May Day Basket

May Day
     May Day has a long history.  It was a pagan holiday first celebrated in the British Isles by the Druids.  The Romans brought in their May festival to honor Flora, the goddess of flowers.  One of the traditions started at that time was the Maypole.  A tall pole was set up in the center of the village.  Long streamers were nailed at the top.  Children took an end and walked around the pole, weaving the streamers around the pole.  Baskets of flowers were also delivered to family and friends in the village.
     I can remember making May baskets out of strawberry cartons, filling them with flowers and then walking very quietly to a neighbor's front door.  I'd hang it on the doorknob, ring the bell and then run away.  I usually hid behind a tree so I could see their surprise when they opened their door.  It's grown into a nice little holiday and a fun way to share flowers and maybe a few sweet treats with your friends and neighbors.

This May basket is easy to make from paper plates.  Each student can make their own to take home.  You can also make one to fill with treats and hang on the door of another class at school.

This would also make a great Mother's Day basket.  Fill with notes of love, flowers and special treats.


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Spring Fever

Spring Fever  

Are your students getting a little antsy?  Is their attention span shorter than a two-year old in a toy store? Is that view out the window a little more interesting than the multiplication problems on their desk?  Then your students may have a simple case of Spring Fever.  Beware, it is very contagious! (It even spreads to teachers.)

Don’t despair, even though the only for cure for Spring Fever is summer break, you can alleviate the symptoms. These ideas and activities will help keep your kids engaged in the learning tasks you've planned and help maintain your sanity.

Saturday, April 19, 2014
#4  Cat Got Your Tongue Day
If your students are a little chatty at this time of the year you’ll love this idea. When students enter the classroom they’ll see this picture on the board.  
You’ll hear some oohs and aahs as they go through the morning routine. 
After these necessary routines are finished you can display this sign.

Quietly, let a few students give their thoughts.  You’ll probably get some really funny answers.  
Then display this sign.
It explains that today is Cat’s Got Your Tongue Day. Read through what the cat has to say. At this point you can hand out special pads of paper and pencils  for the students to use for communicating with you and their classmates.  If you have individual student white board they can be used for communicating , too.

If you have other guidelines for the day you can write them on the board.   Then, let your quiet teaching day begin!  When the day is over you can hand out a piece of red candy, to signify the cat giving back the tongues!
Staple together small pieces of paper for the writing pad.  You can also purchase special pencils for the day.  If anyone talks they have to give back the special pencil and paper. You can find really cheap pads of paper and pencils at a dollar store.
Just a little warning, it is very hard not to talk for an entire day.  I find it works best on early dismissal days.  On full days I usually do it just in the afternoon.  I have the signs ready to show them after lunch recess.
After your class understands all the rules you can post the sign on the outside of your door so anyone who enters will understand why no one is talking.  I usually let my teammates and front office know when I have this planned.
You might want to make sure the lessons and activities you have planned for the day will work without much talking by you.  Remember, you lost your tongue, too!  Everything you want to say will have to be written for the students to read.

If you try this in your class I’d love to hear how it goes!  Have fun!!

Tuesday April 15, 2014 (Happy Tax Day!)
#3  Write Around

Kids not very motivated to write? This activity might spark their interest.  In the Write Around each student starts writing a story, but then they pass their paper to the next person for the next part.  Since papers are being passed around in a circle every student writes for each rotation.  The ending story can be quite funny. 
Click on this graphic for your free sample.

 Write Around Sample

When the stories are finished you can have a snowball fight!  Have each student crumple up one of the stories to form a paper snowball.  Let them throw the "snowballs" at each other for a few minutes.  Then collect them in a pile.  Students can form a circle around the pile of snowballs.  One at a time let them choose one snowball to un-crinkle and read aloud.

In this free sample of Write Around you'll get signs to display for the 5 parts of a narrative story; opening, rising action, climax, resolution and ending. I've also included 5 narrative story prompts.  Hope your kids have fun!

Try it and Like it offer.....  If you do the Write Around activity with your class and they like it I'd like to see and hear about it.  Send me an email with pictures of your class working on the Write Around.  I'll choose some of those pictures to add to this blog post along with a link back to your blog.  I'll also send you the full version of Write Around.

Friday April 11, 2014
#2  Academic Challenge

     Is your schedule getting a little choppy?  It always seemed like the last few weeks of school are so full of programs, assemblies, finishing special projects, field trips, etc.  It was hard putting together lesson plans with everything going on.  
     One year I came with the idea of having a class competition to add a some purposeful fun to our day. I used to call this the Academic Olympics, but the word Olympics is trademarked.  So to stay out of trouble with the trademark police, I changed it to Academic Challenge.
    Since I was just as tired as the kids I didn't want to spend hours of my weekend writing the questions for our challenge, I used our class textbooks and other resources I had already purchased. (I'm sure your bookshelves are full of workbooks and resources from that local teacher store!)
     Using questions from these resources all I needed to do was mark the pages I wanted to use and then get the students into teams.  It was also fun to let them come up with a name and flag for their Academic Challenge team.   You can even have an opening ceremony and let them parade into the room on the first day.

   The length of the challenge is up to you.  If you have questions for several different subjects you can do one subject a day.  This challenge can easily fit into even the choppiest of schedules and keep the students engaged for several days.  

You can download all the directions, planning sheet and medals from my TPT store.  
             Academic Challenge on Crockett's Classroom TPT

Wednesday April 9, 2014
#1  Inside/Outside T-Chart.

It’s so hard to focus on the reading lesson when that swing on the playground is calling your name.  Here’s a way to give your students a chance to earn some extra recess time. 
Set up a T chart on the board.  One side collects minutes for outside, the other side holds minutes inside.  All the pictures start on the Inside side.  You decide how many picture/minutes to use.
When all students are focused, moved one of the pictures to the Outside side.  The pictures can also move back to the Inside side if their focus isn’t maintained.
Once all minutes are on the Outside side, take the kids out for an extra recess.   You don’t have to take your class out immediately.  When all the pictures make it to the Outside side, write the time you’ll be taking them outside.  They must maintain the pictures on the Outside time in order to get their extra recess.
Try not to have the recess time too far away so they really do get their break.  It also works best if they have the chance to earn the extra recess every few days.
You can set other behaviors for the T-Chart.  Example:  following directions, quietly working, all work completed, perfect attendance, etc.

 More ideas coming soon!


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