Tuck Everlasting Novel Study (Beginning)

2:36 PM
You know how you plan out everything and make a promise to yourself to stick to that plan? Yep, that was me this past week with our novel study. I worked late Monday night to prepare charts and activities so we would be ready to jump right in on Tuesday and then I got sick. We didn't end up starting the novel until Thursday, so we haven't gotten as far as I had hoped we would at this point, but man, did we pack in the activities! I am so proud of my kids, y'all. They have behaved so well this week and I know we wouldn't have been able to get nearly as much done without their fabulous behavior. :)
Here's what we've been up to this past week. Most of the activities can be found in my Tuck Everlasting Unit, which I plan on adding to soon. 

We started off by doing a little pre reading thinking. We predicted what they book would be able, based on the cover.

Then we did Book Bits, which I had never heard of. I found them on TpT and thought it might be neat, but I totally underestimated them! I've had several kids that have already found their book bit in the novel as we read and they get so excited to see what it really means! If you don't know what Book Bits are, they are sentences or parts of the book. I gave one to each kid and told them to read theirs and then share with a partner while discussing what they thought it meant and what part of the book it might appear. 

Then we moved the desk into a big circle so we could read. I wanted to make it special since we were beginning the book and the kids LOVED reading in a circle! It was time consuming, so we won't be able to do it daily, but it was a fun way to introduce the novel :)

While we read, we practiced taking notes using this graphic organizer. This has already come in handy each time we read! 

Something new I did this year was create a central question for each story:

This has worked WONDERFULLY! Seriously, from now on I will do this for every novel study we did. Not only does it serve as a review when we finish reading, but it also provides a purpose for reading. I've gone ahead and posted all the questions thru chapter 11. One of the kids were worried it would give away spoilers, but I made sure and wrote the questions as to not give anything away.

We also mapped out the setting of the story. This year I graded the assignment. Students had to provide the following details, which they had to use the text to find:
-the "touch me not" cottage
- the iron fence around the cottage
- the road around the woods
-the cows that had wisely made the road around the woods
-the ash tree in the center of the woods
-the spring at the base of the tree
-pebbles covering the spring

We also talked about the symbolism of the ferris wheel. This is mentioned in the prologue, but is easier for the students to understand as the novel progresses. As an intro to the symbolism, we filled in the center (the hub) and the 3 events that were mentioned in the prologue. 

Are you still with me? I told you packed a lot into this past week! :) Friday, we tested how much we knew using a quiz sheet. I allowed the kids to use the book so they could write the page number down. We need a lot of help looking back in the text and finding answers. My sweeties are sometimes lazy and don't use the text. 

And last, we used Padlet to brainstorm how we thought the 3 events were connected. I LOVE padlet! It can be used for SO much and can be set up in no time. I thought of this idea towards the end of class Friday and it literally took less than 5 minutes to create the wall. 

If you made it until the end, yay for you! I know, it was a lot! :) :) 

Prepositional Phrases Activity

3:08 PM
Hi friends! Today we learned about prepositional phrases. Since we had already had a mini lesson on prepositions, the lesson went smoothly and we were able to get in a little "fun" practice. I feel sorry for my kids a lot of times because we have to cover SO MUCH in a very limited about of time and I feel like they never get to have any "fun learning". Today's activity worked perfectly at solving this problem!
We did the lesson on identifying prepositions and prepositional phrases and I felt like they understood this well. Now it was time for the After part of the lesson (Do y'all have tons of PD on Strategic Teaching?? I'm always thinking about Before, During and After Strategies!). I numbered the kids off and broke into groups. Once the groups were formed, I handed each group their material: chart paper and markers. I am *obsessed* with these chart tablets from Target!
For these types of group activities, I usually give the groups a piece of anchor chart paper, but that can quickly get expensive! These are smaller, but still work wonderfully! At $4.58 it's a win in my book!

I gave each group a topic like "going to the movies" or "winning the soccer championship" and they had to write 5 sentences that contain prepositional phrases about their topic. Tomorrow each group will present their sentences and the rest of the class will identify the phrases. They really got into the lesson and it also added a little writing. I did this last year, but the kids had a hard type coming up with sentences...giving groups a topic seemed to help steer them in the right direction. 

It's also good to have a table of common prepositions on hand. The practice book page served as a great reference tool. If I had been on top of things, I would have already created a cute, laminated chart for each child, but sadly I've been slacking here lately! The darn Bachelor is taking away from my working time! :)

Happy Wednesday!

Book Talks: Addressing those Speaking/Listening standards!

8:49 AM
Book Talks have been on my to do list since I started teaching fifth grade and we *finally* got around to them last week. This turned out to be a HUGE hit in my classroom and I felt like I was finally addressing those speaking and listening standards. My kids loved talking about their favorite book, which is how we started Book Talks. Now that we understand what they are and the rules, I'm going to start using it for the weekly story or for parts of a novel study. 

We first talked about how to be a good audience member and speaker. 

Then we pushed the desks back and made a circle with our material ( follow up question cards, pencils, and peer reviews)

Next we determined what speaker was going to present. Everyone had to remember their audience member rules and focus their attention on the speaker.

 After the speaker finished their presentation, he or she asked if anyone had any questions or comments. The speaker was fully in charge of monitoring questions and comments. I just sat back and watched. I love when they take responsibility! :)
The follow up questions cards helped give the kids ideas of what to ask, but they certainly weren't limited to these cards.It was just a good jumping off point.
Next, it was time to fill out the peer reviews. This required the audience members to list the strengths of the speaker, as well as areas they could work on in the future. 

 I was so happy with the way my kids handled Book Talks! I can see this becoming a regular routine in our classroom :)

Currently Reading

4:23 PM
I'm currently making my way through the award winning YA Fiction genre and I've reviewed my latest read, I'll Give You the Sun, over at my life+style blog Southern Belle Inspired. Come read my thoughts on this book here. :)


Think Mats to use with ANY text!

11:24 AM
Who else is going back to school tomorrow? I'm depressed! Christmas break flew by and I could definitely use another week (or two!). I'm trying to get back in school mode, so I decided to think of a way to spice up boring graphic organizers, which my students refer to ask "worksheets". I created these think mats in order to breathe a little life into the same ole thing. 

These Think Mats are really easy to prepare and can be used over and over! 

They can be used with ANY text! 10 mats are included and cover the following skills:

You can grab them on sale today and tomorrow here :) :)

Currently (My first!)

2:02 PM
Today I'm kicking off 2015 by linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for the very first time! I love reading everyone's Currently and thought it was time I join in the fun! 

I'm currently listening to the Into the Woods soundtrack. Yes, I'm one of those people who loves listening to broadway and musical soundtracks. I actually didn't realize that this movie was a musical until we were in the theaters and it started. Such a happy surprise! I *LOVED* this movie and the songs! 
I'm loving my Emily Ley planner. I bought it back in September and it's been patiently sitting on my desk just waiting for January 1st to arrive. I've always used Lilly Pulitzer planners in the past but I've heard such wonderful things about this one so I decided to try it out. The gorgeous cover, complete with a pineapple (!), doesn't hurt. :)
I'm thinking about continuing my picture a day hashtag on Instagram. I did #laeveryday2014 all last year and it was such fun to look back throughout the photos but it was a bit of a headache at times. I can't decide if I want to keep it up in 2015. 
I'm wanting the University of Alabama to win the Sugar Bowl tonight against Ohio State in order to play for the National Championship. Roll Tide!
I'm needing to find inspiration to finish my newest creation for TpT. I've been sitting at my computer for over an hour hoping I'll find the motivation to get it done.
Yes to making this year MY year! The year I eat better, finally exercise, and learn to not get so wrapped up in my job! 
Maybe I'll tackle deep cleaning the classroom. Y'all, it certainly needs it! We need a fresh start when we go back next week so I definitely need to make this happen!
I wish I could become a stay at home blogger. I love teaching, but my dream job has always involved working from home. I love my house and am a major homebody so having the opportunity to work from it would be amazing!

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