Saturday, January 17, 2015

Unifix Cube Reflections



Having students reflect on their learning is not a new concept.  Lots of teachers have discovered ways to have students think about how they feel on their learning.  Thumbs up and down, turning in papers or exit tickets in color coded bins, and drawing faces on their papers are a few widely used.  However, all of those methods show a student's feelings at the end of the lesson (or beginning).  What about throughout the entire lesson?  How do you know how your students are feeling in the beginning, middle, and end - and all the times in between?  The answer - unifix cubes!!  

This is not my original idea.  A wonderful non blogging teacher at my school came up with it and I just think its too good not to share! (Thanks Stephanie C.!)   Here's how it works:  

Each student gets his/her own set of the 3 unifix cubes.  The colors all have specific meanings:  Green is "I'm good", yellow is "I need a little help" and red is "Lots of help needed".  (I bet you could have figured that part out ;)  )    The students keep them on the corner of their desk.  At the beginning of a lesson I prompt them to change the cubes to show how they feel about the concept.  If its an introductory concept we talk about how they shouldn't really be on green...  If its review then they get to freely choose.  Then as we teach, learn, and practice the students get to change the cubes as they need.  I can prompt throughout the lesson but after a few days of using them, the kids got used to doing it and didn't need much prompting.  

I love using this because it helps guide my teaching more than anything.  I'm able to ask questions to students based on colors they are showing me.  I'm able to approach students during group work or independent practice to assist and clear up any confusion.  It has proven to be very beneficial.  :)

But don't just take it from me - listen to these two lovely ladies!  

video

I hope you'll take time to read some of the other amazing Bright Idea Posts from the link up!



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Friday, January 9, 2015

Snowball Fight Spelling!

I'm torn about the fact that I'm finding time to blog today.  My daughter was put in the hospital on Tuesday for pneumonia.   :(  She's only two and its so hard to see her so sick.  She's been having very rough nights and not sleeping well but luckily today she decided to take a 3 hour impromptu nap so I'm here!  This is a nice little getaway for me.

So before Christmas break, I came up with this super fun way to practice our spelling words.  We've done it once since and my little ones had a blast!!  We had a SNOWBALL FIGHT!!  So here's how the game worked:

First, I wrote out our spelling words two separate times on white paper and crinkled them up into snowballs.  This made about 20 snowballs for starters.  Then I made a misspelled version of each of the spelling words and wrote them on pieces of paper.  Since I have 24 kids I only needed 4 of those to start, the rest I kept on 'deck'.  So here's how we played:


Hopefully those rules make sense.  This made the kids accountable for being able to recognize which words were spelled correctly and which were not.  As students started to get 'out', I would add in a few more misspelled words to help make the game go faster.  The kids loved it - take a look!

video

(Sorry if the video is hazy - I'm not sure why it's doing that)  You can download the game directions by clicking the picture version from earlier in the post.  (Let me know if the download doesn't work).  I can see this game being played practicing lots of other skills besides spelling.  Long/short vowels, multiplication products, fact/opinion, etc.  I hope you find a way to make it work for you!  Let me know if you have any questions.  Need more fun winter themed fun in your classroom?  Try this fun context clue snowman activity!  Students get a kick out of learning how to talk like a 'snowman!'.  You won't regret it!!  Hope you have a great weekend!


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