Sunday, January 8, 2017

Free Romeo and Juliet Resources

Hello my fellow Romeo and Juliet teachers. Teaching Shakespeare in general can be so powerful and unique for our students. I have been posting some ideas on my Instagram lately, and many people have been requesting some of the specific resources that I've posted, so I thought I would put together a little post of some of the most recent ones. Use one or use all, or simply be inspired to create your own versions.

These are the prologue cards that I used with a matching activity. I printed the sets on different colored paper, and then the students had to match up the original with the translated version.

Click here for the original cards and here for the translated versions. I was inspired by this resource, and I used their translated version for the translated cards.

I created a wedding program for Romeo and Juliet's wedding, and you can download that here. If you want it to look the exact same, the fonts that I used are Sweet Pea, KG Arrows, KG Always A Good Time, and PB Coffee Before Talkie.

If you are interested in more interactive activities for Romeo and Juliet, check out my bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers. It has over 55 PowerPoint slides, 20 handouts, a review game, a complete funeral activity for the deaths of the characters, and more.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Post-it Annotations Template

After using Post-its for about two days to annotate, I realized that with 90 students, it would not be feasible for me to continue supplying the sticky notes. Instead, I used this handy resource so that the students could still appreciate the idea of using the sticky note format, but we weren't flying through tons of sticky notes in the process.

If you'd like to use this template, grab it here. I left extra space in the directions box for you to instruct your students on the specific requirements for your annotations. 

Let me know if you have any questions, and be sure to check me out on Instagram @theengagingstation! :)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Zombie Attack Lesson Idea

Need a quick, engaging idea to get your students writing? Have zombies attack the classroom and school, and allow the students to choose how they will survive!

To set the mood, I turned off the lights, played The Walking Dead theme song, and had my first PowerPoint slide displaying when they walked in.


I explained that they would be completing a writing assignment so that they were not surprised after the "fun" part. The first part of surviving a zombie attack is getting resources together. I gave them a list of seven items to choose from, and I told them that they can only take four. They had to decide as a group which four to take. This is where the team-building part comes into play.

After they picked their items, we went over each item, discussing the benefits and drawbacks of each, and why each group picked the four items. You can continue to narrow this down to three, two, and even one item.

After they agreed on their resources, they had to pick their weapon of choice to defend themselves in the zombie attack. You can either have the group decide on one weapon for the entire group, or have each person pick just one item. It's always funny to see who gets stuck with the stick! :)

After they are well-equipped with survival necessities and a defense, they had to escape the school. The problem is that the nearest exit is locked, and everyone in  the hallway had become a zombie. For this, I projected a map of the school, and they had to create an escape route. This is a neat opportunity to discuss the school building as well.

Finally, after they escaped the school and everyone lived (yay!), they had to complete their pre-assessment. You can choose one for everyone to respond to, or you can present a few options. You can see two options below:

You now have a piece of writing from students, and they had a chance to have some fun! Be aware that this lesson is SUPER engaging and therefore, the students will want to talk A LOT. Just set the expectation beforehand that they need to be quiet when people are presenting their choices.

To use this in your classroom, simply click on the pictures that you want, right-click, save the image, and add right into your presentation software.

Happy surviving!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Classroom Transformation: Bowling Review Game

Need a fun way to review information? Give your kids a bowling ball, some pins, and a disco light, and you'll have a SUPER engaging review session ready to go! The best thing about it? This transformation can be adapted to all content and topics!

The Preparation:

Materials needed:
  • Bowling pins
  • Butcher paper or table cloths (for the lanes)
  • Bowling ball
  • Disco light (get the one I used by clicking here)
  • Optional: Chromebooks
  • Optional: glow sticks. There are great packs at Walmart, Five Below, and Amazon (click here)
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

I was able to get the bowling pins and jelly bowling balls from my school's gym closet, the butcher paper from our stock, and I had the construction paper already. The only items that cost money were the glow sticks and disco light, but I can honestly say that these two items TRANSFORMED the lesson. My kids were SO excited about the glow sticks, and the disco light, for such a cheap price, lit up my entire classroom. Even the kids walking by couldn't help but look in! 

If you do not have access to bowling pins/balls, and you're not sure about investing too much money into them, I have seen lots of DIY ideas for bowling using soda bottles! Check out some ideas on Pinterest. You can make this work!!! :)

The preparation took about 1 hour. I covered my windows with butcher paper to black out the room, lined the floor with two lanes of butcher paper, plugged in the disco light, and BOOM, a bowling alley was created!

I also printed out this sign to wear. I constantly pretend to be other people, and my kids buy into it. I'm a bit of an alliteration abuser (see what I did there? :D), so I just had to make this sign! I just attached it to my lanyard, and the kids called me Becky all day!

The Lesson:

Over the course of two days, my students traveled to the Arcade Room, Burger Bowling, and the Concession Stand. Those were code names for the different stations at which the students would work.

The students walked into the classroom and were shocked at the transformation. We started things off at the Arcade Room in which students played Pac-Man (if you haven't played on ClassTools, you are missing out!). Students reviewed how to cite evidence (check out my game at Citation Pac-Man). They played for ten minutes, and the highest scorer earned a special spot on the score board!

After Pac-Man, the students moved to Burger Bowlerama! They each received a Burger Bowlerama booklet. We played just like real bowling with 10 rounds. After each round, students had to answer four questions in their booklets. The questions were all review questions for what we have been learning. I am all about rehearsal and practicing!

We turned the lights off and the disco light on for this! It was just like cosmic bowling. I also had music playing like Cascada and some old Britney Spears, so it gave it the old-school skating rink vibe. After each round, I kept track of their scores on the bowling score chart (see bottom of post for link to this). The students motivated each other, clapped for each other, and it was pure awesomeness! Follow me on Instagram to see videos of this!

In between turns, they used their glow sticks to light the way to answer their booklets!

Finally, they ended at the Concession Stand. I saw this idea on Pinterest before, and I knew I wanted to try it! I gave each group their Team Pack complete with construction paper, scissors, glue, and Emoji Self-Evaluation Tool (grab it for free here). They had to cut out the parts to create the BEST burger in town and build a paragraph about it. They had to have topic sentences, detail sentences, supporting sentences, and a summary sentence. We have a specific writing program in my district, so this aligned with those requirements.

The end result of the burgers:

Some of them actually look pretty tasty!

If you want to take a peek at and/or use my resources, check them out here (for free!):  
  • Burger Bowlerama booklet and Becky signs: click here!
  • Slides from my PowerPoint, including the bowling score chart: click here!
Overall, it was a cheap transformation and well worth it to break up the end of the year and keep them engaged! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments, and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you do this transformation! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Team Packs

You know when you see a cool idea, then you obsess about it, and you realize that you HAVE to have it? That's what happened with these team packs. I saw them from Kagan, and I loved them. The Kagan ones come with markers, super thin whiteboards, crayons, and a spinner, and they retail for around $15. I wanted the same concept, but I didn't want to spend upward of $75 with shipping, so I decided to turn it into a DIY project! :)

I went to The Container Store to get the bubble envelopes. I was able to get them for $2.99 each. You can see them online here: Bubblopes.

After that, I used some Astrobrights paper to make the labels. I laminated them first and used Glue Dots to keep them down. Advice: Glue Dot the entire thing down. I did just the corners, and then the kids were putting their hand through it like a pocket.

As far as what I put in them goes, that changes all the time. That's another positive thing about the DIY method. For example, when we were working with persuasive techniques, I gave the kids blank paper, markers, and a mysterious item in another small bubble envelope. 

I think I'm going to use them as close reading toolkits, participation packs, and more. The kids  really like them both because they're different, and they're pretty. I had them out for a few days before we used them, and one girl said, "They are so pretty!" and another boy said, "I am very intrigued by these." Of course, I also received questions like, "Can I pop the bubbles?" Nonetheless, they were a hit, and I'm very excited about my $12.00 investment!

Leave a comment if you have any questions! :)

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Filing Cabinet Organization

I think we all have that filing cabinet with the endless amount of file folders and the random, misplaced task cards and matching cards, and as much as we try to organize it, it's better left closed.

Here is what my filing cabinet looked like before:

The obvious problems: there are no clear indicators of where one unit begins and ends, all of the files are the same color, and I'll be honest: most of the time, I do not put the folders back in the right spot.

The solution that I came up with: I will color-code my units and resources. For example, all of my Romeo and Juliet (including short stories that I use) will be coded pink. So, I used PowerPoint to create some strips (the font is called Sweet Pea), and then I printed and laminated them. I made sure to test this out on white paper first to make sure that my filing cabinet still closed without the papers hitting the top.

After I laminated the strips, I simply taped them to the inside of a green folder. Not only are these much larger than the little plastic things that come with hanging folders, I also like that I can use different colors and my own fonts. If you want to grab these editable labels, check them out here: Editable Filing Cabinet Labels/Strips.

Then, I organized my manila folders into their green folders, and this is the end result:

 I am so pleased with how these turned out! I can't wait to use blue for The Freedom Writers Diary and green for my writing unit, and so on. How do you organize your filing cabinet? What has worked well for you?

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Staff Morale Boosters

There are so many great ideas out there to boost staff morale, and I was inspired by those great ideas to give our copy room a little makeover.

I started by creating some motivational posters. I went for both school-related and just general quotes to spark some positive vibes and motivation. I even printed a few extra for my classroom. Print them on Astrobrights paper or any bright cardstock for an extra pop! If you want to grab them for yourself (for free), click here: motivational posters!

After I printed and hung the posters up, I started on my next few projects: the staff shout-outs wall and the great ideas wall!

The great ideas wall will become a wall for people to post their great ideas including brain breaks, activities, handouts, websites, and more. The staff shout-outs wall will become a place for people to give a shout-out to other colleagues for doing neat things both in and outside of the classroom. If you want to grab my posters for these walls, click here: wall posters!

By the end of the second day, there were already quite a few shout-outs on the wall! I downloaded these neat shout-out slips from Teach Create Motivate :) 

In case you are wondering, I used my Cricut to create the cursive cutouts. :)

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! Don't forget to follow me on Instagram to continue to see the transformation and other cool things that I do in my classroom!

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