Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year Giveaway!

 We're Ringing in the New Year with a Ring of Bloggy Giveaways! 

PLEASE READ- NOT ONLY CAN YOU GET AN EXTRA ENTRY HERE, BUT I AM MANAGING YOUR ENTRIES A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY HERE. DO NOT LEAVE COMMENTS, SIMPLY USE THE entry form.

1.  Follow my blog (or already be a follower). Instead of leaving comments here, just use this entry form.

2.  Follow my Teacher Pay Teachers store and indicate that when you fill in the entry form

3. Blog about this contest and indicate that when you fill out the entry form.
4.  Follow my Facebook site and indicate that when you fill out the entry form.
5. Visit the other blogs and stores, and enter according to their instructions. 

This entry form is only good to enter the contest here. You only need to fill out one entry form and just indicate all of your entries for my sites on the same form. However, there are still MORE ways to enter! You can also follow the blogs and stores of ALL the blogs participating in the list above to increase your chances of winning!  There are at least 24 chances to win even if you DON'T blog!!!! 

 

Are you looking for new ideas to revitalize you and your students for your return to the classroom? Look no further- inspiration is straight ahead!  The New Year has arrived and to celebrate its arrival we are celebrating with a HUGE giveaway from a Ring of Elementary blogs!

Twelve blogs have joined together for a MEGA New Year Giveaway!  The winners of the giveaway will be able to choose any item (winter themed or not) from any of the Teacher Pay Teachers stores listed below.  Nearly 100 items will be given away in this HUGE event!

Each blog will have 6 winners.
Each blog will select and post 6 winners for that blog.

Third Place: There will be THREE third prize winners that will be able to choose any (of the winner’s choice) ONE item total from any of the blogger’s Teacher Pay Teachers store listed below. 

   Second Place: There will be TWO second prize winners that will be able to choose any (of the winner's choice) TWO items (total)  from any of the blogger's Teachers Pay Teachers stores below. 

First Prize: ONE grand prize winner from EACH blog that will win any (of the winner's choice) ONE ITEM from EACH blogger's Teachers Pay Teachers stores listed below!

 Here are the participating blogs/ stores: 

 





 


PLEASE READ- NOT ONLY CAN YOU GET AN EXTRA ENTRY HERE, BUT I AM MANAGING YOUR ENTRIES A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY HERE. DO NOT LEAVE COMMENTS, SIMPLY USE THE entry form.

1.  Follow my blog (or already be a follower). Instead of leaving comments here, just use this entry form.

2.  Follow my Teacher Pay Teachers store and indicate that when you fill in the entry form

3. Blog about this contest and indicate that when you fill out the entry form.
4.  Follow my Facebook site and indicate that when you fill out the entry form.
5. Visit the other blogs and stores, and enter according to their instructions. 

This entry form is only good to enter the contest here. You only need to fill out one entry form and just indicate all of your entries for my sites on the same form. However, there are still MORE ways to enter! You can also follow the blogs and stores of ALL the blogs participating in the list above to increase your chances of winning!  There are at least 24 chances to win even if you DON'T blog!!!! 
All winners will be chosen on January 6th, 2012 by 8:00pm Eastern time.
Good luck!  Maybe YOU will be one of the big winners!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Touching History: A field trip to the Newseum

One of the things that I love about living and teaching in the DC Metro area is the abundant choice of field trip destinations. Yesterday, we took our 3rd-5th grade ESOL students into downtown DC for visit to the Newseum. If you don't know about the Newseum, it is a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of the media in all its forms: newspaper, broadcast and radio.


First, let me say that my students do not often get to go on field trips, so this was a rare treat for them. They felt especially special because it was only for the ESOL students (this is not because we felt exclusionary, but because the trip was paid for with federal funds which can only be used for ESOL students).

Our visit to the Newseum started out with a 4-D movie. This means that not only was the movie in 3-D, but they had moving seats and wind and other effects. The kids loved this! I'm pretty sure that was their favorite part of the entire field trip (except for maybe going to the gift shop!). Here's a picture of the theater:

We spent the rest of the day wandering around and checking out the exhibits. There were lots of wonderful things to see, and I don't feel like I really got to see much because I was so busy herding 9 and 10-year-olds around. Here are my favorites:

The Berlin Wall and Guard Tower:


The 9/11 Exhibit:

The Unabomber's Cabin:

One of the things that really struck me was the realization that each of these events, which I remember vividly in my life, happened before most of my students were even born. While looking at the 9/11 exhibit, I asked my 4th graders how old they were, and one told me that her birthday was on September 6,  2001. That means she was five days old when 9/11 happened!

What a wonderful learning experience this was for these students, especially where 9/11 was concerned. That is not something that we yet cover in school or in history classes as part of the curriculum, so many students don't really know what it is all about. The museum also has a mini-theater in the 9/11 exhibit that shows some footage from that day, as well as interviews. For the only time during the entire day, the students were all quiet and focused on the video. They were so engaged and interested in this little piece of history. The 9/11 exhibit was a very emotional one for me to look at, because it really takes you back to that day and that moment, and the way you felt when you heard.

All in all, the kiddos learned a lot about the 1st ammendment and the media, and had a great time. They kept saying how it was "the best field trip ever". We're planning a zoo trip for the primary grades in the spring, so we'll see how that goes!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Strategy of the Week

I guess at this point, I might more honestly be called a strategy of the month. But, I promise, this one is a good one that can be used (HONESTLY) for almost any grade level.

Strategy-
CUBING
This strategy gets students thinking about an issue, idea, item, or topic at all levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. This strategy can be good as a post-learning activity, or to build background on a familiar topic before connecting that to new learning. For example, I used cubing to activate my students' prior knowledge on water before beginning a lesson on the Water Cycle. 

On each side of the cube, have a different prompt. 
Describe it: Look at the subject closely (perhaps with your physical senses as well as your mind).
Compare it: What is it similar to? What is it different from?
Synthesize it; What does it make you think of? What are some ways that you can change it?
Analyze it: Tell how it is made. What are it is traits and attributes?
Apply it: Tell what you can do with it. How can it be used?
Argue for or against: Take a stand.

Believe it or not, I have used this strategy for students in grades 2-8, and I know it works well in high school as well. It's all in the presentation, my friends! When I did this with water for my second graders, I first wrote specific questions for each category. Then, I talked them through each side of the cube, read the questions, and gave them 1 minute to talk with a buddy. With middle school students, you can write your questions and then let them complete the cube on their own. With high schoolers, I have seen colleagues give students the general categories and let them come up with their own questions to discuss. You can also use the cube to explore different parts of a story (characters, setting, plot, climax, conflict, resolution).

Click HERE to get the free templates from my TpT store!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Author's Purpose is more fun than a bucket of cookies!


Have you ever taught a lesson that went so well that it made your whole day? Well, I taught that lesson today!

We've been working a lot on author's purpose lately. We've practiced the purposes for writing, had a gallery walk to expose us to examples of each purpose, and used an organizer to break down a text and determine the purpose. That means that today, it was time to assess.

The original plan was to give each student a doughnut and a purpose. I wanted them to use their doughnut as inspiration to write a paragraph to fit their assigned purpose. However, it was so late by the time I got to the store last night to get doughnuts, all they had left were doughnut flavors that were less than kid-friendly. So, I got bucket of M&M cookies instead.

I used index cards and wrote "persuade", "inform" or "entertain" on each card. Students chose a card randomly and then used their cookie to write a paragraph to fit that purpose. Our number one rule was "I may not eat the cookie until AFTER I have finished my final draft".  I was surprised, but students were very diligent and did not eat their cookies until they were done. After they completed their rough draft, I checked it for conventions, and then they wrote their final drafts. 


Students really had fun with this activity and were so engaged!! (Or maybe they all just wanted to get done so they could eat their cookies!) The students were so focused on what they were doing and they did a great job! I could tell after reading their paragraphs that they really understood each purpose. As promised, here are some pictures of the kids working and the final products:





  Can you guess the purpose of each one? (Persuade, Inform, Entertain). These are too good to just display in my trailer, so I'm going to find some hallway space in the main building for this awesome work! (I don't know about you, but I totally love the one about the cookie giving him a wedgie!)

Don't forget that this activity is available in my TpT store as part of my Author's Purpose Teaching Pack and also as part of my Author's Purpose Activity Sheets. Click the button below to purchase from my TpT store!












Also, don't forget to click the button below to download my FREE (yes FREE) Author's Purpose Anchor Charts!




Friday, December 2, 2011

Teaching Author's Purpose in 4th Grade ESOL

To us as teachers, author's purpose is a relatively simple concept, and it is easy for us to pick out the author's purpose of just about any text we encounter. The same cannot be said for our students, and since this skill is so easy for us, it can be easy to forget how challenging it is for our students.

On Monday, the mainstream language arts teacher for 4th grade introduced the topic, had students take notes, and then showed a short video. I realized that this was certainly not going to be enough for my students to grasp the concept, and doubtful that it is enough for even the mainstream kids.

So, I made a plan for my pull-out day and decided we would get down and dirty with author's purpose this week in our pull-out groups. We began on Tuesday by going through a short powerpoint on the skill, reviewing the three main purposes for writing, and doing a few examples. I also introduced 4 distinct steps that the students should take to determine the author's purpose. I'll post that anchor chart later!

Next, we did an author's purpose gallery walk. (I've heard of doing this for genre, but adapted the idea for author's purpose). I located two texts that fit each purpose, and placed them around the room. The students had a gallery walk sheet where they wrote the title, author, and purpose. For each book, they also had to write three pieces of "evidence" (like text features) that helped them determine the purpose. I was able to circulate while they worked and rotated through the various books, and was able to talk them through the process when they struggled. It also gave each student a chance to be exposed to each type of text.

During our Thursday pull-out session, we continued to work on author's purpose by using the leveled readers students are currently reading in their mainstream class. We used a graphic organizer that helped students determine the purpose based on the story's main idea, text features, and the way they felt when reading it. All in all, the students have worked very hard and seem to be getting it. Next Tuesday, we're going to do an author's purpose writing activity involving DOUGHNUTS! I'll definitely take pictures and post them.

All the activities and organizers I used to teach this skill are now available in my TpT store as my Author's Purpose Activity Sheets. You can also get the Author's Purpose Powerpoint Presentation and Cloze Notes. Even better, buy the Author's Purpose Teaching Pack, which includes both. Save a little by buying them bundled. Stop on by and check them out!

Update: Please see Author's Purpose is More Fun Than a Bucket of Cookies to see the writing activity!