A Logic Puzzle for Growth Mindset


Are you looking for a fun way to encourage problem solving and critical thinking in the classroom?
How about a fun hand-on brainteaser to add to your growth mindset lessons? I know just the thing.

It's an old frog hopping game that can be found in many variations. In my classroom, we call it Leaping Logic and it is one of my all time favorites.

Simple in design, yet more difficult than you might imagine - my students love this challenge!

I use the game board below.


I  teach Leaping Logic at the beginning of the year during one of my growth mindset lessons.
The puzzle is not easy to figure out, but that is (of course) the challenge! And...There is no greater success than figuring out the pattern and being able to recreate that pattern. Many versions of this game can be found online and through an app, however I still prefer to play on paper and use manipulatives.

To set up your game board, you need 8 game pieces in 2 different colors. I like to use the two-sided math counters. Put one color on one side and the other on the other side. The counters represent the frogs - red frogs and yellow frogs. 

It should look like this.
Your objective is to move all the red counters to where the yellow counters are and vice versa.

To play, you can move any counter you want, but you must follow these rules.
  • You can only move each frog forward - never backward.
  • You can leap over 1 frog at a time.
The puzzle has been solved when both colors on the board have switched places and the rules have been followed.

Some students do get frustrated. It helps to break it down into steps and start by switching one of each color successfully. Then, try switching two of each color successfully and so on. As they say, how does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. This is the same thing. By starting small and building upon each small victory, students are able to solve the puzzle and feel the success of perseverance and grit.

Want a hint?!?  Never move two frogs of the same color next to each other. Keep the colors alternating. 

After students know how to play, I leave this brainteaser in my math games area all year and kids continue to play. They love it! If it has been awhile, I see them reteaching themselves the pattern and if they have it mastered they start solving for speed and racing each other.

Each year I have to reteach myself the pattern. I know the rules. I know the hints. And yet, I still have to think. That's why it is engaging all year long. It's just like the triangle peg game. You can play over and over again.

If you are interested in adding this fun little brainteaser to your back to school goodies, just click any of the pictures above or here to download it for free from TPT.  Let me know if you use it in your classroom. I'd love to hear how it went. Tag me on Instagram @classroomhoopla !

Happy Hopping!

Leaping Logic first appeared on my blog The Teaching Thief 9/6/2013


    Fiction Friday: Chapter 2

    Welcome back for round 2 of Fiction Friday!


    You guys! I have so many great books I want to share with you, but I'm limiting myself to just three today. I have been read, read, reading this summer and just cruising through these books because they are SO GOOD! And truthfully, I am not a fast reader. I love to read, but I don't read quickly.

    Isn't it amazing how Kid Lit has changed in the last thirty years? Just stop and think about how different it is to be a kid with all these choices. Can you imagine??  I grew up with Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, and Beverly Cleary - all amazing authors with books that shaped my childhood, but now that is just the tip of the iceberg. So cool! 

    This week I'm sharing all middle grade chapter books off the Texas Bluebonnet List

     The Key to Extraordinary
    by Natalie Lloyd

    The Key to Extraordinary is the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, and magic. Emma comes from a long line of extraordinary women. Each woman in her family is destined for greatness and is guided toward their future with a "destiny dream." After her mother dies, Emma can hardly wait to have her dream and fulfill her promise to find her destiny.  When the dream finally comes and reveals a single key, Emma embarks on a mission to find a legendary treasure buried in the graveyard and a chance to save her family's bakery and home.

    This was one of my favorite reads this summer. I loved every minute, every page, and every word. Natalie Lloyd, author of Snicker of Magic, has created a world that you want to be a part of from beginning to end.  It's a wonderful world of unforgettable characters, magical hot chocolate, and quotes that could fill a reading graffiti board for days. I couldn't even begin to pick one or two quotes to share with you, so please just click here to see 50 or so quotes that have spoken to readers on Goodreads

    I can't wait to share this book with my 5th graders next year. 

    Book Information:
    • Fiction
    • 240 pages
    • Grades 3-7
    • Lexile 670L
    • GR Level U
     Maybe a Fox
    by Kathi Appelt and Alizon McGhee

    Maybe a Fox is the story of Jules and Sylvie, sisters by birth and best friends by choice.  They are wildly different, but inseparable until the tragic day that Sylvie runs to the river and disappears.   Jules can't understand why Sylvie always had to run so fast and struggles to cope with the loss of her sister and best friend. At the same time of Sylvie's death, a fox is born.  A fox with a destiny so intertwined with Jules that maybe she's more than a fox.

    I think I actually ran out of tears reading this one.  I was crying...ugly crying, and yet I couldn't put it down. This is a beautifully written story about loss, love, and family. It's hard to imagine this book was written by two authors, because it reads so seamlessly. I loved the back and forth perspective of the fox (Sienna) and Jules throughout the book. Written with so much emotion, heart, and love this is one of those books that power punches you in the gut (in a good way) and stays with you well after you finish the last page. 


    Book Information:
    • Fiction
    • 272 pages
    • Grades 4-8
    • Lexile 740L
    • GR Level U
    The Best Man
    by Richard Peck

    In The Best Man, Archer has been lucky enough to have three incredible role models in his life: his father, his uncle, and his grandfather.  Then in the fifth grade, Archer's class gets a student teacher. Mr. McLeod quickly becomes Archer's fourth role model and everyone's favorite teacher. But on the last day of school, one of Archer's classmates is bullied by some 6th graders. To everyone's surprise Mr. McLeod handles the anti-gay bullying situation and ends up outing himself in the process. Although this comes as a surprise to Archer (who is notoriously oblivious throughout the novel) it's not the only surprise that Archer has coming his way in this modern coming of age story about change, acceptance, family, diversity, and most of all LOVE.

    Richard Peck is amazing. His books always have the most memorable, charismatic, likeable characters and Archer is no exception. I enjoyed his voice, humor, and perspective throughout the novel. The prominence of social media throughout the book was impressive, particularly from an author who is 83 and often writes historical fiction.  It is true-blue realistic fiction of today.  But my very favorite part of The Best Man was that it did not talk down to kids in anyway. It was direct and honest and tackled issues with empathy and perspective. 

    I really really enjoyed this book. It was masterful blend of all the emotional moments that make up life.  However, I do not recommend watching the book trailer for this one. I wish I hadn't because I felt like it gave too much away.  Read the book. It's better. I promise.

    Book Information:
    • Realistic Fiction
    • 240 pages
    • Grades 5-8

    And that's a wrap for this week. Middle grade novels ruled. 
    Next week ...graphic novels

    What have you been reading lately?


    Want to join the fun?? 
    Please link up and share one or two or three books you've read.
    Link Up "Rules" are very simple.
    - You can link up ANYTIME during the week, not just Friday.
    -  You can include picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, etc.
    - Children's and Young Adult Literature are all fair game
    - Please link up with a picture of one of the books you are sharing
    - Please don't forget to grab the Fiction Friday button and link back to Classroom Hoopla
    Happy Reading!


    Student-Led Absent Work Form


    Efficient, easy to use classroom forms bring me joy! Pure teacher joy!  

    This summer I wanted to share some of my favorite classroom forms that I use ALL THE TIME. Anything I can do to make my classroom run smoothly is a priority and anything that gives students ownership of our classroom routines and procedures is a huge win. 

    Today's favorite form does both of those things.

    We all have absent students, right? Of course we do. This form is your standard missing work form, with one teeny-tiny difference.  It is designed for a student to complete for another student. This is one of the MOST IMPORTANT leadership roles in my classroom.  

    Each day, if someone is absent, my most organized, detail-oriented, natural born teacher helpers (you know the ones) are assigned one student to complete this form for. Throughout the day, they keep track of our learning objectives and assignments. At the end of the day, everything gets paper-clipped together and left on the absent student's desk waiting for their return. When that child returns, I direct all questions about missing work to my detailed-oriented natural born teacher helper first, then jump in as needed.  They clarify questions from the attached work and get the student caught up. 

    Students helping students. Leaders being leaders.  

    It's a great system and doesn't take long before it runs itself.  

    I started using this form two years ago and I have gotten great feedback, not only from students, but from parents as well.

    This classroom form has saved me so many headaches. My student leaders have been amazing about completing them.  I can't believe there was a time in my teaching career when I didn't use some kind of form to help my kiddos who missed a day or two. This keeps all their work together, gives them an expert to consult (who's not the teacher), helps get them caught up asap, and fosters an environment of leadership and community.

    Game changer. 

    If you are interested in the form I use, click the images above or right here to download it for free from TPT. I hope it is as helpful in your room as it has been in mine.


    Fiction Friday: Chapter 1

    Happy Friday everyone and welcome to Fiction Friday 2017!


    Summer has always been my time to read, read, read! For some reason, I seem to get a great deal more reading time during June, July, and August. Hmm...I can't imagine why. *wink, wink*

    Since 2011, I have made it my summer goal to read as many of the Texas Bluebonnet Nominees, as well as the ever growing stack of "must reads" in my TBR pile before the upcoming school year. I want to be able to "talk books" with my students. By reading and loving what they read and love, I am able to encourage, inspire, and build a community of readers in my classroom.

    I hope you will join our book journey this summer by reading along each Friday, commenting with your thoughts and ideas, or joining the link up and sharing your own favorite reads.

    Let's get started!
    by Joan Bauer

    Soar is the story of Jeremiah, one of the most likable kids around, who LOVES baseball. Baseball is his life. He knows the history, the players, the techniques...everything. But he also has a heart condition that won't allow him to play.  Does he let that stop him from being a part of the game? No way! Jeremiah has enough heart to overcome anything. When he and his father move to a new town in the middle of a doping baseball scandal, Jeremiah sets out on a mission to restore the love of baseball to the community and show everyone that giving up simply isn't an option. Not in baseball. Not in life.

    This book will soar straight into your heart. I loved every page and so did my 4th grade boys. It was a beautiful blend of baseball, humor, and heart. Jeremiah is one of those characters that you love forever. He inspires you, no matter how old you are. Joan Bauer has done it again.  She hit this one right out of the park!  A must-have for and any upper elementary classroom, baseball fan, and love of children's literature!

    Book Information:
    • Realistic Fiction
    • 320 pages
    • Grades 4-8
    • Lexile 510L
    • GR Level T

    The Great Pet Escape
    by Victoria Jamieson

    The Great Pet Escape is the a graphic novel that will have you laughing out loud.  The story follows three friends, Barry (the bunny), Biter (the guinea pig), and G.W. (the hamster), as they plan their great escape from the classroom and the school. G.W. is the brains behind the operation and he has a knack for inventions and a nose for trouble. Of course things don't go quite as planned, but the friends go on a hilarious adventure and realize that maybe being in classrooms isn't so bad after all.
    Filled with vibrant illustrations and memorable characters, this little graphic novel by Rollergirl author, Victoria Jamieson, did not disappoint.  Every child in my classroom will want to read this book. At only 63 pages, this graphic novel is accessible for all readers.  It is a book for everyone. And...what's not to love about a story about three "street toughs" turned into classroom pets?  Looking forward to adding the sequel, The Great Art Caper, to my classroom library as well. 

    Book Information:
    • Graphic Novel, Adventure
    • 63 pages
    • Grades 1-5 
    • Lexile GN400L
    • GR Level T

    Written by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Don Tate

    Have you ever wondered who invented the Super Soaker? Did you know it was invented completely by accident?  Whoosh! is the story of Lonnie Johnson's incredible journey to Super Soaker success. As a child, Lonnie was always "building and creating." He loved to design and invent, but he took an exam that said he wouldn't be a very good engineer. Luckily, Lonnie never backed away from a challenge and continued to pursue his dreams.

    The road was long and it wasn't easy, but Lonnie never gave up.  And now where is Lonnie?? "He got a bigger workshop...because facing challenges, solving problems, and building things are what Lonnie Johnson loves to do. And his ideas just keep on flowing." (Whoosh!, page 32)


    Chris Barton, author of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, always finds the BEST stories to tell.  Important stories. Inspiring stories. And Whoosh! is no exception. For me, I loved the story and the illustrations, but was left feeling a bit underwhelmed by the writing that didn't always seem to flow. I did love learning about this man's incredible story. The book teaches kids about creativity, innovation, problem solving, and tenacity. Everyone should read this book and hear this story! This is definitely a book to add to your growth mindset collection as it's all about being innovative, solving problems, never giving up, and turning challenges into opportunities!

    Book Information:
    • Picture Book, Biography
    • Grades 2-5
    • Lexile 820L
    • GR Level O
    That's it for this week. More great reads coming soon. 
    What have you been reading lately?


    Want to join the fun?? Please link up and share one or two or three books you've read.
    Link Up "Rules" are very simple.
    - You can link up ANYTIME during the week, not just Friday.
    -  You can include picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, etc.
    - Children's and Young Adult Literature are all fair game
    - Please link up with a picture of one of the books you are sharing
    - Please don't forget to grab the Fiction Friday button and link back to Classroom Hoopla

    Happy Reading!

    An InLinkz Link-up

    Want to add this Link-Up to your Fiction Friday blog post?
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    Classroom Bingo for the Win!

    One of my favorite classroom management systems is my Class Bingo Board. I have been using this simple system for many years and it works great with kids of all ages. Not only is it perfect for teaching procedures and routines, but this board can be used to celebrate attendance, books read, stories written, or math facts mastered. The possibilities are endless making it a teacher and student win!

    How It Works:

    As a class, decide on a goal. This could be a routine or procedure like lining up quickly and quietly or demonstrating good manners at the lunch table. Every time the whole class is successful with the goal, a student gets to draw a number card. The student will then cross out, color, or mark that number out in some way. The class keeps playing until they earn a bingo. Then, you have a class celebration and begin again.

    I love that the whole system is very student driven. They choose the goal. They demonstrate the behavior. They critique their performance. They draw the numbers. They earn their reward.

    I created by Class Bingo Board years ago and it still looks good. Originally, I made my board by modifying a classroom calendar and adding calendar numbers to match.  With a few snips here and a little glue there, it came together perfectly. I also purchased paint splatter mini accents for my class to use as markers on the board. Everything was laminated and it has stood the test of time!

    This simple management technique can be used anytime, anywhere.
    • Draw a bingo board on a white board
    • Create a bingo board from supplies 
    • Or download my Class Bingo Resource for free and start using it today!

    This resource includes 6 varieties of bingo boards all in black and white. You can copy on bright colored paper, or copy on white paper and color squares as you go. You can use one board at a time or run several bingo boards at once. The options are endless!

    • 16 Square Plain, Goal Focus, Class Focus
    • 25 Square Plain, Goal Focus, Class Focus

    Plus – there are number cards for each type of board provided.

    Simply print and go! You can color the squares, stamp the squares, use magnets to cover the squares, or put stickers on the squares.

    So many options. So many uses. A great tool for every elementary teacher.

    Classroom Bingo first appeared on my blog, The Teaching Thief 7/30/11


    Welcome to Classroom Hoopla

    excitement surrounding an event or situation, especially when considered to be unnecessary fuss

    Unnecessary fuss?? No way! We need the fuss. We love the fuss. The fuss is what makes it fun. It's what makes all the difference. We, as educators, live for the HOOPLA!!

    It's the excitement teachers bring to the classroom. It's the enthusiasm that helps a lesson come alive. It's the passion that ignites, inspires, and engages!! It's the belief that kids are worth it to build up the hoopla!

    And so... thus begins Classroom Hoopla - a blog to celebrate and share all of the reading, writing, creating, playing, learning, and general hoopla from my classroom to yours.

    Let's revel in the HOOPLA!

    I hope you will continue to follow the journey.

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