Sunday, February 7, 2016

Goal Getters - goal setting display idea

I saw this great Goal display by Lessons with Laughter and knew that I had to recreate it. It was inspired by her trip to the Ron Clark Academy which I am dying to get to go to!! At least this way I could bring a little bit of RCA to me.  Might I add that our superintendent even stopped to read them- that's how much of an impression they made!

These only took us one day to make - I did the typing but honestly this would make a great computer project - just adding shapes, changing fonts, glow effects - all activities the kids would like to do and can do.

I showed them one I made as an example then told them the requirements - I just put it on the board:




Don't make fun of mine - if I wouldn't get in such a darn hurry I'd look better. I was a hot mess this day.  Plus I need to be accountable too!

We just Googled quotes about our word.  Like "hardworking quotes" "quotes about dreams" etc... it worked well for us.  I only have 2 ipads and 2 computers so I can monitor a small group at a time to look at quotes.  We picked ones that spoke to their hearts - since this is language they are familiar with and they did such a FANTASTIC job!! I was so impressed!

After all the writing I just uploaded into Powerpoint.  Put the goal on the black shape, added the one word, and the goal - then just played with fonts.

I cannot believe how well they turned out - I plan on having them reflect on their goals before the next conference as a piece to bring up with parents.  I already added this to my plans for next year - that is how much I love it!  Hoping to do one a quarter next year or at least a couple and have them as a keepsake.

I know many schools are focused on goals and I didn't make them pick a school goal since I want them to think about anything in their life they want to work for but you could certainly make it an academic goal.

What do you do for goals in your classroom?!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

NO PREP Listening Center

So I've been seriously trying to think of a way to incorporate a listening center into my classroom and was coming up blank!! I spend way TOO much money on books but could not justify purchasing a listening device or way to listen to books with the headphones as well --- then managing it??? I may have had nightmares!!

My heart ached.  I know the 3rd grade teacher (yes 1 teacher at each grade level) has an awesome and stocked full listening center so my fourthies are used to and miss this reading interaction.  Plus - I truly believe as well the benefits of it.

I racked my brain over and over until finally something clicked.  We are a SUPER SMALL school and I have 2 iPads in my room and I thought there must be something I can do.  Well - I bring you the NO PREP listening center!

Let me back up and tell you how our reading goes to see how this works in our classroom.  We do genre studies every month and focus on a specific skill each week.  Summarizing is something we do towards the beginning of the year because we need that skill all year long.

I worked on these listening center mats as a way to listen to reading and still get in some rigorous practice.  I wrote multiple choice questions based on each skill about that story.  One iPad and you're good to go!!  Students can even check answers with the QR codes as well.

I have my students do these as a center and they work in pairs to complete.  I stress how important it is to discuss answers with your partner.  The discussions are UNBELIEVABLE!! I make sure since they are partners to do the questions first then check answers.

I teach 4th and most of the stories read are in the upper third grade reading level since they are rigorous questions and they only listened - great practice for the listening portion of testing as well!

If they miss more than 2 they redo another card/book with me later in the week to reinforce the skill.

You could use these in a variety of ways.

Here's one up close and personal!  Notice the QR codes, questions, and the references on the bottom.

*The cards do have a written web link as well if you don't have access to QR readers.  The answer keys are included as well to help if you don't have QR readers. *

  Also if you are like me and have heard of EPIC but never went on - I encourage you do it! FREE for educators and 1000s of books!  My kids enjoy reading on the iPads during silent reading time and there are some great books to listen to as well!

*** IF YOUR SCHOOL DOES AR - the reading level, points, and quiz number are on the bottom -- don't get me started on my opinion of AR but our school does that info is included and I picked books that would work for the skill and still be testable. ***

What other reading skills would you like to see these for? I plan on doing them for a variety and keep it as a center for as much of the year as I can!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

#Hashtag Book Awards

Who wants to INCREASE engagement in BOOK TALKS?!

I love talking about books and take a status of the class daily on my checklist - just quickly jotting down the page number the student read to (goodbye reading logs!!) and we discuss brief events and summaries if they are finished so they can share with the class.

I do this periodically throughout the day as well when I get a few moments or during silent reading time using Reading Conference questions to guide my questioning along with some comprehension and their plan for reading next as well.

Book talks no matter the form are essential to get students EXCITED about reading! I love that they can be applied to any level and therefore any grade!!!

I threw in a new element recently of #Hashtag Book Awards!  My students were just introduced to my students during review for another subject but they love them so I thought why not add them to our book talks!

These can work in a variety of ways but I'll tell you what has worked for me and what you might want to do in your classroom!

You can use awards for the whole year and keep a checklist that students nominate! Easy but must be managed.  I use this as part of a reading station in my room.

You can use awards monthly - introduce the hashtag and have students nominate their books (using the nomination form - to get in some writing and prove why their book deserves to win) then as a class vote at the end of the month.  I think this gives students enough time to read the books that are being buzzed about and time to get enough in throughout the year.  This is what works best for my class this year.  We focus on one genre at a time as well so this can help us focus on that more indepth.  I love reading their reasoning behind their selections.  Always do the COVETED #lovethatbook award anyway at the end for the favorite book of the class.

You could also have this be done after every book a student reads - what hashtag would you give it and why.  I already find students hashtag during their notes they take on books to help remember :)

The pack comes with a blank template, nomination and voting forms or just use this as a jumping off point for discussion.  Just plug in the book title, draw a cover or print a picture and go.

These are easy on colored ink but can be done in b/w or 1/2 sheets to save color and space!

I love having the #lovethatbook award for years to come kind of like a wall of fame - seeing how it changes throughout the years!  I make the rule that students can't vote unless they read the book as well.  You could vote on your best read aloud from the year to make it more fair.

The absolute best benefit would be the BUZZ it creates in our room!  Deciding which hashtag and thinking about some of those elements we normally wouldn't make it fun for students.  This could also replace the traditional end of year awards to a more reading focused ceremony and great reading closure for a class.

What is your best book talk tip?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

QR Science Fair with FREEbie

Raise your hand if you love to incorporate technology!  I try - we only have 10 iPads to share with the WHOLE school so it can be tough. I actually planned this projects far enough in advance to get them 1 hour a whole week!  This was a highlight of my 5th grade science class - a QR science fair.

We use these planning sheets - you can grab them here. This includes a rubric.  We did a certain amount of required work at home and then filmed the experiments after we wrote scripts and I initialed their scientific method sheets.

They used  iMovie to create movies or trailers including all parts of scientific method and then air dropped the movies to me.  I uploaded to Youtube where you only can use link to view and we specifically did not use names in our films and only coded titles even if they could be found for safety.

Each student went home with a sheet similar to the one below so they could view everyone's project and  we had a day in class to watch and show younger students who would get a chance to do it next year. This was such a hit! They could be easily viewed at home - they got to be creative with the editing and learned a lot about iMovie - they got to send me work elecronically (rural teacher win!) - parents could see quality of work as well.

This really got them involved in the scientific method before testing when it is really needed as well.  We talk and do experiments all year but this really helped them see it for themselves.!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Poetry Analysis

HAVE YOU EVER....needed something and wished you had it right on hand?!

This resource is for you!  I'm telling you- I looked at the CCSS exemplar texts for poetry and knew I needed to kick my butt into gear to get my kids ready for some rigorous poetry but still have a meaningful experience!

I set out research public domain poems that would be great and challenging for my students.  This resource saved my poetry teaching.  The ones with our reading series (if any!) are small and not given much attention!!!   This was a huge wake up call.

I chose to study this in December not April (National Poetry Month) because we need to get in the vocabulary surrounding poems and practicing the skills used to analyze much longer before state testing.  I LOVE fun rhyming poetry but obviously that was not going to get my students to where they needed to be - much to my dismay :( 

This labor of love is packed with so many truly great poems by classic authors - just ready for students!  Check out the many uses below.

Comparing 2 William Blake poems (hello CCSS.RL.9 - SO TRICKY!!) There are more comparisons included as well!

For the few poems I couldn't include the text there are QR codes (and just web links!) to reach these poems! This made CENTERS a breeze for poetry month!! The questions are tricky but I let them work with pairs at centers for plenty of practice as a class, in pairs, and independently as well.

 Here we are comparing "The Eagle" by Tennyson and "How Doth the Little Crocodile" by Lewis Carroll.  This was one we worked on as a class so they understand the vocabulary in the question and what it was asking.  We brainstormed ideas together and they wrote the paragraph answer in their notebooks which I went around and checked as their exit slip while they moved onto reading rotations (spelling choices, grammar, literacy skill)
Click any of the pictures to get more info!  This is truly something that saved my poetry unit and really vamped up the rigor! Check it out if yours could use some updating too!

The sheets work great for CENTERS, homework, independent class work, assessments, and I included answer keys for all sheets along with small copies for interactive notebooks!

Below is another sample page of the type of questions and poem selection. We spent about 3 weeks in December on poetry studying and analyzing while creating some of our own.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Symbiosis Showdown

So I have totally struggled with the types of symbiosis in our science book and was looking for ways to spice up this lesson.  It's something the kids get and there is a great Brainpop video but I wanted a way for it to really stick and for them to have lots of examples....hence Symbiosis Showdown.

There are so many ways to use these cards in your class: 

-individually (as a sort)
- in groups 
- as a game  (my favorite!)
- as research where students learn about a pair and how they work together.

I pass out the cards to my class and call up pairs - they have to come up to the front  of the room and showdown!

I read the description of their interaction and they tell me what type of symbiosis and why!

Works like a charm!

There is more than what is shown below: 

There is also a sheet for the students to put the cards and draw pictures if you want to go that route as well!  So many ways to use this - I know it will be a staple for years to come!

You can click any of the pictures to see this in my store.

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!