Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monster Metaphors

I have been slowly working in figurative language concepts over the past few weeks gearing up for our poetry unit!  My students love these fun ways to get to practice those skills.  We learned all about similes and metaphors and made these metaphor monsters.

You should have heard my class when I announced Metaphor Monsters!! It was a chorus of "yay!" and "Yeah!"  They really like them and I love how it is a great introduction or addition to figurative language.

The only problem we had with metaphor was coming up with stems.  We couldn't use like or as so they were trickier but luckily I included a sheet for you and an example.

I found some creative metaphors we don't normally see and many students used them as well. 
  Above is the sample I created.

My students loved the "My monster is the __________ of ______________" just like my first line.  We talked about how that meant comparing just not stating so. 

Below are some samples from our class. 

We added the fun element of getting a random setting as well for our monsters.  This gave us more to write about as well and was really funny for pictures.  Definitely not necessary but since we were studying setting at the time it made sense and made us focus on details as well. 

Stay tuned for more figurative language art coming up! You can click any of the pictures or find these in my store!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

GENIUS Thank you Card Idea

Are you wanting to show the importance of a thank you to your students? Try this!!

We recently had a field trip to our State Capitol - I contact our representative's office to get scheduling worked out and she always is so kind and meets with us there as well.  We had a thank you for our bus driver and our scheduler.

I had students write down SOMETHING THEY LEARNED!

Bonus - We get to discuss the reason for the trip and all they learned.  Then on the bottom of the card I write "Because of you we learned all this."

It brought tears to the lady's heart and I know our driver appreciated it too.  It takes a lot to schedule and get field trips organized and happen but this can work with any situation.  I really stress showing gratitude at all times and I love how easy this is to do!!

What do you do to show gratitude in your room? I'm thinking this would make a great idea for a co-teacher towards Teacher Appreciation Week (for the hour I have another class since we departmentalize)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Onomatopoeia Projects

A photo posted by Amber Nicole (@sssteaching) on
We have started working on our figurative language because we dive deep into poetry starting in December.  With only 3 weeks in December I try to cover some ideas of onomatopoeia, similes, and metaphors before so they know the basic vocab.  It catches on really fast and they spot it in reading frequently.

I found this awesome  idea at Artisan des Arts blog and I used that for the process of how to make these projects.  I loved how colorful they turned out - and perfect for our wall. It took one easy project (an hour tops) to really hit this concept and they are spotting it already!

I did some practice visualizing first and had them think of 3 ideas with eyes closed and write one sound:

1. Walking down a busy New York street looking at buildings, realizing noises, etc...
2.  Walking around a fair/petting zoo area.  The animal noises, the rides, and other events that might be going on.
3. A haunted house- walking through and hearing the spooky sounds etc...

I picked those because of the variety of noise and easy to pick out one that would stick out in your mind.  Here is what the students came up with.

This was a such a great way to start learning about figurative language and introducing these concepts and words we will hear starting very soon!  Do you have any onomatopoeia projects you love to do?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Monster Genetics - GIVEAWAY

You can read all about Monster Genetics here  This is one of my favorite activities for this time of year! It is perfect way to introduce genetics and  for the students to understand.  I know the Rock, Paper, Scissors part can be confusing so this video clears it up pretty well.

Using Monsters to teach Genetics
Check out how I teach genetics using monsters - the students are so engaged and this introduces this tricky concept in a fun way!
Posted by SSSTeaching on Friday, October 23, 2015

Comment below with your favorite part from the video for a chance to win a copy!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Grammar Manipulatives - SAY WHAT?!

I am so excited about this resource!!

Remember those magnetic poetry sets that used to be around.  I thought that would be a great addition to my room but for grammar!

Each of my kids receives a bag of words (same words) that they keep in their desk all year long that we pull out to work on grammar topics!  It is AWESOME and lasts the WHOLE YEAR!  Not many things can be that useful!

I really love these because they get students actual hands on manipulatives in GRAMMAR! Who does that? 

We use these to make sentences following a certain concept

We use them for centers as task cards, or even SCOOT!  

We use them for assessment when they can send collages and pictures to me to show they know the concept!  

There are plenty of other ways to use these in your room in the download as well.  

I love Love LOVE this way to incorporate a kinesthetic option into grammar!  Grammar can be so tedious and this puts a fun spin on it.  It aligns with over 10 CCSS standards and I love how easy and literally no prep this is!  The variety of ways I can use it makes it a MUST HAVE for the classroom this year. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cave Day!

I'm so excited to share CAVE DAY! I'm taking a page out of Hope King's playbook and if you haven't read or seen her blog then head over there now. I saw her Jurassic World day and knew it would be perfect for my students and I modified it since Missouri is "the Cave State" as well as the Show Me State.

I love LOVE how this encompassed every subject and fit in so many good standards - all in 1 day!  We did cover informational text in September but this would be a great review for ANY TIME of year!  I love how excited both the students and me were!!

*granted some of these I had taught before but touched on or reviewed today again but they got exposed to 13 standards today!

First up in cave day was making our headlights.  Every good spelunker has to have headlights right?!  I used headbands, hot glue and touch lights from Walmart.  No way around it - they were expensive, but I figured I could use them for a "surgery" day of some sort as well and for years to come.  The lights and headbands were not so much but each light took 3 batteries :(   I made enough for my class this year 14 and next year's group will have to switch off and share...gotta compromise somewhere.

We used this playlist  for some "Cave Tunes" while we were working all day. 

I found this headlight in hubby's truck so I get to be the official lead spelunker for the day.


Ok....the setup.....  I used extra desks to make a tunnel to come into our room and the students had to return their HW to get their ticket inside and a headlight.  This gave them some background knowledge of caves already and prepared them for the day ahead.  I used a Readworks Passage about caves for grade 4 and their comprehension questions (perfect!)

Once inside students were given their Caving Club card.  They had to participate in all activities (reading, writing, science, and social studies, +4 road blocks -grammar challenges)  to earn their spelunker license.)  I had stamps I used each time they completed part of their Caving Club challenge.  Each grammar "road block" they showed me had to be correct to get the stamp of approval!

Here is an example of a road block - they would have to fill it in correctly to move on and get back to their other work.


We started with reading.  I used a Reading A to Z book focusing on main idea and text features - two things we have already studied extensively.  We also used the comprehension questions just to check for understanding.

*I love all the options of Reading A to Z - the books, and accompaniments are great!* They are usually more high interest too than just a normal reading passage.

They took a final assessment based on an article about Missouri caves linking to many covered standards from this year so far.   This was an assessment I created on Google Forms and was excited to have them take it for the first time.  I tried using the split screen technique because our state assessments look like that just so they are used to it and see it more.

We did have to read the passage together and explain some wording of the questions but overall they did great - I graded it with Flubaroo - EASIEST thing ever! - 1 touch and my grading of my Google Form was complete with assessing weak questions!


We used the Caves Nearpod lesson (FREE) which was fantastic as we got to explore different caves. Nearpod is like an interactive Powerpoint where I have to advance their slides but this one they could explore different caves, answer polls and see our class results, type in answers, etc...

Nearpod has always been a great tool but the virtual field trips are even more exciting!! The students could literally turn the ipad 360 like they were in the room!! It was one of the most exciting things I have ever seen and the closest we could get without being in an actual cave.  I encourage you to try it out if you haven't!

looking at the ceiling of a cave
We also used the iPads and researched cave animals to make cave food webs.  It was awesome to build on our knowledge from last year about producers, consumers, etc.. and our last test on vertebrates and invertebrates!


Social Studies
We studied caves in Missouri and used this site - to plot large cities (a SS standard) use the Google Map to find caves using intermediate directions. 
We also had to infer about geography and use the map to see if caves were just located near rivers or water sources and if that made sense with what else we read today.

At multiple points we stopped for "tunnel time" = Go Noodle along with recording our learning on different parts of this cave poster (what we read, caves in missouri, and cave ecosystems)

All the printables - speluner license, caving club, presentations, animal cards, HW card all included!

If you like any of these  you can check them out here!!  These would make great addition to sub plans or just added in throughout the year to science or nonfiction content - so many ways to fit it in!
Favorite picture of the day!

There's actually some free writing prompts in there we didn't get to!  Make sure to head over now and at least check out if any of this would be helpful!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Quotation Marks in the Wild

Last year I shared some of our favorite ways to introduce and practice using quotation marks and dialogue and in our writing along with editing. 

You can find that post - here. 

Today, I have a new idea to add to the mix that we are trying this year. I made these animal posters to introduce dialogue and we are going to use them as a center.  

I plan to laminate them after printing multiple copies to a page and using dry erase markers to practice our quotation marks.

These would also make an awesome hallway display.

This is a fun way to get students thinking creatively and involved in learning.  It is great practice outside of writing to reinforce the correct use of quotation marks!

This is always so tricky for my students so any practice is great.  You can click any of these pics if you want these animal posters for yourself.  

The pack comes with 23 animals posters for you to use - whole class, center, individually, as a hilarious display - TONS of ways to practice using quotation marks throughout the year!