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A Go Figure Debut for an Arkansas Teacher Who is new!

Lynn's TPT Store
Lynn has taught for over 14 years in both public and Christian private schools, and she spent several years homeschooling her own children. She loves to see her students work hard to obtain a goal and succeed, while keeping the learning as fun as possible.  

Lynn studied curriculum and instruction and is finally able to use this degree by being on Teachers Pay Teachers! She loves creating materials, and it has become her dream job, as she is not currently teaching. Her classroom decor has themes and whenever possible, lots of color. (Check out the one below.) She creates theme-based materials, as she feels this works well for many students in the learning process. In her spare time, she likes to read mysteries, garden, cook, and travel.

Free - Just Download It
At this time, Lynn has 292 products in her store with 13 free items. She creates materials for math, ELA, science and social studies. Most of her products are geared for 4th, 5th and 6th grade, but she also has some primary materials. 

One of her free resources is called Happy 4th of July Classroom Banner Decor.   This banner has celebration colors of red, white and blue with a realistic wood whitewash background. This product includes one banner and directions for print-out.

Only $5.00
Lynn's featured paid item is Grocery Store Change from $5.00.  It aids learners in solving money word problems for change given from a $5.00 bill. It can be used as a hands-on math center, an intervention, cooperative learning groups math activity, a class game and an assessment. It includes:
  • Directions
  • 30 Game Task Cards
  • Key
  • Two Student Award Cards
  • Student Recording Sheet
  • Useful Links
Lynn writes a blog she calls Tieplay Educational Resources Blog. Some of her articles are quite interesting and thought provoking. She even has animated pictures on her blog (something I do not know how to do.)

If you like what you see, take some time and check out her store as I am sure Lynn’s quality and reasonably priced products will save you time!

The "Lure" of Fish - The Benefits of Keeping an Aquarium in Your Classroom

I am a critter "wife"; not by choice, but since my husband teaches science, creatures of all kinds enter our home. We have been blessed with hissing cockroaches from Madagascar, (they are huge) tree frogs, meal worms, (they turn into black bugs) red worms, etc. Some have lived in our guest room while others have found a special place in my refrigerator. We've even had horse dung soaking in water so the bacteria could grow. Oh, that was delightful and aromatic! Thank goodness for the invention of "Oust". So after all of those creatures, what kind of a story could I possibly write to make critters attractive? Well, I do have a fish tale, but up front I must disclose that it is not your typical "fish" story.

When I taught third grade in an inner city school, I knew the children needed something to love, but being a city girl, my love of animals was deficient. That is when my husband helped me to set up an aquarium. I purchased a water heater, a bubblier, chemicals, plants, fish food, and of course the fish! Little did I know what effect this would have on my students.
Every day, the children would enter the room, go over to the fish tank, and talk to the fish. Each fish had a name, and being the fish keeper became the prized chore. Even though we couldn't pet the fish, they were loved by every child, and they brought a sense of family to my classroom. Naturally, one of the fish died, but it allowed us, as a class, to mourn together.

When a guest entered our room, s/he had to be formally introduced to the fish. They became the focal point of the classroom. But there was something else that transpired that truly surprised me. The fish had a calming effect on my student who had a behavior disorder. If his desk were moved near the aquarium, he would sit quietly and actually do some of his work without disruption.

At the end of the year, the remaining fish made their way to my home where they spent the summer with my husband's critters. Unfortunately, they failed to calm the cockroaches into silence! But all six survived to be in third grade again!

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It's a Puzzling Situation! Getting Students to Work Together.

One of my colleagues completed a Leadership Project with her ten students that I want to share with you. She had two ‘alike’ 100 piece puzzles. (The puzzles are fairly inexpensive at Walmart or Dollar General.) Kay took these two similar puzzles which had alike colors/pictures on them and mixed them up. She then separated them into two baggies, and put each baggie in one of the original two boxes.

The class numbered off, 1-2-1-2...and so on, and then separated into two groups. At first, the students thought this was going to be a race to see which group could complete their puzzle first; however, each group started at the same time, writing the starting time on the board. After that, Kay didn’t say a word, and answered no questions! She simply observed the students. The students tried asking her, "Hey we don’t have all the edges; these pieces don’t match; are these the right puzzles?" Something is wrong; what's up?"

Kay waited to see who would take the lead to combine the groups, and how they joined. She wondered, "Would they join peacefully? Would they gather and form one group; two new groups; work together, or divide again?"  As she continued to observe, she began to write names on the board of those who were positive and took leadership. She then wrote the time on the board when they commenced to form one group.

When they finished, she held a Socratic Seminar (an Avid strategy) about how they felt concerning the activity. One student, who did not want to join a group in the beginning, became so involved during the project that he actually was the leader in getting the groups together.  It was one of those fantastic teacher moments!

Kay's students learned quite a bit from the activity since in reality, this is how life, social, and work environments are. She pointed out that they may not have a project that is going well, but by joining together with another group, you can problem solve, gain assistance, and acquire more pieces to your puzzle to accomplish your project.

Since working together doesn't seem to be a skill that comes naturally, I use this activity with my college freshman as they begin their final group projects. Plus, as you think about your class and are puzzled about how you can get your students to work well in cooperative groups, keep this activity in mind.  It might just put the pieces together for you.

In the Hood - An Activity for the Book, "My Side of the Mountain"

Each year, my husband's science students read My Side of the Mountain. The main character in the book is Sam Gribley, a boy in his early teens. For a year, Sam lives in the woods of the Catskill Mountains. One day Sam spies a peregrine falcon pursuing its prey. Sam determines he wants a falcon as a hunting bird; so, he goes to the nearby town of Delhi to learn about falconry (hunting small game by using a trained bird of prey) by searching books at the local library. For several days, he camps near a cliff hoping to find the location of a peregrine falcon nest. While the mother bird attacks him, Sam steals a female chick from the nest. He names the bird Frightful, and it becomes one of Sam's closest companions. 

If you are acquainted with falconry, you know that peregrine falcons will wear a hood to keep them calm and to make certain they are alert for the falconer. The falcons are also trained to go into hunting mode once the hood is removed. A good falcon hood does not bother the falcon. If it fits well, it does not damage the bird’s feathers or hamper its breathing. Under no circumstances does the hood come in contact with the falcon’s eyes. Out of all the falconer's aids, the hood is the most important piece of equipment. In the book, Sam makes jesses (leg straps), leashes and a hood out of deer skin for Frightful. My husband figured if Sam could construct a falcon hood, then maybe his students could as well.

Using the Internet, (Hood Patterns) my husband found several hood patterns. (Most hoods are custom made by hand and can cost $150 or more!) He purchased faux leather from the fabric store as well as special needles and thread. The students practiced sewing on scraps of the material before cutting out their own patterns and sewing them together. Below is a summary of the process in pictures.

What makes every hood unique is that each falconer decorates the hood in an extraordinary way. They may use elaborate feathers, pieces of colored leather, ornaments, etc. Sometimes, they are even hand painted, dyed or uniquely tooled. Here is what a few of the handmade hoods looked like after the students decorated and embellished them.

Overall, this was a successful book assignment which was not only creative and imaginative, but it gave the artistic students a chance to shine. As a result, you might want to try this project in your classroom as well. So I wish you good luck, good reading and good hood making.

If your class is reading this book, here are three supplementary resources for My Side of the Mountain that you might be interested in.

Two Word Searches - This resource contains two different word search puzzles about the survival materials used by Sam, the main character in the book, My Side of the Mountain. Both puzzles include the solutions.

A Crossword Puzzle about Birds - This is a free form crossword puzzle that highlights 16 different birds which appear in the book My Side of the Mountain. The 16 clues are based on the bird’s unique characteristics, color, and song.  A solution key to the puzzle is included.

Crossword Puzzle about Plants - This is a free form crossword puzzle that highlights 18 different plants which appear in the book My Side of the Mountain. The 18 clues are based on the plant’s distinctive characteristics, color, size and physical appearance.  A solution key to the puzzle is included.