Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Stuff in our Classroom

We're trying a few new things in our classroom this week. I found a fun spelling idea on Pinterest: clothespin spelling! I made cards with all of the kids' spelling words for the next two weeks, and I used a plain old ballpoint pen to put letters on the wooden clothespins.

I believe this activity was originally used for sight words for young readers, but it works really well for spelling, too. Dude, in particular, hates to write, but is willing to practice his spelling words in alternative ways.
(I'm hoping it might improve his pincer grasp and fine motor skills as well!)

Another new classroom activity: "That's Debatable!"

We talk about all kinds of things in our family, from the current economy and how it's affecting Americans to the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East. One of my goals for my children is that they are well-informed enough to discuss "big" topics, and that they have the skills to defend their positions in arguments. The kids really enjoy our family discussions so I thought up some argument-starters and put them in the "That's Debatable" basket

We'll use these to start our day, as a break from lessons, or to fill a few minutes whenever we need a quick activity.

These are small and hard to read in the photo, so here they are:

"The 'good old days' were a lot better than today. We should try to live the way people lived 'back then.'"

"Students in other first world countries have higher math scores than American students. This means that American students are lazy and should work harder."

"Grocery stores should stop giving people plastic bags so people will be forced to bring their own bags. That's how they do it in European countries."

"Learning to spell correctly is a waste of time because we have spell-check now."

"Kids should be taught to use 'Sir' and 'Ma'am' when speaking to adults."

"All politicians are crooks! We should kick them out and put ordinary people in those offices!"

"Opinions are like math problems. You're either right or you're wrong."

It's amazing how impassioned the kids can be about issues like these, and it's a lot of fun to hear them express and defend their opinions. I'm frequently surprised by what they have to say, and I can't always predict what side they will be on!

Well, the guinea pigs are neither new nor in the classroom, but they did hang out with Super and me over the weekend while I did lesson plans and she made cute little felt critters. She wasn't feeling well, so this was a nice restful project to work on...

Guinea Pig






Susan said...

I really like the "That's Debatable" idea!

The felt creatures are cute :)

Diane said...

Love the spelling game and That's Debatable. Great ideas to add to any homeschooler's day.

Sparklee said...

Thanks! We are having fun with it! Might as well put my kids' talent for arguing to some good use! :-)

Sara said...

It all looks like so much fun! The clothespin idea is great.

liese4 said...

I'm stealing that clothespin idea!

Sparklee said...

Isn't that awesome? Just another reason I'm in love with Pinterest.

Eclectic Education said...

I love these ideas! I'll have to remember them. Thanks!