Monday, April 25, 2016

Using Songs To Increase Learning

Have you ever used music in your classroom to help cement a concept or an idea?  Music has been found to stimulate parts of the brain, and studies have demonstrated that music can enhance memory. Using music and songs in the classroom is a great way to help your students retain information and increase their learning.



My students were having a rough time remembering the difference between area and perimeter and how to find each of them.  I saw a video on Miss 5th's Instagram feed and I knew I wanted to try it with my students!  If you are not following her on Instagram or Facebook, you need to because she has a ton of great ideas just like this Bucket Filler idea I shared a few weeks ago.

She had a song that she had made up using the pop song "My House" by Flo-Rida.  Here are my students singing and dancing to the song.

video

The lyrics are:

Welcome to my house
We can find the area
Multiply the length times width
We don't have to go out

Welcome to my house 
We can find the perimeter
Take a walk outside
and add up all the sides

For the music I searched up My House instrumental version and found this one by JBFlex.

My House (Instrumental) - Single, Jb Flex


I play it at the :31 seconds section and they sing right after the siren sound as you can see in the video above.

My students were so excited about this song that they started writing versions of their own to all sorts of songs for all types of concepts.  Every day they are coming up with a new song to sing to me!

And... yes, they ALL know how to calculate area and perimeter now!

Have you used songs to increase learning?  I would love to hear your ideas.  If you try this one, I would love to hear how it goes!


Monday, April 18, 2016

Calculator Word Fun

How many of you remember doing this with a calculator?


When I was young, I loved typing in numbers into the calculator to flip them over and see the "words" that they spelled when held upside down.  It entertained my brother and I for hours of our childhood!

I started thinking, wouldn't it be fun to have my students practice math problems and then check them with the calculator and see if their word was correct?  I made a set of task cards and tried them out - the verdict?  The kids loved this activity as much as I had!  They thought their teacher was magic!


My students worked in pairs to solve their problems first.  Then they checked them with the calculators.


I LOVED the grins when they got the answer correct!

I made task cards for both whole numbers and decimal numbers to differentiate for my students' needs.



You can easily recreate this activity for your students by playing around with the calculator and seeing what words you can make, or googling calculator words.

Or.... you can grab a copy of my cards already done for you using the link below!

Calculator Word Fun



If you do this activity with your students I would love to hear about how it goes!






Friday, April 15, 2016

Help Your Students to Be Bucket Fillers - FREEBIE

Have you heard of Bucket Fillers?  Have you ever used any of the activities in your classroom?

When I first saw this post from Miss5th's Facebook Page I instantly knew that I wanted to implement this with my own students.



This time of year, my students are starting to get a bit stir crazy with testing stress and end of year expectations.  After a long school year, they start taking each other for granted and start treating each other not as kindly as they might otherwise.  I wanted to find a way to encourage them to be nicer to each other.

I showed them this video first:



The next day, when they came to class, they saw this in the front of the room:


A closer view:


I had each child's name (as well as my own) listed on a bucket.  I asked each student to pick one person to "fill their bucket".  Here are a few examples of the sweet, sincere compliments they gave each other:









I let each student take their "bucket" home at the end of the day, and you should have seen the way they held on to them, smiling as they read them over and over again.  It was an activity definitely worth doing!  I might make it a monthly thing!

If you would like to do this activity in your classroom as well, I created a freebie for you with your choice of 3 different templates to choose from.  You can download it at my TpT store here.



I chose the two per page size and printed them on colored paper.



If you do this activity with your students, I would love to hear how it goes!!

 Be sure to check out the Bucket Filler site as well, they have tons of free resources.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Monthly $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway - April 2016



It is time again for my monthly giveaway to win a $75 TpT gift card!  Thanks to all of my blogging friends who have contributed to this month's giveaway!

Don't miss out on this giveaway or any others!

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Teaching Cursive



I believe that cursive writing is an extremely important skill for students to learn.  Not only is it a way for students to write in an elegant manner, but their is brain research that shows that it can actually make students smarter!  According to this article, scientists have discovered that learning cursive is an important tool for cognitive development, particularly in the area of training the brain to learn "functional specialization" - the capacity for optimal efficiency.  As a student learns cursive writing, their brain develops functional specialization, integrating sensation, movement control, and thinking.


When I  taught 3rd grade, our school ordered handwriting books, but, because I looped with my students, we had already used those books.  I was searching for something different to help my students maintain their practice and further develop their cursive writing skills.

When Zaner Bloser asked me to review their newest handwriting program, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, and I wondered how it would be different from other handwriting programs that are available.



The handwriting program comes with both a teacher's edition and student editions.  I especially liked the fact that there was a teacher's edition included which gave lots of helpful hints and tips for teaching my students how to properly form their letters.  In addition, there are ways to tie the handwriting into other subject areas as you can see below.  This example ties into both writing and technology.



I love that I am able to effectively teach cursive without taking too much time up during the day - we average less than 15 minutes a day for each lesson.  I love that my students really enjoy the program, and more importantly - love cursive writing!







In addition to the books, the program also includes a Handwriting Tutor in which students scan QR codes in the book in order to access animated letter models and how-to videos.There is also a Handwriting app that allows students to play a game while learning to write.

The Zaner-Bloser Handwriting curriculum offers programs from PreK to 6th grade.
 






Curious, do you teach cursive?  Comment below and let me know!



Sunday, March 6, 2016

Monthly $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway - March 2016


It is time again for my monthly giveaway to win a $75 TpT gift card!  Thanks to all of my blogging friends who have contributed to this month's giveaway!

Don't miss out on this giveaway or any others!

Subscribe to my newsletter for exclusive freebies, sales notifications, and tips!

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View previous campaigns.
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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pinterest Pick 3 March 2016



March is here, and with it, The Pinterest Pick 3 filled with tons of Pinterest pins for your March planning inspiration!




This Magic Rainbow Ring science project looks like it would be a great activity for St. Patrick's Day.

Find Original Pin Here



If your school is celebrating Reading Week, you might like this Dr. Seuss themed bulletin board.

Find Original Pin Here



If you are looking for a fun STEM project, you might like this Leprechaun trap project.  Best of all, it's a FREEBIE! This FREE packet contains all the information you need to make this a great engineering activity in your classroom!

Find Original Pin Here

I am constantly updating my Pinterest Boards, so if you would like to see more of the ideas I've pinned for this month and more, be sure to check them out!
Visit An Apple for the Teacher's profile on Pinterest.


Don't forget to head back to my blog in 3 more days for your chance to win a $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card!


Follow along to see what other people are pinning.




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