Are You Ready? Game Show

"Summer Slide" is concerning to both teachers and parents.  This academic summer learning loss is due to the long break without practicing skills and concepts taught throughout the school year. As parents approach the summer break, many are thinking about the family vacation, trips to the pool, how to keep children engaged in activities at home, the abrupt changes to everyone's schedule and how to juggle it all. What they might not be focusing on is how much educational ground their children could lose during the three-month break from school.
Lakeshore Learning has a perfect solution to the "Summer Slide" with  Are You Ready? Game Shows that offers a fun and exciting way to keep children’s learning fresh and help to determine if they’re ready for the next grade level.  Lakeshore provides games for graduates of Pre-K through 4th Grade with Are You Ready? Games Shows for Kindergarten through 5th grades.
Lakeshore Learning Review
At first, I thought I would be able to work with children from my classroom; However, this game show is designed to work with one student through six different leveled games that get progressively harder. After much consideration, I placed the Game Show off to the side until my niece visited this past week. The teacher in me started a little checklist.  As we answered each question, I was able to determine the Common Core standard being addressed. I was pleasantly surprised at the complexity of each question and how they dove deeper as each game was introduced.

Are You Ready? Game Shows are easy to set up and get started!  The display has three separate attachments; the category topper, stadium style card holder, and the correct/incorrect discard tray.  The 6-game set includes 198 playing cards (33 cards per game in Ready for 1st Grade) or 240 playing cards (40 per game in Ready for 2nd Grade), a game stand with discard tray, play money, reward coupons, and a score card.
Each game can take several hours depending on your child's pace.  You can easily play this game each week or every other week during the summer to keep your kids busy thinking and maintaining those skills frequently lost during the "Summer Slide". 
I was lucky enough to review both Are You Ready for 1st and 2nd Grade? Game Shows.  I took pictures of different cards showing you various standards address and how the progress through throughout each game.  There are a variety of listening passages, reading passages, phonics, grammar, vocabulary, writing, and math objectives.  I had a hard time selecting the cards in which I wanted to feature because they're all over-the-top amazing! 

 Lakeshore suggests some product recommendations to build those skills.
 The online tool also provides FREE printable activities that focus on those exact skills that need sharpening.

Overall, I'm VERY impressed with the Are You Ready? Game Shows.  Each game provides a fun and educational way to avoid the "Summer Slide".  In addition to the games, the online resources and educational opportunities are an outstanding way to assist your child with struggling content.
To get $10 off any Are You Ready? Game Show®, enter code 9141 at checkout or click here for a store coupon! Expires 7/31/14.  Visit the Lakeshore Learning Website  Get social! Connect with Lakeshore Learning on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
**Now for the giveaway**
There will be one winner selected Thursday.  I've provided various ways for you to enter.  Please make sure you include the entry for blog post with the game show you are interested in winning Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. 

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Good Luck

Understanding the RCA Experience

Have you ever visited the Ron Clark Academy?  I have followed Mr. Clark's path for a few years and went to a presentation he held in Vegas last summer.  He managed to climb his way through the audience and stand between Erica from Ed-Ventures and myself.  I knew then I had to go to the RCA but had no idea about his magic until I arrived in Atlanta this past weekend.

Arthur Ashe once said, "Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can."  After spending time at the Ron Clark Academy this weekend and listening to Ron's book, The End of Molasses Classes, I feel this statement resonates with me more deeply now than ever. 

If you are not familiar, the Ron Clark Academy is housed in a renovated red brick warehouse located in southeast Atlanta, Georgia and accommodates fifth through eighth grade students.  Mr. Clark had planned to build the school for ten years before construction began. Along with the proceeds of his book The Essential 55, Mr. Clark raised additional funding for the project so that classes could begin for students in the fall of 2007.

"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson. This quote graces the front door of the RCA and captures the essence and spirit of co-founders Ron Clark and Kim Bearden's dream. As stated on their website, "Together we have blazed many new paths, and we have celebrated as others have joined us in this amazing adventure."

I'm grateful for an unexpected invitation a few weeks ago from my darling friend, Hope King of Second Grade Shenanigans.  She is blessed with the opportunity to work for the academy with her husband, Wade King.  My day was double the fun hanging out with Elizabeth Hall from Kickin' it in Kindergarten. So glad I had a partner in crime.

Our adventures began on Thursday evening with the Ron Clark Academy Musical.  This was my first glimpse at such an astonishing group of young individuals.  The musical was inspired, scripted, and choreographed in only five days.  Students auditioned for roles while other took the lead in directing, choreographing, and writing the music. I'm amazed by the creativity, courage and confidence of these young individuals. 

Friday started with a school wide gathering in the library.  As you enter, a student escorts you inside while you are embraced by nearly all in attendance.  If caught standing alone, even for a split second, you had another young individual engaging in conversation with you.  As we made our way through the masses, we were assembling around a trampoline. How cool is school with a trampoline in a library?

After the meet and greet, we were given a bit of background on the academy as we transitioned into the main building.  The building is breathtaking.  When you walk into the entrance, you can see portraits of the kids lining the walls.  A two story slide is the focal point, centered just beyond the entry.  The hallways and classrooms are decorated with graffiti art by a local artist.  I just love that each teacher is allowed to have their room painted in what inspires them.

Each person that attends elicits a different response.  You could be enchanted, captivated, or inspired by instruction and learning that occurs.  Some might reaffirm that their teaching practices are engaging and far from "Molasses Classes". I was assured my teaching practices are on track.  I know I build excitement for learning with themes.  I take my kids on journeys like my most recent post here entitled  Dinosaur Day

I'm most inspired with how the students at the RCA are divided into four houses:  Altruismo, Isibindi, Reveur, and Amistad.  A house is much like a fraternity, and the members of each house become very close knit.   Each house has its own philosophy and meaning, Altrusimo is Portuguese, which means to give to others; Isibinidi is Zulu and it means courage; Revueur is French and it means to dream; and Amistad is Spanish, which means friendship. The houses work in synergy and with healthy competition.  During the course of the school year, students earn points for their house for citizenship, behavior, academics, and getting caught doing anything well. A running total is maintained and a weekly champion is announced.  The house totals continued throughout the year until a the winning house is selected for the year.  The colors of the house winner are used to decorate the end of the year banquet. 

This day, from start to finish, was magical.  The lessons were inspiring as students and teachers jumped on and off desks. I truly learned what student led means as I watched  a student teacher, only in six grade, perform so proficiently he turned the RCA into a CLUB with the push of a red button!  In a blink, a teacher changed from her work attire to wearing combat boots, fatigues, and a law enforcement top.  The grammar police were on the hunt for teachers with poor usage.  Grammar baskets were set up around the room and we were to find the correct table tent, categorizing the slips. If caught in transit or parked in the wrong location, the teachers were given a ticket.  It was fun and engaging. 

Once teacher observations were complete, we were served a catered lunch with the company of their delightful students continuing to engage us in conversation.  My chair was pulled out and pushed in by the cutest young man in fifth grade.  Elizabeth and I were 100% captivated and told Mr. Clark that we needed a field trip form so that their kiddos could come and visit our schools. 

We transitioned into workshop where we were inspired by the creativity behind the scenes.  How to take back tips and tricks and implement things within our own school.  To complete our day, all teachers were slide certified.  One of many highlights of the day.

This enchanting experience compelled me to spend my entire 6 hour drive home listening to the book, The End of Molasses Classes.  I listened as Mr. Clark read his words starting with his first teaching experience. The defining moments seem to come during his years teaching at schools in Harlem as he witnessed many classrooms that seemed zapped of all energy.  He decided to leave his job as a teacher in Harlem and set out to explore schools in the 50 states to see what made them successful or what the teachers and schools needed to do to bring back the excitement and desire to learn.  It was and still is his belief that as teachers we can inspire our children to greatness by creating exciting and engaging classrooms and schools.  And thus began his quest to find the remarkable teachers and schools that could set examples for all teachers and parents to follow.

Listening to his 101 Extraordinary Solutions from The End of Molasses Classes really helps you understand and embrace his practices through heartfelt stories and experiences that lead you to understand his vision.  This book is divided into two parts, the first half is for teachers and school administrators and the second half is dedicated to helping parents raise children who strive for success.  The book as a whole is meant to show us how we all have to work together, parents, teachers and administrators to bring life back into class.

I couldn't adequately express my excitement for reading his first book, The Essential 55.  You can get a glimpse of what the essentials are about in the Ron Clark Story starring Matthew Perry.  The entire TNT made for TV movie told of Mr. Clark's time in New York City working with the kids.

I'm also thrilled for the opportunity to read Kim Bearden's inspiring book Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Have Taught Me!  There will be more exciting news about this treasure this summer.  You will want to order your copy now and trust me, you won't put the book down!

As you can see, I'm obsessed with everything RCA.