Friday, February 21, 2014


The BEST game I have ever added to my classroom has been Pop. It started with a water cycle version of pop last year.  On small cards that had a picture of one piece of popcorn I added words associated with the water cycle. Kids played the game in groups of 3 or 4 by taking turns picking one card from the popcorn container. The goal is for the student to define the word or give an example of it. If the student answers correctly he/she gets to keep the card and have another turn. The turn ends when the player answers the question incorrectly or pulls a 'pop' card or chooses to pass. When the pop card is pulled students have to put all the cards back they earned that round and pass the container to the next player.

This year the fourth grade loopers were BEGGING for us to get the game out again as a Daily 5 word work choice. It was at this point that we knew were on to something big! The next pop game added was vocabulary associated with the human body. It was quite incredible to hear the conversations this game sparked. They were using the vocabulary we had talked about in lessons. They were keeping each other honest and on task. And, so many kids wanted to play pop we had to draw names from a cup to make sure everyone had a chance.

This paved the way for spelling pop. I asked one of our school's literacy specialists for the high frequency words we expect our third graders to know and turned that list of 200 into spelling pop. At this point I used the iPad to make a popcorn graphic and added the words by using the computer so these games would be easier to recreate (before we were adding words by hand).  Spelling pop is played slightly different and requires the speller to choose a card puller. The card puller reads and sometimes defines the word for the speller. The rest of the game is played the same way.

Spelling pop sparked multiplication pop. My third graders have learned strategies for facts through 10x10. This game is a reinforcer for those facts. As I hoped, multiplication is the most sought after math choice.   What a jackpot idea!  Here is the link to get multiplication pop for your classroom. I have also added division pop now that my kiddos have some division strategies in their math tool box.

Pop is such an easy game to set up. I found the popcorn containers at the dollar store. They are $1 for two containers. I really hope your kiddos love it as much as mine have!

Friday, February 14, 2014


This year we are celebrating Valentine's Day by focusing on friendship. We had various activities planned for our day including buddy reading books on friendship, adjectives describing what we want in a friend, and a recipe for building a friendship. Our day was lacking a word work activity, hence the birth of this gem.  Students are asked to use the letters in the word *friendship* to make new words. 
They will be given the option of using magnetic letters on a cookie sheet.  You can get your free copy of the friendship worksheet here.  However, we ended up having a blizzard forecast for Valentine's day so we moved the party up one day which ended up being an early release and Valentine's day was a snow day.  We did have time for a quick party and one read aloud. The rest of the activities will wait until after vacation.

The focus on friendship comes at a perfect time as many of the kids are struggling to maintain friendly relationships with their classmates. Being in the Northeast, I blame most of the struggle on the cabin fever we are all experiencing due to the snowy and icy weather winter has brought to us. Here's to remembering what being friends is all about.

One of the parents sent in these cute yogurt parfaits. They were layered with vanilla yogurt, granola, strawberry granola and whipped cream. YUM!! She even put candy conversation hearts on the top. The kids especially loved the cups and many of them washed them out to bring them home.

Final thought- notice the elephant and pig on the worksheet. This is in direct relationship to my love for all things Piggy and Elephant!! Shout out to Mo Willems, an author I have come to adore!!