Classroom Breakouts Made Easy!

Holiday Breakouts Bundle

As a tech specialist, I love to visit classrooms and introduce students to digital breakouts.  However, nothing is more frustrating than finding one to share with students, only to realize they can't access it.  Many districts (without the knowledge of teachers) block students from accessing Google Sites that are not built within their district's own Google Domain.  Now, some of these districts will "unblock" them temporarily if they confirm there is nothing offensive on them.  But, other districts (mine included) will not be so willing to do this.  While the reason is good (it keeps students safe when districts don't know who is controlling the content of those sites), it is oh so frustrating when the content is not only safe, but educational.

While some districts don't block Google Sites, they do block other elements of many breakout games, such as YouTube videos or files hosted privately.

After many frustrations with this, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create my own breakouts.  But, I wanted to make sure they were not only accessible to my students, but any students.  

Why Google Forms?

Reason #1 - Access for Everyone

By using Google Forms (instead of Google Sites), it ensures that all students have access to the breakout.  A Google Form (in view mode) doesn't even require a Google login or account; therefore, it can be completed by anyone, on any type of device.

Reason #2 - No Prep & Easy to Navigate

By using Google Forms, any puzzles and/or problems can be embedded right into the form.  This means students don't need to manager multiple tabs or pages - absolutely everything they need is there in one spot!  This also makes it NO PREP for the teacher! #WinWin

Reason #3 - Self-Checking Locks

By using Google Forms, the lock codes become self-checking.  Using the self-validation mode when setting up the GoogleForm, I have made it so that students cannot move on to the next lock without getting the current lock open.  If students enter an incorrect answer, they will be prompted to "try again."

Reason #4 - A Learning Record

By using Google Forms, students' names and answers will be submitted to the teacher digitally where she will have a record of all learning that can be pulled up on a single spreadsheet. This can be used to track participation and trend in skills.

What does a typical Google Form Breakout look like?

Let's take a look at my Christmas breakout as an example:

When students begin, they will have a brief introduction, setting them up for the task.

Then, there will be 4 locks to unlock - a Letter Lock, a Number Lock, a direction lock, and a Word Lock. Let's see an example from each.

Letter Lock Sample

Students must discover what present is in each of 5 boxes.  Then put the first letter of each present in ABC order to find this lock code.

Number Lock Sample

Students must find the missing number from each of 5 light patterns.

Direction Lock Sample

Students must find which direction a candy cane was passed through a grid of reindeer based on 6 clues.

Word Lock Sample

Students must find the ONE word missing on the compound tree puzzle that could be used to make a compound word with both the word before it and the word after it.

This is just one sample, but most of my breakout games are similar to this in format.  I recommend having students work on the breakouts in groups of 2-3 students.  This gives students help and support while allowing them to use each other's strengths.  If it is your class's first time doing a breakout, I would even recommend doing it together as a whole class to let students understand the format.  Once they've experienced one, they'll have the hang of it!


10 Halloween Activities for the Classroom

Here are 10 activities for your elementary classroom that are sure to engage your students in Halloween fun while still covering the topics and skills they need.

1. October Word Problem Workouts

Your students will have fun following along with this video as they solve multi-step word problems and then do exercises that correlate to the answers.  Fun holiday GIF characters lead them in their workouts!

2. Halloween Pixel Art Comprehension

Every teacher loves holiday read-alouds, right? After reading your favorite holiday books, let students complete these no-prep Halloween Pixel Art comprehension activities.  As students answer questions about the book correctly, the picture will begin to reveal itself and students will be amazed!

3. Halloween Digital Games

With a pack full of digital games along with a directed drawing and origami craft, you will be SET for any downtime in the month of October.  These activities are the perfect FUN fillers for those moments when you have 5 minutes to spare, or when it unexpectedly rains and you find yourself indoors for the day.  Do yourself a favor and have these on standby this month!

4. Halloween Breakout

This Halloween Breakout is the perfect activity to save for Halloween day (or week).  This breakout is unique in that it uses a Google Form so students do not need Google Accounts.  Just provide them the link and they solve problems and riddles to unlock 4 locks to BREAKOUT in time for trick-or-treating.

5. October Flip the Decks

Flip the Decks are the digital versions of Roam the Rooms - no matter which version you use, your students will love the ELA and Math practice with a Halloween twist! 

6. Halloween Digital Photo Booth

How do you make writing more engaging for students?  Add a digital photo booth with it, of course! Students will write about a haunted house and snap a selfie to use in their illustration where they will drag and drop Halloween props onto their photo.  A student tutorial is included with this resources, so no worries if your students are inexperienced with Google Slides!

7. Halloween Story Response Crafts

One of the best things about holidays at school are walking through the halls and looking at the displays!  Your Halloween display will be set with these story response crafts!  We've picked 5 of the best holiday read-alouds and created a short story response along with a student craft to go along with the books.  These are perfect for parent volunteers and substitutes, too!

8. October Glyphs

Glyphs are one of our favorite things to do with students.  They're fun and engaging, require students to analyze data, help students get to know each other better, and leave you with a student created display. Win-win-win! These no-prep coloring glyphs are perfect for morning arrival time and center time, but also perfect to leave for a volunteer or sub!

9. Feed the Monsters - Math Fact Fun

These Google Slides drag and drop math fact activities are perfect for center time or independent practice.  They are available in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division versions for differentiation in the classroom.

10. October Poems

While these poems aren't exactly Halloween-themed, there is a bat poem included and well, we just think the 10 interactive activities included to complete with each poem is enough to keep any student engaged regardless of the topic! We think these are a must for every month of the year!

If you have suggestions for other Halloween activities you would like to see included in this list, drop a comment to let us know.


Morning Work Made Easy!

Morning work.  It's that love-hate relationship, am I right?  You want something students can complete independently, but you want it to be meaningful.  You want something engaging, but you want it skill-related. You also don't want one more thing to prep, but you need it to be organized for your students.

Let me introduce you to my new Build Your Own Week Morning Work.

What Does Build Your Own Week Mean?
This series will include a slideshow to use for each day of the week.  By having a different activity each day, students will not get bored with their morning work.  Each day will stay fresh and engaging.  But, that's not enough.  I'm actually including several options for each day of the week.  Now, you can't (or probably won't) use more than one option a day, but by giving you different options it ensures that you can choose the skill that fits your particular students best and it gives you the option of changing that focus throughout the year, if needed.  So, by looking at all of the different options, you can Build Your Own Week with your morning work!  I've included skills that focus on writing, words, and math so that students are getting a well-rounded experience.

The daily slides are no print and no prep.  Just project the slide on your board and students will complete the task in a notebook or journal.  Each slide has the directions on the left side and a modeled layout to guide students on the right side.  Each slide also has instrumental music embedded that can be played with the click of a button.

What Different Options Are Included?
Let's take a look at the different options -

Making Words Monday
Making Words Monday has 40 slides in which students will use the letters from a big word to make smaller words.  They'll sort their words by the number of letters and see how many they can make. This practice of making words gives students practice with manipulating letters which strengthens their ability to sequence sounds heard in words.

Monday Memories

Monday Memories gives students a personal narrative topic to write about and illustrate. The topics are general so that all students can pull from their experiences for writing.

Teach It Tuesday

Teach It Tuesday slides give students a chance to be the teacher as they teach their classmates "how to" do something through their writing. Students are asked to write and draw in sequential steps using transitional words from the word bank provided. This is a great way to strengthen how-to writing.

Talk About It Tuesday
This option gives students practice with those speaking skills that are often formally overlooked in the classroom.  Students get with a partner and talk about a topic provided - the catch is that they must stay on topic!  Question prompts are provided to help them along if there's a lull in the conversation.

Workout Wednesday
Workout Wednesday lets students workout their brains and bodies!  First, students solve a logic puzzle (working out their brain) and then they do an exercise that correlates with the answer to the logic puzzle (working out their bodies).  

Wednesday Word Work
Wednesday Word Work asks students to brainstorm both synonyms and antonyms of a common word.  Students could even be allowed to use a thesaurus to complete this.  Then, they use one of the new synonyms and one of the new antonyms in a sentence that shows meaning.

Thank You Thursday
Thank You Thursday helps students spread a little kindness while also practicing their letter writing skills.  Each slide asks students to write a thank you note to someone.

Thursday Thoughts
Thursday Thoughts give students a chance to express themselves as they form an opinion to a question and write about it.  Students are prompted to support their opinion with examples and reasons.

Factual Friday
Factual Friday instructs students to write facts that they know about well-known objects.  They can use their senses and/or knowledge about these items to form their facts.  Students are also asked to sketch the items and label any parts they know to form a diagram.

Friday Fact Families
This segment gives students two digits and asks them to make two different fact families using those two digits.

Will More Daily Segments Be Created?
Yes!  These are just the daily segments that are in the works now.  I will be creating (at least one) more daily segment(s) for each day of the week - those topics will be announced at a later date!

Why Should I Jump On This Resource Now?
By purchasing the bundle, you save 30% off individual products.  Plus, this is a GROWING bundle which means that you can buy it now with only a few pieces in and receive ALL FUTURE segments for FREE!  As of this post, you can grab this bundle for $6 but it will be a $45 value once complete!  

What are you waiting for?  Run and grab everything you need to Build Your Own Morning Work and be set for the entire year!


Last Day of School FUN

I am determined to make the end of this school year as stress-free as possible. This is always my intent, but it never seems to happen. This year I'm being purposeful about it.

Let me help you have a stress-free last day of school, too! I've created a set of 6 digital games that are absolutely NO PREP and ready to use. They will keep your students engaged and give you a little classroom community bonding time one last time.

The 6 games (plus a bonus directed drawing and a bonus origami craft) are all perfect for both in-person teaching and distance learning. Here's what is included: 

1) Find It! - In this game, there are two cards filled with summer images on each slide. There is ONE image that the two cards share in common and students try to be the first to find it.

2) Oh Snap! - In this game, students get a glimpse of a portion of a picture "up close" and must use their inferencing skills to figure out the image before it is revealed on the next slide.

3) Pic Puzzlers - In this game, students will see a series of pictures that must be put together to form a word or phrase. Students must first determine what the individual pictures are showing and then add them together to find the answer.

4) Riddle Me This - Who doesn't love a good joke? This is a compilation of the best jokes for the season. Students will see if they can solve before the answer is revealed.

5) Would You Rather... - Each slide will pose two options for students and they must decide which they would rather do. Students can show this with the hand signal shown, making it perfect for in-person or distance learning.

6) Word Nerds - In this game, students put their word-making skills to work as they use scrambled letters to spell any and all words possible. The ultimate goal is to figure out the mystery word that uses all letter tiles given.

BONUS #1: - Directed Drawing - Students will draw a coral reef scene

BONUS #2: - Origami Craft - Students will create a sea turtle origami craft

With everything planned and ready to go - and no copies to make or supplies to organize, the last day of school will *hopefully* be stress-free and FUN! 


No Prep Digital ABC Countdown

Digital ABC Countdown

You asked and I listened!  I know you don't want your virtual students missing out on all of the end-of-year fun. You would like to keep the same routines in place whenever possible to bring that normalcy to them.  So, I did it.  I revamped my printable end-of-year ABC Countdown into a brand-new digital version.  There was no way to take the exact same activities and make them digital, so this is a brand-new version that will bring the same excitement digitally!

This is a Google Slides resource with an interactive Table of Contents on slide one.

Each day, you just click the letter for the day and that will take you directly to the slide for that day.  Here's an example!

You'll just click play on the video showing on the laptop and students will follow along!  On this day, students will create origami sunglasses so they will need a piece of paper.  The great thing about these activities is there is never anything to print or copy and the most require no materials.  If they do require materials, it's never more than a piece of paper and a pencil.

If for some reason, you want to change the video selected - maybe you just finished studying sharks and really want your students to make origami sharks instead - you can simply delete the video and go to INSERT > VIDEO and paste the URL of the new video you'd like to appear on that slide instead.

The flexibility makes it perfectly adaptable to your classroom, but the activities selected should be appropriate for 1st-5th grades.

Most videos are 5-10 minutes but if you're looking to make each countdown activity last a little longer, I've include extension ideas for each activity.  Of course, these activities were chosen to only need paper/pencil also.  No copies - No prep.  This is mean to make the ABC Countdown an easy-to-use, stress free activity.  We all know teachers already have enough stress at the end of the  school year!


Morning News Segments

Are you looking for a way to engage students during your morning meeting?  Are you looking for new segments for your school news show?  Do you just need a fresh brain break that can work for in-person or distance learning?  I've got you!

I help run the morning news program at my school (K-5th) and use these daily videos as news segments.  They are also perfect for spicing up a classroom morning meeting (each video is only about 1 minute long) or for daily brain breaks in your classroom.

There's a different series for each day of the week so that students don't get bored.  They are short and interactive to keep students engaged.  And the best part?  They are NO PREP and ready to use! 40 weeks worth for each series - an entire year's worth!

Here's a look at each series:

In Monday Mysteries, students watch a video clip that asks them to help find a book character "thief" who stole (or borrowed) a particular object. They are presented with four clues the book character left behind. Using those clues, knowing the object that was borrowed, and using their knowledge of book characters, students help track down the thief. There is a second video clip that can be played later in the day, the next day, or later in the week to reveal the answer. This particular series comes with answer slips that can be used if the teacher/school wants to collect answers from students.

I tried to use a mix of picture books and chapter books to appeal to all elementary students.  A complete list of book characters used can be found in the product listing.

View this sample of a Monday Mysteries segment to see what it's all about - and to see if you can figure out the book character thief!

Tuesday Travels consists of a short video clip that shows students a photograph of a place in the world.  Then, four clues are given.  Students must use the photograph along with the four clues to figure out the weekly destination.  This is the perfect chance for students to have an introduction to online research, using the clues to help guide them. This series also comes with slips students could use to write their guesses. There is a second short video clip that can be played to reveal the destination to students.  This series also includes image files of the clues and the destination reveal for an alternate option.

The first 20 videos in this series are places located in the United States, while the final 20 places venture around the world. See all destinations used in the product listing.

View this sample of a Tuesday Travels segment to see what this segment is all about.

It's Webcam Wednesday! And on Wednesdays, students are shown a short video clip that provides a photograph of an animal along with some interesting facts.  Then, they are given a webcam to view - watching an animal in its habitat is always a hit with students!  At our school, we leave the webcam streaming all day after our news program so that classes can "check in" on it whenever they have time throughout the day.  If you were using this in the classroom, you could check in on the webcam during transitions, at recess/lunch, or during dismissal time - or all of the above. :)  

This series also includes a Google Slides version that can be shared with students so that they can check in on the webcam on their own - perfect for distance learning.  See all animals used in this product listing.

View this sample of Webcam Wednesday to see what this segment is all about.  (Webcam links are provided in a single PDF document for the teacher's ease of use.)

Thumbs Out Thursday shows students a short video that poses a question, followed by 10 photographs of answer choices.  Students are asked to take out their thumbs today and give a thumbs UP or a thumbs DOWN to each answer choice in the video.  This provides a QUICK and easy way for students to get to know their classmates better and build relationships. See a list of all topics used in this product listing.

View this sample of Thumbs Out Thursday to see what this segment is all about.

Fake News Friday is probably the biggest hit at my school.  In this series, students are asked a question and posted two facts - one true fact and one false fact.  Students must try to decipher the real news from the fake news.  This is a great introduction to realizing that you can't believe everything you read - especially on the Internet. See a list of all topics used in this product listing.

View this sample Fake News Friday to see what this segment is all about.

If you're looking for daily segments for your morning meetings, schools news show, or engaging brain breaks I hope these will fit your need.  You can save 25% by purchasing the entire Daily News Segments Bundle here. I hope that by having these ready to go for each day of the year, it will provide you with a little breathing room while giving your students something to look forward to each day!

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