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!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Earth Science Bulletin Board

I decided to redo my bulletin board into an earth science theme since we will be spending 9-10 weeks on earth science.

I originally wanted to incorporate a bit of everything we cover in earth science but it would have just cluttered it up and would have been too much work so I came to a point where I just stopped and became pleased. I had fun painting the little mini solar system.

I hot glued real rocks and minerals to tacks and pushed them into the fabric. The kids can't keep their hands off so I guess it's cool :)

I got off center with the word "science" and it's really bugging my OCD self but since I hot glued the letters to the fabric, I can't fix it. Ugh!

Template by