Sunday, September 20, 2015

Motivating Kids to Clean!

Here's a great little tip that will motivate your students to clean like they have never cleaned before!  It's called Mystery Trash!  At the end of the day, I walk around the room and find three things that need to be picked up and thrown away, or put away, or simply straightened.  You need to be very sneaky so the students can't tell what you are noticing!  Then I tell my students to go and find the Mystery Trash!

I try to watch and see who has taken care of each item.  Once they are all done (or we are out of time), I tell the students to return to their seats.  Then I announce the winners who each get a piece of gum or candy.

I especially love the first time I do Mystery Trash with my students!  I pick a couple things like a small piece of paper on the floor or a pencil that was dropped, but then I always pick something like a book that was crooked on the book rack or a tissue box that wasn't perfectly in the corner.  They never get that last item on the first day, but after I announce the winners I say, "And the last Mystery Trash item that no one got was...this book!  Look at how it's crooked on the book rack!  We can't have that!"

The kids' eyes get wide and they say, "What?!"  They can't believe I'm that picky!  But you should see them clean and straighten the next day!  It's a beautiful sight!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

3 FREE Math games your class will love!

Hey y'all! This is Kristen from Chalk & Apples. I hope everyone is settling into a fantastic school year. Today, I wanted to share a few quick and easy (and of course FREE) math games that my students are loving this year. They're all free and require little to no prep. Check them out!


This is my go-to game for the end of the day when we are lined up, waiting to be called for dismissal. My class loves it! Beth from Adventures of a Schoolmarm blogged about it in detail at Classroom Tested Resources a little while back, so you can read all the details in her post.

Basically, I think of a number, tell my class how many digits it is, and they start guessing. After each guess, I tell how many digits are correct and how many are in the correct place value. We also discuss whether guesses are logical or not based on the previous information. This is a great time to build some common sense skills! (For example if a student guesses 325 and I say that 1 digit is correct AND in the correct place value, 476 is not a logical next guess because the student has changed all of the digits when we knew one was correct.) Grab all the details & instructions free in Beth's TPT store!


This is another student favorite! I use it mostly during centers, although it made a great whole-group time filler when our power suddenly went out - for TWO hours! It's played much like Scattergories, where the most unique answers win. Students learned quickly that the easiest answers would likely get used by many of their classmates, and that they needed to think outside the box if they wanted to win. This freebie is for different ways to make a number, but the same game rules can be applied to lots of math concepts, like equivalent fractions, multiples, etc. Get the recording sheets and game instructions in my TPT store!

Odd One Out

This game was shared by Cassie from Funky in Fourth last year on Teaching Trio, and my class loves it! She has all the details in her post, plus a free game sheet. Students place 15 chips onto the game board. Then they take turns removing chips from only one row. The goal is to NOT be the last person to remove chips from the board. I love the way it gets kids thinking about their strategies and adjusting mid-game. Grab the freebie here!

What games do you play with your students? I'm always on the lookout for new games for our math workshop time! 

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