Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving FUN!

We only have 2 days of school this week!  Monday and Tuesday!

We are going to have some Thanksgiving fun these two days!

We have been reading a bunch of read alouds for Thanksgiving this month.  

We laughed and laughed over the Plump and Perky Turkey.  If you don't have this one, please add it to your collection!

Not only did they not have a clue what shredded wheat was, but they got the biggest kick out of the modeling posters in the book.  We each grabbed a partner and they picked out their favorite part of the story.  They used manila paper and wrote about it and of course included a picture.  After they were finished, I read the book again and we sequenced all of their masterpieces!  What a great activity for them.  We had a few people out of place, but worked together to get everyone in the right one.

We are almost finished reading Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this chapter book.  I am lucky and have a class set and we have been reading it over the last few days.  The kids are totally engaged in it.  They have been writing down little Thanksgiving facts on paper just like Jack does in the book.  I have just loved watching them get into this book so much.

We only have one more chapter left and then we will be doing some writing activities. This packet has 4 different options for writing.  I'm going to let the kids pick which one they want to do.  It is amazing how much harder they work if it is student choice!

Here are 2 of the writing choices.  It has 4 for the kids to pick from.

Here is a sample of the pages in the packet.

For math we have been working on 2 and 3 digit addition and subtraction.  This week we are going to work in groups to write Thanksgiving word problems.  We are going to divide into groups of 4 and brainstorm some ideas and write up some problems on Monday.  On Tuesday, the groups are to pick their favorite one to put on chart paper and present to class to solve.

We are also going to make this adorable booklet about turkeys.  It focuses on reading and text evidence.  It also includes having them write a paragraph to inform.  We are still very much in the early stages of paragraph writing, so we might have to do that part as a class.  Can't wait to make these with the kids!

I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL and SAFE Thanksgiving!

Enjoy every moment!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

No Copies! No Copies! Yes, it can be done!

Copies....  that machine is a pain!  One day last year I needed to run off comprehension questions for a  novel we were reading and we had no paper.


I didn't want to put the lesson off, so I just projected the questions on my board and No Copies Reading Instruction was born!

I was in LOVE!  And best of all so are the kids!

Let's face it, every time the kids turn around we are handing them a worksheet.  NO MORE!

Over the last few months, I have turned my favorite novels into projectable pdf files and I wish I would have done it sooner.

We read chapter books in the morning for early bird, along with Number of the Day.

I project this page, so the kids remember which chapter we are one.  I like to give them something to think about while they read.  We use this question to start our discussion about the chapter.  First, they use their Turn and Talk partner to discuss it.  Then, we talk as a big group.

Here is what those slides looks like.  This is one from a Flat Stanley chapter book.

I try to tie some text-to-self into these as much as I can.  This is one from a Magic Tree House book.

Then we move into the chapter questions.  We work through these as a class.  If I need to take a reading grade, I might ask the kids to pick one or two of the questions and write their answers out. This is a great way to incorporate student choice into your instruction.

Here are some of the question slides.

This is from Muggie Maggie.  It is a must read for any kid starting to write in cursive!

This is from a chapter in one of my favorite Stink chapter books.  

When we finish the book, we WRITE, WRITE, and WRITE some more!  No need to run off writing prompts, they are just part of the pdf.  The kids write on regular notebook paper.  We might do one as a think aloud or as a group.  I always have two or 3 choices, so I lots of pick from.

I've seen HUGE growth in reading.  I truly attribute it to this practice.  The kids are so much more engaged now that reading isn't about a bunch of paper.

Since this was so successful, I've kind of adopted this practice for math as well.  We do a lot of practice on white boards and notebook paper.

I just finished making a lesson to teach word problems with adding to 100.

I think what I really love about this approach is that I am not tied to my board writing.  I can use my clicker and walk around the room and have a conversation with the kids.  It is great because I included talking points, so I don't forget any important things I want the kids to know.  I am able to gage their learning because I'm watching them work the problems and can give them more 1-on-1 help as I walk around.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

My challenge for you....
Find something to use next week that doesn't require copies.  Make a powerpoint (or buy one - Ha Ha!) and see if it makes your instruction stronger and your kids more engaged.  I bet it will!

Happy teaching!