Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Made It {June 29}

I'm linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.

The first thing I was an "I Spy" bottle.  I made a few bottles, some with letters and some with numbers to find.  For the bottles we gave away, we used colored rice to fill them.  Pinterest gave me some other ideas.  We made these during our "games" unit at school to give to other classrooms, but I wanted a few for myself and gave some to our church's preschool as well.

Number beads I used in my bottles.  I put 2 of each number in.

Water beads that I used as filler.

I used bottles from Ice Water that one of my teammates drinks. I liked these because they did not have any ridges in the side of the bottle.  I started by filling it with the water beads.  It was easiest to use a funnel to get those little guys in there.

Next, I put the number beads into the bottle.  No funnel for these; they got stuck. Just drop a few at a time in.

Then, I filled the bottle most of the way with tap water.  You need some room to allow the materials inside to move, but too little is not good either.  This one had a little more water added after the picture was taken. Shake it up to get the numbers to distribute throughout the bottle.

The last thing I did was use E6000 glue to close the lid for good.  I love the look of the bottles with the water beads in them, and I think they will be calming for some kiddos!

The other thing I made was car "survival" kids for my friend's kiddos.  They were making the journey to Disney World with a 3 year old and a 6 year old.  This is the 6 year old's stuff.  I wrapped each item separately and put them in a gift bag. Each kiddo had different colored wrapping paper.  I didn't get a picture of these steps. My friend and her husband could then determine when they each got open a new surprise.  She said they loved being able to open new things along the way.  Mom and dad also had a special bag with markers, colored pencils and a sand timer- you know, just in case they needed it.

This last one will hopefully be a future "made it", but first I need your help.  I did a major "clean out" at the end of the school year.  I found these, which I purchased for them Target Dollar Spot years ago, and they need a purpose.  There are 3 sets with 9 "coasters" in each set.  The inside pieces are all different parts of a sandwich. What can I make with these?  I'd love your ideas!

Be sure to check out all the other "made its"by visiting Tara's blog!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Video Games {Part 3}

The last part of our "Games" unit, was my students' project to make video games.  One of the questions asked at the beginning of our unit was how video games are made.  This is certainly not my area of expertise; as I explained to the kids, I was not even allowed to play video games until I was in high school!  So, I called in an expert!

Our technology integration teacher at the high school came to chat with me about ways for my kiddos to create video games.  In the end, we settled on the app Floors.  There are 2 options with this app: draw the game on paper using a code and take a picture to put it in the app or draw directly on the app. We decided to have the kiddos draw on the specially designed paper because we could have everyone work at the same time, and we thought drawing on the app was more difficult.  The games they created are "Mario"type games.

Teaching us how to find and play a game on the iPad.  The iPad is connected to projector and projected on the SMARTboard.  The "smart" part of the SMARTboard cannot be used at this point, manipulating is done on the iPad.

After our "expert" showed the kids how to draw a level and loaded it on his iPad for them to see, they set to work trying to draw their own levels using the special paper and "code sheet".  We allowed them to practice 3 days and gave them the option to take paper and code sheets home if they wanted to try it at home too.

After everyone had a chance to practice, I gave them the option to be in a group and create a game with 2 or 3 other kids (these groups worked with the expert) or to play and make games with me.  Out of my 18, 11 chose to try to make a video game in a group.  Surprisingly, the child who ask how video games were made did not choose to make one.  My literacy coach said, well, he learned how it was done and decided it was something he didn't want to do!

The groups worked together for 2 days (about 30 minutes per day) before Mr. Smith (our expert) went around the took the pictures of them to load them into the iPad.  In their groups, there was one "drawer" and the other 2 or 3 kiddos were allowed to dictate where everything went.  The "drawer" was chosen by me based on their practice time.  You had to draw right on the lines to make it transfer well, so I looked what the kiddos had done during practice time.  We tried to let the kids help with the scanning, but there are places that have to align on the screen and the paper, and this provided to be an 'expert' skill.  Once they were scanned in, the kids worked with Mr. Smith to choose backgrounds, characters, colors, etc. 

Scanning the drawings into the iPad.

Making their video games their own!
Once the games were complete, Mr. Smith uploaded them into the arcade on the Floors app.  He marked them so students could easily find the games created by students in our class.  These were then a center option during our game time.

This project was a bit of a leap of faith for me.  I had mixed feelings: "This is so cool, they are going to love it" and "There is no way they are going to be able to do this."  The paper they had to use was tiny graph paper, and drawing using a code was not something we had ever done before.  I broke out thick- lead mechanical pencils thinking that the sharper the pencil was, the easier it would be to stay on the lines.  I was shocked how excited they were to start trying to draw the "extras" like coins, spikes, ladders, etc.  

Our expert was a definite bonus, as he has young children himself and a love for technology with was apparent.  My kiddos loved his visits and were willing to take risks and try different things.  I was in awe of their completed video games.  In my wildest dreams, I would have never thought to make a video game with 6 year olds!  It was an amazing project, and it makes me want to try other projects that I might not have thought possible.  Don't underestimate them when they are interested, engaged and have the right resources, no matter how old they are!

What kind of projects have you tried with your students?  When have your kiddos exceeded your expectations and/or surprised you?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Five for Friday {June 19}

I'm linking up with Kasey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's Five for Friday.

My teammate and I had another math work session.  We *think* we are now set with templates and other manipulatives that need created through February. This is a good place for us!

A teacher friend, her daughter and I hit the Regal Cinema's $1 movie on Tuesday.  They have $1 movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00am.  This week we saw Box Trolls (eh, ok) and last week we saw Annie (so cute!).    Check it out and see if they have it in your area. 

The movies were fantastic because we've seen 4.5 inches of rain this week.  Needing something keep us busy!  We've also been prepping for VBS this week- another great inside activity.

Snowflakes from the ceiling and "base camp" at the entrance to the sanctuary.

Our VBS theme is Everest.  We borrowed a Yeti from our local science center.  It was part of their window display this winter. A very creative guy at our church designed the mountain and built it with the help of some volunteers.  Can't wait for the kids to see it!

I had some successful "fix its" this week!  I'm not very handy, but I am frugal and I don't like waiting around for someone else to do it.  So, thanks to a friendly employee at Lowe's, I able to fix my tub drain that had stopper that didn't work (you couldn't take a bath).  That was a 3 minute fix.

I also fixed my ceiling fan in my bedroom.  When you turned it on, it sounded like it was going to fly off the ceiling. It was wobbly and loud!  A frugal home improvement guy on YouTube said to tape nickels to a blade to balance the fan.  Who knew!?  The only problem with that fix it was that I couldn't find the duct tape and ended up having a nickel fly off the moving blade.  I promptly went and looked for the duct tape again!  We are good to go now. :)

What have you been up to this week?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Making Games {Part 2}

I started writing about our games unit earlier this week.  This unit was very much student-driven.  One thing they wanted to learn was how to make games. We learned to make video games (post to come soon) and some "non-video games".

One thing we made was "I Spy" bottles.  While a group of kiddos was making video games with an "expert", the rest of the kiddos were working with me.  My kiddos started by measuring out how much rice they needed in their bottle by filling the bottle about 3/4 of the way full with white rice.  They then dumped the rice in a Ziploc bag and dyed it using food coloring and rubbing alcohol (I poured this in).  They "mixed it around" then poured onto a paper towel (wax paper under just in case- see left of picture) to dry.  Once dry (about 25 minutes), they used the funnel to fill the bottle again. Every so often, they put their "skill" items in.  We made letter and number bottles for each of our preschool classrooms.  We also made endangered animal bottles for one of my teammates as that is what her kiddos decided to learn about.

Something the whole class made was an "I Spy" page similar to an I Spy type book.  They choose some symbols they wanted their friends to find and put them in the "key" (the box on the left of the screen in this picture).  They placed these items in the picture then filled in the picture with other stamps, thus "hiding" the pictures.  These I Spy pictures were put out as a game center the next day. They not only loved finding the pictures in their friends' creations, but they were thrilled to watch others try to complete the search they created.

The final post in this unit is about how students learned to make video games when we brought in an "expert".  Be sure to check back for that post!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Made It {June 18}

I'm excited to link up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for my first (and hopefully not last) Monday Made-It of the summer!  My "made-its"are fairly easy, but an accomplishment none-the-less.

The first one is snowflakes in preparation for our "Everest"-themed Vacation Bible School next week. We snowflakes hanging all over our winter wonderland.

The second thing that I've worked on making is my word wall in my classroom.  I had the opportunity to visit other classrooms toward the end of the year and loved one classroom where their word wall was magnetized and placed on the sides of their teacher's desk.  I have wanted mine to be more accessible for a few years now, but it has been put on the back burner many times over.  This was inspiration for me to get my act together.  I did some furniture rearrangement and made room on my chalkboard (which has not ever had chalk to it in the 9 years I've been in that room).  I made some letter cards and picked up a roll of fun masking tape.

I decided to tackle this project on our teacher workday.  It was a little last minute, so I wasn't necessarily prepared with supplies.  The lines are not perfectly straight, but I've decided that I am over it because I love how it turned out :)

What have you crafted lately?  Be sure to visit Tara's blog and see what others are making too!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Playing Games {Part 1}

As I've mentioned in a few previous posts, we spent our last couple weeks of school learning about games.  This topic was based on student interest, and it turned out to be a great focus for the end of the year.
Connect 4 (front) and Guess Who (back)
Each day during our designated "center" time, students had the opportunity to rotate to 4-5 different games.  Students were in groups of 2 or 4, as I have 18 kiddos and many games need no more than 4 players, but some games need partners. Groups changed daily to allow students to practice their "getting along skills" with different combinations of people as well. I think frequently kiddos forget these skills we've built throughout the year!

Top-It (war)  We played this in partners, so had 2 games going at ones.  Some groups took on the challenge of building the biggest number by turning over 2 cards at a time.  These are number card decks from Everyday Math that we used to use.  The card decks go to 20.
Each day, students journaled about what games they played, what they learned and how they got along with the members of their groups.  I don't have any pictures of this, but I made a little journal page for them where they listed the games they played, wrote a sentence or two about what they learned and colored in faces to show how well they got along.

Trouble was one of their favorites!
Have you played Spot It?  Google and I did some searching for the best games for kiddos who are 5-6 years old.  I wanted games that they could play together and things they most likely haven't played before.  Spot It was great because kiddos that weren't good at other games could shine at this game.  You look at your card and find the 1 symbol on your card that is the same on the card in the middle (only 1 matches).  You say the name of the symbol that matches then that card in the middle becomes "your card".  You are still looking for the one symbol that matches.  When all cards are gone, you count to see who has the most cards.  They loved this game- as in begged for it to be in the rotation daily.

Some of the games that I didn't seem to get pictures of are: Sorry, Spoons (very entertaining), and Rory's Story Cubes.  I was surprised how much they enjoyed Rory's Story Cubes.  Our tech teacher let us borrow this game because she thought they might like it and ended up donating it to the class because it was a hit.

I taught a group to play Scrabble Jr. while other were making video games.  More on the video games in another post.  These kiddos then taught their teammates how to play the game during centers.
My kiddos also had the opportunity to "play" with the mazes they created during our map unit.  You can read more about that here. They were excited to try out the mazes other groups made.

I will be back in another post to share more about games that we made.  I thought this was its own "beast" to tackle.

I'd love to build my stock of games for next year.  What are some of your students' favorite games?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Five For Friday {June 12}

I'm linking up with Kasey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

I've been working a few evenings a week at church getting ready for our VBS in a couple weeks.  We are doing the theme Everest, which is a snowy/mountain theme.  This week I spent some time on a ladder hanging hundreds of snowflakes.  Below is one hallway.

I received a card from one of my kiddos this week.  I made me smile. :)

I spent some time at school with one of my teammates working on more math materials prep.  We are excited that we have module 1 of 6 prepped (we think).  Does anyone have ideas for organizing materials for EngageNY/ Eureka Math?  It seems like there are a lot of templates, pieces and parts.  Right now everything is just piled up on a shelf.  Thanks for any ideas for how to best organize all that stuff!

I had the opportunity to meet up with a friend and her kids for lunch and some shopping yesterday.  We live about 5 hours away, so it was nice to meet halfway and spend some time together.  Today I hanging out with Em from Curious Firsties and her girls. I'm so excited!  I love summer for the time it allows me to see people I don't get to spend as much time with!  

I have another item that needs a "job" from my classroom clean-out.  I did a major purge the last couple weeks of school and found some things that I needed "just in case", but now need some ideas of what to do with them!

These were in the Target Dollar Spot a year or 2 ago.  There are 9 cardboard coasters of sandwich parts in each pack.  Originally I thought about building math problems somehow, but would love to hear your ideas!

Thanks in advance for any math materials organization tips or ways to use the sandwich pieces.  Have a great weekend!