Saturday, May 4, 2013

Student Learning Games

I recently had my students create board games.  I gave them my list of Game Board Instructions (you can also download them on my site).  The students worked in groups to create a game about a subject we are currently studying.  I gave each group a different subject, and their job was to create a learning game involving concepts we're covering in class. 
 They were also responsible for coming up with detailed instructions, creating game pieces and game cards, and decorating their game board and box.
I purchased many of my materials from my favorite store, the Dollar store (see my blogs about the dollar store by clicking here and here.). Here's what I bought: small toys that were used as game pieces, pipe cleaner, googly eyes, and stickers for the kids who wanted to make their game pieces, dice, timers, spinners, white gift wrap boxes that the students used to store the game, and small cardboard jewelry boxes to hold the game pieces.
Here's an example of game pieces made with pipe cleaners and stickers.

These are some of the pieces I purchased from the Dollar Store.

One example of a game my students made was called "Fun-Cabulary."  They created a game where the players spin a spinner which tells them to either act out, draw, sculpt, or explain a vocab word.  Then they pick up a vocab card that has the word and definition on it, and the students have to guess the word.  
They had a great time with this activity and the kids love playing each other's games!  Here are some photographs of the kids' creations.

The Resourceful Teacher Blog

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Making Sense of Senseless Acts - Part 2

With the tragedy of the Connecticut school shooting still weighing heavy on my heart, I was so happy to be able to share something new with my students that, once again, made me so glad I teach in a private Christian school.  Even now, almost a full week after the event, I can tell it’s still on the hearts and minds of my students.
I’ve been doing my best to try and explain to them why such tragedies occur (and I’m even trying to make sense of it myself... even prompting me to write a blog post about it over the weekend). Today during our Bible lesson, we were reading about the Christmas story in the Bible and we came to the part that explains how King Herod was furious with the Magi, or wise men, whom he sent to find the Christ Child, did not return to him as he requested.
Matthew 2:16-18 says,“Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance.Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
  ‘A cry was heard in Ramah—
weeping and great mourning.
Rachel weeps for her children,
refusing to be comforted,
for they are dead.’”
I took a moment to point out to my students that we see an evil offense against innocent children in the Bible.  I asked the kids to do their best to make a connection between King Herod’s actions and those of the shooter in Connecticut.  We came to the conclusion that evil does exist in this world, and just like in the Bible, God can use that evil for good.  This is just another reason why Jesus was sent to Earth and why each of us needs Jesus, a Savior.  

I know there are many teachers who don’t have the same luxury as me in sharing this with their students.  But I hope it helps those of you who are still struggling to find peace during this time.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and feelings about this post.  

The Resourceful Teacher Blog

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sticker Stamps

Here’s another holiday activity that was a big hit with my students.  The kids made their very own stamps, and it was extremely simple to do.

Here’s what you’ll need:
About 8 bottle caps for each student
Large assortment of Holiday foam stickers
6-8 Red & Green Stamp Pads (I got mine at the Dollar Store).

Since I do my own recycling in the class, I begin saving bottle caps from water, Gatorade, and juices for this activity.  I realized I was going to be a bit short this year, so I asked parents to donate and I received a whole lot!

The students find their favorite foam stickers and stick them to their bottle cap.  

Then I had each student write a winter/holiday story using their Sticker Stampers.  Here’s some examples.

The Resourceful Teacher Blog

Making Sense of Senseless Acts

In light of recent events, many have found themselves wondering how to make sense of the tragedy in Connecticut on Friday. I too have been struggling with this.  I wanted to write this post as an encouragement to others and to possibly relate to others.  Maybe some of you are having the same thoughts as I am.

Last night, our school had our annual Christmas performance.  The students were told to check in with their teachers before the show started and as I was taking a mental roll call, I took a moment to watch the kids and I witnessed just how excited they were to perform. I watched proud parents snapping photographs of their child with friends and other teachers hugging newly-arrived students.  In the midst of hearing a fit of giggles from students near me, I couldn’t help but think that across our country, families were mourning the loss of their loved ones and grieving for others as well. 

Why did my school get to celebrate that evening and another have to endure what seems like pure Hell on Earth?

It’s tragedies like this that make people question, “Where was God?” or, “How could God let this happen?”  Those are tough questions, but I believe I have some answers. 

You know where God was?  He was mourning the loss of each and every person affected.  The only way I can answer the second question is quote the pastor of my church who repeatedly tells us, “Not everything that happens is part of God’s will.” God does not cause pain in our lives, but he does permit it so we can see His beauty and His grace.  If we never struggled, how would we know what answered prayer looks like? I believe that God has a purpose beyond my own understanding.  My God is the God who created the universe; He is the same God who can take an act of evil and work it in such a way that we will see prayers answered, miracles occur, and His hand at work.  I know this because of the following verse:

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"  -Jeremiah 29:11

If there’s one piece of advice you’ll let me give you, I’d like to encourage you to not get sucked into the media.  In times of crisis we sometimes have a hard time looking away and we often look to the media for answers.  If you do find yourself watching the news, looking for the latest development, be on the lookout for the heroes, and for the supporters.  That’s where you’ll start to see God’s hand at work.

I’d like to hear some of your thoughts or things you’ve been mentally wrestling with yourself.  Please comment below to contribute. 

The Resourceful Teacher Blog

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Glitter is the Herpes of Craft Supplies

Have you ever heard the expression: Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies?  Truer words were never spoken.  While I don’t dislike glitter as much as some of my cohorts (I have a teacher friend who is literally AFRAID of glitter), I do like to avoid it for most of my kids’ crafts.
This craft, however, was unavoidable.  Our school was having our annual fundraising carnival and this year’s theme was, “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”  Each class was given the task of creating a game booth.  One of my wonderful parent helpers suggested we do a ruby red slipper theme.  I thought it was a GREAT idea and she thankfully took charge of planning the booth and informing all the parents of items we needed. 
In the weeks that followed, students began bringing the items their parents signed up for.  Among the items were: red paint, previously worn women’s dress shoes, and red glitter… lots and lots of red glitter.  Oh boy.  Right away I started preparing myself for Decoration Day (or as I will now refer to it as D-Day). 
D-Day arrived.  I had already planned in my head that my classroom could be considered a disaster area by the end of the day.  Had I not prepared myself, I think I would have literally gone insane.
In the end, the kids ended up doing a great job and were mindful of their cleanliness.  They were so excited with the finished products and had a blast with this activity.
Here are some photographs of the children and their ruby red slippers.

The Resourceful Teacher Blog

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thanksgiving Activity Linky

Have a great Thanksgiving activity you want to share?  Head on over to my main page by clicking  on the picture to upload yours now!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Science Experiment - Pop Rocks & Soda

Have you ever heard the rumor that if you eat Pop Rocks and then drink soda, your stomach will explode?  Many students have heard this before so we decided to do a little research to see if this was a myth or if it was real.  Now, of course we didn’t test our experiment on human or an animal (even though one of my students willingly volunteered to be a test subject).  Instead, we used soda and a balloon to represent a human stomach.

First we gathered 3 different types of soda: Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite. We made sure we used bottles of soda instead of canned soda.  Then we filled 3 different balloons with an entire package of Pop Rocks.

Our class made predictions about what they thought would happen.  All of the students figured out that we would witness some type of reaction, so I had the students vote on which type of soda they thought would create the biggest reaction.

Then we tested our hypothesis.  We chose 1 type of soda to test first. Very carefully (and in the sink... just in case), we placed the opening of the balloon over the mouth of a bottle of soda.

Then when we lifted the other end of the balloon up, the contents inside fell into the bottle of soda.  We waited and recorded our results.

After a few minutes, we noticed the balloon filling up with gas and expanding.  Then we did the same to the other 2 types of soda using our remaining balloons.

The students were able to conclude that while consuming Pop Rocks and soda wouldn’t be detrimental to your stomach, it would probably make you pretty gassy.

We concluded the experiment by watching the soda and Pop Rocks candy reaction under a microscope.  First we took a small granule of the candy and placed in on the slide.  Then we watched through the eyepiece as I used an eyedropper to slowly add soda to the granule.

Here are some pictures of what the reaction looked like.

The purpose of completing this activity was to get the students used to using the Scientific Method.  You could also use this to teach about gas, chemical reactions, or carbon dioxide.  All in all, this was a wonderful experiment that I will make sure to do with my students every year.

To view more information about this experiment visit

For more ideas on how to use candy during experiments (especially your leftover Halloween candy) visit

The Resourceful Teacher Blog