Sunday, March 5, 2017

Friday, October 16, 2015

First Day Seat Finder

I teach 5th grade science. Last year, I thought of a fun way for the kids to find a seat but also has a little educational fun to it. I put a science tool at each seat, 24 total. I printed off and laminated descriptions of the function of that tool. For example, a card said "used to find direction" so they had to find the compass and that was their seat. Another card said "used to protect your hands" and that person would find the gloves and sit there.

Before I introduced myself or did anything else, I went to each tool, read the card and asked that person if they knew the name of their tool. It was fun to see the curiosity for those that didn't know and the excitement for those that did.

I thought this was not only a fun way to get seats but a great introduction to science tools. Hope you can use something like this in your classroom, perhaps with pictures of math objects (parallelograms, cylinders, hexagon, etc.). With reading you could do parts of speech, or figurative language. You could give them the definition of an idiom or an example of they have to find the idiom card on the desk. The ideas are endless! Happy teaching!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Prize Box

I have had some interest in my prize boxes (regular and my FANCY one) so I took pictures to show what kinds of prizes I put in for my kids.

This first picture is my regular prize box (really drawers but whatever) and the kids get more chances to get into these prizes than my fancy prize box.

I get most of these prizes at because they come in large quantities for pretty cheap. I also get some of these in the $1 section at Target (pencils, kleenex) and so these end up being pretty cheap when I'm needing so many prizes.

And this box of goodness is my FANCY prize box! Fewer chances to get into and more excitement than the other one.

I get a good chunk of these prizes in the $1 section at Target but still get some from (twisty erasers, crayon pens, stacking owl colored pencils). Those items are more expensive and come in smaller quantities so that's why they make it into my fancy prize box.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ticket Trivia

Have you ever found yourself with 10 or 15 minutes of time left over at the end of class and you're just standing there wondering how you are going to keep the kids calm? I found this happening a few years ago so I came up with something to take that time up that the kids LOVE. And I mean LOOOOOVE!!

I call it Ticket Trivia.

I bust out my roll of tickets, find a center spot in the front of the room, plop down in my tall teacher chair, take a deep breath and tell the kids to get ready. They all wiggle in their chairs, get their legs out from under the desk, hands in their lap, tails wagging, ready and waiting.

Ticket trivia is just what it sounds like. It's trivia. Trivia over what we have been learning. I ask a question and the first person to raise their hand gets a shot. What's hilarious is people shoot their hand up, even if they don't know it, just because they're so excited. I always loudly emphasize the last word so they know it's time to raise their hand.

For example: "What tool do you use to measure...(pause) MASS!?" and then the hands shoot up. It's even funnier if someone's hand is under the desk. Lots of bruises on days like this.

The first person to get their hand up gets a crack at it. If they get it right, they get a ticket. If they get it wrong, I move on to a new question. Sometimes, I ask a really hard question that's worth 2 tickets. When I announce this is a two ticket question, they always go "Oooooooooooooh." At the end of ticket trivia, the kids that got tickets put their name on it and put it in a mini bucket I have for each class. I will randomly draw tickets to get in my "fancy" prize box. I am constantly being asked if I will draw for ticket trivia.

It's fun to see the kids get excited about answering questions over stuff we've learned. I have yet to meet a kids that didn't like Ticket Trivia.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Secret Scientist

I always try to find ways to encourage my kids to work hard ALL the time, not just some of the time. Sometimes, that requires a little incentive.

I took the idea of the "mystery walker" for younger kids and turned into something that I could use in the science classroom with older kids. During labs, it's easy for kids to let others do the work while they just sit there and have fun. Instead of giving those kids a discipline tactic, I figured I would try to find someway to reward them for doing their part, and alas...


During a lab or a group activity, I might choose to have a secret scientist. I have 5 classes every day so each bucket has a little bingo chip with the names of the students for that class. Before the activity begins, I pull one name and I am the only one who knows who the secret scientist is. Since they don't know if they are the secret scientist or not, they ALL do what they are supposed to. Why? Because I let them get into my fancy prize box if they do and if they are the secret scientist. These are prizes that are a little more expensive and I have fewer of so the kids love any opportunity to get in there! It's quite a sight to see. 

At the end of the activity, I decide if my secret scientist did their job or not. If they did not follow directions, did not do their part or just chose to mess around, I tell the class that my scientist didn't do their job. Because I don't want to embarrass this person, I never tell who the scientist is. If my secret scientist DID do their job, I start by saying "My secret scientist ... (and then I brag on all the good things this person did). My secret scientist is.........(I always pause forever and make them wait and they get giddy and yell MRS. BRAZELL!!!!!! And then I give the name). The kids always clap for that person as they go get the prize. It's so cute!!

This has been a huge success as far as getting all kids to participate. I hope you could use something like this in your room! Happy teaching!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pencil Cemetary

You know how kids are always asking to borrow a pencil? Or go to their locker to get one?

As you saw in my previous post, I had pencils made for kids to borrow but some absolutely refuse.

I wanted to think of a way to get kids a pencil to borrow but I was tired of having mine stolen so I came up with the dun dun dun...


There are ALWAYS pencils left behind in my room or in the hallway. Why let a good pencil go to waste? So I created the cemetery. When I find pencils laying around, I put them in the cemetery. I told the kids that if they need a pencil and absolutely REFUSE to use a Justin Bieber pencil, that they can come get one from the cemetery and it's theirs to keep. This way, pencils are being used and I'm not having to buy them in order to supply them. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!!

A pencil lost is a pencil gained.

I keep it by the pencil sharpener in the "student office" and the kids love it. It's seriously a good use for all those random pencils.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Behavior Management/Reward Chart

I call it my "fishy chart". And guess what folks, IT WORKS!!

As you can see, I have 5 classes. 5 classes means lots of different personalities throughout the day. *kid personalities, not multiple personalities from me :)

Overall, my kids are always pretty well behaved but as all teachers know, students have their days where they just CAN'T keep their mouth closed, they CAN'T follow directions and they just plum want to do whatever they want. So last year, I came up with my fishy chart as a reward system for good behavior.

As a science teacher, I give a vocab test every week and a half/two weeks. The fishy chart is used from vocab test to vocab test. They get to start with 3 fish. Come vocab test time, if they have at least one fish left, they get some kind of reward for that test. If they have no fish left, they don't get that reward. After that test, they start all over with three fish until the next vocab test.

I've come up with some pretty sweet incentives to get them to do what they are supposed to and my little fishy chart has been extremely successful. One threat to even remove a fish will quiet them down. The best is when they aren't doing what I ask and I start walking towards the fishy chart, I hear "She's going to take a fish away!! STOP Y'ALL!!"...

...and "it" stops :)

Examples of some of my incentives are...

1. Whisper partner test- they get to work with a partner on the test but they have to whisper. It's fun.

2. Silent partner test- they get to work with a partner with NO talking. It's interesting but fun!

3. Answer peanut- I give them a foam peanut and with that peanut, while they are taking the test, they can raise it up and I will give them the answer to ONE question, then I take their peanut. If they don't use their peanut, I still take it up after the test. The next time, I will use another object so kids can't try and hoard the peanuts. I use beads, corks, whatever I have 20+ of. The kids LOVE that reward.

4. Big ball review- I have a big beach ball and we toss it to people who then give the definition to a word. This serves as a review for the test they are about to take but they also like throwing a big ball around the room.

5. Prize for a 90 or above- if that class has a fish, then whoever gets a 90 or above gets into my prize box.

6. Sit wherever you want- self explanatory and oddly loved :)

7. Shoeless test- that's right, they get to kick off their shoes!

8. Teacher/student review- I have sticks for each class with the kid's names on them. I pull 4 sticks and those 4 are the "teachers". I continue to pull sticks and assign those "students" to the teacher. The "teacher" has the vocab and they get to quiz their "students" for 10 minutes so it's a good review and it's fun.

So this is something that has worked wonders for me so hopefully it can be something useful to you as well!!

My poor class hasn't fared so well!


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