The Tuesday 12: 12 Engaging Math Games for your Classroom

 

                                                                  

Here is a collection of math games for your classroom that will engage and motivate your students.  The games are varied for age groups and can be modified to address the needs in your own classroom. Students learn to strategically think and problem solve all the while enjoying some friendly competition.

SKUNK

A game of facts, probability and students always argue luck!

The object of the game is to collect the most points. The word SKUNK represents the rounds of the game (5 in total).

How to play:

Have all students stand up, and you as the teacher will roll a pair of die.  The outcome of the roll has different consequences.  You will need to pre determine if the points are tabulated using multiplication facts or addition facts.  Therefore when you roll, the outcome of 2 & 3 could have  a point value of 5 or 6.  You as a teacher will keep rolling as long as you have students that wish to continue the round.  After each roll ask students if they wish to continue.  If they do, then they keep standing.  If they don’t then they will sit and you will record how many points they have.  There are two snags in this game.  1) If you roll any combination of 7 (1&6, 2&5, 3&4), then students will lose their points in that round.  This is assuming that player is still standing.  2) If you roll a snake eyes (1&1), then all players standing will lose the points in that round and all previous rounds.  This is where the luck factor comes in!

Also, the round ends when snake eyes is rolled or all students are sitting.

I have played this game and it re enforces basic math facts with students.  Have their total recorded for each round and have students tally their totals after each round.

Math Bingo

You can set up bingo cards that reinforce any of your math concepts.  From addition, to probability words, to factoring and algebraic expressions the possibilities are endless.  I have found a website that already provides Math Bingo Cards (http://www.bingocardcreator.com/bingo-cards/math) and you can visit https://www.bingocardcreator.com/users/registration to create your own using a free trial period!

Elimination

http://www.guided-math.com/search/label/math%20games

Number of Students: 2
Materials: Two dice, game board, markers (as in chips, place holders)
PDF of game board https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9yPTpU_HiELMzIxNjFiM2YtZjY4YS00NzViLTg1YmItY2NiMmRhNGU2ODMw/edit?pli=1
How to Play:
1.  Students cover all 12 spots of their side of the game board with a marker of some sort.
2.  Students take turns rolling the dice.
3.  They may use any operation to get answers.
4.  The object is to be the first player to remove all the markers off their side of the board.

How Long? How Many?

Math skills: This two-person game involves probability and strategy, and gives children experience with multiplication in a geometric context.

The object: to make rectangular arrays with Cuisenaire Rods and place them on 10-by-10-centimeter grids until no more space is available. The game encourages students to think strategically as they consider where to place their rectangles to avoid being blocked.

How to play: students need Cuisenaire Rods, one die, and a grid sheet for each (Make a 10cm x 10cm grid. Also leave space for students to record how many of their squares are covered and uncovered.) The rules are:

1. On his or her turn, a player rolls the die twice to determine which Cuisenaire Rods to take. The first roll tells “how long” a rod to use. The second roll tells “how many” rods to take.

2. Players arrange their rods into a rectangle, place it on their grid, and trace it. They write the multiplication sentence inside.

3. The game is over when one player can’t place a rectangle because there’s no room on the grid. Then players figure out how many of their squares are covered and how many are uncovered and check each other’s answers.

After students have had experience playing the game, talk with them about strategies for placing rectangles and figuring out their final scores.

Adapted from Instructor, April 1994.

Jenga for Addition and Multiplication

We all know how to play Jenga.  Stack those blocks on top of each other.  Remove the block one at a time without toppling over the rest.  Well, in this version (either addition or multiplication), each block has a sentence strip that has been attached to it.  When a player successfully removes the block from the stack, he or she must answer the question.  If answered correctly, then that is the amount of points collected and recorded.  If not answered correctly, then no points are awarded.  When the stack falls that’s the end of collecting points.  Visit http://www.classroomfreebies.com/2012/03/math-facts-jenga-for-addition-and.html for free labels for the blocks!

Coordinate Fours

This is a game designed to reinforce basic coordinate point skills in a fun way.  With two different game formats to choose from (single quadrant and all four quadrants), it’s a game that can be played across a wide range of grades and ages. I found this game from the Positive Engagement Project Website and you can click on this linked PDF for the game!  Hope you enjoy!

The Chosen One (Integers Game)

 I personally love this game as it was one I used to play as a child.  It works well, and kids to ensure the other isn’t “cheating” will definitely mentally calculate.

 Players: Up to four players

 Materials: Deck of cards, Ace worth 11, Jack worth 12, Queen worth 13, King worth 14, scratch paper

 Skill: Adding positive and negative integers

How to Play: The goal of the game is to reach a total of one by adding and subtracting.

Deal 2 cards to each player.

Player one plays a card, states its value and immediately picks up another (*players must hold 2 cards at all times.) The value can be positive or negative (eg. if playing a 5, then either it is +5 or –5)

Player two plays and adds or subtracts card 1 [the +/- 5 and card 2 (eg. 6)]

Player two can add to make 11 or subtract to make –1. Play continues until a positive 1 is made.

The player who makes positive 1 wins the stack of cards. Play continues until all cards are played. The player with the most cards wins.

Make it Texas Size!

Players: Individual or in groups of two

Materials: Deck of cards with the face cards and 10s removed, Ace worth one, Paper for each students to create the number and record

Skill: Place value and comparing numbers

How to Play: You decide up to what place value students should be working with.  This is a game of chance and reasoning in which the players are trying to create the largest number possible. The players must think carefully where to place each card. Once a card is placed it cannot be moved.

Students deal out six cards face down (or more if you are playing with larger place values). They can shuffle those cards for an even further mix up, but no peeking. The first player flips over one card at a time and decides where to place it to form the largest number possible. They can discard the card if they feel it will not help in creating a large number.  The game is continued until they can complete their number and the other player has completed theirs as well. Once complete players will compare numbers and decide who created the larger number.  Next each opposite player will give one piece of advice to the other as to how their opponent could have created a greater number.  (http://pepnonprofit.org/uploads/2/7/7/2/2772238/acing_math.pdf)

Make it Rhode Island Size!

Players: Individual or in groups of two

Materials: Deck of cards with the face cards and 10s removed, Ace worth one

Skill: Place value and comparing numbers

How to Play: This is the exact same as Make it Texas Size but the reverse.  Here players are trying to create the smallest possible number with their cards.  Follow the exact same directions keeping in mind that a small number must be created.

(http://pepnonprofit.org/uploads/2/7/7/2/2772238/acing_math.pdf)

Prime and Composite Lines

This is another fantastic game prepared by www.pepnonprofit.org! Here students will need to identify and recognize prime and composite numbers after rolling a die and using a game board.  The object is to mark four numbers on the board (a straight line) before the other player does.  Follow these instructions.  I cannot wait to use this one in my classroom!

Materials: Game board, dice (preferable one 20 or more sided die), 2 sets of colored game board markers.

Game Objective: The game is won by making a straight line of 4 in a row. First person or team to do this wins the game.

Skill Objective: Allow students to practice the concepts of prime numbers and composite numbers in a fun, engaging, and meaningful fashion.

How to play:

1. Display the game board on an overhead projector (or give to each group playing the game).

2. Decide who will go first by rolling the dice (highest roll wins choice to go first or defer).

3. Player 1 rolls the dice and has to determine if the number they rolled is a prime number or a composite number and tell their opponent. If they identify the number correctly, they can then mark ANY ONE number on the game board that matches the type of number rolled (prime or composite).  Player 1 IS NOT REQUIRED to mark the same exact number that was rolled. Player 1 can choose any prime number or composite number on the board. If the player incorrectly identifies the number on the dice (i.e.: says it’s a prime number when it is actually a composite number) or fails to correctly mark the same type of number on the game board, they lose their turn, thus not placing a marker on the game board, and it is the next player’s turn at this point.

4. It is now Player 2’s turn. Player 2 repeats Step 3.

5. Players alternate turns until one player successfully completes a straight line of 4 in a row. The line can go in any direction but MUST be straight. The first player to complete a straight line of 4 in a row wins the game.

Additional “rules”:

1. When a player rolls a prime number, that player must say “prime number to identify the type of number to their opponent.

2. When a player rolls a composite number, that person must say “composite number” to identify the type of number to their opponent and give factors other than 1 times the number to get the product, thus proving their answer.

3. It is the responsibility of the opposing player to make sure the answer is correct. If the rolling player incorrectly identifies the rolled number or incorrectly places a marker on the board and the opposing player does not catch it before making their next roll, the play stands and the game continues. However, if the rolling player incorrectly identifies or incorrectly marks a number and the opposing player catches it before the next roll, the rolling player loses their turn and does not place a marker on the game board. It is important that BOTH PLAYERS pay attention at all times to avoid mistakes or bluffs.

4. Allowing students to “bluff” is up to the teacher. Students will quickly find out that bluffing can be very risky since they will lose their turn if they are “caught” bluffing.

Here is the game board: http://pepnonprofit.org/uploads/2/7/7/2/2772238/prime_and_composite_lines.pdf

Around the world

Have flash cards set up for your classroom.  These could be multiplication or division facts, reducing fractions, metric conversions, or any other topic your class has studied.  Select 2 beginning contestants.  You can have them up at the board so they can work out their answers if need be.  The first person who answers correctly gains one point.  The winner stays on to take on the next contestant, while the loser sits back down.  Ensure that everyone has a chance.  No one loses any points; rather they only gain points when they win the challenge.  The contestant with the most points wins.  You can play this for a specified amount of time or as long as you have cycled through everyone.

Sudoku

This addictive game can truly help students develop logic, problem solving and deductive reasoning skills.  Each square has a solution.  It is created with 81 boxes (in total on a 9×9 grid) where each column, row and 3×3 inner box must have the numbers 1 to 9 inserted and never repeated. For younger students there are the 4×4 grids (filling numbers in 1 to 4) and 6×6 grids (filling numbers in 1 to 6).

Create a large one for the whole class, and work on it, slowly demonstrating and then gradually releasing.  Before a number is inserted as a solution, the student must justify the move in order for the class to approve the insertion of that number.  This could also be created on a smart board where you can bring it up whenever there is class time available.

This can lend itself as a whole class game or as group challenges. You could provide the same puzzle to groups and the group to finish first wins.

If you are looking for Sudoku puzzles with solutions, there are many online.  Note that there are basic puzzles to very advanced ones.  Therefore one must really practice in order to develop this skill.  Here is a site I refer to often.  http://www.mathinenglish.com/Sudoku.php

 

The Tuesday 12: 12 Ways to Build Classroom Community on the First Day of School (or any time really)!

In this week’s edition of The Tuesday 12, we’ll look at different ways to build classroom community on the first day of school.  Here in Ontario, school does not begin until Tuesday, September 4; however, some of you may already be back with your students!  These activities are great on the first day of school, but they can really be used any day of the year!

1. Student Scavenger Hunt

Create a handout for students to fill in with their favourite items, such as favourite sport, colour, movie, school subject, song.  Once students fill in their favourites, they are to mix and mingle around the room to find other students in the class that listed the same favourite items!

2. Class Code of Conduct

Many teachers have a class set of rules posted somewhere in their classroom for their students to follow.  What about creating the classroom rules with your students on the first day of school?  As a community, create a Class Code of Conduct by brainstorming the positive behaviors that everyone will strive for throughout the year.  Once the code is written, have everyone in the class (teacher included!) to sign their name together.  This is a very powerful activity to let all students know that we are collectively responsible for our behaviors and successes.

3. Class Quilt

Grab some leftover white fabric and cut it into squares to create a beautiful class quilt!  The size of the quilt patches is up to you, but I’ve found that an 10 inch x 10 inch piece works best.  Each student receives a patch and they use markers and pencil crayons to decorate the quilt piece to illustrate their personalities, hobbies, interests, and goals for the year.  The patches are then sewn together (or even stapled if you can’t sew!) and displayed on the classroom wall like a tapestry.  It’s a beautiful creation that can then be given to a student on the last day of school (one year we gave it to a student who was moving away, while other years we chose a name at random).

4. It’s All in the Bag!

Fill a paper bag with 5-10 items that represent who you are and share them with your students along with a brief description of why each item is important to you.  Students love to find out this kind of info about their teachers!  Have students do the same activity by bringing in a paper bag filled with their own items the next day to present to the class.

5. We All Fit Together

Similar to the classroom quilt, this activity has students decorating a puzzle piece and then all pieces are put together to create a completed classroom puzzle to show how everyone in the class is connected!  Click here for the activity!

6. Class Slogan, Name, Cheer, or Song!

Make your class stand out by coming up with a class slogan, cheer, or song that is unique to your students!

7. Read All About it!

Share a great book with your students! There are so many books to help students learn to work together, appreciate/accept their differences, and celebrate their community.  Check out Lisa’s post about “The Name Jar” for some great ideas!

8. Acrostic Poems

Here’s a great lesson plan to follow up on “The Name Jar” or to use as a stand alone activity.  Students write creative acrostic poems to represent their names and characteristics.  Have students present the poems in small groups or to the whole class.

9. Here’s Introducing….

Usually students are asked to introduce themselves to the class by talking about their summer vacations, hobbies, or favourites.  Put a twist on this activity by pairing off students and have them introduce each other!  Give students about 2 minutes to talk to their partner and learn three things about them.  Next, have each pair of students introduce their partner to the rest of the class!  I find that this helps the shy students, as they may not like to introduce themselves to the class, but may be willing to introduce a partner.

10. Group Artwork

Check out these awesome collaborative artworks!  Each student in the class receives a pre-cut paper to decorate and then all the pieces come together to form a larger work of art.  Beautiful!


Source: Art at Becker Middle School


Source: Mrs. Werner’s Art Room

11. Classroom Roles!

Students should understand that they are part of a community and each person in a community has a role to play.  Here’s Lisa’s post on creating classroom jobs for students, so that each student is accountable for keeping the classroom healthy, organized, and safe!

12. Community Circle

Have students sit around in a circle (either whole class or in small groups to break the ice) and have each person share an idea on a given topic.  For example, the teacher could ask everyone to share one goal they have for the year, something they look forward to doing this year, their favourite summer memory…the list is endless!  This Community Circle can continue throughout the year to help students share ideas, discuss important topics, and share experiences!

 

Good luck to everyone going back to school in the next few days!
For those of you already back in school, we hope the new school year has started out great!

The Tuesday 12: 12 Great Poems for Back to School!

In this week’s edition of The Tuesday 12, we’ll be looking at seasonal poetry…12 fantastic poems to begin the new school year!  There is a wide variety in the complexity of poems listed here, so choose the ones that would be best for your students.

 

1.I Love Fall (author unknown)

I love fall! Fall is exciting.
It’s apples and cider.
It’s an airborne spider.
It’s pumpkins in bins.
It’s burrs on dog’s chins.
It’s wind blowing leaves.
It’s chilly red knees.
It’s nuts on the ground.
It’s a crisp dry sound.
It’s green leaves turning
And the smell of them burning.
It’s clouds in the sky.
It’s fall. That’s why…
I love fall.

2. Lining Up (author unknown) (so many great freebies on this site for kindergarten and primary teachers!)

Every time I get in line,
I stand so straight and tall;
I keep my arms down by my side,
I do not move at all.
My head is facing forward,
My eyes look straight ahead;
My lips are closed, my eyes are open,
Listening to what is said.

3. School by Winifred C. Marshall

School bells are ringing, loud and clear;
Vacation’s over, school is here.
We hunt our pencils and our books,
And say goodbye to fields and brooks,
To carefree days of sunny hours,
To birds and butterflies and flowers.
But we are glad school has begun.
For work is always mixed with fun.
When autumn comes and the weather is cool,
Nothing can take the place of school.

4. School by anitapoems.com

School is something,
we must all embrace.
Knowledge we need,
to seek out and chase.

Subjects and teaching styles,
are plentiful and vary.
Just like the backpacks,
we all need to carry.

Sports, clubs, and activities,
at every single turn.
So much to do,
study and learn.

To get the most from school,
we should consistently attend.
Around each corner,
there’s always a friend.

Our favorite teachers,
are friendly and kind.
Their passion and job,
to expand every mind.

School is something,
we must all embrace.
Just remember to learn,
at your own pace.

5. Now by Prince Redcloud

Close the bar-b-que
Close the sun
Close the home-run-games we won
Close the picnic
Close the pool
Close the summer
Open school

6. Welcome Back to School A Funny School Poem for Kids by Kenn Nesbitt

“Dear students, the summer has ended.
The school year at last has begun.
But this year is totally different.
We’re going to only have fun.
“We won’t study any mathematics,
and recess will last all day long.
Instead of the pledge of allegiance,
we’ll belt out a rock-and-roll song.
“We’ll only play games in the classroom.
You’re welcome to bring in your toys.
It’s okay to run in the hallways.
It’s great if you make lots of noise.
“For homework, you’ll play your Nintendo.
You’ll have to watch lots of T.V.
For field trips we’ll go to the movies
and get lots of candy for free.
“The lunchroom will only serve chocolate
and triple fudge sundaes supreme.”
Yes, that’s what I heard from my teacher
before I woke up from my dream.

7.  The Man Who Thinks He Can by Walter D. Wintle (bit of controversy surrounding author)

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t
It’s almost a cinch you won’t
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.

8.  Introducing a New ME! by Kalli Dakos (so many great poems to check out!)

There’s a new ME this year,
An on-time ME,
A clean-desk ME,
A first-to-hand-in-assignments ME,
A listens-in-class-to-the-teacher ME,
A teacher’s-pet-for-the-first-time-in-my-life ME,
An-always-willing-to-be-good-and help-out ME,
A dead-serious-get-the-work-done-and-hand-it-in
Before-it’s-due ME.
The problem is
The new ME
Is not like ME
At all.

9. You Can Be Whatever You Want To Be! by Donna Levine

There is inside you
all of the potential
to be whatever you want to be,
all of the energy
to do whatever you want to do.

Imagine yourself as you would like to be,
doing what you want to do,
and each day, take one step
towards your dream.

And though at times it may seem too
difficult to continue,
hold on to your dream.

One morning you will awake to find
that you are the person you dreamed of,
doing what you wanted to do,
simply because you had the courage
to believe in your potential
and to hold on to your dream.

10. Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

11. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

12. What Constitutes Success by Bessie Stanley (click to read about the background of this poem)

He has achieved success who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
who has gained the respect of intelligent men
and the love of little children;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
who has left the world better than he found it,
whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty
or failed to express it;
who has always looked for the best in others
and given them the best he had;
whose life was an inspiration;
whose memory a benediction.

The Tuesday 12: 12 Essential Supplies for Your Classroom (Each Under 50)!

It in this week’s edition of The Tuesday 12, we’ll be looking at 12 essential supplies that are awesome to have in your classroom.  There are so many products that are beneficial to teachers; however, these 12 items will make your lives a little bit easier and let your classrooms run just a little more smoothly.

1. Squeegee

36286800 - Flo-Pac® Windshield Washer/Squeegee 14-7/8

Source: http://www.carlislefsp.com/industrial-supply/vehicle-brushes/36286800

Do you want a sparkling clean blackboard? Head on over to the nearest hardware or automotive store and pick up a squeegee! The best squeegees for this job are the ones that have a sponge on one side to scrub the board and the rubber blade on the other side to remove excess water.  No messy hands, no drip marks, and boards dry super fast!

2. Personal laminator

Scotch Thermal Laminator 15.5 Inches x 6.75 Inches x 3.75 Inches, 2 Roller System (TL901)

Source: amazon.com

I love my laminator! Although it can’t laminate large items (the largest is 9” x 14.5”), it’s great to laminate tons of small items and comes in a variety of film thicknesses that provide extra durability for those items that go through a lot of wear and tear.

3. Label maker

Dymo LetraTag Plus LT-100H Personal Label Maker

Source: amazon.com

I bought my Dymo label maker at Costco because it came with a variety of tape cartridges (glossy, matte, transparent), so it was very cost efficient. If I could, I would label everything around me.

4. Personal paper cutter

Source: amazon.com

I use this Friskars paper trimmer when I do some crafting and use it on a regular basis to prepare items for my classroom.  Who doesn’t love perfectly straight lines?

5. A level!

Johnson - Structo-Cast Level - 24 inch - 40-0112 - Home Depot Canada

Source: homedepot.ca

And speaking of straight lines, I cannot live without a level in my classroom! It really comes in handy when I am putting up bulletin board items and hanging student artwork. I cannot stand to see crooked items on the wall, so my $2 level from the dollar store is a life saver!  Better yet, pick up a laser level!

6. Wet Erase Fluorescent Markers

Click here to enlarge product image(s)

Source: http://www.staples.ca/ENG/Catalog/cat_sku.asp?CatIds=&webid=11637&affixedcode=WW

These markers write beautifully on the blackboard and remain until they are wiped off with a wet cloth.  They are great for items that you want to be semi-permanent for a certain time period; for example, use them to write out the daily schedule, create a graphic organizer on the board, or keep important reminders up on the board for students.

7. The Desk Apprentice Rotating Desk Organizer

Staples The Desk Apprentice Rotating Desk Organizer

Source: staples.com

I have this organizer on my desk and it is a life saver! The middle section has space for hanging folders which I use to organize worksheets, items for each day of the week, and any other important piece of paper that lands on my desk.  The top portion has a small, hanging basket to organize items, while there are four corner organizers to store markers, pens, pencils, highlighters, and scissors.  Each side of the organizer provides extra storage for notebooks, papers, envelopes, and files. It is a great purchase!

8. CD Case

Source: http://www.teachingblogaddict.com/2012/06/organizing-bulletin-board-letters.html

What a creative idea! Normally I just use envelopes to store bulletin board letters, but I really like how organized the letters are in this case.

9. Velcro tape

Velcro - Velcro 5 ft. X 3/4 in. Sticky Back Tape - 90678 - Home Depot Canada

Source: homedepot.ca

Velcro tape is great to use for areas of your classroom where you regularly rotate between a variety of materials.  Personally, I use it on my classroom jobs board, since students rotate between various jobs every two weeks.  Velcro would be great for words walls, daily or weekly schedules, or calendars!

10. Wrapping paper roles!

The Gift Wrap Company Bright & Posh Wrapping Paper & Ribbon Set

Source: amazon.com

Don’t throw out those empty wrapping paper rolls! They are fantastic to store away posters and bulletin board décor. Simply roll up the item, place it inside, and label the outside of each carton (use the label maker!).

11. Curtain rod with clips (or pants hangers)!

shower rings

Source: Hacks for Teachers

Another great Pinterest find! Check out the link above to see the step-by-step instructions.  This could easily be used to store bulletin board sets, anchor charts, bulletin board trim, seasonal items…

12. Spice rack!

spice rack

Source: Greg Marino/Studio D from http://www.redbookmag.com/recipes-home/tips-advice/home-organizers#slide-3

This idea came from Pinterest (love Pinterest!) and it is such a great concept! Buy a spice rack (or repurpose one that you have at home) and use the containers to organize all those little odds and ends that are useful, but always end up everywhere! Jars for rubber bands, pushpins, paperclips, the possibilities are endless! Can’t wait to use this in the classroom! (Check out the article link above for more ways to organize using a spice rack).

Don’t forget to join us next week for another addition of The Tuesday 12!

 

Disclosure:  All ideas expressed are the author’s own and compensation was not provided by any company in any way.

The Tuesday 12: 12 Procedures to Teach and Discuss with Your Students on the First Day of School!

The first day of school is almost here! Your friends at TeachingRocks.ca will be providing you with ideas and resources to help ease both you and your students into a successful new school year!  One of the most important things that you can do on the first day of school is to review key procedures with your students.  Although I like to spend time on the first day of school getting to know my new students and building community, it is also necessary for students to learn about key classroom procedures.  Why is this so important?  Students need to know what their teachers expect from them, how they should behave in class, and what is considered appropriate practice.  By discussing these procedures on the first day of school, teachers and students can spend more time

1. Entering the class:  Review with students how they are to enter the classroom, either at the beginning of each period or at the beginning of the day.  Where do they place their coats, school bags, and other belongings?  Do they have assigned seats or do they choose their own seat?  Will you have any bell ringer work ready for them when they enter the class?

2.Missed homework:  What are the repercussions for not completing homework assignments?  Do you have “homework not done” slips?  After how many incomplete assignments do you follow-up with parents?  It is important for students to be aware of homework procedures and the importance you place on completing their homework on a regular basis.

3. Class Schedule:  Do your students spend the whole day with you or are they only with you for one period?  If students are with you the whole (or most of) the day, it is important for students to know the daily schedule.  This can be done either by posting a large weekly schedule or having a designated area in the classroom to post each day’s daily schedule.  By doing so, it is easier to transition students from one subject to the next. Check out our Day Schedule to aid during transition times!

4. How will you get student attention?  Whenever there is a whole class activity or students are working with partners or in small groups, the noise level may be a bit loud in the classroom.  Classroom noise is sometimes essential for learning, as this means that students are immersed in the activity and having fun!  But how can the teacher get their attention to settle down and move on to the next task?  Some teachers clap out a rhythm with students repeating the clap back, some flicker the lights, while others have come up with many different attention grabbers.  I simply raise my hand and students know that when they see this, they are to raise their hand, look at me, stop talking, and wait for direction.  For me, it’s simple and it works!

5. Washroom visits:  Review with students the proper procedures regarding washroom visits, which includes how to ask for permission, appropriate times, washroom passes, and whether a buddy system is in place.

6. Absences:  It is important for students to know that when they are absent from school they must catch up on any work that is missed.  A great way to do this is to incorporate a “buddy” system where students pair off with a classmate and they inform one another of missed assignments when the other is absent.  This FREE customizable homework tool can help with this:  While You Were Absent!

7. Eating and drinking in class:  Are students allowed to keep a reusable water bottle at their desks or do they ask permission to use the school water fountain?  If so, when is there an appropriate time to ask for permission to use the water fountain?  Are students allowed to have a small snack during class?  Do you allow your students to chew gum in class?  Quickly review these items as students are always eager to know about food and drinks!

8. Personal electronic devices:  What is your and your school’s policy on electronic devices?  Must these devices be “off” or can they be kept on silent?  May students keep them in their pockets or must they be stored in a knapsack or locker?  Are students even allowed to use these devices during the school day, and if so when?  If not, review with students the repercussions for improperly using these electronic devices.

9. Emergency Procedures:  It is vital to review emergency procedures with students on the first day of school because you can never predict when an emergency situation may arise.  Review with students proper procedures for fire drills, lock downs, and any specific drills you may have for your geographic area (e.g. tornado drills, etc…)

10.  Taking care of the classroom:  Remind students that it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of the classroom environment.  In my class, I use classroom jobs that are rotated every two weeks.  Here is another FREE resource that can help you with this: Taking Care of Our Classroom!

11.  Parent Communication:  Education is a partnership between students, teachers, and parents/guardians, so inform your students how parent communication will occur and for what reasons.  How will you communicate with parents/guardians?  Will you use newsletters, phone calls, email, or forms?  Let your students know that you won’t just be communicating negative behavior,s but you will also be informing parents/guardians about their positive achievements as well.  Here are two FREE forms to help you with parent/guardian communication: Parent Contact Log and Keeping Parents in the Know!

12.  Classroom dismissal:  What are the end of day procedures?  Do you review homework, reminders, and agendas at the end of day?  When is it the right time for students to begin packing up their belongings for dismissal?  And, finally, how are students supposed to leave the classroom – are students to leave individually or do they line up for dismissal?

We hope this list helps with your classroom management on your first day and throughout the year!

The Tuesday 12: 12 Stretches That Will Energize your Students

Welcome to today’s Tuesday 12!  This edition will provide you with great stretching activities that students can do inside the classroom. 

It is well known that students need intermittent breaks within the day to stretch and give their bodies a break. This will help their bodies and their minds allowing them to focus and continue working.  Show students how to stretch and energize all their muscles!

1. Sway like a Tree

This stretch focuses on the whole body.  Have students stand up straight, raise their arms way up above their heads and put their feet together.  Tell them to close their eyes and pretend they are a tree.   Now most of your students will probably start swaying but tell them not to and to wait for directions.  Start by creating a mental picture of the tallest tree in the pasture.  Then, with their eyes closed have them move to the strength of the wind.  Alternate between telling them the wind is a light gentle breeze on a warm summer day, to a strong, gusty wind.  I always end off with saying there’s a hurricane and let it get chaotic for a bit.

2. Windmills

Another great stretch is for students to pretend they are windmills.  With their feet slightly apart, students move their arms in unison and in a circular motion (clockwise and then counter clockwise) in front of them.  Alternatively, students can do shoulder windmills, where their arms move in opposite directions and from back to front. 

3. Kiss/Lick Yourself

I use this to stretch out the neck muscles.   Have students tuck their chins into their chests without pulling up their shoulders and hold that for 10 seconds and release.  I challenge students to kiss/lick their chests in this position.  Obviously they are not usually able to do the last part but it is funny to look at and sometimes you will be surprised!

4. Big Ears

This stretch focuses on shoulders and arms.  While students are seated have them place and link their hands behind their heads.   Ensuring they have their chest and chin lifted, tell students to stretch their elbows as far back as possible, hold for 10 seconds.  Have them stare at each other, as they now have big ears!  Repeat this a few times, and have them relax for 5 seconds between each stretch.

5. Palm Press

As we and students are using more of our fingers and hands (computers, touch pads, texting etc.), we are definitely more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome (a Repetitive Strain Injury).  To help stretch your hands, do the following:  place palms together and pointing upwards push against each other. Hold this press for 10 seconds, release.  Repeat, but this time ensure hands are pointing down to the floor (the base of your palms pointing up). Keep alternating between these two positions.  

 6. Hold up the wall

Students usually have poor posture while working at their desks, reading, and on their computers.  Ask students to pick a spot on the wall and stand as tall as possible.   Ensure their heels are up against and touching the wall.  While in this position, have students push their shoulders into the wall.   Students should hold for 10 seconds.  This will stretch their shoulders and help correct their alignment and posture as well.

7. Hula Hip Circles

Have students imagine they have hula hoops around their waists.  With their feet spread wider than their shoulder-width and hands on their hips, have students move their hips in a circle, in a clockwise direction. Do this 10-15 times and then have them repeat in a counter-clockwise direction.

8. Leg Stretch

This stretch is to alleviate lower body problems even in students. Tell students to position themselves seated on the edge of their chair and straighten out one of their legs in front of them resting the heel on the floor. Students are to bend forward at the hip until they feel a stretching sensation at the back of their thigh. Be sure that they keep their back straight. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Relax and return to the starting position and repeat the stretch with the other leg. Also ensure that students do not bounce as this quickly shortens and lengthen the muscle which could cause it to tear.

9. Standing on the Quad

Standing tall and holding on to the back of their chair, have students raise one heel toward buttocks and grasp ankle (not foot) joint with same side hand.  Have students tilt their pelvic inwards and squeeze their buttocks in order to extend hip back slightly.  This should create a stretch in the front of the thigh. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds at a time.  (Repeat with other leg)

10. Step over the Pothole

Ask students to find some open space and imagine there is a pothole on the ground.  Ask them to straddle over the “pothole” & reach to touch with their fingers the outline of the pothole in front of them.  For students who find this easy, have them straddle farther apart or instead of finger touching the outline, they can place their palms to the ground.

11. Frankenstein

Frankenstein, or walking toe-touch, focuses on stretching the hamstrings. Students are to begin by standing tall and keep their arms extended in front of them at shoulder height. Ask students to begin walking straight. They are to keep one leg locked out and planted into the floor and kick their opposing extended leg up toward their opposite hand’s fingertips. Alternate legs as they Frankenstein walk for 10 to 15 steps.

12. Rolling Ankles

We cannot forget about this part of the body!  Stand on one foot while you have the other raised above the ground.  Students are to rotate their ankle 10 times clockwise and 10 times counter clock wise.  Repeat this with the other foot.  This is also a balancing exercise.  If students have difficulty, they can hold onto their desks, or place the rotating foot on its toes and rotate it against the floor.