Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Jamestown Lesson: Fear Factor

I am wrapping up my teaching of Jamestown this week. It is always one of my students' favorite topics! There is just so many interesting parts to it! We are almost finished reading "Blood on the River." If you haven't read this book, you should! It is awesome! My class gets so into it and it is very close to actuality (based on primary sources.) 

I am always looking for ways to hook my students into history! I will do anything to get them to buy into my lesson.

Yesterday we did a fun lesson that I call Fear Factor: Jamestown Style! Have you seen the show "Fear Factor"? The idea is that contestants have to face their fears to win big money! I think Jamestown would be like that in that the colonists were all facing very real fears, but instead of a monetary reward, they were trying to save their own lives! 

I start the lesson with looking at some primary sources and having students analyze them together with their table groups. Students present their findings and earn points for their groups.

Then, I have a food portion of the game! I go to the store and buy the most disgusting foods that I can find... like baby food, canned meat, sardines, picked pigs feet, etc. (YUCK)
The students eat it up! (literally) The student to eat the food the fastest and show me that there isn't any left in their mouth, gets a point for their team.

I didn't get any pictures of the food part because I was so involved in watching them compete for their teams by taking down the gross food! Needless to say, there are plenty of kids willing to eat some gross stuff for the sake of points for their team. 

I always make sure that the students don't have any food allergies before I buy anything and it is always optional to compete in the food portion.

Finally, we tally up all the team points and then I give some kind of reward for the winning team (like candy or Dojo Points.) 

I think next time I will pick up some mints for everyone to enjoy afterwards to get the nasty taste out of their mouth from whatever they had to eat in the challenge.

This is a lesson that students keep talking about for days afterwards! If you want to see more and get the whole lesson, here is a link.

What do you do to hook your students in?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Jamestown Ship Building Project

Yesterday was out annual ship building project! As a fifth grade, we recreate the 2 ships that came from England to start Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America. It is truly one of my favorite projects all year. My students look forward to it for weeks. I have been asking for streamers and masking tape donation for weeks too. Here are some pictures of the fun we had!

Once "built" we sit in the grass inside to do a reader's theater and journal from the perspective of an actual passenger aboard one of the ships.

For more information on this lesson, see this blog post about it a couple years ago.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Assignment Check In Slips

One of my very favorite classroom class work management tools is my assignment check in slips. I got this from my teacher that I interned under! She was the best! It is how I keep my sanity in the paper clutter that is a classroom. It helps me keep track of assignments that students have completed, when they turned it in, as well as who is still missing the assignment. That is how I track missing work. I keep them handy for everything!

When a student turns in an assignment in my room, they choose the folder for that subject area, pull out an assignment check list, slip it on the front of the folder, label it with the proper subject, assignment, and date, check their name, then put their paper in the folder in number order. Putting it in number order is SO important so that I can quickly check to be sure everyone who checked their name off actually turned it in, grade and enter them into the grade book (already in alphabetical order).

This takes a week or so for my 5th graders to master, but it is SO worth it! It makes tracking missing work a cinch! I just circle the students that didn't turn the assignment in, then ask them for it every day until I receive it and can mark their name off. Sometimes I use the slips for writing down grades as well if I don't get a chance to put them in the grade book right away. I also use the slips for walking around the room for participation grades. I hope you find this helpful! An editable version is available here!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Meet Your Teacher Night

We had Meet Your Teacher Night on Tuesday! I had almost all of my parents and students come! That is a busy night full of new faces and lots of school supplies! To make things flow as easily as possible, I set up stations around the room for parents to stop at.

Stop 1- signing in and picking up necessary paperwork that has to be signed by all parents for the school. I also made flip charts this year to give out to all families in my class.

Stop 2- choosing a seat... the students love this part because they like to pick where they will sit on the first day! (I rearrange my seating arrangements every two weeks or as needed!)

Stop 3- Parents were able to sign up for Remind 101, which we are going to use this year! I had about half go ahead and sign up, so I hope that the rest will join in too soon!

Stop 4- This was supply drop off. This was obviously before all of the children and supplies arrived. By the end of the night my table was overflowing! (Good problem to have)

Last stop- Picking up "homework" (they were to bring in two things that represent their summer and themselves.... but more on that later) and there was a questionnaire for parents, as well as a PTO sign up sheet.

Hope you like my stations! If you want to snag them for yourself here is a link.