Creative Uses Of Hula Hoops

I am always on the lookout for fun ways to reach my students...unfortunately too often these creative ideas mean spending more money! How exciting is it, however, when you find a great idea that utilizes items that you already have!  One go-to item that seems to get a lot of use in my classroom is a hula hoop.  I did not realize it until I pulled out this versatile little piece of play ground equipment for the second time this week, how many uses it can have.  Of course it is a favorite for recess time and gym time, but it can also be very handy during classroom instruction.  One of my first alternative uses for a hula hoop came a few years ago when I started using hula hoops for venn diagrams.  It is funny how simply turning this graphic organizer into a larger scale,  hands-on activity increases engagement of your class.  I have had students write their own ideas to compare/contrast with the hoop venn diagrams onto sentence strips or given them various pre-written cards to sort onto the hoops.  A great learning tool for so many age levels.

This week I used the hoops for two different purposes.  The first was to practice telling time.  With just a simple clock label printable and a hoop your students can practice telling time on a white board or outside on the concrete!  My students love to play a game where one student must draw a time card and reads the time to a partner, while the partner creates that time on the large hula hoop clock.  This simple activity is a great time filler or independent center.  I have included a free printable of clock labels and matching cards to enable you to create this game!  Simply click the link below:

Finally, I used hula hoops this week to give students a concrete example of division.  I have been introducing division to a group of special needs students and have already read and practiced sharing cookies along with the book The Doorbell Rang.  It was evident that my students still needed some time with real, tangible examples of division to go along with the "deal it out" strategy of division.  To do this I brought out the good old hula hoops again and had them create large examples of various division problems.  For example, if a student drew a card that asked them to solve 15 divided by 3 they would grab 3 hula hoops and 15 sharing items (we used erasers only because I had so many of these).  They would then begin dealing out the items equally into the 3 hoops to see how many each hoop would get.  Students finally copied the problem and answer onto a separate sheet of paper to use as a formative assessment.

I would love to hear more of your ideas on using hula hoops, or any other objects commonly found in classrooms for unique learning opportunities!   

Finding New Ways To Excite Readers - The Tiger Rising

Nothing excites me more than finding a  book.  This summer, while in a quest to find engaging chapter books for my students I came upon the book The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo.  From cover to cover this book is a great story with so many teachable moments - with lessons on perseverance, friendship and family just to name a few.  I read it with my third grade daughter and she loved it!  Even in the summer months she was asking me if she could continue reading.  This is what I love...watching kids truly LOVE reading.  For this reason, I have made it a point to not end any of my book units found on my Teachers Pay Teachers store with any big test.  Instead, each book unit ends with a variety of end of unit projects and activities that allow teachers to choose what they like best, or differentiate and let students choose how they would like to show their learning.  For this particular book unit there are 4 different options available for the end of the story - check out the preview to get an idea for what you will see!

In this story a boy, Rob, who has struggled with friendships and sadness after the loss of his mother is bullied and misunderstood everywhere he goes.  He keeps himself shut off from the world as he follows his fathers advice to not show any emotion and keep your emotional "suitcase shut."  A new student in school entices his curiosity and seems to understand him more than most as she is also struggling with family and friendships.  The story progresses and these characters forge a secret friendship before Rob finds a caged tiger.  Students will find many parallels between this caged animal and the main characters.  From this point the story truly blooms as the friends begin to learn much  more about each other and themselves as they decide what to do about the tiger.

I do not want to ruin too much of the story as it really is a great one (and the end definitely has a twist).  All I can say is that boys and girls alike will love this story.  I loved it so much I decided to create a book study for this.  This book study includes a pacing guide, comprehension questions and printables for all 30 chapters, weekly focus skill activities (cause/effect, sequencing and character traits), weekly vocabulary study and end of unit projects.  Everything needed to start this story with your class right away!

This product will be offered at a special sale price of $5.00 for the rest of this month!  

Tiger Rising Unit

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