Sunday, June 17, 2012

Brainstorming: Activities for Block

     My mind is still spinning with ideas as I reflect on last week's Curriculum Camp.  Switching to Block Schedule, 90 minute sessions everyday, has me thinking about the number of activities I need to plan for each class period.  We will be on 4 x 4, where the students will take 4 classes for the 1st semester and 4 classes during the 2nd semester.  I was thinking that if I were teaching the same subject to different students both semesters, I could simply reuse the ideas and activities that worked during the Fall and tweak or discard those that didn't quite go as planned.  However, I do not teach the same subject twice, but I do teach the same students both semester - aaah!  No re-gifting activites :)
     I like to have one extra, over the top little something going on once a week.  Often, it centers around some sort of assessment of knowledge, which allows the students to continue to practice the big ideas beyond a worksheet or problems from the end of the chapter (Eww - Who really likes 40 practice problems lined up like neat little soldiers?)  During the Curriculum Camp we briefly touched on using games in the classroom, so I started ReALly thinking about "beyond the normal" ideas.  My motto is AlwAys: Go BIG or Go HomE!!! Here is what I came up with so far:
Human Graphing: Use tape to make a huge coordinate plane on the floor. Assign each student a number.  I thought it would be fun to pin their numbers to their shirts like runners get at a marathon to make them true Mathletes!  This would be their "number" to plug into parent functions. They would then graph themselves on the coordinate plane.
Human Fooseball: How can this be educational??? I don't know, but it looks so fun that I have to try it!!! The only thing I can come up with so far is have teams who score a goal, answer a review question for an "extra" point.  If the team, cannot correctly answer the question, the opposing team gets a turn to steal.
Giant Sorry: The game Sorry has about 20 -24 pieces - perfect to get all students involved.  I thought I could tape pre-determined questions to the floor in the shape of the Sorry game board.  As the students move around the game board, they would need to correctly answer questions or face a penalty of moving backwards.
Dance, Dance Revolution: I ordered these last year and have yet to unpack them :/
Amazing Race with Google Earth: I have found lots of ideas online for creating a classroom Amazing Race.  I am still sorting through this to make it applicable to my subject matter.
GeoCaching: I love online caches, but I was thinking something outside.
QR Code Scavenger Hunt:  Finally, found something that will work. I will share more later!
Snapguides: Have students create tutorials using Snapguide
Screencasts: Assign each student a question from the study guide to create a tutorial.  Post screencasts on an interactive study guide using Dabbleboard, Google presentation, or Prezi
Write a Short Story: The Story of X and how he found himself.  Publish short stories on class blog.
100's Chart Game: One of my all time favorites that I usually use on St. Paddy's Day.
Algebra vs The Cockroaches: Online flash game
Graph a Wave Party: Intro activity to introduce graphing trig waves complete with a little beach ball fun.
Clue: Maybe this year I can add costumes??? I found a great example of how others have embellished the activity with lots of props.  I can't wait to transform my own classroom!!!
You Tube Turkey Hunt: Ok, technically this is a worksheet, but the students find a prize on You Tube and then get cupcakes at the feast.  CuPcAkeS and MaTh - no better morning!!!
Jenga: Not sure about this one.  I need to have someone who has actually played Jenga help me, but in the meantime, I have found a great example of how the game was used as a test prep tool.
Virtual Piano: I will be using this at Christmas time this year.  Self-checking activity in which students complete multiple choice questions and then play their answers on the keyboard.  If the answers are correct, the answers should yield a recognizable tune.  The students did not recognize the fight song last year; maybe they will get Jingle Bells easier.
ClassTools' War of Worlds: This is my standard "go-to" activity that I use for Open House, Back to School Night, and test review.  The students never realize they are working 30 plus problems in a matter of minutes.
Socrative's Space Race: I need to think of Space Prizes to make this activity OuT of ThiS WoRLd.  Maybe this is where I can use the black light and glow in the dark bracelets.  I still trying to think of a way to incorporate these into an activity.
Hula Hoop Venn Diagrams: Why do graphic organizers need to be limited to a sheet a paper.  Why not make them a group activity by making them life size?  (I know, it is obvious I have become a bit obsessed with life sized games, but they look so fun.  Take a quick peek at Scrabble and Chess.  I am thinking these might be fun to play at lunch one day:)
     While this list is in no way comprehensive, it does give me a spring board for planning lessons on the block.  Some activities I have done before; others, I still need to wrap my mind around.  WhAt am I MiSSinG?  Do YOU have an AcTivIty that YOU will ShAre with me?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Curriculum Camp 2012: Ideas to Engage, Enrich and Inspire

     This year marked Evangel's fourth annual Curriculum Camp!  The three day, fun filled event was packed again this summer, as participants learned more about teaching on block schedule, using qr codes to enrich lessons, flipping the classroom, and professional development opportunities accessible from home.
On Day 1, Cathy Carroll introduced a quote by John Strebe, "Teaching in a block schedule is like eternity, and eternity is spent in one of two places."  According to Cathy, planning will make all of the difference.  She was supposed to share a wealth of ideas for teaching English on block.  What we quickly realized however, was that this mAstEr TeaCHeR was sharing GreEAt teaching StraTeGies that would work in AnY SuBjeCt.  Her practical tips included having students record notes on butcher paper posted around the room, allowing students to write on the board, giving students graphic organizers to complete during direct instruction, whiteboard races, red ticket review, exit slips, pipe cleaner structures, old timey show and tell (students bring something from home related to content being studied), incorporating music in the classroom (maybe have the students select songs that relate to content), work one - check one (pairs of students are assigned two problems each works JUST one and checks the other), and voting with your feet (students stand by a poster with a number 1 - 3 that reflects how much they agree or disagree with the topic being discussed).  This veteran teacher of 37 years encouraged us to inspire students to become lifelong learners by making the content relevant to their lives.  She said, "If you show the kids how the subject relates to them, THEN they will learn it."
     Kim Caise was booked to discuss QR Codes in the classroom.  Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties we were unable to connect to Kim live, but we were able to link to a previously recorded Classroom 2.0 Live session.  With phones loaded with QR readers like I-Nigma and BeeTag, we followed along as we saw QR codes placed in textbooks, on artwork, in libraries, and more! The webinar made such an impression that everyone continued to discuss the use of these quick read codes for the duration of the camp.
Image and More Info
     On Day 2, our own Kathleen Frey introduced the idea of flipping the classroom.  In a flipped class, a teacher leverages technology outside of class in order to maximize class time for student interaction, discussions, and projects. This idea caused quite a stir as camp attendees contemplated the possibilities.
     Paula Naugle joined us via Skype to present PD in Your PJs.  She shared a wealth of free resources in which participants can use learn about anything at almost anytime.  Some of Paula's favorites include webinars, YouTube channels, podcasts, Twitter, Diigo, and Pinterest.  From #edchats to Saturday morning educational programming, resources are readily available to continue to grow professionally.
The PoWEr of CoLLaBorAtion :)
     On Day 3, Charity Moran of Baton Rouge led us through Standards Based Planning for Block.  Charity modeled great teaching on the block during the 90 minute presentation in which she shared a unit planning web, lesson planning graphic organizer, lesson planning menu (my favorite!), an activity scaffolding template, and a sample for planning for science differentiation.  We practiced planning for the first day of school, the tenth day of the year, and sometime near midterm:

Oh, so many ideas packed into just three short mornings!  Thank you to all who presented and those who attended.  I don't know about you, but the collaboration and camaraderie left me feeling ENeRGizEd, ExciTed, and EaGeR for next year.