Saturday, July 23, 2011

Free Stuff for Teachers

It's almost time to head back to the classroom for another school year.  Here are a few rewards for those long days and working weekends ahead.  Remember to call ahead and ask what documentation is required for a free teachers admission.  

Many places offer discounts or free admission for teachers especially museums and science centers, but do not advertise it, be sure to ask.

Sea World offers a free study pass that allows you to visit the park as often as you want for an entire year.  Be sure to bring a copy of your teaching certificate, most recent pay stub, and a photo ID.  

Florida Aquarium offers free admission with a photo ID and a recent pay stub.

MOSI is celebrating Teacher Appreciation Summer! Teacher's get free admission and family members receive $5 off their ticket.

Books-aMillion and Barnes and Noble both offer educators discount cards for free.  You will get a discount on every purchase when you use your card.

Craft stores like Joann Fabrics, Michaels, and AC Moore offer discounts to teachers.  Receive 15-20% off your purchase.  You can combine coupons with your discount card!

Staples and Office Depot offer a teacher rewards program where you can earn a percentage back from your purchase.  Staples hosts a teacher appreciation event every year with free stuff!  Check to see what day it will be happening near you.  

Kennedy Space Center offers free admission for a year with a photo ID and a copy of your teaching certificate.

At the South Florida Museum, teachers will receive free admission with the proper documentation.

Ringling Museum of Art offers a $10 ticket price to teachers.

Get in for free at Gatorland during the months of September and October. 

At the Mote Aquarium teachers will receive a free ticket for a one day admission with a recent pay stub.

Lion Country Safari gives teachers a discount on admission.

Dinosaur World gives teachers a free admission.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is always a great topic for the classroom.  Students love to learn about ancient mummies, pyramids, and pharaohs.  There are so many online resources out there on this topic, it can be time consuming to search through and sift out the good from the bad.  Well, look no further.  Here are a ton of resources all in one place.  From crafts to puzzles to coloring pages to interactive activities.  

If you do not have access to a projector in your classroom, many activities are easily converted to print based materials.  The original directions may need to be altered to fit your classroom.  Organize students into small groups, provide print outs of the materials, review directions orally, and get started.    Enjoy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Board Games for the Classroom

Using games in the classroom to reinforce concepts is a great method to motivate your students to learn.  Using a board game allows the students to work in small groups and encourages all group members to become engaged in the review.  

Microsoft offers a downloadable template that allows you to customize your own board game in just a few minutes.  The board game template is an excel file and the game cards are a Microsoft Word file.  The pictures, text, etc on each game tile can be changed to suite any topic.  You can change the text on the back of the card and name your board game.  The front of the card has a place the question and there is also a place to add a hint or the correct answer depending on how you word the directions. 
The template can be downloaded at Microsoft Home Magazine.  The download links are at the top right side of the page.

Materials for Students:
  • Print out copies of the game board
  • Dice
  • Game player chips - I used a large circle punch and construction paper to create colored chips
  • A copy of game directions
I used this template to create a review game for the end of the year final exam in my Geography class.  My middle school students had a blast!  I chose to provide page numbers as hints to give the students some guidance to find the answer.  I didn't provide the correct answer on the card because I was concerned that some groups would cheat.  I provided students with a copy of the directions and reviewed them verbally with the group.  I chose to make the game board generic for Geography so that I can use it again.  For the next game, all I will need to do is create new game cards.

My Directions:

Geography Trivia Game Rules

Congratulations, you just landed your first geography internship!  Now the race is on to see who can make it around the world and earn each internship awards. 
  1. Roll the dice to decide who will go first.  The player with the highest number plays first and so on.
  2. All players begin on the Geographer Internship Space.
  3. Roll the dice to see how many spaces you will move during your turn.
  4. If you land on a Geography Trivia Question you must select a card from the deck and answer the question correctly to roll the dice again. If you need to use the hint you must deduct one space.
  5. Keep track of each internship space you land on and write the award ID on your game chip.
Awards ID’s
Geographer Internship:  G
Historian Internship: H
Archaeology Internship: A
Museum Internship:  M
To win the game you must earn all four internship Awards.

An example of an educational game template for Geography.  Microsoft Excel and Word templates available from were used to create the game.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Make and Print a Simple Flip Book

Too cool not to re-share! Create a flip book graphic organizer. Richard Blyne suggests using the application in the elementary level for creating stories. 

This application could also be used as a flip chart which is a great way for upper elementary and middle schools students to practice note taking. Each page of the flip book is a new main idea. The teacher could print out the template for students to fill in wile reading or during a lecture. I would either have students add their own drawings or as a closure activity have pictures already printed and ask students to match the image with correct information in their notes and attach. Reading teachers could use it to sequence events of a story.