Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Few Resources for Common Core ELA RL.4

I thought I would share some resources I've found and shared with my faculty over the last few months that would help out with teaching Common Core Standard RL.4. 

Idioms & Will Ferrell: Figurative Language Master

Having trouble with idioms? Check out the free English Idioms Illustrated app for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.  The app, gives the user an illustrated example of an idiom with background and an explanation for what the idiom means. If you want your students to practice using idioms, check out this great example of an idioms handout from the blog ReadLearnTeachLife.  For the assignment, students illustrate an idiom, then use it in a sentence to show they know how to use it.

Figurative language can also sometimes be a challenge for students.  Help them out with this YouTube video: Will Ferrell and Figurative Language.  The video is a bit lengthy and may be more appropriate for older viewers; however younger students may appreciate it in smaller doses:)

 Identifying Figurative Language

Need a book to review identifying simile, metaphor, hyperbole, idiom, or onomatopoeia? Check out Skippyjon Jones Cirque de Ole by Judy Schachner.  You’ll get an added bonus of alliteration in this one as well.  With phrases like “They raced like rabbits” , “tiny Trembling Tower of Power”,  “low dog on the totem pole” and “speed of a spitball” and words like “Thwapppppp!” This is sure to a book that pleases all ages.  (My personal favorite is the Hans and Franz  shout out “We will PUMP YOU UP.”)

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Meeting all your figurative language needs!

My brother and niece have been bugging me to read  Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.  I finally picked up the audio this week, and it is FANTSASTIC.  The imagery, use of figurative language and the folktales make this a Common Core winner.  It would easily make for an engaging read aloud in 2nd or 3rd grade and an awesome novel study in 4th or 5th.  Did I mention it’s a Newbery Honor book?  Come check it out!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mnemonic Devices & A fun quick review strategy

ROPE - a Mnemonic for Short Answer Questions

I learned about this strategy last year, and I think it would work perfect for constructed response on K-Prep, or even short answer questions.  When students answer a short answer encourage them to do the following in their answers:
R—RESTATE the Question
O—State their OPINION— or give the answer
P—PROVE it—with evidence.  This could be examples or quotes from the text
E—EXPLAIN & ELABORATE on how the evidence helps to answer the question.

Speaking and Listening Tip - a Mnemonic

When working with students on how to engage in group discussions, this SLANT mnemonic from Mrs. Bongers’ Life in 4B might help. S: Sit up, L: look at the person speaking, A: Act like you Care, N: Nod your head, T: Take turns talking.  You could also give them “Sentence Starters” for discussion.
Be sure to check out Life in 4B for other great ideas.

Above is a bookmark to help students remember SLANT—find it to print here

 Cootie What? A Way to Review with Origami

When I was in fourth grade, I was totally obsessed with those little folded paper fortune teller games where you had to ask your friend to choose a color and then a number and so on, until they got what obviously would be their future— “you will be happily married to Corey Haim and have three dogs and twenty cats.”
Over the weekend, I came across the idea to use “Cootie Catchers” as a class icebreaker activity (I didn’t even know they were called Cootie Catchers).  As I was thinking about it, I realized, you could use that little origami gem for all sorts of classroom applications.
Consider using a blank cootie catcher template, from the Organized Classroom Blog to help students review for a test.  At Peacocks and Penguins in the Classroom, they’re using them for math.
The possibilities really are endless.  Don’t believe me?  Google “Cootie Catchers for Learning”.  There are lots of examples and even more free templates available!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Teacher Tips March 26 - New York Times Times Machine, March Madness & Muscle Motion,

Times Machine—Bring Social Studies to Life!

Instead of just reading about the sinking of the Titanic or the end of World War I in your Social Studies text book, send students out to explore what The New York Times was reporting about it.  The Times Machine, part of The New York Times website is set up to allow you to easily travel back in time to September 8, 1851 (the date of the first edition)  through 1922. 
The main page of the site has direct links/snapshots of newspapers from some of the most important events covered during those years including the sinking of the Titanic, Lincoln’s assassination and the end of World War I, as well as a “100 years ago today” link.  These pages and stories are available for the general population to peruse.
When you click on one of the newspapers, then hover over the story you want to look at, you can click on a link to a PDF of the actual story as it appeared in the paper.
The right side of the page has a list of years with a calendar function that allows you to click on specific dates.  Unfortunately, full access is limited to those who have a subscription to the NY Times, or can be found in a ProQuest database.
Even though full access is limited, you might still find inspiration for a compare/contrast lesson on current events of today vs. 100 years ago or your students might find the contemporary viewpoints of Lincoln’s assassination interesting. 
Need your students to get there quickly?  Consider posting a QR code to the site in your classroom.

March Madness & Science

March is the time for Basketball, so check out this Muscle Motion video.  It’s an illustrated guide that shows how a basketball player uses biceps and triceps to shoot a basket. It shows how skeletal muscles move in pairs to move the body.
The video is part of a Science Book website maintained by  DK publishers.
They have more videos under Life, Earth & Physical Sciences that you may find useful.

Smart Notebook Tiles Activity Page

One of the pre-made activity pages in Smart Notebook you might find helpful for a lesson is the “Tiles” page. There are a few different styles of the activity and the pages act as a sort of card reveal activity.
You could use it to review states and capitals, famous people, important events, scientific terms, math facts, as a game, or as a way to introduce notes to students without introducing them all at once.
Be sure to check out the Example Tile activities under the Examples folder.  To get to those examples—click on the Gallery icon and search for Tiles.  Expand the area that says Notebook Files and Pages.  Here you will see five different example activities:  a states/capitals, picture reveals, music lesson, and a jeopardy style game.
The way it works:
Click on the Gallery Icon in Smart Notebook
Open the folder that says: Lesson Activity Toolkit 2.0
Scroll through the list until you see the folder for “Tiles” and open it
Click on the blue “Interactive Multimedia” bar to expand the list
Click and drag your selection into a blank Notebook page
Press the Edit button in the top right hand side of the screen
Change the number of tiles that will appear on the page by selecting from the drop down menu
Click the Text tab at the top, check the box that says “Text”. This is where you customize what appears on the outside of the tile.
Then click in each box and type in what you want the first boxes to say—states, questions, the number of points they will earn for answering the question etc.
Click the Objects tab—This is where you customize the answer—here you can use pictures or words as the revealed answer/ question etc. 
To insert text, click on the Text icon at the top of the screen, click in your box and begin typing.  You will need to resize the text size to make it fit.  Once you have your first text box set up correctly, to save time, copy and paste it into the other boxes, then type over the text as needed.
When you are satisfied with all of your text boxes, click on each box, click on the arrow, then choose Order and Send to Back.
I also suggest you choose Locking & Lock in Place to keep the boxes from moving.
When you are ready to use the activity, click OK and you can begin clicking on the tiles to reveal the information on the opposite side.
To create a picture reveal—I would suggest starting with one of the activities (Tiles 3 or Tiles 5) that are already created under Notebook Files and Pages. Click, Edit then the Objects Tab unlock the picture that is currently there by clicking on the picture, then click on the lock in the corner, choose Unlock, then cut.  From this point you can search the Gallery for pictures to use or insert a picture from your own files.
The activity is a little tricky to get used to, but once you get the hang of the techniques you need to use to create an activity, you may find many options for the activity.

Here’s a You Tube Video to help: LAT Activity Part 1 video

Monday, March 25, 2013

January to March Holiday Resource Round-Up

These are a list of resources I've shared with my teachers over the last few months for different holidays and events.


Resources for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin's Big Words
Looking for ways to rejuvenate your discussion about Martin Luther King Jr? 

Here are a few resources I’ve come across over the last few weeks that might be useful:
Martin’s Big WordsThe video of the book read aloud is a Scholastic production found on YouTube.  You may be able to find it in the Scholastic as well.
Martin Luther King Jr. Freebies on Teachers Pay TeachersThis freebie is labeled for K-3 and includes an MLK graphic organizer, “I Have a Dream” writing paper, and a January month calendar sheet.
Martin’s Big Words: A Not So Wimpy Post From the Diary of a Not so Wimpy Teacher blog is a great explanation of how one teacher handles such a big topic.  It includes a few embedded videos and resources for teaching King’s “I have a Dream” speech.
Martin Luther King Junior: Everything you NeedFrom Scholastic.  There is a lot here to explore for every grade level.  You can find quick service learning lessons, a timeline activity, commentary by Maya Angelou, a slide show of MLK’s life, and resource for teaching American Black history.  Overall this is a very comprehensive resource.
America Rhetoricif you’ve never used this site, check it out! It’s one of my favorites to use for famous speeches.  Here you can find transcripts of many of King’s speeches.  To do this, click on “Site Search”, which is in small print at the top of the left side bar.  The site often includes audio, and sometimes video to go along with the speeches it has archived.
Books to check out
Martin’s Big Wordsby Doreen Rappaport ( Caldecott Honor Book)
A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David Adler—picture biography
Martin Luther King, Jr. A great Civil Rights Leader by Jennifer Fandel—this is a graphic library book and details MLK’s life in graphic novel type format
My Dream of Martin Luther King by Faith Ringgold

Groundhog’s Day Resources

As we get closer to Groundhog’s Day, I’m sure the question burning in everyone’s mind  is “So, will the groundhog see a shadow or not?” Here are a few resources you might want to check out if you have extra time (or indoor recess) at the end of this week:
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club has a page for FAQ, and a lesson plan page, an online groundhog game (under lesson plans).  There’s a lot to look at on this page, if you have time—if you’re short on time be sure to check out the About page, that’s where you’ll find the bulk of the information you might need.
Groundhog Day: 15 Fun Teaching Resources on Scholastic has a number of good lessons and pintables for Pre K-5, including a few good resources for animals that hibernate.
KET Encyclomedia has a number of resources if you search “Groundhog Day” - two that may be of interest are a 12 minute video “Holiday Facts and Fun: Groundhog Day” and a 3.28 minute clip “History of Groundhog Day”

Presidents’ Day Resources

Presidents’ Day Scholastic News—Click through a slide show to learn information about places associated with Washington and Lincoln. Be sure to check out the link on the left of the page for a feature article about Presidents’ Day.
If I Were President: 11 Presidents’ Day Activities - check out the “Chief’s Checklist” to learn about presidential jobs and “My Guide to the White House” for a few fun ideas.
Presidents’ Day Everything You NeedFor Kindergarten—don’t miss the link to “What was life like in George Washington’s Time”.  You will also find connections to math, and two interesting looking online learning activities: 1. 7 Hat Challenge: Master the roles of President—an interactive that allows students to learn about the roles and responsibilities of the president; and 2. Presidents Game 1: A History Mystery—which encourages students to solve a mystery about U.S. presidents.
Presidents’ Day Activities— check out any number of ideas here—from making a coin, to treat ideas, to creating a constitution.
Abe Lincoln’s Dream could make for a great compare/contrast  assignment
If you haven’t read  Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith, it’s definitely worth a look, especially with President’s Day right around the corner.  In this book, the bewildered ghost of Abe Lincoln is found wandering the White House by Quincy, a young, modern visitor.  Abe is worried about the state of the Union, and Quincy takes him on a tour of the modern day United States to show him what’s up.
While younger students could certainly enjoy this book, it could make for an awesome compare/ contrast discussion for older students studying the Civil War era.  Consider pairing this text with a nonfiction text (maybe a chapter in your Social Studies Text) and asking students to complete a Venn Diagram that shows how things have changed and stayed the same between Abe’s time and our own.  The commentary provided by Quincy about how things are going today could also provide a point of class debate.
Here’s a link to an interview with the author and a separate activity sheet that might prove to be useful.

Black History Month

One Crazy Summer -
Need a new read aloud for your Intermediate grades?  For Black History Month, check out One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. The story is about three sisters who travel to Oakland, CA from Brooklyn to spend time with their mother, a poet and printer.  The book touches on the Civil Rights movement and the Black Panthers.  Scholastic calls it a “A heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls in search of the mother who abandoned them.”
Spotlight on Rosa Parks
One way to celebrate Black History month is to take a look at the effect Rosa Parks had on the Civil Rights Movement. 
To get students interested, you might play this great song by the Neville Brothers—Sister Rosa
And share Nikki Giovanni’s book Rosaa 2006 Caldecott Honor book that details Mrs. Parks actions that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
There are also a number of  good video clips for all grade levels available on KET Encyclomedia—search Rosa Parks.  Find cartoons, reenactments and live footage.

Read Across America

You probably already have a million ideas for celebrating Read Across America Week, but here are some celebrity videos you might want to check out.
Justin Bieber reading the Cat in the Hat
Tim Tebow and Green Eggs and Ham
A collection of West Virginians, including Brad Paisley, read "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"


Need an Activity for your Valentine’s Day Party?

At the blog Year of Many Firsts, A First Grade Blog, you can find a fun activity where students can interview each other to find friends who love certain things (cookies, chicken nuggets etc).  This might be a fun way to get the kids mingling.
Of course, you don’t want to miss the Scholastic Valentine’s Day: Everything You Need page.  There’s a great lesson there on Kindness. 
For those of you with iPads in the classroom, consider making a special Valentine QR Codes using the directions at Christy Crawford’s “Free Printable QR Codes for kids or Co-Workers You Adore” .  If you’re not sure how to create a QR code, follow Crawford’s link to QR Codes in the Classroom for some step by step directions.
To see how I gave this a try, click or QR code to the left to see a special Valentine’s Day message!  I tried out Popplet for my Valentine’s message. I realized too late that Popplet does require Flash, so it wouldn’t work for a SmartPhone or iPad—but they have an app on the way that I’ll be looking forward to checking out!