April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Yep.....That's right....I have already put up my May calendar.  I realize it is **technically** still April.......but....... Come. On. Summer Break!!!!

Check out some other cool pics through Christina's Wordless Wednesday Linky Party. :)

April 23, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Preparing for the BIG test!

Yep....it's that time of year (insert teacher's all across America pulling their hair out and rolling their eyes)!

State testing....yikes!

For today....I am linking up with Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday.  Her theme just happens to be how to prepare kids for the BIG test....

Now.....I must admit I don't have the same stress that classroom teachers have in terms of assessments, as I don't teach students core content (reading, math, science, social studies, etc).

With that being said--I do feel a sense of responsibility to the students in my building, because these students are EVERYONE's kids.  We (PE teachers, music teachers, school counselors, interventionists, principals, secretaries and classroom teachers) are collectively invested in the students and their progress.  So, I may not have a DIRECT influence on the student's assessment....but I do care!!!!

Okay.....off my soapbox......and back to the theme.

I prepare my kiddos for any BIG test by informing them of the target and having them set realistic and attainable goals.  There is something to be said for goal setting....it is a POWERFUL tool...and motivator! If my kids reach their goal.....they get a prize.  This is a student selected prize.....for more buy in.

Pictured above is how the students display their prizes.  Its a nice visual reminder of what they are working for. :)  Most of the prizes I let students pick from are free or little cost.....which makes it nice on the ol' pocketbook. :)

I have a free set of reward cards in my TPT store....check them out if you are interested!!

Best of luck to all the test takers----and the stressed teachers!


April 14, 2014

Task Cards...with a twist :)

I am about to let you all in on a deep dark secret......

I LOVE task cards!!!

It's true... I love them.  I really, really love them!  They are super easy to print, cut out and set around your room.  They get the kids up and moving.  They are superb for differentiation.  They let you focus on a particular skill.  They are fun for the kids--not another boring worksheet (yay!!).  AND.....the list goes on and on and on!

I know there are several ways to use task cards, and if you haven't visited Rachel Lynette's task cards site......you need too!  She has some great tips and tricks....and some great task card sets!

I am sure most educators know the standard task card procedures, so I won't really elaborate on that topic.

Instead--I am excited to share with you  a new way to use task cards.  A way that makes task cards EVEN MORE engaging (if that's possible....) Who knows--maybe this isn't a new way, but it is new to me....and my kids loved it!

It is called Task Card Risk!  Yep---you heard it here first....Task Card Risk!

Here is what you need:

  1. Any task cards of your choice & the coordinating recording sheets for student use
  2. Dice
  3. Blank index cards (used to make risk cards)
  4. Somewhere to record points (marker board, chalk board, paper, etc).
How to play Task Card Risk

1.  Set out your task cards around the room (For this particular activity I was using my PEMDAS Task 

2.  When students answer a task card, they come show you (aide, para or classroom helper) their answer.  If they get the answer right:
  • They roll the dice.  Whatever number they roll, is how many points they add to their score. (my students kept track of their own score on the marker board)

3.  If the student answers the task card incorrectly, he or she needs to return to the task card and rework the problem.  If the student gets it right on the second try..... he or she will move on to the next problem.  I didn't let the students roll for points if it took them two tries---but that is personal preference. You totally can if you want to!

4. Follow these same steps (student answers, student checks, student rolls for points)  for a set amount of time OR until students finish all the task cards. I personally set a timer for 20-30 minutes.....but that's just me.

5. The real fun begins when time is up or students get all the task cards answered!  Now students have a chance to risk it........

6.  On one side of blank index cards right the word, "Risk" with a question mark.

7.  On the opposite side of the "Risk" index card, write some risky options. Some should be good....and some should be bad.  Some of the options I wrote are:
  • Steal another player's points
  • Trade with another player
  • Give 5 points
  • Take 5 points
  • -10 points
  • -5 points
  • -2 points 
  • +10 points
  • +5 points
  • +2 points

8.  Give students a choice---they can draw a card----OR they can pass. If they draw a card....they MUST do what it says.   

9.  If they choose to take a risk card---have students draw and complete the risk card one at a time.  This gives a dramatic flair to the game. Ha!

10. The winner of the task card game is the person with the most points, after each person has chosen or passed on a risk card!!!

I hope this gives you another way to use task cards in your classroom.  Like I said....my kids loved it!  I think yours will too!!