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Friday, March 29, 2013

Texting Poetry

In this age of texting mania, engage your students in a safe "texting" activity that will produce some "phone-tastic" poetry. Challenge them to write Phone Number Poetry.  It's easy, fun, and will produce poetry with a new "ring" to it.

Have each student write his/her phone number vertically on a piece of paper.  Each digit represents the number of words to write in that line of the poem.  (If the phone number contains a zero, they should write 10 words on that line.) After selecting a topic, they can begin writing their free verse poem.

An alternate idea for this "texting" is to have the digits represent the number of syllables in each line.  For older, more capable students, challenge them to write lines of alliteration using 1 of the letters assigned to that number on the phone.  If, for example, one of the digits is a 2, an alliterative line could be:
Clever conversations
Or, a line for the digit 4 could be:
Giddy girls gabbing, giggling

The topic of these poems may be one you assign or the choice of the poet.  A fun, if obvious, topic is cell phones. With all the smart phones available today, students can expand their thoughts on phones to include games, web browsing, email, maps, photos, videos, yelp, ...

It's about time for National Poetry Month.  So call up this fun poetry activity.  You are sure to enjoy these "messages!"  

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cha-ching Chuckle

The new TpT app kindly announces that you have a sale with a pleasant “cha-ching.” That glorious sound is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, but this will make you chuckle; guffaw even! 

My husband has installed the app on his phone as he is every bit as invested in my product sales as I am. He’s an architect and contractor, by the way. His business acumen is welcomed, but in truth he’s hoping I’ll make it big on TpT so that he can retire one day. 

He was meeting with clients for whom he has designed a substantial addition. As construction is nearing the end, he was discussing their choice of doorknobs. Their selection was very high-end and over the allowance. As he was explaining that to them, his phone cha-chinged. Right on cue, it would seem! The clients clearly heard it and so my husband explained that he had programmed his phone to make that sound whenever clients agreed to an up-charge. Of course, he subsequently explained what the cha-ching really meant. For a moment though, their jaws were on the floor. 

Oh TpT, I love you so!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fight Spring Fever!

It's nearly springtime, teachers!  That means spring fever is nigh.  Your students will soon start yearning for summer vacation and tuning out in the classroom.  It takes a little more creativity to keep them engaged and learning.  I've got just thing for you; Spring Square Puzzlers.  

Square Puzzlers challenge both sides of your students' brains.  The colorful graphics appeal to the creative right hemisphere, but more importantly, the task speaks to the holistic, random, and intuitive nature of that hemisphere. Meanwhile, the logical left side of the brain is busy examining the parts of the puzzle, analyzing the details for possible solutions.  

The task in square puzzlers is to create a square with the given pieces in which all the images match on every interior side.  Spring Square Puzzlers includes 3 different puzzles of increasing difficulty.  

Students will manipulate these 4 puzzle pieces until they are able to match all the images while creating a 2 x 2 array. The 4 piece puzzle is perfect for beginners and young learners.

The next puzzle is a 3 x 3 square and is exponentially more difficult.  It provides enough challenge that even high school students will enjoy it.  Square puzzlers are perfect for fast finishers.  They most certainly will not be able to finish this in a flash!  In fact, the challenge is sufficient that it may take several days to solve.  To that end, I suggest that you provide box tops or cookie sheets for your students to store their puzzles-in-progress.  

For those seeking a great challenge, I have created a 4 x 4 square puzzler.  It will boggle the most brilliant brains.  Fans tell me that they put the 4 x 4 puzzler on their kitchen counters at home and found every member of their families drawn to it throughout the days it took them to solve it.

I find it fascinating to observe my students as they problem solve these puzzles.  Some will doggedly arrange and rearrange with fierce focus.  Others will beg their peers to help them.  Some will cautiously guard their progress; others will toss all of their pieces up and start over.  Each puzzle has a hint that will make solving it easier.  That is, in each puzzle there is one graphic that appears only twice.  Matching that single pair provides a guaranteed starting place.   

My students are so crazy for square puzzlers that I have created 4 sets so far.  

You can find these Square Puzzlers in my TpT Store or in my TN Shop.  Fight the downward spiral!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shamrock Scrattle FREEBIE!

Sure as there are shamrock shakes at McDonald's, it's about time for St. Patrick's Day.  Another holiday means another Scrattle game freebie for your classroom.

SCRATTLE is a Scrabble Battle between 2 students.  

To begin, give your students the letter set for this edition of SCRATTLE.

After your students cut the shamrock letters out, they manipulate them to make words. Their goal is to make words with the most value, just as in Scrabble™.  Using the recording sheet, the students write their words and compute the value of each word. Three different recording sheets are provided to allow for differentiation of operations per your students' abilities.

Once their words are recorded and computed, each student finds a partner for the battle. Upon entering each other's scores in the space provided, the students compare their scores and enter the correct mathematical symbol between them: >, =, or <.  The winner is the player with the most >s.

SCRATTLE is perfect for centers (literacy or math - gotta love that!).  This game is also terrific for fast finishers and/or enrichment.

You can get your FREE Scrattle file here.

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