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.


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

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

The creative people at 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 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.