Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer Fun While We Can

August. When I make my mega to do list at the beginning of August I am always overwhelmed. School things begin to creep on to my list, and the carefree summer day countdown begins. So, last Monday, instead of being responsible and crossing things off our list we decided to spend the entire day having fun. (Oh, and did I mention we had a showing from 3:30-4:30, so I wasn't going to let the kids touch the house after breakfast anyway?)
We climbed in the car by 8:45 and headed to the doctor's office to have my arm checked for TB. The kids both held my hand and told me to be brave, just like I do when they go to the doctors. (Routine test for my new job!!!! I will be working at a Middle School this year!!!)
Then, we drove over the Walt Whitman Bridge towards the Philadelphia Zoo. We parked at the zoo, did sunscreen and set out for a day of fun with our friend Emily and her 39 week pregnant Momma. We checked out the monkeys, then it was snack time. After snack we saw the crocodiles, alligators, zebras, rhinos, giraffes, and penguins. My friend Kelly and I were amazed at our "daycare" kids. They held hands, took turns and actually stayed at each exhibit to watch the animals. Then we ate lunch with the geese. Patrick kept scaring them away, but alas they would come back. As we were eating lunch the kids spotted the train. Kelly and I exchanged a similar look - NO! So, we sat the kids on the wall by the train and told them to wave to the people. The kids sat for over 4 train rides. They waved to the people, they threw leaves at the train, and laughed so hard with each other. Kelly & I were proud of our savings from the train, and thrilled to catch up while the kids provided entertainment for the train ride. Then, it was time for Kelly and Emily to leave. We continued to see the Big Cats, which we never do, so the kids were super excited to spy leopards, lions, tigers, and pumas in the exhibit. Oh, and they loved the 2 min movie. Patrick even exclaimed that the Lion was almost as fast as him! We ended our visit in Kid Zoo U. We recycled, checked out the coral reef, went through the ant tunnel, looked at the ant farm, and played in the tiny tot barnyard. But, our favorite part was meeting Crystal, the oldest goat at the Philadelphia Zoo. I was surprised both kids wanted to brush her. Patrick never wants to get near animals, yet he felt comfortable with this older, wider, animal.We grabbed our usual snack of a Frozen Lemonade and headed out of the zoo. I figured an entire morning and afternoon would at least get me a quiet car ride home, but Patrick never fell asleep!

Check out Shannon's lady bug costume!
Around 5 o'clock we met up with Finn and my very best friend and cousin, Tricia at the Garden State Discovery Museum. The kids were super excited to show Finn all of their favorite exhibits in the "Lady bug" museum. (as Shannon calls it) We began in the Dinosaur room. All of the kids loved climbing the huge T-rex and finding their way through all the different holes in him. Then they dug in the huge dinosaur fossil dig. They also explored the magnetic dinosaur map and learned where the dinosaurs lived in the United States. We worked our way slowly through the museum. We pretended to be news casters, shopped at Whole Foods, played with the huge Lite Brite board, and visited the Barnyard. Our last stop was to the "beach" room. We have never spent a significant amount of time in this room, but it is well worth spending time playing in this room. Patrick loved the boat, especially fishing for fish from the boat. Finn discovered we could climb under the boat, and Shannon played with a beach ball and a steam of air. Then the kids discovered the bicycle ice cream truck, which was another huge hit!
Needless to say, the kids were exhausted when we left Garden State Discovery Museum and slept well!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Experiential Education, Energizers, and Team Building

Last week I took a course on Experiential Education and Facilitation. It was a fantastic week where I learned many new games and activities to do in the classroom with my students. I created a list of activities that I wanted to share on my blog. I will be adding to this list throughout the year. Please let me know if you have anything to add!

KeyPunch – using ABCs
Teambuild; have students work as a group to accomplish a common goal
Hit ball around circle; discuss how to get better; parts of speech, vocab words, part of a story, prefixes/suffixes
Balloon Train
Communication, lead from behind, interdependence, “my success depends on your success”
Name Animal most like you
Write it in journal/partner/circle
Name Weather condition most like
Write it in journal/partner/circle
Name Instrument most like you
Write it in journal/partner/circle
Name and Action Game
Write it in journal/partner/circle
Name and Adjective to describe you
Write it in journal/partner/circle
When the Wind Blows/I Like People Who
Energizer, Commonalities,
Identify Your Peanut(rock,
Write first, partner work, descriptive writing, using adjectives
I Spy Writing
Choose object in classroom, write about share writing, practice fluency and communication skills
The Human Knot
“Everyone’s actions affect your own
Build a Tower
Planning, group work, communication (limit talking, blindfold someone)
Teams build a matching bridge ½ the team builds left side, ½ on the right but the left and right can’t see eachother’s product until the end. They will have planned times to meet to discuss bridge.
Dragon Tail
Groups of 3 are formed. Goal is to protect your dragon tail.
Hidden Path
Great game to work on focus. Instead of numbers I might use vocabulary words, characters from stories, or letters
Goonie Likes/Green Glass Door
Double letters – start auditory move to visual
Hold hands move a squeeze around a circle
Impulse – cross hands, cross feet
Move a squeeze or foot tap around a circle
Impulse Race
2 teams; send impulse at same time and see which team moves it faster by grabbing something at the end
Name Explosion
Use a name to make a list of things beginning with letter (animals, people, cities, states)
Speed Rabbit
Stand in circle, make animals (Rabbit, Elephant, Moose)
Zip Zap Zoom
Put word with motion practice focus
Magic Carpet
Make a plan, work your plan, perseverance
Everyone inside hula hoop circle
Make a plan, work your plan, think outside the box
Magic Squares
Count squares – perspective
Make a line to retirement
Working together towards a common goal, make a plan, work your plan
Review game for test, great activity may color code questions for difficult then assign point values
Adjective, Noun, Verb Point Value
Great way to show the importance of adjectives in our writing, create anchor charts of adjectives, and verbs
Masking Tape Timeline
Could create a story map as well – Beginning, Rising Action, Climax, Resolution
Space Shuttle Game
Work as a team to make it to the top of the space shuttle w/ questions
Everyone write an idea/term, put in middle of room, then group sort

Spelling words or homophones
Going on a camping trip
Focus, name association