Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Treats

Tis' the season for creepy-crawly, spooky treats!

In our class, we chose to have a Halloween party with a creepy theme; complete with me and my cooperating teacher dressing up as mad scientists! It's sure to be a spooktacular event!

I wanted to create a simple but cute treat for my class. We have wonderful parent volunteers that are creating so many delicious and spooky themed treats. I wanted to keep it simple, but add a unique touch!

These were so simple to create! 

I bought a few bags of Blow-Pops, a pack of googly eyes, and a few bags of pipe cleaners.  Each spider requires two, full size pipe cleaners. I cut them in half, and wrapped the four individual pipe cleaners around the stick. After they were wrapped around, I bent the legs into feet. As a finishing touch, I glued on the eyes! TA-DA!

Okay. Ill admit they are more cute then spooky..... but I can't help myself! I hope my students love them as much as I do! 

Figurative Language Poster Creation

As is evident by my blog posts lately, we have been hard at work on learning how to use figurative language to enhance our writing. We have spent about a month going through the writers crafts and learning how to use them effectively. I wanted to create a means to go back and review all of these wonderful ideas, as well as a means for the students to see them in the room and pull ideas from them into their own writing. 

This idea is rather similar to the game of musical chairs. I created posters, each with a type of figurative language posted in the center. I hung the posters all over the classroom. The more you spread the posters out, the better luck you will have with this lesson. 

I broke the students up into groups of about 4 students per group. I then handed them each a marker, and instructed them to stand by a designated poster. I explained to them that this game would work a lot like musical chairs. When the music plays, they would need to write as many examples of that particular form of figurative language as they could on the poster. The key here is they must try not to repeat any on the poster. When the music stops playing, they must quickly move to the next poster. 

I even chose a "figurative language rap" song that I found on YouTube to play as the music during this activity. My students LOVED this activity and did so well with it! These posters will hang in our classroom and will be a great tool to spark ideas when they need to spice up their writing. They look great!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tall Tales

This week in reading, we have been focusing on tall tales.
 My students are absolutely engrossed in the unit. They love laughing at the hyperbole and imagining the lives of these tall tale characters. I took a trip to the public library this week to get "a few" tall tales books. I find that although the students get a good feel from the tall tales in their reading anthology, I want them to get to experience many writing styles of all the wonderful authors out there! My trip to the library for "a few" books turned into me struggling down the library stairs with a stack 10+ books high. What can I say, I got carried away. I was even able to snag a few different DVD's to cater to my visual learners. 

The kids begged me each day to read another one. I love seeing them excited about learning! I made sure to place all of the books across the whiteboard and they were certainly the hot commodity to read during silent reading. They were so disappointed to see them go at the end of the week when they were due back at the library. My little bookworms love to read

So to conclude our wonderful unit on tall tales, I wanted them to write their very own! Keeping in mind the hyperbole usage, character traits, and setting of the tall tales we read, my writers got to work. What they came up with was amazing. To make this experience even more exciting, I put an emphasis on the tall part of tall tales.

 I brought in receipt paper from a local restaurant (as a side note, all restaurant depot stores carry this tape) and created two clouds. We wrote our tall tales on this very skinny paper, henceforth creating some very tall tales. I love how they turned out! 

The students were hovered around the bulletin board in the hallway laughing at the hyperboles their peers had incorporated into their writing. It was certainly a hit with my class!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Park Sign Kiosk

What better way to get students engaged in their learning then to put them completely in charge of it? With this activity, students become tour guides and park rangers for your particular state.

We spent some time this week reviewing what we know about our great state of Michigan. The students took time to reflect upon what they have learned in third and fourth grade. It is important to recap these things and it can be a lot of fun doing so!

I wanted to do something different with the students'. I didn't want to pull out a worksheet and ask them to fill in a map of Michigan. Although these types of activities can be quite effective, my students have already learned this material and needed a refresher. I wanted a way to differentiate their learning.

I created a park sign kiosk that they would be in charge of decorating with facts and information about Michigan. Almost all of the students have been to a welcome center or a rest stop of any given state. Inside many of these locations is a kiosk that tells information and attractions about the area. I wanted them to create this for their own state! I explained that they would work in pairs to conduct research on given topics (trade, resources, attractions, bodies of water, etc...). Once complete, they would present their information to the class and we would display the kiosk in the hallway for passerby's to view.

After displaying our beautiful creation this week in our hallway, we had a visiting kindergarden class come by to learn a bit about their state! I love that my students got to see their hard work being used as a teaching tool for younger students. 

Onomatopoeia Comics

Have I mentioned how creative my kiddos are!? I could shout it from the rooftop! They never seize to amaze me with their ideas and passion for learning. They remind me why I love my job so much. I love watching them learn.

In writing, we have been working on our writers crafts. We have been trying to enhance our own writing by adding figurative language to engage our audience. Today, we focused on onomatopoeias.

 I introduced the lesson by reviewing what we already knew about the craft. In fifth and sixth grade, a lot of the things we are focusing on in writing is review. Most of my students have a pretty good handle on the idea. We talked about where we see onomatopoeias most often. They responded by saying things like, "children's books", "captions", and "comics". We centered our focus on the latter.

Some many of my students are so interested in comic books. I decided this was a wonderful way to incorporate this! I gave the students each a blank comic consisting of a variety of frames. They were in charge of creating a comic using onomatopoeias! One onomatopoeias had to be present in each frame. They turned out wonderfully! 

I gave them mine as an example:

The students' had so much fun reading their peers comics in the hallway. I loved hearing them standing outside my door reading the onomatopoeias with such emotion! "BANG! BOOM! CRASH!"
The hallway has been filled with figurative language excitement.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Can Statements

I think it is imperative to have students be involved in their own learning. It is one thing to perform well on a test or quiz, but to be able to take away the big idea after the lesson is over

For this reason, I love the idea of "I Can" Statements. These statements are student-friendly versions of Common Core Content Standards. For example, if the CCCS is "compare two decimals to the thousanths place based on the meaning of the digit in each place" , the I can statement is "I can read, write, and compare decimals to the thousandths". These " I Can" statements can be easliy found on Teachers pay Teachers to correlate with your particular grade level. Many of the versions even show what CCCS the statement correlates to. 

I have begun to implement these into my lessons! What better way to open a lesson than to allow the students to understand what they should walk away understanding?  I wanted to create a system where I could easily display the statements and the students could read them daily. I also wanted to be able to easily interchange the statements as we move from standard to standard. This got my creativity flowing.

I created a hanging chart for my board! 

I found colorful scrapbook paper, listed each of my subjects, and left a empty strip where I could continue the statement, "I can:". I laminated the paper so that I could write and erase with a Expo marker. This chart hangs at the side of my board. I takes up very little space which I adore. I list the statements correlating to the CCCS we will cover that particular day.  I caught a peek of a few of my boys gathered around it today trying to guess what our writing lesson would be about. I love that they are so excited to learn