Think Pink: An Anti-Bullying Resource

23 February 2015
Anti-Bullying Day (a.k.a. Pink Shirt day) is a day celebrated on various dates across the world, originating in Canada. In 2012, the United Nations declared the day officially, and is recognized by over 25 countries worldwide, such as the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. On this day, those who participate wear pink, blue, or purple shirts (depending on location) to symbolize a stand against bullying.  In many countries, Anti-Bullying Day is recognized on May 4th.  Here in Canada, many areas celebrate it in February.  National Pink Shirt Day is on February 25th this year.

Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 with two high school students from Nova Scotia:
“David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts in their school. 

‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’ 

So Mr. Shepherd and some other headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag. As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled."

I have put together one of my favorite pink shirt day activities and posted it as a freebie on TpT (full lesson instructions, printables for the lesson, completed examples, and pictures of bulletin board display ideas).  This activity can be done in conjunction with any anti-bullying program - if you don't do a pink shirt day, this can still be done ... or better yet, start your own pink shirt day at your school.  

Students start out by blindly picking a "role" - bully, the bullied (victim), or bystander.  Groups then get together to discuss feelings / actions that go along with the role they have.  They then complete an "I am" poem from the point of view of the role they have.  Once the poem is completed, it is typed and photocopied onto a T-shirt template.  I also have my students design a T-shirt for pink shirt day while they are waiting for other students to complete the writing and publishing of their poems - keeps everyone busy and engaged.  

Click HERE or on the image to your right to grab a copy for your classroom.

If your class loves drama circles, I also have an Anti-Bullying Drama Circle that would be perfect for Pink Shirt Day.  You could do the drama circle with just your class, or join up with another class, or even perform it for the whole school.  It works perfectly with the Think Pink resource for Pink Shirt Day as it also discusses the bully, the bullied, the bystanders, and the brave.  Click HERE or on the image below to check out this resource.


Collaborative Problem-Solving in Math

12 February 2015

Math group work where everyone works
Collaborative Responses in Math - Stick-It-Together
 Collaborative Problem Solving Activity for Grade 6 Common CoreI love watching my students work together on a common goal - especially when that goal is producing the best work they can.

I've been doing activities similar to my Stick-It Together resources for a while in the classroom.  I've found them to be THE.BEST way to keep all students accountable for their own work, and actually participate in the group talk.  It is amazing to see how their answers grow from their individual responses, to their "best response" and defend their thinking.  And ... not that you teacher rockstars need any help, but this one is always a hit with admin.

How It Works:
Variation #1 - Students work in groups of 4.  One problem-solving page per student.  Each student in the group individually answers the problem or question on a sticky note (give a time limit for this).  Students then place all their sticky notes on a common page and read through the answers.  Taking the very best parts of each person's answer, they discuss and work together to build the best possible answer they can.

Variation #2 - Hand out sticky notes.  Project the problem-solving page so that all students can see the problem, and have them solve it on their sticky note.  From there, the teacher can group students according to when they finish their individual answers, or teacher-chosen groups, or even group them by sticky note color.

I've done these types of activities in both language and math, and a variation of this activity is included in my Building Better Responses resources.

Earlier this year I created my first Stick-It Together Resource - a collaborative activity for reader responses.    

Soon after, I began to get requests for a similar resource for math.  So here it is ... my Stick-It Together for Collaborative Problem-Solving.  The resources are specifically geared to the common core standards - with one question for every single standard.  I have created these math problem-solving resources for 3rd - 6th grade.

Each page contains a problem geared to a specific standard, an "I can ..." learning goal, problem-solving success criteria, space for students' individual sticky notes, and a space for the students to build their best collaborative answer.

Also included in the resource are levelled exemplars for students to see and discuss what makes a level 1, 2, 3, and 4 response.  After completing a few of these problems, I like to do a class or two where we really examine the exemplars in the resources, and identify look-fors for each level.  We then make posters or anchor charts to show the differences using some of our own work examples.  There is also a rubric for assessment, and an answer key.

My students love working together on tasks like this, and I love the collaboration and team work skills they build ... not to mention the review of concepts and help from peers.  When groups complete the task, I like to project their work over the whiteboard and let them present their final responses to the class.  They can take turns explaining how they arrived at the answer, and why they believe they accomplished the task of building the best answer they could.

 Collaborative Problem Solving Activity for Grade 6 Common Core Math
You can take a peek at my newest resource by clicking HERE or on the picture to the right.  Take a peek at some of the sample pages from the resource below.

Click the links below to see the different grade levels in this series:


Hey Valentine!

06 February 2015
Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and I wanted to spread the love by sharing some fun activities I've done with my students to celebrate the day.  It's important to me that we continue on with the learning we've been doing before these holidays arise in the classroom, but still recognize that there's a little something special about the day.  On Valentine's Day I try to make the day a little sweeter (but just a little ... don't want those sugar highs) and remind them that learning is a treat!

Last year just before Valentine's Day I was getting really frustrated with the apostrophe errors I kept seeing occur in their daily writing.  So, I whipped up a little writing assignment where I asked them to include apostrophes in their writing - 10 for contractions and 10 to show possession.  I had them leave their writing out, and I quickly went around the classroom while they were gone for recess, placing a little red hot candy heart on top of each correct apostrophe they had.

We were also just starting our geometry unit in math, so I broke out the conversation hearts for a little practice with measuring angles.  Students chose a few different conversation hearts, and rewrote the phrase from the heart on their paper, using block letters.  From there, they measured as many angles as they could on each of the letters, marking the measurements right on the paper.  They then added up the measurements to find the total value for each phrase.  The students had a blast trying to figure out which phrase was "worth" the most.  

If you'd like to try either of these activities with your students, I've made and shared some printables for them.  Just click HERE or on the image below to grab the two printables.

I also have another little activity set I have shared for reading comprehension.  The two activities make a fabulous bulletin board display for Valentine's Day.  Students use technology to create a heart-shaped display with the answers to the reading comprehension questions provided.  There is also a fun art activity for students to complete (we found it to be perfect to work on while we were waiting for everyone to finish on the computers).  I LOVE the 3D effect the curved lines create.  Click  HERE or on the picture to the right to grab a copy for yourself.

Valentine's Day DramaAnd because we LOVE our Drama Circles, I had to make a little Valentine's Day Drama Circle to celebrate the day.  This one is full of ridiculously corny riddles and jokes for the students to act out ... so much fun!  You can click on the title above or the picture to the right to take a peek at it in my TpT store.  
Cheers to a day where learning is a treat!