[extra] time saver: categories

seriously. love. this.

why? because it is flexible, educational, and quite fun (if I do say so myself).

oh, and the set up is easy.

= a great [extra] time saver!

need: chalkboard/whiteboard/smartboard
topic word
creative thinkers
thats it!

categories

1. Think of a topical word pertinent to season, holiday, class content

2. make sure above word does not have a lot of repeat letters
(Instead of using Steelers, use Superbowl)

3. Write that word, leaving spaces between each letter at the top of what will become your grid:
Since it’s almost the holiday of love, I’ll use HEART as my word
or, if teaching in an intermediate setting, VALENTINE would be great!

4. On the left side, vertically write your categories: noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, flower, food, sports team, city/country, color, historical figure, etc.
You can choose as many or as few categories as you want — based on time & grade level!

 

it should look like this:


you can also add grid lines to help separate spaces

5. Now, how you play this “game” is up to you. Usually, I call on students one by one to come up and fill in a square with a word. I usually do not give points or make it a race, just a fun brain stretching activity.

6. As always, it is incredibly important that you go over the guidelines: only school appropriate words, good behavior is rewarded with a turn, poor behavior is not, etc.

7. Once students get the hang of it, they can even make their own for a partner (graph paper aids this activity immensely!)

Woo hoo! And there you have it — a quick game that supports Language Arts skills, creative thinking, writing, & spelling.

enjoy creating these categories,

miss miller

Comments (1) »

Resource Round-up: Spelling City!

This might be one of my favorite tools to use. I know it might not be something a day-to-day sub will use frequently, but trust me — this site will come in handy.

Spelling City allows teachers to upload weekly spelling lists — Awesome, I know! — for free!!!

1. this allows parents/students quick access to words at home
2. this creates a wonderful opportunity for independent practice
3. this website can be used for a center activity
4. this gives no excuses for students who “forgot their list at school”
5. this provides games at your fingertips (which you did not have to create!)
6. this gives substitutes an easy way to create a spelling/language arts center

Let me explain:

Once you have registered at Spelling City’s site, simply upload the words into a list — easy!

Then students have the ability to access this list using your username that you provide. (My students could search under the username missnmiller)

[[Your homepage not only includes the list of words, but can link to fun sites to practice math skills, learn language arts skills, & practice writing! It also provides you with space to write a message to students & parents]]

SS TIP: I found that labeling the list by week is the most helpful!

Students then have opportunities to learn, practice, & take a test! *audio required. The learn tab reads the word & spells it aloud for the student, including it in a sentence for understanding. The practice tab provides cool games, such as hang mouse [like hang man] & unscrambling games to help students retain the spellings.

Below is a nice instructional video for a quick overview & howtos for SpellingCity. Some of the features included [vocabulary & print outs are available only with the premium membership]

So if you’re caught in a bind & need a quick activity or center, the list only takes minutes to type [but I would suggest signing up now —  it’s free] OR if you’re in a more permanent teaching position & are looking to spice up spelling, this site is perfect for just that!

happy spelling!

miss miller

Leave a comment »

Friday Find II

Friday just got a little bit better because of this fabulous find:

Introducing: Storyline Online

Storyline Online is an amazing website featuring members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) reading contemporary children’s books! Each book featured on this site has activities & lesson ideas included! Now that is fabulous!


Boasting over 20 books, this site answers a need for substitutes who are scrambling to find an engaging Language Arts lesson. Whether students listen to it individually at a lab or as a class on a screen projector, this site is fun & entertaining! It also provides all you need to make it a complete lesson, with enriching materials to increase interest in the material and learn more about the story itself!

After selecting a book, you are introduced to to content & author. To Be Adam is read by James Earl Jones — pretty neat!

Notice the tabs at the bottom of the screen: clicking on “Let’s Read it” opens up a screen showing the pictures as the story is read (not just the author reading for the duration of the book). Below, you find two ways to find content for the rest of your lesson: Related Activities & More Activities.

So next time you find yourself with extra time on your hands, turn to this site for some [famous] reading fun! Go check it out!

Here is an example of what students will view on StorylineOnline with Elijah Wood:

 

enjoy this treat!

miss miller

Leave a comment »

Changes to No Child Left Behind?

“No Child Left Behind, which launched an unprecedented expansion of standardized testing, was widely acclaimed when it was enacted in 2002 under President George W. Bush. There were pledges that schools would get serious about closing achievement gaps, while helping every single child reach grade level in reading and math.

Now, the United States may be on the verge of another cycle of reform as schools hit an achievement ceiling. Lawmakers are calling the law rigid, punitive and unrealistic.” [washington post]

2014 is approaching & so is the surmounting goal of reaching 100% proficiency for all students.

one third of u.s. public schools failed in 2009.*

However, it appears that President Obama is looking to make changes in No Child Left Behind, aiming to make AYP (adequate yearly progress) more flexible while still maintaining high academic standards. This announcement came after expressing interest in replacing NCLB during the President’s State of the Union address.

Teachers nationwide are sitting with fingers crossed and questions still remain: How will low-achieving schools be held accountable? How would improvement be implemented? Will achieving schools and teachers be rewarded? What makes a teacher ‘highly qualified?’

Will we see an end to the looming 2014 deadline?

Though a clear cut answer is not in sight (just yet), lawmakers have been meeting for months in attempt to have a bill passed this year.

The Huffington Post states Obama’s focus is: “… for states to adopt standards that ensure students are ready for college or a career rather than grade-level proficiency.”

Other plans that would utilize the proposed increase to the educational budget include: implementation of programming to help train & recruit teachers, aid offered to ailing schools, and encouragement for charter schools.

Other political figures have noted a desire to have other subjects, not just math and reading, to be included in the evaluations of school achievement.

Others want a change in the name.

But overall, it is clear that the amendments made to NCLB will focus on the positive growth & success of schools rather than the current negativity and fixation on failing.

I guess that is encouraging & a much needed outlook for national education.

Stay Informed,
miss miller

To read more on this topic visit these articles:
Obama makes Education State of Union Centerpiece
Bipartisan Group of Senators Pledges to Work on Revamping ‘NCLB

Obama Seeks to make NCLB more flexible
‘NCLB’ facing changes

*according to the independent Center on Education Policy

Leave a comment »

((inspiration)) for your week

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle


Leave a comment »

a hello & an [extra] time saver: swat it

Hello & a warm welcome to friends from
The Bus Stop Blog!

It is so good to have you here. I would encourage you to take a look around, leave a comment or two & join this fabulous community of substitutes surviving this crazy adventure together!

[[feel free to subscribe to my blog & find me on twitter @missnmiller!]]

I have been updating with some [extra] time savers & fabulous finds — sure to help you out in your day to day activities.

Since I have some special visitors, I thought it would be fitting to share one of my favorite fillers!

swat it.

Yep. That’s right. Fly swatters + chalk board = a sweet [extra] time saver

Plus! Fly swatters + decorative flowers = an even sweeter [extra] time saver. [[just hot glue flowers to one side of swatter]]

Ok, I know what your thinking — “How can this be used in the classroom?”

Well, I’m happy to share that this activity can be multi-purpose! Just read & see:

GENERIC SWAT IT RULES:

1. Select a subject: math, spelling, vocabulary, etc.

2. Write correct & incorrect answers all over chalk/white board
(ie: If you are practicing spelling words, write every word from your list spelled correctly & then each word spelled incorrectly randomly, in no order, all over your chalk board)

3. Divide students into 2 teams. Have one representative from each team come to the board & face the students. (Have their back to the board.)

4. Give each student a fly swatter & instruct them to listen to the question, wait for your call of “go!” Then, students must turn around and try to “swat” the correct answer.

5. The first to swat the correct answer wins a point (or two, your choice!)

Consequences: To avoid noise, chatting, shouting out answers, provide a consequence such as a loss of a point.

Adaptations: I know that you are most likely not going to carry around fly swatters. Hands work just as well!

Word to the wise: Make sure that you explicitly state the rules so that there is no swatting of others.

Variations:
– Math:
Put up answers (numerical) to multiplication & division questions & hold up flash cards
History: Write terms & give students definitions
Spelling: Write words correctly & incorrectly, give definitions to find
Geography: Write states abbreviations, capitals, etc & have students find the correct match to what you state. (ie: Pennsylvania – PA or Harrisburg – PA)
– You name it, it can be incorporated into a swat it game.

Have fun & happy swatting!

missnmiller

Comments (1) »

Friday’s Fabulous Find

Happy Friday! During my time subbing, I have filled a notebook with the numerous good ideas, activities, & finds I’ve discovered along the way.  Each Friday, I’m going to showcase some of my favorite ideas as a Fabulous Find.

Today’s Find: Free Fonts!

Whether you are making substitute business cards, substitute letterhead for notes to teachers, or creating your own worksheets & handouts — you can’t beat Free Fonts!


I stumbled upon a fabulous site, Fonts for Peas, that offers a wealth of free fonts & instructions on how to download & use with your word processor.

Take a look at the gorgeous samples below!

Beautiful, right? I can just begin the long list of uses for these cuties! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Instruction for downloading can be found here.

happy typing,
miss miller

Comments (2) »