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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mixing Weather and Prepositions

We've been learning about cloud types in Science and we're constantly reviewing grammar.  So, it's always nice when we can combine the two.

First, here are some great ideas for differentiating between the cloud types:

A cloud flip book from Crazy for First Grade blog.

Take the kids outside to identify what's in the sky with this cloud viewer from Nature Watch.

Make a cloud strip that lists the different cloud types by altitude.  This came from The Inspired Classroom blog.

After introducing the cloud types and their altitudes, we reviewed prepositions.  Then we watched a cloud-preposition video.

As an extension, we did the following activity:
   Have students draw, label (name of cloud and prepositional phrase of position in sky), and cut out a shape of one of the clouds:  Choose one of the three main types of clouds (cumulus, stratus, cirrus). 
·         Have them write about what the presence of the cloud means for the people on the ground (weather conditions).
·         When all the clouds are ready, tell your little meteorologists to put their heads down and hang out at their desks.
·         Play music while students hide their clouds around the room.
·         Have each child one at a time go hide their cloud somewhere in the classroom. When they are done, have them tap the next student on the shoulder.
·         Have the students write sentences, using prepositions, describing where they found or hid their objects.   Example: The puffy cumulous cloud was hiding UPON the sunny window sill OR I found my plump cumulous cloud hiding BENEATH a hefty stack of chairs.  This is also a great lesson on word choice and adding DETAILS to your writing.
How about you?  Have you combined some Science and grammar in your classroom? 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Polar Express Day

Our school celebrates Polar Express Day.  We try to make the whole day about it, including the core subjects.  Here are some of my brainstorm ideas for this year:


This idea comes from a post from Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten.  I would adapt it for fourth grade by having students create repeating as well as growing geometric patterns with the confetti.  I love that she has them use paint brushes for the glue and keeps the different patterns separate in an art tray.  I found some cute snowflake confetti, winter foil confetti and poinsettia confetti for this purpose.  I also found a blank ornament coloring page for the outline.

The next graphing activity was inspired this post on Celebrate Second Grade blog.  She has them taste test different flavors of candy canes and then graph the results.  I found an assortment of mini candy canes here

I found a great candy cane graphing activity on TpT that has students using tally charts, frequency charts, bar graphs, and picto graphs.

Social Studies/Language Arts:
I found a great map skills activity called "See the World With Santa" on TpT.  It has students use a map, atlas, or globe to research cities by longitude and latitude that Santa would fly through.

I have a winter poetry unit on TpT in which I have students write haikus and make snowflakes.  I found a better way to make the snowflakes out of coffee filters in this blog post.  I think I would still teach students how to write the winter haikus and try the coffee filter snowflakes.

We're supposed to do "step-by-step" writing in fourth grade, so I was happy to find this "How to Make Hot Chocolate" FREE activity on TpT from Third Grade Bookworm. 


I was inspired by this post by Teach Mama on experimenting with candy canes.  She had her kids test the canes in different liquids: Hot water, warm water, freezing water, and vinegar.

I would have them complete the Scientific Method foldable we've been using since the beginning of the year.

So with that, I'm at the end of my brainstorming!  Do you do any upper grades activities to celebrate Polar Express Day?  I'd love to hear what you do!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Monitoring Understanding While Reading

We have been working on Monitoring our Understanding while we read lately.  In an effort to combine previous strategies we learned during our "Fix-Up Strategies" unit, I created an organizer that mentioned the most pertinent strategies (in my humble opinion).

This organizer asks students to monitor their understanding while they read.  When they come to a word, sentence, or phrase that confuses them, they use a strategy to clarify their misunderstanding.  The organizer lists several examples of strategies students may use, but I never limit them if they choose to use one that is not listed.

You can pick up a free copy by clicking here.

Now, for some suggested mentor texts because I would much rather use picture books when I'm first introducing an organizer!

This is a great text to model how readers need to closely observe and integrate what is happening in both the pictures and the words. 

Use this book to model how to decode a multi-syllabic word and how to use context to determine the meaning of an unknown word. You will authentically need to model rereading to understand!
Now, I'm sure there's a ton of great mentor texts out there for this strategy.  I would love to hear your suggestions!