Talk So That Kids Will Listen - Bright Idea!

How to Talk So That Kids Will Listen
Now, that seems like a bright idea, doesn't it? Have you ever thought that there even IS a way that teachers might talk that would cause kiddos to sit up and take notice? OR that there is a way that teachers talk that would let them know that they really don't have to listen?
The first tip....
Don't repeat directions
When you do that, you really are sending the message that they don't have to listen the first time....because you're going to repeat it again, anyway. Does this look familiar?

Believe me, it's hard to get out of the habit of repeating directions. But think about it..why listen if it's going to come around again? 

Here are some tips:

Have kiddos wait to follow the directions. If they start moving to retrieve supplies, chances are they're going to have a hard time attending.
  1. Deliver instrucitons in manageable chunks: "You're going to do three things: First, you will need your scissors and glue stick. Next, you're going to cut the words from the bottom of the page. Then, sort the words into the correct column and glue them in place."
  2. Strategically ask specific students to repeat one of the steps.
  3. Ask if there are any questions.
  4. Paraphrase and send them on their way.
  5. Now here's the hard part--- don't repeat. 
Of course, there are going to be kiddos who come up and ask, "What are we supposed to do?" "What page did you say?" So, how do you handle that without repeating the directions?
Sincerely, sympathetically say,
"Bummer. I hope you find someone who was listening."

Kiddos will really figure out that they do need to listen the first time...and it doesn't take them very long. And you won't have to say that very often before that happens, either. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Project Based Learning Project - Dinosaurs!

I'm just gonna come right out and say it:
D:D&CMatt Sutton over at Digital Divide and Conquer ROCKS! If you haven't made it over to his blog and become a follower, you'll definitely want to go there now. His posts are so fun! (Head over there and you'll see what I mean!)

He just has some of the coolest items in his store! He's got all kinds of QR Code activities (my kiddos especially LOVE using them for listening station!). He also has some uber cool project stuff!

I teach with Project Based Learning (PBL), so project-type stuff always catches my eye. When I saw THIS cross my feed, I knew I had to have it!
 This project is seriously COOL! It encompasses lots of academic areas (which you can see right there on the cover)...and it includes lots of options for you as the teacher. You can pull the skills/activities that you want your kiddos to experience. It also gives the kids lots of ownership. They can work through at their own pace.

Matt gives some suggestions at the beginning for different ways you might want to set it up. I choose to create a folder for my kiddos to keep their work journals & other artifacts they might create.

Here's the premise of this project -- On an island in the Pacific, a group of billionaires have genetically engineered dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. But something has gone wrong.....all the scientists and workers have disappeared and now the dinosaurs have overrun the island! Your students' task is to solve this mystery...and there are lots of different ways they can go with it, too!

As Matt says in the directions, "Most tasks have multiple levels/styles for the teacher to choose from to allow for differentiation. Plus teachers can choose which tasks they'd like students to try." Just take a look at this Table of Contents....
I just LOVE all the options that are built in here! And that it's designed to be student-centered & student-led! It just doesn't get better than that, folks! I cannot wait until we get to dive into this project. My kiddos are going to be so psyched! I'm going to have a hard time waiting myself! We have student teachers in our room right now, and they're in the middle of their own unit, so I'm going to have to be patient just a little bit longer until I can unveil this awesomeness! They are so gonna flip, though! haha.

I'd love for you to stop over & check out Matt's blog. He's got so many fantastic ideas! And his blog is fun to read, too! If you're not already following, you really will want to!


Racing Through Those 'Laps' - Elapsed Time

Elapsed time is a concept that just seems to be one of those that kiddos struggle with.Though they seem to master elapsed time when it's within an hour pretty quickly. Say it's a problem like Sally started her homework at 4:20. She worked for 28 minutes. What time did she get finished? THAT's failry easy for them. But when it comes to situations where the time elapsed is over an gets a little sticky. And I mean sTiCkY!

One of the first things we talk about with elapsed time is how it's almost like the hour hand is doing 'laps' around the clock face. We talk about how the minutes around the clock can be thought of as a number line...imagine there was a number line tape that went around the clock that we could pull off & lay flat in front of us. Of course, it's also continuous...once we get to 60, it starts back at 1 all over again!

We've got those ideas, but figuring out elapsed time continued to be a struggle. You all know that I am a firm believer in the power of games in instruction. I love, love, love using games in the classroom! So-- I went on the search....I was super excited when I came across Laura Candler's Racing Through Elapsed Time! Perfect!! what makes it even better? It was super easy & QUICK to get it all prepped, set up, & ready to go! Included in the pack, of course, is the gameboard and game cards. I was at school (no color printer), so I printed it out, copied on colored cardstock, laminated, and we were good to go! All I had to add for the workstation was a die, some game pieces (you can see we grab unifix cubes for that). Easy, peasy!

One thing that I especially like is that it is a game in which ALL the players are involved - no one person at a time takes a card while the others wait. The leader reads the game card, and ALL students work on the problem on their whiteboards. Those who got the correct answer roll the die & move their game piece. (How brilliant is that!? I'm not sure that I've ever seen a game where ALL of the kiddos were working all the time! Brilliant) You can see in the picture to the right that they're working at the same time.

Of course, THE most important thing is that it was effective! I noticed as we continued playing that the kiddos were becoming more and more comfortable working on elapsed time questions (and that they were coming up with the correct answers more frequently and more quickly! Win! Win!). In fact, one of my kiddos actually said, "Hey! This is getting pretty easy!" True story!
 Just click on the link below to head over & check this out for yourself!


Spring Blogger Meet Up Blog Hop!

Good times, good food, great conversations, and wonderful friends.... We had so much fun at the Spring Blogger Meet Up in French Lick, Indiana that we just couldn't let the fun end there! So welcome to our Blog Hop!

 Let's bring a little of the fun, excitement, inspiration, and TEACHER SWAG to YOU!

Many of us brought a favorite teacher tool to swap. One of my favorite tools for the classroom are fun fun colors. I wrapped up these super cool Expo Markers that come in fun colors....and...wait for it....
write on WINDOWS! How cool is that?!
Think of all the awesome stuff you could do with those babies! There is a panel of glass that runs beside my door...I like to write sight words or vocabulary words there for my kiddos to read as they enter and leave the classroom.

And how cool is it that I actually got in return another of my own favorite teacher tools!? Check out these gorgeous 80's Glam Sharpie Markers! I have been having some serious fun with these in my classroom, people! That's some serious teacher swag right there! also had some amazing, fabulous sponsors for the meet-up who donated some really cool things. I know you're going to hear about lots of them on the hop, but let me spotlight the one that I went home with.

Have you heard of Boogie Boards? I hadn't heard of them until the meet up, but they are seriously cool! It's an LCD can write on it, then press the little button up at the top and it all disappears. Fun!! I got the blue one, and I've already been using it in my classroom. Of course, all of my kiddos just love writing on it.

I can picture using it in my classroom in workstations for sight word or spelling word practice. But check this out....I've actually used it already to remove a barrier for one of my kiddos. This sweetie has some nerve damage in his hand and has an aversion to writing. Last week, instead of (grudgingly) doing the weekly spelling test paper-pencil, he happily wrote his spelling words on the Boogie Board! Yay!

Like any good teacher worth her salt who's been to professional development or teacher training, I'm going to share with you my

3 Take Aways
  1. Phonto & A Beautiful Mess are terrific apps! I used those apps on those two pictures up fun creating collages and adding text! (I may or may not be having WAY too much fun with those!).
  2. Instagram is pretty easy to use, & it's tons of fun, too!
  3. Last but not least.....Bloggy friends are the best! They're inspirational, positive, supportive, helpful, and FuNnY!! It's amazing how quickly you can become friends. Love my bloggy friends!
Here's the super cool part for YOU!
If you weren't able to join us, you still have the chance to recieve many of the wonderful items the very generous sponsors shared with us! Yup! That's right...just follow the blog hop all the way to the end where we have a Rafflecopter waiting for you. Here is what's in the prize package...

Remember -- you've got to follow the hop all the way through to get to the rafflecopter! Good luck! Crossing my fingers for ya! Now hop on along to Amy over at Math, Science, Social Studies, Oh My!

Math, Science, Social Studies...Oh, my!

Sight Word Practice Isn't So Puzzling!

This is one of my kiddos' favorite sight word stations!  I love that it builds not only sight word recognition...but fluency as well!
At the workstation, kiddos turn all of the puzzle pieces over. Then, taking turns, they read the word on the back of one of the pieces. If the word is read correctly, they get to turn the puzzle piece over. Here's where the fluency comes into play-- they cannot begin to assemble the puzzle until ALL the words have been read and ALL the puzzle pieces have been turned over. That gives them motivation to read all of the words quickly. Sometimes, there's enough time during the rotation to do the whole thing again...this time they have to read and turn the pieces over even more quickly!

I also love that it's an easy prep center. All you have to do is write the sight words on the back of the pieces, and you're all set! For storage, I cut the picture off the box (because you've got to be able to see the picture to put the puzzle together, right?), and just keep that and the pieces in a Ziploc bag. Easy peasy!

The most difficult part of prepping this center is getting the puzzles. Here are some places to look for children's puzzles:
  • your own closets at home
  • the dollar store
  • Goodwill
  • friends may have puzzles they'd love to donate
  • send a note home asking if parents have any puzzles they'd like to donate to the class
I sent a note home a couple years ago, and one family sent in all of these puzzles! JaCkPoT!!