Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Scaredy Squirrel Christmas!

Well, we had such a great time with our other Scaredy Squirrel activities that I made a few more for that LONG, and eventful week we have before our Christmas break.  Just a few fun things to keep them occupied!


Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Show, Not Tell

I love teaching the kids how to use show, not tell in their writing, but sometimes it is so HARD for them to get!  When they finally understand what it is and how to use it, their writing is AMAZING, and I love that.
Here are a few things we did this week to help us with show, not tell!

I explained what show, not tell means by reading some examples from some familiar books we have used this year.  A few great books we looked at were-

How Many Days To America?
by-Eve Bunting
Great example: "A part is broken that cannot be fixed," my father told my mother, and her face twisted the way it did when she closed the door of our home for the last time.

by- Julie Brinkloe
 Great example: I held the jar, dark and empty, in my hands.  The moonlight and the fireflies swam in my tears, but I could feel myself smiling.

Baseball Saved Us
by- Ken Mochizuki
Great example: Teddy got up, kicked the crate he was sitting on, and walked away. 
There were a lot of other examples in these books as well as others, but we really focused on these examples.
After trying show, not tell for a couple days, they were still struggling with it a little bit.  I was searching for ideas on how to help them and came across an anchor chart on Pinterest.  Here is my example-
We acted out some of these and discussed how we could add them to our writing.  They wanted their own copy to refer to, so I made a little 1/2 sheet for them to add to their writer's notebooks. (The class was so excited about this!)
To reinforce show, not tell and practice it together a little bit more, we used this flipchart:
(a few pages of the flipchart are shown below)


I was so excited to see that they were understanding show, not tell and using it in their writing.  I was so moved by one student's writing, that I asked him if I could share it. 
This is a little sample:
One day, when I was in kindergarten, I went to school.  My dog was really sick.  When I got home, a pile of dirt was in my backyard. I told my mom. My mom said our dog died.  I thought she was kidding. But she was not.  I laughed a little bit and then I looked at the dirt.  Then, I believed my mom and tears came out of my eyes.
WOW!  I thought that was an amazing first attempt at using show, not tell!  I was so proud, and so was the rest of the class when I read it.  They were silent...totally into the story.  It made a big impression on them and they couldn't wait to get started on their own stories!

Prefixes and Suffixes!

This week we were learning a few prefixes and suffixes! We introduced the lesson with an anchor chart.

Here is a super cute flipchart I found on Promethean Planet. It uses Mr. Potato Head to explain the root word, prefixes and suffixes.  The class loved it! It includes a short quiz at the end. We used our ActivExpressions for this!


We then made these flipbooks to add to our reader's notebooks.  We used the books to quiz partners on prefixes and suffixes. 
 As one of our reviews we completed this page:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Reviewing with Scaredy Squirrel!

We only had two days of school the week of Thanksgiving, and I didn't want to introduce a new concept before our little vacation.  I decided to review a few of the things we have learned this year and use the book Scaredy Squirrel to do it!  I love that book.  It makes me laugh every time I read it!

If you don't know this book, you need to read it.  The kids LOVE it!  I thought this would be a fun way to review.

We started off reading the first Scaredy Squirrel book. During reading, we wrote our schema, connections, thinking, and questions.


 We were learning about adjectives the week before, so we then listed adjectives to desribe Scaredy Squirrel.
We also talked about some of Scaredy Squirrel's character traits....because he has some interesting traits!  We listed a few on this page, but they also had to give me some evidence from the story to support their character traits.


After talking about character traits and adjectives, we moved on to writing synonyms and antonyms for those character traits and adjectives.

I think the class favorite was making the emergency kit.  We discussed each of Scaredy Squirrel's items in his emergency kit and why he had them.  We shared some of the things that we were afraid of and what we could use to help us with that.  Then, the students made their own emergency kit!  They also had to write why they put each item in their emergency kit.  This was FUN!
Here's an example:

We also looked at some of the other Scaredy Squirrel books.  One of our favorites was Scaredy Squirrel at Night!  Here are few of the other Scaredy Squirrel titles by Melanie Watt.

After reading a few more Scaredy Squirrel books, we made some predictions about Scaredy Squirrel and what Scaredy Squirrel might do next.

Melanie Watt has an awesome website dedicated to Scaredy Squirrel:
We looked at this site and viewed some of the short video clips, games and printables.  There is also a free Scaredy Squirrel App!!
I posted their work next to our GIANT Scaredy Squirrel.  I'm thinking he will stay on the wall all year...we might review with him again!

The students also went home with their own Scaredy Squirrel bookmark!
 We loved reviewing with Scaredy Squirrel!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing Workshop: Publishing!

We have been working really hard this week on fixing up our stories for publishing.  I found myself saying the SAME thing over and over about everything they needed to do to publish their stories.  I decided we needed some anchor charts, AND a checklist so I wouldn't go crazy!

I started Here:
They worked with their writing partners to fix up their stories.

Some reminders of the things we have been working on in class!

Once they fix up the words,they start on the pictures and the cover for their published story.

These anchor charts are great, but the kids were still bringing me stories that didn't have everything we had discussed.  This is when the checklist came in!  They were very excited to use the "professional" checklist to help them stay on track while publishing....just like a real author.
When we finish publishing...hopefully tomorrow, we will have our publishing party and all the author's will get to share their stories!  My favorite day!

I also made this new conferencing chart to help me keep track of who I have met with and what they need help with.  I really like the bottom portion where I can take notes about future mini-lessons based on how many students need help and in what area they need help. So far this form is working out great!

Happy Publishing! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Inferring With Poetry

In my class we have been working on inferring for a couple weeks.  This week we had a great time making inferences using poetry.  The class LOVED it...and so did I! 

I didn't come up with this awesome idea....I got it from Debbie Miller's book, Reading With Meaning.

I started the lesson by reading a few poems from this book:

Beast Feast
I love this book!  I use it throughout the year to teach different reading concepts...inferring is one of them.  This book has short poems about animals.  I read the poems to the class, but leave out the name of the animal and keep the picture of the animal hidden.  They had to talk with a partner to infer what animal the poem was about.  They also had to tell me what evidence they heard in the poem to support their inference.  We had a GREAT time with this!
Then, we moved on to our inferring with poetry page.  I demonstrated how to use the poem to underline clues and write possible guesses.  Then, the students were given their own poem to make inferences on their own.  This was also a big hit!
Here is the poem we practiced with.  (I wrote my examples for you to see.)
Here are several other poems to infer with. 

I also made one poem with a word bank to help out my inclusion students. 
 Here is the modified version:
Here are a few other inferring things we used in class and added to our reader's notebooks:


These are the words to the inferencing song by Tanny McGreggor.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Word Work

In my classroom we have been busy building our stamina for all of our Daily 5 stations.  The last one we are working on is the Word Work station. I was going through all of my word work things to get ready for that station and thought I should share what I have found!

I have a boggle board like this ready to go in my classroom.  I used this last year too.  The kids LOVE this one!

Here is the link to the awesome website where she has all the letters ready for you to print and use, as well as a recording sheet for the words they come up with.

I made a half sheet also for the kids to record their words. (Trying to save paper!)
I also love the different menus out there.  I am going to add some to my word work station.  Here is the link to another great site with a word work menu.
Here's another menu I found online:
I also found some great word work games that use dice.  I used these last year.  The class loved them...once we practiced rolling the dice so they didn't fly across the room. :)
I found this one online:

I was inspired by the dice game, so I created some more of my own to switch out at the word work station.  Here they are!

( I actually use this one at the work on writing station. )
Here's another activity I like to use at the word work station.  The students have to write the word, make the word (by using letter stamps, letter cubes, or wiki sticks), and then they have to write the word again.
I also use the Promethean Board as part of the word work station.  Promethean Planet has a lot of great flipcharts to download.  I added one of the really simple flipcharts that I found and edited.  I use it to get started with the word work station.
I hope you found something useful here to add to your word work station!