Getting the Most Out of Scholastic Book Orders

If you are not using Scholastic Book Club Orders in your are missing out on TONS of free books!!  I'm pretty sure 95% of my classroom library is all from Scholastic.

Get the most out of your Scholastic Book Orders by using these tips!

Quick Explanation if you've never used it:
Students/Parents shop paper flyers or place orders online.  Teacher gets bonus points for each dollar spent, plus Scholastic runs specials each month to earn even more!  Teachers use bonus points for free books and classroom materials.
Check out their website for more details and if you're new to Scholastic, you can use my information when you sign up to get 250 bonus points!

Enlist Parent Volunteers

Scholastic will send you multiple flyers to send home and separating them can be a pain!  So I now send home the flyers with instructions for a parent to put them together for me!

I create a little flyer to attach to the front of the student flyers with information so parents can remember the website and our class code.

Get Kids Excited

Definitely the first time you send home the flyers, you need to drum up a lot of excitement!  I have my students create a wishlist!  This is to hopefully encourage more purchases because September usually has the best bonus point specials!

Celebrate the Book Box Arrival

I usually open the book box after school to sort through the books so I can make sure students get the correct books they ordered.  I go ahead and label the free books with how I organize my class library.  Then I put them back in the box and set a time to "open" the box in front of the class!!

This is another way to get kids excited about reading!!  I have a special place in our library to put the new books!

And if there are any super popular books, I will sometimes even raffle them off!

I definitely suggest you make it a priority to do Scholastic book orders once a month!  Even if you don't have a lot of participation, you can purchase books at great prices yourself and you can save those bonus points!  It's totally worth it!!

Back to School STEM with Fred the Worm Extension Activities

Hello darlings!  Amy here from That Teaching Spark and can I just say I am soooo excited that you found this page!  I am super pumped about these Back to School activities and I think they are going to rock your socks off!!

Most of you have heard of Save Fred, you know the cute little team building activity where kiddos have to put a gummy worm into a gummy ring with only using paperclips. If you are like, "Huhhhh????" don't worry I will explain further!!  Anyway, I want to shake the hand of the person who came up with this many moons ago!  There are now tons of different versions out there on the interwebs.  LOL!

Since my kiddos almost pass out from the excitement of this STEM Challenge, I decided to do what any good teacher would do- take advantage and milk that puppy for all it's worth!!  SOOOOO.... I created three more activities that require kiddos to help poor Fred the Worm!!

I call it The Misadventures of Fred! I tied in some Social Studies with this as well.  Students can follow Fred's Misadventures on a map of the US!  I included a backstory for Fred that explains that he wants to go see the world.  Students follow him as he makes his way across the United States on four misadventures.

Misadventure 1: Save Fred

Fred decided to try whitewater rafting on the Eagle River in Colorado and his raft tipped over!  His life vest slipped off and now Fred is stuck on top of the capsized raft!  He needs to gets his life vest because he can’t swim!  He’s a worm for goodness sake, not a fish!

Fred the Worm is on top of the cup and the life vest is under the cup.  Students can only use two paperclips to put the life vest onto Fred.  They cannot use their hands to touch anything but the paper clips!

Misadventure 2: Safe Landing for Fred

Fred caught another ride and headed southwest to Arizona.  He climbed to the top of a mountain to see the desert below. Now he is trapped on top of Superstition Mountain in Arizona and he needs to get down to the ground to his campsite. How on earth can he get down safety without going splat on the ground below? Watch out for cacti! 

Students must create a transportation device to bring Fred safety to the ground.  They can use any materials that you provide!

Misadventure 3: Bridge for Fred

Finally Fred started heading east to the Midwest.  Fred is now trying to cross the Mississippi River from Missouri to Illinois, but he can’t find a way across.  Build him a bridge as long as you possibly can so he can make it across the River!

Students get one sheet of paper and must build the longest chain link bridge that they can. 

Misadventure 4: Keep Fred Dry

Fred made it all the way to the Atlantic Ocean in Norfolk, Virginia! He wants to go in the ocean but he knows the salt water would hurt him.  He has to go all the way under the water in his makeshift submarine (a cup he found on the beach).  Humans shouldn’t litter!  

Students must submerge Fred in a cup without getting him wet!  This is tricky!

This is Challenging!

My students absolutely LOVE these STEM adventures!  Before we complete each challenge, we talk about teamwork and that everyone needs a chance to participate.  We also talk about frustration level.  These tasks are meant to be hard and frustrating!  They are challenging!  It isn't going to work with just ONE try! We have to use perseverance and rely on our teammates for help.  

These activities are perfect for the beginning of the year because it allows you to set the tone with growth mindset and teamwork.  You will be able to tell students' personalities VERY quickly with these challenges!

Misadventures Journal

If you want students to brainstorm and to evaluate their challenges, I have created a Misadventures of Fred Journal.  This also includes a materials list for you and helpful tips and tricks for helping your kiddos through each STEM challenge.  Remember, it is ok for your kiddos to fail!  They need to learn how to work through failure as well!  This year all but one of my groups was able to Save Fred.  It was an AWESOME learning experience in perseverance and learning though failure!  They weren't able to do it YET! 

Have a FANTASTIC year!  I'd love to see picture of your students completing these activities!  If you have an Instagram page or Facebook page, tag That Teaching Spark!