Thursday, February 27, 2014

The End of Molasses Classes...Sailing Through Spring!

I started a new book study with a group of co-workers last week and it is exactly what I needed this time of year to sail through spring!

The book is a great reminder to make the classroom a fun place to be and it is giving my classroom a little energized kick!  The name of this beloved book is called The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark.  It contains 101 extraordinary solutions for parents and teachers for getting kids unstuck!  

I am intrigued by Clark's story and I have a lot of the same passions and beliefs that he does.  His book is filled with tips such as how to raise the bar and how to really listen, but my favorite so far has to be his engagement tip on teaching math using balloons.  I have tried it twice in my classroom so far with huge success, so here is peak...

First, I gave each team a balloon to blow up and a Sharpie.  I wrote a math problem on the board and I assigned a teammate to record a group solution first.  I began the timer and had the students pass the balloon around their group adding other ways to get the solution to the problem on the board.  The students really needed to work together thinking fast and to hold the balloon in place!  I gave the students about 3-4 minutes (shhhh....I wasn't really timing).

Here are some pictures of the students while they were working...

When, the "timer" (in my head) went off, I gathered the students to the carpet area and had them hold up the number of fingers representing the number of solutions they found.  Two groups tied so we further examined both these groups' balloons.  We found a mistake on one groups and had a clear winner!  Now, for the best part...
The team that won got to pop all the other groups' balloons!  You would have thought I gave them a million dollars; the engagement was very high in the classroom! 

Want some more "Sailing Through Spring" tips?
I'm linking up with a fantastic bunch of teachers who are also sharing some more tips to keep your head above water in all this Spring craziness!  Hop to the blogs below for more teacher tips!

Now one more thing before I go, have you heard about the TpT Three Million Teachers Strong Sale Event? It starts NOW and runs through midnight on the 28th! This is a great time to stock up on some Spring materials for school. My store will be discounted 20% and TpT tosses in another 8% off if you use the coupon code! Click the image below to hop on over and check out the newest goodies on the site!

Here you will find my best-seller writing bundle 28% off!  This is the lowest it has ever been, so hop over and check it out!
Happy Shopping :)  


  1. I totally want to read this! I l love The Essential 55 and The Excellent 11. Definitely going to try the balloon math this week...sounds like a blast! Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

    A Teaspoon of Teaching

  2. Love the activity: Make sure no one has a latex allergy:)


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