DIY Trophy Pencil Awards

Hey, ya'll! I was looking for something very special to give my students who can answer 50 math facts in a minute...and I think I found it!

My adorable mother-in-law is visiting us from Argentina, so we made a special visit to Party City so she could stock up on Star Wars accessories for my nephew's upcoming birthday party. Party City is very dangerous for us teachers! All that cheap, shiny plastic just begging to be used in our classrooms. So I did give in and buy a few things. I also found the perfect math facts prize.

I bought a pack of 12 pencils and a pack of 12 mini trophies. I tried hot glue, E6000 (AKA cancer) glue, and then finally Krazy glue. Krazy glue seemed to be the winner!

We'll see how long they last. I keep them in a bucket by my laptop in front of the classroom and my students have been talking a lot more about how they are going to practice their facts so they can win. I'm all about bribery...aren't we all!

Hope you having a super fantastic week!!!

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Around the World Review Game (Upgraded Version)

 Hey, ya'll! It's the first Bright Ideas Blog Hop of 2015! :) I'm going to share with you my take on a classic game that my students have really been enjoying this month.

You've probably heard of the review game "Around the World." I played it in school and have used it in my classroom. If you haven't, here's how it goes:

1) Start at one side of the classroom and have the first student stand beside the next student who is still seated (or standing as they get too excited to stay seated :P).

2) Show them a card with some sort of review question (math facts, alphabet letters, etc.).
3) The first student to say the answer on the card correctly gets to move on to the next student.
4) When a student loses, they sit in the seat of their opponent who is moving on to the next student.
5) The first student to make it back to their original seat wins.

This game has always stressed me out because of several reasons: 1) Having to move around with the students to show the cards and not being able to really monitor the whole class. 2) Students shouting out a bunch of different answers just to try to be first. 3) Having to wait so long until a student finally makes it back to their original seat.

So, here's how I've tweaked it:

1) Thankfully I have a camera projector, so I just show the card (we've been practicing measurement facts this month) on the projector for the whole class to see. All students have been much more engaged because they can all see the question and mentally try to answer it. And I don't have to run around the whole classroom with the cards wearing myself out.

2) The rule when answering is this - students may only answer once. If they are incorrect, that gives the other student a great opportunity to think and answer correctly. If they both answer incorrectly, I do a new card. This rule prevents students from just blurting out mindless answers.

3) I changed the goal of the game. When a student answers first correctly, I hand them a very small marble (These are from Dollar Tree. I have very well-mannered children. If you don't, I would consider passing out circle markers, pennies, etc. that don't make much noise. You just want something small that can fit in their hand as they go around the classroom.)

The goal now is to have the most marbles when I decide to stop the game. That way I don't have to wait until a student wins 20+ times. Whenever I stop the game, they count their marbles, and the person with the most marbles wins.

My kids are loving this game, and it's great when we only have 5 minutes or so left in the day. I plan on reviewing math facts and Spanish vocabulary throughout the rest of the year with this format.

Well, thank you so much for being here! If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please connect with me at my TpT store, Facebook, and YouTube for more. :)

For more Bright Ideas from a ton of teacher bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade that interests you. Thanks for your visit! Have a great year!

Editable Owl QR Code Task Cards Template FREEBIE

Hey, teacher friends! Hope your year 2015 is off to a great start! I was actually pretty productive yesterday and uploaded a new YouTube video along with a freebie. I've created some QR code task card templates that I'm pretty excited about. Not only will they make my life easier when I need to create a quick review activity, but they also use technology and are self-checking which my students will love. Matter of fact, I am thinking of maybe having them create their own QR code task cards, so they can take more ownership of their learning (and so I can sit back and relax, lol! Just kidding!).

So here's the video that shows how they work and how easy they are to edit:

Editable Owl QR Code Task Cards Template FREEBIE

And here is the download for the freebie templates:

If you're new to QR codes and would like to learn more about them, just check out my QR code tutorial page.

And if you love owls, be sure to check out my owl freebie page with over 10 classroom freebies!

And if you enjoy this QR code task cards template freebie, be sure to check out the whole bundle.

Hope you enjoy the freebie and let me know if you create something with it!

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Martin Luther King Jr. Rounding QR Code Center FREEBIE

Hey, ya'll! It's my last day in Argentina with my hubz - very sad! I've enjoyed being with his amazing family and brushing up on my Argentinian Spanish. But I have jury duty on Tuesday and students on Wednesday, so I guess it's time to say goodbye to Christmas break!

To make the transition back into the classroom a bit easier, I've created another set of QR code printables for January. Here I have a freebie center that not only celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr., but also allows students to practice their rounding skills in a self-checking, 21st century format. This center actually is the timeless game of Tic-Tac-Toe, so you have very little explaining or preparing to do. Click here or on the image for this freebie.

This freebie is included in my new set of QR code printables for the month of January. You can check that out here.

I may have bit off more than I can chew, but I've decided to created a QR code printables pack for nearly every month. If this is something that interests you (meaning you think you would purchase every set), check this bundle out, so you can save a lot and receive a lot of QR code goodness!

Hope you had a great holiday break! And I hope 2015 is the best year yet for you! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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Having Fun with Poke Cards (Freebie Included!)

Poke cards are a tool my students have been using for awhile now in math centers, and if you haven't tried them, you should! Their self-checking format kind of reminds me of Hot Dots cards if you're familiar with those. It's engaging, works great with partners, and students can be completely independent (while having fun!).

How Poke Cards Work

Students choose a poke card and solve the problem. They "poke" the right answer with a pencil, coffer stirrer, cupcake pick, magic wand, ect. In this image we are using a cupcake pick, I believe, that has snow inside that you can shake!

Then, if alone, students check the back of the card to see if their poker went through the right hole. If they're with a partner, the partner will check for them.

This week we have been practicing multi-digit multiplication, so I made some winter multiplication poke cards for them to practice that.

Students worked out the problem on the card with white boards (although I have included recording sheets, too).

They poked the right answer.

They showed their card to a friend to check for them.

If they were correct, they got a chance to try to make a basket with our mini basketball hoop. (Which they love and have broken. But they fixed it themselves, so I guess I'll forgive them. :P)

So if you'd like to give poke cards a try or even if you have already, I just uploaded a new freebie called Snail Patterns. It's aligned with common core standard 4.OA.C.5, and I think it should be a lot of fun for upper elementary kiddos.

 Snail Patterns Poke Game Freebie

I also just recently bundled up ALL of my upper elementary poke resources. You'll find review on fractions, math facts, multiplication, elapsed time, angles, coordinate graphing, and a lot more! With over 1,500 cards, your students will be poking all year! (Just hopefully not each other! Dull points, teachers, dull points.) Check it out here.

Upper Elementary Math Poke Card Bundle

So I hope you enjoy the poke freebie! Let me know what you think! Happy teaching!

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Starbucks Holiday Giveaway - Today Only!

I'm participating in a super sweet giveaway hosted by the very talented Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Designs. It would mean a lot to me if you would enter the giveaway because she has put so much work into this! And besides, look below at all you will win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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QRazy About QR Codes Guest Blogger Exchange and Giveaway!

Kristin Kennedy of iTeach 1:1 has been inspiring me for awhile now with tips and resource for using iPads in the classroom. I'm pretty sure she loves QR codes just as much as I do, so I was super excited that she agreed to do a guest blogger exchange with me and a fun giveaway full of our best upper elementary QR code resources.

I’m so excited to be exchanging blogs today with the amazing Tabitha!  I’m Kristin and I blog over at iTeach 1:1Be sure to check out Tabitha's post there. I recently made the transition from teaching fourth grade with 1:1 laptops to teaching second grade with 1:1 iPads.  I’m very passionate about incorporating QR codes into my lessons and today I’ll be sharing some of my best freebies and tips for using QR codes in the classroom. Tabitha and I are also giving away a huge QR code product bundle, so be sure to check that out at the end of this post!
Since I started using QR codes, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the level of student engagement.  There’s just something magical about scanning a code and being taken to a special link or message.  My students especially love it when I place QR codes around the room so they can move around while solving problems.  In the picture below, two of my fourth graders are working together on a place value scavenger hunt.  Each QR code reveals a question and leads them to the next phone until they complete the hunt.  Click HERE to download a free QR code scavenger hunt to try out with your students.
My students use self-checking QR code task cards on a daily basis during math workshop.  I love that they can get immediate feedback while I’m busy meeting with small groups.  In the picture below, you can see one of my fourth graders checking her work after solving a multi-digit subtraction problem.  Click HERE to try this set of mixed operations task cards for free. 
Side note: Many people are unaware that you can scan QR codes using a laptop/desktop, but here’s a post I wrote about the app we use called QR Journal.
In addition to task cards, I have a couple of other self-checking QR code centers you can try out for free.  This one is a prime and composite number sort.  When students are finished sorting the numbers under the appropriate headers, they scan the QR codes to get a list of the numbers that should be in each pile.  Click HERE to download it for free. 
For this center, students cut out each set of numbers and place them in sequential order.  Then they find the mean, median, mode, and range of each set and check their work by scanning the QR codes.  Click HERE to download it for free.
Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate more student-created QR code activities, especially interactive bulletin boards.  Last year, we used the two bulletin boards in the back of the room for student-created interactive displays.  One was an inference bulletin board for which the students used clues to describe something without giving too much away.  They checked one another’s inference puzzles by scanning the QR codes.  The other was a word problem board.  Students could create any type of word problem for their classmates to solve and then check by scanning the QR codes.  I’ve never seen my kiddos so excited to solve word problems!
My second graders recently put together this mystery number QR code bulletin board.  They filled out a template (which you can grab here for free) based on a secret number of their choice.  Then we generated self-checking QR codes that lead to their mystery numbers.  They had so much fun guessing and checking their peers’ mystery numbers.   
If you haven't used QR codes in your classroom yet, I highly recommend it!  I’ve embedded several freebies within this post, but here are a couple more if you’re interested in trying QR codes with your students.

And now for the giveaway! Tabitha and I have put together our top upper-elementary QR code resources into one big bundle! If you win, you'll receive all of the following (click on each to see more details):

The giveaway ends Saturday, December 13th, at midnight EST. Enter now for a chance to win a ton of QR code classroom fun!
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Holiday QR Code Printables Sample FREEBIE and Resource

 4th Grade Holiday QR Code Printables Sample FREEBIE

Hey, ya'll! I'm really excited to share about my latest upper elementary QR code resource made especially with the busy teacher in mind. I've had several people ask for QR code worksheets, so I decided to create a worksheet pack and a math center that is very easy to put together. I've created a sample freebie for you to try it out and decide what you think!

 4th Grade Holiday QR Code Printables Sample FREEBIE

I know worksheets have a bad rap, but with QR codes and a little fun, I think I've created a resource that will still provide maximum engagement for your kiddos.

 4th Grade Holiday QR Code Printables Sample FREEBIE

One reason I have been hesitant about creating QR code worksheets is the difficulty of scanning QR codes when they are close to each other. To remedy that, I've created QR code blockers that will help kids easily scan they code they are trying to scan.

 4th Grade Holiday QR Code Printables Sample FREEBIE

On most of the 16 worksheets included there is a fun writing prompt for your early finishers to work on. I've included writing paper that accompanies the worksheets to use if you wish with these prompts.

I love the roll and cover types of math games that are so easy to put together and are easy for students to play and practice skills. I tried and tried to think of a way to incorporate self-checking QR codes in a similar, simple game format, and I ended up coming up with a Tic-Tac-Toe version that I think will be easy to play yet mathematically engaging.

This elf mat involving prime numbers is actually included in the sample freebie. There are six mats included in the complete resource.

 4th Grade Holiday QR Code Printables - Low Prep!

 4th Grade Holiday QR Code Printables - Low Prep!

 4th Grade Holiday QR Code Printables - Low Prep!

Each worksheet/game is common core aligned and reviews the 4th grade domains of Operations and Algebraic Thinking and Numbers And Operations In Base Ten.

Skills covered are:
Long Division with remainders
Long Division without remainders
Multiplication 1-digit times various digits
Multiplication 2-digits times 2-digits
Advanced Multiplication
Addition and Subtraction of up to 4 digits
Extended Facts
Missing Factors
Mental Math
Number Patterns
Representing Numbers
Prime and Composite Numbers

So if you get a chance, please try out the freebie and let me know what you think. If you're interested in the complete resource, just click here or on the image below. Happy QR Coding!!

 4th Grade Holiday QR Code Printables - Low Prep!

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