Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Pinterest inspired me to give homemade gifts for school Christmas presents. I actually came up with ideas for my boys teachers without stealing them from someone else, and they didn't include they typical coffee mugs that teachers always end up with!

Homemade cake balls:

1 tub for each teacher and a jar-full for daycare.

At school, our Student Council gave baggies of Jolly Ranchers to all of the staff:

~Mrs. Scott

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Geometry Ornaments

The Christmas tree in my classroom was needing some decorating, so I took the opportunity to review geometry with my students.

This would make a great classroom lesson for lower grade levels (4-7th). I bought some gumdrops from Walmart (mini marshmallows work too, but aren't as colorful), and used left over spaghetti noodles and toothpicks.

Students build 3-dimensional shapes (could work with 2-d shapes too) using the supplies given. We built cubes, triangular prisms & pyramids, rectangular prisms & pyramids, and then students calculated the number of faces, edges, and vertices, and showed me which side they would use to calculate "B," the area of the base.

~Mrs. Scott

Friday, December 9, 2011


This is why I love being a Student Council Sponsor:

Tonight I am organizing 76 gifts from our Fall service project: adopt-a-family. This year we have adopted a family with a single mom and four children, ages 5, 8, 9, and 11 years old.

Our members stepped up and really took care of this family, ensuring they have a wonderful Christmas. One of our members even purchased gifts (including shoes for mom) with her own money because she said a few years ago, she was "one of those families." What a perfect way to pay it forward!

Anyone who complains about "kids these days" needs to step into a junior high and see that there are plenty of children (teenagers too!) with huge hearts!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Character Day!

Every year my school has the annual Book Fair set up in our library. This is an awesome fundraiser for the library and a fabulous way to get children excited about books! On the last day of the book fair my school celebrates Book Character Day and my team L.O.V.E.S. it! On Book Character Day everyone (students, teachers, aides, principals,etc) dress up as their favorite book character and we all sit in the hallway and parade around the school showing off our costumes and celebrating books.

A few years ago my team started to notice that students were dressing up less and less which made us very sad. So we decided to help parents out and figured out a way to include the entire class or grade level in dressing up without putting too much work on the parents. I work in a Title 1 school and my parents are more worried about putting food on the table and paying their light bills than Book Character Day. So, thus was born the First Grade Book Character themes....

Our first year we chose the book 101 Dalmations. We had the students bring white shirts and used sponges to add the black spots. The students also made dog ears to wear using sentence strips and construction paper ears. Then the next year we did...

Where's Waldo??? The students yet again brought white shirts and we used A.L.O.T. of red duct tape! Our principals even got in on the Waldo craziness that year!

Last year we each chose a different version of the book "There Was an Old Lady.." I did the Old Lady that Swallowed Some Leaves. I had the kids bring a fall colored shirt and we used the awesome art teacher's cool leaf stamps and stamped leaves on their shirts. Then a few students carried important items for the story such as a shirt, pants, and finally I had a student dressed up as a scarecrow.

This year to go with our school Royal Quest theme, we decided to dress up as different fairy tail princesses. We had Belle, Pocahontas, Princess Jasmine, Cinderella, Mulan, Princess Ada from Bug's Life, and Tiana from Princess and the Frog.  We found our costumes on clearance after Halloween two weeks ago and had our classes dress up as different things from the story. My neighbor Belle actually drew Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts on posterboard then attached it to boxes and had students wear those. They were so cute! I wish I could show you their pictures! I did the story Princess and the Frog because I had to throw my frogs in there! My students wore green shirts and made absolutely adorable frog masks in art with the help of my very fabulous BFF art teacher.

Now looking for ideas for next year..... 364 days and counting!!!

Mrs. Halbardier


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interactive Whiteboard Game Library

A couple of months ago I wrote a grant to receive a library of interactive educational video games from Lakeshore Learning for the whiteboard (our classes are all equipped with Mimio touch screens). Today I found out that I got it to use with my kids in tutoring!!!

Math Library

Here are a few of the sections that I wrote for the grant application. (You are welcome to steal):

I. Description (Project Overview):
Provide a simple descriptive summary of why you believe there is a need for this project, program, special purchase, or other funding from the Foundation, or what essential benefit could result from funding of your grant.

According to a national survey conducted by the National Institute on Media and the Family:

•92% of children and adolescents 2-17 years old play video games.

•The average child spends between 20-33 minutes a day playing video games, with “tween” boys playing an average of 47 minutes per day.

•African American and Hispanic youth, as well as kids from low and middle income communities spend more time playing video games than other populations.

•The design features of the interactive electronic games have been found to improve skills such as spatial visualization, problem solving, fine motor, and visual attention.

The students coming through our schools are all members of the new technology generation. They have been exposed to the visual stimulation and instant gratification our world now has to offer since birth, making incorporating technology in our classrooms essential for capturing students attention and making lessons more enjoyable.

Lakeshore has created interactive whiteboard software, that comes in the form of a cd-rom to be inserted into a computer and projected on the board and played using our touch screen pens.

II. Objective:
The objective(s) that you develop should directly relate to the need you described above. It should describe the single most important result that you expect to achieve with this project or program. It should also explain how it is going to help you teach or improve your students’ comprehension, enthusiasm, or other educational component.

My goal is for all students to be successful in reading and mathematics through engaging activities! Students who have experienced failure in the past are more apprehensive to attempt the same concept again and end up missing the value and fun in learning. To regain their interest, lessons have to be exciting and engaging.

The action and adventure these games provide initially capture the students attention, and is quickly followed by their competitive nature keeping them motivated to stay involved and work with classmates to be successful. Best of all, the needs of every type of learning style is addressed! Visual learners enjoy the bright graphics and animation the games display. Auditory learners are captivated by music and sound effects, as well as problem solving with teams. The kinesthetic learners, whose learning style typically gets the least amount attention within the classroom, are thrilled to get out of their seats and use the projected technology from the board!

Reading objectives addressed:

•Making Inferences- Students snowboard down a hazardous mountain by reading short passages and correctly answering follow-up inference questions.
•Main Idea- Players practice identifying main ideas as they zip around the mall on a shopping spree, where correct answers put money in their pockets for their purchases!
•Reading Comprehension- A winding maze where students build comprehension skills as they race to capture the flag while answering comprehension questions covering main idea, vocabulary, and inferences.
•Reading for Information- Children try to escape the perils of Shipwreck Island by answering questions that challenge them to recall facts and details, analyze text, and read for meaning.
•Cause and Effect- Teams explore cause and effect through a journey to discover precious jewels while battling obstacles like crocodile-infested waters!
•Vocabulary- Students develop their vocabulary using context clues and inferring meaning to surf a tidal wave and avoid sharks and wipeouts.

Math Objectives Addressed:
•Decimal Operations - Players gain real-world experience in this game of “ATM Action” as they race to earn the most money for their bank accounts. Students tally their earnings, but must make deductions for unexpected bills and fees. (Other objectives addressed: word problems, real world application)
•Word Problems - Teams solve word problems on a race through outer space, fueling their spaceship with each correct answer. (Other objectives addressed: decimals, operations, geometry, algebra, real world application)
•Fractions- Students dodge falling rocks as they climb up a cliff collecting flags as they compare and order fractions, solve fractions operations, and convert fractions into decimals.
•Multiplying and Dividing- Players reinforce multiplication and division skills by storming their opponents’ castles in an epic medieval battle.

~Mrs. Scott

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Personalized Pencils

A couple of years ago, I purchased these before our upcoming state assessment:

They were given to my 8th grade math students, which was even more effective b/c with around 100 students, they obviously don't all get to test with me. I thought some might find it cheesy, but even my toughest students wanted one and held on to it.

After test scores came back a few students who had never passed before, finally did, and attributed it to their lucky pencil! Since then, I have continued the tradition.

I purchased mine from Oriental Trading costing $17 for 72 pencils. Let me know if you find them somewhere else for less.
~Mrs. Scott

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Red Ribbon Week

Next week is Red Ribbon Week and I look forward to it every October. My school has a different theme every day to promote saying NO to drugs.Our themes this year are:

Monday: Put a Cap on Drugs (wear your favorite cap)
Tuesday: Make it a GOAL to stay Drug Free (dress for the career you plan to pursue)
Wednesday: It is Crazy to do Drugs (wear your favorite crazy hair style) <-- my personal favorite!
Thursday: Stay in the Game.... Drug Free! (wear your favorite sports jersey or t-shirt)
Friday: Drugs and I Don't Match! (wear mix matched clothes)

We also have a door decorating contest which my teammates and I get a little competitive with every single year. Last year my students and I were studying the reading skill of Main Idea and we made spooky houses. On the inside of the spooky houses we put pictures of things that matched the Main Idea of what would go with a spooky house. Then I decorated my outside door with a mountain and dark night sky along with our Spooky Houses. The theme was "Don't Let Drugs Haunt You". We didn't win but that is okay. We got the message through to Say No to Drugs!

This year I chose to do an activity I found on The First Grade Parade. (Look at her ideas! She is so stinkin creative!) We read this book....


Then we brainstormed ideas for what our "Mummies" do to help us feel better after we are scared. I so wish I would have taken a picture of our brainstorm because the ideas were really cute! My favorite was from a little boy that is very.... creative. Our sentence stem was "When I am scared my mummy..." and his response was "asks me 'What's wrong, Son?" It cracked me up! He really says some funny stuff. 

After we finished brainstorming as a group, students went back to their desk, wrote the sentence stem and were to pick an idea from our brainstorming chart. After we went back and made sure that we wrote the perfect sentence with good spacing, capital letters in the correct place and of course had a punctuation mark at the end and VOILA! Our sentences were awesome! 

Next we needed to make our mummies! They turned out so cute! I gave each child a paper plate, orange rectangle, black rectangle and a sheet of white paper. They went to town on their mummies and spent almost a good 45 minutes making them. We unfortunately don't get to do many crafts like this just for fun with every minute counting right now and it was so relaxing for me to watch them create! Each mummy turned out different. When the mummies were finished we took a piece of orange construction paper, glued our sentences and  mummies... FINISHED! 

Now I realize that whole mummy activity doesn't have a whole lot to do with Red Ribbon Week and saying No to Drugs but don't worry... I made it work! 

Don't Let Drugs Wrap You Up! 

Mrs. Halbardier