Thursday, August 7, 2014

Positive Thinking, Technology, and Throwback Thursday

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I had the privilege of attending Leader in Me training for our school.  Our presenter was wonderful, and I left feeling enthusiastic about reinforcing the 7 habits with myself and instilling them in with this year's group of fourth graders.  Today, I am linking up with my friend, Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for Positive Thinking Thursday.  I would love to share some of my favorite quotes from the late Stephen Covey.


I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. - Stephen Covey
stephen covey quotes
Stephen Covey quote
I could go on and on, but these are some of my favorites!  If you have never read the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you really should.  It is one of the best books I have ever read for personal and professional growth.  

Product Details

I am also linking up with the Teaching Trio for Technology Thursday.  This is a throwback post, so I am linking up with Angela from The Teacher's Desk 6 for Throwback Thursday.

This post tells about how I used videos to introduce a new realistic fiction to my reading groups.

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 the other positive thoughts, technology ideas, and throwback posts.  Thank you Jennifer, The Teaching Trio, and Angela for hosting these great linkies!


  1. I love the idea of using video clips to engage students! I plan to do more of that this year. :)


  2. I love that quote… "Be a LIGHT, not a judge. Be a MODEL, not a critic." I have heard so many good things about the Leader in Me training. I am going to have to check it out!!!

    Adventures of a Schoolmarm

  3. Love, love, love those quotes!
    And I totally stole your idea of having a 'triple link up' post! So many fun linkys on Thursdays!
    Have a great day!

    Drop By...
    Life As I Know It

  4. Video clips are fun and engaging! Thanks for sharing this idea. A great way to introduce genre studies!


  5. These are GREAT video clips, Mary! Thanks for sharing your ideas and for linking up with TBT this week!


  6. I love the idea of using video clips! I'm going to do this more this year. Thanks for sharing & linking up with Tech Thursday!
    Teaching Trio
    Chalk & Apples on TPT