New loot for my classroom

After going to a foreign language teacher gathering this week, I was inspired to go out and look for bargains that would encourage students to speak more French in my classroom or for items that would just make learning more fun.  I realized after reflecting on my 1st quarter that I only played two games with my students?  What?  What the heck was I thinking?  I seriously need to loosen up and start having fun with these kids or I really will teach myself out of a job for next year.

So, I went to the Dollar Tree and instead of just buying supplies for my classroom, I browsed through the toy section and found these darts.  They have a sticky end and will stick to any smooth surface.  I immediately thought: WHITEBOARD!!  I can easily snag an image of a dartboard and project it from my LCD projector onto the whiteboard.  With students divided into teams, I can ask them a question and the first person to get it right will have the chance to throw a dart and earn points for their team.  This could work with any topic and they were only $1.00!  I bought two packs just in case they get destroyed (which there is an enormous possibility for in a middle school classroom).

I also found these cute little cones.  I immediately thought about games – like use them to mark the starting line for where the kids will dash to do something or maybe do a ring toss.  These have praise words on them as well and are made out of a durable rubbery plastic so you could put them on a student’s desk as a way to quickly praise them for doing something awesome.

I don’t have a photo of the two flyswatters I bought but I’m sure you can easily imagine the solid, plastic kind that are sort of floppy.  A colleague in Social Studies introduced me to the idea of putting words or ideas on flashcards on the wall and letting two students use the flyswatters to slap the card with the word you describe.  OH MY!  What a simple idea and why hadn’t I heard this before?  I borrowed her flyswatters on a whim the other day and the kids loved it!  I put the in two teams since her swatters were two different colors (red and blue teams) and I had two sets of the same vocabulary – one small and one larger sized.  I bought magnetic clips at Wal-Mart sometime ago so I clipped all the cards to the whiteboard and scrambled them all up.  I gave the students 2 points if they slapped the smaller cards and 1 point if they slapped the larger card.  I called out the words in English and they slapped the French word that meant the same thing.  I did tell them to hold the swatter on the word and they only got one slap so they had to make a good choice.  They boys loved the fact that they got to slap something period and of course they loved the race aspect and being competitive.  The girls liked it to but at this age they can handle almost everything.  I seem to keep trying to find things to please the boys and get them engaged.  They flyswatters I found at Harris Teeter in their clearance buggies.

In the same buggies I also found some “Guess Who?” games for half price.  These are the ones with two trays and there are many faces of different people (all races) in slots.  The students draw an identity from a deck of cards then they each ask yes/no questions to discover the identity of the other person.  Since I’m getting ready to teach describing people I thought this would be a great way to get the kids speaking a little French.   They only had 3 sets though so I will have to turn this into a station activity.

So bargain hunting paid off for me this week and I will definitely keep my eyes open in the future for more cheap little things like this to breathe some more life into my classroom.  I am now avidly scanning Pinterest for teaching ideas (instead of just recipes).  Teachers, please share your ideas!

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