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Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Peek at my Week, Starting with a Must Read Mentor Text


Hello, Everyone!  Today, I am linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek at my Week.



I would like to start by sharing a mentor text that I will use in social studies this week.  I am also linking up with Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties for Must Read Mentor Texts.


I am on my second round of social studies.  We switch classes every six weeks, so my class is currently with my teaching partner for science, and I have her class for social studies.  One thing I noticed about my class during social studies is they took a great interest in the Revolutionary War.  I decided I needed more resources for this unit. With that in mind, I purchased The American Revolution for Kids.


The primary reason I purchased this text is to provide a resource to my students who express an interest in learning more about the American Revolution.  However, There are some parts of the book I plan on sharing with the entire class.  We have a school-wide leadership theme, so I am planning on sharing this section on George Washington with my kids this week.


I was intrigued by the "21 Activities" that was written on the cover. There are some fun things that  I would like to try this week, or in the near future.

Here is a recipe for Liberty Tea Punch.  You can use this when talking about the Boston Tea Party.  During this time, the colonists had to come up with their own recipes for tea since they were boycotting tea from the British.


These colonial children's games have potential for indoor recess or brain breaks.


This is a great mentor text. I'm looking forward to referring to it throughout the week for information and activities.




This Thursday, we will have our Halloween party.  My wonderful room parents are organizing fun treats and activities for my students.  I am looking forward to this afternoon.  Students and teachers are permitted to dress up on this day.  My team decided to dress up like characters from Duck Dynasty.  We have some interesting costumes planned.



On Friday, we have our Walk-a-thon assembly.  This has been our only fund raiser for as long as I have worked at my school.  I loved participating by jogging 10 1/2 miles.  I'm definitely looking forward to celebrating all of our hard work.


This Saturday, I will run in a 5K to benefit a program called "See Kids Dream".  This program is designed to build self esteem in our youth.


Those are the highlights of the upcoming week.  I'm off to check out what everyone else has planned, as well as all the other wonderful social studies mentor texts.  Thank you Jennifer, Amanda, and Stacia for hosting these awesome linkies!

Thank you and have a great week.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Paragraph Resources

Hello, Everyone!  This week, one of our focuses has been applying paragraph rules to narrative writing.  I am going to share some of the resources I used to teach this skill.

I found this song on paragraphs/main idea.  The video does a nice job introducing paragraphs.


Next, we talked about the different elements that would change in our narrative writing, therefore causing us to start a new paragraph (characters, settings, speakers, and events).

I showed students several examples of paragraph changes from our current read aloud Wonder. We discussed the fact that there is no specific length for paragraphs.



When we were finished, we put all the information we learned on an anchor chart.


My wall space is limited, so I have to change my anchor charts periodically.  I had students cut out this reference sheet and glue it in their writing notebooks to use when the anchor chart was no longer available.

(Border by Fabulous Firsts)

Students also put a foldable in their notebooks with examples of sentences or phrases that would likely start new paragraphs.
For example, they wrote, "The next morning..." for the change in time section.


If you would like either (or both) of these, just let me know in a comment or email.  I would be happy to send them to you.

I also made an additional foldable, if you would prefer to have students use this instead of just giving them the list of rules.  I would be willing to send you this one as well, if that would work better for you.

(Foldable Template from Lovin Lit)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tried it & Techie Tuesday - Introducing Reading Groups with Video Clips


Hello, Everyone!  Today, I am linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday.


I would like to share how I tried using video clips to introduce my realistic fiction unit.  Because this "Tried it" involves technology, I am also linking up with Karla from Technology Tailgate for Techie Tuesday.


Before we started our reading groups, I wanted to make sure that students had a clear definition of realistic fiction.  I also wanted them to be able to generalize the definition to different media.  I decided to show them a variety of video clips to spark conversation about this genre.  I started with "Safety Patrol" from A Diary of a Wimpy Kid.



We had a discussion about why this clip fell into the realistic fiction category.  Students were easily able to make connections to our own school safety patrol.  (We actually serve hot chocolate to our patrol as well.)

After we discussed why the clip is realistic, I replayed the book trailer for our current read aloud, Wonder.  We are almost finished with this book, so students had lots of examples of realistic elements for this story.


After our discussion, we came up with this definition for realistic fiction.

Realistic Fiction - A made up story that could actually happen

Then, I decided to throw my students a curve ball by showing them this clip, "First Shot" from Air Bud.

Some students felt that this movie was realistic because the dog was actually trained to make the shots.  However, some argued that the entire story line was not realistic because a dog would not be permitted to be a player on a basketball team.  The jury is still out on this one, but the general consensus was that the movie was unrealistic. We had a great conversation about the "fuzzy line" between different genres.

Finally, I played "Reckless Flying" from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  Students were easily able to point out why this clip was not realistic.


I liked using these video clips because the students were very engaged.  They participated in the discussion, and I feel they now have a strong understanding of realistic fiction. I will likely use this method again when we tackle another genre/theme.


Seeing these fun clips also added excitement to the books students would read. Here are the books that I am using for this unit.  (I love and recommend all of them!)

(Level O)

(Level Q)

(Level R)

(Level S)

I have had success with all of these books in the past, and I am looking forward to using them this year. 

I'm off to check out what everyone else has tried and to see the great ideas for integrating technology.  Thank you, Holly and Karla for hosting these awesome linkies!

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Peek at My Week

Hello, Everyone!  Today, I am linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek at my Week.



My students are currently typing the final drafts for their personal narratives.  As students are waiting to conference with me, they will illustrate their narrative.  However, there will be a little twist on the illustration.  Last week, I took a picture of each child striking a pose with an exaggerated emotion, based on the topic of their narrative. They will cut out the picture and use it in their illustration.  They were very creative with their poses.  I am excited to see how these turn out.


Last year, the teachers at our school met for a book study using The Leader in Me.  This year, we are working on celebrating the 7 Habits of Happy Students.  On Thursday, we will have our second "Habit Assembly".  We will celebrate the students' use of habit #2, "Begin with the end in mind."



These are great books.  I strongly recommend both of them.


Friday is our monthly Pride Day.  This month we will be wearing our favorite team clothes.  I live in Columbus, and I have come to love many Ohio sports teams.  However, I grew up in North Carolina, and I will always be a Duke basketball fan at heart.  I will be decked out in my spirit wear on Friday.


I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else is up to this week. 

Thank you, and have a great week!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spark Student Motivation Saturday - A Great Website for Review Games


Hello, Everybody!  Today, I am linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturday.


I am going to share one of my favorite websites to use when I make review games, classtools.net.

There are a wide variety of games on this site, but the student (and teacher) favorite is definitely word shoot.  The first screen looks like this.


As students progress through the rounds, the words start moving around.  They move slowly at first, but the pace picks up with each round.  You can try out a game I made on physical and chemical properties and changes by clicking here.

Another game I like on this site is the Dustbin Sort.  You can create sorts here with up to four categories.  Here is one I made for our government unit.  


There are many more game options on this site, but these are two of my favorites.

Students are definitely motivated by the technology and the "arcade" aspect of these games.  I allow students to play the games on our school computers, if they have all of their work completed.  As I create new games, I always send the link to parents, so  students can play at home. The games are also linked to our classroom website.

This is a paid site.  However, I have found it to be well worth it.  Once the games are made, you can continue to access them, even if your membership expires.

I'm off to see all the other wonderful, motivating ideas.

Thank you, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Adding Fun to Syllable Practice - Part 2

Hello, Everybody!  In my district, we are required to begin our word study units with the different syllable types.  You can read my post about open and closed syllables here.  We have recently added silent e syllables to our practice.  My fourth graders are familiar with how silent e works, so we just did a quick review using a few index cards like this.


After reviewing, we compared silent e syllables to open and closed syllables.  I found this wonderful activity on Smart Exchange.


I made an additional Smart Board activity for center practice.

***If you would like a copy of this sort, just ask (either comment or email).  I'd be happy to send it to you!

I gave students a list of words for practice.  We divided these words into syllables and discussed the different syllable types.  Students also completed sorts and center work with these words.


Finally, I made some centers for students to practice sorting and making words with the different syllable types.  




You can pick up these centers at my TPT store right here.

We are currently working on vowel team syllables.  I am looking forward to blogging about the resources we are using in the near future.

On a completely different note, I am looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow!  Our district gives us a conference comp day.  I have a lot to do, but I will get started a little later than 5:30AM.

Thank you, and have a great weekend!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Made It - October, 2013

Hello, Everyone!  Today, I am linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.



This year, I am incorporating some technology into my Daily 3.  The students love using the iPad and our class blog.  My challenge was to come up with a system so students could easily see whose turn it is.  I have two language arts classes, one iPad, and four computers available for blogging.  This is the system I came up with.


Students move their clip to the next available number after they have finished their blog post.  I have 1-3 students use the iPad each day, depending on what else we have to accomplish.


I made a set of synonym rings for each student. They attached them to their desks for a most convenient resource. These are from Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching.  



Ever since I started blogging, I have become overwhelmed, but in a good way.  I am so amazed by all the great ideas out there.  However, I was having a little trouble keeping track of everything I wanted to do, books I wanted to order, projects I wanted to tackle, etc.  I decided I needed a binder to help me stay organized with this.  I always want to make sure I credit original sources!  Anyway, here are the pages I created.







(Of course, I had to make the pages match my blog.  I just love the "Spring has Sprung" collection from MyClipArtStore.)


I put together two syllable centers.  The first one is for practicing open and closed syllables.  I blogged about this, as well as other open and closed syllable resources, here.




The second set of centers is for practice with open, closed, and silent e syllables.  I will blog about this one, as well as other resources, later this week.




That's all for me this month.  I'm off to check out all of the other awesome Made Its.

Thank you, and have a great week!