Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Poetry in Science

We're more than halfway through the week! Wednesdays are great because I get to join my BBB Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday!
Today's workshop topic is writing in the content area. How do you integrate writing?
Acrostic Poems for the planets!
(These 4th grade samples are from students who are graduating this year!)
Each student became an "expert" by researching a planet. They collected information and facts to describe their planet and its features.
Writing an acrostic poem can be a challenging task when you're trying to include factual information and write phrases, not just single words. Another challenging aspect is that the students have to be creative and concise with their word choice, so the beginning letter fits their information.
These poems can be used in any content area and students enjoy writing them! After displaying them on a bulletin board, we made a class reference book.
I hope you can use this idea in your classroom! Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Social Studies Mentor Text: Shackles

It's time to spend some money on some great mentor texts! Collaboration Cuties' Must Read Mentor Text is very dangerous!!!
I found this book at a local bookstore and I thought it would be perfect for children as an introduction to teach slavery.
Based on a true story, Shackles describes what happens when a group of boys search for buried treasure in their backyard on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. They unexpectedly dig up shackles, instead of the treasure they were hoping for, they are sad and confused. Mr. Green, their neighbor and friend who is African American comes over and tries to explain the painful hidden history of Sullivan's Island. It's amazing what history we have in our own backyards!

I think this book would be perfect for questioning, as your students will have many after reading Shackles. I plan to take my students' questions and have them research in groups to find the answers to their questions.
The illustrations are oil paintings, not sharp and clear like most children's books, but still beautiful. I wish the author would've included a historical note or fact page at the end of the book, like many historical fictions books.
Questioning is one of the things my class will be working on this week, so I'm linking up with my buddy Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for a Sneak Peek at my week!

Congratulations to Holly and Yashika for winning my Shout Out Cards!
Have a super week!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: Shout Out Cards

Saturdays are SUPER because we get MOTIVATED!
I'm very excited to share my new Shout Out Cards! You know you always hear "Shout Outs" on the radio and TV? Well, I thought a great way to recognize and positively praise my students would be to make some shout outs for them! 
They can be handed out in class, stapled to a student's work, or even have students give a shout out to each other! 
It's the little things we do that make a big difference...which is why I'm so excited about these cards! I printed all my cards, cut them out, and now I'm ready for the rest of the year! :O)
 I've had them on my desk for a week and the curiosity has peaked!

I think these would be perfect for administrators to give to teachers! We like a shout out every once in a while too!

There's one full page of shout outs to match "trinkets" if you'd like to accompany the card with a goodie. For example: You Rock (rock), You Make Me Smile (smiley sticker), You're Sharp (pencil), You're on the Mark (bookmark), etc. 

 To show my appreciation for coming to my party today, anyone who links up gets the set!
Don't have a blog? You can PIN TO WIN! Two winners will be announced tomorrow!
(Pin any of these pictures, copy the URL address, and paste it in the comments).

I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do 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!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Reading Tricks and Treats

When my BBB Jivey said this week's topic was Reading Tricks and Treats, I knew I had the perfect idea to blog about!
  Lunch Bag Reading!
After reading a mentor text (I Need My Monster) this week, my students responded to their reading on these lunch bags!

I just fed the lunch bags right into my printer-voila!  A fun, new way to respond to reading!
Funny thing....none of my students even asked why we were writing on lunch bags! (I'm not sure if that's good or bad!) One of my students last year said it best, "Expect the unexpected in Mrs. Miller's Class!" Great motto!
After reading all of their responses, I filled those bags with some delicious popcorn!
They loved it! And, one student responded, "That's why we wrote on bags, you're so clever Mrs. Miller!" :O) (Extra credit for him!)
 Sample student responses:
Responses can be thoughtful even on a lunch bag! LOL! 
Of course, it had to be a working snack! 
So, I "TRICK"ed them with their assignment, and then surprised them with a "TREAT"! Yay!
Printing tips: Manually feed one bag at a time. Small piece of tape at the opening and on the bottom fold will help prevent paper jams.
Hope you can use this idea in your classroom!  
Be sure to check out all the other ideas at Ideas by Jivey!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Foggy Writing

I've been BOOed!
My buddy Gary from Scrappy Guy is having a linky to talk about whether we celebrate Halloween in our classrooms or how we handle this time of year at our schools.
I'm going to share an idea that I've TRIED for the past 12 years around this "time of year".
Linking up with the sweetest Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper to tell you about my idea!
See this picture?
What do you think I do with all these props??!!
Let me set the scene: While my students are at lunch, I set up my room for an unforgettable experience!
I start up that fog machine right away so the entire room is filled (it looks pretty eerie) by the time they return!
**I'm always nervous I'll set off the fire alarm (even though it's not heat).
When my students come back I tell them it will be dark and a "little" foggy inside. They can opt out if they don't want to enter....
I hand each student a glow stick as they enter our classroom-it looks so awesome!
The first students in get the first look, and by the time the last student enters, they're all sooo excited!
They walk into a dark, fog-filled room with spooky music playing. They go to their desks and start their quickwrite (short 2-3 minute writing piece) using their five senses-lots of stimuli! They use their glow stick to light their paper while writing! Writing using glow sticks is loved by all!!
After about 5 minutes (takes a little while to get them settled and quiet), I have my friend kick the door and run and scream wearing a clown face/wig through my classroom. Of course, they scream their heads off! It's an event I look forward to every year and I always have a few teacher guests that ask to come too! I'm hoping my students from last year don't tell!!!
It may be a little "scary", but I get the BEST writing from this experience. We all laugh about it afterwards and my students talk about it ALL year long!
So, I don't really celebrate Halloween in my classroom because I usually have at least one student who doesn't celebrate, but I like to do some activities and read some mentor texts that would fit the season! How do you celebrate this time of year?
My friend Jess from I Heart Recess (we've met up twice--love her!) is celebrating a year of blogging and having an amazing giveaway! I'm so excited for her and to be part of this amazing prize package!

Go check out all the ideas at Holly's, Gary's, and enter the giveaway!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: Flashlight Friday!

Can I get a whoop whoop? It's Saturday! Let's get motivated!

Your students will FLIP FOR FLASHLIGHT FRIDAY!!!
Each student has their own mini flashlight (easy to hold while reading).
*Picked these up at Dollar Tree!
These little babies were perfect for our reading time!
We shut off all the lights and closed the blinds to create the right ambiance!
I don't think it's been this quiet in my room all year! (just saying!)
They were so excited they could barely stand it, but they got right to reading!
 They BEGGED me for extra reading time!
 It was so awesome to see them spread all over the room enjoying their books.
They weren't very happy to return their flashlights to the box, but it will be great motivation for reading!
Flashlight Friday will be a weekly event that I KNOW my students will look forward to! I'm sure they'd love to use those flashlights everyday, but it will make Fridays extra special!
I can't wait until next week! (No one will be absent on Fridays! haha)

UPDATE: Check out my new post on how I used finger flashlights too! :) Click here!

 I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do 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!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Race to the Top Math Game

Time for Workshop Wednesday with my BBB Jivey! This week's topic: math games!
One of my favorite math games to play is
This math game is quick, easy, and a fun way to open a math lesson!
Students fill in the bottom row with numbers called by the teacher.
They start this game by adding the two triangles next to each other and writing their answer in the triangle above. They complete each row the same way until they get to the top.
First person with the correct answer on top is the winner!
It's fun and it's fast!
I give a ticket to every students who gets the answer correct no matter how long it takes, and I give the winner 3 tickets. If they have the incorrect answer I tell them which row has an error so they can fix their mistake.
**See enlarged student sample to see how the numbers were added: 
First row: 0+1=1, 1+0=1, 0+2=2, 2+0=2, 0+1=1, 1+0=1
Second row: 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+2=4, 2+1=3, 1+1=2

You get the idea...
*Can be used with addition or multiplication.
*Use smaller numbers for a faster, easier playing game or larger numbers to make it more challenging. This student used the side of his paper to add those last couple of rows-smart thinking!
Want a copy? It's a FREEBIE in my TPT store! Feedback is appreciated if you download. :)
Be sure to check out all the other great ideas linked up Jivey!

Congratulations to the winners of my new products! Thanks for pinning!
Krista-Reading With Post-Its II
Elizabeth-Mastering Division Facts Incentive Program
Michelle-Building Words

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Make Up Work Folder

It's Tuesday which means it's time for TRIED IT Tuesday with my BBB Holly!!!
I present to you a VERY simple and VERY effective tool I use in my classroom:
I have about 6 of these folders laminated and ready to go when a student is absent.
Group members are responsible for getting a folder for any absent group members.
This bright yellow folder sits on the absent students' desks and collects any handouts that are given that day.
Directions are included inside the folder. Most importantly, the directions state there may be additional work that is not located in the folder (tests, reading assignment, writing, etc.) It is the absent student's responsibility to find out.
I've been using these folders since almost the beginning of my teaching career (17 years and I'm only 25!) and I LOVE THEM! Such a simple tool to keep absent students' desks organized with make up work! It's also a great visual: when I see a student missing from their desk...and I see a yellow folder-I know they're absent!
This is a super easy system to implement in your classroom and it basically runs itself!
Happy Tuesday Friends!
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