February 2010 - Minds in Bloom

TpT Newsletter

So, I was this month’s featured teacher in the TpT newsletter. Yippee Skippee! In addition to a little blurb about me, there are also links to ten free teacher resources from other teachers, as well as a list of the top selling teacher materials. If you want to have a peek, here is a link!

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Group work can be either incredibly effective or an incredible disaster. Use these tips for making group work productive to avoid lack of productivity, hurt feelings, and shirking of responsibilities.

Ways to Make Group Work Work

  I believe that most teachers don’t really know what is going on socially in their classroom. Not because they aren’t paying attention or because they don’t care, but because much of the social interaction – especially negative interactions – happen at lunch or recess, before or after school, or intentionally behind the teacher’s back. As adults we can’t really, truly know what is going

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Word Searches are Stupid

Word searches are stupid because they have very little educational content other than that the words in the search are usually vocabulary words from an area of study. Not only that, they take very little thinking to solve. Basically, just scaning for letters. They are the ulitmate form of busy work. Here are some ways to make them less stupid: Use clues instead of a list of words  If

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Ideas for Encouraging Self-Evaluation

  School is all about evaluation. Everything from written work to behavior to how neatly one keeps one’s desk is up for judgement. And then of course there are those endless batteries of standardized tests. While this is the easiest and perhaps most effective way to get the desired result, ultimately, it can have harmful results. Among other things, it trains children to look for external validation, discourages

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Waiting can be challenging for adolescents, so here are three fun word games to play while waiting at the bank, in line for a ride, or other times that you find yourself waiting with your kids.

3 More Games to Play While Waiting

Whether you are standing in line at the bank or standing in line to ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, waiting can be a trying time for kids. Here are three verbal games to make things more fun. These are aimed at older children. If you have little kids, take a peek at 3 Ways to Entertain Small Children While Waiting. Alphabetically Speaking Choose a random letter of

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Valentine’s Day Homophones Story

There are over 50 homophone mistakes in this story. Can your students find them all? Tony decided two make a Valentine’s pitcher four his mother. He got out a clean, white peace of paper. Than, he got out his crayons and started to color. He drew his hole family. Then, he maid a yellow son in the blew sky. When he was done, Tony rote, “Eye

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8 Ways to Sneak in a Little Extra Learning

  Most likely, there are times and spaces in your day when not much learning is taking place. Here are some easy ways to sneak a little learning into those spaces. Look in Line  Put up interesting and relevant things to look at on the walls where your students usually line up. Some ideas include: Current vocabulary or spelling words, mental math problems fun science,

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Valentine’s Day Logic Puzzle

This is a good beginning grid-style logic puzzle to use with your students. If your students have never solved this kind of problem, then you might want to do it together as a class. If you are unfamiliar with this format, here is a good tutorial. You can also get this Valentine’s Day Logic Puzzle for free in worksheet form (along with another critical thinking

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Creating a Class Mascot

This is Zig-Zag. When I was teaching third grade, he was our class mascot. In his physical form, he was a large, light green, stuffed snake that I had bought at IKEA. He usually resided in our class Book Nook. But Zig-Zag was much more than a stuffed snake. He was very much a part of our classroom culture. Here are some ways that Zig-Zag

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