FREEBIE Updated Science Game - Grab Yours Now :)

Tell me if this sounds like you.

The weather starts to get warmer (or you have those random warmer days toward the end of the winter - like we're having today in Western NY) and you get the urge to de-clutter, clean, and get organized.

I certainly am feeling that way and I'm working on cleaning up some of my old products.  I tend to do this once a year.  I sweep out the looks of some older products and give them a bit of a spring make-over.

I just finished redoing one of my bigger units, actually my #1 seller for a couple years now- My Sun, Earth, and Moon unit.

There's a simple sorting game that I include in the unit (which has been listed in my science game archives all along).  It helps students to identify the difference between rotation and revolution, which can be a tricky concept.

I offerthis game as a freebie as a sample from the whole unit.  Here's a peek at the new look:

 Sorting mat:

There are several cards with different statements.  Students read each statement and decide if it is referring to the rotation of the earth or the revolution of the earth around the sun.  Students place the card on the correct sorting mat.

A recording sheet is provided for easy-peasy assessment!

You'll also find an answer key for students to check their answers.

If you've already downloaded this game, or if you're just seeing this for the first time and want at it, get the latest version here:

Oh - and as a side note - I'll been announcing some BIG news in the CGN newsletter that goes out TOMORROW - so if you aren't already a subscriber you miiiiight want to consider it now! :) You can do so here.  

Bye for now :)

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5 Reasons why you should be playing games in the classroom {and why you should never worry about playing too many}

Confession #245:

When I was teaching in the classroom full time, I was always afraid that my principal would walk in when students were playing a learning game.  Why?  Because sometimes when students are playing games, it can get a little...shall I say...rowdy?  I was afraid that my principal would walk in on one of the rowdier moments and think that I didn't have control over my class.

The reality?  Sometimes learning is rowdy.  I wish I would have spent less time being worried about what it looked like, and spent more time feeling proud of what that rowdiness actual meant.  It meant that students actually cared about what they were learning through that game.  If they didn't care, they would have no reason to get rowdy.

Do you ever feel that same way?  Sometime we focus so much on making sure our classroom looks picture perfect, and we forget that as long as learning is happening, it's a win - even if a pair of dice does find their way being "accidentally" tossed across the room. :)

Here are 5 things I wish I would have focused more on when I played games in my classroom:

1//  Students learn not just about a concept when playing a game, but they learn through the process of playing a game.

  • Games give a new concept a whole new perspective.  You take the concept off paper and you put it into action.  By actually DOING the concept students LEARN the concept.

2//  Games provide an environment for learning to be engaging.

  • Put a bunch of vocabulary words and definitions on a piece of paper for students to memorize and you *might* get 75% retention.  Put a "mystery" vocabulary word on a headband (like I described in this guest post) and have students walk around playing a game asking yes/no question to help them guess their word -  Now you've got engagement. Meaningful engagement. 

3//  Games give students lasting positive memories that learning can be and should be fun.

  • Students WILL remember how they learned.  It will either be a positive memory or a negative one.  They WILL remember that they hated math because all they did was worksheet after worksheet.  They will also remember that Mrs. So-and-So in the 4th grade was the first teacher to make math fun because "all you did was play games" (teacher translation: you tricked students into doing work because you disguised that work in the form of a fun game)

4//  With games, you're not just teaching a learning skill, your teaching life skills.

  • In the primary grades these life skills might include simple things like how to take turns and learning that it's OK to not win a game.  In the intermediate grades, students learn the life skills of encouraging each other in their learning, thinking critically, and learning how to be strategic.
5//  Students are instantly hooked when you say "we're going to play a game."

  • I mean, think about it.  The instant you say you're about to play again, students perk up and start looking around the room for who their partner is going to be :)  You get their instant attention and they want to know more.  Try getting that same reaction when you say "please get out your workbooks."

Now - let's talk reality for a moment.  Can every activity in your room be replaced with a game?  Of course not.  But boy there sure are a lot of ways to sneak them in!

And when you do, be proud, my teacher friend, be proud!  You're that teacher that is making positive learning memories for that one child that used to hate math.

5 Pinterest Boards You Should Be Following For Math Game Ideas

I'm just gonna be super honest with you for a sec, OK?

I hate math.  I've said it before, so this isn't shocking news, but I just wanted to say it again.

Why do I hate it?  Because it was always hard for me.  However, because math was always (and let's be even more honest, still is) hard for me, I always had a soft spot in my heart for my students that struggled in math as well.

I always knew that I could ease the pain a bit with those students who struggled with math by making it fun with games, and hopefully help them to make connections.

However, when I was teaching, Pinterest didn't exist (or at least wasn't the teacher go-to tool that it is today).  Boy if it was, my teaching (and, well, everything else in my life) would have looked a LOT differently.

Luckily, Pinterest IS around today, so I thought I'd save you some time by finding my top five picks for Pinterest boards devoted to math games!  I also found some really great home decor ideas a long the way (can't help myself :) )

I really especially love this pin.

 This pin and this pin were my faves.

This pin caught my eye.

This pin has an easy, free printable!

Be sure to check out this pin, this pin, and this pin from this board.

Happy pinning!

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President's Day Guess Who {FREE TEMPLATE}

Remember last month when I showed you this easy DIY Guess Who Game?  Well, I've got the PERFECT use for this idea that you can use this week: President's Day Guess Who!

First you'll want to check out this post with all the details on how to set it up and how to play.  But then, you'll want to download the freebie game template provided below!  I chose 12 presidents that I think students are most familiar with, including the 2 presidents that are especially in focus on President's Day: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

Download the template here:


Oh, PS - here's another President's Day freebie that you might want to snag:

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Groundhog Day SMARTBoard Games!

Happy February 1st!  Crazy, huh?  Wasn't it just Christmas like....yesterday?

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day and I thought I'd put together a quick video showcasing 3 FREE SMARTBoard games that I created with a Groundhog Day theme.  You can completely customize them for your own classroom needs!

Take a look:

You can find this game in my TpT store and download for free today and have ready for tomorrow in no time!

If you're looking for even more activities, then you can snag this Groundhog Day packet from my store as well!  In it you'll find reading comprehension, graphing, writing activities, and more!

Have a great week!