November 18, 2012

Teaching Point of View and a freebie!!

Our first units of study in reading and writing on the Iroquois and the Algonquians has ended! Now, we move onto explorers!

I love that the transition from Native Americans to exploration lends itself to point of view perfectly!

To introduce point of view, I used these posters from Chrissy Beltran...

You can get them HERE from her TpT Store! Thanks Chrissy :)

Before the lesson, I went over each poster--describing what the point of view means and how authors use it. The introduction was very broad--the lessons after are focused on the specific points of view.

Our narrative writing unit focuses on 1st person point of view. So it's important for students to have a strong understanding of it. Here's how I started it...

I used two texts... Encounter by Jane Yolen (available at which is written from a Taino boy's perspective of Columbus' arrival

and Thunder in the Sky by Marcia Sewall (available at which alternates perspectives between the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims.
I only focused on the first few pages of each text pinpointing the point of view (how the author chooses to write the story) and the perspective (who, in the text, is telling the story), which is a very difficult concept for 4th graders to grasp!

I modeled how to pull apart the text and analyzing what the character really means (especially the vocabulary and how different ideas are described, like the ship--"across the Great Sea floated the island with tall trees upon it, hung with white clouds") using Thunder in the Sky.

We answered these questions...
1) Who is telling the story?
2) Based on the text, how did the Natives perceive the strangers?
3) What are you learning about the relationship between the Natives and the strangers?

The students tried the same thing with some pages from Encounter using the same questions.

Here's a cute text that will get your students thinking about 1st person point of view:
Click HERE to get the text

(I found the text on Highlights, for the original site, click HERE)
and here's an activity page to use with it:
Click HERE to get this!
Be prepared for little giggles as your students read the text! 

If you try this activity in your room, I'd love to know how it turned out!

November 12, 2012

Teachers Helping Teachers

Cynthia from 2nd Grade Pad wrote...
I’m sure it is rare if there is anyone out there reading this post who has not heard of Teachers Pay Teachers, better known as TPT.  Not only is it a great site for teachers to share their wonderful teaching ideas, it is also a place of true heartfelt kinship with other teachers and many of the teachers form virtual bonds with each other in friendship.  This is one of those times.
One of my best friends, 2nd grade teaching buddy, fellow blogger and TPTer is in CCU in Atlanta with critical medical issues. 
I asked for all of my wonderful friends on TPT to help pray for her.  Prayers have been sent up for Teresa from all over the world.  I truly believe that prayer can bring about miracles and Teresa is certainly in need of prayers.
These very wonderful and special teachers then began asking, "What can we do to help?"
Out of their love and concern came
Teresa has pulmonary hypertension and is experiencing complications. She loves teaching and has a wonderful sense of humor that keeps us all smiling. The most important thing we can all do for her, is to offer prayers on her behalf. Financially, you can help by purchasing one of the below packages. All of these items have been donated by her fellow TPT colleagues who wish to help across the world.

If you visit Teresa's blog you will see she LOVES all things piggy...hence all the pigs! :-)
You can also view her great products on her TPT store.

We know how medical bills can quickly become astronomical, especially when in the Critical Care Unit. Therefore, we are offering you some wonderful deals in exchange for donations.

We have a HUGE pack of goodies in return for your donation of $25.
This is a value of $115.

You will receive all of these items via e-mail when you purchase.
After you purchase, please complete this google document so that I can e-mail your TPT units to you.

Click on each picture to see more information about the products.

In addition, several teachers have joined in another collaborative effort to form a piggy unit (Teresa's favorite kind).  This unit is available on my store for $10.  All proceeds will also be given to Teresa to help with financial needs.

Thank you so much for your donations.  I really appreciate it, but most of all, keep those prayers going!

Thank you!

November 11, 2012

Sandy and Parent/Teacher Conferences my last post I was worried about getting back to routines after Halloween--what I really should have been worried about was in the Hurricane! 

First, I want to say that I have a new found respect for ANYONE living where hurricanes, tornadoes, or any other type of natural disaster can happen. Never did I imagine the destruction! Luckily, my house, my school, and the neighborhoods of my students were not badly effected--power outages, downed poles, and some trees on houses. I cannot say the same for some other parts of the city--where it looks more like a war zone than a neighborhood. Rubble sits where houses used to stand and the smell of oil and smoke fills the air. 

We're slowly getting back to normal--it's what we need. The kids, the schools, the cities--though some may not be able to be normal for a long time, we do what we have to do and we'll be stronger because of it and more prepared for the next time.

Amidst the gas rationing and the Nor'easter, November has crept onto my calendar! I honestly can't believe how quickly this year is going! Parent/teacher conferences are on Wednesday and next week is Thanksgiving!

To help me not think about what's really going on prepare for my conferences I created a Parent/Teacher Conference Pack. It is listed HERE in my TpT Store. Here's a peek...


The first 3 people who comment telling me how they prepare for parent/teacher conferences AND leave their email address will get this 21 page pack for free :)

Stay safe :)