The Brain Booster Box is one of my fave Bright Ideas so far!  The Brain Booster Box is my lifesaver.  It's a glittery treasure box I received from Highlights magazine ages ago, with a few special additions, and a perfect way to begin the school year.
Brain Booster Box from Hello Mrs Sykes
 First, I add some open-ended question cards, task cards, or questions I like from "I Have.. Who Has...?" games.  At the beginning of the year, these are open ended questions.  (Items that can fit in your pocket; Ways to create the number 42; Games that use a ball; etc.)  There is no winner/loser, and students don't mind because they get to use these babies...  Fun Buzzers!!
Fun Buzzers Keep Everyone Interested
I am so protective of the buzzers (which make different sounds - one is a doorbell, one is a spring-type "boing," etc.)  They also came from Highlights.  Now for the frowny-face part: when the materials are misused.  From the beginning, I make sure they know that if a buzzer is pushed when it is not supposed to be pushed (like when I'm talking!) the buzzer is automatically returned to the teacher.  The group who lost their buzzer still participates, but they have to "chime in" using their voice instead of a buzzer.  Since I make them "chime in" as roosters, pigs, cows, and other barnyard animals... I think they prefer the buzzers!

Inside the Brain Booster Box - Question Cards and Task Cards - Some content specific
When I use the Brain Booster Box with my own class, we split up by tables, etc.  When playing with another class, we mix it up: boys vs. girls, sneakers vs. non-sneakers, short hair vs. long hair, etc.  It is so funny to watch 45 kiddos frantically whispering about how many wheels are on 6 tricycles, the number of legs on 7 cows, or 3 alternative words to say, "said."  I love it!

At the beginning of the year, I explain that the Brain Booster Box is a special occasion, not for every day.  We practice using it for some open-ended topics (things that fit in your pockets, objects that are about the same size as a loaf of bread, etc.)  Throughout the year, we grab the box when we are waiting for the guidance counselor, the lunch line is running behind, or a special guest is running a bit late.

When my colleagues are running late or need a minute, I grab their class and add them to mine for 15 minutes or so.  It is truly tempting to flip on a video... however, I find that classroom management is easier with the Brain Boosters Box because of positive peer pressure.  My kiddos are always quick to warn the others: "Don't push the button when you aren't supposed to, or we'll have to cluck like chickens!"
For more Bright Ideas, click Here.  :)
Really, I shouldn't admit that this post is being written the day before it is posted, as I'm sure many other bloggers had their posts ready a month ago...  But here I am on Friday, finally posting.  Better late than never, right?  ;)

Do you think you'll incorporate a Brain Booster Box in your classroom?  Do you already use something similar?  For more Bright Ideas, consider browsing the link-up below for topics and grade levels that apply to you.  Happy Weekend, everyone!!

My family joined forces and sent me to the first ever Teacher Pay Teachers Conference in Las Vegas!  I had an amazing time, and had a goofy grin on my face all. the. time.  For real.  Since I just learned how to do the photo collage thing, I'll share those first...

Here's a huge batch of photos...  Enjoy, and I hope to see you next year!

Yep - just tons of photos...  I can't really talk about it coherently yet, except to say that it was life-changing for me.  I met a ton of people who I collaborated with, and was in shock that a few people already knew me from my little blog.  It was an honor to meet you all, ladies (and gentlemen!)

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