Has this ever happened to you? You're deep in a lesson, it's going great, kids are engaged, you're so excited you pick up a marker and start writing on the board only to realize you've grabbed a Sharpie! You barely stop your descent into cuss-word town and quickly grab a dry erase marker (because the
(No trick photography was used in this tutorial.)
Simple right? Can you believe I was teaching for a whole year before I learned that?!
Ok, if you already knew that one, maybe this one is new to you:
This is one of my fabulous caddies! I've had this caddy for 5 years. The reason I've had it for 5 years is because a) it's fabulous and holds a whole table's worth of pencils, scissors, glue bottles, crayons and notebooks neatly, and b)I bought it at Walmart, it's now only available around BTS time (it's a shower caddy for all those youngsters heading off to college dorms) but it's hit or miss whether my nearest store will have them and in which colors. Therefore, these puppies have to last!
Finally, the Magic Scrap Game. If you haven't heard of this one, you've been missing out. Basically, when your room is a wreck - after an intense craft session, Valentine's party, indoor recess etc. - you tell the kids you're going to play the Magic Scrap Game. The rules are simple:
1. You secretly designate one item as the "magic scrap". Once that item is picked up/put away/thrown out, the game is over.
2. Kids may not ask if they've found the "magic scrap". They may not ask if they're getting close, and they may not ask the category of the "scrap". It might be a craft supply, piece of trash, coat, backpack - whatever needs to be cleaned up!
3. The game must be played quietly and quickly. If the noise gets out of control the game is over. If the scrap is not found in a set time limit, the game is over. This encourages the children to put things away in a timely fashion, unlike my own children who can turn cleaning their rooms into a 3 day affair.
Secret Teacher tip: Don't actually pick your "magic scrap" until most of the room is already clean - this ensures that it isn't one of the first things picked up, thus ending the game with the room still a wreck. Generally I pick a "scrap" that is by someone who is actually working hard at cleaning. Sometimes it's a friend who may need a lift that day, or who rarely gets rewarded for good behavior etc. The reward for winning can be as simple as a high five and the announcement that "Wow, Johnny is a great cleaner, he found the Magic Scrap! Thanks for working so hard!". Sometimes I'll give a sticker or stamp, but I generally try not to make the reward too big. You also shouldn't play this game too often - save it for the big clean-ups!
Want some more Bright Ideas? Check out these!