Tuesday, May 26, 2015

End of the Year TEACHER Report Card - FREE!

Hello there!
Jessica from "Joy in the Journey" here - with a freebie to share with you lovely readers!

You've spent the year assessing your students - now it's time to hand over the red pen to your students and let them grade you! 
A fun and valuable tool for a reflective teacher,
this can both encourage you and challenge you to continually improve your craft.

The packet includes a cover page and an inside page: print the two pages together (double-sided) to create a report card booklet.

This will take some vulnerability - because you know your students will be honest :) But I think it's a worthwhile thing to do.

Click here if you'd like to download it for FREE!
If you do download it, please take a moment to leave some feedback. Thanks!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Vietnam Veterans Virtual Wall Mini-Research Activity

On this Memorial Day, I'd like to share a freebie that will allow your students to honor those brave service members who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. If you've experienced the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., then you know what a moving tribute it is. Bring this experience to your students and allow them to explore the more than 58,000 heroes who are honored on this wall through the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Wall. Students can learn about the veterans of this war and also gain knowledge about the creation of this amazing memorial. My freebie includes directions for students to follow to learn more about a veteran of their choice and a page to record facts that they learn about the memorial.  Click on the picture below to download this freebie. 

Please take a moment to talk to your students about the importance of Memorial Day, this day of remembrance for all of the brave men and women who have died serving our country. 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

End of Year Tip

Although I think that many of you are already done for the year, I still have a few more days. I'm going to share one of my ideas that will help you get your classroom organized as the end of the year draws near.

Often I have ideas on how I want to do things the next year. Either something was awesome and I don't want to forget, or I have ideas on tweaking what I've done. Since I'm a visual person, I like to take pictures to remind me. So I had plans to change this board:

At the time I took this picture, I knew that I needed to have more No Name and Absent clothespins since I was going to be teaching half of the fifth grade students (this was before I got my new job and changed districts). I wanted to move the Missing Work to the other board in my room, and I wanted to remove the NLWC because I ended up doing that on a bulletin board.

So I took a picture, put it in Word or PPT and noted the changes I wanted to make, and saved it on my computer in a folder labeled Next Year. Or, I could have also created a pin of the picture and noted the changes in the description and pinned it to a secret board in Pinterest. Gotta use those secret boards for something ;)

Hope you're having a great end of the year!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

FREEBIE idea to save your sanity during the last few weeks of school!

Yes we still have 18 days of school left and lots of important curriculum to cover so I can't afford to give in just yet.  How am I making it through these last four weeks before the freedom of summer arrives?  Bribery.  LOL  Just kidding - O'Bryan Bucks and O'Bryan Sales.

During the fourth marking period we institute a money system in fifth grade.  I tell my students they are entering the real world where they get paid for doing their expected jobs and for going above and beyond. Plus, just like in the real world, they will now have to use that money to pay weekly bills and for extra privileges and fun stuff.

Students start earning money for those daily expectations (that are falling to pieces as summer nears) like: getting their assignment planner signed nightly, turning in completed homework assignments, being in class and in seats when the bell rings, returning signed notes and classroom newsletters, etc. On average, students can earn $5 a day for accomplishing these expected jobs. (It's amazing how fake money can put those expectation pieces right back together again)

Students start paying daily for lunch/recess.  They pay a weekly rent fee and Fun Friday fee.  Those who complete their daily jobs, have more than enough money to pay for all of their daily and weekly bills with some left over to save for our O'Bryan sales.

They can also earn money by following directions quickly, lining up quietly, keeping desks clean and neat, and/or basically whatever desired behaviors I'm expecting at certain times.  Waving a few O'Bryan bucks in the air and stating, "I'm looking for who lines up the quietest," is pure magic at this time of the year.  These additional dollars build up and can be spent when I randomly offer extra privileges like free choice in the computer lab, extra recess, or sit by a friend or work with a partner time, etc.

However, not all students will be able to pay their daily bills or participate in the extra privileges because either they did not complete their daily jobs or they lost money through fines.  Students can be fined money for not achieving the desired expectations - talking during instruction, not following directions, transitioning or lining up loudly, etc.  A few times of having to miss out on the extra fun privileges or not having any money to spend at an O'Bryan sale, and these students are working their hardest to earn O'Bryan bucks the next day.  No lie, I have a student who hasn't turned in a homework assignment on time all year - and has now started to slowly turn things in to earn O'Bryan bucks.  It's sad that it took fake money and not self motivation to accomplish this feat, but hey, whatever works, right?

I'm sure you're wondering by now, "What is an O'Bryan sale?"  This is the cheapest, easiest form of entertainment you can offer your students.  Essentially an O'Bryan sale is a yard sale in your classroom where students can purchase items with their O'Bryan bucks.  I keep things all year long (bookmarks from Scholastic, books and posters I no longer want, toys my own children have outgrown, clearance items I find at Target, etc).  I also invite the students to bring in items they can sell in their own sections of the O'Bryan sale.  It's like a subdivision garage sale! Most of them bring in items of their own they no longer want (with parent permission of course), things they make like loom bracelets, duct tape creations, cookies, and other sorts of stuff.

We hold two O'Bryan sales. One half way through the fourth marking period and the other at the end.  We just held the half way through sale a week ago.  Students had a great time using their hard earned bucks to buy goodies, and earning some bucks as well.  After the sale, students now have a renewed purpose to earn as many O'Bryan bucks as they can for the final sale the last week of school.


Not only are the students learning that hard work and good choices pay off, but they are also realizing how to budget and save for their bills as well as when they can afford to spend money for the "extras" in life.  They're having fun and my sanity is safe.......for now!

Happy last few days of school to all my teacher friends!  What are you doing to save your sanity? I'd love to hear.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rockin' Out Revolutionary War Style

I have always thought that fifth grade Social Studies is so interesting to teach (and hopefully interesting to learn!).  My favorite unit of the year is the American Revolution.  There are so many fascinating people and events for the kids to discover. What makes it better than ever to teach now is all of the free resources you can find that really draw the students in and pique their interest.

"The Story Behind the Boston Massacre" is a great documentary from Discovery Education.  It's available on United Streaming, and I even found it on YouTube.  Scientists and historians analyze evidence and accounts of the event and try to figure out what really happened.  My students were glued to the screen!

Melissa from Wild About Fifth Grade led me to another one of my new favorites a couple years ago.  "Too Late To Apologize:  A Declaration"  is a satirical video based on One Republic's "Apologize".  If you have never seen this, you must watch it!

Sorry, One Republic, I prefer this version...an electric guitar playing Ben Franklin?!  Who can beat that?  Your kids will ask to watch it over and over!  

I created a handout to go along with the video...

that you can grab for free at my TPT Store!  Enjoy!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Human Body, Anyone?

If you are a 5th grade teacher, you probably do a fair amount of teaching about the human body.

Sometimes it's informal, like: "Please remember the importance of a shower and deodorant every day!" If you teach upper grades, you KNOW what I'm talking about...

And sometimes, it's more formal learning about all of the body's amazing systems and how they interact.

We have just wrapped up our study of the human body in our science class. In order to learn about each system, their important organs and functions and how they all interact, we started out by thinking about our prior knowledge and then questions we had. We started with the digestive system, but you could start with whichever one you want (or the one your district suggests).

Throughout our research, we used several free online resources that I wanted to share with all of the awesome Fifth Grade Freebies followers!

Discovery Kids
The Discovery Kids website has great articles about each of the major body systems. They are fact-filled and interesting to read. You can even print them out if technology isn't readily available at your school! Once you are on the site, just search for the system you want and look for the articles!

Kids Health


Kids Health is a website with TONS, and I mean TONS of information. There are articles for parents, kids, teens and resources for teachers. They have great videos too, with activities and printables.


What I love about Biology4Kids is the articles have a video at the end of each one that is related to the system you are reading about. For example, after the article about the skeletal system there is a cool video about bionic limbs! The kids loved watching it.

Computer Simulations

One of the kids' favorite things to do during this research phase was the computer simulations. The one the 5th graders liked the best was the digestive system. They could pick any food from the table and ride along through the digestive process. I'll let you see for yourself if the simulation goes ALL the way through...

These were just a few of the websites and resources out there to help kids access information about the human body!

What resources do you use to teach about the human body in your classroom?