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A Couple Pinterest Finds and Book Recommendations

Connect 4 Review– This was a Pinterest find the other day that I thought could be great fun for review in any content area. I know we don’t make a ton of use of our whiteboards anymore because of the tech we have in our district, so grab those old markers, some Post-its and get going! Here’s the idea–

Draw a “Connect 4 board”– the actual board game uses 35 squares– my guess is you could change the number of squares based on the size of the class or how difficult/easy you would like it to be. Split students into small groups. Provide each group with a stack of Post-its (1 color assigned to each group). Ask questions to the entire class at once to keep everyone playing at the same time, or provide questions for groups to work through at their own pace. When a group answers correctly they may place their group’s Post-it note on the whiteboard (remind them that this will work like the Connect 4 game so they will start by “dropping” their Post-it in the bottom row). The goal is to get 4 Post-its in a row! Try this with vocab, math problems, and any other content questions you can think of.

Want that tech option? Here are a couple ways it could be done–

  • Utilize MathisFun.com— the level of difficulty is adjustable and students enter in their names/nicknames. Partner students up with one iPad and take turns quizzing each other. If Partner A answers correctly he/she drops the “chip”. If incorrect, Partner B chooses where Partner A’s chip goes and so on. Thanks to Spanish teacher Laura Gunderson @Miss_Gunderson for sharing this one!
  • Have students create their own collaborative game using Google Drawings or feel free to break away from Connect 4 and have them create their own review games that could be shared and played.

Dry Erase Tape– This was another Pinterest find and I don’t have much to say about it other than– Dry. Erase.Tape. Oh, the possibilities!

15 Life-Changing Middle Grade Books– I ran across this post on WeAreTeachers the other day and thought it would be worth sharing. Middle school is tough. Finding books for middle school students that are age appropriate though challenging and that convey powerful messages is tough, too. Here is the quick list but I recommend hopping onto the site and reading the blurbs about each of these books.

  • Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata
  • The Best Man by Richard Peck
  • The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
  • Pax by Sarah Pennypacker
  • The Secret Keepers by Trenten Lee Stewart
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  • Raymie Nightingale by Kate DeCamillo
  • Ghost by Jason Reynolds
  • Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
  • Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt
  • Wish by Barbaro O’Connor
  • The 14th Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

A lot of discussion has been had about the book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher because of the new show on Netflix. If you have not read the book or watched the show, as an educator, I recommend you check out what info you can about it. There are great resources on TeachingBooks.net and you can get a quick synopsis of the book. I think both the book and television show bring up issues that teenagers, specifically high school students, deal with on a daily basis but are ones that our middle school students are beginning to deal with more and more. It is worth knowing a little bit about so that you are able to guide any discussions that you may overhear or be prepared to take action if you think a student is in need of help.

Enjoy!

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Instructional coach and former art teacher on the hunt for tips, tricks, strategies, and knowledge to pass along.

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