Wednesday, July 31, 2019


I'm guessing that every teacher deals with certain days of the year when standard instruction is, well, a challenge. Halloween, Valentine's Day, the day before a long break, special days in the school or community.... The days when kids are [more than usual] easily pulled off-task. 

I call these days "days of concession" because I just concede them to the kids and move on. I don't want the day to be a total waste though, so on these days I frequently take a break in what we are doing in class and do something different related to the holiday if appropriate. 

My kids LOVE engineering design projects. Building catapults for "Punkin Chunkin" or space craft to "Protect a Peep" are big hits with my 6th graders. There are so many examples on the interwebs that finding something to do is super easy. A quick modification to make the activity suitable for the holiday or time constraints, and you have something that will engage students AND provide a worthwhile learning experience. Win-Win.

My activities for days of concession can be found HERE.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Collaborative Learning - Team Jobs

Often I see suggestions for assigning students specific roles or tasks during labs; jobs like investigator, materials manager, scribe, and so on. I have never been very good about using these in my classroom. My next-door neighbor, however, is an absolute ninja with them. Her students run like the proverbial well-oiled machine. It's amazing.

Watching her classes has inspired me to give it a shot again. The thing is - I don't want to use the same jobs all of the time. Different activities call for different jobs. Soooo, I created a list of the different things I need students to do at various times. When I want students to have jobs, I randomly pass out cards with the job descriptions to groups. Which cards I use depends on the activity we are doing in class.

I'm going all-in with the the job cards this year.  I will update this post after I see how it works out :) 

You can find my job cards HERE.