Sunday, December 23, 2012
In this activity, students cut and glue the pictures and descriptions of the discoveries of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Galileo in order to create a timeline. This is great for interactive notebooks! You can pick up your copy at my TpT store by clicking here.
Do you do any similar activities? Do you use interactive notebooks in science? I'd love to hear more!
Saturday, December 15, 2012
We then watch the short "Yes, Virginia" movie.
I start out by reading Santa Who? by Gail Gibbons. This book is great for talking about where Santa actually came from and the different cultures and countries that celebrate his existence.
This website goes into detail about the culture of each country.
This is a blog that lists Santa's different names.
We then write a letter to a newspaper editor (can be real or imaginary). This is an excellent opportunity for me to talk about the difference between friendly and business letters.
So, I have incorporated research, technology, multiculturalism and letters. What do you do for the holidays that is fun, yet educational?
Friday, December 7, 2012
This PowerPoint guides students to fill in an organizer with sensory details in a bakery setting and the foods within. Suggested mentor texts are included in the rest of the PowerPoint so that students can collect good sensory words as they listen.
You can pick up a free copy at my TpT store by clicking here.
Do you use food to motivate students to write? I'd love to hear how.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
This customizable PowerPoint has students writing about a chosen food's journey from farm to table at Thanksgiving. It includes an organizer that asks students to draw the steps before writing about them. It also includes an optional activity in which students will create a "Missing" poster for the food that was consumed.
You can get your free copy by clicking here.
Do you do anything special for your writing assignments during this time of year?
Sunday, November 4, 2012
One minute, middle-schoolers Hannah, Jackie, and Nick are exploring an old cave, and the next they find themselves whisked through time to Texas, circa 1840. In this sixth book of the “Journey to” series, the teens find themselves in the middle of a war between the Comanche Indians and Texas Rangers. Hannah and Jackie are captured by the Comanche, who treat them as enemies. There only hope is to use Hannah’s magic ring that allows her to speak and understand the language of anyone she meets and convince the Comanche that she has powerful “puha”, or magic. Nick finds himself on the other side of the war, befriended by William “Bigfoot” Wallace, one of Texas’s most famous rangers. Will they find each other before someone gets seriously hurt? Will they ever make it back to their own time? It’s going to take a miracle! Teachers will find the historical facts tucked into the book useful to explore primary sources such as paintings, engravings, and maps of the Battle of Plum Creek. The book also begins with a mini biographical section on the major historical characters and a timeline of the events that occurred during this battle.
I love it when a read-aloud ties in with other subjects! How about you?
Sunday, October 28, 2012
You can pick up a FREE copy at my TpT store by clicking here.
Do you teach Virginia Studies or World History? How about the charters? What do you use for this?
Sunday, October 21, 2012
I often have students answer a journal prompt related to a good trait I want them to focus on, or have them brainstorm solutions to a problem we're having. I them read a mentor text aloud that demonstrates the trait or solutions to the problem. This is great for several reasons:
- It gives them time to think critically and encourages problem solving
- I can reinforce the writing curriculum by talking about answering prompts correctly and reminding students about proper capitalization, punctuation, and indentation. Bonus: I occasionally take this as a writing grade :)
- Some students aren't willing to share their problems or solutions as a class, but I can read their responses aloud without anyone knowing who wrote the response. This validates their point of view and builds confidence.
- The mentor texts are a great tie-in to reading
- You are never too old to be read to. This kids love it!
Here are some of my favorite mentor texts I've read so far this year:
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Sunday, October 7, 2012
In any case, I have had the chance to do reviews on some neat fiction books lately. I have read a few books with a journal theme. Here are a couple of my latest favorites:
In this installment of the “Seven the Series” books, Adam’s grandfather’s will specifies that in order to receive what was left to the family, each of his seven grandsons must go on a separate journey and complete a task. Adam learns that he must go to France to claim his inheritance. After being thought of as the wimp of the family, Adam sees this as his chance to prove himself worthy of having his name on the McLean family tree.
The book is a quick and interesting read, with letters from Adam’s grandfather giving insight into the reasons behind the tasks Adam must undertake. Larger font and short chapters will also appeal to reluctant readers. While the vocabulary is appropriate for elementary-aged children, there is some mild adult language in the book, which may not be appropriate for younger readers.
Have you read any good fiction books with a journal theme? How about good fiction read-alouds?
Sunday, September 30, 2012
- Now & Ben: the modern inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Baretta (also a short video)
- Michael Faraday: apprentice to science by Sam and Beryl Epstein
- Thomas Edison by Paul Joseph
- Thomas Edison: a brilliant inventor by Time for Kids
- Thomas Edison: a photo-illustrated biography by Greg Linder
- I had to supplement the book on Michael Faraday with several kid friendly articles because the book isn't exactly an easy read.
The goal is to find the following information and turn it into a newspaper article:
Once the draft is written on notebook paper, students input information into a newspaper generator template.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
For example, I plan to read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day to reiterate hyperbole.
A) Answer a prompt
B) Complete a thought in paragraph form
C) Apply the figurative language concepts I've taught them
Some other examples I plan to use:
Sunday, September 16, 2012
So I decided to compile all the best resources I've found to date in one PowerPoint. Most of the slides in this PowerPoint are customizable, with the exception of the task cards at the end. It includes the following:
~Teaching how to find "cloudy" and "don't know" words
~Using fix-up strategies to figure out "cloudy" and "don't know" words
~A nonfiction text feature scavenger hunt
~Newspaper/Magazine Center task cards
You can pick up a free copy at my TpT store by clicking here.
What do you use to teach nonfiction text features? Do you teach them in other subjects besides reading? I'd love to hear your ideas!
Sunday, September 9, 2012
So how do I help them retain the information? A "Problem of the Day." I'm working on the problems they will be required to complete after the first couple of months. I want it to directly relate to what they've already learned, but also what they will be learning.
This is a PowerPoint presentation. I print the slides and either laminate them or put them in page protectors. Then I can use a dry erase markers to change the information. I have students complete one or two of the activities each day as a warm up before math and then we discuss. You can pick up a FREE copy at my TpT store by clicking here.
Do you use a review activity before each math lesson? How do you get your students to practice and retain previously taught information?
Sunday, September 2, 2012
I start out by reading some mentor texts aloud to the class that demonstrate how other kids describe their grandparent's and the experiences they share. One that I read this year was Grandmama's Joy by Eloise Greenfield.
This one is a little sad at points in the story because it's about a little girl who is trying to cheer her grandma up because they are losing their house. She also lost her parents in a car wreck, so it might not be best for little guys and girls. It does speak to many of my students who live with their grandparents for various reasons. I share how I was mostly raised by my grandparents.
Another book I think I'll check out next year is Grandmother’s Book of Promises by Karen Hill.
After reading the mentor texts, students interview their grandparents and use that information to write a poem in their honor. On Grandparent's Day, the students eat lunch with their grandparents and then read their poem to them. It's really sweet.
You can pick up a FREE copy of my unit lessons at my TpT store by clicking here.
Do you celebrate Grandparent's Day at your school? If so, what mentor texts do you use? What activities do you do with the grandparents?
Sunday, August 26, 2012
This is an editable form that I use for taking attendance at the same time as the student is making their lunch choice. I assign a student the job of "lunch count", and they return the form to me when everyone has checked in. I put it in a page protector and use a dry erase marker to mark the lunch choice. I circle the names of students who are tardy or absent. When I'm done for the day, I simply erase and it's ready to use again the next day.
You can get a FREE copy of it at my Teachers pay Teachers store.
Do you have anything that makes your hectic mornings go more smoothly?
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I want to incorporate more poetry into my writing station this year. Then I found this baby. As they say on The Big Bang Theory, "Bazinga!"
- Suggested Topics
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Have you given in to the siren song of the Teacher's Toolbox? I'd love to know how yours turned out!
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
Now, I am no veteran teacher (I'm only going into my fourth year), but I do remember how tough it can be. So I feel like I still have some valuable information from that perspective.
- Use fabric for your bulletin boards and leave it up at the end of the year. I've heard that some people use twin bed sheets, but you need to iron it before putting it up. I bought 4 yards of fabric, tacked it up to make sure it was even, and then stapled it down. It still looks fabulous a year later.
- Surround yourself with positive people, even if they are in another grade level. Sit near them at staff meetings, lunch, and pep rallies. Don't be afraid to politely excuse yourself if conversations become negative and you're not required to be there.
- Make 5 extra copies of class worksheets. Someone will always lose one, and five is enough to cover that.
- Recycle those extra copies once you're done with them. They usually end up as clutter if you don't. Keep one copy for next year if you don't have a digital copy. On that note...
- Try to make everything digital. Then you won't have to worry about making extra copies because you can just print one out when you need one.
- Force yourself to take a break. You need at least one or two days a week on which you do nothing related to school after you leave school. On those days, you need to leave at a reasonable time, too. This might seem counter-productive, but your body and mind need a break to work at full capacity. When you're tired and stressed, it will take you twice as long to get things done.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
First, let me say that my list is much longer than most of the others that I've seen on the linky. That probably means I'm stressing too much and my type A side needs to chill. So there's benefit number one: a perspective on how I can let some things go and just breath.
In that spirit, here is the must-do part of my to-do list.
__ Get cds/tapes for listening center
__ Update jobs bulletin board.
__ Fill in lunch count/study hall/caught being good forms with new student names and reprint
__ Get behavior management system ready
__ Go over/set up bulletin board themes & posters
__ Write student names on Popsicle sticks
__ Write student names on birthday months
__ Make copies of “Room Parent Information” for meet the teacher night and back to school night
__ Class copies of math division/multiplication fact tests
__ Put math/SS textbooks, manila folders (incomplete folder), socks/markers, pencils, whiteboards on desks.
__ Put science/reading/grammar/reference books & book boxes on group shelves. Fluency phones go in book boxes.
__ Back to school/welcome poster for door
__ Update School Center website/homework calendar
__ Write homework on agenda on the board.
__ Make copies of reading log.
__ Print several copies of “Buddy Reading Planning Sheet”.
__ Plan/Print “First Week’s/Month’s Lesson Plans”
__ Set up “Miss Welsh’s Hot Reads” book display rack.
__ Reserve dvds/materials from lesson plans
__ Set up plants in window.
__ Make several copies of “Buddy Book Sign Out Sheet” and place in basket at reading center.
__ Copy/laminate/tape to desk: “Test-Taking Checklist”
__ Put welcome gift (pencils) on desks
___ write in important dates in monthly lesson plans
___ make name tags for students
___ write morning message first day of school
___ hook up all computers
___ revise substitute folder (include new schedule, class roster, allergies of students, emergency plans)
___ confirm specials times with teachers
___ order reading/math/social studies books/workbooks for new students
___ review/revise the morning meeting PowerPoint
___ Go through student files to see special needs/behavior issues
___ stuff home folders with forms for the first day of school
Wow! Still REALLY long, huh? Do you do anything like this? Is your "list" much shorter? I'd love to know how much more I can probably cut out!
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I love poetry, music, and figurative language. When you put all those together, what do you get? MUSIC!
I created an activity that involves looking at song lyrics to find figurative language. It focuses on hyperbole, similes, metaphors, and personifications. You can check it out by clicking here.
Do you explicitly teach figurative language using poetry or music? I'd love to know how.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Come read my tips and add your own suggetions. All comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated!
Thursday, July 5, 2012
There are a few rules that go along with this award:
1. Follow the person who gave you the award
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award
3. Pass the award on to 15 bloggers
4. Highlight your favorite awarder’s blog post to share with others!
Now I get to name some of the bloggers that bring loveliness to my days. I need to shorten the list to 5 because many of the blogs I follow (understandably so) have already been awarded with this.
Rachel at Sub Hub
Anna at Smarty Pants Teaching Resources
Sara at Smiling in Second Grade
Ms.Jasztal at Jasztalville
Jordon at Life is Better Messy Anyway
I follow so many creative bloggers that inspire me to be better each day. Come check out these wonderful blogs!
Monday, July 2, 2012
How sweet it is to be chosen out of the big bloggy community for this! I am extremely honored.
- I'm double-jointed. Makes yoga harder, if you can imagine that.
- My cat has been missing for two days, and I'm in a tizzy about it. :(
- I like the sand part of the beach, but not the water as much.
- On the other hand, I like the water in a lake, but not the shore as much.
- I love to cook.
- I strongly dislike doing dishes.
- I hated math as a student, but love teaching it now :)
- Kayla at Fourth Grade Freebies from the High-Tech Teacher
- Mary at Artistry of Education
- Kristin at iTeach 1 to 1
- Sandy at Fearless in 5th
- Josh at Mr. B's Beach Brains
- Suzanne at Krazy Town
- Mrs. Wilson at Mrs. Wilson's 4th Graders Are on the Road to Success
- April at Wolfelicious
- Mary at Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives
- Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade
- Leslie at Engaging Learning in the Upper Grades
- Jessica at Mrs. Stanford's Class
- Jana at Thinking Out Loud
- Heather at Heather's Heart
- Britney at Mrs. V's Adventures in Teaching
Sunday, July 1, 2012
You can stop by just to pick up suggestions, or you can leave your own experiences in the comment lines. All suggestions are appreciated and welcome!
Friday, June 29, 2012
Amanda is hosting a "Fiction Friday Link-Up" at her very cool blog: The Teaching Thief. This is a great opportunity to share some of the fiction books we all love to use because, let's be honest, no one can tolerate ONLY nonfiction books all the time!
I chose to stick to Virginia Studies and Science for my read-aloud books this time. I could do an entire post on nothing but Language Arts books, but I'll save that for another day ;)
What fiction books do you use for read-aloud? Come join the link-up and share your favorites!
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I have always been a big fan of using music to set the mood in the classroom. This past year, I really started exploring using it as more than just "background music." Here's some of the songs I love and the ways I use them.
To signal that it's time to transition or clean up. Usually, these are upbeat songs with heavy rhythms. They dance their way to their seat or the next station until the music stops. These are just some of my/their favorites.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Time by Kidz Bop
- Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Pokerface Hits
- I Like to Move It by Madagascar Team Players
- Born This Way (Lady Gaga Karaoke Tribute Instrumental Version)
- Celebration by Kool & the Gang
- Rockin' Robin by Bobby Day
- Mambo No. 5 by (Karaoke Instrumental Track) in the style of Lou Bega
- Whip It (Karaoke Instrumental Track) in the style of Devo
- Lemonade Stand (Liquid Measurement) by Teacher and the Rockbots
- You Can Multiply by Twelve by Teacher and teh Rockbots
- Long Division by Karl Roemer
- Nonagon by They Might Be Giants
- Things in Space (8 Planets) by Teacher and the Rockbots
- Prepositional Phrases by Mr. Duey
- Synonym Antonym Homonym by Rockin' the Standards
- Writer's Song by Rockin' the Standards
Monday, June 18, 2012
Of course, I didn't want it to be all fluff and no curriculum. Here's how I made that happen.
- Read the books during read-aloud or small group time.
- Have your normal vocabulary, comprehension, author studies, etc. discussions.
- Watch the corresponding movie.
- Compare and contrast the movie with the book.
- Create a "sequel" to the movie: Brainstorm what happened to the characters after the end. Create a play, skit, or short story to demonstrate.
- Use Storybird to create a story with pictures.
- Create a comic depicting the events.
You can see how I used all of this in more detail by clicking here.
2. Create a commercial advertising the sequel. This is a great opportunity to review or teach persuasive writing. You could film this if it suits your needs.
Here's a list of the books/movies I have done at least part of this with or would like to:
I like the "old school" version of this movie or the BBC version.
I wish there were more movies to go with Kate Dicamillo's books! And on that note....