Monday, May 20, 2013

Must Have Mondays Linky: Learning Cubes

This all started because of that TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale, it's all their fault!  I kept seeing what was in other people's carts and my wish list/"must have" list grew and grew and grew!  Now, I'm also a huge fan of Oprah's Favorite Things episodes, they were always my favorite ;o)  My husband and I always shout when we find something we like, "IT'S ONE OF MY FAVORITE THIIIIIIIIIIINGS!!!!!!!!! You get a car, you get a car, you all get a car!" (it's rather embarrassing, but we don't care).  We'll usually switch up "car" for the item at hand, but you get the point, haha.  Well when you combine those two things, you get Must Have Mondays!

That's what this linky is all about, I apparently MUST HAVE more favorite things!  Whenever I'm blog stalking hopping, I always see really cute pictures and ideas and think, "Oh man, I've GOT to do that next year!"  I figured this would be an easier way to combine forces and see what is working for other teachers out there.  Every Monday you can link up and find ideas from other teachers that you might never have thought of.  I want to know what are the things you can't live without in your classroom or even ordinary everyday life!  It can be anything from products, to procedures, to incentives, to lessons, to posters, to shoes, to morning bagels (don't play that's one of mine!).  It can be anything!

Here is my first "must have" for my classroom: Kagan Learning Cubes

I have a set of four of the Vocabulary Learning Cubes and then single cubes for Lesson Launcher, Lesson Wrap Up (both great for guided reading and even whole group), Current Events, Reading Comprehension, Story Prewriting, and Historical Events.  The kids love them and they are great because they can work with any piece of writing or lesson you are using.  The reason the Vocabulary Cubes are a must have in my classroom is because they really get the kids thinking about the word and how to use it correctly and apply it to their everyday life.
You can use them anyway you want but I usually introduce the vocabulary terms and definitions with my kiddos and once we have gone over them and talked about the synonyms and antonyms and used them in sentences, then we move into our table groups for the application process.  Each student has a white board, marker, rag, and their vocabulary sheet.  It will start off with one person and they get to pick a word from the list (they're supposed to pick a word they are the most unfamiliar with).  Once they have told the table which word they chose, then they roll the dice.  What ever side it lands on, EVERYONE at the table has to do what the dice says for the word that the roller picked.  I love this because then the students get to see how many different ways a word can be used.  I mean, we do this in math right???  How many different ways can we solve this problem?  So why not with vocabulary!?
Once everyone has shared what they put down, then they all erase their masterpieces and the cube gets passed on to the next person and it starts all over again.  The only rule is that they cannot repeat any words and cannot look at another person's creation while working.  Once my kids get REALLY good at this I throw in a twist.  Have you ever played Scattegories?  I love it!  Well in Scattegories, if you write down the same answer as someone else then both of you have to eliminate your answer and you don't get a point.  That's the new rule for the Vocabulary Cubes!  Only do this once all kids are comfortable and confident in this process.  When they are earning points and don't want their score to be eliminated, they become much more creative and ingenious about how they use their word and you can see their little brains working so hard.  I just can't say enough good things about these cubes!  You get so much out of so little :o)
The word was "apparently."  Usually I make them give me more depth to their sentences, but who's going to say no to that!? HAHA
So there you have it, my "must have" for this Monday!  Before I go, can we please talk about how stinking cute my new button for this linky is thanks to Michelle from The 3AM Teacher?!  Poor thing, I gave her a very little/vague description of what I was looking for (mainly because I didn't know) and she created EXACTLY what I wanted (again, without me even knowing)!  Head on over to her blog and check her out, she's amazing!  Link up and let me know what is a "must have" in your life?  Don't forget to add the button to your post and have it link back to this post!


  1. Cutest button EVER! I'm embarrassed at how terrible mine is for my current linky because I have ZERO skills in this department! I love how you use the cubes, especially when you make it a game!

  2. I love this idea! Thanks for the great linky.

    Ms Richards's Musings

  3. This was a fun linky idea! :) Thanks for allowing us all to join in the fun! Can't wait to meet a few new bloggers! :)


    Mrs.Russell's Room
    First Grade

  4. I am so sad I missed your "Must Have Mondays"! I am a fellow Florida(North Florida) blogger (newbie) and I love your site! You have inspired me to become a better blogger!