Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Fun Warm Up to Engage Your Students

A few weeks ago as I was teaching away, I noticed that my kids were completely bored. This is a big pet peeve of mine. Yes, I know that every day in a classroom can't be a fun party, but I HATE when my kids aren't engaged. I feel like I'm wasting not only my time, but their's as well. No one is learning. I decided then and there to come up with a fun way to get my kids excited about our reading class. Thus, the Happy song was created.
Have y'all heard this song? It's adorable. And what's better than that, you can't help but be in a better mood after hearing it. I knew this would be the perfect way to liven up my kids and get them interested, but I also knew I couldn't afford to waste 4 minutes of our class time just listening to a fun song. We've been working hard on practicing dictionary skills and using a thesaurus, so I decided to do a little something using these.
Each day as soon as class starts (and I mean AS SOON AS class starts) I turn the music on and the kids know that's their signal to grab their sheet of paper and get start. It's so fun to see them immediately stop talking and start grabbing their binders and getting ready! No complaining whatsoever. What's their sheet of paper look like? This:

As they ready their paper with the date, one person grabs the basket of thesauruses and starts passing them out. Each student searches for a synonym that describes how they are feeling (no 'happy' or 'sad' is allowed...they have to find a more descriptive way to describe themselves!) and uses it the sentence frame: I feel ____________ because ____________. If someone does use a "boring word" such as happy, sad, mad, etc, we work as a class to find a better way to describe their feeling. 
The kids have exactly the length of the song to find their word and complete the sentence frame. If they finish up early, most of my students have taken to creating a little dance in their seat. 
When the song is over, I ask who would like to share. I pass a pink pom pom that I collected somewhere over the past few years and that person shares. After they finish reading, they ask who would like to share. This goes on for 5 turns, which the students must keep track of. When the 5th person is finished, they return the pom pom to me, which signals to every one to put everything up and one person goes around and collects the thesauruses. 

I have noticed a big difference since we've started doing this little warm up. The kids are more alert and ready to start class. It's also helping with finding more descriptive words and using a thesaurus- a win win! :)


  1. This is such a fun, creative idea! I must try this!!!
    Come Visit Readbox!

  2. FABULOUS IDEA! I am going to try this tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I used this today! The kids loved it and it was a nice break from our normal "hum-drum". We were all "happy!"