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Little Bits

I feel like I’ve been working so hard on my room the last few weeks, but I don’t feel like my room is close to done! I stayed at work until 6:30 last night and I only have one corner of my room actually complete. Luckily, it is my library corner and most likely the most labor intensive part of the room. I was hoping to have the room done by now though, because I only have one day left in my room before Check In Day!

I still need to cover my chalkboards, and organize a lot of my stuff. I was really hoping I would only be working on curriculum and planning tomorrow, but that is not likely to happen. I know it will all come together in the end though!

I took a few pictures of things in my room that I did accomplish this week so far. Maybe writing about them will make me feel not as far behind!

First, I decided that I did not want my Read the Rainbow as a bulletin board that was stagnant. I only have one true bulletin board in my room and it seemed a waste to put something up that didn’t change. So I made a poster to hang instead.

And here is a picture of my Pot O Gold. When a student completes a rainbow, they get to pick a prize. I keep trendy books, book related cards or trinkets, book lights, etc. I like to keep it literature related so it feeds into the excitement of reading.

Since I wanted to make my bb more interactive, I made a Reading Takes Us Places bb. This concept has been around since I was in school and probably before, but I think its a fun idea. When I student finishes a book, they will write their name, book title, and place on a card and then hang it on the board. Then they’ll put a pin on that spot on the map! I want to find a way to include all the made up places book take us too. Any ideas on how to incorporate that?

For my PI Club, I’ve been on a hunt for a briefcase to use to keep all the mysteries in. While searching at the teacher supply store, I came across this expanding file system on clearance for $2.50 and I thought it was perfect! I added cardboard at the bottom to keep it upright, and made a little cardboard handle to make it look like a briefcase.

And the PI Club advertising board:

I also make new game pieces for Homeworkopoly. I will share more info about those later, I’m late for a softball game!

I’ll leave you with one last shot of my finished library! Well almost finished… I still want to make pillows and finish my crate seats. I also spent almost a whole day sorting my books by genre. I usually want kids to figure it out themselves, but i thought this might make the Rainbow easier to accomplish!

I must apologize for my crazy pictures the last few posts. I am having trouble getting them from Photobucket into WordPress without them getting distorted or sized incorrectly. Hopefully the odd photos aren’t too distracting!

Join the PI (Pupil Investigator) Club!

I remember being one of the first to finish my assignments, ready to delve into something fun and exciting. Then being told to read at my desk. Now, I love to read so it didn’t bother me until I raised my hand to tell me teacher I was done and needed a new book. Then I often saw a quick look of exasperation flash across her face because she was trying to work with kids who needed her undivided attention…

As a teacher candidate in college I was well versed on how to work with my ELL students, my low readers, ssn students, and many other groups of students to differentiate for. But I really felt that my education was lacking in how to help my high students. There are several levels on that scale too. From competent students to the truly gifted and talented, they all need added challenges that don’t include busy work. I did my senior thesis paper on how to address those needs. However, being at two new schools in two years, I was concentrating most on learning the basic curriculum! Well this summer I have been brainstorming my new plan!

Anyone else have a potty training toddler that interrupts every blogging session at least twice to sit unsuccessfully on the potty?? haha

I really like the Mastery Club idea, but I wanted to make it more challenging. I don’t want my students to be able to google and answer or grab an encyclopedia and be done. Plus as a kid I was mildly obsessed with being a detective and this is my way of living vicariously! So I have spent the better part of my week googling, scouring bookstores, and brainstorming ideas. I do not have it all ironed out yet, but I will get there as the weeks go on.  I spent so much darn time on my printables that I am happy to share them to save you some time! i considered using Vistaprint, but honestly I don’t have the money to pay shipping even for free cards! So I just made a pdf file that I will copy at school on cardstock and laminate!

So this is how it works:

When students have NO missing or unfinished work, they can work on a mystery. I have six subjects that they can pick from. There are challenges that range from easy to very difficult in each subject. They must correctly complete 5 challenges in each subject. They can have two tries at any challenge.

In order to get their PI card, they must first complete two of the introductory Brain Teaser Mysteries. I found a slew of thee FREE here. I saved all kinds of worksheets to use for these challenges. I love that they include some easy ones so my lower kids can still participate. I was extremely excited to find these and I had some fun solving them myself!

Since I teach at a Catholic School, I also included some Bible Mysteries. I found these investigations here. I plan to type about three up per challenge so in reality they will complete 15 total!

I found some great books from Scholastic that I will use for Math and Comprehension. As soon as Scholastic opens for the year I will purchase these. I am still researching the best books or websites for printable science and history mysteries. I might end up coming up with some of these on my own! Do you have any suggestions?

Now for the fun part- FILES!!

Pupil Investigator Club Card (I think I will hole punch through each symbol when they have mastered that subject)

As they complete a challenge correctly, I will fill it in on the certificate. When five challenges in that subject are complete, I will present the following certificate to them:

Brain Teaser Certificate  

Math Mysteries Certificate

Reading Mysteries Certificate

Science Mysteries Certificate

History Mysteries Certificate

Bible Mysteries Certificate

I will share more mysteries as I come up with them. Hopefully you have enough here to get you started if you want to start a PI Club in your classroom too!