My Magic School Bus

I love my clip chart as you know, but every class comes with is own specific needs and there have been classes that needed something a bit more.  I've got two simple whole class motivators I've used in conjunction with the clip chart. I'll share one today and one tomorrow, you know, to build suspense and stuff.

Today's focus is the Fun Friday Bus. I'm no Ms. Frizzle, but I must say this is a pretty awesome bus.  I've been teaching gifted second graders for a while and man, they can talk! Most of the time I love it. I love a little hum in the room almost all the time. Almost. Sometimes it's hard for seven year-olds to understand when it's time to be really quiet (like when Mrs. Boehm just needs one.little.second to catch her breath! But I digress...)  In that case, I like for the whole class to have a visual way for them to work together to earn something fun. Some years I don't need this at all, some years I need it starting around March and some years it goes up the minute those cute little faces say good-bye on the first day of school. Today my kids were seriously vibrating with energy that was a little hard to channel, so on Monday they will be boarding the bus! There's no fancy name for this one, I just call it the Fun Friday Bus. It's a strip of border attached to the top of my white board with some printable road signs.

For those times when more than just one or two kids needs a clip down or up, I move the Fun Friday Bus to get their attention. The bus was a bulletin board piece attached to a magnet.  I always have Fun Friday, but the kids have to earn the length of time by moving the bus to various road stops. Added bonus: somehow they are usually downright angelic on Friday morning if they are a bit far from goal. As if you needed another reason to love Friday~You're Welcome!

This works great for entering in the morning, transitions, coming back from lunch - basically any time they got a little wound up and I don't want to have 10 kids moving their clips. It's also great if they earn a compliment in the hall or when everyone comes in from recess the first time I call them.  The bus can also move back and forth all during the week as needed.

If you want to get the bus moving in your room, click on the bus below to get a copy of the signs. There are some blank ones so that you can write your own ideas for road signs and customize them for your room (and a bus of course)!  Click on this link to get the Road pattern border.You could always create your own with construction paper.

Eat your heart out Frizz, you're not the only one with a magic school bus!


  1. What a great idea! I'm going to have to put this little trick in my bag in case I need it!

    I also teach 2nd grade in Florida too!!

    Spotted in Second Grade

  2. I'm a new teacher and will be in second grade this year. What is Fun Friday? What do you do with them. I love this idea!

  3. Denise,
    I am enjoying your blog and getting great new ideas. Love the Magic School Bus! I would also be interested in knowing more about Fun Friday and the types of activities you do. Thanks!
    Kelly, NY

  4. What types of activities do you do to motivate them for Fun Friday?

  5. Hi guys!
    Glad you liked the bus :) On Fun Friday we eat lunch together in the room instead of the cafeteria (teachers who do can leave 30 minutes early - wahoo!). We usually watch part of a movie during lunch (usually we'll spread a movie over 2 Fridays). Then depending on my schedule that year we have about 30-40 minutes of free time. The kids can bring in games from home or their ipods or DS's. I used to try to arrange a special activity, but it became extra unnecessary work. They'd rather have free time and I'm always planning fun activities during the week anyway. We don't have recess that day either, so that time is rolled into Fun Friday, so it's really only about 20 minutes of instructional time I'm giving up. Last year Fun Friday turned into Duct Tape Factory - my kids were obsessed with it! They made flowers, headbands, pens, folders, wallets. I have some cute pictures of them I'l have to share. Hope that helps!

  6. Hey, Denise, I also have Fun Friday! 3 other second grade teachers and I collaborate on Fun Friday. One room is a study hall for the kids who didn't make it, and the other 3 rooms are fun rooms. My room is usually the concert room or toy and game room. I make concert videos using my Smartboard and youtube (kidzbop, etc.) The other two rooms are an art room and movie/treat room. It's ironic, but I also do the raffle idea. I have a mini raffle at the end of every day for students have stayed on a smiley face card. Then I have a big raffle on Friday for kids who haven't flipped a card all week.

  7. Wow, love the bus idea Denise!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Just curious about the details: Does the class begin at the top and then lose ground? Does it begin at the bottom and earn? And does it go both ways - earn and lose as the week goes on? Thanks for such a terrific idea. You hit the nail on the head when you said it's hard when it's more than one or two kids who need to clip down. Thanks again. It's brilliant!

  9. Hi Tracey! You really can do whatever works for you, but I generally start with the bus in the parking area (no fun friday) so they can move up can focus on the positives more than the negatives. You'll see that that means my bus actually travels backwards. lol! Sometimes the kids notice, sometimes they don't :)

  10. THANKS for your quick response. That is what I was thinking - seems to fit my style best to move upwards - but the photo depicted the bus going the other way! You got me! I just love it that sometimes they notice and sometimes they don't. That is sooooo second grade! Since this year's class is obsessed with Magic School Bus (complete with me being Miss Frizzle for Halloween) I am for sure starting this tomorrow. It's a way to hold those wonderfully talkative, creative leaders accountable to the group. They are terrific kids - so full of ideas and excitement for learning - but blurting has got to stop and I know this will do it. Many thanks for your blog - a wealth of ideas that always "fit".


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