Friday, August 31, 2012

Brain Breaks, Fake Reading and Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Brain Breaks-
Well, our grade level is heavy on the boy side. I have 8 girls and 15 boys. I am on a quest for brain break ideas that are not so hokey that they make me cringe. Some, I have seen are just too much!
I did find a few good ones so far.  Here are the links to the two we have tried.
The Sid Shuffle!
My kids are cracking me up! I watched them walking to lunch doing some of the moves. 
Even during our science investigation...I say a few Sid moves! Too funny.

My other one....
Gotcha My students loved this one!!! Of course, we had to stop and talk about the safe way to do a brain break!
Anyone have some more brain breaks for me?

Fake Reading (sorta long...)
I've been reading, Comprehension Connections-Bridges to Strategic Reading. I love it!
I started with reading a section of my, Engaged Students, book to my student and then having them critiquing my reading ability.
Some comments...
"You really didn't stop long at periods."
"You backed up and fixed your mistake."
"I think you skipped words." (I didn't...just hard words for fifth grader.)
"You tried to make it interesting, but it wasn't."
When they were finished, my students had wide eyes and an open mouth as I told them I had no idea what I had just read. I really did not remember what I had just read!
I also asked them what was hanging out of my book...sticky notes. I explained that I HAD to have them! I HAVE to make notes while I am reading....especially this book! I also explained that I have to stop and think about what I am reading or I'm making grocery lists, thinking about what I need to get done, gotta get the laundry folded, lesson plans...
I asked if any of them had ever done any fake reading? Nervous shifting from my students. You could almost see what was circling in their head...Is this a trick question? How are we supposed to answer this? I let them off the hook and told them that I have fake read before! Huge eyes and more nervous shifting. It happens! From that point on...we made a pact not to fake read anymore!
In comes metacognition!

So, as our activity, I gave each student the poem, Jelly Beans Up My Nose by Jeff Moss. I then told them they had to highlight at least 5 sentences that spoke to them...metacognition. Out to the side of the line, they had to create a thought bubble of something that came to mind while they were reading.

Next day, 3 to a group, a picture book and 6+ thought bubbles while they read.  I posted thinking stems for them to use.

Tuesday, we talk about schema!

And finally...
Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

With all the boys in my class and the area where we live...Little League Baseball is big!
Our first math project was "Take Me Out to the Ballgame!" I found this fabulous Glog! I created a sheet to go with it.

You could also use Excel or Numbers to have students create a spreadsheet.  The goal was to spend as close to $175 without going over. One of my boys got to $174, but said he gave a tip to the concession stand workers to make it $175! Love it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Week...So far

So, I sent my daughter off to fourth grade! Of course, she had her cute
gift basket for each teacher. 

It's been a busy 3 days. I have a wonderful class!
For the first day, I took a picture of each student holding "1st Day of 5th Grade" frame.  The pictures turned out super cute. Gotta love them for open house!

Lot's of getting to know you activities. Here is a new one (for me at least) that my students are doing this year. Saw this know how that this link-head to that link-over to the next link and then...where did I see that?
Anyway, the activity my students are working on is My Life in Numbers!
Here is my example. It's not due until Friday. I can't wait to see what they come up with for their poster.

I started math stations today. My students did a great job! We set up our expectations. Even though, one of the stations was to be with me, I had them sit at the table and work on designing their math notebook while I walked around monitoring. After each rotation, we came back as a whole group and debriefed. By the fourth rotation, all was smooth! What really floored me was that 20/24 students had never been to! They loved it!
Let's see how tomorrow goes!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Working in Room and Preparing Presentations

I know...long post...
I think I'm making up for lost time.
Be sure to scroll all the way down. I'm adding a new portion to my posts..

So, having said that...What a crazy 2 weeks!
I feel like a big least in regard to my blog. Not in regard to school. I had to help prepare 4 presentations for our faculty!
My room had to be completely ready, due to the fact that it was used for a professional development sessions.  Mission accomplished!
One of the sessions I presented was on science notebooks. It went really well. I was really excited about the last piece on "Getting to know your Who" using the Saving Sam investigation. Only one teacher, out of...oh I don't know...maybe 100 had ever seen the activity. They had a great time being the student and taking on the challenge of Saving Sam.

Now, that those are behind me...I'm working on  the first week of school.
I'm finally posting some pictures of my room.
This area is right by my door. It's the sign out area. Sign out board and sign out folder.
The board is for me to quickly see who is out of the room. As a grade level, we require the students to sign a folder when leaving the room. Unfortunately, we have had bathroom issues with our fifth graders. This documents the time they leave the room and the time they return.

The back board is divided into 3 sections. The right side is for my math groups. The middle is where I will post my Words Their Way groups and the right side is guided reading groups.
I love my magnetic Lakeshore Learning pockets. Those are the red, blue, green and not shown, yellow pockets. I place handouts in those for various rotations.
We start the year off with poetry. This is my poetry corner/Word Work area.
I have my poetry pots filled with magnetic words so the students can create poems on the pans.
Poetry Pots are from Fourth Grade Frolics Monday Made It #4. Great idea!
My anchor chart is ready for student input!
I post their morning routine here so they know exactly what to do each morning. 

Turn in work area!
Love the idea of highlighting their name before they turn in their work. I also included highlighting their class number. I require my students to place that on their paper for filing purposes. 

Tomorrow evening, we have Meet the Teacher. I can't wait to meet my precious darlings!

 I've already started getting to know my students. On my webpage, I posted a link to Wallwishers. Love this site! This site allows a person to post a virtual sticky note on a wall. I asked my students to post their favorite board game and favorite app. So, tomorrow when (insert student's name) comes up to me, I can talk to that student about their favorite app or board game.

Option 2 for a sticky note wall...just learned about this one...

Let me know how you have used these or might use these in your classroom?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Create a Stickman!

Another first week of school activity! Create a stickman!
I found this fun interactive site that takes you through a story where you must draw the next event. First, they must create their own stickman or woman.
As the story progresses, you'll notice letters begin to appear. Ahhh...what will they spell?

At the end of's the great allows you to customize your own message. Now, it is a very limited message as in 16 characters per line...2 lines.
So, here's what I'm thinking. What if you created four or five different ones with the link? Post the links so the students can access them.
Divide students into groups and have them interact with the site. After the teams watch their video, have them share the message. Discuss how these relate to room ____(insert your room #) ____ .
"Dream Big"
"Take Risks"
"Be Creative"
"Inclusion, Not exclusion"

They can share by creating a Looks Like/Sounds Like poster. Post them around the room!
Check out iLearn Technology for some more really great ways to use this site in your classroom.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Getting to Know Your "Who"

Our district has been working with the Schlechty Center for about 4 maybe 5 years now.
The Schlechty Center is all about getting to know your "Who" and student engagement.
This isn't anything new.  This is best practices!

What I'm curious about is...
How do you get to know the "Who" that walk through your door each year?
Here are a few of my favorite ways I get to know my students.

One of my first day activities always includes students working in cooperative groups.  I just sit back and observe! Very telling! My favorite is the marble ramp activity. I think I'm going to switch to the Saving Fred gummy worm activity this year.

6 Word Memoir (Thanks, Alma) Love this!
This teaches the power of word choice. 

Bioglyphs-Students create a face diagram. Each characteristic represents a bit of information about the student. It's a fun way for students to share a little bit about themselves with their peers.

Buddy Venn Diagrams

How do you get to know your...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Must Have for Reading Workshop Linky

I'm linking up with Lindsay, over at My Life as a Third Grade Teacher, for her first linky party. It's all about the must-haves for your reading/writing workshop.

For me...
1. The obvious, a wide range of books. My school is so fortunate to have a fabulous guided reading room. Teachers can go to the GR room and check out as many leveled readers as needed for their students.

2. I always keep these on hand. When I'm meeting with individual students to discuss the book they are reading, I will give them a sheet to help focus their reading. When I meet with them again, we discuss their sheet.
3. Spinners for my guided reading groups. Every now and then, I'll pull these out for a bit of novelty.

4. Reading Workshop Binder- In my binder I keep student information... a student's 504-if they have one, anecdotal notes, running records, reading conference notes, reading interest inventories and a calendar to keep track of meetings with each student.

Head over to Lindsay's page and add your favorite must-haves for reading/writing workshop.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Class Theme Continues

Lights, Camera, Learn!
Last year, it started with a few things "movie" related. This year the theme continues. I'll go up to school tomorrow to start working in my room. I did sneak in a few weeks ago to get a few things. My room was sooo clean and the floors were sooo shiny!

I created a few items to make my live easier this year.

These are my math group cards that I post on my board. Popcorn shaped cards with a student's name will be under the team card.
My board is magnetic, so these all have magnets on the back.
Since, I do small group instruction for math, I move my students in and out of groups based on interest or how quickly they catch on to a concept. Magnets make it quick and easy for movement!
These are some of my math station rotation cards. Last year, I wrote them on paper. Way too many trees used! Magnets are attached to the back of these cards.
My students love to rotate the cards. I should make it a class job!

I'll post more pictures.
I'm trying to convince my husband I need a stage in my classroom!
How fun would that be?!!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fake Texts and the Classroom

You've seen these everywhere... Facebook, Pinterest, and many other places. Fake texts!
Why not use them in the classroom?
Have students create a text . . .
recommending a book to a friend,
multiplication sign talking to a division sign,
a historical figure to another historical figure, or
2 scientists talking!

Go to I Fake Text to have your students create their own screen shot.
They are free!

CRZ idea!

Thanks to Dr. Roland Rios over at Rios Cyber Cafte.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stump the Class..."Mustache" Style!

Farley over at Oh' Boy Fourth having a mustache linky party. How fun!

I "Mustache" you a Question!
Have you ever played "Stump the Class" with your students?
We're going to do it this year, but with a bit more style...
mustache style. 

Every so often, I play "Stump the Class" with my students. After we have covered a skill/concept,  I post question frames for my students to use so they can create questions to ask the class. What a great way to assess the class and no prep work for me!

Now, we are going to do it with a mustache! Much more sophisticated!

You can link to the document on my TPT page. It's free!
Let me know what you think.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Stocking Up at Dollar Tree

Magic Grow and Science

I love-love-love Magic Grow Capsules and Magic Grow Animals/Insects! I just went to the Dollar Tree to stock up on these oh-so-fun toys. Not to mention...they are cheap! Gotta love a cheap science investigation.

These grow capsules are great for the first week of school to introduce the scientific method and processes. 

I give students a choice on their testable question. This is also how I group my students, based on interest. 

3 choices...

Does the temperature of the water affect the rate of growth?
Does stirring the water affect the rate of growth?
Does the type of water, salt or tap, affect the rate of growth?

We also discuss advertising. The Magic Grow animals claim to grows up to 400% the size. Is this a true claim? What does 400% look like compared to original size?

It's a fun investigation to get the science notebooks started!

What is your favorite first week investigation?