Summer Olympics 2016: Teaching Ideas

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Are you teaching summer school? Headed back to school early August? Or just looking for a fun and educational way to celebrate the Summer Olympics with your own kiddos at home?  I have the PERFECT set of resources for teaching about this exciting time!

How do they pick where to have the Olympics? This information reading passage (with comprehension questions) explains all about the Road to Rio!  Have students go back and highlight text to support their answers.  Or answer the questions aloud together.

Summer Olympic Photo Op!! How cute is this chalk picture by burgh baby?

The printables below cover inferencing, math and vocabulary skills! The All About the Summer Olympics page would be a great cumulative activity! On Summer Olympics Sports Match Up, students read the 3 clues and match the picture of the summer Olympic sport (not shown).

There are so many important Olympic symbols.  In this reading passage, students will learn all about how the Olympic torch makes its way to the opening ceremony!

Your kiddos can enjoy a fun "torch" snack while reading all about it!
{source: Brit+Co}

Host your own backyard Olympics with these Olympic activities. Don't forget to finish with an medal ceremony! Use these FREE printable/editable medals!

Hope you found an idea or two for celebrating the Olympic games!!

Let Students Use Your Stuff: 5 Ideas

Monday, June 13, 2016
Teachers tend to be natural control freaks.  I will be the first to admit--I would rather do it myself to get it done "right".  I might hide my electric sharpener so no little hands touch it.  I choose to spend my weekend cutting out lamination when I could put students parent volunteers to work instead.  So allowing students to my "teacher only" goodies can be very frightening. 
But, it can also be worth it.
Let them...

1) Teach/Learn with a pointer
Pointers=power    A simple tool can make a student feel in charge of their learning or of teaching others.  A pointer can come in all shapes and sizes and doesn't need to be fancy!
SINGING TIME IDEA: super simple pointer with pom poms... how have i never thought of this!?
Look how SIMPLE and cute these wooden sticks with pom-poms glued to the end are for make-your-own pointers!  {source: Adventures in Teaching}

Use splash sticks from Starbucks in your reading groups as pointers! [From: The Husky Loving Teacher]:

The Husky Loving Teacher visits Starbucks JUST to collect the little coffee stick thingies ; )
2) Use pocket charts

I picked up some brightly colored pocket charts at the Target Dollar Spot to add to my Word Work center.  I am thinking about making some spots in the room where students can hang them to work on a word sort or they can just simply lay it on the ground and use it to help keep them organized.
3) Use the SmartBoard independently
This is still one hurdle I can't seem to jump over yet...but I hope to try next year.  Do you let your kids use the SmartBoard without your direct supervision?  I would love to hear about it because I am scared. to. death.
4) Read your read alouds

I love how A Teeny Tiny Teacher lets her kiddos read her read aloud books and how excited they get.  Seriously, read her post and if you don't already do this, it will make you want to.
5) Make an anchor chart
Yes, we all want beautiful Pinterest-worthy anchor charts but in reality, students are 78%* more likely to reference a chart they created.  You may want to model or provide an example (or pick the student with the neatest handwriting) since you want it to be legible in order to be effective.  But give up some of the control by letting students decide what important information, examples, pictures ect. should be included.  OR if you can't handle giving up that much control, at least make it interactive like the ones below by The Applicious Teacher.  Make the outline, laminate (or don't) and let students do the rest!
Make your own beautiful (BUT TOTALLY FUNCTIONAL) Interactive Anchor Charts. Just cut, place, color, and laminate. Use sticky notes or dry erase markers. No more making a new anchor chart every week. Thank you for saving me time!:
*statistics may be made up but there is still some truth to it...

One of the many things I have learned this year is that when you give up some control, wonderful things can happen.  Students are able to take charge of their learning and when you s l o w l y release responsibilities, it changes the classroom dynamics from YOUR room to OUR room.

Last Day Chain and Game Day {freebie}

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Happy June All!
         I officially have 1 full day left with my students.  They come in on Friday for an hour and a half then POOF it will be summer {well for them, teachers still have to go on Monday}.  These last 12 days or so have been hands down the most fun, memorable days of the year.
        Like many of you, I have been doing a countdown with a special event/activity/treat each day.  While I LOVE the idea of balloons, I was a little too lazy to follow through with keeping them afloat for so many days so I went with a chain.

To spice it up a bit, I wrote the reward on the inside of the chain link in white crayon.  I choose one student who had an *outstanding* day to rip it off and color over the crayon to reveal the reward.

Here are the rewards I went with:

Teddy Bears and Teddy Grahams
Flashlight Day
Special Treat
Extra Recess
Swap Seats
Free Computer Time
Mouse and the Motorcycle
Special Guest
Movie Day
Game Day
Ice Cream Party
Kickball Tournament

{While I would love to go in great detail about each one, that is just not realistic for this #tiredteacher.  But if you want to know more, leave a comment or send me an email, I'd be happy to answer any Qs}

Let's talk about GAME DAY!

We started out talking about the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio.  I wanted to get them PUMPED UP, make it somewhat educational and also have the opportunity to talk about sportsmanship.  My crew is a lively one and  they get heated during competition so I knew it would be important to address this head on. We talked about individual vs. team events.  We discussed earning gold, silver and bronze.  We chatted about congratulating our teammates AND others for a job well done.  We reminded ourselves we were here to HAVE FUN!

I used some of the activities from my Summer Olympics pack as "warm ups" and also for students who might be sitting around during game time waiting for others to finish.  For a chance to WIN a copy of this pack, leave a comment with your FAVORITE Summer Olympic Sport to watch!

Here was the line up for Game Day:


I loved that I could incorporate games we play all year, review games AND then Rock Paper Scissors just for fun.  I got the idea for a RPS tourny from a genius teacher on Instagram and I cannot remember who.  If you know, please tell me so I can give credit!
After all was said and done and the kids were at recess, I put together an awards ceremony.  This wasn't in my original plan but after all the Olympics talk, I just had to make it happen.  I put up a podium background on the SmartBoard and played some ceremony music as I handed out medals to each team.
Kids clapped and cheered for each team which made my teacher heart happy. 

It was one of those days you leave school smiling and know your kids left school excited.  I can't wait to do it again next year.  Actually...I can ; )

Happy summer or almost summer break to you!!

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