Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cranium club - with printables!

So I want to share with you today the idea that I discovered earlier this spring that has made me SO EXCITED to be moving to an upper elementary grade!! (Though I'm sure you younger-grade teachers can find a way to adapt this to your learners if you so choose!)  It's an idea called Cranium Club, or Mastery Club, or any other variation, depending on how the teacher decides to name it!

I stumbled across a few different versions on pinterest, including a version by Mrs. Renz and a version by Leslie at Jack of all Trades (and just now happened to stumble across a version by Amanda at Teaching Maddeness), and completely fell in love with the concept.  It's a standing answer to the "what can I do, I'm all finished?" question from those fast-finishers, which is something I'm always looking to find!

I was also drawn to this idea because it reminds me quite a bit of a similar ploy used by my 7th grade pre-algebra teacher.  She had special puzzles called "quizzles" that she offered for us to do...probably for extra credit or the like.  I just remember that she told me at the end of the year that I was the only student who completed all 50 of them! :)

Back to Cranium Club though...basically in a nutshell, students have a list of "challenges" that they can choose to complete - participation is entirely optional.  Students can choose any of the challenges to work on, in any order, and can do so on their own time - at home, recess, or if they finish work early.  They have to memorize their answer to the challenge (with the exception of a few challenges that require special recording sheets) and can give their answer to the teacher before or after school, during recess, or any other free moment during the day, at the teacher's discretion.

With my version, I decided to expand it to 100 questions instead of 80-odd questions.  100 just seems like a  more finished number, in my opinion!  In my version, if students complete 15 challenges, they become a Cranium Club member, and get to have their name added to the "Hall of Fame".  Completing 25 challenges earns them "silver member" status, and 50 complete challenges earns them "gold member" status, which I will mark by their name with stickers of that color.

Here are a few pictures of what I am using to implement it and keep track of student participation:

These were printed on cardstock and laminated - I'll display these on a cabinet or wall (I wish I knew what my classroom layout looks like!!).  One page lists the rules, then there are 5 pages with challenges divided by subject category, one title sign, and my hall of fame (super stars) sign

My cranium club materials share a binder with my classroom economy (which I will post about soon).  The first page I have is a list of all the challenges - same as on the posters, just condensed to one page!  I will copy this page and give it to my students so they have a reference of the challenges available to them.

Following the list of challenges, I have pages where I will mark which challenges each student has completed.

For some of the challenges, I created cheat-sheets with the answers (or a variety of possible answers, for more open-ended questions).  I keep these answers in the binder too in case I need a reference!

I'm taking my next big blogging step, and learning tonight how to link files directly to my site so that any of you who are interested can download them!  With this post, I'm attaching my page that has the rules, as well as a list of the 100 challenges that I have decided to incorporate.  They are based off challenges I saw used for a 4th grade class.  As I mentioned, I added a few extra to make it an even 100, and I also had to tweak them (changing some of the state-specific challenges, and I also changed one of the counting languages to Chinese instead of Spanish (because that would be way too easy for my kids!) ya go! Enjoy! (Please please please let the links work!!)

Since this is a new idea to me, I obviously haven't implemented it in a classroom yet!  Do any of you have experience with a similar "club" in your classroom?


  1. Just downloaded both files and they look wonderful. I cant wait to see if this will work in my classroom. Very cool idea and challenges!!

    Stickers and Stamps

  2. I love this! :) Maybe one day you can help me come up with some ideas for the firsties. ;)

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    Mrs.G's Kindergarten in Heels

  4. I love your blog... I am a new 4th grade bilingual teacher and I have learned so much by reading your blog. I was feeling nervous teaching a new upper grade and in a bilingual setting which is all new to me but with the new juicy ideas you have posted my exitement has gone from 0 to 100. Thank you :).

    1. Oh my goodness! I'm so humbled by your comment! We are actually in the same boat - I'm new to 4th grade this year (though I do have previous bilingual experience in lower elementary grades) Thank you! I'm so glad that I could help you feel more excited - I hope you stop back often and let me know how things are going for you, cause I'll be rooting for you too!! :D

  5. Would it be possible for you to post the cheat sheet as well? Thanks!