Thursday, November 19, 2015

Rectangle Riddles

During a unit on animals, we asked our students to write riddles. We thought this would be a unique and fun way to test their comprehension and application of the subject matter.

We wanted the students to be able to ask their riddles, but needed a way to hide the answers from students next to the reader, so we created Rectangle Riddles.

Take a piece of 8 1/2 by 11 paper and fold it in half. Voila! There’s your rectangle.

Students write their riddles on the front of the rectangle. The riddle should give three hints about the subject matter or content. Sometimes we give students criteria for their hints, other times we let them come up with whatever clues they like. For the picture above the criteria for the hints was to include the animal’s body covering, how the animal moves and a body part that is important for the animal. Students always end with a question such as, “Who/What/Where am I?”

The answer goes on the inside of the folded rectangle. Ask the riddle, and then lift the flap for the answer. It’s that easy. We required one riddle per student but the class loved the activity so much that most went on to write three or four.

Rectangle Riddles are appropriate for all core subjects and are a great interactive hallway display. Try them out and see how creative your students can get!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

iPad Memories: A Digital Storage Solution

My current and former students and their parents are always giving me sweet letters and cards. I usually save them for a while but then need to throw them out when the collection becomes too large. Then I feel terrible that I’ve thrown out their special gifts. So I started taking pictures of them with my iPad. Now I can tap on my photo album marked “Student Letters” and read them anytime I want.

This also works great for classroom projects that I would like to keep a sample of to remember but just don’t have the storage. My iPad is currently storing pictures of our last bulletin board, our pet rocks and all of our monthly hallway displays. The students love to reminisce when I swipe through our pictures for the whole class to see.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ideas Sweet Shoppe

Looking for a way to sweeten your writing center? Group empty cookie jars, candy jars, jelly jars or frosting canisters on a table or shelf to look like an old-fashioned candy store. Decorate with paint, permanent markers or ribbons to add a pop of color or designs. Attach labels to the front of each container to show writing topics for various subject areas. Some examples might be Math Munchies, Science Sweets or Language Arts Lollies.

Each container can hold story starters, thought provoking questions, task cards, or creative project ideas from the various topics. The prompts can be made on colorful cards or even wrapped and rolled to look like pieces of candy (for you super creative people)! Responses can be put in journals or on writing paper.

Take time to share the writing after it’s finished and make sure to keep your candy store fully stocked. It might even be fun to pass out a candy treat once in a while.

The Idea Sweet Shoppe is a great place for your early finishers to visit! You can snag your own copy of the sign here.