Friday, May 24, 2013

End of Year School Party Games

In December, I wrote a post detailing some of the party games I play on the last day of school with my class. I thought I'd re-post it below for my northern hemisphere friends who are finishing school and are ready for Summer now. I can't wait to feel the Summer heat again... boy has it been cold in Brisbane the last week!

Don't you just LOVE class parties? I do and there's a couple of games that I love to play each year and you only need a few simple materials: 
  • balloons
  • table tennis balls
  • straws
  • plastic plate, knife and fork
  • dice
  • bar of chocolate
  • prizes for the winners!
All of these games I learned from another teacher so you may have seen them before. I play these games during our end-of-year party so the desks are moved to the side the room leaving a nice big (safe) playing space.

The first game is an oldie but a goodie and you only need balloons. Throw one up in the air and the kids have to try and stop it touching the floor. For an added challenge, throw in more ballons or they can only touch the balloon with a certain body part (e.g. elbows). Split the class in groups and see how long each group can keep it up for and the winning group receives a prize (Freddo frogs or other small chocolates/lollies are always favourites at the end of the year). This game can easily go for a few rounds!

Another game I tried out last year was table tennis ball races! I split the class into groups and stuck down masking tape for the start and end lines. Each group took their turn to line up (most on their hands and knees!) with a straw and a table tennis ball. On go, they have to blow through the straw to push the  ball past the finish line. They found this a real challenge, it's not as easy as it sounds! You could also use balloons from the previous activity instead of the table tennis balls. Of course, the winner of each race has to receive a little prize! We played a few rounds of this - they got better at blowing through the straws each time!

The final game is my fav by far! A chocolate eating competition! All you need is a yummy bar of chocolate, a plastic plate/knife/fork and 2 dice (forgot to take a photo of them!). Everyone sits in a circle with the chocolate on the plate with the knife and fork in the middle. Your kiddies take turns rolling the dice and if they roll a double they get to scoot into the middle and use the knife and fork to start cutting out a square of chocolate. Once they cut one out, they put down the knife and fork and pick up the square with their hands and eat it! Once they finish eating, they can start cutting again and eat as much chocolate as they can before someone else rolls a double. Once someone else rolls a double, they have to put down the knife and fork immediately and go back to their spot so the next person can start.
The kids LOVED this game last year! They didn't even get annoyed when they started to go in the middle and someone rolled a double straight away or if they *just* finished cutting out a piece and before they could pick it up someone rolled a double! It was all just so much fun they didn't mind at all!, these bubble wands are WONDERFUL!! I give them to the kids for their Christmas/end-of-year gift and take them out in the morning before it gets too hot. Seriously, they can play outside for an hour and complain when it's time to come inside!
What are your favourite party games? 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer Centers

I've just finished my first 'big' pack since October/November last year! Since then, I've been buying up a storm to keep my literacy and math centers going smoothly. This pack has taken me over 6 weeks to complete. I've just been making new centers when I haven't been able to find what I need in packs I've bought or downloaded. I need a lot too, because I differentiate my literacy centers. Depending on my kids needs (and how busy I am...) I have 2-3 levels of activities for Word Work, Spelling, Sight Words, Sentences and up to 5 different activities (for 5 different groups) for Write About Reading, which is my reading response center (although sometimes this is just 1 response activity that all groups complete based on their guided reading text). In the past I've done the Daily 5, but I thought my kids this year in Grade 1 needed more work on the basics. I'll do a post at some point to explain what the kids do in each one.

So this pack has 7 literacy and 7 math centers that I needed for some of the kids in my class. I apologise for my awful photos, I've been meaning to get a new camera for ages now, mine must be at least 8-9 years old now and it doesn't take great photos.
This is a sight word scramble activity, so a sight word literacy center. This was for my higher groups (they could choose whether or not to use the word guide). They chose two words to put in a sentence on the bottom (this sheet is already filled in and marked by my wonderful student teacher). My lower groups had a sight word scramble where the sight words were backed on a picture and cut up and they had to put them back together and so is self-correcting because they have the picture to help them. They needed that extra scaffold and the simpler sight words.
I had this Floating Through Sounds activity out last week for my two lower groups for a spelling center. They had to stretch out the sounds and write a letter/s in each box. It included some digraphs that needed to be placed in one box (e.g. ck, ph). It was a bit too hard for my lowest group :(

This Sundae Sound Sort has been another activity for my lowest group where they sort by medial vowel sound and write the word on the recording sheet my stretching them out. This one is for CVC words.
This activity I made for my middle groups as they need a little reinforcement with digraphs. They take the pegs (that have a sh, ch or th splash hot glued on them) and clip it on the card where they hear the sound (beginning, middle or end of the word).
All of the centers in this pack have an I Can chart to help students be independent at their centers. The pack comes in a zip file because it contains a U.S. spelling pack and a British spelling pack. Just delete the one you don't need. You can see I've printed the British spelling pack that has 'color' spelled 'colour'. Because most of my readers are American, I've used the American spelling of 'center' all though this post as well, even though we spell it 'centre' here in Australia! I've had some readers point out that I'm always spelling it wrong (centre) so I just thought I'd mention that we spell it differently here!
I've put this pack on TpT for 30% off for two days since I didn't have it ready for the big sale. I've only shown the preview of 8 of the 14 centers below since this post is so long. Check out the preview on TpT if you'd like for the rest.
If you've read down this far, thank you! Leave a comment below with your email address and I'll give it away to someone tonight.  

My son chose number 9! Congratulations Karyn! I'll email you now!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Simple Mother's Day Craft

Thanks to Pinterest, we were able to make this cute bookmarks for our mums this year. 
I didn't get any photos of ours but they turned out really cute! We backed them on pale blue card and laminated them.

We also made these cutie patootie flower bouquets using our hand prints! Our classroom looked so bright with these sitting on our desks! Super cheap and easy to make - simply trace 6 hand prints (my kiddies chose whether they wanted to mix colours or use all the same), cut out, roll up and sticky tape to a straw. Tape all 6 'stems' together and wrap in tissue paper with ribbon. We also glued down a heart. I saw this idea on Pinterest, but can't find the link :(

I've taken a photo of each student and one of the whole class holding their flowers. I'm sending off a Smilebox Sunday morning with our flower photos to wish our mum's a happy Mother's Day. 

I have to say y'all (I've always wanted to say that!), this was so simple and cheap to put together! I had all the items on hand and just bought some more ribbon in case I ran out. Simple but oh-so-cute!

To all the mum's out there, I hope you have a wonderful day! My son woke me up with breakfast in bed this morning, not realising that Mother's Day is not until Sunday! I'm looking forward to it again tomorrow!