Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sparking Motivation: Science Vocabulary

Halloween, full moon and severe weather. 
That was my day yesterday. I not only took a nap when I got home, we all went to bed early. 

Before our severe weather lock down, we had a super fun Science Vocabulary Parade. At my school, the week of Halloween we motivate kids to get excited about Science by dressing up as a science word. I have only participated as a mom in the past. Now, that I work there, I got to see all the excitement and awesome costumes. Our parents are so creative and the whole school gets involved! It's gotten so big we have two parades, K-2 and 3-5. 

Here's some pictures. I wish I had more, there were so many amazing costumes. 

My team were the "Energy Witch Sisters". I was light energy. Unfortunately because of the severe weather situation we dealt with, we never got a team photo. 

Want to be inspired some more? Check out our school's Facebook Page. There are some really great pictures there too! 

Also, be sure to check out more motivational ideas from 
Joanne over at Head Over Heels For Teaching

And last of all,

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sparking Motivation- LOCKED IN WITH 5TH GRADERS

First of all, HELLO AGAIN! I have been so neglectful of this blog. I miss it. I miss it a lot. I have so much to share, but no time. (excuses, excuses, excuses, right?) But, it is reality. 
So,I am going to use this raining Saturday morning where I have NOTHING to do to get caught up on a lot of things. First, sharing with you. 

I love that Joanne, at Head Over Heels for Teaching still does her Saturday Motivation, especially because she herself shares the BEST ideas!!!! 

Plus, I get to share this super fun activity we had at our school. At the beginning of the year, my new teaching group shared how they get students to memorize their multiplication facts. They entice them with a lock-in. Do you know what a lock-in is? It's when you bring a ton of kids together, with a few adults and LOCK THEM IN the school ALL NIGHT. Can I just be honest with you here? I was NOT thrilled one bit by this. Thought it was cool for the kids, but I knew what it meant for ME! I am selfish people! I do NOT stay up late. I DO NOT hang out with 5th graders OUTSIDE of the hours of a school day! 

Needless to say, I took one for the team. (HA!) We set our plan in motion and students had six weeks to have all their facts memorized. We do fact fluency every day. We do games and we assess. It's a 10-15 minute part of our math block DAILY! I will also add that even currently, it is still part of my math block DAILY. 

I digress. After six weeks, we had the big test day. Students had to answer 25 questions in 60 seconds. We had some training this summer over fact fluency and this is where we came up with this number. 

If students passed with 90% or higher, they were invited to the lock-in. If they did not, they were not. Plain and simple. I had 11/19 kids pass. I wasn't thrilled with this number, but what I have seen is a lot of growth in my students. I had some that were close, some heart broken, and some who need more intervention. You know, a real classroom? 

After all the logistics of permission slips and what do bring and do, we were ready! Well, my younger teacher partners were ready. I was dreading staying awake all night! Everything was set in motion and that long awaited night came. Let's just let the pictures do the talking! 

The spent the first hour or so, just dancing. Seriously, these kids can dance! And if they can't, all they had  to do was shake their bodies and it looked like dancing. 

Students played in the cafeteria and the gym. They also were allowed to bring their electronics and games. We had a spa section for nails and stuff. The boys actually had some fun with that too. Until they learned that nail polish doesn't come off with soap and water. 

Students were set into teams and given various items. The goal was to get your entire team and the items across the gym without any part of the team touching the floor. It was the funniest thing. 
 See the boys on the mat? At one point they were facing the same way and scooting themselves backwards. I was on the floor laughing. 

And then, a mummy creating fashion show. 
Loads of fun! 

Had to include this picture. 
We had a group of faculty on the roof to "scare the kids" with water guns and stuff. The students figured it out and were ready. They were hysterical! 

Another thing our kids go to do was run through the school with our administrators. They all all the great hiding places and secret hallways our custodial staff has. I love that they did this for our kids. They will always remember that! 

At 1:30am. We tried settling them down with a movie. This is my view from the nurses cot. 
I don't know why kids want to go to the nurses office and lay on those things. They are not comfortable. But yes, it was better than the floor. 
Seriously, some kids were asleep by midnight. Most kids were asleep by 2:30, but we actually had TWO kids who NEVER went to sleep! I think I have only done that twice in my life and I wasn't 10 or 11!!! 

The next morning. 
I adore this picture because these are two of my own students. 
They couldn't be more opposite.
 This picture sums them up though. 

And then, all of us! 
My team (minus one who was sick) 
A parent volunteer (she's a kinder teacher with a 5th grade child) 
This year's principal AND last year's too. (They both have a 5th grader this year as well!) 

All in all, it was a success. It was about the kids, they enjoyed it. 
We, well, we were exhausted of course. 
Everyone has lives outside of school. 
I slept on the way to football that morning. I slept in between baseball games.
One teacher slept on the way to a college football game. 
Like most, we do what we do for our students because WE ARE TEACHERS! 

Side note: for my students who didn't make it, we are still working and striving for an ice cream sundae party! Gotta keep them motivated, right? 

Be sure to check out other ideas with Joanne

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