Friday, April 25, 2014

Finding the Main Idea and Details: Through Close Reads

My students have become pros at close reading! So proud of them!

This lesson was a big kids were engaged throughout the whole process. Currently, we are focusing on informational text and our theme for this unit is innovation. We've been discussing innovations in regards to technology, transportation, communication & media, medicine, and engineering. I pulled an article from Achieve 3000 (my school site has a subscription to this program) that related to last weeks topic of communication & media. A little side note: Achieve 3000 is a great site packed with nonfiction text/articles which are differentiated to the student's reading level.

I started the lesson off with discussing the learning objective... to get the gist and determine the main idea in the Achieve 3000 article about an innovative idea that helps people communicate.

There are many different ways to annotate while close reading and depending upon what the focus of the lesson is, I have changed it up a bit. For this lesson, I used and charted the following close read strategies:

  1. Read the entire text, without stopping to get the "flow."
  2. Read a second time circling important and unfamiliar words. Write the main idea for each section or paragraph along the margin of your text.

I gave my students a few minutes to read the article independently first for the flow.

The second read was devoted to circling important or unfamiliar words and writing the main idea for each section (paragraph) in the margin of their paper. For my struggling readers, I broke the article down into specific "chunks" and gave them a large index card to cover and isolate their focus on the smaller chunks. I'm fortunate to have a teacher's aide everyday (I know practically unheard of in 5th grade!) and I had her work with a few of the focus students who needed the extra support while I facilitated the lesson.

Once they finished their second read and jotted down the main idea of each section,  I gave them a few minutes to write down what they thought the main idea for the whole text was. Next, they shared their main idea with their table partner and gave evidence in the article that helped them come up with the main idea. We came back as a whole group and a few students shared their thoughts. Together we came up and charted the main idea of the text.

Now it was time to get them walking around and discussing! I had them strategically placed in groups...I drew a colored line on the top of their article...this made it super easy for them to get into their groups. I pulled and charted details from the article (some were important details that connected to the main idea and other details weren't as important to the main idea). They did a "gallery walk" using post it notes to explain/make a case on whether or not the detail was important and connected to the main idea of the article. As I walked around I heard a lot of great discussions! Especially if there was a was great to hear them making their case.

Once they made it to all the posters, we debriefed on what details were important and how the details connected to the main idea.

post signature

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Year of Sundays Photo Project!

I heart photography and love being creative and seeking out photos that aren't the usual suspects. I'm working on this project with my blogging friend Heather over at Loose Shoelaces. I always look forward to sharing our photos and creating the diptychs. Once the year is over, I am going to make a nifty photo book with all of our diptychs.  It will be such a fun little book...a glimpse into both our lives for a whole year on Sundays.

I've gotten WAY behind in my blogging. This seems to be a recurring thing for me...hahaha! I have a ton of things I want to blog about and I told myself I would catch up during Spring Break. Well, Spring Break has come and gone.

Check out the last six weeks of our images!
Heather's shot is always on the left and my shot is always on the right. It's fun to see the similarities and differences in our shots each week. We never discuss what we will be shooting...the only criteria is it takes place on Sunday!

March 16, 2014
Coffee and Brussels Sprouts

March 23, 2014
Sky and Earth

March 31, 2014
Gardening and Shooting

April 6, 2014
Tree and Tea

April 13, 2014
Donuts and Poppies

April 20, 2014
Easter Eggs and Frozen Yogurt

post signature

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fun with Photosynthesis

This will be a short and sweet post :)

My students really enjoyed making their photosynthesis diagrams. I think they turned out great! It didn't take long and added a bit of fun and creativity to our unit.

post signature

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Currently...April!!! Whoohoo!

The school year has flown by!! I can't believe I have only 2 months left with my sweet 5th graders. A little sad...I really love this group. Now time to link up with Oh Boy Fourth Grades Currently Linky!

Listening: Nothing exciting goin' on here...just listening to the world around me. My pooches barking at nothing, the train that I usually have tuned out because I'm so used to it and the wind. Our weather has been really weird lately. One day it is in the 80's, the next day brings rain, today it's super windy. Not to mention last Friday we had a little earthquake that had my house rocking' and rollin'. It wasn't too big, a 5.1,  but we were a few miles from the epicenter and it was a bit nerve wracking. We actually had pictures fall off the walls, drawers opened up, knick knacks fell.  A water main near our home even burst. I hear the aftershocks are a good thing, helps relieve the stress and lessens another big earthquake.  However, they still make me really uneasy. I heard today that Chile experienced an 8.0 earthquake, which makes what I experienced a little less traumatic. I pray everyone in Chile is ok. I can't even fathom what that would be like. Got off on a little tangent...haha. See there ya go, now it is raining, yes raining. I hear the water drops...and this weekend we are back to highs in the 80's. Gotta love California. :)

Loving: We rescued another adorable Dachshund! We now have three little pooches running around our home.  He is 3 years old and came to us with the name Russell. We didn't feel Russell suited him, so we changed his name to Clyde. He gets along great with our other pups and is really such a sweet boy.  We have rescued all our little guys and have had the best luck with them. I'm such a proponent of rescuing dogs. Now we have Hans (aka Hansy) who is 10, Buster who is 6, and 3 year old Clyde. I guess you could say we are the crazy dog peeps, but I wouldn't have it any other way. These little guys bring us so much love and joy!

Thinking: My birthday is coming up and my husband has a surprise for me! He has told me the following: We will be heading out during the early evening and be getting home quite late. We will be in Malibu, but not on the beach/near the beach. the mountains??? I'm stumped!

Wanting: Spring break seems so far out of my reach! I'm so jealous of everyone who already had or currently is enjoying their spring break. My two week countdown has officially started!

Needing: This kinda ties in with the above. I need a long vacation of just relaxing. You know, on a nice warm sandy beach, relaxing in a hammock while reading a great book.  A place where I can disconnect from all this tech more phones, texting, fb, instagram, tv, etc. That sounds like heaven to me.

Hours and Last Day: I get to work at the 6:30 am, crazy, right?!?! I have quite a commute, so leaving early in the morning means I am not stuck in traffic for hours. I actually like getting to work in the early morning because no one else is on campus and I can get a lot done. School gets out at 2:19 and I am out the doors by 2:30. Unless of course I have a meeting with a parent or admin. I figure I get there super early and get all my work done, so why stay after school? We teachers also have lives! Our last day of school is June 5th!! Looking forward to summer vacation, but I am definitely sad that this group of students will be moving on. In my 7 years of teaching they are by far the sweetest, most thoughtful, eager learners I have ever had the pleasure to teach!
post signature