Sunday, November 6, 2011

Make Grammar Fun with Grammar Ninja

Are students bored by grammar worksheets and parts of speech review?  Try Grammar Ninja, which is a fun computer game for students to review skills.  Students play the game by identifying parts of speech:  nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, articles, etc.  They make their selections by throwing a "ninja star," accompanied by Asian-styled background music and sound effects.


There are three difficulty levels for the sentences, so students can challenge themselves based on their ability.  They also get a few chances to select the correct answers.


If you're comfortable with a bit of coding, there is even a way to enter your own sentences in the game!  I really like Grammar Ninja and I think it's perfect for a computer station.










photo: microsoft

Create an Origami DNA Helix

This is a craft project that utilizes students' paper-folding affinity to help them learn about DNA.  DNA Center features a downloadable origami activity, complete with full instructions, that students can color and fold to create a DNA helix model.  This is ideal for a middle-grade biology lesson or craft project.  the final creation should spring and provide a nice visual for the complex, interesting nature of DNA.  Be sure to check out the sites' list of resources on DNA information.





Thursday, November 3, 2011

State Regions Bean Map

First, it was candy.  Then, cereal.  Now, it's beans!  I keep finding great activities involving snacks and food items.


This one comes courtesy of Yearn 4 Learning, where 3rd graders had to represent their home state, California, using a colorful 3D map made of rice, pinto beans, split peas, and popcorn kernels.  Look how nice the final product looks!  I'm sure students enjoyed this hands-on, textured art project.  Could your students use the same technique to showcase your state or region's geographical features?














photo:  microsoft

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"I Have, Who Has"

"I Have, Who Has" is one of the best classroom activities I've led.  It's great for assessment and can be used  for a variety of subjects.


"I Have, Who Has" is played using cards or slips of paper you or your students create, or ones made professionally.  Here's how it works:


Students sit at their desk, each with one card that contains a statement followed by a question.  The first students starts by standing and reading their card.  They sit while the student whose card contains the answer stands and reads their own card to the class.


For instance, in a geography lesson, the first student may start with, "I have Denver, Colorado.  Who has the capital of Florida?"  As they sit, the other students have to read their own card and figure out the answer.  The student with the answer will stand up and read their card:  "I have Tallahassee.  Who has the capital of Michigan?"  The activity continues in this fashion with students rising one at a time to respond to the question asked by the preceding student.  Once everyone has gone, if more review is needed, simply shuffle the cards, pass them out and start again.


It's incredibly flexible.  It can be used for math ("I have 72.  Who has 11 x 11?"), science ("I have water.  Who has CO2?"), history ("I have Shirley Chisholm.  Who has the first female astronaut?"), vocabulary ("I have 'kerfuffle.'  Who has a synonym for 'favorable'?") or any number of subjects or ability levels.  You can even have students use books, atlases, dry erase boards and markers, or paper and pencils to figure out the answers.


"I Have, Who Has" is break in monotony students will enjoy because they get to work collaboratively on an oral activity, practice their recall of facts, and get some movement by standing and sitting.  As stated, you can make your own cards (I suggest using notecards or laminated paper so that they will last) to personalize your own review sessions, or you can invest in ready-made cards and reproducible books for your class.







***Update:***


Mathwire has some free, printable sets for math activities.  You can use I Have, Who Has? for one-digit multiplication (here is a second set), fractions, addition and subtraction facts, coins, and even geometry vocabulary and algebraic expressions.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Free! Beginner's Multiplication Center:

Thanks to 3rd Grade Gridiron for uploading this simple, effective, FREE math activity that gives students practice with multiplication.  Download the activity that allows beginners to see the connection between addition and multiplication.  Consider using cubes or counters to help them understand the number sentences.  Also, check back on 3rd Grade Gridiron and her TeachersPayTeachers site for more great activities!







photo:  microsoft

Cheerios for Science

Ever notice how snacks form the basis for great classroom activities?  We've already discussed how candy can be used in science experiments, and even cereal can be used for science lessons.  Just check out how A Series of Third Grade Events used Cheerios to represent molecules.


The third-grade class created mobiles to show how molecules behave in different forms of matter.  Check out all the pictures of the awesome examples they made.  Solids show the Cheerios packed tightly together, while liquids and gases show the Cheerios spaced apart.  Perfect illustration of the molecular makeup of matter.


Now only are Cheerios involved in the project, but the teacher also assigned that students describe characteristics of each form of matter.  Nice touch to showcase understanding of many concepts in one hands-on activity.  And, at the conclusion, you get a neat classroom decoration to hang from the ceiling.  Check it out!












photo: microsoft

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Two Great Read-Alouds for Halloween

Recently, I've had the pleasure to read aloud two wonderful books for various classrooms.  They are perfect for the season, one being great for younger readers and the other being appropriate for older grade levels.




Where's My Mummy is a popular book by Carolyn Crimi, and students who heard this book loved it.  A young mummy in search of his mother stumbles upon some creepy creatures and spooky scenes in this book.  He encounters a vampire and other dark characters in this fun tale.  Students had fun predicting what type of scary creature would be presented after hearing the clues.  The alliteration is fun to read, and Crimi does a great job with imagery and coming up with ways to describe sounds:  a mummy "tromped, tromped, tromped."  A skeleton's jumbled bones create a "clank clink clank/woo boo woo/ clank clink CLOO."  A slimey swamp monster sounds like "glug glug glip, glug glug glop, glug glug GLOO."  As you can see, the exciting language is fun to read and fun for students to hear.  It's quite enjoyable.




Lucy Dove by Janice Del Negro is a great book I read to a fifth-grade class.  I was impressed by the vivid, descriptive language of this adapted folktale.  The suspense heightens with each page of this story about a courageous seamstress challenged to spend time in a graveyard.  As if the task weren't daunting enough, this particular graveyard is occupied by a hideous creature who antagonizes the seamstress.  There is even a big chase scene at the end!  The entire class enjoyed this story, and it gave us a chance to talk about folktakes.  This one is very interesting because the hero is not only female, but one who is aged and gray-haired.  How's that for breaking with conformity!

Moon-Gazing Activity for Elementary Students

What better way to study a major element in spooky stories than to assign a moon-gazing activity?  The First Grade Parade created this activity that is apropos of Halloween or any space unit.  It highlights the phases of the moon while giving students the opportunity to work on their observational skills.


Students take home a cute little notebook in which they draw the moon they see at night, bring the notebook back to class and send it home with the next student to observe and draw.  Soon the moon notebook will be full of students' rendering of transitional moon phases.


The moon notebook is stored in a "moon bag" which also includes a moon book selected from the library, chalk to draw the moon pictures on the black notebook paper, hairspray to seal the chalk on the drawings, white crayons, and a moon log.


First Grade Parade provided all of the instructions and the downloadable moon log so you can try this activity with your students as well.








Sunday, October 16, 2011

CandyExperiments.com

Halloween is the perfect time of year to make candy the focal point of fun science experiments.


The creative people at CandyExperiments.com have been working to bringing the science out of some of our favorite candies.  Why not try some of their experiments in your classroom as we approach one of the year's biggest candy holidays?


The site lists some great activities such as testing candy for acid by mixing it with water and baking soda (ask students to predict which candies are more acidic, and then test their theories by seeing which candies produce the most bubbles), testing for oil by mixing the candy in hot water (ask students why the oil that forms when the water cools is able to float at the top), and separating colors from candy by dissolving the candies in water.


M&Ms, Skittles, Warheads, Lemonheads, chocolate candies, PopRocks and all sorts of candy can be the basis of cool, thought-provoking experiments for kids.  


Students can learn about density and how to make a rainbow of colors by layering the dyes by pouring melted Skittles in a cup.  They can also witness the edible ink on candies like M&Ms float in water.


Remember to check out their Youtube channel for some video examples of their experiments.


Free Halloween Multiplication Game

Sunny Days has created a great game for math centers with her Multiplication Boo Bump.  She adapted a popular math game called "Bump" specifically for Halloween.  


All students need are colored pieces in a color of their choice (which could be paper, counters, Unifix cubes, or whatever you have) and a pair of dice.  Students roll the dice, multiply their numbers and cover the answer with their colored piece on the game board.  If someone already has their colored piece their, they can "bump" it away.  If a person lands on the same answer twice, they can put two pieces on that answer, which cannot be "bumped."  The first person to use up all of their colored pieces is the winner.


A cute, simple game all available for download.  Sunny's Days' download includes the game board and instructions.  All you have to do is register at TeachersPayTeachers.com and download this free activity.


Be sure to visit the Sunny Days blog for other great ideas and activities.










image:  microsoft

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dragonfly TV: Science Videos

Dragonfly TV can show you how videos can enhance your science units, and help students discover how science is an integral part of their areas of interest.  The site is full of short, informative videos hosted by kids investigating scientific principles.


Your students can spend a few minutes watching the kid hosts perform scientific discoveries in a wide range of exciting topics such as sports, kites, water slides, rollercoasters, weather, animals, motorcross racing, tug-of-war, etc.  The kid hosts ask questions about these topics, and work to find the answers.  Where can you find the best ocean waves for surfing?  Which is a better navigation tool:  GPS or a map and compass?  How can you make your own lip gloss and lotion?  These are the sorts of questions tackled in each video.


If you have a weather unit, or one on force and motion, ecology, biology, and others, consider adding a few of these videos to a computer center, or display them for a whole-class viewing.  Each video helpfully provides a springboard of other areas of study related to the topic, areas worth further investigation by your students.


There are also tons of experiments performed on Dragonfly TV, all of which could be integrated into your lessons or used as inspiration for a science project.


There are even interviews with actual scientists, people who do everything from design space suits, research chimpanzees, design Nascar vehicles, and tons of other things.  


Several games are on the site, like one that allows children to breed dogs for specific genetic traits.


Don't forget to check out the printable 'zines, which are filled with activities and fun experiments.


Dragonfly TV is part of PBSKids, which is always a good thing in my book.  Visit the site and tell me what you think!


GoGoNews: Current Events Website for Kids

Want a way to squeeze a bit of social studies into your daily plans?  GoGoNews is a website designed with this very goal in mind.  Dubbing itself as the website with "big news for little people," GoGoNews presents bite-size articles on current events and historical information.  It's the ideal website for keeping up with what's going on in the world, or reading "this day in history" entries, all in a kid-friendly, one-paragraph length format.


The site includes articles that can be played audibly, and there is also a comment feature.  Have students visit the site for a daily for weekly social studies center, and have them leave comments and feedback on the articles.  You can also use the site as a quick current events discussion to cool down after recess or PE.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fun Online Word Game

How long will it take you to find words made of only 4 letters? 4 letters sounds simple enough, but this word game still provides a good way to challenge your linguistic skills. The words are formed by sliding the "strips" up and down and making the letters selected form actual words. You can choose either a normal or relaxed pace while playing.
If students are looking for a fun game online, or need a word work center, try this game and see how well they know some of our language's shortest words.













image: microsoft

Social Studies Activity: Examining Currency/License Plates

Mr. Meyer has a great idea for an interesting social studies activity:  "reverse engineering" bank notes and license plates.


Basically, he recommends collecting pictures of currency and license plates, using Photoshop to edit out explicit references to their origin, and challenging students to examine the clues on the pictures to figure out which countries/states use those items.  This is a good activity for analysis:  think of all the historical figures, symbols and other visual elements used on money and license plates.  Why were those features chosen to represent the nation or state of origin?  That's a good question for your students!


Mr. Meyer also posted sources on where to find pictures of bank notes and license plates.  Check out his blog for more details!









image:  microsoft

Get Students Published in Stone Soup!

Do you have writers in your classroom?  Budding authors and poets?  What about talented artists?

 
There are many avenues for getting student work published in professional magazines, one of which is Stone Soup, a "literary print magazine written and illustrated by young writers and artists."  They are a nice publication that offers a platform from young talent like those in your own classroom.
 You can encourage your young creators to submit work to Stone Soup by following their guidelines.

Students must be 13 or younger, and submit their work by mail.  Also, visit their archives for previous examples of printed material.  Consider investing in a subscription to Stone Soup.  Their stories would be good reading material for classrooms, especially for silent reading time.  Students are even paid if they're chosen for publication!

What better way to encourage students to hone their crafts and take writing and illustrating seriously?  By introducing them to Stone Soup, you may very well be grooming a future literary and artistic career.

Free Math Game: Challenging Multiplication Grid

How well do you know your multiplication facts?
Are you comfortable with digits beyond 12?

Here's a chance to test yourself (and your students) with this fun, challenging game.  It's a Speed Grid Challenge, and I'll admit that it defeated me quite a few times.


This is a good mental math activity (with introductory algebra skills) that challenges thinkers to solve by choosing numbers from a grid.  Sounds kind of easy, doesn't it?  Not if you're unable to quickly calculate a number times 13, 15, or higher!  

You can select how many problems to solve in however many minutes you choose.  The default, 8 questions in 2 minutes, is a good place to start.  If you are able to do that comfortably, up the stakes to more problems and/or less time to solve.  Conversely, if the default is too challenging (ahem), feel free to decrease the number of problems, or increase the time limit.  Once students find a comfortable pace, encourage them to strive for a more challenging pace.

If you're looking for math activities for kids, especially ones who've mastered their multiplication facts, this free game is a good mental exercise.  It would be a good math center or computer station activity.
Try it yourself, and with your math class.  It's one of my favorites!

Create a Culture: Social Studies Project

Create a Culture: A Complete Framework for Students to Use in Creating an Original Culture (Multicultural Question Collection)




This is a project book that invigorates social studies and geography lessons with lots of imagination!  Teachers can use this book to assign the creation of an entire culture.  Students have to work together to think about their population, geography, currency, system of government, and literally build an entire culture from scratch.  They are able to use the reproducibles in this book to think broadly (like where their culture is located) and very specifically (like what kind of sports their culture enjoys).  There are many pages in this book that teachers can choose to use for a long-term project.  Creative thinking really brings this activity to life.
I think it's a great way to open students' eyes concerning the real facts and information they learn about countries and cultures around the world.  When they get a chance to create, they are using those coveted higher-level thinking skills.  This books takes them step by step through the process.
Another reason I recommend this book is because I did a similar project back when I was in junior high.  I still remember it!  I remember my imaginary country, the maps I drew, the flag I created, and the industries I made up.  Clearly, after all these years, that specific project left a positive impression on me.  I never did anything quite like it, and I do recall my enjoyment.  I think today's students would enjoy it as well.

Brainquest Cards: A Good Investment

Fortunately for me, I sub for many teachers who invest in Brainquest cards. They come in a small package and a few are designed for each grade level. Each card contains a ton of questions related to math, geography, history, grammar, science, etc. The cards also have answers on the back, so they are good resource to have.


They are convenient, contain good information, and they are easy to use. They are really helpful for resourceful substitutes because you can use them in all sorts of ways. Over the years, I have used them to give a quick mental challenge to students as the clock winds down for the end of the day, and I've also allowed students to sit in pairs and use them as a free time activity. Just recently, I took the box of Brainquest cards with me in the hallway and asked students questions to keep them occupied while we waited during a restroom break and for another class to clear out of the art room. It's easy to make the questions a game.  The kids always respond really well to Brainquest because they questions are usually accessible, things kids know or are interested to learn. 

If you haven't seen them, try them out for your grade level (they have products for preschool through seventh grade). They have a website for students to answer questions online.  I believe they also make workbooks and boardgames.  Nevertheless, I like the quick simplicity and engagement you get from the cards.  They've been lifesavers several times.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

13 Hispanic Heritage Month Activities

Stumped about how to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month in your classroom?  Try the 13 activities listed here as a way to get you started.  Included are online games, craft activities, research projects and a slew of great resources.


New African-American Character Joins American Girl

Remember when I made a list of some book series which includes protagonists of color?  And I praised American Girl's diversity on its roster of titles?  Well, they've done it again by introducing two new girls to their titles, one of which is an African-American character named Cecile Rey.

This is the first time one title will be shared by two characters.  Cecile will be joined by Marie-Grace Gardner in a compelling tale set in 19th-century New Orleans.

I have always praised American Girl's historical fiction and their commitment to racial diversity in their products.  Check out the new series and see how these two girls' fates intertwine in one of America's greatest cities.


 Meet Cécile (American Girl) (American Girls Collection)Troubles for Cécile (American Girl) (American Girls Collection)Cécile's Gift (American Girl) (American Girls Collection)

 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sparkle: The Spelling Game

This is a whole-class spelling game that I played with a class last week.  It is very fun and got them excited to practice their spelling words.  I would recommend it to any teacher looking for a way to enliven their spelling lesson or give students something fun and productive to do with the entire class.

The game is called Sparkle.  The particular teacher I was subbing for had a cute little wand made especially for games like this, which I used to point at students on their turn to keep the rhythm going quickly.

For this game, it's probably better to play when a spelling test is approaching because it's good for students to have some familiarity with the words, as opposed to playing the day you give them the new list.  Having time to study and learn the words will help them play better.

First, everyone can stand or sit in a circle.  The class I was subbing just formed a big circle around the classroom.  Pick a word from the list and a person to start the game.  Say the word, and the first student says the first letter of the word.  The next student says the next letter of the word on and on around the circle until the final letter is spoken.  After that, the next student says, "sparkle," a signal of the completion of the spelling word.  The student next to the one who says "sparkle" then sits down.  They are out.  Give the class the next word.  The same thing happens with each student providing one letter from the word, one student saying "sparkle" once the word is completed, and the next student sitting down. 

Students are also out and sit down if they do not give the correct letter for the word, or if they hesitate too long because they don't know.  You can decide how to proceed when students make mistakes.  The next student will have to give the correct letter to the word, and this sometimes results in several people having to sit down because they've forgotten the word or weren't paying attention to the letters already guessed.  After several people have guessed the wrong letters, you may choose a different word and come back to it.  At the end of the game, make note of the words that gave the class particular trouble so that they can practice with them more before the spelling test.  You can continue playing the game until one winner is left from all the players.




The game eliminates players as much from chance (their position in the circle after someone says "sparkle" means they have to sit down, even if they know how to spell all their words) as it does from mistakes.  Let students who sit down know you will play the game often and that it's not a big deal for them to lose one round.


Some students told me they have also played a version of the game where they sit on top of their desks and go around the room spelling the letters, and sit down in their seats when they are out.  This would also be a nice game to play outside on good weather days.  Do whatever works for you.  The kids really liked the game and it gave them much-needed time to work with their spelling words.  I enjoyed leading the game.  Try it!














image: microsoft

Monday, August 29, 2011

***LIFESAVER #3: Design The Perfect Bedroom***

It's been awhile since I introduced a new lifesaver.  The start of a new school year is as good a time as any to share one with you.  This one is adapted from Celebrating Every Learner: Activities and Strategies for Creating a Multiple Intelligences Classroom.  


If you recall, my lifesavers are for those times when substitutes do not have lesson plans, or need time to fill when lesson plans run short.  They are intended to be pretty flexible for most classrooms.  They can also work for regular teachers looking for activities, or possibly something extra to include in case their own subs need something else for students to do.


You may not have access to many materials when you are short on lesson plans, so lifesavers should keep it pretty simple.  This one does. 


What you'll need:  a short description to either read or recite to the class, construction paper and art supplies like color pencils and crayons, and paper and pencil.


This assignment can be a drawing, or writing assignment, or both!  If you have construction paper that you can use, or even blank printer paper, let the students do this as practice with visualization.  If you need a longer activity or have no construction paper, you can make this a writing assignment with pencil and paper.  If you need a lot of extra time filled, you can choose both options.


What you'll do:

  • Before students begin, tell them to close their eyes and listen to your words.  They will practice visualizing, or creating a picture in their minds.  They will use your words to inspire a drawing of something very special (or a description of something very special).
  • Tell students that they took a vacation for a few weeks.  When they returned, they discovered their bedroom had been transformed.  Everything looks totally different!  Everything that they've ever imagined would be in a perfect bedroom now greets them as they open their door.  Someone who knows them very well has painted a picture of something on the ceiling.  What is it?  Why did they paint it?  What does their new bed look like?  What is now on the walls and floor of their perfect bedroom?  What cool new things can they see have been added?  What colors do they see?  What can they smell?  What music can be heard playing?
  • Tell them to open their eyes and draw a picture of the perfect bedroom that they saw in their minds.  What would this room be like as they entered?  As they begin to draw or write, you can write a few words on the board that will help them remember what to include (ceiling, walls, floor, bed, new things, colors, smell, music).
  • If they are making a drawing, tell them to draw and label the new features on their room.  If they are writing, tell them to write a story or description about finding this new room.  Have them practice using imagery by describing what the room did to all five of their senses.
  • Have students share their designs and descriptions with the class.  Ask the class what the things included in the room reveal about the person who visualized it.
As you can see, this simple assignment doesn't require much in terms of printouts and extra materials.  You can do this activity with several grade levels.  With young students, I like to tell them to fold the construction paper in half, then draw a picture on one side and write on the other.  

The students' imaginations carry the assignment, and they may even find it interesting to come up with ideas.  The activity also is not simply "busywork," as it gives students a chance to practice a skill needed for reading comprehension (visualization) and a chance to work creatively.  Give it a try if you ever find yourself in a bind.

Be sure to check out two other lifesavers:  Class Build-a-Story and Reading Analysis.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Free, Downloadable Science Activities

Topscience.org has a ton of downloadable science activities you can use for all sorts of subjects and skills.  The activities are hands-on and would make great science centers, projects or whole-class activities to augment your lesson plans.


The best part is that they are free!  They have several free activities available as samples of their purchasable material, which you should also check out.  Each activity provides printable material, instructions, discussion questions, extensions and more.


The activities explore several science topics, and are appropriate for varying age groups.  Included are activities about:



  • Estimating the size of objects in the universe.  This is very appropriate for any space unit.  Cut out the slips of paper and have students arrange themselves based on what they think are the sizes of objects, ranging from subatomic material to objects in the vast expanse of space.
  • Investigating magnetism.  How can you make a paper clip float in the air?
  • Building a model landscape.  Students will then bury a penny in their landscape, create a treasure map, and then challenge other students to find the buried treasure.
  • Creating petrified paper.  Students will use salt to turn paper into a petrified log.  They then compare this process to that of wood petrifying.

Explore all of their free activities and see if any will fit your classroom's needs.


















image:  microsoft

Cute, Tasty Treats for Back-To-School


Parents and teachers:  

These are cute little treats I found on celebrations.com.  The simple recipe calls for chocolate, cookie dough, powdered sugar and sprinkles.  The ingredients form to make a small, tasty chalkboard on which you can write sweet messages.

I think these are a clever, delicious way to send your kids to school with something sweet for lunch, or as a treat for their teachers.

These are also perfect for a staff meeting or party at school.



Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy 2011-2012 School Year!

Here are a few helpful links from the site to start off the new school year:




Have a great year!  Visit again for more FTW tips.  Substitutes, FTW! has been live for over a year now and I thank all of you for dropping by.  




Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Periodic Table Game

This game is simple:  as element names cascade down your screen, choose that element's correct symbol on the periodic table before the element disappears from your screen.  When you succeed, the element symbol is green.  You can use this activity to test students' knowledge of element symbols, or you can encourage them to use this at home for a study tool before a test or quiz over the elements.  The game also allows you to select your difficulty level.  Test your knowledge here.


















image: microsoft

DaVinci's Mirror Writing Activity

The elementary class at Glenviewgo used DaVinci as inspiration for a writing activity.  Students learned how he often wrote using a mirror, and they copied his technique by using mirrors to write backwards poems.  They also stained their pages so that they looked like old pages from DaVinci's journals.  Cool activity!  Check it out.  











image:  microsoft

A Week's Worth of Poetry Activities

Check out this wonderful resource from Kevin Cummins.  This is a "digital literacy activity" that shows examples of several types of poetry and even provides a rubric for grading your class' poetry activities.  You can simply follow along and introduce many facets of the genre to your students.







source:  Fiona Beal

"StumbleUpon" Reading Resources

Check out these three StumpleUpon resources that may be useful for reading/literacy activities:



  • Free Audio Books featuring classics like Huckleberry Finn, Treasure Island and Alice in Wonderland.  Just click the files and you can play these stories while students listen or read along in their own books.
  • Tons of Books are available on this site, including short stories and poems.
  • Short Stories can be found on this site, both contemporary and classic.

I found these resources on StumbleUpon, which you can use to find sites of interest.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Game: Proofreading Online

Students can put their proofreading skills to the test with Spelling Connections' Online game, which provides short paragraphs for students to edit.  Players can choose their grade level, read the passages and edit mistakes using proofreading marks.  Spelling errors have to be corrected.  Students are told how many mistakes are in each paragraph, and they have a limited number of tries for each round.  There are about 30 passages per grade level, so students can get plenty of practice.


This would be ideal for a computer station; it is a good way to have students practice editing and using proofreading marks.   Try it!















image: microsoft

Tons of Classroom Decoration Ideas

Go over to the The Virtual Vine's collection of bulletin boards and door decoration ideas.  They have a ton of posted pictures that may be just the inspiration you need for your classroom decorations.  Several pictures would be very fitting for back-to-school themes.  


My favorite is the fall bulletin board with the owls sitting on the tree.  Great for autumn, which is just around the corner.   Check it out!













image: microsoft