Two questions were so specific that there was not enough evidence to completely answer the question. This was a good conversation - students realized they could only find a piece of the answer but not the exact answer. This was a good talking point: making sure our evidence actually answered the complete question, instead of just being related to the question; a habit they are very guilty of!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Using the structure I posted in my Five for Friday, post, the students wrote brief paragraphs about Earth Day and published them on some cute writing paper.
The next day, we read The Great Kapok Tree.
My purpose for reading this book was to, of course, introduce students to reasons for conserving our rainforests, but also, to have them take the fictional story and rewrite it as a drama. I wanted them to think about what would be the role of the narrator, which character voices they would need, and what would be included in stage directions.
We started off together, charting the introduction to the drama. After a conversation about how we should differentiate between the narrator and stage directions (the kids decided that they wanted the narrator to tell the actions, and the stage directions to describe. This was with some guidance, of course!), this is what we came up with:
Then, I divided the students up and gave each one a chunk of text that introduced a different animal. I had a small group of students, and there were many animals, so only two students had to buddy up. They wrote their chunk of the story as a drama and published it, using their animal's fur or markings to illustrate the border.
After that, each student got a paper plate and enough construction paper to fill their every heart's desire.
And this is what they made:
Jaguar (looks pretty tiger-y to me)
Porcupine - just noticed she made mistakes in her drama. Poop. Gotta go back and have her redo that one!
Toucan (kind of)
Bee.... with a ghostly reflection of myself in the background.
How funny that, in all the pictures, the only one I came out in is the Bee!
There's also a frog, but he's not done yet.
Stay tuned for my upcoming hallway display debut: It took me two weeks, but it is almost done!
Saturday, April 20, 2013
With fourth grade, I used the article as a way to review writing a nonfiction summary to process text. I wanted students to think about using the structure of the article (divided into sections with headings) to help them write their summary.
With third grade, I wanted to practice the same skill, but my third graders have trouble differentiating between the most important ideas, or main ideas of sections, and specific facts or details. To support this, I wrote a variety of statements from the article on sentence strips.
Some ideas (Meerkats live in burrows under the ground) were very specific facts from the article. Others (Meerkats help each other by taking turns looking out for predators) were main ideas from the article. Using these sentences in a pocket chart, as well as the headings for each section and the title, we made decisions about the following things:
1. Which pieces of information are important and which are specific facts?
2. Which pieces of information would be included in a summary?
3. How can the title/headings help us choose what is important and organize it?
4. What order should the important information be sequenced in to be in logical order?
We made a little chart to help us with interesting vs. important. I forgot to take a picture! But this is the general idea:
Interesting: a specific fact or detail. Makes you say, "Wow!" or "I didn't know that!". May not be related to the main idea or purpose of the article. (real-life example: toys. They're not necessary, but we like them)
Important: a big idea. Related to the main idea or purpose of the article. Headings/titles can give you clues about what will be important in the article. (real-life example: food. It might not be fun, but it's necessary)
Still, though, this was tough for my third graders. This is what we came up with. I marked the words in the sentences that helped us identify if the statement was related to the main idea/topic of the article.
Overall, not a bad lesson. Wish I'd had a little more time to spend with them, though. Half an hour was kind of rushed.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
It's over 80 pages of printable materials to work with the water cycle and weather! I've used these ideas in my own classroom, and it's one of the things I miss! The water cycle was such a simple and fun concept to teach. And weather is exciting!
This investigation was always so simple but so enlightening for kids!
Water Cycle Craftivity
Cloud Types Folded Flip Book
I have... Who has...
The complete pack at TPT includes...
*Water Cycle & Weather Word Wall Cards
*Water Cycle Poster
*Frayer Model for Vocabulary: (Weather, Climate, Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, Accumulation)
*Water Cycle in a Bottle Investigation (instructions, setup, and handouts included)
*Water Cycle Folded Flip Book
*Water Droplet Shape Book
*Water Cycle Mobile Craftivity
*Water Cycle Song
*Water Cycle Reader’s Theater
*Water Cycle Mix-Mingle-Team Up Activity (24 cards)
*Water Cycle Comic Strip
*Water Cycle Diagram Cut & Paste
*Water Cycle Quiz & Matching Handout
*Cloud Types Article
*Cloud Types Chart: Cut & Paste
*Cloud Types Folded Flip Book
*Weather Acrostic Poem
*Weather Jigsaw Activity (Includes readings, handouts,
and scoring guides)
*Daily Weather Log
*Water Cycle/Weather I Have... Who Has... (24 cards)
*Bonus: Internet Resources & Webquest
And grab your freebie at TPT too! This freebie set includes a water cycle poster, a water cycle song (color and B&W versions), and a cut & paste water cycle diagram!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I took a Scholastic News article and I cut it all up! I cut up six sets of each article. I put each set in a paper bag and labeled the outside with the title and grade level.
It took much longer than I thought. I cut out each text feature, and separated them. For example, I cut the captions off of photos and I cut out the headings, subtitles, and title. I also cut each paragraph out separately.
This was my intent: I wanted students to reconstruct the whole article based on what they know about making meaning out of nonfiction text. The fourth graders I work with tend to move their eyes across the page and pretend to read when no one is prompting them. I wanted to focus on "making meaning" because I feel like this is the whole point to reading!
We started out by putting the captions together with the photos and making decisions about what the title was and which were the headings. As we attacked the pieces, I charted out our strategy.
After we had the features connected and understood, we looked at the paragraphs. This was the tricky part. Kids had to read each paragraph and sort them under the heading they belonged to.
Then, we looked at each section and sequenced the paragraphs. This was great, because it spurred a real conversation and critical thought about the content of each paragraph and the relationship of the ideas in that paragraph to other paragraphs.
For example, in the pictures below about feral cats, we decided that the paragraph that starts with "One of America's..." was an introduction to the cat issue. The next paragraph expects the reader to have been introduced to the idea of "domestic cats" because it mentions it, but doesn't explain much about it. It also uses this previously explained idea to explain the new term, "feral" cats, so the feral cat paragraph must come after the domestic cat paragraph.
This strategy could also be great to support text structures, as students have to understand how ideas relate to each other to identify the text structures of cause-effect, sequencing, etc. I would probably use a shorter text, maybe a paragraph, and cut it apart by sentence to have students rebuild that.
We enjoyed it. Have you done this with your kids? Do you think you might?
Sunday, April 14, 2013
- Sample Anchor Charts
- Reading Survey
- Myself as a Reader
- Genre Graph
- Genre Bingo Recording Sheet
- My Reading Goals
- Choosing a Just Right Book
- Book Pass Activity & Recording Sheet
- 2 different versions of bunting banner
- 4 and 5-day versions of Home Reading Record
- 25 Book Club: directions, recording log,
recommendation sheet, and bulletin board
- Independent Reading Rubric
- Independent Reading Record
- Response Ideas Poster
- 2 different fiction summary posters
- Independent Reading Response Sheet, M-F
- Guided Reading Strategy Cards for Prompting
- Book club Roles & Responsibilities
- Book Club Accountability Sheet
- 6 Bookmarks for recording thoughts during independent reading (connections, visualizing, summaries, questions, predictions, characters, facts)
- “WILD” printable bookmarks
-Teacher Materials: Conference Record Sheet, Library Check-in/out
- Bulletin Board Materials: What is Reading?
Friday, April 12, 2013
See that? That's FRAN-ZEE-A, for those of you who don't speak French. Muy fancy. Look closer and see why it's such a great buy:
Yes! I am! I am reducing my carbon footprint! You're welcome, Earth.
#4: All this Earth-saving inspired me. The third grade teachers in my school asked me if I could pick up a group of students who have been successful in test-taking and I thought that sounded like fun. I decided to put together a group of third graders and a group of fourth graders to work on Earth Day!
I love Earth Day stuff.
This is what we started on.
We watched a BrainPop about conservation and then we read a brief article. From the article, we charted out this information:
#5. We wrote an Earth Day paragraph using sentence frames. Many of the students are ELLs and are working on developing their English. To help them build their sentence structure, I used sentence frames.
First we wrote four sentences using the information we learned from the video and the article.
This was the example: "Earth Day is... a special day to celebrate the Earth and practice conservation! Conservation means... using our natural resources carefully. You can help by... turning off the water when you brush your teeth! This can help us... use less water and protect our resources.
Then we used the sentence frames in green to create diversity in their writing. On Monday, they're going to publish.
Go link up with DoodleBugs!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Sunday, April 7, 2013
It's the last day for 20% off at my TPT and Teacher's Notebook shops!
You know you want to go shopping. DO IT! And be guilt-free!
My blog has 500 followers and my TPT Store has 1,000 fans! In honor of these great fans & followers, and also because it's Spring, I'm having a Spring Sale Friday - Sunday, April 5 - 7. Check out my TPT and Teacher's Notebook stores to get 20% off on all items!
You know you want to go shopping. DO IT! And be guilt-free!
Friday, April 5, 2013
1. Finally put up my reading pledge board from our Camp Read-a-Lot Literacy Night! You can read about it here!
2. This is (part of) my family on Easter. My brother Matt is on the left, Mom in the middle, and John on the right. As you can see, as soon as the camera goes up, they cover their faces. I took eight pictures at different times. All of them look like this - paper plate face.
We call John the Yeti, as he is elusive, yet intrusive.
3. Fabric hunting with my sister-in-law this week. We took this picture to remember the price of a solid color broadcloth. I'm wondering if it's cheaper to make my own table runners than rent them!
4. Planned with third grade on Thursday for our reading blitz review before the STAAR test! They're doing half a day of reading and this is how they're breaking up their time. This is version two of our chart - the first ended up with pink marker barfed all over it due to revisions!