Sunday, 28 July 2013

Recycling Packaging Material to make 3D Shapes


Ooh! Can you believe that you can make these yourself? Well, most of them. All you need is packaging material like the spongy polymer type as seen above, a craft knife, and a steady hand. If you're a hoarder like me, you can always save anything that is soft, cut-able, yet durable to cut into cuboids, cubes or prisms because you only need straight line cuts for those. For the cylinders, I cut off sections from the ends of my pool noodles. What? A pool noodle does not have to be so long...

As for the spheres, those are the only ones I bought, I got them at a craft store. They sell them to be used to create bouquets, pin cushions and other crafty stuff. I also saw Styrofoam cones too but they were too large. Anyway, it was a fun experience to discover ways of recycling to make solids and they are really quiet to handle in the classroom. That's an added perk. So I encourage you to try it sometime!

...Teacher Nyla

Free Bulletin Board Labels

Free Classroom Labels for Bulletin board centers


Bulletin Board labels for your classroom.  26 Labels 2"h x 4"w each with cute graphics appealing to young students.

 The labels are: 
Opposite MatchToday’s PatternWord of the DayCalendarGraph QuestionFact FamilyExpanded NotationToday’s AnalogyWord FamilyDays of the WeekMonths of the YearDateline & WeatherHundreds BoardClockCoin CounterDaily DepositorU. S. MapWorld MapProblem of the DayPlace ValueProbability, Today’s TallyMissing ObjectToday's PurchaseCount the Stars, and Numberline.

Just print, laminate and cut the cards out! 
bulletin Board ideas
Get it at TPT!

Comparing Movies to Books - Free Worksheets

Movies can be more than entertainment. In the classroom, they can be integrated into book study lessons which would encourage the reluctant readers to become actively engaged in fact finding missions (here's one below by Rachel Lynette).  
You can also check out this blog post by Jessica at Fifth Grade Freebies: The Move vs The Book. It's a really fantastic collection of graphic organizers that were created specifically for comparing books to movies.

I've used the approach by Teaching Ideas in my class last year using the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book and DVD. It was a very age-appropriate reading level for them and they loved the high quality animation of the movie. My students were really eager to read through the book, knowing that a movie version was next. The only problem was that they wanted more movies... ha! I couldn't make any promises because as a teacher, I have so much work to cover. However, I was able to do it again at the end of the term with Disney's Cinderella and one of our Cinderella books.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Elapsed Time Rulers for quickly finding Duration Time

Time is one of my favorite topics to teach and elapsed time does not have to be as tricky as it may seem. Many students have to find their own way of working out an elapsed time problem. The abstract way of just working it out by adding and subtracting is too difficult for students who need to really 'see' and visualize the time period in question. 

Elapsed Time Ruler printablesWhat do students need to learn in order to understand elapsed time? First of all, they need to know that even though an analog clock only shows twelve hours, there are actually twenty-four hours in a day. Elapsed time rulers can be use to demonstrate this. I use the 24 hour ruler (a laminated printable so it's bendable) by curving it into a circle so that the 12:00 a.m. point is overlapped onto the other 12:00 a.m. that is on the other end of the ruler, exactly 24 hours further down. The circle will help them to see the continuous cycle of day and night. Students also need to know that to find elapsed time, they must know the starting time and finishing time. And likewise, if they are already given the elapsed time, they can use it to find the finishing time if given the starting time, and vice versa.

The picture above shows how elapsed time rulers can be used like a number line for students to count on from the starting time to the completion time of an event. The rulers give students a visual picture of the time span and with enough practice, students can visualize time spans in their heads better than they previously could have. This has given my students an easier and faster alternative to solely using their working columns to calculate the answers.

I decided to color-code the elapsed time rulers to match our clocks from Learning Resources by having red stokes for the hours (upper half) and blue strokes for the minutes (lower half). Five minute and fifteen minute increments are also shown in blue. I wanted to have consistency in this because the color-coded Learning Resources Clocks have really made it easier for them to learn about time when I was teaching it and I know that many other teachers out there use these clocks as well. 

My elapsed time rulers are available in three different time spans:
  • 24 hour rulers
  • a.m. 12 hour rulers
  • p.m. 12 hour rulers
Elapsed Time Rulers for math

The set is available here at my TpT collection and teachers can print them on transparent sheets to use with an overhead projector to demonstrate their use. Each ruler is 31.5cm long (that's just over a foot long). To print them out for the students, use 8.5 x 14 (legal) sized paper to accommodate the full length of the rulers. The rulers shown in the preview here are the 12:00 a.m (midnight) to 12:00 p.m. (noon) 12 hour rulers. Check it out to see more pictures!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Synonym Word Wall with Pictures

Word Wall - synonyms Synonym Word Wall

Looking for a visual display of synonyms? This is an illustrated Synonym Word Wall set which contains sixty pairs of synonyms on large word cards and a large definition sentence strip. Each word card also has corresponding pictures that I have carefully selected to portray the meaning of each word. A black and white version is also included for you to print on colored sheets of paper.

Each page (legal sized) holds three word cards. Your students can study three word sets each week using a color coding system; just print each page of the black and white version on a different colored paper and you can let them focus on a new color each week or more sets of words if you wish.

Here is the complete synonym list in the order that they appear.

Set 1 for grades 2 to 3:
Object/thing, observe/watch, angry/mad, assist/help, begin/start, bad/awful, below/under, bother/annoy, buy/purchase, close/shut, connect/join, combine/mix, easy/simple, equal/same, smart/intelligent, law/rule, lucky/fortunate, calm/peaceful, name/title, silent/quiet, rescue/save, trash/garbage, raise/lift, unusual/strange.

Set 2 for grades 3, 4 and over:
Synonyms-Word-WallAccomplish/Achieve, answer/reply, artificial/man made, bargain/deal, choose/select, collect/gather, complete/finish, danger/hazard, empty/vacant, faithful/loyal, genuine/real, job/occupation, last/final, value/worth, order/sequence, reliable/dependable, brief/concise, casual/informal, clear/transparent, country/nation, enlarge/magnify, previous/former, instructions/directions, float/drift, hurry/rush, many/numerous, praise/compliment, dive/plunge, inspect/examine, necessary/required, beg/implore, amiable/friendly, gallant/brave, annul/cancel, abandon/forsake, sad/melancholy.

These cards seen right above are a few from Set 1. The entire set is available for purchase here at my TpT Store. I'd love for you to check it out!

You may also be interested in my Synonym Matching Game...

Friday, 12 July 2013

Tips for Using the Kindle in the Classroom

I have been toying with a new idea for my class - using Kindles to promote literacy. I've seen my fellow teacher bloggers in the US do it successfully with their students with both iPads and Kindles. I decided to chose the Kindle over the iPads or other tablet brands because I think that tablet use could be difficult to control because they are so powerful, I would not want students to use it for games or anything that is not encouraging them to read. However, with a simple Kindle e-reader like the Kindle Paperwhite, its use is strictly for reading so I wouldn't have to worry about my class turning unto an arcade. I think that this is the way to go in terms of monitoring and sharing the content that I would want my students to read.

I did some research and found some tips for using the Kindle in the Classroom:

  • The first thing you should do with your students is to establish ground rules for using the Kindles. This will promote order and harmony and also keep the Kindles in good working order. Click here to download a free word doc of Kindle Rules created by Wise Guys at TpT and click here to download his editable Kindle use letter to parents. 
  • It is also important to ID each Kindle and keep a logging system so that you'll always know where your Kindle readers are. Download Wise Guys' Free log sheet here.
  • When they are in use, encourage your students to use the dictionary tool. Kindle readers give you the ability to highlight a word and look up its meaning. For students reading difficult texts, this can very helpful to them and it will increase their vocabulary.
  • Different students read at different proficiency levels, but with the anonymity of the Kindle reader, no one will know who’s reading what. So beginner readers do not have to be embarrassed to read among the other students.
  • Free books! Many classics—such as works by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen—are now available for free on the Kindle. Students can read these masterful works for learning and pleasure. Click here to download a list of Free Kindle books for schools created by Wise Guys!
  • Using Wispercast - Schools can now centrally manage a Kindle reading program using Whispercast, Amazon's free self-service tool. I included this YouTube video about using the Kindle at school. It's an introduction to Wispercast.

I must admit that getting used to my e-reader seemed overwhelming at first but I am ready to introduce it to my students. They have a knack for catching on to any thing that looks like a gadget so I think they'll love it.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

How to sell your own digital teaching materials


Many teachers are asking the same question: How do I create and sell my own teaching materials? Of course, they already have their own lesson plans that they created but what they are really asking is: How do I make it work for another teacher? How do I market it? Which internet platform should I use? There are many answers to these questions and many options available. Here's what you will need:

You will need an internet host like Teachers pay Teachers, I recommend this site because it is the most user friendly (but there are others out there that are also very good). I first started off with TpT in March 2011. The first file that you upload onto their site must be free. You can add a price to the bigger files. I use Microsoft Word, Power Point and Publisher to make different types of files. Don't over think things when you are creating something and never rush it. Just use what works for your students. Let them be your inspiration. The site has a forum for sellers that is very very helpful. All of my questions has always been answered there and everyone in that community is very supportive. When you are joining the site, join as a basic seller and after a few months when you get the hang of things you can upgrade to being a premium seller.

 You will need to create a logo. Here's a post I did about how I created mine. You will also need to find clip art for your products. There are many sellers on the site that make clip art. I strongly recommend that you use that option. This is a blog post I wrote about where to find free clip art on the web for classroom use. Some of those sites will let you use it for commercial purposes, you will have to check their Terms of Use first.

When I first started, I was doing OK, then I met someone in the seller's forum Charity Preston, who was just starting her blogging tutorials. I signed up for her Teaching Blog Traffic School course and it has really helped me with the marketing aspect of things. Marketing is just as important as creating. Here's a link to more of what I think of it and how it has helped me.

That's about it (for the basics). I hope that this information will be helpful to you and I will be adding more information to this post on a regular basis so you can always check back for updates!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Prefix and Suffix Fall Harvest Activity

Prefix and Suffix Autumn Activities

This is my very first Autumn/Fall themed activity for prefixes and suffixes. It’s time to gather up the autumn affix leaves and sort them into the special bowls that are labelled with the prefix or suffix that matches the root word on each leaf. This set contains:
  • 8 prefix bowl labels and 8 suffix bowl labels.
  • 2 pages of fall leaves for you to print on green, yellow, orange and red sheets of paper, then cut out.
  • 32 root word cards for prefixes to print and cut out then stick each word onto a different leaf.
  • 32 root word cards for suffixes to print and cut out then stick each word onto a different leaf.
The prefixes featured for each bowl are un, dis, in, ir, im, re, pre, and mis. The suffixes are able, ible, ful, less, ness, ly, ment, and er. It is here available for $2.50 at my TpT Store. Or just click on the picture above to take you there.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Circus Prepositions - Picture and Sentence Flash Cards


Circus Prepositions - Parts of SpeechCircus Prepositions - Picture and Sentence CardsThis is a circus themed set of flashcards which includes a quick introduction to propositions, preposition facts and a preposition word list. Twenty of the most popular prepositions are used in sentences as students read about what’s happening at the circus. Definitions of each word are also included. The words are presented in alphabetical order and each card is numbered for easy sorting and grouping. Each card has a hole-punch mark for you to punch holes through and keep them on a ring for your literacy stations. You can get it here (it's on sale) at my TpT collection.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Our Class Garden - Okra

We have started a garden this term with a very easy to handle short-term crop - ochro (that's what we call it here, I know it's called 'okra' internationally). A lot of good things have come out of this experience for my students:

They have shown that they can be responsible and reliable. They water their plants and harvest the ochro every two to three days.  I saw teamwork - I chose the groupings because I did not want friends to work with each other, leaving out any of the lone rangers. Each plant had three caretakers. I remember a few weeks ago when I had to show them how to do thinning out, one girl had tears in her eyes because we were about to 'kill' one of her plants. I had to explain that it was for the greater good, etc. I ended up leaving one of the extra plants as being two plants in a hole to prove to them that it is thin out to one plant per hole and now that we are harvesting, they can now see why thinning out works. All of the plants were blooming and are now producing ochroes except for the two plants that were not thinned out (and these plants are a lot smaller than the other plants too). 

By the way, have you ever eaten raw ockra? As long as it is young and still tender, it tastes really good (with a pinch of salt), just ask my students!

About Me

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As a Caribbean primary school teacher, I share my unique classroom with the world through this blog. Readers step into my class through the pictures, articles and classroom samples of games and lessons used in my class. I have been teaching since 2005 at the std. 4 primary level in Trinidad and Tobago. I am particularly interested in sharing my own personal lesson plans, tests and activities. Teachers need to share ideas and support each other because in doing so, we help to educate our students and develop ourselves as teachers. Technology is ever evolving and we as teachers should get on board with it, collaborate and keep up to date with this new age that we live in. Our students belong to this technological era and we must embrace opportunities to learn from each other in this global community. I also love to express my creativity in the classroom. I am a bit of a craftster . So I'm always cutting, gluing or making something... a game, a chart, a learning center, etc. So, teachers and parents, feel free to stop by and see what's new at Nyla's Crafty Teaching!