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My Favorite End of Year Activity - Wonka Week!

Squirrely kidlets?  Me too!  I'm bringing back Wonka Week this year after a long hiatus (I just lost track of time!) and am excited to introduce it to my kids.

Let's do it together!
Buy: a bag or two of small wrapped candy bars (not the vacuum sealed kind – the wrapped in foil-lined paper kind), and 5-10 candy bars, books or other "big" prizes.
Print: the Wonka Tickets on yellow/gold paper.
Put: 5-10 Wonka tickets inside 5-10 special small candy bars.  You will have to fold them up and possibly reseal the small candy bars.
Get: a beautiful bowl to house all of the little candy bars – keep it visible but not reachable!
Cut: the rest of the Wonka Tickets out and put them in a secure baggie hidden from view.
During the week give out Wonka Tickets instead of your normal classroom incentive to awesomely behaved students. Students who earn a Wonka Ticket put it in some special vase or bowl for an end of day drawing.  At the end of the day (or even throughout if your kiddos are especially squirrely) draw as many Wonka Tickets as you like.  Students who win the drawing get a pick from the small candy bar bowl.  The lucky students who find the Golden Wonka Tickets in their candy bars get one of the exciting giant prizes! (Teacher note: I have had students scream and twirl in circles with excitement when they discover the special golden tickets in the small candy bars - LIFE highlight!)

I typically try to stay away from food incentives, but Wonka Week has been a great end of year treat for the kids (and for me!) in the past, so I'm putting my feelings about the candy-kid-combo aside for 10-14 days.

Teacher trick: to make sure the Wonka fun lasts as long as you want it to, only put one or two special “Golden Ticket” bars in the bowl at a time.  That way you can draw it out for as long as it is effective.  Is this cheating?! 

Click here or on any of the pictures to go to my TpT store to download my Wonka Golden Tickets freebie.  
You can also see more pictures and ideas for what Wonka Week can look like in your classroom at my blog posts here and here.    

Happy Wonka Week!
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Melting Crayon Science & Art Project

What amazing parents we have at my school!  Check out this awesome (Pinterest-inspired) project one of our grade level moms did with her child's class.  She talked with the kids about changing solids to liquids through heat and then let all of the students assist in putting together this piece of classroom art.  So very cute -- and another great idea for end of year teacher gifts.


Ceiling Tile Art -- Customize your Classroom

You know those nasty drop ceiling tiles the look like cork and are probably full of asbestos?  The art teacher at my school has come up with a fantastic way to teach her students about commissioned art pieces and make our ceilings much prettier.

After spending lots of time talking with teachers and their classes about what kind of ceiling tile art they would like, students design and paint ceiling tiles for every classroom.  So far we have commissioned the Olivia tile and the beach tile.  We love to look up at the beach sunset when we need a quick "mental vacation".  The alien/robot one was already in my room when I arrived six years ago.

Our custodians are so kind to remove and replace tiles all year long.  I'm already thinking about what kind of tile I want to get for next year.  Probably something to do with minpins -- specifically my minpin Lily.  I wonder if the art students could capture her essence.  Pretty tricky.  :)


Two Uses for File Folders

If you have a few extra manila file folders hanging around, think about making a few of these.  When working on nonfiction writing, my students love to use these research folders.  The kids love that they get to take notes on 3x5 cards and write on the folder with Expo marker (very exciting for third graders!).  I love that they work on breaking their research down into subtopics and organize, and reorganize their notes.  Once students have their notes written and organized by topic they can easily arrange them into paragraphs by adding topic and concluding sentences.

One more easy way to use up those extra folders: Holy Cow Folders

Make 5-7 of these and have a student job (our class "Humanitarian" does this) focused on taking care of absent students.  The folder goes on the absent student's desk, and the humanitarian makes sure all missed assignments, tests, and homework go inside so they're ready upon the absent kiddo's return.  When a parent comes unannounced to pick up missed work, it's nice to be able to say there's a folder ready to go on their child's desk.  If you want to make a little extra effort, the humanitarian can write up a note with any interesting info from the day.  I  haven't been able to pull this off successfully, but let me know if you do.


Personalized Lanyards -- Great Gifts!

I love these lanyards!  I bought three for my teammates a year ago as a back to school gift, and my colleagues loved them so much we ordered 40 more for our staff.  I bought one for my fantastic mother-in-law whose nursing colleagues all ordered them too.  Now I have them for my yearbook staff and (of course!) I now have three in different colors (brown/green polka dot, black ribbon with hot pink lettering, pastel paisley) and fonts (I like the "Love Letters" one) to match my mood and outfit.  I highly recommend these if you're looking for a great teacher teammate, or really anyone who has a badge/keys, gift.  Click on the picture above to go to the Etsy store where I bought mine.


Readers and Writers Workshop Bulletin Boards

I am still working on getting these bulletin board items ready for others to download, but I've been looking around at tons of teaching blogs and have been loving (and pinning!) all of the cool classroom pictures, so I wanted to put up some of my own.  This is what my reading and writing workshop bulletin boards look like at the beginning of the year.  I'll get some updated pictures soon -- since we're now at the end of the year.  Exciting!