Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Spider and the Fly: Mentor Text for Halloween

Linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text!
I love The Spider and the Fly for Halloween! The black and white illustrations are gorgeous and students find this text so engaging!

As I said, the black and white illustrations are beautiful and can lend to some deep discussion.
 The very first illustration can open a discussion if your students think the spider will be good or evil. Then show them other illustrations and ask them if that makes them re-evaluate their initial impression of the spider. Would the tone or mood of the story change if the illustrations were in color?
The spider deceives the fly with flattery. Have students listen and jot down specific examples of how the spider uses flattery to lure the fly in.
This picture book is also perfect to teach character traits (the spider is portrayed as cunning, persistent, smooth-talker, the fly is portrayed as meek and innocent).
 If you don't have this mentor text, I found a read aloud of it on YouTube (it's ok).
Here is The Spider and the Fly-Animatic version
I like to have my students write a story from the spider's point of view after reading this book. They take on the role of the spider and defend his actions and intentions. It's great to show a different perspective. An added activity would be to research spiders to defend their papers with facts.
(Predators, prey, how spiders help people, webs, role ).
I decorate a bulletin board with spider webs and title it Writer's Web.
If you'd like this bulletin board header, click on the image to grab it for free.

Have a SUPER week and check out all the other great texts linked up with my buddies Amanda & Stacia! 
Congratulations Nancy! You won my Teacher Postcards Pack!
Thank you everyone for playing Pin to Win! 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: "You've Got Mail"

Happy Saturday Friends! Time for some MOTIVATION!
I'm motivated because I'm off to Universal Studios with my BBB Jivey who drove 8 hours to come visit with me this weekend! It's so exciting to meet your blogger friends in real life! We are so fortunate to collaborate and share with such amazing friends in this blogging world! Now, I want to share another way I motivate my students!
I love rewarding my students with some positive praise by sending them a postcard for their hard work. Do you remember how EXCITING it was to receive mail as a kid (and even now, when it's not a bill)? I've been sending postcards since almost the beginning of my teaching career and my students love getting those little notes in the mail! Parents appreciate the kind words too!
I ALWAYS send postcards when they graduate their multiplication facts, Reading Counts point clubs, welcome to school, and thank you notes to parents who donate items from my wish list.
Then throughout the year, I send postcards for improvement, congratulations, a note of encouragement, and for special accomplishments. 
 The birthday cards I usually use as note cards and have them on student desks for their birthday. I also use the note from the teacher cards to hand out for special acknowledgements too.
As you can see I've had to write several for Reading Counts! :O)

I have a file folder that I keep in my plan book for my set up:
  • I type all my student addresses on labels and print a few pages of labels, so they're always ready (saves so much time).
  • I print several different types of postcards so I have something for every occasion.
  • I buy a few sheets of stamps and place them in my folder.
  • I quickly write them as they earn them so it's immediate praise.
**Multiplication postcards shown are from my Mastering Multiplication Facts Incentive Program.
Do you want to motivate your students with these postcards?  These postcards can be used for mailing or as hand delivered note cards and will brighten any student's day!
These cards will be a "forever" purchase as you can use them all year and no matter what grade level you teach!
Let's play PIN TO WIN!  Pin any picture of my postcards from this blog post or TPT and paste the URL in the comment section below. (Be sure to include your email if you're not a blogger).
Don't want to wait to see if you win? They will be 20% off in my store today only!
Winner will be announced and notified tomorrow.
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do or plan to do to get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September Swap and Share: Enemy Pie Activities and Printables by Collaboration Cuties

I am so LUCKY and PROUD to be part of this amazing group of teachers/bloggers who decided to do a swap and share!
I WON by getting paired up with Collaboration Cuties! We all teach 4th grade and share the same philosophy about teaching, learning, and making school fun! I love these gals!
Collaboration Cuties
 I immediately chose one of their best sellers Enemy Pie, Fun Back to School Activities and Printables! Enemy Pie is one of my FAVORITE books, so this was an EASY choice for me (even though they have so many wonderful products)! The thing I love about their products is that they have been created because they saw a need in their classroom and have been used with their own students-this is very important to me as a buyer!

The inviting layout of the printables got my students excited about completing these activities right away! I introduced the book with the prediction organizer.

So easily students get in the habit of making predictions without revising or confirming them. This activity provides space for creative students to draw an illustration of their prediction, then explaining if their prediction was correct or incorrect after reading.

After we read the story, my students completed the literary elements graphic organizer. My students liked it because of the "cuteness" factor and I liked it because it was a quick way to assess my students' understanding.

 This pack is PACKED full of activities! I loved that I was able to integrate grammar with this text too! My students liked the idea of a "Grammar Hunt" sounds mysterious! I displayed the pages on the document camera and students worked together to find as many different parts of speech as they could. I also gave a quick assessment (see right). I like how this student put a couple of question marks because she wasn't sure if the words were being used as nouns or adjectives-kind of tricky! I liked that it was challenging! 
 Onto my FAVORITE part of this bundle! The recipe for a great friend!
I love how clever they got with their ingredients! They asked if they could write 0 cups of something if they didn't like that quality in a friend. I loved it!
**In case you can't see the picture...{0 cups of mean and 0 cups of friends with bullies}.
Do you see the one with 9 cups of class family??
Of course, there was a student who received extra credit for 10 cups of high heels!!!!
The most exciting part of this lesson was the recipe on the left...I have to REALLY MOTIVATE this student to complete any work, and she did it right away! (Even her group member rushed over to show me that she did it and she pointed out that she did a great job on it! haha--she's a future teacher!
I like the 0 cups of annoyingness!)
I made a class book to hold everyone's recipes for a great friend.
This book will be shared with our families like our other class books.
I used the vocabulary activity with my small groups. I also let my students choose a writing assignment (there are several options and my students love choice) which tied in perfectly with our personal narrative writing unit.
Building community is so important and this book with activities fits perfectly in my classroom.
Although the product says Back to School, these activities could be used any time of the year.
If you have the book Enemy Pie, you MUST get this printable pack to accompany this mentor text! There's 22 pages of reading, writing, and grammar activities! I used them all week with whole group, small group, centers, and for individual assignments.
This bundle saved a bundle of time for me since everything was integrated!
I loved that this pack had something for EVERYONE! There was so much to use with one mentor text! Check out this pack here! You'll be so glad you did!
You and your students will enjoy the variety of activities!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: WBT Scoreboard

Just a quick link up with my sweet friend Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried It Tuesday!
I was first introduced to this class management strategy a couple of weekends ago on my Spark Student Motivation Saturday linky party...two bloggers posted about it that day, so I thought it was definitely worth a try!
I like whole group, table group, and individual incentives, but the one I've been trying since last week is for whole group.
It's the Whole Brain Teaching Teacher vs. Student Scoreboard.
Every time my students are following procedures, prepared, listen the first time, or ahead of me and ready to go, they earn a point. If I have to remind them of the procedures or it takes longer than it should between transitions, talkative, etc., I get a point.  
Each morning we start with a clean slate.
 Today they were really on it! They smoked me! Now, normally you aren't supposed to have either side winning by more than 3 points, but today was exceptional. I haven't even decided what I'm going to do as a reward with these points yet-funny thing-they haven't asked! We've been doing this for about five days and I think I've won 3 days and they've won 2 days. I think I'll leave a little treat on their desk tomorrow since they had such a great day today!
  The best part...
Teaching With Style  has already made several scoreboards for you! Of course, as always with good manners, if you download, please leave her feedback.
Thanks Courtney from Polka Dot Lesson Plans  and Sarah from MissK inBK for sharing with me so I can share with YOU!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text: Roxaboxen

Linking up with the cutie patooties Amanda & Stacia for their Must Read Mentor Text! This week we're sharing social studies must reads.
If you follow my blog, you know our county uses Social Studies Weekly for our social studies curriculum.
This week we focused on government and its functions. A great book to incorporate with government is Roxaboxen.
It's about a group of real life friends who created their own imaginary town with its own government.  They made their town on a hill in Arizona complete with stones, homes, their own money, ice cream parlors, and even a mayor.

Governing simply means to control the actions or behavior of something or someone. Whenever you control your own actions and behavior in a way that makes life livable for yourself and the people around you, you're governing yourself.
It was perfect to tie in our class rules they had created from the first week of school. My students created a list of rules and voted on the ones they thought would be best for our class. They had been "governing" our classroom all this time and didn't realize it-perfect real life example.

Roxaboxen is a great extension when talking about government and students can relate because they've all made up imaginary "places".
The beautiful illustrations are an added feature by Barbara Cooney. This picture book sparks creativity and imagination! I bet this story will lead some children to make their own towns in their neighborhoods!
Go check out all the other wonderful mentor texts at Collaboration Cuties!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: SWAT

Happy Saturday! 
Let's SPARK some motivation!
A game I like to use for review is...

 To play SWAT, all you need are some flyswatters and a page of answers for some questions.
**These are GIANT flyswatters I found at Dollar Tree. 
SWAT is played with two students. They come to the board (chalkboard, dry erase board, projector screen, Promethean board, wall, anything that has answer written or projected on) armed with their flyswatters. The teacher calls out a problem and the first student to SWAT the answer is the winner!
This SWAT board is to review vocabulary: you could use synonyms, antonyms, analogies, fill in the blank.
We usually play in the dark so the screen shows up better. I just typed  up a few vocabulary words and projected it on my board.
This SWAT board is to review multiplication facts.
You can tell the student on the left was the first one to recall 9x7 because their flyswatter is on the bottom.
This fun game can be used for a review, intro to a new topic, quick formative assessment, five minute filler, so many ways! Your students will LOVE this game and it cost $2 (flyswatters) and a few seconds of prep time! It's so funny to watch them play because they get so excited and stressed about swatting the answer first! :)
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do or plan to do to get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tried It Tuesday (Thursday)

Sorry I'm two days late to my BBB Holly's Tried It Tuesday! I actually "TRIED" this last week, but I've been overwhelmed with meetings, conferences, planning, open house, soccer, cleaning my house, the list goes on and on! It always takes me a while to get back in the swing of things at the beginning of the year! I wanted to share on Holly's fantastic linky something new I've tried this year.
I introduced my students to Jivey's Mentor Sentences! I dabbled a little with it at the end of the year just based on Jivey and Collaboration Cuties' introduction to mentor sentences and how they used it in their classroom. After getting my hands on Jivey's first mentor sentence pack I knew I wanted to implement them into my instruction. Her instructions are so explicit and clear, I felt ready to go!
Here are some photos from each day:
Monday & Tuesday:
Student sample:

Wednesday & Thursday:
Featured student sentences:

I was very pleased with the way my first full week went! I have never used or been a fan of DOL because I've never seen any transfer into my students' writing. These sentences focus on the great qualities of writing and allow students the opportunity to write their own amazing sentence.
I love my BBB Jivey and her Mentor Sentences!
Check out all the great ideas that have already been "tried" at Fourth Grade Flipper!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Spark Student Motivation Saturday: Good Deeds

It's Saturday, so it's time to motivate each other and our students!

I want to share something I've been using for over 10 years in my classroom that motivates students to recognize and praise good deeds from their classmates. This is a wonderful way to build community and it's a very simple display on my door-I call it:
I have different colored post-its all on the sides of the door that students can fill out every time someone does something "good". It can be sharing materials, helping, going out of their way for that person, etc. Here are some samples:
 Several shared school supplies with students who didn't bring any or have enough, some recognized when others helped them, and I like the one below that says that another students complimented her (which obviously she appreciated because it made her feel good).
 It's just a nice, easy way to recognize the small, special moments between students.
They fill the good deeds post-its on their own, whenever they want others to know about something good that has happened to them. It's a wonderful way to spread kindness.
Here is my board from last year:
This book is one of my favorite books to share kindness. It's about one girl's smile who makes a difference. She smiles at someone who is down and out looking for a job, who in turn helps someone else, and the cycle goes on and on with people doing something nice for someone else, until the end he ends up getting a job. It's a beautiful story.
I have a real life example that happened to me this summer: While in Philadelphia, we purchased tickets to a museum from the visitor's center. It wasn't until after we left the museum we realized they never collected the tickets (worth about $85). So, while we were visiting another historic site I offered them to a family behind us and they were grateful. (My oldest son wanted me to sell them!)
A couple of days later on our way home to Florida, we stopped at Six Flags in New Jersey (my family loves theme parks). While in line, two young ladies came up to me and said, "Do you want to be my friend? I have a free ticket for a "friend"! Of course, I hugged her and told her I would be glad to be her friend! That saved me over $60 and even my son recognized that it probably happened because we had done something similar a few days earlier.
**Best part: these two young ladies hung out with us the whole time we were there (they had season passes) and showed us all the ins and outs of the park. They rode all the roller coasters over and over again with my boys. I overheard her tell her mom on the phone that she and her friend had met the nicest family and we were all hanging out!
Spread the kindness!

I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do or plan to do to get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
Don't forget to pick up the new Facebook Fan Freebie here

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