Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Teacher Tuesday - Stickers and Snowballs Edition

Today I'm sharing two of my simplest teacher tips - but I think I can safely say that they're two of my students very favorites :) 

First up - STICKERS!!!  No... I don't teach elementary school.  Yes... I still use stickers.

I'm telling you - middle schoolers LOVE stickers!  I grade a BUNCH of papers (students typically turn in at least one paper a day in my class) and any paper with a grade of 90 or above gets a sticker.

The kids look forward to seeing if they got a sticker, they peel them off their papers and cover their binders - it's JUST FUN!  I feel like they're expected to by so "grown up" in so many aspects of middle school it's just a silly little thing that they all love.   The cheesier and bigger the stickers, the better.  And yes, I used stickers when I taught freshman and when high schoolers come back and say hi they tell me that they miss the stickers :) 

I have a huge assortment of stickers and pick up the books of about 250 stickers each at Michaels for $1.  They always have a big selection and kids will even grab stickers for me when they see fun ones.

I KNOW it sounds juvenile but it's been a hit in my classroom for years! 

One other note about the stickers... Not every student gets an "A" on every paper but every student gets an A on something... even if it's an in-class activity so every kid DOES get a sticker at some point :)  We do assignments often that are marked practice and not graded and everyone gets stickers on those as well.  So there's a plethora of stickers to go around and everyone feels the sticker love!

Next up is an activity I call "snowball fight".  I give each kid one of these handouts... 

... and they write a problem/question where it ways problem #1 and then write their name where it says "written by".  Then they crumple up their paper, we count to three and everyone throws their "snowball" across the room.  They pick up a snowball, uncrumple it, answer the question and then write a question on question #2 and so on and so on.  Sometimes we'll do 6 questions, sometimes just 2 or 3.

You don't have to have the handout to do this... but I use them to cut down on paper waste.  You could also do this where you orally say a question, have them write their answer in the box, then crumple it and the person who opens it checks the answer and then answers the second question and so on.  It's obviously a highly adaptable activity - but the fun part is just the crumpling and throwing :) 

We always end this activity by having everyone line up on one side of the room and then take turns trying to make a shot throwing their snowball into a trashcan I'm holding on the other side - it's a good time.  

So there you have it!  Two SUPER simple ideas that prove that it doesn't have to necessarily be elaborate to be impactful and fun. 

Happy Tuesday, friends!!!


  1. As the mama of a high schooler and middle schooler I think you're exactly right they're expected to be so "grown up" a lot of the time. Simple and fun things make a big impact and it's easy to see why your students love you!

  2. Love this..especially the snowball fight idea! Makes learning fun!

  3. I think if I had a teacher like you when I was young, I might have loved math. I know you're probably told this all the time, but as a mom of four almost grown sons now, what you do is so important! You are making a huge difference in the lives of your students, and I love how much they love you. Way to go, and good job, friend! (I feel like we're friends, because I've read your blog for so long.) Have a great rest of the week, and I will pray right after I write this comment, for the Lord to strengthen you and renew you each day for this busy week. <3

  4. You are such a fun teacher! Love the stickers for ALL ages! And the snowball fight sounds like so much fun!

  5. I think it is amazing that you try and make math fun! I work in a computer science field with very few females, and an older work force in general. When I attend events like career days I always hear kids saying they think they would enjoy the job but aren't good enough at math to make it through the degree. That makes me sad because while math can be challenging, I think the main issue is a lack of confidence that it can be tackled. Middle school seems to be a very important time for gaining math skills and confidence, and I love that you are transforming the typical math classroom!

  6. My mom was a high school math teacher for YEARS and she used stickers, too! She used them as a way for students to get an extra 100 as a quiz/homework grade. If you made a 100 on a quiz/homework assignment or an A on a test, you got a sticker. 10 stickers turned in on a note card got you that extra-credit grade to help your average. It was a tragedy if you lost your sticker note card.

  7. I love this! Great memories for your students!

  8. I agree completely on the middle schoolers needing to still be "kids", You are amazing, and your kiddos are so blessed to have you as a their teacher! Love these ideas:-)

  9. You have such wonderful ideas for your students! I love your snowball activity! Would you mind sharing the form? I know my students would love this!

  10. I use stickers too. Middle schoolers do enjoy them and sometimes even the high school kids admit to liking them. I love the snowball idea. I will be using that!

  11. Love the snowball idea! I teach English and am now trying to brainstorm how to adapt it for my classroom :) (This year I am also teaching only high school - I teach at a small international school and so usually do a mix of middle and high school! - and they have one-to-one devices, so it'll be an extra challenge to fit this in. But I'm going to figure out how! :)

  12. I love all of your teacher posts! I'm not a teacher, but I love sharing your ideas with my teacher friends!


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