Using Games In The Classroom

Games are an important part of childhood. From sports to board games, children all over the world play together to learn social skills and have fun. However, games haven’t always been a welcome strategy in the classroom. In the schools of the not-so-distant past, they were something kids were to do on the playground or at home- but not in their classrooms. Fortunately, thoughts have changed. We now know that games can teach important skills while students have fun! 

If you’re ready to get your students more excited about learning, pull out some classroom games. Students will be more motivated to pay attention to the subject matter, and will be more engaged. They will positively associate learning the subject matter with having fun. This will increase their success with the material, and make your job a little easier!

Your kids will also develop stronger critical thinking skills while playing games. Depending on the object of the game, they might have to try new strategies, think ahead, or switch plans. In addition to content mastery, students learn social skills while playing classroom games. They experience winning and losing, taking turns, and co-operating. These skills are necessary for working with other people even in adulthood. 

One of my favorite classroom game sets is Kindergarten Math Games. It is designed for pre-k and kindergarten classrooms to make practicing important math skills more fun (check out my Kindergarten Math Salad Bar here)! It includes several options for single players to complete on their own as well as games for two players to take turns. Students will learn to count and recognize numbers 1-6 while playing the games. You can simply print the game boards out, give students a 6-sided die, and let the fun begin! 

Games

Another resource available for FREE right now is the 10 More Or Less Game. It is ideal for students in grades K-2. This activity helps students understand the number concepts of 10 more and 10 less. It can be played as a whole group so you can help students understand how it works. Then students can play with small groups or partners. Your kids will love learning math skills while having fun with their peers!

Games

What games do you like to play in the classroom? Let me know in the comments!

games

Brevard Times SHAMES Teachers Attending Educational Rally

Brevard Times, a Florida newspaper, posted the names of teachers who have used paid PERSONAL leave to attend a rally Monday in order to gain support for our education system. They accuse these teachers who advocate for students of “skipping work” and not providing “adequate supervision.”

These teachers who dedicate their lives to their students are not skipping work! They are using PERSONAL leave to fight for their students’ futures. They planned this in advanced with the approval of their school district. Teachers who put their careers on the line to make the Department of Education listen are heroes in my book! They are not going to the beach for the day. They are not spending quality time with their family on a vacation. Matter of fact, these teachers are going to have to leave their family just to attend. They are crying out for help in the classrooms and for their profession. If there weren’t problems in Florida’s education system, there would not be a huge shortage of teachers.

What was the purpose of the newspaper putting some of the names of the teachers attending in their paper? The paper says, ” Parents can then follow up with their child’s school to ensure that their child has adequate supervision during the school day on Monday.” Not every teacher attending is on the list.

This is a sick way to bully our treasured teachers by violating their privacy. If you plan on calling the school to find out about “adequate supervision,” consider calling to say THANK YOU to these teacher heroes and schools for supporting your child. If you are going to read their names, read them because they are honorable.

Did you know that Florida ranks 46 in the nation for teacher pay? There is a shortage of teachers not just because of the pay, but the lack of respect and resources for students. Newspapers like Brevard Times are part of the problem for not supporting their teachers in their county. It is important to point out that the school district has been very supportive of their teachers. It is Brevard Times who has failed the community.

SUPPORT THESE TEACHERS and let Brevard Times know they are the ones who need to be shamed!

Why I Left the Classroom

Why I left Teaching
Why I Left the Classroom

The Struggle

I am so thankful for everything that is part of my life right now including you!  My life is drastically different than it was a couple years ago!  I’ve never talked about it openly because I was fearful, insecure, and riddled with anxiety.

A couple years ago, it was my 20th year of teaching.  My son was in 5th grade at our school.  For me, it was a year of H-E (double hockey sticks!)  For the first time in my career, I had a principal who hated me. Still not sure why.  Not only did she hate me, but she got the rest of the staff, who I considered my family for 18 years, to pretty much dislike and/or avoid me too.  I was threatened with my evaluation, lied to, challenged with impossible tasks, given 5 MAJOR behavior problem students who physically hurt me and the other children regularly, and faced life-threatening health problems because of the stress.  Prior to the last year, I had been a well-liked and highly effective teacher who loved her career path.

Depression

Without going into a lot of detail, I suffered from depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety/panic attacks.  For the first time, I had been broken.  My mind, my spirit, and my body were broken!  I consider myself lucky that prior to that difficult year, I had never been on any kind of prescription drugs.  But I knew after waking up in fetal position next to my husband, crying that I didn’t want to go to school, and losing 16 lbs. in one week due to stress, that I had to give in to what my Dr. suggested…  A good therapist and drugs.  I was on anti-depressants, blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medication, and XANAX!  So basically, I was drugging myself to go to work. I even developed an eye twitch.  If I wasn’t at work, I was fine, but the thought of going every morning would begin a cycle that was dangerous to my health.  I fought it because I wanted to stay in the classroom.  I loved the students and figured I could transfer the next school year.  It was important to me to be there for my own son who was in 5th grade.  But, even on the medication, I continued to be harassed.

Abuse

After getting beat with a chair again, punched in the stomach, calling the front office for help, and realizing no one was coming to help me, I knew I had to leave the classroom.  Seeing the scared faces and hearing the ear-piercing screams of the other kindergarten students as they watched their teacher get hit repeatedly, shook me to the core.  I knew the only reason they were in this situation was because the principal didn’t like me.  So, I had to remove myself.  Now, if you question, why didn’t you report it? Why didn’t you collect data on the principal? etc.… Let me tell you, I did.  On doctors orders, I left two months before the school year was over.  I still had to pick up my son at school, so Xanax to the rescue. I dealt with a staff who wanted to know what was wrong with me, and because I wasn’t ready to tell them, they made up their own inaccurate stories of why I left my dream career.

My husband planned several mini vacations because I was told to relax.  I know he was thinking this was the end of the wife he knew when we married.  These getaways were frowned upon by staff (according to the county investigator’s report) because I was on sick leave.  Little did everyone know the pain I was suffered from because WHY would I post that on Facebook?  In hindsight, I should have never posted pictures of me relaxing on social media.  But, in my defense, at the time I was on medication. Maybe it was also the need to let people know that I wasn’t completely broken too.

The LAST STRAW

It wasn’t until my son’s 5th grade graduation where his Certificate of Completion was conveniently removed from the pile that I pushed for a harassment investigation with the school board.  Seeing her smirking face as my son sat alone in a row as his friends got their certificate knowing she was behind it as my son signaled to us that he was okay was a total mind-blowing experience.  I had to beg my husband to leave before he made a scene as anger filled his “un-Xanaxed” body. Other parents were stunned, taking video and making noises to get staff’s attention that a student was forgotten.  I had to stand up to tell them they forgot my son.  Anyway, an investigation was done which amounted to nothing even though 9 other teachers came forward with their painful stories of harassment they endured from the principal.

The New Chapter

After that experience, even though I was offered other jobs, I decided I could not go back to teaching in this district.  I took me about 6 months to wane by body off all the medication that was mandatory for my survival.  Crazy how stress can mess up your entire body!  I tell you this story for two reasons. One is if you are experiencing anything like this, you can know that you can come out of it stronger than you were prior to the experience.  That you can find confidence, security, and begin a new beautiful chapter to your life.  I found a love and passion for making educational resources that I didn’t know existed.  Through this experience, I developed strategies to build my confidence back up and to become healthy again. Keep up with this blog in the future, and I will share some of the strategies that helped me.  I would have never left the classroom to discover this passion without that crazy experience. The second reason is I want you to know that YOU are part of my new chapter.  I love making teaching resources and helping teachers like you save time and money.  This is one reason why I offer freebies and discounts regularly.  Thank you for being there for me and for your students! My heart will always be in education. I value you!

Here is a Forever FREEBIE:

Spaceman Finger Spacing for Writing
Spaceman Finger Spacing Tool for Writing

Teachers Accept the Ron Clark’s #GradingPapersChallenge

If you are like most teachers, you keep up with the amazing founder of Ron Clark Academy.  Ron Clark is a visionary who transforms classrooms around the world by demonstrating high quality techniques that are game changers in the education field.  Not only are students engaged in energized lessons, but teachers dream of visiting his school to have some of that inspiration and creativity rubbed off on them to take back to their classrooms.

Recently the hashtag #gradingpaperschallenge has taken off on Instagram due to a challenge that came out of him being bored while grading papers.  He recorded himself grading papers while lip syncing Lady Gaga.  Then, he added the hashtag, and challenged teachers to have a little fun while doing this tedious task of grading papers. Check out his post.

Teachers all over the world have been responding to his challenge with some impressive video clips.  Here are some of my favorites, so far.  (You may even see mine at the end. Not going to lie… this #gradingpaperschallenge was fun!)

Wade King @_wadeking

 

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@_wadeking is on deck!! ROCK-ING-OUT!!!! #gradingpaperschallenge #teachersofinstagram

A post shared by Ron Clark (@ronclark__) on

 Mary Beth @houseofnichols

Barry White Jr @thatsbwhite

Sarah Barnett @simply_steam

Sparkle & Sprinkles @first_grade_teacher_life

Junior Bernadin @mrjbernadin

@thereactionwithkarachante

Me! Cindy Martin @teachersbrain

 

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Teachers, it’s your turn! Join @ronclark__ for the #GradingPapersChallenge !I am not in the classroom anymore, but was also challenged by by daughter to do this, and remember the long days of grading papers. 😉 What do you rock out to while working or grading papers? A little THRILLER keeps me pumped in October! 🎃🤣❤️🎃 I challenge all you EDUCATORS to take a fun 15 seconds out of your life to make your video. Smile & please tag me in yours, if you do. My IG is @teachersbrain teachers I expect to tag me: @the_whimsical_teacher @teachingthestars @mrsaverysisland @simply_steam @teachwithtori @jamieprncs #betherevolution #ronclarkacademy #GradingPapersChallenge #teachersfollowteachers #teachers #teacherspayteachers #friends👭 #elementaryteacher #edu #educhat #thriller #teachersofinstagram #teacherstyle #teacherlife

A post shared by CindyMartin24 (@teachersbrain) on

So, get out there and take the challenge! Please share yours with me by tagging me in the post. ( @teachersbrain )  Learning should be fun, and so should teaching! There is no shame in your game.