Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Play Mingle...A Versatile Game to Get Your Kids Up And Moving!

Today, I want to teach you guys a fun game that I play pretty frequently with my students! Mingle is a fun, versatile game that I made up last year when I was in a pinch for a fun game to play when teaching prefixes. Now I use it for just about everything! Let me tell you more......

I am all about movement. I hate when my kids are sitting for too long. It gets boring for them and it gets boring for me. Sometimes we all just need to move! That is how Mingle came to life! Here's how you play.....

Make some cards for whatever skill you are working on. I was working on linking verbs. I wanted to give my students a fun, active way to practice linking verbs (grammar can be boring, am I right?!).

Give each student a card. I explained to my students that today we were going to play Mingle (we've played once before). This time, we were going to to meet up with 2 other students to make a sentence with a linking verb (last time we only paired up with one other person).

Turn on the KidsBop Pandora station. As the music plays, students walk around the room and "mingle." This step is mostly to get them mixed up and moving. I tell my students that they shouldn't show anyone their card during this time. They mostly dance around. You'll get to see some sweet dance moves! When the music stops, I usually tell the students to "pair up." Students rush around the room trying to find a match. This step may get noisy, but don't worry! It's good noise!

Students find a match for their cards (or make a sentence) and then sit down so it is easier for students without a match to find a match!

We then go around and share our matches/sentences. For this version of the game, I had my students read the sentence, tell me the linking verb, and tell me what it was linking together.

After every group has shared, the music comes on and we mingle again! When the music stops, they pair up with a new set of people!

This game is a BLAST! And it is so easy to put together! Just make some quick cards with half an index card and you are set!

I have used this game with so many different language skills: linking verbs, prefixes and suffixes, and subject/verb agreement, to name a few. I don't teach math, but you could easily adapt this game to practice math skills!

Next time you need a quick, fun, active game to practice skills, give Mingle a shot! Your students will love it!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

You Oughta Know About...Managing Absent Work

Hi friends!! It's that time again! I'm linking up with Mrs. McClain over at Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for the monthly You Oughta Know blog hop! We'll be sharing tips, advice, websites, and products that teachers just oughta know about! Make sure that you check out the other blogs at the end of this post to discover more things that You Oughta Know!

My tip this month is simple and such a time (and sanity) saver! I'm going to share with you how I organize my absent work! Now I know what you're thinking......just put it on the child's desk and let them get it in the morning. Wouldn't that be great?? In a departmentalized classroom, that is not an option. I've got 2 other sweeties that sit where the absent student sits throughout the day, so leaving the work on the desk is not an option for me.

Enter.....this beauty!

I was cruising through a local teacher store this summer and happened upon this nifty pocket chart (you can click the pic to check it out on Amazon).

 Pocket Chart

The color is actually what drew me to this adorable pocket chart. I knew I was going to buy it regardless of what it was going to hold :) When I picked it up, I saw that it held 5 file folders. And that's when it hit me....ABSENT WORK!!!

Last year, I had basically no system for absent work. I don't know how I went the whole year without a system for managing absent work. That is so not me! I seriously just threw the papers on my desk and prayed that they would eventually make it to the students (just being honest here, folks).

I found these adorable file folders at my favorite store, Target.

I put one folder in each pocket and then typed up some quick, cute labels for each day of the week.

Now, when a student is absent, I let their work collect on their desk or pull it in the morning. Near the end of the class, I grab a paperclip and clip the work together. Then I attach one of these babies to the top:


You can grab this as a freebie HERE. I keep plenty of copies of this form in my pocket chart so they are handy and ready to go when I need them.

I write in everything the student missed. If the parent wants to pick up the student's work during the day, I'll send it to the other teachers to attach their absent work as well.

Now when my students are absent, all I have to do is tell them to grab their absent work from the day they were absent. SIMPLE!

I hung my pocket chart on the back of my door with some Command Hooks. It is in a central location that is easily accessible!

No more misplacing absent work for me! And now my students can be independent and grab their work themselves! Everyone needs a system that will work well for them. This works for me because it is easy, keeps work off desks, and takes up no room (I would love to do a hanging file but I just don't have the room).

So that's it folks! Simple and organized.....just the way I like it! Now make sure you hop through the other blogs below to learn some more cool tips and tricks!