My philosophy on education has changed throughout the years. The older I get the more I want to change things up and have a little fun. I realized that if I am bored teaching then there is a high probability that my students are equally as bored. This is how the idea of Fun Day Rewards were born.
For the past couple of years I have had amazing classes of kids. To reward these wonderful kids I cam up with the idea of once a month special days. Now here is the key, the days are fun but learning still happens. I learned that if you give the kids a full day of fun without learning they end up getting crazy and go wild. So, I had to out smart my students. Hence, the fun while keeping the structure and learning.
Laser Day came from a Pinterest idea to keep toddlers busy while at home. I took it a step further and bought a super large roll or red crate paper and went to town. Start by connecting desks and tables together with the "lasers". I use regular tape so it would be pretty easy to break if a student hit it. That is part of the game. As the kids walk into class they are told not to touch the lasers. For the rest of the day their job it learning as usual while crawling, jumping, or hurtling over the lasers.
Points are kept during the day for the amount of "laser burns" they receive from breaking a laser. My class sits in pods so the pod with the least amount of burns at the end of the day won a small pack of Twizzlers. If the laser comes off at the taped area it is one point. If a student rips the laser, it is two points against the pod.
In first grade, my son needed a little extra practice working with shape attributes. Shape attributes are the characteristics of a shape like size, shape, color, number of edges or vertices, etc.
Being a teacher, I immediately went to work creating fun ways to help him learn this concept. First we drew and identified basic attributes like the number of edges and vertices, sides and corners, of both 2D and 3D shapes.
Seeing a bag marshmallows on the counter my daughter decided to join in. I don't blamer her because what better way to explore polygons than with sweet treats.
Using task cards as a guide, my son and daughter built 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes. It was through building that my kids were able to compare different shapes by the amount and location of the marshmallows and toothpicks.
They happily cleaned their mess by eating all the marshmallows:)
My favorite part of the unit was working on 3D tasks. This included cutting out 3D shapes and assembling them. With a shape in hand my son was better able to count the edges, vertices, and faces.
Having worked so hard to construct each shape we decided to not let it go to waste and built our very own robots. I suggest coloring the shapes before cutting them out otherwise the shapes get smashed in.
To explore how shapes work together, I filled a box full of straws, pipe cleaners, and task cards. This resource gave them a chance design whatever combination of shapes they wanted.
To make this center:
You can make your very own shape exploration unit or check out the one I've created. Follow the link below to learn more.
This unit includes workbooks, worksheets, tasks cards, centers, and more for both 2 & 3 dimensional shapes. Visit my Teachers pay Teachers store for more fun ideas!
Educational Candy Land
Way back in 2005, I worked as Title 1 support for reading and math, K-5. I was young and idealistic, ready for the challenge of meeting the needs of so many different kids. The only problem was the lack of resources. Armed only with paper, pencils, and crayons I knew I needed to get creative and fast!
My first idea was taking the board game Candy Land and turn it into something educational. Making my own cards, I kept the game board colors and added math equations. The same rules applied with the exception of solving the problem before moving forward. It came as no big surprise that the students loved it. Serving several grade levels, I decided to create different math and reading games.
My original set of cards were made with cardstock paper and bingo daubers from the local dollar store. It took forever to make each set by hand. I have since turned my game cards into a Teachers Pay Teachers product but with a little leg work you make your own.
To create your own set of educational cards I suggest using Microsoft Word. Insert a 2X5 table, aligning the font to the center and right of each cell. Highlight the table to pull a margin bar slightly to the left. This adds extra space after the equations.
Now insert a square to the left of the problem. Copy and paste the squares in each box to save time. Change the color of the game squares in a pattern of blue, red, green, purple, yellow, and orange. Make sure to have the same amount of each color for your game.
For the special candy squares I reused the table but deleted the equations. Here I changed the square to pink and added each of the candy characters. You can Google Candy Land character clip art or create your own. I designed my own as I didn't want to deal with copyright infringement.
There you have it! Print your cards, laminate to add extra protection and cut them out. Your kids will love playing this educational game. I usually get it out during center time and even indoor recess!
Check out my creations at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
hat the heck are word families or phonograms? They are just a group of letters that have the same sound within a variety of words. You see the ing pattern all the time in words like, king, ring, sing, thing.
These groups of letters are very important in early reader phonemic awareness (learning letter patterns). Later, they become a key skill in helping a child decode (figure out) unknown words.
Good luck and remember to have fun!
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Hello, my name is Karen Delaney, educator and queen of free! Please enjoy the plethora of games and resources I have collected throughout my teaching career.