Monday, April 29, 2013

Personification Giveaway Winner Announcement!

Hello again!  I almost forgot to announce the winner of my “Personification” product.  I will keep it short and sweet!
I am new to the blogging world and I am very excited to have someone reading and commenting on my blog posts. I am thrilled to be at 21 followers and hoping to make it to 50 soon so I can hold an even better giveaway!
So for this giveaway everyone who is following by blog and commented on the post prior to 8:00 p.m. today will be receiving a copy. 
I will email them to you.  The list is short, but if I miss you please email me and I will send it to you.
Please come back and let me know your thoughts on the two activities and/or how you used it in your classroom.
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog!

Monthly Goals Linky - I {heart} Recess

I survived Monday!  I still have 6 more to go before school ends for the year.  It is a little too early for me to get excited about my summer, but I am beginning to see a sparkle of light in the tunnel. 

Today I am linking up with Jess at I {heart} Recess!  She is helping us to stay focused and set goals for the month of May. 

I am all about having my students set goals each quarter.  I have them write them down and revisit them several times throughout the quarter.  I hold them accountable for putting forth their best effort in reaching their goals.

Well, now it is my turn!  I frequently set small and large goals for myself, but I don’t write them down.  Today I am putting them in “blogging world” for all to see.  I am hoping this will help me stay on focused!

Personal I am an “All -Time Professional Worrier”!  I wake up worrying, worry throughout the day, and worry until I fall off to sleep.  Most of my worrying is about things that are totally out of my control or things that are meaningless.  I need to learn to let some things go.  This month I will do a better job at being happy about the many blessings I have in my life.

Health I am not an overeater but my eating habits are horrible.  I go all day without eating and then eat a large meal at the end of the day.  Two weeks ago I began faithfully taking my lunch each day with healthy snacks that I can eat throughout the day.   I have all ready stopped the one large meal in the evening because I don’t come home starving!

Blogging I have been blogging for two weeks now and this is my 8th post.  I want to keep this going.  I also hope to make some connections with some of my favorite bloggers.  I learn so much from them and enjoy reading their posts.  If you are looking for a new “Blogging Buddy” email me!

School I am going to use better time management and complete my lesson plans and most of all of my grading during my planning periods.  I want to have the freedom to do what I want to do with my evenings.  I will not let the “Paper Monster” control my evenings and weekends.

Fun Unplugging technology in my house is HARD!  Laptops, televisions, game systems, cell phones, and pads are a constant.  I am going to pull my 14 year old twin boys away from it all and spend some quality time with them.  Before you know it they will be off to college.  So I am going to make memories while I can!  
Do you have your students set goals in your classroom?  How often? How do you hold them accountable? 
Don’t forget to link up with Jess at I {heart} Recess.  Together we can keep each other motivated!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Must Read Mentor Texts - "Capital! Washington, D.C. from A to Z"

Happy Sunday!

Today I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties for the Must Read Mentor Texts Linky.  This week, being the 4th Sunday, means a social studies text.  If you haven't all ready, link up your favorite mentor text!
Here is my "must read mentor text" for the week.
"Capital! Washington, D.C. from A to Z” is written by Laura Krauss Melmed and illustrated by Frane Lessac.  This book is filled with fascinating facts about historical places and people.  It is written in an informative verse and captures the unique brilliance of the city.  It is filled with very detailed artwork.  My students enjoy taking this book out of my classroom library throughout the year.
In my 4th grade classroom, half of my social studies curriculum focuses on Washington, D.C.  I use this book at the end of our study of Washington, D.C.  After I read this book to my class, the students work together to create their own version of the book and below you will see some examples of their pages.

What are some of your favorite social studies mentor texts?
Be sure to stop by Collaboration Cuties to learn about other Must Read Mentor Texts for social studies. 
Did you enter my giveaway? Are you interested in winning two activities on personification?  Check out my post from yesterday, leave a comment and have the opportunity to win them.  Tomorrow is the last day to enter.  The winner will be announced at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, April 29th.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Personification Activities, Freebie, and a Giveaway!

Below you will find a few of the activities that went over well in my classroom based on lessons that I taught on personification, several book choices, and a FREEBIE!
I do believe my students had the most fun with these lessons.  They did a lot of visualizing during the read-alouds which brought on a lot of giggling.
Day 1:  To activate prior knowledge I ask the students to think of things cats can do, such as meow, climb, lick their paws, and run.  Then I asked them to tell me things that a lunch bag can do.  They came to the conclusion that a lunch bag can’t do anything, because it can’t move on its own or speak.  I then explained to them that when a writer treats an object, concept, or animal like a person it is called personification.  We looked at the definition (Personification is the act of giving non-living things human characteristics or qualities) of personification and placed it on our figurative language board.  I ended the lesson with a read-aloud “Punctuation Takes a Vacation”.  Together we wrote the examples of personification that were found in the story.
Day 2 and 3:  I began today’s lesson with “The Little Red Pen” by Janet Stevens.  Every year this book is one of their favorites.  Again, they identified the examples of personification that they heard throughout the book.  Lastly, I divided my students into groups so that they could work on the following two activities.  Activity 1 tells students to read sentences that contain examples of personification. They use a recording sheet to identify and write the object, concept, or animal that is being given human qualities.  Then they write the quality it is being given.  Activity 2 tells students to read several phrase cards and use the phrases in a sentence that contains an example of personification.
This is one of my products Personification - 2 Activities. Students complete these activities independently or in pairs as a review during reading rotations. It gives my students extra practice. It can be found in my store. Click on the picture to get a better look at it or to purchase it. 
Day 4:  I read the book “School Supplies: A Book of Poems” by Lee Bennett Hopkins to my class.  We discussed how well personification fits into poetry and how it helps us to make great visualizations.  Next, I modeled how to use a planning guide to help with writing a personification poem.  When we finished, I had the students complete a planning guide independently.  After some peer editing, students published their poems and placed them on our work board.  If you would like a FREE copy of the Personification Planning Guide and the Personification Publishing Page, click here.  If you like the activity, please be kind and leave me some feedback.

Here are more books that I used with my personification lessons. 

Would you like to win a free copy of Personification 2 Activities?  Leave me a comment and share your favorite books and/or lessons on personification.  I would love to add to my book collection and ideas for lessons.
I will randomly select one comment from one of my followers on Monday, April 29that 8:00 p.m. Please be sure to leave your email or blog address so I can send you the product if you are the winner!  If you aren't comfortable leaving your email address, check back on Monday at 8:00 p.m. to see who won. 
I promise not to post too many of my products on my blog, but anytime I do there will be a giveaway included!  Follow my blog to learn about me, my teaching style, my classroom, lessons, find freebies, and to share experiences!

As always, thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Workshop Wednesday Linky - Math Card Game

Hello Everyone!!  Today I am linking up with Jessica at Ideas by Jivey for Workshop Wednesdays.  Our goal for today is to share our favorite card game. 

(Disclaimer:  I learned this game from a coworker over several years ago and I have taught it to my students every year since.  This is not my original idea.)

How to Play “Bull’s Eye”:

1.  Students are divided into pairs.  Students should spread out.  They will need space to lay out playing cards.
2.  Each pair of students will need a box of playing cards.  In my class, we use the aces as a number 1 and the king as a 0.  I remove all jacks, queens, and joker cards.  (Students can make the numbers higher than 9 by using two cards.  Example: Make 14 by placing an ace and a 4 next to each other.) They will also need a set of math operation symbols.  I often provide them with a number sheet to record their answers.
3.  I call out a number, which I call the “Bull’s Eye Number”, from 1 to 20. 
4.  Students will work with their partner to make number sentences that equal to the Bulls Eye Number.  My students are required to use at least two operation symbols in each number sentence.  In the beginning of the year, I ask them to make 2 number sentences.  By this time in the year, they must form 3 number sentences to provide more of a challenge.  When the pair of students have formed the required number sentences, they call out “Bull’s Eye”! 
(Forgive me for the glare on a few of the cards.)
4.   Students record their number sentences on their recording sheet.  I stay on the same Bull’s Eye Number until majority, if not all, pairs have completed the challenge.  I then call out another Bull’s Eye Number.   Students are to stop and work on the current number, but they are strongly encouraged to go back and complete all incomplete challenges.
(Click on the picture to download a free copy.)

5.  I ask that all recording sheets be completed and turned in to me before the end of the next day.  This allows students time to complete all challenges. (Note:  At the beginning of the year, some of the pairs need the second day.  By November, I hardly ever have pairs that don’t finish each challenge before I call a new “Bull’s Eye Number”.)
6.  As time permits, I have a few pairs share their number sentences on the white board. 
To make the game more challenging you can require students to use certain operations symbols (ex. must use multiplication and subtraction).  You can also require that they use certain numbers in their number sentences.  I do these types of challenges the last month or so of the school year.
I hope that you will try this game with your students and that they enjoy playing it as much as my students do!
Don’t forget to stop by Jivey’s blog and learn some new awesome math card games!  Which math game do your students enjoy the most?
I hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog and have decided to become a follower.  I have been blogging for 10 days now, and I am proud to say that I am at 13 followers.  The number is small, but I am excited that someone has found me!  I am looking forward to my first give-away. Thank you so much for stopping by and please leave me a comment letting me know where I can find you!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Peek Into My Classroom... My Three Favorite Places!

Hello!  Boy, I am LATE for Latoya’s Let’s Get Acquainted Linky!! 

I hope better late than never holds up in "Blog World"!

This week we are suppose to show 3 favorite spots in our classroom and I could select 2 spots hands down with no hesitation.  The third was a tie between three areas.

My all time favorite place in my Classroom is the “Fiction Book Area”.  In this area you will find a large blue rug (It is big enough for my all of my students to sit together.  They sit here for read-alouds), several large pillows, a sitting bench (with a hidden compartment), and MANY books arranged by series, authors, genres and picture books in alphabetical order.  My mom made my curtains to cover the top row.  The curtains hide my literature circle books, extra composition books, workbooks, etc.
Next, up is my “Math Area”.  Here you will find a brown meeting rug (perfect for a small group), two sitting benches (with a hidden compartments) pillows, math drawers that hold all my math activities arranged by skills, drawers that hold math manipulatives, math rotation board, math picture books, “Words to Know”, and math operations posters.
The last area will have to be our “Classroom Essential Agreement Area and Responsive Classroom Reminders Board”.  During the first week of school, we agreed on 4 things that will be a must for our classroom.  (They are listed on the brown rectangles that are linked together by ribbon, next to the tree.)  The students sign the bottom two rectangles. This brings me to my “Tree of Knowledge”.  I put this tree up to cover that ugly pipe that you see above and below the tree.  The pipe actually gives it a bit of a 3D look.  We call it a “Tree of Knowledge” because once a week the students place a sticky note on the tree with one thing that they learned and one question they still have on a topic we discussed that week.  This area also includes our school’s definition of bullying, classroom motto, “I Statement” reminders, consequences, ideas for “Apology of Action”, and fire exit route.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into my classroom.  Come by on Saturday and take a look under my “Classroom Pictures” tab.  I will be adding several more classroom pictures there.
Don’t forget to stop by Latoya’s blog to see other favorite classroom areas!  If you haven’t linked up, leave me a comment and let me know your favorite place/thing in your classroom.  I would also love to know your favorite Linky Party!

Thank you so much for stopping by and please leave me a comment letting me where I can find you!  I love finding new blogs!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cause and Effect Relationships and a Freebie for You!

Welcome!  For the last several days my students and I have been focusing on cause and effect.  I am going to give some details and share some pictures of the activities they enjoyed the most.  Forgive me now for the long post, but there is a goodie for you at the end!
(Click on the picture of the books to be taken
to a brief description of it.)
*After a discussion on what is cause and effect and identifying their meaning; I wrote several sentences on the SmartBoard for the students to help me identify the cause and effect of each sentence.  This was not a quick process for my students but they were definitely making progress.
*First, they made a very simple flip book and labeled one section “cause” and one “effect”.  On the back side of each flap, the students wrote their meanings.  (cause why something happens and effect what happens) Each student was then given two cards.  One card had a sentence stating the cause and the other stated an effect.  They needed to decide which was the cause and which was the effect.  Next, they wrote the correct sentence with its label.  Finally, they illustrated their sentences.

I read the book “That’s Good! That’s Bad!” written by Margery Cuyler.  This is a great book with wonderful illustrations.  (Warning:  It causes nine year olds to giggle!)  I gave them a cause and effect graphic organizer to complete as I read the story.  First I wanted them to focus on how one event can have a domino effect and many things can come from that one initial event.  After I finished, reading we went back to identify several cause and effect relationships.  I made an anchor chart of our discussion.

*To get them up and moving, (something that I try and do as much as possible) I gave each student a card with either a cause or effect sentence written on it.  The students had to hold up their card and find the student that was their matching partner.  We did this without speaking.  At the end, we made a big circle with students standing next to their partner and they read their cards for our approval.  We had 100%, so of course, we HAD let out a cheer!

*I read the book “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears” written by Verna Aardema.   Students were asked to identify three cause and effect relationships from the text.  The students paired up to ensure that their partner’s work was accurate.
*It was time to get up and  moving again!  We played the game “Scoot”.  If you aren’t familiar with how to play the game, this is a quick explanation of how I play it in my classroom. 

My Directions for Scoot
1.  Each student is given a recording sheet.  Students can use notebook paper or a composition book to write their answers in, but be sure to have them number their papers with the same number of cards that you will be using.   Since I use recording sheets (which we glue in their composition books after our game as ended); I have my students use clipboards as they scoot around the room.
2.  I place one numbered card on each desk or on every other desk, depending on how many cards I am using. 
3.  Students will move from desk to desk, reading the question or problem written on the card. They will record their answers on their recording sheet or paper.  If they are at card number 5, they answer in the number 5 box.  When you say SCOOT, they move to the next desk.  So if a student is starting at card number 14, they move to the next desk with card number 15, and so on.
4.  It is beneficial to your sanity to practice moving from desk to desk before doing the actual game. Do this a couple of times. Say scoot and everyone should move to the next desk. You may go as fast as you would like.  The game is supposed to move quickly, but you can set your own pace.
5.  Then you can go over the answers with the whole class.  I like to bring my class to the carpet.  If several students were stumped on a particular card, we use this time to discuss it. 
My students and I love to play this game with all subject areas.  I make or purchase all types of task cards to use with this game.
Here are a few pictures of my students playing “Cause and Effect Scoot” in our classroom. 
 Here are some of the other picture books I use to help students identify cause and effect relationships.  It is a must that I read to my students each day.  (You will soon find that I am ADDICTED to purchasing children’s books!)  
     Smoky Night

Don't Slam the Door!Fortunately, Unfortunately     

WOW!! Thank you making it this far!  To show my appreciation for your visit today you can print a FREE set of the cause and effect cards that I used for the scoot game.  These cards can also be used as an independent or group practice activity or in a literacy center.  Click on the word FREE, to print your own set.  If you and your class enjoy using the cards, I would appreciate you leaving feedback.  I would love to hear your thoughts!
This set of cards are included in my “Nine Spring Literacy Activities” that can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. Click on a picture below to find them.
Both of the above graphic organizers can be found here. 
I love reading and responding to comments.  Please tell me about your favorite book to use when teaching cause and effect or share your favorite cause and effect activity.