Playing “Would You Rather?” in Class

Playing “Would You Rather?” in Class

Hello and happy Saturday. You know how teachers sometimes are requested to plan a mini-lesson for job interviews? Well, the idea I’m going to share with you was for one of those situations. It was for a middle school position and the first of many schools that called me, so it’s no surprise that I didn’t end up working there. I did like my lesson plan a lot, so I’m not letting it go to waste.

“Would you rather…?” is a game in which the players are given two choices and they must present sound arguments to support their pick. The cool thing about this game is that you can make it as simple or as complex as you want, and of course, as I always say, you can make the necessary adaptations to fit your class’s needs.

I didn’t know the students I was going to try this with (spoiler alert: when the interview day came, we didn’t even execute the lesson), so I stuck to very generic topics and to focus on having students work on speaking. I googled “would you rather questions for middle school,” I clicked the first link I found and I got my options from there. I needed two things for this lesson: flashcards and markers.  You can even have the options in your phone or computer and either project them on the board or write them down, or you can just read them and have your students listen.

The way I had thought this idea was to give each student a different set of cards, so everyone had a different question. Students get time to think about their choice and the arguments to support it, and here’s where I say you can make it as simple or as complex as you want because if you’re working on debate skills, you can have your students come up with three arguments in favor of their choice and one counterargument. You can have them write their reasoning or simply have them think and then speak.

After that, taking turns, students will present their question, the options, their choice, and the reasons behind it. Again, there can be a space after each intervention for rebuttals. If you’re working with younger kids, you can present the questions yourself and have them raise hands when the option of their choice is mentioned, then you’ll select one student from each “team” to talk. The idea is pretty simple, but that’s what allows you to make changes.

I will always be a fan of activities like this, which take me a few minutes, some paper and a marker to come up with. Are you the same way? What’s your favorite type of activity to do in the classroom? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

Making Signs For My New Classroom

Making Signs For My New Classroom

Hello and happy Saturday. One of my favorite things about being a teacher is actually decorating my classroom, and as I’ve said in previous posts I’m a midpoint between being a DIY queen and buying everything already done or just printing it. Today I’m showing you my process to make cute signs for my classroom. Let’s get started, shall we?

Step one is to print the blank letters. I used a font I found in Word and used the WordArt options to make it look 3D. Then I traced the edges by hand with a black marker. Of course, I’m sure there’s an option to have the letters come out with black edges, but where’s the fun in that?

 

 

You’ll see that I colored and cut each individual letter, so to make the process of setting up the bulletin board easier, and also to ensure that nothing would get lost or misplaced, I got a Ziploc bag and inside I wrote the actual message from the sign. I do that with every piece of decoration in my classroom so that it’s easier for me to store everything.

 

 

 

 

I colored each letter with markers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laminated the whole thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then cut each individual letter.

Do you make your own signs for the classroom or do you buy them made? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

The Empowered Woman’s Starter Kit

The Empowered Woman’s Starter Kit

 

The Empowered Woman's Starter Kit Cover .jpg

Hello and happy Sunday. I’m very excited to finally be able to share my new TpT product with you because it’d been my baby for over a year and now you can get it and use it.

The Empowered Woman’s Starter Kit was thought as a guide for teachers who want to introduce their students to feminism but don’t know where to start. It includes suggested readings, TED Talks, songs, and poems around different topics related to feminism, but most importantly, it has reflection questions I have designed in order to help young people learn about feminism and become agents of change in our society.

Like all my products, you can use this in the way that you consider it fitter for you and your students. I designed it to look like a handbook so you can print copies and give each one for your students, or you can have one for yourself, and adapt it in a way that best suits you. Due to copyright issues, the original sources are not included, but they are all available online and links to them are provided.

This is just the beginning in a series of works related to feminism that I am going to make available to you. In the meantime, share with me your questions about feminism in the comments.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

 

First Day of Kindergarten

First Day of Kindergarten

Hello and happy Monday. I know I haven’t done a “day in the classroom” kind of post in a long time, and that’s due to the fact that I pretty much stopped taking pictures of my lessons altogether. I think I’ve told you that I’ve avoided taking my phone into the classroom, and obviously that means I can’t take any pictures. I will be super honest with you and tell you that, unlike when I used to blog about my lessons, I am not planning the classes, and I think it would not be appropriate for me to share stuff about a class I’m executing but that I didn’t think of myself, if that makes any sense.

That being said, I want to tell you about an idea that was all mine, and it’s the activity I did for the first day of kindergarten. If you want to recreate it, all you’re going to need is stickers. Let’s get started, shall we?

I think that first approach you have with students has to be about getting to know each other. You need to learn your students’ names, and they need to learn yours and feel comfortable with you. They also need to get to know their classmates because there might be some new kids (or, in some cases, all of them are new). This is why, for the first activity of the first day of class, I like to sit on the floor, and if you have a carpet, even better.

Okay, that’s cute and all, but what about the actual activity? I sat my students on the floor in a circle, and I had my bag full of stickers. Look at the thumbnail and think like a kindergartner. What do you see? I’ll tell you what I wanted my students to see: colors and animals. I already had these stickers at home, but you can use any sort of sticker as long as it has a differentiating attribute that students can easily notice and point out.

On each sticker, I wrote the name of each of my students, so what I did was draw a sticker from the bag, ask the whole class what color and animal it was, and then call the student whose name was written on the sticker. Now, this activity will take time because you’re calling each student one by one, but in my opinion, that’s how the first lesson should go.

The year prior to that, I sat my pre-kinder boys in a circle and I had a foam ball, which I throw at them and sing this song that went “Good morning,  _____, good morning, how are you? ______, how are you?”  And they had to say good morning and tell me if they were good (thumbs up), so-so (thumb in the middle), or bad (thumbs down). I already knew most of my kindergartners that year, so we sang the animals song, that goes “hello _____, how are you? With a (they say an animal) we’re going to say hello. And what does the (animal) say?” And then we’d act like the animal.

Am I working on “academic” content in those first lessons? Yes because we’re reviewing vocabulary, but more than that, I’m focusing on introducing myself and my class to the students, and even if I already knew them, I am introducing them to the new school year. Now, in the comments,  I’d like you to share with me some ideas that can be implemented on the first day.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

A Family Game Idea

A Family Game Idea

Hello and happy Sunday. I’m going to share with you a game I played with my family a while ago, and that was super easy to put together, and very fun to play. To give you some context, I have always spent Christmas with my mom, my sister, and my maternal grandparents, but for the past couple of years, we’ve replaced the dinner for lunch because my grandparents get too tired at night, especially my grandma who’s the one cooking.

I’m okay with either lunch or dinner, but this change in tradition has been hard on my sister. To make it more animated, then, I decided we should play a game that could be entertaining for people between the ages of 23 and 87. We’d recently gotten a Jenga set for free at a store, so I decided to use it. I numbered each piece and then made a Word document with 48 multiple-choice questions. I obviously didn’t come up with the questions, I just Googled and selected them.

Now, that’s pretty much what we needed for the game: each person had to remove one of the pieces like on regular Jenga, but then to earn the piece, which counted as a point, they had to answer the corresponding question. It was easy to visualize how many points each person had because I just needed to see how many pieces they’d earned. Here’s a pro tip: save  Word documents to your Notes app on your iPad, so that you can access them even if there’s no internet. I’m saying this because I wrote the questions using my computer, then sent them to my email and downloaded them in my iPad, and had them saved in my Notes app. Techie, I know.

I also did medals for the contestants because we all know that when there’s an incentive people get more pumped and excited to play. And that was it, the game we played for Christmas last year. What games do you play with your family? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!
Love, Miss Camila

How I Use Google Slides in the Classroom

How I Use Google Slides in the Classroom

Hello and happy Saturday. Now that I have a fulfilling and exciting job, I feel that I can be a more productive teacher blogger. Yes, tags and DIY’s are fun, but as a teacher there’s stuff I do in my classroom that can be useful to you. An example of this is Google Slides, which is basically an online version of Power Point that you can use with your Google account.

I will soon have an in-depth post about my planning and organization processes, and in it I will explain to you what goes into my Google Slides, but today I will talk more about the use of this tool in the classroom. Basically, think about this: I make a presentation for each of my classes, and that’s how I pace myself, I ensure that I’m following the agenda and the classroom protocols, and I use resources such as videos.

Now, I teach kindergarten, so I don’t just write information in slides and talk the whole time, but I look for templates, like the one in the picture, that will save me time, maximizing instructional time. The picture shows a K-W-L chart. I took an image, pasted it into my slides, and enlarged it so that it would be projected on the board and then I would fill it on the board with my students’ answers.

A normal presentation for a lesson will begin with the date, so I have a template of a slide that I project every day at the beginning. Now, I project the date but I also write it on the board, as it is part of our class protocol, meaning every kindergarten teacher must begin her class with the date. I also use a slide so that students can see the full date before I write it down because in Math we’re working on numbers, so I can easily point at a number and they’ll read it and say it for me. I have a “title” slide for each of the subjects I teach so that students know what we will be working on. They know that the math slide has numbers and that the science one has scientists.

I then present the agenda to my students, which is a series of four or five images depending on the length of the class. I write the agenda on the board, as well as the big idea, which is often an “I can” statement. Then we move on to the core of the lesson, which is whatever I projected and drew as part of the agenda. I make sure to insert the videos we’re going to work on, as well as the images that we’ll need, and I interact with whatever is projected, usually by adding to it with board markers.

I only started using Google Slides this school year, but I feel it’s a tool that’s helped me a lot to get organized when planning the minute-to-minute for each lesson, and it has given my students visual cues that maximize instruction time, like when they see the light bulb and they know I’m about to tell them the big idea.

Do you use Google Slides in your classroom or any other technological resource that you find useful? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

DIY Treasure Box

DIY Treasure Box

Hello and happy Sunday. Today I bring you an idea that could work both for a classroom or a house where there are children. It’s incredibly simple, but trust me, your kids are going to love it. I’m talking about a “treasure box,” which is a cardboard box I decorated and filled with small toys for my students to play with.

I used a medium-sized cardboard box, and the only alteration I made was that I cut it so that my students could open it just by lifting the top flap.

 

 

You know contact paper is my best friend, and I used this wooden-print one because it was the only one I had around and I also liked the idea of it looking like a wooden box…it helped with the whole “treasure box/ chest” theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were the toys I started out with. I kept each either in a plastic egg or a small box, and I labeled the outside with the name of the toy and my name. I did this to avoid getting the toys lost, although with kids and such small items there’s really no guarantee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How cute is my dog’s tail, huh? Okay, to finish up, I just decorated the outside of the box. Keep in mind that even if you secure the stickers with some glue, they might fall off (or be taken off).

And that was it, a very easy way to make something cute and magical for your kids. In my case, I had all the supplies I used already at home, so I didn’t have to buy anything, not even the toys. If you were to do this treasure box, how would you theme it and what would you put inside? Let me know in the comments.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila