Monday, March 30, 2015

Text Dependent Questions, Part 2

Hi friends! I'm back to share some more of our TDQ work! If you missed my first post, click here!

We've been working on making our way to the top of the pyramid.
We have been using the paired passages from my Mysteries of the Deep set.
Here is a compare and contrast question- a "what does the text say?" question:
To help them "climb the pyramid," we use the same passage for a few days. Here is another question we did on a different day using the same passage that falls in the "how does the text work?" section:
And lastly, we looked at the second passage for another "how does the text work?" question... we talked a lot about how we had seen the anglerfish in Finding Nemo...
...but what if someone hadn't seen the movie...?
All of these questions helped prepare them for a discussion we had (and then wrote about, too) in the "what does the text mean?" section of the pyramid: "How do animals survive in the deepest part of the ocean?" This sounds like a simple question, but the students actually had to do quite a bit of inferring using BOTH passages, which definitely makes it more complex. The students had to think about what both passages included, which was how they find food- giant squid's large eyes helps it see in the darker parts and its tentacles are used to catch prey, and bioluminescent animals attract prey. They had to put this information together to talk, and then write, about how deep sea animals survive.

This response is not perfect by any means, but I was very proud of this kiddo because she is ESOL and has been working so hard to cite evidence and answer the question completely!
How are TDQs going in your classroom?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sparking Student Motivation: Leprechaun Traps

How many of you have your students do home projects?

I don't do many because usually it turns into a parent project instead of a student project... but when I do, I always include activities that I know for sure the student did, like a writing portion where they have to explain their understanding.

Last week, my students had a home project to show their knowledge of simple machines by designing a leprechaun trap! (click the link for the freebie in my store!) They were SO excited about it! They only had to draw the designs and explain how they would work, but many of them built the traps too:
Here are some of their drawn designs:
And of course, they were due on St. Patrick's Day, so we set up our traps when we left the room, just in case... and that tricky leprechaun left footprints and confetti all over the place! Some of the confetti pieces were even shaped like little leprechauns! No one caught the leprechaun this year...
Since this really got my kids excited to show their knowledge about simple machines, I'm linking this up with my BBB, Joanne, for Sparking Student Motivation!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lucky You! Blog Hop

Want a little luck on this Friday the 13th? Here is some St. Patrick's Day FUN with lots of FREEBIES! Hop on through to grab all the freebies from some awesome upper elementary bloggers!

Since we're talking about being lucky, I'd just like to take a minute to say I am SO LUCKY to be a part of the awesomeness that is TPT! And if it weren't for TPT, I wouldn't be lucky enough to have such wonderful best bloggy buddies! There are many more that aren't even in this picture that I am just so blessed to have in my life! 
Why do you feel lucky? Let me know in the comments! :)

Here's one reason to feel lucky! Check out this super fun freebie that your kids will love doing!
Don't forget to make all of us bloggers feel lucky with your fabulous feedback on the freebies you use! :o)

Now hop on over to fabulous friend Molly! 
She is the next stop of the hop! :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Text Dependent Questions with Annotations

Happy Tuesday, friends!

I am linking up with TWO of my sweet friends today- Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper and Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B! I am excited to share about some things we've been doing with close reading and text dependent questions in my classroom. Many of you probably remember my blog post about annotating (if not, read it here). My kids have become annotating experts now! Lately, I have been "trying" to give them a focus for their annotating with text dependent questions, so I'm linking up for Tried It Tuesday! :)
We've especially been focusing on the "top of the pyramid" grappling with understanding what the text we are reading really means.
In Social Studies, we have been learning about the Founding Fathers and how they built our nation's government, so I used my George Washington passage from my February and March Themed Paired Texts (which by the way are only $3 for the remainder of February since you most likely won't be buying it for the Valentine's Day passages this year).

I wanted the students to think about what kind of person George Washington was using the evidence given- in other words, they needed to infer based on what was written in the passage. They did such a great job! Here are some of their inferences:
background and clip art from the fabulous Teaching Super Power!

I also have to share this amazing resource I found searching for examples of text dependent stems!! It is definitely something you CAN'T live without!
I love having a bunch of possible questions I can ask about a text without having to rack my brain for them. This resource by Beth Burke has been a lifesaver for all types of question stems!
It is a free resource- definitely go grab it if you do close reading in your room! :o)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Loved That Lesson: Imitating Poetry

I am so excited to link up with Meg from The Teacher Studio!

We have had some serious fun with poetry using Love That Dog.
If you've never read this book, it is a MUST with a poetry unit! Check it out here! It's a little sad, but even still, my kids have loved it the last few years.

Those of you that already follow me know that I think imitation is a must for kids to learn the craft of writing. I do this weekly through Mentor Sentences. Analyzing the structure and craft of an author, then trying it out: that is the BEST way for students to learn to write!

Sooo... I decided to have my kiddos try out imitating a poem. This one worked perfectly since we had also just done some research on an animal for an opinion piece:


Under a maple tree
The dog lies down,
Lolls his limp
Tongue, yawns,
Rests his long chin
Carefully between
Front paws;
Looks up, alert;
Chops, with heavy
Jaws, at a slow fly,
Blinks, rolls
On his side,
Sighs, closes
His eyes: sleeps
All afternoon
In his loose skin.

First, we broke down each line for structure-
Under a maple tree - prepositional phrase
The dog lies down - what the animal does (subject/predicate)
Lolls his limp
Tongue, yawns, - does something with a (adjective) body part, then another action

You get the idea... we only did the first seven lines because I thought that would be "enough." They had a bit of a struggle getting started, but once I gave a few of them ideas to start, they really flew... and they BLEW ME AWAY with their imitation poems!
The two students above are ESOL students, and they rocked it!

I thought this one was beautiful! Such great visualization and detail...

I wish I could share all of their poems with you. They have really grown as writers and readers this year. I am so proud of them! 

We also imitated the first stanza from Love That Boy by Walter Dean Myers:
Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run
Love to call him in the morning
love to call him
"Hey there, son!"

I'm sure you can figure out why this one was my favorite of them all... :o)
Definitely give this a try with your students- I think you'll be surprised at what some of them do! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

No Worksheet Wednesday (On Thursday)

Yes, I know... a day late to the party. But I could not pass up the opportunity to link up with the lovelies over at Primary Chalkboard! I had every intention of linking up yesterday, but I had a fun night with friends instead, and it was much needed! :o)
We are having a great time in math with geometry! We definitely don't want to waste our time on worksheets with all the fun that can be had with protractors and geoboards!
We are classifying triangles by their angles, so what better way than to actually measure them to prove if they are right, acute, or obtuse?

We are also having some fun with this game called Triangle Splat in our technology station:
I hope this gives you some fun ideas of things you can do to save some trees and have some fun with your kiddos in geometry! :o)

Go check out Primary Chalkboard for more ideas to be worksheet free!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Latest Mentor Sentence News... {GIVEAWAY!}

Hey friends.

I've been super busy creating and not super busy blogging. I really apologize for that.

I promise this week I'm going to have a MEANINGFUL blog post that you will love, not just to give you updates, like this one. But updates are important, too, right?!

First of all, two very sweet bloggers shared how they are using my second grade mentor sentences in their classroom, and they are both giving away the first set!

First up is Hilary from Second Grade Is Out of This World:
She used The Three Snow Bears and her kids did so great!

I love that she said, "We labeled all of the parts that we could. They love saying big words like collective noun and possessive pronouns." That's what it's all about! Exposing them to new skills! They aren't going to know what every word is- they don't at first in the upper grades either. But they do start to understand how they work together and that's what is most important.

And then, Monique from More Than Math by Mo also used The Three Snow Bears (must be that time of year, huh? You might remember, Dirt Road Teacher also used this one!)
I love that she said, "I was very impressed with the variety of skills I was able to cover during this one week with one simple sentence from our read aloud!!!" This is EXACTLY why I love Mentor Sentences! I cover and review so much grammar every week, AND my kids improve on their writing each week just from one sentence each week, 10-15 minutes a day. It's awesome!!

Make sure to visit each of their blogs to enter to win the first set of second grade mentor sentences!

And, second bit of mentor sentence news...
The fourth set, which can be used ANY time of year, is now available! It is also on sale for the first 48 hours! These are great books that can be stuck in when you need a little review, or when you have a seasonal book coming up in one of the other packs, but it's not quite time for it yet. The books in this one  are:
-The Important Book by Margeret Wise Brown
-Parts by Tedd Arnold
-Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
-Corduroy by Don Freeman
-Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
-A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams
-Stone Soup by Ann McGovern
-Smelly Socks by Robert Munsch
-Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
-Don’t Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems
Such great books, right?? It made me miss my first and second grade babies back when I taught those grades!

I also bundled all four second grade mentor sentence sets, just like I did with the upper grades!
If you missed my post about how I would suggest using them in the lower grades, click below:
... or if you want to see all that I have ever posted about mentor sentences, click here!