Archive for October, 2010

Room Themes Galore: A List

Need a theme idea for an art project? Maybe you’re looking for a theme that can last in your classroom for an extended period of time; a theme to kick off the next school year? There are many reasons you may need to use a theme. T2T Contributor, Iram Khan, compiled this list of tried-and-true themes that you can use in the classroom (and many of these would also make great themes for a new baby’s nursery or a child’s bedroom.)

A
Africa
Alligators
Amphibians
Ancestors
Animal Tracks
Ants
Apples (Johnny Appleseed)
Australia
Author Studies

B
Babies
Bats
Beach
Bears
Bees
Birds
Birthdays
Body Systems
Bones
Bubbles
Buildings
Butterflies

C
Canada
Careers
Chicks
Chocolate
Circuses
Clocks
Clothing
Clowns
Colours
Communication
Community Helpers
Cooking

D
Dental
Health
Dinosaurs
Diseases
Diversity
Dogs
Drug Abuse

E
Ecology
Eggs
Electricity
Endangered Animals
Estimation
Explorers

F
Fairy Tales
Family
Famous People
Farms
First Nations History
Fish
Flight
Folk Tales
Force and Motion
Forests
Friendship
Frogs

G
Germs
Graphing
Grandparents

H
Habitats
Hats
Healthy Living
Hippos
Holidays
Homes
Humour

I
Insects
Inventions/Inventors

J
Japan
Jokes
Journaling
Jungle

K
Kites
Knots

L
Ladybugs
Library Skills
Light
Lions

M
Magic
Magnets
Mammals
Mapping
Matter
Me
Mexico
Mice
Middle Ages
Money
Multiculturalism
My Neighbourhood
Mystery

N
Natural Disasters
Night and Day
Nursery Rhymes
Nutrition

O
Ocean
Olympics
Our Country
Owls

P
Parades
Patterns in Nature
Peanuts
Penguins
Pets
Pioneers
Plants
Poetry
Pockets
Poetry
Ponds
Popcorn
Post Office
Prime Ministers/Presidents
Pumpkins

Q
Quilts

R
Rainbows
Rain Forest
Ranching
Recycling
Reptiles
Rocks
Rodeo

S
Safety
Scarecrows
Seasons
Senses
Sharks
Shells
Shoes
Signs (traffic signs)
Simple Machines
Snails
Snakes
Snow/Snowmen
Solar System
Spiders
Stranger Danger
Survival

T
Teddy Bears
Time
Transportation
Tropical

U
United States

V
Volcanoes

W
War
Water
Weather
Whales
Wilderness
Worms

Y
Yeast

Z
Zoo

Host Classroom Game Shows with PowerPoint

T2T Contributor Mark E. Damon originally shared his “Who Wants to be a Winner” game with members of our T2T mailing list. Now, Mark has made available all of his entertaining creations so that you may download them now for use in your classroom. These PowerPoint™ presentations can be modified with your own questions to create an interactive review or test for your students.

Mark is offering these great PowerPoint tools for free. Thank you, Mark!

Click here to download Who Wants to be a Winner


Teachnet contributor, Kathie Anderson (1st grade teacher, Sioux City, Iowa) shares how she hosts “Who Wants to be a Winner!” in her classroom:

I type questions from the most recent story we are working on for shared reading in our first grade class. I cut the questions apart and put them in a small box. Then we play “Who Wants to be a Winner!”

I divide the class into two teams. Each team gets three options, each of which can only be used once during the game. I write the three options on the board. When the team uses an option, it is erased. The options which the team can use are: pass, ask a friend on their team or ask the whole class.

To start the game, I pick a number. The team which chooses a number closest to mine, gets to start first. The first player on the team chooses a question question from the box without looking at the question. The player then reads the question and decides if s/he knows the answer. If the player does not know the answer, s/he may pick an option. If the child passes, the player whose turn it is next, can have a chance at answering the question. If the pass option is used, it is then erased and cannot be used again by that team.

When all the options are used by a team, the players must try to answer their own question even if they don’t know it. When all the questions are gone, the game is over. The teams get one point for each question and the team with the most points win. Of course you must ask the player, “Is that your final answer?” The kids love this game!

Thanks to Kathie for this suggestion. The great thing about Who Wants to be a Winner! is that it can be adapted for any subject on any grade level. Replace Kathie’s shared reading with math, geography, even a foreign language, and you can use this game for just about anything!

Down The Mississippi

CONTRIBUTOR: Mirjana and Goran Tomic

M
I
S
S
I
S
S
I
P
P
I

R
I
V
E
R

As you travel down the Mississippi River from north to south, how many of the following items can you collect?
1. Title of address for an unmarried woman
2. Third note of the scale
3. First person
4. Yes in Italian and Spanish
5. A female relative (informal)
6. Exist
7. A small taste of water
8. 3.1416
9. Smallest state of the U.S. (abbr.)
10. Four in ancient Rome
11. Common contraction
12. State in New England (abbr.)
13. British monarch

Going upriver is harder. Can you find these?
1. A short word meaning “about” or “concerning”
2. 10 – 4 in ancient Rome
3. Tear
4. The ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter
5. Ninth letters
6. Yes in Portuguese
7. A common contraction


ANSWERS:

GOING DOWNRIVER:
1. Miss 2. Mi 3. I 4. Si 5. Sis 6. Is 7. Sip 8. Pi 9. R.I. 10. IV 11. I’ve 12. Ver 13. ER.

GOING UPRIVER:
1. Re 2. VI 3. Rip 4. Pi 5. Is 6. Sim 7. I’m

“Stomp! Out Loud” Video Discussion

T2T CONTRIBUTOR: Kathy Yirka, Rapid City Area Schools, Rapid City, South Dakota

“STOMP! Out Loud” is an excellent video to show to high school students, or even younger students. It’s vastly entertaining, upbeat, and has some great educational value.

STOMP is a collection of percussion/dance/movement routines. The group uses anything but normal percussion instruments to make rhythms pleasing to the eye and ear. There are no speaking parts to the performance. I have used it with my hearing impaired students (turn it up loud, and hand out blown-up balloons so they can feel the vibrations). “Instruments” they use include brooms, metal pipes, trash cans and lids, wooden dowels, even basketballs. The actual stage production (go see it if you get the chance!) includes kitchen sinks (hung around their necks), oil drums, and non-verbal comedy routines.

Preview the video before presenting it to the students, and go over the worksheet I’ve presented here. I’m sure you will come up with many of your own ideas. The video is 50 minutes long: This lesson plan may last two or three days.

Suggested presentation:

* Discuss with the class the ideas of teamwork, creativity, responsibility, and trust.
* Hand out the worksheet and go over the questions. Tell the students to be thinking of these as they watch the video.
* Watch the video. (It’s best to blast the volume as high as you can get away with.)
* Discuss the questions from the worksheet again.
* A second viewing of the video may be in order, or just use selected scenes to emphasize your main points (i.e., the interview segment at the beginning, the routine with the brooms, and the almost-finale with the garbage cans and lids).
* Discuss each of the questions again before the students write their answers.

WORKSHEET QUESTIONS:

1. One of the guys at the beginning talks about trust when they are practicing and performing. Why do they need to trust each other?

2. As you look at the video, try to pick apart what each person is doing, or follow just one person through a routine. Notice it might not seem like much. See that no one person is making all the beats or all the noises. They each have a part, and they trust each other to do their parts so that the whole thing looks/sounds good, and so no one gets hurt. Each person has an important part, and it as important that they perform that part. Have you ever been a big or small important part of a whole?

3. Remember that there are no extra sounds backstage that someone is making. All the sounds come from what you see. Name some of the “instruments” you hear.

4. In some of the drama scenes, and when they get the audience to participate, see what kinds of messages they convey without any words. Notice the actions, large and small, and their facial expressions.

5. Does it look like they are having fun? Do you think it as always fun, or do you think they get tired of it sometimes?

6. These are all the finished performances we see. What do you think the practices look like?

7. How long do you think practices take?

8. What if someone is new on the team? What kind of attitude do you think the rest of the team needs to have for a successful show?

9. How hard do you think these people work to make such a good show?

10. Why would anyone work that hard at something?

11. How do you think the performers prepared to try out for the show? Did they just show up one day and audition and get lucky to get a part, or do you think they had a lot of hard work and failures before they tried out?

12. Think about some of the different kinds of jobs involved for a production of STOMP:
* Performers* * Director* * Choreographer* * Lighting technicians* * Sound technicians* * Drivers* * Makeup* * Publicist (advertises for the show)* * Heavy workers (loading & unloading all the stuff from trucks, moving it around)* * Manager (decides where the group will go, makes the schedule, works with locations to make sure everything is ready)* * Backstage people (they make sure everything is where it as supposed to be)*
Which job might you enjoy doing? Why would it suit your personality?

13. Think again about all the people involved with STOMP. Do you think everybody likes each other? They have to travel around together to do the show. What happens if one of the people doesn act like someone else?

14. Suppose one of the performers was very good, but he had a problem: no one really likes him. He always wants things his way, he thinks he is the best. He really likes his job. Maybe the manager talks to him one day, and says, “You are very talented, and a good performer, but your attitude stinks. Shape up, or you are out.” What do you think the performer might do? Explain.

15. What other kinds of things do you think they do during the week to make sure they have a good performance (eating, working out, staying in safe situations)?

16. What other comments or ideas do you have about STOMP?

Edible Spider/Insect Assembly

Here is a cute way to make an edible spider. The kids enjoy making them and better yet, eating them!

* Use an chocolate sandwich cookie for the body
* A smaller chocolate cookie for the head, or break a whole cookie in half
* M&M’s for the eyes (attach with frosting)
* Use the licorice that pulls apart into strings for the legs.

T2T Contributor: Lynn Behnke

Mouse Cookies

Assembly required:

* Spread peanut butter or frosting on a sugar cookie
* Break vanilla wafer in half for ears
* Use small candies (like M&M’s) for nose and eyes
* Use stick pretzels for whiskers

T2T Contributor: Evelyn Irwin, Full-Day Kindergarten, Arkansas

No-fire S’mores

* 1 graham cracker, broken into 2 squares
* 1 marshmallow
* chocolate candy bar pieces or chocolate chips

Microwave Method:
Place one of the graham cracker halfs on a microwave safe plate and place chocolate pieces flat in the center of the cracker, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the sides. Stretch a marshmallow with your hands to make it slightly flattened and square shaped. Place in microwave for about 10 seconds, until marshmallow begins to swell. Remove from microwave and quickly top with other graham cracker half.
*Try this one on your own first to determine cooking time. Be careful because it’s easy to cook the graham cracker itself, which makes it taste burnt.

Toaster Oven Method:
Place one of the graham cracker halves on a piece of foil or toaster size cookie sheet. Place chocolate pieces flat in the center of the cracker, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the sides. Place a marshmallow on top of the chocolate and gently place in toaster oven. Cook at 350 just until the marshmallow begins to brown. Remove from toaster oven and top with other graham cracker half.

OR

Place a piece of aluminum foil over the lower heat coil to protect it from overcooking. Remove wire rack from toaster oven and set oven to cook mode (instead of toast). Supervise closely as students toast marshmallow on skewers by holding them inside the hot oven. Assemble s’mores with cooked marshmallow. This open-oven technique is, of course, better suited for the older kids.

No-Bake Cookies: Haystacks

* 2 cups chocolate chips
* 2 cups butterscotch chips
* 12 oz peanuts
* 5 cups chow mein noodles

Melt chips on low. Stir in nuts and noodles. Drop on wax paper.

T2T Contributor: Evelyn Irwin, Full-Day Kindergarten, Arkansas

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Oat Drop Cookies

* 1/2 cup milk
* 1 1/2 cup sugar
* 3 tablespoons cocoa

Bring to a boil and cook for 1 full minute. Remove from heat and add:

* 1/2 cup peanut butter
* 1 t vanilla
* 3 cups oats

Stir and drop on wax paper. Cool for at least 30 minutes.

T2T Contributor: Evelyn Irwin, Full-Day Kindergarten, Arkansas

Crunchy Peanut Butter Chews

* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup white corn syrup
* 2 tablespoons butter

Combine in saucepan and bring to a boil for 45 seconds. Remove from heat and add:

* 1 cup peanut butter
* 6 cups corn flakes

Stir and drop on wax paper.

T2T Contributor: Evelyn Irwin, Full-Day Kindergarten, Arkansas

No-Bake Oatmeal Bars

* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 3 tablespoons wheat germ
* 2 cups rolled oats
* 1 cup flake coconut
* 1/2 cup chopped nuts
* 1/4 cup sesame seeds

Here is a recipe for no bake cookies. It does say nuts, but skip them and add more seeds if you want. Some kids with peanut allergies also have other nut allergies, and many younger kids simply don’t like nuts.

Melt the butter in a medium sized sauce pot or microwave it in a glass bowl, 10 seconds at a time and stirring between each cycle. Add the brown sugar and orange juice and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the wheat germ, oats, coconut, nuts and sesame seeds and mix well. Spread the mixture into a 9″ square glass baking dish and refrigerate until hard. Cut into squares and eat!

T2T Contributor: Terri [TRM]

Applesauce “Cookie” Ornaments

Please note that these items are not intended to be eaten, even though they smell good enough!

* 1 cup cinnamon
* 3/4 cup applesauce
* 1 tablespoon nutmeg
* 1 tablespoon ground clove
* 2 tablespoons glue

Directions:
Mix ingredients until dough becomes a moist ball. Roll the ball out on waxed paper or another no-stick surface. You can also do this by pressing the dough between two sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper.

Use assorted cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Use a drinking straw to punch hanger holes in the top area of the figure. Allow to air-dry for a few days (I find an occasional flip helps speed the drying process).

Once they are hardened, thread a string through the hole and hang them in your car, or on a Christmas tree, if you so desire. The fragrance they produce is quite nice. (Note: There is a significant amount of shrinkage of the material during the drying process).

My classroom theme is Bears, so my first graders will be making bear figures this week. Because of the color of the material, Gingerbread Men/Ladies would also be great. Glue and glitter could also be used to decorate them. Please note that these items are not intended to be eaten, even though they smell good enough.

* We did these with the Cub Scouts one year and they took them to a local nursing home to hand out as gifts to the elderly patients, complete with hanging ribbons. After the ornaments were handed out, the children assembled in front of the home’s Christmas Tree to sing a few carols. Well, before the songs were done, three of the ornaments had been half-devoured by the residents. We forgot to tell them, or they didn’t understand, that they were NOT cookies!

T2T Contributor: Ron Gettler, 1st Grade

No-Bake Cookies: Snowballs

* 2 tsp. butter
* 3 tbsp. water
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1/2 cup powdered milk
* 2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
* 3 cups coconut
* 6 oz. chocolate chips – optional

Melt butter in 2 quart saucepan, or in a medium size glass bowl in the microwave (10-15 seconds at a time, stirring between cycles). Remove from heat and add water and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together icing sugar and powdered milk. Add to butter mixture a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in coconut. Drop teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper and let stand until firm – about 10 minutes.

Optional – melt chocolate and swirl 1 tsp over each drop then chill to keep fresh.

Makes three dozen small, 2 dozen large drops.

No-Cook: Peppermint Candies

Peppermint Candies
These could be called “cookies” if you stretched your imagination a bit.

* 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
* 1 box confectioners sugar
* peppermint flavoring (add to taste)
* green or red food coloring
* granulated sugar for dipping

Combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and peppermint flavoring, along with your choice of either green or red food coloring to achieve the desired color. If possible, refrigerate thoroughly mixed dough.

Dough should be fairly stiff. Use a spoon to scoop out small portions of dough, and roll each into a 2″ ball. Dip your (washed) hands in granulated sugar before rolling the “cookies” into a ball they won’t stick to you. After rolling into ball, flatten with the tines of a fork (tic-tac-toe style) that has been dipped into the sugar. Refrigerate and serve. You can use decorator toppings on top.

T2T CONTRIBUTOR: DJ Thomas, Orlando, FL

No-Bake Recipe: Orange Balls

Orange Balls

* 12 oz vanilla wafers
* 4 cups powdered sugar
* 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
* 6 oz. frozen orange juice, thawed

Crush wafers finely, either in a food processor ahead of time, or by placing them in a zip-top bag and pounding to crush. Add sugar, melted butter and orange juice and mix. Shape into balls and roll in powdered sugar.

T2T CONTRIBUTOR: Evelyn Irwin, Full-Day Kindergarten, Arkansas