Last Day of School Circles!

I always dread the last day of school for some reason.  I want my students to remember more than just the academics that we covered throughout the school year.  I want them to remember that I have a sense of humor, the laughter that we shared together, and the sense of community that we had in my classroom.  So today, I had them gather around the room in a small circle.  

And one by one, they took turns drawing a card from the basket.  

Then, they completed the action that was given on the card.  These tasks ranged from captioning a meme, describing a classmate using three adjectives, or creating a "Would You Rather..." using activities that we did throughout the school year.  

 If this looks like something fun you would like to do in your classroom, click the image above to grab it from my TpT store!

Totally Random!

Over Christmas Break, I was searching Pinterest for a few ways to really spice up my test prep.  While searching, I found this crazy, silly game called Stinky Feet from Teaching in the Fast Lane.  I absolutely loved the concept, and I knew that I had to use it in my classroom.

I really loved the idea, but I had a few twists to keep things totally random!  When my students walked in from recess, they found THIS, and they were ready to play!

During the week before state testing, we were reviewing decimal computation.  I split my class into teams of four.  Then, I would display a problem and give them a minute or so to complete it as a team.  

When their time was up, one student from each team would come up to my iPad to place a finger on the screen.  Using the app Chwazi, my students would be randomly selected to share their answer.  My students really loved this app.  They insisted that there was a pattern to its selections, but they sure couldn't figure out how to cheat it!

After the Chwazi app randomly selected a team, the team would share their answer.  If their answer was correct, they would get to choose a Post-It note from the board.  Written in pencil (because markers bled through) on the back of the Post-It note, they found a point value.  Some of the point values were positive while others were negative.  This added another random element to the game!

We had a BLAST playing this game!  It was extremely fun to play because correct answers and being selected by the Chwazi app were not always good things.  It was a game of pure luck and was TOTALLY RANDOM! :)

If you would like to play this game with your students, you can grab a Power Point template by clicking the image above.  You'll need this, the Chwazi app, and a few Post-It Notes! :)

Top Five Ways to Use Task Cards

Who loves task cards?  Let me tell you, I am seriously an addict!  I make them, buy them, wishlist them, dream about them....ok, this is getting crazy!  But seriously, I love them.  My students and I thoroughly enjoy using them in my classroom.  I am by no means a task card expert, but I use many of the same ways in my room on a regular basis and I wanted to share them with you tonight!

Scoot!  I stinkin' love it!  I love how it encourages fluency and continued practice over a given skill or skills.  I also love that it gets my kids up and moving.  Sure, I could pass out a worksheet with the same questions but it will NEVER be as effective at engaging students to focus and practice a particular skill.  Anytime I pull out task cards and begin to explain what we are going to do, my kids BEG for Scoot!  

Here's how Scoot works in my room:
1.  Pass out a task card to each student in your classroom.  I require my students to keep their card face down on their desk until I give them permission to flip it over.
2.  Provide a recording sheet to each student to work out and record their answers.
3.  Have students take a peak at their card to see what number they have.  Since there is only one number ONE, all students will be beginning the set of task cards at a different spot.  I have them peak at their number ahead of time to avoid them starting in the incorrect spot.  
4.  Set a timer for a specified amount of time.  The amount of time that I use always varies depending on the skill that we are working on.  I usually use the first round to help me determine the length of time that is appropriate for students to complete the problems.  
5.  Tell the students to GO!  Then, give them time to complete the problem.
6.  After the time is up, tell them to STOP!  I also instruct my students to flip their card over after they are done.  I like this because it keeps the student behind them from working ahead.
l7.  Have the students scoot to the next spot and repeat!
8.  After allowing all students to move throughout the room and they have returned to their original seats, I review the correct answers aloud.  I usually do this by starting at number one and "scooting" my way throughout the room.  The students check their answers as we go.  
9.  Allow students to ask questions if needed about incorrect answers.  
10.  Since many sets of task cards come with 24 or more cards per set, I am usually able to also take a grade on any remaining cards.  Since I have twenty students in my classroom, I usually have four left over task cards.  After allowing students to ask questions about missed problems and doing a quick mini-lesson on any common mistakes I noticed while the students worked their way through the room, I put the last four problems on the board for a grade!

I also love to print my task cards in black and white to allow students to practice them at home.  I am the queen of stuffing these into mailboxes during recess after seeing which students struggled during math groups.  They are typically the same students who need additional help and their parents are happy to chip in.  I always send home an answer key so that either the students or their parents can quickly and easily check for student accuracy.  I have received many compliments when doing this.  I think it is many parents realize that their student needs more support, but they don't always know how to provide it.  This is a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to solve that problem!

My teaching partner, Shelby at Education Lahne, created this fun freebie to help students knockout task cards in a self-paced way.  She created a template with nine circles.  As students travel through stations or sets of task cards, they earn stickers or stamps for each destination.  We used this for grammar review before statewide testing.  It was a great way to give our students choice while ensuring that they are accountable for their work.

This is a new game for me this year but I. am. in. LOVE....and so are my kids!  I lay pairs of cards around my classroom.  Students are paired in groups of two and tasked to solve all of the problems in the room quickly and accurately.  I "rank" my students according to our STAR Math or Reading scores and pair my highest and lowest students together.  Then the second highest with second lowest, and so on.  I love this method of peer tutoring and it really levels the playing field to allow all pairs a fair shot at winning the game.  

Here's how Solve It, Switch It works in my room:
1.  Place pairs of cards around my room.
2.  Provide a recording sheet to each student to work out and record their answers.
3.  Assign or allow students to choose a partner.
4.  Explain to students that when you say GO, they will solve ONE task card while their partner solves the other.  I usually complete the first round together as a class.  After they both complete their card, they SWITCH cards.  Once again, I usually do the first round together.  After they have solved the second card, they must CHECK their answers.  If their answers match, they can find another set of cards to work through.  If their answers do NOT match, they must rework the problem(s) together to find the error.  

5.  I also lay out an answer key on my back table.  When students are confident that they have correctly answered each question, they can go check their answers with the key.
6.  The team who answers the most correctly in the fastest time wins!  Since they are working in pairs, I can't remember a time when my students didn't make it to the answer key without the correct answers in place.  

My last way of using task cards is SERIOUSLY a treat for my kids....and me!  I hide a set of task cards throughout the room and it is their job to find and solve all of the task cards.  I leave many of them just lying around in very obvious places, however, I hide a few in tricky spots.  This adds a completive element as well as a little mystery that keeps things interesting!  It makes the dreaded task of division a little more bearable!  Just as the game Scoot gets my students up and moving, so does Solve the Room!  They are up, moving, and exercising their mathematical minds!

I have also tried something new recently, due to a fabulous idea from FlapJack Education!  These Stikki-Clips are amazing!!!  I leave them up around my room, and simply switch out sets of task cards depending on what we are working on.

Sidewalk Scoot

Is anyone else knee deep in test prep?  UGH!  I am, and I'm trying my best to make it as engaging as possible.  While at the store last weekend, I bought a few items to make our test prep this week a little less boring.  Today, we played Sidewalk Scoot!

As you can see from the picture above, each student was assigned a square on the sidewalk.  Prior to coming outside, each student created a multiplication or division problem.  In their square, they had to write their computation problem in their neatest handwriting.

After everyone had written their problem, it was time to SCOOT!  They moved through each problem on the sidewalk "Scoot Style."

Click the image above to grab the free recording sheets! I would love to see your students doing Sidewalk Scoot on Instagram using hashtag #mathfun.


Have you heard of the app Aurasma?!  I hadn't until recently and had to put it to use in my room.  We've been slaving away on ISTEP (Indiana's high stakes test), and I wanted a fun way to let our students share their feelings on ISTEP.  My students loved using the app so much, that we had to use it again in the following activity!

I love Kid President and jump on any chance to share one of his videos in class.  We began by watching this video on YouTube about making the world more awesome.  

Then, my students brainstormed a list of three things that would make the world better, AND what they could do to help achieve this!  They recorded themselves sharing their ideas!

Here comes the fun part!  After recording their video, we opened up the Aurasma app.  If you haven't used this app, here are the basics.  It allows you to create a "trigger" image, which works similar to a QR Code.  When that trigger image is scanned with the app, it can take you to an image or video of your choice.

My students used their own faces for trigger images.  When a classmate scans their face, they will be able to watch their video and hear all of the things that they believe would make the world a better place.

When the trigger image is scanned, the video pops right up on your device.  As you move your device, the image moves as well.  It is so much fun and an excellent way for students to demonstrate their learning.  This is the sample that I created of my daughter to show how the app worked to my students!

Next up on our Aurasma agenda, creating book trailers for our book club books to be played when we scan the covers of our books! :)

Assessing Sight Words in Minutes!

I haven't posted anything from my world in special education in quite a while, so here it goes.  I am currently teaching fifth grade, general education, AND squeezing in a precious thirty minutes of special education instruction with my fourth and fifth-grade special education students.  It is by far my favorite time of day.  Despite being my favorite time of day, we have HUGE deficits that we need to fill, and we cannot afford to waste a second.

At the beginning of the year, I had a file with flash cards of each Dolch sight word.  I would print out the file, have the students read each word, and cut out the words that they needed to work on.  As time went on, I found myself wasting SOOO much paper and time.

One day, I had a random idea.  What if I type their unknown or incorrect words as they read?! I know, I know.  It isn't anything mind-blowing, but I couldn't help but wonder why I hadn't thought of it sooner.

Within just a few minutes, each student has a printed list of words to be practiced over the next week.  It has saved time, paper, and is individualized to meet their needs.

If you're looking for the pink recording sheets that I used in the pictures above, check out my complete Progress Monitoring K-3 Collection.

Data Review!

As I was planning my Valentine's Day party last week, I had a weird, random series of events that led to a math activity.  One game suggested that you give students a few marshmallows and have them toss them into a partner's mouth.  I thought, "Hey!  My kids will love this, and proceeded to buy several bags of marshmallows."

As I told my husband about the game, he said, "Ewwww, gross! Who is going to be ____'s partner?!"  He was right.  Who was going to be the nose picker's partner?!  I quickly revised my plan, and this domino effect of math fun just kind of created itself!

I quickly threw together this recording sheet, and put ten marshmallows into sandwich baggies for my kids!

When we were ready for math on Friday, I asked each student to stand up, try to be at least a little bit coordinated, and toss one marshmallow into their mouth.  Then, they recorded if their marshmallow "made" and "missed" their mouth.  We repeated this process nine more times.  

On a side note, I recorded this and shared it with the parents of my students.  It was entertaining!

Next comes the part where one of my kids said, "Mrs. Wilp, can't you ever let us just have FUN without ruining it with MATH?!"  (Bahaha!  You're funny kid.  The answer is no.)  They recorded their number of "made" marshmallows in the number one spot and collected data from three other students.  Together, they worked to find the mean, median, mode, and range of their data.  We have already covered this, but WHOA, my kids totally needed a little review.  You know the types of questions I heard, "Is the mean the average or the one in the middle?"  UGH!

Then, we reviewed ratios by writing ratios to represent our data.

And last but not least, we reviewed writing the data as percentages and fractions.  

You can grab this recording sheet, along with an alternative form in case you would rather use a season candy such as candy corn, candy hearts, or jelly beans, by clicking the image above!


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