Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wonka Week: An End of Year Tradition and Freebie

You're almost there!  The end of the year is so very close! (or if you're out in May - congratulations you've officially made it to summer!)
Wonka Week is my favorite go-to end of the school year activity, but it works equally well the week before Spring Break or any other time you're anticipating squirrely children and need something a little different to calm the masses.  

If you have extremely excited kiddos and need a little something new, try out Wonka Week using Golden Tickets for Classroom Management!  


Here’s what you need to do:
Buy: a bag or two of small wrapped candy bars (not the vacuum sealed kind – the wrapped in foil-lined paper kind), and 10-15 candy bars or other "big" prizes.  I get my candy bars here on Amazon and buy the large prizes at a Dollar Store.
Print: the Wonka Tickets on yellow/gold paper.
Put: Wonka tickets inside the special small candy bars (as many special candy bars as you have “big” prizes).  You will have to fold them up and reseal the small candy bars with a glue stick.
Cut: the rest of the Wonka Tickets out and put them in a secure baggie hidden from view.
Get: a beautiful clear bowl or vase to house all of the little candy bars. (Isn't mine pretty?! I pretty much LOVE this Teacher Appreciation Day Gift! Perfect for WONKA Week!)
Display: the clear bowl full of small candy bars and the “big” prizes somewhere up high in your classroom - keep them visible but not reachable!  For maximum effect, put these out a few at a time the week before Wonka Week.  The anticipation will be palpable!
During the week give out Wonka Tickets instead of your normal classroom incentive to awesomely behaved students. At the end of the day you can let all students who received a Wonka Ticket trade it in for a pick in the candy bar bowl or do a random drawing of Wonka tickets, letting only students who are drawn choose from the chocolate. (I moved to the latter option after spending WAY too much money on chocolate!)  
Students who get a Golden Wonka Ticket in their small candy bar get one of the exciting giant prizes!
Secret Teacher Trick: to make sure the Wonka fun lasts as long as you want it to, only put one or two special “Golden Ticket” bars in the bowl at a time.  That way you can draw it out for as long as it is effective. 

If you are interested in trying out Wonka Week in your classroom, you can find a free copy of the Golden Tickets I use here.  
 
I use Wonka Tickets as our shiny new classroom incentives and integrate Wonka themed activities with other subjects too.  
*WRITINGStudents love creating their own new candy along with advertisements
*MATH - Make WONKA bars to practice place value and number sense (see my blog post about this here)
*ART/MATH - Design a new floor for Wonka's Factory to practice mathematical problem solving skills (a differentiated version of this activity can be found here in my TpT store)
*SCIENCE - Candy-based science experiments are tons of fun!  The one pictured below answers the question - What will happen to a Gobstopper when submerged in water over time? (I pretty much had extra cups, Gobstoppers, a sink, and some time to kill - but even with this not so exciting experiment - the kids were INTO IT!  Anything that involves candy works wonders.
You can also check out my WONKA Pinterest Board with ideas for Wonka themed learning activities, costumes, and fun stuff based on a candy/Wonka theme.

I hope you can use this idea.  My kids always love it and it's a fun way to end the year,

Monday, May 2, 2016

Oooo Baby! A Giveaway, a Sale, and a BABY

It's been almost a month since Dennett Jae Smith joined us on April 6th and the days are flying by! My great intentions of blogging in full makeup and actual clothes (not yoga or sweatpants) while baby Dennett naps peacefully for long periods of time have failed, but I have scored some sweet snuggling sessions with this cutie, which are pretty much the BEST and I may have even snuck in a shower or two - Victory!
I'm out of pajama pants and back on my computer for a short time only, to give away 2 $10 TpT Gift Cards in preparation for the big Teacher Appreciation sale May 3-4!

All you have to do is fill out the super quick Rafflecopter below and I'll draw 2 winners on Tuesday night in time for some Wednesday sale shopping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The sale starts at midnight, so good luck and go find some sweet deals at TpT to get you through the rest of this school year!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pi Day Easy Peasy Activity - All You Need is Yarn

Here's a quick Pi Day activity for tomorrow if you need something fun to introduce or celebrate the day.  All you need is yarn, scissors, and round things.  Every classroom has those right?!

First, have students choose a round object.
Next, students wrap the yarn around the circumference of the round object and cut the yarn to show one measurement around their object.
Now have students take this long piece of yarn and see how many times they can measure the diameter of their circle.  They will cut a piece of yarn for every diameter they measure.
If students do this correctly they should end up with 3 diameter yarn pieces plus an itty little left over piece or 3.14 diameters (Pi!)

Yarn, scissors, round things, DONE!
Fun, memorable, and quick - my kind of Pi Day activity!

Happy (almost) Pi Day,

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Leprechaun Traps Pictures, PowerPoint, and Printable Freebies


If you're looking for a quick St. Patrick's Day art project, or even a longer STEM building project Leprechaun Traps could be just the ticket.  Here are a few pics of traps my students have made in past years.  All of these pictures are included in the free PowerPoint as well.
Although this used to be a staple in my classroom during the month of March, I've since shied away from giving this as a homework option as parents tended to become stressed out maniacs and no teacher needs 30 stressed out maniacs with access to their e-mail account around parent conference time (or really any time).  However, if time permits, this can be a worthwhile hands on problem solving project that lets students be creative and have fun (imagine that!) with the holiday while working on their teamwork skills.  Even if I don't have time for the art or building project, at the very least I like to use the PowerPoint with completed trap photos as an inferencing activity.  Click here or on the picture below to download the freebie from my store.
Happy March!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

100th Day of School - Free Printables

Tomorrow is our 100th Day of School (We start after Labor Day and have had a snow day or two thrown into the mix).  If anyone out there is yet to celebrate like me, maybe this 100th Day Fun Stuff Freebie will be useful for you.
It includes a 100 Seconds Challenge, 100 Times Spelling, Hundreds Picture Spelling, and 4 templates for Hundreds Day Art.  My kiddos' art projects turned out pretty darn cute last year.
Throw in a hundreds day t-shirt (I got lazy and just glued 100 beads to my Halloween Super Teacher Tee) and I'm all planned for tomorrow.  Hooray!
If you've already celebrated the blessed day, then keep this on file until next year.  It's never too early to start planning!

Happy Hundreds Day,

Saturday, February 6, 2016

February Fun Stuff Freebie Updated with Math Brainteasers


Happy February!  That pudgy little marmot didn't see his shadow and we have SUN (and only a skiff of snow on the ground) in MICHIGAN.  It's been a fantastic start to what is typically a brutal month.  Not so this year.  Thank you Mr. Groundhog!
I've been busy updating some of my freebies and just finished adding two new math brainteasers to my February Fun Stuff Freebie.  It also includes a Valentine's Day Make-Your-Own Word Find and a Valentine Candy ABC Brainstorm activity.  I find that second and third graders can talk about candy forever, so the ABC activity, although simple, is always greatly helpful as we celebrate Valentine's Day by inhaling sugar in its various forms.

If you need like the February Fun printables you can download the freebie here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Super Bowl Football Math Freebie

Once again I've stopped paying attention to football since I have zero chance of winning any money in my Colorado teacher friend football pick 'ems.  I had 2 horrible weeks at the end of the regular season that put me out of the running.  Boo!  Any football information I receive is now from Reality Steve as I religiously read his Bachelor spoilers blog (I even listen to his weekly Thursday Q&A - oh my!) and he tends to comment on sports as a side note.
Even though I'm feeling quite over it, I pay enough attention to know that my kids love talking all things football come January.  If yours are the same and you need a freebie, check out my Super Football Math Freebie.  It's a good challenge to review addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I've used it successfully with 2nd, 3rd, and 5th graders so hopefully it will meet some of your Super Bowl needs.

Enjoy,

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Math Challenge Freebie & Math Contracts - Perfect for Fast Finishers, Extensions, or Homework


If you're looking for a few new math items for after the break, try out my Math Challenges & Brainteasers freebie.  I've used these in my 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade classrooms for a number of purposes.  
Here are a few ideas for how you might use these in your own classroom:
*Use a challenge or brainteaser as a homework option for students who need a challenge, or let them replace a simple homework assignment with the challenge to show parents how well you’re differentiating.  :)

*Use a math challenge or brainteaser as a “number talk” problem to start out your daily math class. Work through it as a class or let students work in partners or small groups to talk through it and solve it together. 

*Make a pack of challenge problems for advanced students to use as a fast finisher or during certain in-class math lessons where they've already mastered the material.

*Give a challenge or brainteaser to a small group of students as one of their independent math workshop rotations or use them with your advanced small math group rotation.

*Use the problems as an independent practice activity during a unit on problem solving strategies (guess and check, work backwards, etc.) or attacking a multi-step problem. 

*Keep a stack of challenge problems in your classroom fast finisher area for any student who wants a challenge.

*Choose one or two challenge problems for the month and reward any student who can solve both. You can put these on a bulletin board or have them available as additional incentives.
Currently I'm using these as a challenge for my second graders in the form of math contracts.  I have a few super amazing 2nd grade mathematicians who are way ahead of the rest of the class.  They have the option of completing math contract work at any time during our independent math time as a replacement for the assignments given to the rest of the class.  Typically at the beginning of the year I have 6-7 students on math contracts and this dwindles to the few who really enjoy the independent challenges and are willing to work through these multi-step problems.  Usually by the end of the year I have 2-3 die hard math challenge kiddos who have stuck with the contracts all year. 

These are great to show parents at conferences, especially for those parents who want to see how their child is being challenged.  I just print out 5 of the math challenges, add a math contract cover sheet and I'm good to go.  Differentiation Complete!

If you haven't already downloaded the freebie which includes 3 math challenges and brainteasers, hop on over to my store and check it out.  I hope you enjoy!



Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year! Gift Card Giveaway and a Great Option for Unwanted Gift Cards


Happy New Year All!
If anyone has any unwanted gift cards after the holiday season gift card exchange madness, check out a little site called Cardpool.  I discovered Cardpool after receiving a (very generous!) gift card to Pottery Barn.  After I realized I could buy only a small bag of decorative rocks at PB with the gift card I'd been given, I looked into gift card exchanges and found cardpool.com where you can sell as well as buy gift cards at a discounted price.  I quickly exchanged my $100 to Pottery Barn for an $80 Amazon card and bought a killer toaster for our new kitchen.  They make money and I get something I can actually use.  Score!  My 4-slot toaster is way better than a box of rocks or seashells.  :)

I always use this site when giving wedding or birthday gifts instead of choosing a card for the recipient so they can choose one of their own.  I also go through them to buy restaurant gift cards so I can get more bang for my buck.  The hubs and I just bought a $50 Cheesecake Factory card for $40.50.  It's like getting $9.50 for free! (Confession: rather than just saving the money, I bought a slice of lemon raspberry cheesecake which was SO worth the calories!)

You can purchase regular gift cards they will mail to you, or can get e-gift cards which will be e-mailed to you within 1 day (usually within a few hours).  Give yourself a little time on the e-gift cards though.  I ran into a bit of trouble with this during Secret Santa week this year when I waited until midnight to purchase a Barnes & Noble gift card for my Secret Santa recipient.  It didn't arrive until the next morning at 10 am and then I was stuck explaining Cardpool.com to my Secret Santa friend.  Luckily she wanted the $20 from Cardpool rather than the $15 we were sworn to stick to.  I technically only spent $15, but she got $20 because of my fancy online gymnastics.  Sweet!

I'm starting off the New Year (Happy 2016!) by running a little gift card giveaway to Cardpool.  Enter in the Rafflecopter below.  The giveaway runs through January 4th - hopefully bringing a little New Year's happiness to a lucky teacher who goes back to work that day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
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