Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rocks and Minerals FREEBIE and more!

      Whenever I teach rocks and minerals, I always do "Peanut Butter and Jelly Geology" with my students. They love it and it really teaches them about sedimentary rocks, and fault lines. But one thing always dives me nuts! Whenever I look around the net for good information on teaching peanut butter and jelly geology, it says, "allow students to make their sandwich any way they choose". NO! It costs over $10 to do this with a classroom full of kids, I'm not about to lose most of the lesson by letting them make that sandwich any way they choose.
       Making the sandwich is most of the lesson. It teaches how sedimentary rock is formed for crying out loud. What kids need is an interesting story about how their little piece of land changes over millions and millions of years. So....I made up my own...based on science and how sedimentary rock is formed. THEN I go on to teach about fault lines. So...long story short....I have included that story and the directions for doing your own peanut butter and jelly geology project in my freebie below. Just click the link below the picture to download the resource. I hope you enjoy it! I've also included some other great rocks and minerals links that you might find useful

This is a link not to be missed! It includes 12 study jams that range from the rock cycle, to soil, to weathering and erosion and so much more!! don't miss it!

Don't miss this terrific site that includes 14 wonderful rocks and minerals videos, plus quizzes and more!

Here are some great links for Rocks and Minerals that you might like:
My favorite is Rock Hounds…kids love it too!

You will not believe this site! If you teach rocks and minerals, don't miss this one! There are 11 links to activities from rocks and soil, to fossils. VERY kid friendly and easy to use!!!

I LOVE a good Web quest! This on about rocks will be one of your kids' favorites!

Great video on the layers of the Earth and the rock cycle

The king of science himself!

If you are interested in some task cards, classroom activities or a rocks and minerals PowerPoint, check out my resources below:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Make Math Games Successful In Your Classroom

Math can be the spark that excites students into learning and solving problems, or it can be misery. It all depends on how math is taught! The old way of drill, drill, drill, worksheet, after worksheet, after worksheet just doesn't cut it.

The answer is math games. Adding fun to the whole element of learning math excites areas in the brain that keeps kids on task, and makes learning easier! There are lots of math games out there (check out Pinterest!!!).  Finding games isn't an issue, but what really makes a game successful in a classroom?

How do you make sure math games are successful in your classroom?

1.  Make sure you are using games for a specific purpose. They should not be simply time fillers.

2. Find games that match the mathematical objectives you are working on.

3. Once a child (the class) knows a game well, send it home for homework. Simple math games used with a deck of cards are really good for this. Many math games are printable, or only use pencil and paper. They are perfect to send home.

4. Look at the game carefully. Is there an element of chance? If so, even weaker students will think they have a chance of winning. That means they won't give up!

5. Keep the number of players for any game at four or less. The fewer the number of players, the more each child gets to participate.

6. Games should be short, under 15 minutes for sure. There's not much more time for that anyway in a classroom.

7. Students get overloaded when they have to learn many rules for many games. Keep the type of games to five or six. Then you can swap out concepts, but keep the game structure. For example, the simple card game of "War" can be used for any mathematical standard in almost any grade.

8. Give students the opportunity to make their own games. I used pizza boxes to keep games in. The students covered the top with fadless paper (wrape it like a present that can still open), then decorate with the name. Includes rules to attach to the inside of the lid of the box, and use a gameboard made of tagboard to construct the game. Show students a number of boardgames first to allow them to discuss what makes a good game, and good playing cards. If you base the game on one they already know (i.e. Candyland), it also makes it easier.

Try this Freebie math game that gives kids lots of fun practice!  I hope you enjoy my  multiplication game called "Feed the Chickens".  It's designed for two students at a time, and lots of fun! I've included the facts through 12 to make the game useful for older students who need some extra practice. If you teach younger students, just pull out the facts you don't yet need. Just click on the link below the pictures to download the game. I hope your kids enjoy it!