Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween Match Mine

As I've stated before, my district requires us to use Kagan structures.  You can visit the website at the previous link for more information, but the idea centers around positive team activities where no one loses and everyone is engaged.  The idea is good and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the overall theory.  In the meantime, we are observed every month or so doing a Kagan structure in the classroom.  Last month, I did Find Someone Who.  Here are the rules and the worksheets I modified:

The kids were really cute to watch doing these structures, but I didn't double check the answers and some were past our learning curve.  For example, I didn't expect 3rd Grade to know what Syncopation or Triplets were.  I liked how the kids asked others for the answers.  It was at the beginning of the year, so 3rd grade needed a refresher on how to use word banks.  Turns out, the whole worksheet was a bit too much for everyone at the beginning of the year.  I may bring this worksheet back in the Spring and see how they do then.  

This month, I went a lot simpler with Match Mine.  
Description: The teacher assigns students to pairs. Each partner receives an identical game board and game pieces. The game board and game pieces can be based on any vocabulary topic such as food, clothing, sports, careers, verbs, and so on. For example, to practice human body vocabulary, the game board is an illustration of a person. The game pieces are numbered arrows. The pair sets up a file folder barrier between them so they can’t see each other’s game boards. One partner (the “Sender”) arranges the numbered arrows pointing to different body parts. Then, the “Sender” describes her arrangement of arrows on the illustrated body and the “Receiver” attempts to match the “Sender”’s arrangement exactly: Arrow #1 is pointing to her left ear. When the pair thinks that they have correctly made a match, the “Sender” and “Receiver” compare their arrangements to see how well they did. If the game pieces are arranged identically, the pair celebrates their success. If the game pieces don’t match, they congratulate their efforts, then discuss how they could have communicated better to make the match.
Match Mine is terrific for developing communication skills. Students must use the target vocabulary correctly to achieve a successful match.
Below is a picture from Hillary's Highlights.  She had the kids on the floor with the traditional paperclipped folder barrier and the game right out of the Match Mine Music book.  Smart lady.
 I think sometimes I just love overloading myself with extra work.  When I decided to do my Match Mine activity, I started from scratch.  I began with a well Pinned image on Pinterest from the blog, Or For Tuna .  I used to create a white space in the frame and I modified some clip art to make my grave stone beats.  Then I found clip art for my rhythms and voila!  A Match Mine Halloween Rhythm Rumble!

I printed the game board on regular paper and laminated it, and printed the rhythm cards on cardstock.  I was going to cut the game pieces out for the kids, but got as far as cutting them in strips and letting the kids finish them.  I have to say, this one turned out pretty cute.  The ghost is supposed to lay across two grave stones.  I forgot to mention that to 5th grade and there was a bit of confusion, but all in all, I would call this game a success.  

Memes, Seating Charts, and Other General Frustrations

When done right, a good meme can really get me through those rough days.  I mentioned this on my Facebook status a few weeks ago, but sometimes, creating a seating chart feels a lot like playing Mine Sweeper:  I really don't know what I'm doing, and the wrong move can set of a time bomb.  

Do you ever feel like there are certain aspects of your job that you spend WAY too much time on?  For instance, I see the PE teacher's seating chart, and I appreciate how free and easy it is to print off an empty chart and just write the names in pencil.  If you need to move a kid, just erase and write.  Easy peasy, right?  Why can't I accept that?  Why do I have to make a publisher document with individual boxes, a PICTURE of each kid, and their full names as they appear on Power School?  Hey, I would like to give myself some credit in that I don't include pronunciations or nick names in quotation marks anymore.  This seating chart usually takes me WEEKS to create, and until it is created, I have the kids sit in the order they come in, which is always uber confusing for Kindergarten.  Once I do have it completed, it looks something like this (Names have been removed for obvious reasons. . . )
Don't get me wrong, I love everything about this seating chart from the first and last name of the teachers (our email is set up to recognize teachers and staff by their FIRST name, not their last), to the class times, chair numbers and group names.   We use Kagan structures in our district, so grouping the kids in fours helps a lot. I used a die cutter to cut out  the shapes for each group, write their appropriate numbers with a sharpie, laminate them, and I tape them down with book tape to the back of the chairs so they look like this:
Of course, I'm forever getting on to kids for picking the tape off their chairs.  Some of them are already starting to show wear.  But!  This system works for me in my classroom.  One day, I would like to sew enough pockets for each chair with the shapes and numbers on each one.  Wouldn't that be nice?  

If for some reason you would like to have a template for my seating chart and feel comfortable enough with Publisher, I will be glad to send it to you.  Just leave me your email addy in the comments box or email me directly at  

I'll end with a meme that got me through this morning.  I wasn't going to tell the story, but I'll tell the story. A cell phone flew out of the hoodie pocket of one of my 4th Graders today.  When I took it from her, she swore up and down that she thought she left it in her book bag.  Okay, no bigs.  I'm still giving it to your teacher.  After class, as the kids are lining up and I'm handing the cell phone over, I realized that this same 4th grader is forever shoving her hands in her hoodie pocket and was actually at that moment up to her elbows in that pocket, meaning she LIED straight to my face!  Grrrr!  
Of course, now I can't remember why that made me so mad, but at the time, this meme really spoke to me :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Music Matching Game - Promethean

I posted two of my Promethean flipcharts on Promethean Planet!!!  Here I am :)  I made two of these matching games and I'm super proud of both of them.  The Mario one looks cooler, though.

These are memory games similar to the game "Memory", only your two choices have to equal 10 beats.  I have them set up so all you have to do is tap the boxes (or mushrooms) to reveal the notes.  Yay!  I feel so special :)  9 People have downloaded the Mario one already!  Sweet!!

Totally having a party in my head while I type this.
I'm going to pin these! HA!