Learning Gems

My husband said yesterday that I am OCD, and I suppose it's true but the object of my obsession changes on a regular basis. This year's obsession seems to be "going green," especially in my classroom. Every plastic container is now a possible learning manipulative, every small cereal or snack box is a possible storage container, and don't even ask me why I am sticking straws in my purse after we leave a restaurant. Oh, and by the way, I need EVERYONE reading this to hold on to their bottle caps. I have some really fun (for me and my students, at least) activities to use with them and Avery labels, and I'll be sharing soon!

Today, I'm going to share a station activity I came up with just by rummaging through junk in my house. I call it "Learning Gems." First, I found an old Christmas tin (we all have those!) and covered the Santa on top with a label (I'm a Spanish immersion teacher by the way).

Then I filled the inside with shredded paper from my husband's office.

I found some of those "decorative gems" and came up with my idea. I printed out our Science Inquiry vocabulary words in very small, tiny print (like 6-8 size font). I cut out each of the words. Then I glued the FRONT of each word with transparent stick glue and stuck them to the BACK of each gem. Here's an example.

The gem actually magnifies the word to where it's legible (And I teach light, so this will correlate with that unit of study, too.).

Then I hid all eleven vocabulary gems in the box. And now we're ready to play! Here's how the game goes.

1) Students play in small groups.
2) They take turns trying to find and pull out a gem. If even ONE piece of shredded paper falls out, they lose their turn, and the next person goes (This helps keep things clean, too!)
3) Once a gem is pulled out, all the students copy it in their science journals. They could even write what they think the word means, so that will get them thinking about the vocabulary.
4) Students try to pull out and copy all 11 gems before the rotation time is up. You will know if they did it or not if they have all of the words written down.

It's kind of a weird game, but the students really enjoyed it. It was a good introduction to the key vocabulary, and they were so proud when they found all 11 words. And they were quiet! I had five students in each group.

So, that's my post. I'm off to see what else I have lying around that could be a fun teaching tool. And don't forget - SAVE YOUR BOTTLE CAPS! I hope to share what I'm doing with them very soon!

My Classroom, a hodgepodge of who knows what!

So, here are a few things to share in my classroom. There's no theme and not a lot of cohesive design going on. Maybe next year I'll work on that!

Our "Pared de Palabras"
You can download this for FREE at CURRCLICK or TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS.

My makeshift homework wall. Trying to save some whiteboard space! (The little magic wand gives my students "powers" to speak only in Spanish. Sometimes I touch their heads as they walk in to give them extra help. They usually just roll their eyes! :P)

Their Post Office, except this one is SPANISH ONLY.

Who says magnet letters are just for little kids? This is one of the favorite free time activities for my 4th graders.

Spanish Country Name Tags - I call the kids by country when I need small groups, to get in line, pack up, ect.

My favorite new addition - Our Recycling Center! Don't ask me why there are plastic bottles in the paper section. Not worth explaining!

I placed this title above the recycling center. "We are earth's heroes!
One of the kids put the first empty glue stick in one of the bins, and the kids started clapping! I was so happy!

One of the Dollar General windmills outside my portable. This will also double as an anemometer during our weather unit :P.

I beheaded one of the windmills to serve as a door decoration. We'll see how long it lasts!

Happy Teaching!

Power Tower Freebie

This took me a loooot longer than I had planned to put together for someone else to use, but here it is - Power Tower labels on greater than, less than, and equal to. This is NOT my idea. In fact, you will need to watch this video to get the gist of it.

My freebie contains Avery #5410 circle labels that can be placed onto Dixie cups to practice greater than, less than, and equal to. This game is appropriate for grades 3-5th. If you need something easier or more advanced, I've provided instructions on how to do it. I order my labels from Amazon here.

Here are the freebie links! Thanks so much to all the people who have given positive reviews to past freebies. There were some really nice ones that made my day. Thanks!

Currclick Power Towers
Teachers Pay Teachers Power Towers

Crayon Color Words MagnetMat Freebie

Early elementary people, do you know about my Crayon Color Words MagnetMat freebie?

Have I even really explained what a MagnetMat is??

Well, over the summer, the little wheels in my head began spinning, and I started experimenting on how I could create hands-on materials that would make my students eager to fill-in-the-blanks and practice conjugating Spanish verbs. Somewhere in my thought process, the idea of using magnets came up (maybe because my student were obsessed with them in our magnetism unit), and after a lot of refining, I finally came up with what I like to call "MagnetMats." (Maybe I should have spent some of my creativity on the name, sorry!)

Here are some pics to better explain myself:

Front Cover

Magnet Matching

Word Tracing and Number Word Matching with a Dry-Erase Marker

Back Page - Number Match, Activity Suggestions, Card Envelope

Inside View

So, that's an overview of one my MagnetMats (I think there are 22??). For now, the mats cover early elementary sight words, basic Spanish vocabulary, and Spanish verb conjugation.

I did mention this Crayons MagnetMat is FREE, right?

You can download from TpT.

Happy Teaching!

Word Wall Freebie! Spanish Title & "Ññ" included

Hey guys! Thanks for my 75 fans! I need to be in bed but a promise is a promise! Just click on the pic below! Soon I'll give you a sneak peek at my 100 fans giveaway. I'm very excited about it!

Freebie - Spanish Country Name Tags

I'm not really sure if there are any Spanish teachers out there like me that need name tags for desks, but just in case, here are some I created for my classroom. There are eight different Spanish-speaking countries represented (randomly selected, well, except for Argentina. I'm a little biased since my husband's from there :p. And I've been to Honduras, Peru, and Mexico, so those made the list, also.)

Since I have around 20 students,  I can easily split them into groups of twos and threes by called the name of the country on their name tags. I will probably also call students by the country on their name tag when lining up, so we won't have a herd of buffalo stampeding each other to get in line! I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Click on the picture for your download!

Happy teaching!

Free Time Choices Flower Display by Ms. Green

After watching the documentary Bag It (see trailer here), I soon became better friends with a lady named Ms. Green. I had heard of her before, but I hadn't taken the time to get to know her until watching the documentary.

Now, as a person, she can be a bit overbearing and it seems she is always over my shoulder watching what I'm doing. But, she's a person who really makes a difference and can make what appears to be trash into quite a treasure. In fact, the other day my husband gave me one of those Edible Arrangement bouquets for our anniversary, and she did something pretty nifty with it as you can see in the picture.

Since it was her deal, I'll let her explain it to you in her own words:

"Well, it's true what Sra. Carro says. We just became friends recently and really, I think she's a great person, but sometimes she does things that just make no sense. For example, trying to throw that bouquet away -  basket, foam, plastic, and all. Tragic! I'm sure the dolphins would have loved that for breakfast (please insert MUCHO sarcasm here)!

I went behind her and grabbed that "diamond in the rough" out of the trash. I wiped it all down with warm water and soap.

Then, I placed the foam back in the basket. The foam looked pretty shabby, so I found some shavings from the shredder in her husband's office and added that on top. Repurposing doesn't have to be ugly, people!

Then, since Sra. Carro is a 4th grade Spanish immersion teacher and about to head back to school, I decided to make a little "Free Time Options" display for her when those speedy students have a few extra minutes on hand. Using some free flower clipart, I made a title and some flower choices for her on the computer. I stuck those with packaging tape to the plastic sticks.

If you're like me, you only know uno, dos, and tres in Spanish. The title there says, "What to Do in Your Free Time." The flowers say thing like, "Read, Write a Comic Strip, Write a letter..."

Here's the final product (for now! You never know what other purposes there are out there for things. Kind of like us!)

Now, let's see what other amazing items Sra. Carro has decided to throw away. Yep, right here, a bunch of bottle caps, geeesh! Well, I'm on it like white on rice. I'll be sure to update you as soon I'm done. Remember -  Things, just like people, deserve a 2nd chance (and 3rd, and 4th, and 5th....)! Adios!"

Well, that was really nice of her! I hope I can find a place in my classroom for it. Somehow, I think if I don't, Ms. Green will!

Winner of the School-Themed MagnetMat

Well, I'm back from Hunting Island, nice and toasted! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend, and I hope this week is even more fabulous for you :).

So, I used a random calculator widget thing, and the winner was number 18. I started counting with the very first fan (my husband :P) and went up to number 18, which is Angela Burns Sustala. Congrats! You can see the random calculator result here.

I have another giveaway in the works, and I'll let you know pronto! Make sure to follow my blog so you'll get the message. Thanks!

School-Themed Giveaway this Sunday Night

Ok, I have to write really quick because my husband and I decided last-minute to go to Hunting Island, SC this weekend (last vacay before I head back!), so please make sure you have liked my new facebook page here - http://www.facebook.com/flapjackeducationalresources

On Sunday night at midnight, I will randomly choose a new fan and mail them my school-themed MagnetMat that targets sight words. All you have to do is like me! Please, oh please, like me and be my fb friend!! :P

¿Need Spanish Accent Marks?

 So, it's a little ridiculous, but for several years now, when translating into Spanish on my computer, I have just been copying and pasting accent marks I searched for in Google. In Word, thankfully, I could insert symbols and get what I needed, but everywhere else, and especially with the dreaded upside-down exclamation and question marks, I continued to waste seconds of my life copying and pasting accent marks. I know there are those alt + 3-digit codes, but I could never make them work, especially when I'm trying to make sure I translated the first person, imperfect subjunctive conjugation of ser correctly at the same time.

So, last night I downloaded this free Spanish Accents Caps lock from here.

The website was a little obscure, but so far I'm really enjoying it. After you download the program, you get a little lower-case a icon on the bottom of your screen. Then, just by holding down caps lock + the accent mark symbol you want, you have an automatic accent mark without wasting time. For capital letters, you just hold down the tab key + the accent mark symbol. So far, it's worked everywhere I've tried it. My website, facebook, and let's see... ¡even here!

This program will block the function of your caps lock key, but if you just click on the a icon, it will stop the program from working, and your caps lock key will function as normal. And you can still produce capital letters by holding down the shift key.

So... here's to not wasting time and letting that tilde get the best of us!¡!

New Blog and Website

My old blog and website were very ugly, so I've switched over to Blogger and Wix to help my HTML inept self create some sites that are a little bit more eye-pleasing. I really need to start getting ready for this school year - so much to do! But no, I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to make a blog pretty :P.

Click here for my new WEBSITE.

Anyhow, I have a new freebie up on the Spanish verb gustar at TpT and Currclick. My titles are also on sale at both sites.

Thanks for stopping by!