Tuesday, May 22, 2012

State Test Prep & Top 5 Brain Breaks

So here is my take...

It is crunch time for teachers at my school as we are still taking state tests (May 31st is our last one)! Like many teachers I try to make test prep more meaningful to students by having stations, partner games, and interactive white board review games like jeopardy...but sometimes practice questions in standard form must be covered too!

This is exactly how I feel right now!

When test question strategy sessions must happen, the only thing that gets the kids through it are Brain Breaks!  Below are my classes Top 5 Brain Breaks this testing season!


1. Keep It Up: I have a reading comprehension beach ball in my room. Students try to keep the ball from touching the ground.

2. Elbow Knee Taps: With hands behind their ears. Students tap their elbow to their opposite knee. I usually draw a name for a student leader. The leader will come up with a pattern, like right, left, right, right. Once the class has practiced the pattern the game begins! As a class we are trying to beat our own time!

3. My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean: As I sing the song students must change their direction whenever a "B" word is said. They either turn left, right, front, or back. It is quite funny when you get to "bring back, bring back, oh bring back my Bonny to me!" They look like spinning tops!!!

4. Random Dancing: So easy but quite fun! I just turn on music and they get to "boogie" (appropriately) while it is on.

5. The Cha-Cha Slide: I use the youtube clip below by Flametictac. It took my class several times before they had it down. I usually join in too for "exercise" reasons only! It has great easy to follow directions!!!

Click to view

The Cha Cha Slide has definitely been my classes favorite this year! 

If you have a fun quick Brain Break, please share below! I can never have enough!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Art & Poetry for Mother's Day!

So here's my take...

Near the end of April my class began learning all about Haiku poems. At the same time we started learning about Henri Matisse. So, I decided to integrate art & poetry into a project for Mother's Day!  

Students were fascinated by how Matisse created his "paper art" by cutting paper without tracing. After studying about his art, the students were excited to try his style. We used the books below when learning about Matisse...great resources!

Since traditional Haiku poetry is about nature, our project started with an outside observation! Students had to create a chart to record nouns, verbs, and adjectives that they saw. Lastly, they drew a sketch just like Matisse would do before cutting.

We learned that Matisse's style for cutting was an "organic" one (mostly cutting as if it was just the outline of an object). We practiced cutting on notebook paper before ever getting to construction paper.  I was very impressed with my class and no one even tried to cheat by tracing!!! 

Another aspect of Henri Matisse's art was his use of bright colors. The students had fun going "outside the box" when choosing the colors they used. After cutting, students used their shapes to play with the composition of the piece before gluing. 

Once the art was finished students had to pick one element of nature to focus their Haiku on. The student above chose to do birds but she could have easily chosen the tree or bird's nest (orange circle).

Students used their observation chart of nouns, verbs, & adjectives to help them in the brainstorm part of writing their poem. They worked in groups to help with inspiration, correct syllabication (lots of clapping), and to keep each other true to the 5, 7, 5 syllable rule of a Haiku.

The students were proud of their work and can't wait to take them home tomorrow!

Happy Mother's Day!!!

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