students could practice them at home.  I am excited to see the outcome of all their hard work.

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Now the next phase to conquer are the costumes.  The needs and abilities of my children vary from severe to moderate, and as such we have some students who want to take part but won’t be dancing as much as their peers.  Therefore, I am creating simple, sensory minded costumes for them to wear on stage to make them an equally vital part of the performance.  Each dance has a different costume and the first is bright, vibrant flowers for a hip hoppy, Cha Cha style piece.  The best part is that each of our three costume styles will be created for less than $2.50 a piece.  This is a fundraiser after all!

Continue reading “Teachable Moments: How to (cheaply) Make Large Flowers from Poster Board”