April 2015 - Amber from TGIF (Third Grade is Fun)

Summer is Almost Here - Keep Students Learning with a Photo Scavenger Hunt

The end of the year is closing in and the students are tired; and let's face it - so are the teachers!  So....how do we keep our creative juices flowing as teachers AND help the students focus on their school work?  

Have a photo scavenger hunt!  

 There are so many possibilities.  Give small groups a camera or a tablet and send them out to investigate.  You could challenge them to find examples of figurative language in any book in the room and have them snap as many pictures as possible in a certain amount of time.  In science, they could take pictures of simple machines such as inclined planes, levers, or pulleys.  

Make a list of several items you want your students to review.  You could make a cross-curricular list - don't be afraid to mix it up.  It will keep the students active and engaged.  Here is an example of a few ideas:

1.  Take a picture of a preposition from any chapter or picture book.
2.  Find an example of a 3 syllable word and take a snapshot.
3.  Take a picture of parallel lines.
4.  Find a map with your state.  Point to your state while taking a picture.
5.  Complete this multiplication sentence on a dry erase board and snap a picture of your completed work.  (42 x 3)  - Don't forget to erase your work.  

Last year my class completed two separate math photo challenges and they loved being able to move around and use the iPads/cameras.  Students had to be secretive though because they didn't want everyone else to see what they were taking pictures of.  It was an exciting (yet quiet) real-world review of math.  

Here are some of the pictures my students took last year during the scavenger hunt and the sheets that I used.  If you aren't ready to make your own photo scavenger hunt yet, but would like to give it a try, you can check it out at the TGIF Teachers Pay Teachers store.  

I would love to hear what you tried.  


Make the House "Work" for You - A Working Parent's Guide to Surviving Housework

Whaaaaaat?!?!?!  Oh no, we are SUPPOSE to clean.  Eeeks!

Okay, I realize that this is a "teaching blog" and all, but it is TGIF Teaching Resources!  This IS a resource for all working parents - surviving housework.  Here is how I make the house "work" for me.  (Please remember - I am NOT bragging that my house is clean.  I am merely surviving.)

1.  Laundry - my arch nemesis!  Last year I got in a real bind and we literally always had 4 baskets full of clean clothes.  Then in the morning we were digging in and grabbing wrinkled clothes and mismatched socks.  Fast forward to this year - I quit sorting the laundry the way that Mrs. Cleaver did.  You know.... whites...colors.  I sort by item.  I wash my kids pants only, then adult pants only, kids shirts only, adult shirts only, kids towels, socks and underwear and then ditto with adults.  My problem was always putting items away.  Now I only have to put away pants for a laundry or hang shirts for another.  SOOOOOO much easier.  Of course I have to do some special loads for the special items, but this has revolutionized my laundry.

2.  Make the crock pot work for you.  Throw a roast in and have it with potatoes one night and put barbecue sauce on shredded roast another night with sandwich buns.  Or, fix double the amount of spaghetti.  Eat the spaghetti one night and throw some cheese in with the other spaghetti dish and freeze it.  (I use good ole' Corning Ware.)  In a week or two, put it in the fridge two nights before hand (or the microwave has that handy defrost button) and when you get home from work, throw it in the oven for spaghetti bake while you do dishes and set the table.  (Or troll Facebook)

3.  Roomba - my lovely robot vacuum - we call her "Rosey" - the maid from the Jetson's.

4.  I wipe my bathroom sink almost every morning after I brush my teeth. Baby wipes!!!!!

5.  I clean the shower while I am IN the shower.  (Two for one!)  Sometimes I will wipe a wall-a-day.  "A wall-a-day, keeps the soap scum away!"

6.  Kitchen sink - fill with hot water and cleaner (I use bleach) and soak while you are gone.  Drain and swish clean when you get home.

7.  I try (try is a very hopeful word) to have the dishes dried and put away before we eat supper.  After supper everyone is required to put their dishes in the dishwasher.  And yes, I have had to sweep up several broken plates over the years.  Three year olds can also drop food on the floor.  (But now that my kids are older, I am so grateful I made them do this at a young age.)

8.  Now that it sounds like I have the cleanest house ever ...... would someone please come and put away my disassembled Christmas tree that is STILL laying in the corner of my living room please?  (Seriously.  You can only do so much.  Christmas will be here in 8 months and I will be so ahead of the game!)

Most people can't aspire to have a "magazine house," so do what you can.  My motto is, "Let the house 'work' for you."  In other words, anything that can be done while you are gone (crock pot cooking, soaking the sink with cleaner, Roomba vacuuming while you are gone), do it!

These are some of the tips that work for me.  What works in your household?
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