National Endangered Species Day

1:38 PM

Did y'all know last Friday (5/17) was National Endangered Species Day? It's not too late to celebrate, and I have the perfect picture book for the occasion:

This new book from Chelsea Clinton contains 12 animals from all over the world that are endangered. Some of the species that are endangered really surprised me! The book talks about:

-blue whales
-giant pandas
-whale sharks
-polar bears
-sea otters

I especially love that each section gives the level of endangerment and the reason. 

This one is a great nonfiction picture book that gives a ton of info in an easy to read and understand way. You can grab your copy here

You're Missing It! Screen Free Week Blog Tour

1:32 PM
Happy Thursday, friends! I'm super excited to share a brand new book with y'all today that is not only gorgeously illustrated, but also contains such a relevant and important message. I'm talking about Brady Smith and Tiffani Thiessan's (yep, Kelly Kapowski!) new book, You're Missing It!

This book tells the story of a little boy who goes to the park with his dad. The only problem is the dad is too busy on his phone to pay attention to everything around him. Throughout the book, the little boy sees amazing things and tries to share his discoveries with his dad, but the dad is too busy. This is such a great story for theme. 

You may not have known, but this week is actually Screen Free Week- yep the irony isn't lost on me LOL. This book is the perfect way to talk with kids about being present and actually living life. 
Our schedule is jam packed every day, but we sometimes have days (especially here at the end of school) where we have a school event or some kids have a field trip with clubs and we don't have a regular class setting that day. On those days we usually have some free time and I hate to just let my students sit and "play" on their Chromebook. 

I've created a short list of ways to disconnect from the screen if this is a problem in your classroom. I know it is in mine at times. A few years ago, whenever we had free time, my kids would always beg to play interactive class games or draw or have "Storytime." But now, they just want to "play on the Chromebook" which is a term I loathe! I always like doing something as a class because it allows for myself AND the kids to be in more of a relaxed setting and develop a sense of family. 

Here's a few ways I have found to get kids to put down their screens and be present whenever we have a little free time in class:

* Go on a nature walk* 
Our science teacher does this and has the kids walk around the campus and simply observe their surroundings. Then they come back and do ABC's where they recall something they saw/smelled/felt that started with an "A" or a "B" or so on.

 This incorporates teamwork as well as speaking and listening standards. A huge plus in my book! If you google charades for kids, you can find examples for the kids to do. 

 Another highly requested favorite

Start off a story by saying something along the lines of "Once upon a time" or "One day, a boy named _______ went to ______" Then pick a student to continue your story. They will say a few lines, and then call on another student to add to the story.  

*Reverse Read Alouds*
 I build time into our schedule each day for a read aloud, but that doesn't mean if we have some free time we can't read another! Switch it up and have the kids be the teacher. Have a student pick a favorite book and read it to the class just like the teacher would. 

* Directed Drawings*
 We LOVE doing directed drawings and they often times result in some funny conversations and drawings LOL You can find tons of directed drawings online and you can even tie it back into whatever topic y'all are learning about at that time. 

What else can you think of to do during free time in your classroom to promote being present and screen free? Leave a comment below so we can all get ideas!

Thanks so much for my copy of the book, Penguin Random House Children's Books.

Teaching Figurative Language: Part 2

4:04 PM

I'm back with the long overdue part 2 of my teaching figurative language blog post. We finished up our unit on figurative language about two weeks ago. You can read about our first week here. During the second week, I taught hyperbole, onomatopoeia, oxymoron, and allusion. In this blog post, I also shared a few activities we did to review for the unit test the following week. I usually spent three weeks on figurative language and then incorporate it into weekly lessons. I LOVE using these figurative language stories as a way to provide a spiral review and keep it fresh and current with the kids. 

To introduce and practice identifying and understanding examples of hyperbole, we did a snowball fight. I added a game aspect to this fight and I LOVED how this upped the activity. I did 4 versions of the same hyperbole sentence. For example, I wrote on 4 different slips of blue paper "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse." I did this for 5 different examples of hyperbole. The kids threw the "snowballs" and found one to unwrap and write. If it was a statement that they hadn't written down, they recorded under the "HITS" column on their paper. If they got a snowball that they had already written down-because remember, there are four of the same sentences for 5 different examples- they wrote it down under the "MISS" section. The first student who got all five examples won the snowball fight. They- and I- LOVED this! 

For onomatopoeia, I did this really fun lesson that I taught several years ago. You can't not use the old batman when teaching sound words, right? :)


For allusion, I had the kids do a "sticky stroll" (you can read about how I do these here). They had a recording sheet where they had to write the sentence, identify the allusion, and explain what it meant.

To introduce oxymorons, I showed these two videos from Youtube. For the first one, I have the kids get out a piece of paper (or Google Doc!) and I tell them to put their pencil under their seat. I have them watch the video and then write down as many oxymorons as they can remember and we see who can come up with the greatest number. Then we practice recognizing more oxymorons with the sheet from this resource.



Wrap Up

To wrap everything up and prepare for our unit test on figurative language, we did Table Wars and filled out these review charts:

I divided the kids into 5 teams of four each. Each round, we focused on a different type of figurative language. They worked together to fill out one sticky note per group (sticky notes were color coded). Each round, the teams had to define the type of figurative language using student friendly terms AND give an example of each. I awarded one point for:

*the best definition
*the best examples
*the best teamwork

All three points in a round could go to the same team or different teams just depending on the answers and collaboration. This is a GREAT way to review that makes it fun and engaging for the kids. Plus, you can do it for lots of content, not just figurative language! 

We also did these figurative language drawings as a way to study and review all the types of figurative language. The requirements were to draw a picture or a pattern however you want. You just had to include the title of "Figurative Language," list all nine types of figurative language that we learned about, and give an example of each. 

And we finished out Google Presentations, which evolved to SHMAAPOIO :)
For each slide, the kids had to tell the definition of the element of figurative language and then give an example.

It was a BUSY unit, but one of my very favorites to teach! Hope you enjoyed and found something to try out in your own classroom :) Happy Teaching!

Valentine's Day Book Swap

12:23 PM

Martin Luther King, Jr. Guided Picture Book Read Aloud

5:17 AM
Happy Monday AND Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, friends! In honor of this special holiday, I wanted to create a meaningful way for the kids to read about and understand Dr. King and all the good he did in the world. When I found this book on Epic, I knew it would be perfect to do a guided picture book read aloud with! Side note: I am in love with this series of biographical picture books. They are the perfect length and not too overwhelming with info like some nonfiction picture books can be. I'm definitely investing in some more of these!

I'm sharing more about what's included in the unit below, but you can go ahead and check out the unit here too!
Since this book is available for free on Epic, each student has this opportunity to have a copy right at their fingertips (if you're a 1:1 device classroom) Here's what's included in this guided picture book read aloud:

Vocabulary Posters
I created three options for these posters. There are full size sheets, card size posters, and word wall strips

Vocabulary Frayer models for each vocabulary word 

Vocabulary Quiz with answer key

Graphic organizers

A Check for Understanding comprehension sheet that can be used as a quiz or a search and find answers activity.

A Constructed Response question sheet to practice finding text based evidence. This also comes with a text based evidence bookmark that students can use to have evidence terms to look at.

You can get a copy of this resource here in my TpT store.

Check out the other resources in my guided picture book read aloud series:

H is for Honor (book available on Epic)
P is for Pilgrim (book available on Epic)

Teaching Figurative Language: Part 1

11:30 AM
Okay, let me start off by saying I feel like I could have made this post so much better by taking more pictures! I wasn't even planning on blogging about my week, but I feel like we did some really neat things for our introduction to figurative language unit and I wanted to share. BUT since I wasn't even thinking about blogging, I did an awful job with taking example pictures! Just overlook the lack of pictures and concentrate on the content and I promise I'll do better next time :)

So this past week was our first week back from Christmas break and I always use this time to teach figurative language. We start our second novel study on Tuck Everlasting at the end of January and I always like to have already taught figurative language because there are so many examples in the novel that the kids can point out. 

At the beginning of the week, I introduced this anchor chart:
We covered simile/metaphor, alliteration, and personification this week. Next week we will talk about hyperbole, onomatopoeia, oxymoron, and allusion while still practicing and reviewing the first four elements of figurative language. 

On Monday we discussed similes and metaphors:
I had originally planned to do this using the snowball activity, but that didn't work. I changed it at the last minute to a variation of "Sticky Stroll". You can read more about Sticky Strolls here, but this time I had the kids partner up and work/travel around the room. At each stop, they had to write each statement, identify the statement as a simile or metaphor, and then tell what it meant. 

Not only were the kids engaged by the movement that this activity creates, but they were also collaborating with groups and working together to figure out each problem. I really loved this activity!

On Tuesday we moved onto alliteration. Alliteration is one of the easiest types of figurative language to understand, and it's also one of the most fun! There's so much you can do with alliteration. I introduced this skill with a little game of Family Feud. My kids LOVED these family feud games! It was the perfect way to start the lesson. After we finished the game, I gave each student a huge sheet of construction paper and instructed them to write down a sentence that contained alliteration using their name. 

For personification I used another family feud game because it was such a hit the previous day. After we finished that round, I used a few sheets from this unit. I did a horrible job with pictures from this day obviously!

Then on Friday, to wrap everything up, we created "SMAP" Google Presentations. Each student had to create a 5 slides Google Presentation. 

Slide 1: Title Slide
Slide 2: Similes
Slide 3: Metaphors
Slide 4: Alliteration
Slide 5: Personification

Each slide had to contain 5 sentences with the skill. So for example, on slide 3 (metaphors) the students had to write five sentences that contained examples of alliteration. I love using Google presentations because not only is it a great way to practice using skills and strategies, but the kids are also learning how to create a digital presentation and edit the format of the slides and change the font and colors and backgrounds. Tons of opportunity for technology practice!

So that was our first week of figurative language. Let me know if you want to hear about week 2 filled with onomatopoeia, oxymoron, allusion, and hyperbole. :)

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