Got to Teach!: December 2014

Student Birthdays

I have always felt that it was important for student birthdays to be recognized in the classroom.  It makes students feel special and it contributes to a sense of class community.  Here are just a few simple ways to acknowledge student birthdays without interfering with precious instructional time.

1. Note From You:  This makes a student's year!  I love watching a student's face when they approach their desk in the morning to find a note waiting for them.  I have had students hang on to these for the entire year, or even longer. 

2. Homework Pass:  My fifth grades would go crazy for a homework pass!  I usually excused them from an entire night's homework, but you could also make them a pass that would just excuse them from one assignment.

3. Birthday Pencil:  You can get some pretty cool looking pencils that don't cost a lot of money.  Check out the usual "deal spots": Target, Big Lots, Oriental Trading, etc.

To help you organize all the birthdays in your classroom, I made this fun poster that you can download for free! 

The size for the poster is 11 x 17 (tabloid).  I printed my poster at FedEx Office for $1.30.  I placed it in a really inexpensive frame from Target; it was only $6 and it's super light, which will make it easy to hang.

Just pop your poster in this frame, grab a Vis-a-Vis or dry-erase marker, and write your students' names on the glass.  You now have a classroom birthday poster for less than $8 that you can use for years to come!

Side-view of the frame.
How do you celebrate your students' birthdays?

Standards for Mathematical Practices {Free Posters}

I've been in "math mode" for the last several weeks as I have been working on my Brain Power Math resources.  I started to take a serious look at the CC Standards for Mathematical Practices. These 8 Practices can really empower your students as mathematicians.  I made this set of legal-sized (8.5 x 14) posters to help teachers and students understand and use the practices.  You can download them for free {HERE}.  I printed this set at my local FedEx Office for $5.10!
Standards for Mathematical Practices

Each standard needs to be explicitly taught to students through direct modeling.  However, once students become familiar with them, these posters will be helpful visual cues in your classroom.

Standards for Mathematical Practices

If you are looking for a nice break down of each of the 8 MP, check out this post from Scholastic.  It provides some really helpful examples of each.




Shrinky Dinks Cell Models

I recently developed a slight obsession with Shrinky Dinks. It was one of my favorite crafting activities as a child, and now as a mom, my daughter is having fun with it too.   If you've never used it, it's basically thin sheets of plastic that you can cut and color and then bake in the oven, where it shrinks.  For this project, I recommend the frosted type of Shrinky Dinks; this allows your students to use colored pencils on the plastic.  You can purchase sheets of Shrinky Dinks online or at your local craft store.
Cell Model

 Download these animal and plant cell templates for free here:
Cell Models

Using painter's tape, secure the Shrinky Dinks sheet on top of the cell template, with the frosted side up.  Each cell uses one whole sheet of plastic.  Using a fine-tip Sharpie, outline the cell.
Cell Models

Remove the tape and color the cell with colored pencils.  Trim around the cell and use a hole punch to make a hole on the edge of the cell; this way students can place it on a ring, chain, etc.
Cell Models

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Place the pieces face down on a cookie sheet that is covered in parchment paper or a layer of brown paper bag.  Once the pieces are totally flat (about 5-7 minuets), take them out to cool.
Cell Models

Cell Models

This is such a fun way to have students learn the various organelles of plant and animal cells!

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