Sunday, February 4, 2018

Vocabulary Finds

Hi friends! I posted this picture on Instagram this morning and I had a lot of requests for the graphic organizer I used (you can find it here), along with a few questions about the lesson, so I thought I'd just do a blog post. Every year, I feel like I lack in teaching vocabulary. I know it's SO important, but lots of times I feel like we simply memorize definitions and move on and that doesn't help anyone. Teaching vocabulary is so much more than just memorizing definitions. We did a vocabulary lesson Friday that I felt was so much more impactful.

We are currently right in the middle of our novel study on Tuck Everlasting and we are LOVING it! We are learning 7 new words (for the first part of the novel) that are from the text and most of these words are ones that the kids are very unfamiliar with. 

Here's how our lesson went down on Friday:

At the beginning of the lesson, I gave out copies of this graphic organizer. 

We looked at each word one at a time. First, I had the kids read the definition to themselves and then raise their hand if they could give me a meaning for the word in their own words, not the formal definition. This cleared up a lot of misconception and was the perfect transition into the first major part of the graphic organizer. After discussing what the word meant, we brainstormed parts of the story where that particular word could be found. 
Then it was time to search! I had tables compete against each other to find the word first. Whoever found the word first earned a point for their table and at the end of the lesson, that table earned a class cheer. 
Once we found the word in the text, we read the sentence out loud and wrote it down on the graphic organizer. Then we moved onto the next word and repeated the same process.
After completing each step for every vocabulary word, we broke into groups of 3. I gave each group a vocabulary word to work with. I also supplied the groups with a sentence strip card and a marker. Each group had to find their word in the text and explain what was happening in the plot when the author used that word. 
One class had a little extra time after the group work, so we did a snowball fight to review the meanings of the vocabulary words. 
I loved this little lesson and I know I'll be using it again in the future!  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Picture Book Swap

Hi friends! If you've been following me on Instagram, then you know we've been doing the #classroombookaday this year. This fun little idea was created by Jillian Heise and you can read all about it here. I highly recommend doing it in your classroom. It has so many benefits and the kids love it! 

Today's post is all about a picture book swap! You do not have to be participating in the #classroombookaday in order to do the picture book swap (but seriously, you HAVE to do amazing!)

Here's how the picture book swap will work. 

If you want to participate, fill out this google form by this Friday (11/14/17)

I will pair up each participant and message everyone to let them know who they are paired with. 

Once you have your partner, you will email/message each other to get the mailing info. 

As a class, decide on a picture book to send to your partner's classroom. Involve your students! Get them to write a letter to the other class explaining why they decided on that particular picture book, what they loved about it, what it reminded them of, what they learned from it, etc. 

Once you get the picture book, share with your class! (the fun part!!)

If you share your swap, use the hashtag #picturebookswap so we can see all the fun! :)

Happy swapping! :) 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Starting off class with a conference room meeting!

Because if I can incorporate The Office into my classroom, you better believe I'm going to do it! ;)

We all know how important it is to start off class the right way! When you teach lower elementary, there's always "calendar time" where you add the new date and go over the same thing every day like the days of the week, the months of the year, what today is, what tomorrow will be, what yesterday was, etc. We do that so that the kids will understand it better. That's the beauty of a spiral review. 

When I started thinking about how to incorporate this into upper elementary, I looked at what skills the kids struggle with and need the most reinforcement. To start off with, I decided on character traits (which is really also increasing student vocabulary), greek and latin roots (hello, vocabulary!), and idioms (which aides in comprehension, especially for ELL). I combined this with my agenda board ( a list of daily tasks that need to be completed during that day's lesson) and the focus question/ lesson standard/objective and came up with a meeting board that is perfect for starting off each class! 
I finished this board last night and I'm so pleased with how it turned out!

So how do I plan on using this board? 
My plan is to have a student lead the conference each day. At the beginning of class, the kids will come to the front of the room and sit at this board. (There is a rug underneath and I also have a few stools and pillows that others can use since the rug won't fit all of my 5th graders.) 
The student that leads the conference that day will display a new idiom, root, and trait and announce each new addition to the class. They will tell the others what standard we are covering and what our objective is for the day, along with the question that we are focusing on. I really want this to be student led, so I'm hoping this process works! 

The folders in the middle of the board will hold the daily papers for "Root of the Day", Idiom of the Day" and Trait of the Day". This way the student leader of the day will simply reach into the folder and place the new addition to the correct box. 

Now, we all know that we can create the perfect area and the perfect board setup, but we have to hold the students accountable, right?? That's where the interactive notebook pages come in! I'm going to have students come to the "conference room" everyday with their notebook that will be set up to follow the board. That way they will be accountable for the day's addition and be able to have a reference tool to look back at. Let me know if you want an example.

I hope this answered your questions about this board. Finding a great way to start class each day is crucial and I'm hoping this "conference room" idea makes the most of each class time! :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Interactive Genre Bulletin Board

Happy Wednesday, y'all! I am so excited about one of my new ideas for this year and I can't wait to share it with y'all! I want to make learning the different types of genres more meaningful to the kids, so I came up with an interactive bulletin board that I think will really help! You can check it out here! :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Classroom Rules for Fifth Grade

Hi friends! Let's talk about classroom rules, shall we? If you've ever been in both lower elementary and upper elementary, you know the grades can be quite different! It can be hard to implement a classroom management plan that is effective if you're new to a grade level and have no idea what the age group is like. For example, it's pretty safe to say older kids aren't going to be as worried about moving their clothespin like 6 year olds are!

When I started thinking about what an effective classroom needed in order to run smoothly and efficiently, I knew some set of rules that the kids would be required to follow was a must! I searched and searched and came up with 5 broad rules that I call The Vital Five. I like these broad rules because they fit in any classroom and cover a wide range of issues. This way they can easily be discussed during the first days of school and the kids can easily follow and understand them. A win win! 

You can grab a copy of these rules here. I feel like these are the only rules you'll ever need, but in case you want to add something to them, I made an editable template :) 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

All About Anchor Charts

Hi friends! Want to know one of my favorite things about teaching? It's the anchor charts! There's nothing better than a brightly colored piece of chart paper that shares much needed to know info about whatever skill you are discussing! Today's post is dedicated to all things anchor charts! 

In my eyes, there are three different types of anchors:

So when I start creating an anchor chart, I think about what kind I need for the lesson. Let's start with the first type and I'll explain what each one is and give examples of them so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about!
Helper charts are the most common type of anchor charts. They are the ones that show a topic/skill and give examples. The students don't do anything with this type of chart except use it to help understand something. They don't interact with the chart. They only use it to help them. That's why I refer to them as helper charts. 

Now, I know not all teachers are like this, but I like to display these around the classroom from the very beginning. We might not discuss theme or generalizing until a month until school, but I want that anchor helper chart for theme and generalizing displayed early on. I remember loving to look around the classroom when I was in school and see everything that the teacher had displayed. It would make me excited about that class. I love having these displayed around the room as a way to motivate the kids. After we have a lesson on that skill, I still leave it displayed so the kids can refer back to it. For testing purposes, I simply cover it with a few pieces of paper and we are good to go! 

Here's some examples of helper charts I've had in my classroom over the years. 

Now the second type goes along with one of my favorite types of activities to use in lessons. I absolutely LOVE letting students create their own anchor charts. This is the perfect activity to help them practice and review a certain skill. They get to use their creativity and put their knowledge on paper and share with others. You can read more about this activity here. I always create a helper chart that explains how to do this and then the kids break into groups and get to work!

The third and final type of anchor chart is the easiest to make because the kids do most of the work! Interactive charts are great for allowing students to fill in the information. You can use these before, during, or after the lesson. If you use them before, you can see what the kids know about a topic/skill before you begin the lesson. If you use it during the lesson, it holds the students accountable for participating in the lesson. And if you use it after, it can serve as a type of assessment for the kids to see what they know.

Here are some examples of interactive charts. 
This was a interactive chart where the students had to fill in ways a character acted courageously. They used sticky notes and posted them in the appropriate box. 

This was an interactive chart about our weekly vocabulary words. The students worked together in small groups to come up with synonyms and antonyms for each word and we recorded our words in the chart.

This was an interactive chart that we used as a before strategy. 

And this was an interactive chart that I used as an after activity as a informal assessment. You can read more about a "sticky stroll" here. :)

So, that's a little bit about my thoughts on anchor charts! Have a fabulous Tuesday!:)