Saturday, April 19, 2014

FREE curriculum...

Yes...I said FREE!!!!

I just went to an EdTech Summit at a local college, and learned a few great things.

The TOP and probably most exciting for myself and my co-teacher was a website that was shared with us during a presentation by a 5th grade teacher.

I was pretty lucky and came from a county that had a massive (sometimes too much and overwhelming) amount of curriculum and materials. One thing that I really took for granted was the curriculum that was posted on their website developed and made by teachers. I loved the flow of the maps, and how the lessons lent themselves to "me being me" - allowing me to be a teacher, but addressing all the Common Core!

Fortunately being who I am, I made myself AWESOME binders that contained most of the lessons I loved and used.

So when we were showed this site, my co-teacher and I got excited. Our district (as you may have read prior) is/was looking for a new reading curriculum. We weren't the only teachers that were a little worried about "jumping the gun" when it came to adopting a new curriculum. We didn't want something that a company just slapped a common core sticker on and put it on the market. There also weren't many new common core curriculum out there that have been used and "tested". And as you may recall my worry was adopting a curriculum and being told I needed to have fidelity to the core!

Our district was starting to recognize the concerns of the teachers (WOW right). So a recent survey was sent out asking if we wanted to wait a year or get rid of the old adoption. I wanted both :)  Of course there was a section that asked if we didn't want a new curriculum this coming school year what suggestions did we have... (click below to go to the website)
It's a MASSIVE resource!!!!

To find plans aligned with Common Core for both ELA and Math click on the Common Core Curriculum and Assessments button at the top.


You will then see the Common Core Menu on the right.


Click on Common Core Curriculum, choose your subject area, then your grade level. Next you will see the modules that you can choose from!


For those of you still struggling with old adoptions, trying to make them fit common core, or have new adoptions with gaps...this is an amazing resource. I can't wait to dig deeper!

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Point of View and Perspective

One of my favorite lessons this year has to have been Point of View/Perspective. After studying the CCSS and debating with myself how to approach point of view vs. perspective, or point of view AND perspective, or just perspective I finally won and decided to teach BOTH.

I began by building off of prior knowledge of point of view. This took two lessons. We reviewed/discussed first person and third person. (I'm so awesome that I forgot to bring home my Reading Journal to show you pictures of the notes we took, but hopefully will post some soon). We did mention second person, but didn't go in to too much detail.

When teaching the definitions I used picture books to help, we discuss how does that point of view influence the description of events in the stories. Here are a few books that can be used to introduce point of view (remember this is NOT perspective).

First Person:

How Many Days to America by Eve Bunting


Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester Laminack


Third Person:

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles


Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg


I also broke the students up in to small groups, gave them poster board, and short stories. They had to determine what the point of view of the story was, and how they knew it...giving key words, and using the text to support their answers.

I used this packet from Nicole Shelby from TpT


The next step was to discuss/define perspective, and then put it ALL together in a few lessons using non fiction text. 

Here is my topic poster (anchor chart) I used in my classroom. 


I choose one topic for our nonfiction texts (written in different points of view, and from different perspectives), so that we could compare and contrast them all at the end. The topic I used was D-Day. The kids were SO in to it.

Huber Mark Alvater (1st person, fighter pilot) 

George Kerchner (3rd person, led D-Day maneuver...actually stormed the beaches)

Finally we read a simple nonfiction book from our library about D-Day (3rd person)

After reading each article/book, we took notes about them in our journals. Writing down important information, interesting details, and our thinking. After reading and discussing each article/book, I gave each student this compare/contrast worksheet, and had them fill it out for a grade.

I would say that is all, but the students were so in to the topic and different perspectives they asked to make Animoto videos and interactive posters using a site called tackk.com. I am still learning about tackk and not 100% sure I really like it (more because of the privacy side of it all), but the kids do!

Finally I MUST brag on one of my students! Check her out on the local news!!!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm So Lucky

The little leprechaun is finished filling little baggies with Lucky Charms for her class in the morning (and may have eaten just as much as she packed).


When I get to school in the morning I'll print these little stickers and put them on the baggies. Nothing big, just a small little treat. I am constantly reminded that this is the last year these kiddos get to do the "fun" stuff. So I try to do small things and keep it all to a minimum.

Click here to retrieve the stickers below! 



We will watch the awesome BrainPOP video about St. Patrick's Day:  http://www.brainpop.com/socialstudies/culture/stpatricksday/preview.weml

Finally we will complete the Criminal Leprechaun. I love the Criminal... series that can be found on TpT here! (and so do the kids).  



I hope you have a WONDERFULLY DELICIOUS St. Patrick's Day!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's Not A...

This week my school set aside 45 minutes on Friday afternoon to do Fun Friday. Now this was not my normal Fun Friday for my class, this was a school wide Fun Friday (I'm trying to see how many times I can type Fun Friday).

Because we are such a small school this was a school wide activity that was pretty manageable. Each teacher, including special areas and special ed. came up with an activity to do in their classroom. A few of them were: charades, friendship bracelet making, windsock making, reader's theater, board games, computer time, etc. Once all the teachers had an activity one of our secretaries came around to each classroom and had the students sign up for an activity (only three people from each classroom could sign up for an activity).

Each of the teachers got their "new" class list the day of Fun Friday. At 2:00 the students were sent to the class they signed up for. I know I know I was flipping out about them going all over the place, but once again we are a very small school. The kinders were "delivered" by a parapro so they wouldn't get lost.

The hard part was coming up with an activity for all age ranges K-5th.

My activity was reading a book (or two), then doing an art activity.

I chose to read the books It's Not a Box and It's Not a Stick. Well I didn't actually read them, we watched them!





When we were done I gave them the choice of creating art with a stick (small twig actually) or a box (cut out brown squares and rectangles to look like cardboard boxes).

Here are my supplies (I made the printable and printed them on card stock, you can get it here!).


Here is what they came up with! (I attached the twigs with hot glue, some of them drew the pictures first then let me hot glue the twigs, we simply glued the "boxes" on) 











Saturday, February 22, 2014

A few updates!

There has been a TON on my plate lately. I managed to be awesome and fall down the stairs at work, in front of a 5th grade class. It was pretty epic, I must say. So after a week of swelling and two visits to a worker's comp. doctor, I am now in physical therapy. The PT informed me he thinks I have a small hairline fracture on my fibula. So no more gym workouts for me for at least another month and twice a week PT! Then a week later my kidneys decided to attack me and I was down for the count. The song that keeps running through my head is....


Thanks for all the help and advice about the LA/Reading adoption. It was narrowed down to three choices by the committee...from a short list given to us by the district (from Oregon Dept. of Ed). So thanks for the suggestions that weren't on the list, but those were our only options. The three are: Wonders, Journeys, and Reach. I'm leaning toward Journeys...I like the two "paths" that are given for the tradition anthology or using their series in Guided Reading.

Finally a follower (Marla) had read my post about paper slide videos earlier this year. Here is what she wrote:

Thank you so much for sharing the information about Paper Slide Videos.  I had never heard of them before.  I teach 5th grade in Texas and decided to have each of my students do an individual video to demonstrate something they had learned the first six weeks.  Everyone had to pick a different idea and it could be from any subject. 
They loved it!!!!  When we were through, we had 22 videos that reviewed all of our first six weeks of school.  We made a bulletin board with QR codes that were on a iPhone template and had it ready two days before our PTA program so parents could interact with it.  Thanks for turning me on to Schooltube also.  I did not know about that either!
My principal was so impressed and showed our superintendent when she visited our school.  The teachers at my school are all excited about it too.  One has already used the idea too!

Below are the pictures and QR codes she sent me! LOVE IT, thanks for sharing!









Sunday, February 9, 2014

Book Trailers

We have been really busy with all sorts of FUN and EXCITING things! I know I've been horrible and not posting a single one of them....sorry!

One thing a small group worked on was book trailers. I'm sure you have heard of them before, they are a great way to get out of the normal book report. I will say that by working with these students on the trailers you could really tell that they had read the books and understood them!

For two weeks prior the students had to pick a chapter book that was appropriate for their reading level. They had two weeks to complete the book, and during those two weeks they had to complete their reading logs based on those books. Click here to get the reading log!

Once we began the actual book trailers the students really took over and got creative! I chose to use a free app/website Animoto. The free version is great! My teaching partner had each student set up their own free version. I actually liked it so much that I purchased the year plan, and made a class account.

The kids that made the book trailers have now become my Animoto experts, and we have done a few other quick projects with them leading the "production" portion. It's so much fun!

I also created a small section in our library with QR codes allowing students to scan and watch the videos.

Here is our poster:

And finally our videos: 



















Sunday, January 12, 2014

In My Opinion...

Thank you all for the great comments and suggestions about the suggested ELA adoptions for my district. Tomorrow is our first meeting, a little anxious and curious. I think it's hard to adopt a new series, it will be as though we are guinea pigs....there are bound to be problems with ANY new curriculum and/or series. I am also curious to hear what other teachers in the district think about using these. Let's hope I can control myself, and maybe not share TOO much of my opinion.

Speaking of opinion (you like how I did that!?!?!) we have been working on opinion writing since before the winter break. I always start the basic opinion writing before Christmas because Christmas lends itself to many different opinion topics.

This year I chose to use a cute packet, My Opinion Matters by Panicked Teacher, to help guide my initial introduction of opinion writing. I LOVE the cute graphics and fonts. I also loved how I could print little pages for the students to glue into their writing journals, and project the color ones on the board. Click the picture below to check it out in her TpT store.


We also did our first opinion piece called An Elf for Hire by Teresa Kwant. It's FREE, so you may want to grab it now and put it in one of those many files you have on your computer. My students LOVED the idea of working as an Elf in Santa's Workshop. Click the picture to link over to her TpT store.


Now that we are back from the break we are working on a "less scripted" opinion piece. My friend from GA sent me a link to a WONDERFUL site called The Reading and Writing Project. There is a HUGE amount of resources all in one spot! My students have narrowed it down to two topics that they can choose from individually... Should lunches brought from home be banned at school? or Should chocolate milk be banned from school lunches? I love the website because they have compiled YouTube videos, articles, and websites for these topics. Head over and take a look: The Reading and Writing Project (this link will take you directly to the digital nonfiction text section that I used for the opinion writing).

Finally here are two of my newest topic posters: 


cute graphics are part of Nicole Shelby's 5th Grade Reading Interactive Notebook Packet