Games for Virtual Meetings



Let's talk about fun games for virtual meetings, especially since many teachers and students are going to using remote learning this fall instead of going back to school in person!


There are so many fun games and activities, and they are great for keeping kids engaged and building classroom community!

GAMES



That's Me!

That's Me is simple and will help students make connections and get to know their new peers. One student says a fact about themselves like "I have two sisters" and everyone who also does can shout out "That's me".

20 Questions

Easy! Just like in person! You can use a white board or virtual white board to keep track of the number of questions too.

Mystery Bag

Also simple and fun - bring a bag to the meeting with items and give your students clues or have them ask questions to guess what's in the bag!

Scavenger Hunts

These are fun and will keep kids very engaged and you'll have lots of laughter! Choose random items and give kids a time limit (30-60 seconds for ex.) to run off screen and find the items. Here are a few ideas:
  • Remote control
  • piece of fruit
  • pillow
  • blanket
  • something blue
  • spoon
  • a sock
  • hand sanitizer

Kahoot

I have mentioned before but Kahoot is fun online! You will need to have an account and find iyour Kahoot to host it.  Here is a post with more details on how to do it!


4 Corners 

Have kids get out their dry erase board or paper and marker. Students choose a number (you decide the range but for littles 1-6 or 1-4 is good) , write it on the board , hold it up for people to see,  and then the teacher rolls a real or virtual die (this online die is fun!) . The number you roll is out so if you roll a 3, everyone who is holding up a 3 is out. Continue until you only have one player left!

Simon Says 

Just play like you would in real life! You know how to do it! Great for a brain break or to get wiggles out!

Other fun Activities

Sing Alongs 

Not really a game but still fun! Sing alongs with famous songs (This post has 25 song ideas) ! Post the lyrics - you can search youtube for karaoke versions and let the fun start ( also you can use  Kidz bop or Disney songs too so you can be sure it's kid friendly)!

What are your favorite  games for virtual meetings? Comment and let us know!



Back to School Math Review - Digital!

Back to school math review 3rd grade cover
I don't usually do this... but I think a lot of your students might need a digital back to school math review! This summer I got worried about those kiddos who have been out of the school buildings since March and that they may have more "learning loss or "summer slide" then usual. So I decided to create a resource for second grade and third grade! they would help you with in class math centers, or hybrid or remote learning /distance learning!


The second grade resources review important first grade math skills and concepts, and includes activities, games, review videos from yours truly, and how to videos for kids on how to complete the activity. The third grade math review reviews second grade math skills but is similar. I wanted to give you a walk through of the third grade resources so you can see if it would help your students.

Second grade teachers, you can see yours here and get details to determine that it would indeed help!

THIRD GRADE MATH REVIEW

This reviews important second grade math skills!

word problems
If you're not sure what interactive slides means, check out my Facebook video!
measurement word problems
money word problems
Adding numbers game
add 10 and add 100 game
Games will keep students super engaged and not realize they are working!
place value up to 999
video review lessons
counting within 1,000place value
arrays and repeated addition
Hundreds grid
This will really help students, especially if they are at home and don't have a hundreds chart on hand.

They love the interactive dice and spinners too, and you can play these/complete these during virtual meetings or as instructional tools in your lesson! Use the back to school math review however it helps your students! And if you need tips on how to Navigate Google Classroom and assign it/share it, click here.




Resources for Digital Seat Work

Digital seat work on a computer



This year, many of us are going to either be in school, with 1-1 devices, or  hybrid or remote, but regardless you might be looking for great resources for digital seat work! Now in the past, seat work might remind you of Ramona the Pest by Beverly Clearly (the kindergartener was fascinated with seat work) or something that kept students at desks... well, students have to be at their desk or area because of the pandemic, so we might as well find some quality options, right? Let's explore!

WEBSITES

Spelling City

Let's start with Spelling City! I used Spelling City a ton with second graders and it also has vocabulary options. In fact I even wrote a blog post about the 6 best Spelling City activities , since not all the activities are great for helping kids learn how to spell (but these 6 are). You can input your own lists, use lists provided, assign lists to certain students, and even assign certain activities to some or all of your class. It is great for differentiation! There is a free basic account and a paid premium account, which our lovely PTA paid for.
Spelling city website image

Raz Kids /Learning A-Z

Raz Kids has been a life saver during the pandemic. It allowed me to do reading lessons with my intervention groups through Google Meet. Leveled books are available (by GR level and lexile) in fiction and non fiction. You can display books during online lessons, or students can read themselves on a device. I also love that there are fluency passages, readers' theaters and more! You can also see what students have been doing on the website. Our school does have a Raz-Plus account fyi.

Epic

Epic right now is having a free 30 day trial! Students can read trade books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, A Bad Case of the Stripes, Clifford, and much more. They have suggestions for educators and other resources.

Read Works

Read Works is known for their online reading comprehension activities and is popular, reaching more than 1 million educators and their classes. They have a whole section to support educators that are going remote and even a free webinar.  Note, you do need to score the comprehension activities yourself as far as I understand.

BoomLearning

BoomLearning is super fun! My second graders loved using it and would beg for more Boom cards. Boom decks tend to be easy for kids to use, and are self-checking. Teachers also get data on how their students are doing! I noticed they can now login with their Google accounts which makes it even easier.
I have a small amount of Boom Decks - check them out:


GOOGLE OPTIONS

Google Slides

Slides are an interactive option. Students usually move letters, moveable objects and/or type on the screen to complete the activities! Check out these images from two Google Slides activities for second and third grade (both are available at second and third grade levels).
Third Grade Back to School Math Review

Second Grade Back to School Starter Kit for the first week of school 

image from 2nd grade back to school starter kitimage from second grade back to school starter kit - writing prompt

Google Forms  

Using Google forms is another way to incorporate paperless seat work. They are multiple choice (usually) , self checking, and provide teachers with a lot of data for teachers. Here are two examples of Google Forms I used with my own students and have on TPT.

A video peek at the Self-Grading Main Idea resource

A Google form that is a mixed practice found in my 2nd Grade Back to School Starter Kit
Google Form from Back to School Starter Kit
What is your favorite of all the resources for digital seat work? Or did I miss a great option? Let us know!! 
computer with digital seat work


Keeping Students Engaged when Teaching Parts of Speech

Girl working at school with pencil
Keeping students engaged when teaching parts of speech can be a challenge, right? Let's talk about some fun ways to go over nouns, verbs, adjectives etc., without making your students want to snooze. Parts of speech can be fun!

Books

Mad Libs

Mad libs are so fun (and do you know there is an app?)! I'd recommend starting them with second graders and up. At the beginning of the year you may need to scaffold more with second graders, but they can do it! Check out this fun Mad Libs cat themed book - cats, dogs, or any fun Mad Lib is guaranteed to entertain students and even make them laugh hysterically!

           cover of cats mad libsMad Libs example

Other Books


Julia Cook has a fun parts of speech book,  including exciting illustrations.
This one is beautifully illustrated and a nice way to explore adjectives.
                                     
Brian Cleary's books were a standby in my second grade classroom.

                                   .   

Ruth Heller's bright and cheerful books are a tad more advanced but I still shared them with my students.

Keep it Fun 

Here are some fun ways to make learning parts of speech into games, whether at school OR at HOME! 

UNO Redux

Replace the numbers on a set of UNO cards with words (or just write them on with a sharpie). The game plays the same, but in place of using numbers, UNO players would match by color or part of speech!

LEGO Bricks

Sort bricks by color then write words on them with an EXPO marker, Sharpie or masking tape. Use use color for each part of speech. Then have students build sentences, naming each part of speech.


Other fun activities:


Use catalogs and magazine and have students cut out pictures that show different parts of speech. Take a large paper ( 11x 17) fold into four columns, label and have students glue the pictures in the correct parts of speech column. Alternatively, choose one part of speech and students can create a collage poster for that.

Fun videos 

These would be great in class or via remote learning! 






And there is a resource I created that you might find handy. It is a Google resource and consists of 2 assessments for each of 11 parts of speech activities. You can use it as a pretest and posttest, or as a learning center, They are self grading, paperless, and you get data immediately! Check out the sneak peeks below and click here or on any of the images to get more info. If you're looking for Google activities that are more interactive and not Google Forms you can read this blog post for ideas.

cover of parts of speech resource on a computer list of activities included
preview page from resourcepreview page for parts of speech bundle
So, do you have any other fun methods for keeping students engaged while teaching parts of speech? Or favorite resources? Let me know! 
Students working with pencil

How to Differentiate when Teaching Reading with an Anthology

Student reading a book
Let's talk about how to differentiate when teaching reading with an anthology! Many, many teachers are required to use a reading anthology as a base for their ELA instruction, or at least their reading, and grammar instruction. A few years ago in second grade, I was using Journeys for teaching reading skills, spelling words and patterns and grammar.  Yes, technically, the program, and all others such as Wonders and Reading Street, come with options for differentiation. However, I found the differentiation suggested never quite met my students need. Some ideas were too easy, and the main workbook pages, suggested activities and writing assignments were just too hard for at least a third to a half of my class.

I worked hard on searching for ideas to do some of my own differentiation and visited teacher blogs, attended conferences and trainings and read a lot. I wanted to share some suggestions with my fellow teachers. Then I will share some resources I made for my own class so the reading anthology and what I created could coexist and meet everyone's needs!

DIFFERENTIATION SUGGESTIONS

The Content

This is where you differentiate what the students learn. Often this can be focused on student interest. For example, if you read a the  non-fiction text in Journeys called "Animals Building Homes," (about animals like bees and beavers that build their own habitats) students could select which animal they want to write about for a written response.

The Process

For process, you differentiate the activities used to assist students with the learning of skills and concepts. For example, in my small reading groups, I would perhaps have ELL students build more background knowledge about a topic by looking at objects mentioned in the text (or photos of them) whereas another reading group would not need to spend as much time on building background.

The Products

This might be the easiest starting place for many educators. For example, if most students were expected to practice 10 spelling words with rainbow writing, a struggling student could focus on 5 with a specific spelling pattern. In writing, a student who is looking for enrichment could be expected to add more details to their writing and have a topic sentence and closing sentences earlier in the year than other students.

A Tip for Your Sanity

Don't try and differentiate everything for everyone immediately! You will lose your mind. Seriously! Take it one subject area or topic at a time. Someone once suggested to me when I was a brand new teacher to start with one math lesson a week, and then the next week do two and so on.

I Made my own Differentiated Resources! 

I decided to make a comprehensive (like seriously, usually around 100 pages) resource of grammar, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary activities for each (30) text in the 2nd grade Journeys program to help me solve a lot of my challenges and meet my students' needs.

So I will share some images from these resources which are over on Teachers Pay Teachers,  but you can also see how things like spelling words, comprehension responses, etc. are differentiated in this sneak peek video of the Henry and Mudge resource (week 1) .

Let's check out two different ways you can share the Read and Response Comprehension questions with students. The option of the left is a standard printable (or you can use TPT's Digital tool to use the PDF digitally). the option on the right is great for interactive notebooks, if you want to mix things up, or you want to sneak in some fine motor practice with cut and glue.

Read and respond page with linesRead and respond page for interactive notebook
For other comprehension activities, I added in some differentiation by presenting similar activities in different formats, such as these story summary pages. Also, some activities have lines, and some do not so you could choose which is appropriate for certain students. A flip book for interactive notebooks is also included, as as well as alternative wording for story summaries such as first, next and last.
Story summaryStory summaryStory summaryStory summary
With spelling, there are color and black and white cards (for your printing needs), with the basic Journeys spelling list. It also includes blank cards so you can add other differentiated word lists. 

Spelling cardsSpelling cards
There are also grammar practice pages, no prep and some are presented at different levels of difficulties too!  Here on the left students simply identify the subject and predicate but on the right students write their own centers and identify the sentence parts.
Grammar review 2 pages
Will this solve a lot of your challenges? Yes - time, hard work and more!  It made my life much easier once I started using them with my second graders. And the other 29 resources are very similar with quantity and types of resources. BUT they also are bundled! If you look at the unit bundles like this one:
Cover of Journeys weeks 1-5 bundle
And the full year bundle is at a huge discount!
cover yearlong Journeys bundle

So, keep in mind that when you differentiate academics, don't try and do it all at once! And think about how you can differentiate with content, process, and the product.

 If you have more ideas on how to differentiate when teaching reading with an anthology like Journeys and Wonders, let me know! 
Student reading books