October 2013 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom
I wanted to share a fun activity we did yesterday for writing! It is included in my I Need My Monster TPT Unit! After reading the book, I drew a monster, but didn't show my kids. Then I wrote a description of him and read it to my students. They drew the monster as I read them the description:

My name is Melvin. I am a green monster. My body is oval-shaped like a potato and covered with warts. I look out from under your bed with my one blue eye, right in the middle of my head. You'll hear me breathing with my big mouth, but I hope you don't laugh because I only have five teeth: 3 on top and 2 on the bottom. It's because I can't brush my teeth! My stubby arms won't reach, and I can hardly pick up a toothbrush with my fat fingers. I run around on four feet, and sometimes I trip on my long lizard-like tail!
Here was my monster...
...and here are a couple of my students' monsters drawn from my description!

Pretty good huh? :)

We talked about the things I could have described better, like the shape of the teeth and legs and shoes... and then they got to work on their own.
Then, they got with a partner, and without showing their monster, read their descriptions and their partners drew. They really did an excellent job! Here are a couple that came really close in their drawings!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Halloween! :o)

You know I can't resist telling you "it's HUMP DAAA-EEEEE!" Happy Wednesday! :o)

Today for Workshop Wednesday, we are linking up how we integrate content areas into our writing. I've had a big focus on Science the last couple of weeks across content because there is just SO much to cover in such a short time. I've been teaching Solar System, so the students have become "experts" on one planet of their choice. I gave you a sneak peek on Friday at the beginning stages of our Planets Important Book. Here are a few of my students' finished products:

Don't forget, you can grab Joanne's wonderful templates for your own important book about ANY content!

We also use the book Postcards from Pluto to "spice up" our nonfiction writing.
They create their own postcard (a GIANT postcard in fact) as though they are visiting the planet that they became an expert about. I remind them that no one wants to get a postcard with a bunch of boring facts listed. (I use the example, "I'm at the beach. There is a lot of sand. The water has waves. I saw a dolphin. Wish you were here!" That usually gets the point across and keeps them from writing, "Saturn has rings. It's really cold. It's so far from the sun....") As you can tell below, they definitely have learned to add voice and style to their writing!

They decorate the other side as well, like a postcard, but we haven't gotten that far yet. :o)

So, how do you "kill two birds with one stone" in writing?

Hi friends! I'm linking up with two of my BBBs for Math Monday! Make sure to visit Jess at I {Heart} Recess and Deirdre at A Burst of First for more awesome math ideas! :)

I am sharing an activity we used today in my classroom! We read the first part of the book, Working With Fractions by David A. Adler:
It's a great introduction to all things fractions! As I read the first part of the book to them, we filled in a notes activity in the students' math notebooks. You could really do this activity without the book, too. :o) It looks off-center because it is... I made it so that I could just cut off the edges to make it fit in their math composition notebooks.
Grab the freebie by clicking here or the activity above!

Oh! I almost forgot! I hope you'll come link up this Wednesday for Workshop Wednesday. :) We'll be sharing how to integrate writing and another content area!
And finally, since it's been a while since I've linked up to a "just for fun" linky, I'm going to link up to ONE MORE tonight. :o) Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade is doing a fun one- My Truth Monday. And THIS Monday is a CREEPY one for this week's upcoming holiday!!

Happy Friday! I'm linking up today to share some random things from my week! :)
We have started our solar system unit and, to make it even more fun, we have some songs that we listen to and sing along! My kids love the songs by Mr. Parr! Here is the Solar System Song. And here are my kiddos singing along with it! :o)

Of course, you know me. I have to tie in my science to all of my content areas! We are learning about non-fiction text features so, as a way to get them to tell me what they already knew before I really "taught" the features, I made this poster, and they came up with all the features they knew about and their purpose. They did a great job actually! I won't have much work in that arena, thank goodness.

Sooooo of course, we have to write about the solar system too! I'm using Joanne's (from Head Over Heels for Teaching) Important Book Template and this will become their introduction paragraph of a bigger piece later, as well as a class book!
Students used their Science textbooks to find details about a planet of their choice. Come back next week to see their final published pieces! :o)
It took me a while this year for some reason, but I'm finally all decorated for Halloween! Here are some of my favorite decorative pieces:
And since I'm finally in the Halloween spirit, I'm planning some fun activities for next week in the classroom- all PC of course. ;-) One of the books we'll read next week is The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg.
It is a suspenseful story that'll have the kids on the edge of their seats! Here is a lesson guide I found online with some ideas if you're interested, as well as a great summary of the book.

And HERE is a mentor sentence FREEBIE to go along with the book, too! I'll be using this next week with my kiddos. :o)
This freebie is offered as part of the Friday Fall Freebie Blog Hop!
Click here to go to the next blog for another freebie!
**Winners of the Pin It to Win It Owl Unit are:
JWtcher and Melissa@Flying Into Fourth! Congrats! Check your email!**
Welcome to another Workshop Wednesday! Today, the topic is "Reading Workshop Tricks and Treats." (You like that seasonal twist I gave it??) Share ANYTHING you use to motivate your students to read, to help keep yourself organized during Reading Workshop, fun lessons, or even just your favorite things about Reading Workshop!

I love having my students read magazines for nonfiction exposure when we have time. I have them get with their classroom book buddy (a low-medium student paired with a medium-high student) since the magazines are not leveled. They LOVE reading magazines.
I have a few subscriptions I got through Educents deals and Plum District deals, but then I was also lucky enough to have a brother and sister much younger than me. My mom SAVED their magazines and they are all still in tact and in my possession in my classroom! Woot!
This week, we are completing a non-fiction text features activity using our magazines. Click here to download this activity for free!
(The activity can be found in my Digging for Nonfiction Text Features unit!) 

The students are enjoying working with each other on this, and reading the magazines. It is definitely a "trick" I use to get them to read nonfiction and do some work for me! :o)

Ok... Your turn!!

Gary over at Scrappy Guy Designs is having a fun linky to share about how we "celebrate" Halloween, but remain PC about it. I didn't do much of anything last year except read some fun books, but the year before, we had PUMPKIN MANIA!! Some parents donated pumpkins to carve, and we actually did educational pumpkin activities ALL DAY, including carving our pumpkins!

Looking back at these pictures made me miss my kiddos so much! I actually looped with that crew from 3rd to 4th. They were such a fun bunch!! And the parents were SPECTACULAR. They were the only reason we could HAVE Pumpkin Mania!

This year, I have a few who can't celebrate, so I'll stick with my PC book, I Need My Monster for the week- we'll be doing lots of fun language arts activities with it... and I'm tempted to somehow incorporate the idea Joanne shared today, too, but with a monster mask!! Some of my girls will totally pee their pants!!! :-P

So, it's better to show up late to a party than not at all right??
I'm linking up with the Collaboration Cuties to share about a great book I found recently. Make sure to check out the other link-ups at their blog too if you haven't already. There are some AWESOME ones!

I am going to share with you about a book called White Owl, Barn Owl.
The book is about a girl and her dad who put an owl nesting box in the tree and are waiting for an owl to come to it. It can TOTALLY be used as a comparison story to another one of my favorites, Owl Moon!
What I love about this book is that it is written as a narrative, but each illustration has factual captions. And even though it's fiction, there are many "facts" written into the story throughout, as well.

We talked about how the author, Nicola Davies, must have learned about owls first before writing her story. Even though it's fiction, the way she describes the owl are spot on! I had the students listen as I read JUST the story (not the captions) and list anything they heard that told facts about owls:
Then I went back and read the captions to them. They all agreed that listening to it in story form was WAY more interesting and entertaining than just listing the facts.

I decided last year that animal adaptations was TOO much fun to wait until the spring to teach. I am going to teach it all throughout the year using Language Arts activities, then do "just" the science part in the Spring. I created a unit about owls using Gail Gibbons's book, as well as Nicola Davies's book. There is only one activity that must be used SPECIFICALLY with White Owl, Barn Owl (which is pictured above)... all of the other activities could really be done with any non-fiction book about owls.

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