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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Getting Into QR Codes

I have been incredibly curious about QR codes lately.  They're novel and appeal to students.  They make boring activities more interesting.  They make activities self-checking.  What's not to love?

I'm still working on learning how to make my own.  I'll post more about it when I figure feel comfortable with it.  In the meantime, here a post that really helped me by Kate Peila. 

Click here to read the full post.

Here is an excellent video with ideas from Tabitha Carro (AKA: Flapjack Educational Resources).  The title is "How to Scan QR Codes", but there's a wealth of ideas of how to use them. 

So here are some other great Pinterest-inspired ideas.

Alice Keeler gives ideas on using QR codes to create educational posters and time lines. 

Click here to see her full post.

Don't have room to post things all over the hallways or classroom walls?  Why not post index cards with students' names on them and a QR code that will take the viewer to their creation when scanned?

How about you?  Any great tips or resources for QR codes?  I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Author Study/Genre of the Month: Bruce Coville

In the past couple of years, I have started to do a "genre of the month" during reading class.  This is loosely based off of The Book Whisperer.  By the way, it is a fantastic and quick read that you won't regret buying.  I highly recommend it!

November's author is Bruce CovilleThe genre of the month is Science Fiction/Supernatural, and Coville is great at writing both.

As with the other months, I put out a bunch of his books to be displayed for the entire month and I choose one to read aloud.  For Coville, I like to read aloud Aliens Ate My Homework.  In 4th grade, it's hard to find Science Fiction that isn't FAR above that reading level.  Coville does this genre proud and adds in some humor for good measure, which is always a plus.

He also writes the "My Teacher" series.  The first book is below:

I also have websites available for students to research Bruce Coville  and find more books that they want to add to their "To Read" lists.  Harper Collins Publishers has this website called the Author Tracker and Reading Rockets has many more authors on this site.
Do you have a genre of the month or an author study?  I'd love to hear what you do with yours!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Introducing Multiplication with a Hundreds Chart

After reviewing our basic multiplication and division facts, we are extending the journey with patterns of multiplication.  The next goal we have is to familiarize students with factors and multiples so they can understand the patterns of multiplication.

Some great anchor chart examples:

If you want to try factor trees:

Then I found several activities that used hundreds charts.  I'm using laminated hundreds charts for these activities.  You can find free copies any number of places.  Click here for a nice one on TpT.

Here is my favorite finds:

Mary Bauer's "Factors and Multiples".  Click here to check it out.

Do you have any great activities for teaching factors and multiples?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Vocabulary Test Template

This year, I've made an extra effort to make my vocabulary instruction rich and meaningful.  I've started having students preview new chapters/units in their Science and Virginia Studies textbooks for all the bold, italic, and highlighted words (see the example below).

Students list any "cloudy" (heard it before, but not sure what it means) and "don't know" (never seen or heard of it) words on their whiteboards.  I then write the words on sentence strips and put them on our vocabulary word wall.
Over the course of the unit or chapter, we complete vocabulary/word study activities with these words.  After the unit test is complete and all words have been thoroughly practiced, I give a vocabulary test.  Below is a template that I use and just change the words in the word bank. 
The template includes the following activities:
Write the definition in your own words
Give an example/non-example
Use the word in a sentence
I left the words and definitions in the template for your reference.  You will just need to change them.
You can pick up a free copy by clicking here.