October 27, 2012

Long Week, Writing, and Giveaways!!

With the wrap up of our first units and having two sick kids, my lessons have turned into publishing sessions and review--needless to say, the lack of routines is killing me!

I can't wait to get back to normal...next week--haha! We have an impending storm (a nor'easter and a hurricane...at the same time!!) and Halloween, so routines aren't likely!

On the other hand, we have officially ended our Native American units in reading and writing. I'm really impressed with their writing :)

Here's what I did...
     **in the beginning, I modeled how to research (looking for important details that pertain to the main idea and how to record notes).

     **the students worked in groups filling in graphic organizers (title, page number, subheading, keywords/phrases) using a topic of Native American life (jobs, food, clothing, housing etc.)

     **using the notes, they created charts highlighting the information they learned about their topic (they really became the experts of that topic).

     **the students needed to commit to a topic which they would use for both the Iroquois and the Algonquian nations and start grouping their notes together.

     **using a paragraph organizer, they began drafting their body paragraphs.

(I always start with the body paragraphs first when I teach informational and persuasive writing--there's 2 reasons: with these types of writing, the students often need to teach themselves the information. How can they write a lead if they don't know anything about the topic? AND the majority of the work during workshop is to create, build, research, and write the body paragraphs--it takes the most time to do...especially if it's done well. The lead and the conclusion don't take nearly as much time and are not weighed as heavily as the the body.)

Here are some pics of the published Informative Friendly Letters:

On a side note...
Erin from Tales from Room 112 is having a 200 follower giveaway! There's one day left--definitely check it out :)
Lindsey from Lovin Kindergarten with Ms. Lindsey is celebrating her birthday with giveaway!

Definitely celebrate with them :)

October 18, 2012

A Rounding Solution :)

So this week, my focus was rounding--to the nearest tens, hundreds, thousands, and ten thousands. I worked on 3 different rounding strategies and was met with blank stares and confusion. 

The kiddos had the notes and the rules in their notebooks, but they were missing the application part of rounding--they needed to do something. 

Which brings me to this activity:

it emulates the use of an open number line! The street acts as the number line, the houses are the friendly numbers--in the picture it's ten thousands (the activity itself is from the tens to the millions!), and the tree marks the halfway point between the two friendly numbers.

The students place the card where it would fall on the number line and the number it's closest to.

I had my students work together in pairs, which helped facilitate discussions about what numbers to use and why.

The recording sheet helped keep the students accountable for their work :)

The activity itself is differentiated--the number cards stay the same and the places change from tens through the millions. The recording sheet is general and can work for all the places. 

The kiddos had fun playing the game and were able to round to the different places--I just had to remind them that the digits with the values larger than the place being rounded, stayed the same!

 To celebrate the upcoming weekend and successful rounding--I've marked this activity on sale through Sunday! Around the Block-common core aligned rounding activity from tens to the millions

Happy Friday :)

October 8, 2012

Columbus Day Fun and Giveaway Announcements

So...today was a day off...from school! While I enjoy being home with my little darlings, today was stressful!!

The morning was wonderful--everyone was having a great time...lunch went over well. More food in the bellies than on the floor...nap time--princess went right to sleep, prince wanted to play. It was all good--he was chillin' in his bed and it was the perfect opportunity to steal a shower! (Did I mention that the heat wouldn't turn on and the house was freezing?! No? Ok well...keep it in mind!)

While I was enjoying my baby free moment...what do I hear? Oh, right...that was the fire alarm going off...while I'm in the shower!! I'll spare you the details--just know there were many little puddles footsteps as I try to turn the alarm off...which by the way WoUlDn'T turn off!! Needless to say --the babies were up at that point! YaY! (Oh and apparently steam sets off alarms...especially if the house is really cold!! Who knew!?! It definitely wasn't the first thing that crossed my mind in my moment of freedom!)

Fast forward a few hours...to the witching hour (think between 6pm and 7pm)--the babies were playing so nicely (did I mention...princess ripped a huge fart and her loving brother went over to her, grabbed her diaper and said ca ca as she tried to get away?!?) when they thought it would be a good idea to STAND on the ottoman and play with objects on the mantle...um you know, like pliers!! Frazzled me took away their tools, got them both down, removed the ottoman from the corner to find an open outlet--needless to say, the  ottoman must stay where it is for now and on top of that---I broke a dish!

Luckily as I write this I can chuckle, especially now that my darlings are sound asleep :)

On a celebratory note, there are 2 giveaways I want to share with you...

Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper is celebrating 200 followers with a huge giveaway...

and Kate from The Wise Owl is celebrating 100 followers with another huge giveaway...

definitely check them out!

October 7, 2012

Word Study and Donors Choose

I've always struggled with fitting word study into my schedule. It really hasn't been one of my favorite things to teach...until now!

My school uses Words Their Way--while some people love the program, I'm not one of them. The sorts can be complicated at times (especially if the students are in the derivational relations spelling pattern), the games are time consuming to construct, and the spelling patterns/words on the CD are more difficult than the words in the books. (The books are actually student books--those I like, but they cost a lot of money and with students changing groups frequently--they aren't cost effective.)

In any case, I have to use it, so this year, I have 3 groups! Usually I only have two, so having 3 requires a bit more management, but we're getting there!

Each student has a word study notebook, which is divided into 3 sections--word work, vocabulary, and grammar.

The schedule I created allows me to meet with all 3 groups on Monday and Wednesday. I teach a whole class vocabulary lesson on Tuesday and a whole class grammar lesson on Thursday. Friday is assessment day.

On Monday, I give the students their words and I meet with groups to give them their sorts. While I meet with the groups, the other students star the words they know and put a question mark next to the words they don't know. 

On Tuesday, it's vocabulary!! I love teaching vocabulary--I use short texts that are high interest and on level readability (the passages I use are from Great Source--the books have passages with bold words and they give the definitions!) I put the passage under the ELMO and show the students the text.

Click here to get these books

    I read the text aloud--chunking paragraphs and stopping to think about the words in the text--using context clues to figure out definitions, identifying synonyms and antonyms using a graphic organizer (and for homework, the students write a sentence or find a sentence that contains the vocabulary word AND draw a picture or make a connection to the word).

On Thursday, I do a whole class Grammar lesson and the students take notes in the Grammar section. The try-it activity is using a sheet from Scholastic or a game. In this case, I used Grammar Cop from Scholastic! (I ordered the online version of this for $1 when Scholastic had its dollar sale last year.) We had to underline the common nouns and circle the proper nouns. The text is really cute and the students enjoyed reading it!

On Friday, I give an assessment. Each group has different words that they need to spell and sort correctly (part 1). In part 2, they practice the grammar lesson (in this case, they needed to underline common nouns and circle proper nouns in the paragraph). In part 3, it's a vocabulary match for the words of the week. Sometimes I add in words from other lists as a vocab review. 

On a side note....

Laura Candler is having a DonorsChoose Linky Party where she's donating to 10 projects. The first 5 are the ones with the most votes...and I'd love it if you could go over there to vote for my project! It's #1 on the list--Success Seekers: Maintaining and Achieving our Goals (I want to have a goal binder for each student that contains work in Reading, Writing, and Math.)

Here's the link: DonorsChoose Linky Party

I'd really appreciate the vote...and while you're there, check out some of the other awesome projects that would love your vote as well :)

Sorry there's so much here...I tried to explain the shortened version as best I could!

I'd love to hear how word study works in your rooms! Let me know if you have any questions, I'd love to answer them for you :)