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!:)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Starting Off Class the Right Way!

Happy Monday, y'all! I shared this pic on Instagram a few weeks ago and y'all wanted to know more about it, so that's what this post is all about today!

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, and idioms. 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! 

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!

If you are looking for something a little more in depth, there are different options for interactive notebook pages in the Greek and Latin Roots resource and the Idioms resource. 

Routine is key and using this type of bulletin board will create a meeting type area that can be easily implemented into an upper elementary classroom. You can find these three resources mentioned above bundled if you want to save a little!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Favorites

Hi friends! I'm sharing my Friday favorites over on my life+style blog, LaLa Life! Come read all about what I'm loving this week!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Teaching Greek and Latin Roots in 5th Grade

Hi y'all! If you're following me on Instagram, then you already know, but I am so excited to have this unit done! It has been a busy, busy late winter/spring for me and TpT and the blog kind of got pushed to the back burner for a bit. Hopefully I'm back for good and everything else sorta slows down right now. Fingers crossed! :)

Anyways, I'm hoping to get into a routine of blogging more consistently here on Life in Fifth Grade. I've had two really productive days in my home office, so I have high hopes! LOL 
Today I'm sharing my latest unit. My Greek and Latin Roots unit is finally finished and uploaded! This is the first unit I've uploaded since January! I am SO happy to have this one done and in the store. Some units almost create themselves they are so easy, but this one was a challenge! I'm not a huge fan of teaching Greek and Latin Roots (more power to you if you love it!) and so I think that was the reason why I wasn't motivated. I am so happy with the way it turned out though and I'm hoping it will inspire me to be more creative when it comes to teaching this vocabulary/word analysis skill!

Here's a little preview of what is included in the 180+ page unit. It also comes with a PowerPoint Presentation that you can show and use as a little review/practice game. I asked on Instagram, but if you use Google Drive/Classroom in your classroom, let me know! I am thinking about creating digital versions of some of my resources for y'all to use! :) 

You can find this Greek and Latin Roots Unit here. Psst! Be sure and check out the end of this post for a chance to win the unit! :)

You can find my A Trait A Day unit here and my Fun with Idioms unit here. I plan on sharing more about how to use these three units together soon! :)

Want to win a copy?? Leave a comment below telling me one of your favorite skills to teach and I'll randomly pick two winners tomorrow morning! Be sure and leave an email! :)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Simple Approach to Close Reading

Hi friends! Today I wanted to talk about a simple way to start practicing close reading with your kids. I usually start by using the symbol card in my Close Reading Toolkits, but that seemed to be overwhelming for some of my kids this year. I decided to simplify the method by coming up with three different "things" to look for and highlight/annotate. This worked out really well, so I thought I would share!

I displayed this printable on the whiteboard and told the kids to grab three highlighter colors. This was super easy because we keep art boxes that contain TBE highlighters on the table so we just used this. Each kid made a color key at the top of their text to show what color meant what. 

We looked for characters, which included new characters, characteristics, character interactions, etc. Anything to do with characters, we highlighted with our character color. 
Next, we choose a different color for setting. Again, anytime the setting was mentioned, the setting changed, a description of the setting, we highlighted.
Finally, we grabbed another color for 'feels'. This means anytime you have a reaction to the text, we highlighted that part with the third color. It could be a question you have about what is happening, a connection you've thought of, a part that shocked, saddened,angered,etc you. Anything you felt got highlighted with the third color.

After that, it was time to read! For this lesson, I used a passage from ReadWorks. We took a paragraph at a time and worked in groups of four. After a few minutes, we read the paragraph together and shared what we had highlighted. 

Simple and Effective!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sticky Stroll: An Engaging Activity for Citing Evidence

I'm always trying to get my kids up and out of their seats! When kids move around the room, they are instantly more engaged in the lesson. When I saw Miss 5th's "Wisdom Walk" with her students, I immediately knew I had to recreate it! And thus, "Sticky Stroll" was invented. I posted a picture on Instagram and a lot of you wanted to know more about it, so I thought I'd write a blog post about it. :)

This activity can be used for a bunch of different content. In Miss 5th's version, they kids were using it for math problems and I used it to practice citing evidence by quoting directly. It made this sometimes difficult and time consuming skill much more fun!

First, figure out what your content is going to be. Since mine was citing evidence, I created 8 different questions about the novel we are reading. I typed each question on a piece of paper and then attached the paper to a piece of oversized scrapbook paper. I displayed each poster around the room. 
After each poster was displayed around the room, we partnered up. Each partner group stood at a poster. I turned on some music (I used the song 'Walkin' on Sunshine) and when the music played everyone walked around the room in a big circle. We added a little dance to spice things up while we strolled around the room! When the music stopped, each group had to find a poster (kind of like musical chairs except everyone will always have a question to answer). Each group worked together to create a constructed response to the question. They had to cite direct text based evidence for each question!

I had a lot of questions about the numbered sticky notes. Once each group finished, they stuck their answer to the poster. In order to prevent another group from coming along and copying down their answer, each group took another sticky note, wrote their number (each group had a number) and stuck it on top of their answer.

When we finished, the kids went back around to collect their sticky notes from each poster. They stuck their answers on a piece of paper. 
Then they typed their answers in a Google Doc and shared them with me. They had the best time with this and worked so hard! I'm definitely going to use this activity to practice more skills in the future!