Saturday, February 22, 2014

Five for Friday the Saturday Edition

This week has been hectic to say the least!
Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

This is what made for a hectic week:

This was the FUN part of my week! Two of our afternoons were filled with science experiments and my kids loved every minute of it! We were finishing up our physical science unit, I will be posting about all this awesomeness later on this week.

After three years, I finally upgraded my phone. Yup, you read that right...3 years...I'm not one to care too much about having the latest and greatest technology gadget/phone. The only reason I upgraded was because my Driod was dying. I've always been a mac girl and now that Verizon sells iPhones, it was the only way to go. I'm lovin' the bright green color!

The not so fun part of my week: physical therapy. For the past two months, I've had some pretty painful knee problems. I kept thinking the pain would go away. After 2 months, I decided it was probably time to go to the orthopedic surgeon. The doctor believes something is wrong with my patella and the tracking and has sent me to  physical therapy 3 days a week for 2 months. Friday was my first visit. A bit painful, but my physical therapist is very friendly and I am hoping my knee heals. Walking with a limp and having to take the steps one at a time is no fun.
This pile of papers is just getting bigger and bigger as the week progresses. I never have time at school to grade papers and when I bring them home, they just seem to pile up. I really need to get on the ball with grading, because report cards are due next week. 
My boys always put a smile on my face! 

Now it's time to relax!

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Determining Point of View: Close Reading

Again using our main text, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, my students read closely to determine the point of view. In their ela notebooks they were to write down a quote to show the story is told from the first person point of view. Once the quote was written down, they circled 1 to 3 words in the quote that signal the first person point of view.

 I had them pair share and discuss why they thought the author chose to write the book from the first person point of view. As a class, we discussed what we gain from the first person point of view and what we lose. They struggled a bit on what we lose when a story is told in the first person point of view. It definitely had them thinking! It was great to see them refer back to the text and pull out specific examples that supported their thoughts on what we gain as readers, as well as, what we lose.

They then blogged what they wrote/discussed on their individual blogs within our class blog. The blog has been such a motivator! Especially for my students who aren't too fond of writing.


***I've been using a curriculum guide created by the amazing teachers at Curriculum Specialists blog.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Examining Characters: Close Reading

This lesson went so well! My students were really engaged throughout the lesson and made me proud. It was wonderful to see them discussing amongst each other and reverting back through their text (Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson) to find the evidence!

I had them draw a quick sketch of how the envisioned the main character. Around their sketch they wrote down four-five words (character traits) that described what the character was like. Earlier in the year, we had a mini-lesson on character traits and it was awesome to see them pull out their interactive ela notebooks to reference the character trait list. Below the sketch they had to pull out a specific quote from the novel that supported each word. Most of my students were able to do this, however, I did have some students who struggled. I think they tend to get overwhelmed and didn't understand the process of scanning the book. I decided to have them stop and pair share with their partner what they wrote (I felt this would help those who may have been struggling).

The lesson continued with my students examining two of the supporting characters. You can check out the chart below for the questions.

I must say, this lesson really had my students thinking and constantly referring back to the text. As I walked around, I was able to quickly assess who needed extra support and who had it. Having them pull out quotes was a great way to have them use evidence from the text to support their statements/thoughts.

***I've been using a curriculum guide created by the amazing teachers at Curriculum Specialists blog.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

3 Dimensional Atom Projects


Three dimensional atoms!! They turned out fabulous! One of my students even created a moveable atom. Their creativity never ceases to amaze me! 

My students chose an element they were interested in researching and created Element Wanted posters (I posted about this project yesterday). They used the same element and research to create their 3-D model. I love how all my kids tried and worked with the resources they had available to them. They turned these in last Friday and this coming week they will be presenting their atoms to the class. 

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Analyzing Primary Source Documents: Close Reading

This is a short and to the point post! I know I've mentioned a few times how I love reading the novel Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson. I'm so excited that we get to use the novel as our main text and every student in my class received a copy of the book. This makes close reading so much easier! I love how the author included a primary resource at the beginning of each chapter. I've been able to incorporate those resources throughout language arts and social studies.

For this lesson, I had my students close read a particular primary source in the beginning of the novel. I had them pair share and discuss their thoughts and answers to the charted questions. Then they wrote their answers in their ELA notebooks. Since the beginning of the school year, I have gone over the importance of finding evidence within the text/passage to support their answers/thoughts. It was wonderful to see them doing this in their responses.


***I've been using a curriculum guide created by the amazing teachers at Curriculum Specialists blog.
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Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Year of Sundays: Collaborative Photo Project

Super excited to embark on not one, but two photography projects! This world of blogging has been amazing and I have met so many wonderful teachers. One of those teachers is Heather over at Loose Shoelaces. We both share a love for photography and all things vintage (she definitely has better style than me!)

Our first project is titled A Year of Sundays. Yes, that's right folks, I said a year! Every Sunday, we will have our cameras in tow and capture our lives on a typical Sunday. Basically capturing the beauty that surrounds our every day lives in a unique and creative way. We will create a diptych  each week with both our images. Heather's image will always be on the left and mine on the right. Over the course of the year, it will be pretty nifty to see of any similarities that may happen within our images (like this week, we both had outdoor photos).

I know the main focus of my blog is for teaching purposes, but I have three passions in life... teaching, traveling, and photography and sometimes it's just too difficult to separate them!

Our diptychs for last week and this week:

February 9, 2014

February 16, 2014

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America's Most Wanted: Element Posters

We've wrapped up our atom/element unit with Wanted Posters. They turned out great! This is the second year in a row I've had my kids work on this activity and they absolutely love it. I also think it is a great way to make what can be a difficult concept/topic a little more meaningful and easier to grasp.

I had each student choose an element that they were interested in researching. I told them to choose carefully because they would also be constructing a 3-D model of an atom using the same element (you can check out their projects here). Which actually makes life easier for them, since they don't have to research two different elements. They become an expert on their chosen element.

I did have a few little "Word document study groups" during recess and lunch to help most of my students with the format. They've used Word to type their essays...but text boxes, inserting photos, adding color, etc. was a whole new ball game!

I love how each student entered the required information, but then made it their own. I love the Radium poster with the little box on the bottom that says "If you have any information contact:xxxxx." Most added rewards, love their creativity.

The icing on the cake, was the next day when they saw the impromptu bulletin board I made on the outside wall in our hallway. They were beyond excited...pointing out to each other which poster was theirs! Don't you just love that?! ?!

Once I figure out how to get Google Docs going, I will link a copy of the directions and rough draft student copy for the project. In the meantime, if you are interested and want a copy, give me your email address and I will send it to ya!


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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Discovering Imagery: Close Reading with Main Text: Chains

This trimester, my literacy unit is centered around the theme of "conflict." I am incorporating opinion writing (Common Core) while using the novel Chains By Laurie Halse Anderson. I created a plan that encompasses read alouds, guided reading, word work, writing, etc. Chains is a historical fiction novel that takes place during the American Revolution. Which happens to be a 5th grade social studies standard! I love being able to incorporate standards across the curriculum! It's great because my students are able to really grasp and make sense of the story because it relates to what we are learning in social studies.

Last week I taught a close read lesson on Discovering Imagery which related to our Chains novel. I charted a few passages from the text that produced a strong/bold image in our minds. I had the students read the passages and then asked them to draw a simple sketch of what image/images came to mind with those two passages. As a class we discussed what parts of those excerpts made them so powerful.

Then I gave them their task which was to find their own passage from the first five chapters that we read, which produced strong imagery in their minds. They were to copy the passage in their ELA journal, draw a simple sketch, and explain why that passage was so powerful to them. I gave them a few minutes to work on this and then had them pair share with a partner the passages they chose. Once they were done sharing with each other, I asked a few volunteers to share their passages/thoughts with the class.

The activity was a bit challenging for my group of students, but they made me proud! I loved how some of them realized that a strong image doesn't always have to come from figurative language (metaphor/simile/etc.) As I walked around the room and listened to their discussions and explanations they were right on point! 

Since we don't have time for every student to share their chosen passage and thoughts, I asked them to post the activity to their blog. I have a classroom blog through Kidblog and we use it all the time. I post discussion threads for them to think about and respond to. Each student also has a blog within our class blog to which they can make their own posts. It's been such a great way to get the students engaged! They love responding to their peers.

***I've been using a curriculum guide created by the amazing teachers at Curriculum Specialists blog.
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Fraction Anchor Charts

I thought I would share some nifty anchor charts I created for fraction concepts. I definitely can't take the credit for them, they were Google and Pinterest finds. My students loved them and referred to them throughout our fraction unit.

Unfortunately, I forgot what sight I found the above chart on. I know I googled it, but didn't write down the info. I'd love to give credit where credit is due, so I shall keep looking and add the link once I find it.
 The website were I found the above anchor chart has a lot of great math anchor chart ideas! 

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