Guest Post: Producing Engaging Lesson Plans via Social Media Trends by Albert Roberts

Hello readers! We have a special guest post by Albert Roberts that we thought you might like! Our students are always on social media, so why not use social media in the classroom for educational purposes?  Read on to find out how!

What are some of the ways in which we can make use of social media in the classroom? When used properly, social media can allow us to engage students with topical discussions, while getting a perspective on issues like bias and how to use different sources. One way in which we might try to use social media in productive ways for lesson planning is to look at social media trending tools that allow you to put together a lot of different responses to a subject.

Perhaps the main challenge for using social media with Middle Schoolers and other age ranges is that they’re usually already familiar with social networks, but don’t always know how to use them as part of their assignments; there’s often just too much content to sift through. Which makes social trending sites like so useful, as they provide a search engine where you can bring together all the times that keywords are mentioned on different social networks.

For example, run a search on World War II, and you get Twitter messages linking to recent news stories about memorials and veterans; you can also find Pinterest links to World War II books, and Twitter and other social network links to photographs. You can take a similar approach to searches on Barack Obama, or on controversial debates (although you may want to be careful not to end up with offensive material). What you have, then, is a lot of content that can be filtered and turned into examples that can be shown to students.

Bringing all the content you can find on social media together into something tangible and relevant can engage students. Social network trend searches can make older subjects more relevant, or can put current debates into a real-world context; this kind of access to debates can then be combined with other uses of social media for students, from carrying out Twitter polls to writing blogs and posting class photos.

If you’re putting together lesson plans, selecting sources from a social media trend search can lead to a series of questions and projects for students. Some areas that you might focus on include:

Debating Bias – show students examples of how a topic they’re looking at in class is being debated – what are the key arguments that are coming out, and do they reinforce or contradict what they might already know?

Relevance – discuss with your students why some social media sources are more useful than others: why is a well-researched blog better than someone making their case on Twitter? Similarly, question how far we can trust commentators’ reliability, and what sources they use to back up their arguments.

At the same time, social media trend searches can be discussed more directly with students as a way for them to carry out work in their own time. Look at what results they would receive if they searched on keywords when in class, and why what they find could be seen as useful or not for assignments.

Social media trends can be an excellent way to identify relevant and topical debates beyond your usual sources, and can make students more aware of how they can improve their knowledge online. However, a big part of using these resources should be about instructing students on bias, and how far they can trust different sources.

Author Bio:  Albert Roberts is a teacher in the UK and loves thinking of ways to improve student engagement via social media and technology.  He would love to see more inspirational teachers signing up for English teacher jobs in London and improve engagement with this vital subject. He’s an advocate of sharing information amongst teacher communities.



What Does a Good Mathematician Do? A Seven Poster Set!

After the success of our six poster set “What Does a Good Scientist Do?”, we created a corresponding math poster set!

This bright and colorful seven poster set helps teachers introduce math process skills to their students. The following math process skills are included: problem solving, reasoning and proving, selecting tools and strategies, reflecting, connecting, representing, and communicating. Each poster provides prompts and keywords to help students understand the skill.

We have been doing a lot of research in order to begin working on our TLLP project this upcoming school year.  One of the key components of our project is getting students to think mathematically and communicate their ideas.  Having students learn these seven key mathematical process skills will be instrumental in improving their understanding of math concepts.

An excellent addition to your classroom! Just click on the image below!

thumbnail mathematician posters

And here’s a link to our science skills posters!

what does a good scientist do badge


First Nations and European Colonialism

Every time we find great resources, we feel that it is vital to share them with you.  Well, in preparing a lesson on the settlement of the North West Territories for Grade 8 History, we came across a video that provides a fantastic visual to deepen students’ understanding of how First Nations people were forced to adapt to the changes that were brought forth by European Settlement.  The video is a slide show presentation which demonstrates how the assimilation process imposed upon the First Nations people left a contentious mark on the history of North America.   Furthermore, the slide show is correlated with the song “Don’t Drink the Water” by Dave Matthews Band.  The lyrics help students critically analyze the historical context.

Just click on the links to find the video and the lyrics.  We hope your lesson is much more powerful by using this presentation prepared by Sam Richards.

Please preview the slide show, as there are several images that are quite graphic in content.



The Tuesday 12: 12 Super Fun Play Day Activities Your Students Will Love!

12 play day activities

With the end of the year quickly approaching we are all wrapping up our lessons, getting our last round of reports prepared and then we have the great event of Play Day.  You are spent, but know that many of your students, if not all of them, are anticipating this fun, wild and crazy day. We all want the day to go off without a hitch but that needs planning, lots and lots of planning.  So here goes, we at TeachingRocks!  are here to help.  Today’s Tuesday 12 is a list of games that can be used to make your planning a little easier.  We wish you all the best on your day of fun.

Ping Pong Ball Blow
Set up two track with boards or use chalk to draw a track on pavement.  The width of the tracks could be at most 12” apart.  Decide the length of the track, this is at your discretion.  The task: you have 2 teams that will participate in the relay. Object is to move the ping pong ball using the breath from the straw to push it along the track staying within the guidelines.  Each team member must participate, they each must do the length of the track and back.  If the ball goes outside the guidelines, then the player must start over from beginning.  First team to have all team members complete task win.

M&M Vacuum Race
In this task you will need a table, plates, straws and M&Ms!  Put M&Ms in one plate and each team member needs to transfer 5 of them to the other plate using only a straw as a “vacuum”. First player to do so wins a point for their team.  Each team member takes a turn, team with most points wins.  Ensure the straw opening is smaller than the M&Ms to avoid choking hazards.

Ping Pong Jump Shake
This game is quite comical.  You will need 8 ping pong balls (4 of one colour & 4 of another) and an empty tissue boxes that can be strapped around the waist of the player (cut a slit on either side of the box and string through ribbon long enough for all sizes).  Fill the boxes with 4 ping pong balls each, and strap the box on the players waist but on the back.  When you say go, the players are to jump around and shake to get the balls to come out of the tissue box.  Each player has 30 seconds, and each team gets a point for each ball that is out of the box.  Each new player gets to start with 4 ping pong balls. The team with the most points wins!

Target Frisbee Tic-Tac-Toe
If you have the material then create a 9×9 square board, where each box can fit a frisbee.  If not you can use chalk or tape to mark out the grid.  You will also require 10 frisbees (5 of one colour and 5 of another).  This game is the basic game of tic tac toe, but instead of placing their move into the square, players need to attempt to “frisbee throw” it into place.  Each team member throws the frisbee, first team to make three in a row wins! If throws go outside the grid, then that is that players turn.

Chicken Run
Each team assembles in a straight line. The first person in each line is given a rubber chicken. The chicken is then passed to each subsequent person in line using the over the head, under the legs pattern. The last person in each line is to run the who ken back to it’s roost at the front of the line. The first team to finish wins!

Frogs in the Pond
A small inflatable pool is placed in the centre of the two teams and filled with a few inches of water to simulate the pond.  Each team is given 20 frogs (plastic balls of one colour per team) and stands 10 m away from the pond. When the whistle blows, each team takes turns tossing the balls into the pond. The team with the most frogs in the pond wins!

Three-Legged Race
An oldie, but a goodie! Each team partners off it’s members. Each pair ties up a leg to one another and gets ready to race!

Hula Hoop Marathon
For this activity, each team needs a hula hoop.  When the music starts (choose a really fun and upbeat song), one person from each team begins to hula hoop.  The person who makes it the longest wins!

 Pizza Box Race

For this game, start with two teams of 10 students each. Each team needs 10 empty pizza boxes.  Two students from each team will run with the pizza box in their hands, to the finish line and stack them. They will do so one pizza box at a time for the first run and then two at a time, three, than four. The tricky part is (and here comes the collaboration from team members) is to make sure there are four hands on the box(es) at all times. Once students have carried over all 10 boxes to the finish line, the team will quickly choose two team members to bring back all 10 boxes at once, as fast as they can. The fastest team wins!

Parachute game

This is a fun one for all ages. Starting from the little ones and working your way up, changing it up each time with the type of rubber balls, to the size and number. Begin with one small rubber ball and see how long the team can keep it going. Gradually toss one more at a time and see how long they can do it for with each added ball. It really all depends on the team, age and group size. This is a fun game for all ages!

Sponge and Bucket Races

To start this game, you need buckets, sponges and yes indeed, water! If working with two teams, set up two empty buckets one ends and two buckets filled with water on the other end.  Students from each team must line up between a full bucket and an empty bucket. The first person in line is to place their sponge in the water, and pass it over their head to the next person. Each person is to continue to pass it over their heads until the last person in line gets it. The last person in line is to wring it out in the empty bucket, run as fast as they can to the front of the line and repeats the process again. After five minutes, whichever team has the most water in their bucket, wins!

Four Square

You have to play this game on a square, further divided into 4 smaller squares which are to be numbered 1-4. You can create this square using with chalk, tape or removable spray paint, depending on where you plan to create it.   One student is to stand in each of the four squares, with the highest ranked student in number one, lowest in
number four. Student in number 1 is to the bounce the ball among the players, bouncing once in the other
student’s square before that person catches it. countless additional rules to choose from. You can only play with 4 people at a time, abd you can choose when or how to rotate students so that all students have a chance to play. Set them up in teams to create more fun and have two from each team play together!

…And there you have it! A fantastic list of 12 fun activities your students will love not only on play day but any day! Let us know if you have tried any of these or if you do try any of them, what your experience with it is!

Check back with us next week for ‘The Tuesday 12’!


At school today, I came across a really great poster that I would definitely love to put up in my classroom. I thought I would share it with you as you might be interested just the same in either putting it up now or even for your classroom in September. Yet another thing to think about – new posters for your classroom.


 I think this is a great poster to help encourage your students to begin thinking about what they want to say, need to say and have to say out loud in class. If you follow this, I truly think it will help shape the dynamics of the classroom…the overall atmosphere. It helps students understand and realize whether or not they need to share everything and anything, as well as, it further guides them to narrow down what they share to things that are relevant, true, respectful, motivating, etc.

Try it out! It may take time at first, depending on the grade level but is definitely worth implementing. At the end of the day, we each do this on a daily basis or at least try to encourage our students to do. Why not create a poster to have it up in your class for your students to see and be reminded by each time they want to share something!!!

Let us know what you think! We’re always happy to hear feedback!


That time of year again!


Yes…It is that time of year again! The time where we all feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete everything on the ‘to do list’. Some things get pushed aside so other things can make their way through and get done. Between marking, report cards, finishing up lessons, final assignments, followed by more marking, we really do not have enough time to think ahead! BUT, although you may not think so, many people do and have already started preparing for the new school year (like our one and only, Loriana). Between getting new thinsg for the classroom, to throwing things out, organzing, thinking of new ideas, new plans, new everything!


Today I was browsing through our products to see which direction to take for the new school year – what we can add, change, improve on, etc. and I came across the ‘Essential Teacher Binder’ that has pretty much everything you need! So here I am to give you a brief overview of what it is these great binder’s include (just to get you thinking…possibly to get you started!):

What is “Your Essential Teacher Binder”?

kitsClick on the image to direct you to our store on tpt

We’ve all heard of the famous “teacher binder” that contains everything that you need to run your class and lessons successfully!  It is essential to your teaching, but not everything fits into the three rings of a binder, so we added in a few resources for your classroom too!  We like to think of “Your Essential Teacher Binder” as a collection of teacher resources to help you organize both your teaching and your classroom.

All teachers have various ways of organizing their lessons, plans, and classrooms; however, we have grouped together a great set of resources to assist you in this endeavor!

So what’s included in this classroom kit?
– Desk nameplates (2/sheet) for both upper and lower grades
– Student hook/cubby nameplates (6/sheet) that can also be used to label bins etc
– Hall pass, office pass, and washroom pass
– Bookmarks (4/sheet) with “During Reading” suggestions
– Monthly student behavior log (2/sheet)
– “While You Were Absent” sheet for students
– Classroom job labels (30 different jobs to choose from!)
– Student of the Month an d Week (upper and lower grades)
– Student Birthday Postcards (2/sheet)
– Lesson plan monthly cover pages
– Classroom calendar monthly labels for both upper and lower grades
– Subject area cover pages for lesson and unit plans
– Substitute teacher feedback form
– Professional development log and Staff meeting record sheet
– Parent contact log (individual student)
– Month at a glance, Monthly plan at a glance, Week at a glance
– Individual student and whole class information sheet (5 students/sheet)
– End of the year classroom inventory
– Lesson plan and mark book cover page

We have tried to include as many printables that we could think of, but if you have any suggestions, please let us know and we’ll add them in!

These kits come in a variety of themes, including outer space, aliens, polka dots, swirls, monsters, apples and ocean!  But we also have a customization option available to suit your themes, colors and designs in your classroom.  View our Customizable Teacher Binder for further information.

Check out for more ideas and resources!

These binders have been an absolute hit, with great feedback. People were getting them at the end of the school year last year, at the beginning of the school year and believe it or not, even through the school year (it never is too late to get organized).

Check it out!!!