Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It: Ribbon Topiary

I'm participating in Monday Made It for the first time ever! HOLLA!


I've been going a little crafty crazy down here in Texas and I've got a project that I'm ready to share. I got the idea after looking at all the cute classroom pics on Schoolgirl Style. See the ribbon topiary in that picture? I was in love! I did a Google search and found these super easy instructions on the Michaels website. 

I used a 6 inch styrofoam ball for mine. I had three types of ribbon but you could always do more and incorporate several patterns. I cut my ribbon to 4 1/4 inches. You fold each ribbon into a loop and pin it into the styrofoam ball. I started at the top and tried to create a pattern with the ribbon. Once I was finished I had to pin a few more ribbons here and there to make it look just right. I also had to add some weight to my bucket to keep it from tipping. (I grabbed a few rocks from my front yard when I couldn't find anything else.)


The project only took me a about an hour! Easy breezy lemon squeezy! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapters 18 &19: Finding a Crew & Finding a Treasure


This is the end of the book folks. I'm sad that it is over but I have so many great ideas running through my head and I feel so motivated for the new school year!

Chapter 18: Finding a Crew
"All pirates travel with a crew; you can't sail, navigate, and fight battles all on your own."
Ain't that the truth? Thank goodness for blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I got into blogging because it was like having one giant team where everyone wanted to share all of their best ideas. I instantly became a better teacher and started challenging myself. Pinterest has some of the best pictures and I love that I can store those ideas in one place and go hunting for them. I am also on Twitter and FB all the time and have found other great educators, blogs and ideas on those social media sites. One of my teammates is also a blog follower. We are constantly texting about ideas we've read about. So if you find that your team at school doesn't collaborate well look to these other places to find ideas!

Chapter 19: Finding a Treasure
Dave Burgess has included his email address in this book and he wants to hear about our experiences implementing the Teach Like a Pirate techniques! 

But wait....there's more!
Dave Burgess wants to give away FIVE prizes! If you've been linking up your posts below then you're already in the running! Gina and I will use a random number generator to choose five winners. Winners can choose either a Teach Like a Pirate t-shirt or a signed copy of Teach Like a Pirate. How awesome, right?! 

Andrea from For the Love of Teaching Math and Callie from Teach-a-roo both hosted this chapter! 

For the Love of Teaching Math

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapter 17: Where Do I Start?


After all this wonderful information and great ideas and hooks from Dave Burgess where do we start? This chapter really addressed some of those fears we may have with starting something new. Several fears are discussed but the one that hit home with me was what we do with the critic. There's always one, right? There is always one person who has the mind set of "this is what we have always done" or someone who sees just a snippet of a lesson and wonders how in the world your lesson is rigorous enough to meet standards. We can choose to let those people ruin our enthusiasm or we can push it aside and keep striving for a classroom that is engaging and challenging at the same time.

Dave Burgess also talks about perfectionism. I may strive to be a perfectionist in many ways but I have learned to put myself out there with my lessons. I don't beat myself up if a lesson is an epic fail. I've even stopped lessons five minutes in and told my class, "Ok. This just isn't working. Ok kids....here was my plan. I want to try again tomorrow. Any suggestions?" Even first graders have great suggestions! (Plus I actually like them seeing that I tried and didn't succeed. I like them to see that I don't give up and ask for help.) 

My friend Teri from Kinder Kapers is hosting this chapter. You'll love the title of her post!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapter 16: The Awkward Question


This chapter is the first in Part 3: Building a Better Pirate and begins with a simple question.
Do you want to be great?

I do! But it seems some of us are afraid to verbalize that. I have been on teams before where if you did anything differently than the way it had always been done then you were told that you were trying to make the rest of the team look bad.

 Dave Burgess says,
 "Your greatness in the classroom doesn't negatively impact or inhibit anyone else's opportunity to be great." 

I love that quote. I'm a highly competitive person and the person I compete most with is myself! There is always a long list of things I want to change for the next school year. Every year I strive be better.

Laura from Peace, Love and First Grade is the host of this chapter. Be sure to read what she's posted!

Peace, Love, & First Grade

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapter 15: Around the Edges


We're nearing the end of this awesome book and just like previous chapters I'm wishing I could spend time in Dave Burgess's classroom. I can just envision how engaged his students are and I know that he is one teacher his students will never forget!

Chapter 15 has some hooks that I'm really excited to incorporate. He has several hooks in The Contest Hooks that I think all grade levels would enjoy. I love the idea of an in-class challenge too. I think when we do snowman math races with addition wheels that qualifies. It creates a great sense of team and unity too.

I'll admit that the Magic and Amazing Hooks are really stumping me. I'm going to have to see what other bloggers are thinking about and maybe I'll be able to come up with some good ideas!

The Mnemonic Hooks  section was my favorite! I made it through chemistry and a math test or two using mnemonic devices and they are so much fun to think of! Even in first grade students love to come up with a mnemonic device. Example: Never Eat Smelly Waffles was one my kids came up with for remembering cardinal directions. I also LOVE the idea of doing a presentation using a mnemonic device the way Dave Burgess has with PIRATE.

Extra Credit Hooks
What intriguing mission can I send students on to allow them to extend their learning in a unique way?
I love this hook! I really should put a challenge out there more often because you always have a couple of students that can't wait to go home and research something. Yes, even in first grade. First graders are a really curious bunch and they are eager to learn everything they can.

My Texas pal Lindsay, from My Life as a Third Grade Teacher, is hosting this chapter. Go check her out!! 

My Life as a 3rd Grade Teacher

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapter 14: Advanced Tactics


More hooks! Dave Burgess has even more great hooks in this chapter. I've highlighted several and below are a few of my favorites.

The Mission Impossible Hooks:

How can I design my lesson so that my students are trying to unravel and solve a mystery?
I love this idea! I started working on something for the end of the school year but never quite finished it. I would love for my students to have to solve a big mystery. You could incorporate so much into this lesson with reading and math and social studies. Years ago at a previous school there was a bulletin board in our third grade hallway that had 50 clues for the 50 states. Students had to use computers, encyclopedias, and books to find the answers. The first 5 students to have all of the answer correct won a pizza party. It was so much fun! 

Can they be provided with a treasure map or sent on a scavenger hunt through your content?
I love this idea too! I think having the kids race all over to find clues about a lesson would have them so entertained. I also thought that it would be a great way to incorporate parent volunteers. 

The Reality TV Hooks:

How can I design my lesson to take advantage of the popularity of reality tv?
So, my options are a little limited with first graders as far as how many kids are watching a show. I have done a voting and graphing activity with American Idol. I did it for about four years. It was a blast. At the time I was team teaching so all the students who watched American Idol came in and voted in the morning. We tallied and graphed the votes and made predictions for who might not make it to the next round. {American Idol was an easy one to use because there seems to be nothing else on that's new when American Idol premieres.} Even if students weren't watching the show they were able to get practice with key skills. It made things fun!

The Techno Whiz Hooks:

How can technology help to connect my students to people from all over the world and help them gain a global perspective?
I would love for my students to be able to explore other places. The Smithsonian website allows for a virtual tour. There are lots of virtual field trips on the web too. Maybe you could even create a scavenger hunt with a virtual field trip?! 

Melissa from Dilly Dabbles is hosting this chapter! Be sure to see her great suggestions for these hooks!


DillyDabbles

Monday, July 8, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapter 13: Stand and Deliver


Do you think of yourself as a public speaker? I don't usually, but WE ARE! We speak to little people all day! They are an audience that I'm very comfortable with. I've presented to adults before, but for some reason that's a little more difficult.

But there's no need to be afraid!


There are more really wonderful hooks in here to get you thinking! You won't have any time to be nervous!

A couple of my favorites are from the Swimming with Sharks Hooks:

Can I participate in the activity?
Is there a different place, or multiple places, that I can present from for the sake of novelty?

I absolutely LOVE participating with the class in an activity and I've just got to do it more. The students love for me to be on the floor or working in a group with them. And they REALLY love it if I take out my camera and let them take pictures of me participating.

Dave Burgess says talks a bit about how teachers are so used to standing front and center presenting a lesson to their students who are seated in their rows of desks.
I am so very guilty of this. But the more I read this book the more I keep looking back at lessons and see how they can be improved. 

Another hook that I loved was from Backwards Hooks:

Can I tell them the end of the story and let them figure out and discover the beginning and the middle?

How awesome would our students think that was?! And why the heck haven't I thought of that?! Dave Burgess is brilliant I tell ya! 

Lynda from Curls and a Smile hosted Chapter 13. Go check out her amazing posts!

Curls and a Smile

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapter 12: All the World is a Stage


So at this point in the book you've got to believe Dave Burgess's class is amazing! In this chapter he talks about all the ways to transform your room to make your lesson more effective and he has simple ways to do it. For example, for some lessons he uses large rolls of plastic sheeting to cover the walls. He then adds decorations on top of the sheeting. So simple. He has lots of hooks for you in this chapter to help you think about how you can transform your classroom too. Can you change the lighting, remove desks, add music? 

Dave Burgess also lists Board Message Hooks such as writing something down that will intrigue your class as they come it. I've done that with my first graders! It's fun to hear them discuss what they think my message means. When I taught 4th grade I read aloud The Mysterious Benedict Society. In this story the children all have to learn Morse Code. I would put up a message in Morse Code for my students. They loved it! 

There are so many hooks in this chapter that you'll wind up highlighting. I can't get enough of this book!

Sweet Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room is hosting this chapter and she has done an amazing job! Check her out!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapters 10 &11


Chapters 10 starts off with this wonderful quote from Pablo Picasso,

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

This chapter is full of hooks that help you incorporate art, music, and drama into your lessons. I love art and this coming up with ideas for how to use art in lessons in something that comes easy to me. I'm the girl who asked for colored pencils and water colors at Christmas! If you're out there saying you can't draw or sing I can tell you that your students don't care! They like seeing our efforts. If you haven't heard of Deep Space Sparkle then you've got to check out her site. This art teacher has lessons separated by grade level with literature connections. She has lessons on famous artists as well. I've used several lessons in my own classroom and my students have loved them.

Chapter 11 is about using student hobbies to hook them in! Remember how important it is to get to know your kids? Use their hobbies in some way in your lesson. I also like Dave Burgess's real-world application hooks. I always wanted to know why I needed to know something. My favorite hook from this chapter gives you a lot to think about, "Can we increase motivation and engagement by offering reasons to learn that go beyond because it's on the test?" The test. {sigh} The test sucks the joy out of learning I think. But if we teach beyond that then the test doesn't matter. Our students will learn more than we hoped to squeeze in!

I'm loving that these past few chapters really give you great questions to guide you as you think about lessons for your classroom.

Faith from 1st Grade Fantabulous is the host of these fantabulous chapters. Check out her post!



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