September 2013 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

Hey friends!

I collaborated with some of my BBBs to come up with the idea for this week's Workshop Wednesday. Now that school is really moving and grooving for everyone, we'll be back to a weekly topic, and I'll let you know Sunday and/or Monday the topic for the coming Wednesday.
This week, I'd love to hear how you incorporate word work into your Reading Workshop! I shared with you in August how I use my rolling cart of drawers for my stations in math and reading:
Word Work for fourth grade in my county consists of greek and latin roots. I also throw in synonyms, antonyms, and homophones/homographs too, but root words are the majority. Before they can complete the word work activity for the week (which I'll share more about this week for Workshop Wednesday), I have to do a little "preview" of the word. I created an activity where students read four words as well as their definitions. All of the words have matching prefixes, root words, or suffixes, depending on the week. They can figure out the meaning of the prefix, root word, or suffix by finding the commonality in the definitions. Each page includes a picture clue with the prefix, root, or suffix, too!
My kiddos glue these into their word study journal. We do the graphic organizer together with a highlighter, then they use it to help them with their word work activities during the week. If you would like to use these organizers in your classroom, you can get them from my store!

All of the organizers were created with the book we were given by our county:
...but you don't have to have this book to use the organizers! The parts of words covered are:
in-/im-, com-, col-, de-, pro-, audi-/audit-, voc-/voke, spec/spect, terra, trac/tract, trans, inter, per-, auto-, tele-, -able/-ible, -ology, -arium/-ary, -er/-or, -ify, multi-, poly-, micro-, and mega-.

I'll show you the games and more activities we do with these word parts on Wednesday! I'd love to hear what kinds of things you do on Wednesday, too! Make sure to come back and link up! :o)

I'm linking up with Collaboration Cuties this morning to share an adorable book with you! :)
One of my favorite books to read at Halloween time that's still "PC" for kiddos that can't celebrate Halloween is I Need My Monster by Amanda Knoll.
It's an adorable book about a boy's monster that goes on vacation, and each replacement monster just isn't good enough. It's a great story to look at awesome adjectives and vivid verbs in writing- each monster is described thoroughly! :) Here is a freebie you can use with it if you want to grab it up!
This freebie came from my language arts unit for the book, which you can get in my store here if you're interested! (And remember, my store is on sale 20% off through the end of today!)
The unit includes the freebie above to practice with amazing adjectives and vivacious verbs from the book that describe the monsters and their "scary" traits, as well as pages for text-to-self connections; practicing describing, following directions, and listening through drawing and describing a monster to someone else; quotations practice; distinguishing between adjectives and adverbs; and a writing prompt taken from the point of view of a monster in the story. It's definitely at least a week's worth of activities you can do with your kiddos! :)
I am so sad to leave my BBB Joanne today! :( But we had a blast together, and definitely will be getting together again! And check out my adorable new minions shirt I got yesterday. :-P

Happy Friday, friends! Guess what?? As this post goes live, I will be driving to Florida to visit my BBB Joanne for the weekend!! WHAT?! Bloggy friends can become real life friends?! You bet! I can't even tell you how excited I am. So this Five For Friday is a special FLORIDA edition! :)
Obviously, number one has to be going to stay with my BBB Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching!!!
We decided after the Atlanta Meet-Up for bloggers (when it would be quite a drive for her just for lunch) that we HAD to meet each other...and I decided I'd be due for a long-weekend about this time (you'll see why in #3)... and it was DONE. It will be about an 8 hour drive, but I'll have Justin Timberlake to keep me company, and maybe an audio-book too- still trying to decide on a good one. :)
Since Joanne lives close to Universal Studios, that's our plan for Saturday! I've never been, so I'm soooo pumped. I've always been a Disney World girl, but I can't wait for Universal and the MINIONS!!! If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I absolutely ADORE them. This is the wallpaper of my phone:
...and once others started learning of my love, I began getting gifts! Yay! :-P Just in the last couple of weeks, I've gotten this adorable pencil topper from Scrappy Guy Gary: well as this picture and ornament from one of my students!
(I wonder if this student thinks that's what I look like?? LOL)

And then, check out these two kiddos trying to get some A's on the same day! :-P
When I told my students where I'd be going, they were all jealous, but told me to make sure I get a picture with the minions. :-P
This week has been a loooooong week, so this trip is going to be a great get-away. In the county where I work, we have Early Release days twice each school year to meet with all of our parents. Wednesday and Thursday of this week were Early Release... the kids are a bit crazy because the schedule is so wacky! We eat lunch and then they go home... it makes for QUITE a crazy morning. But the craziness doesn't really begin until 12:30 or so when the first parent that is scheduled walks in, and the back-to-back conferences start. Every 20 minutes, a parent walks out and another walks in. Wednesday I didn't leave until about 5:30, and Thursday I left at 4:45. Trust me when I say, this is a normal "leave time" for me on a normal day... but cramming 25 parent conferences into two afternoons is NOT a normal day! :-P
I created an activity for my students to do with the sub today, and I wanted to share it with you as a freebie!

The Book Fair is coming to our school this month, so I don't want to send home Scholastic Book Orders so they will (hopefully) buy books at the Book Fair instead. But instead of trashing the book orders I received, I decided to use them to practice addition, multiplication, and subtraction!
Click on the images, or here, to download this for free. This would also be a great activity to do before you send home a book order so the kiddos can tell their parents what books they "have" to have! ;-)
Wanna do some end of the month shopping?
And if you're in a shopping mood... did you get a chance to check out the September Swap and Share? A few of my favorite BBBs swapped around some awesome products and used them in our classrooms, then shared about how awesome the products were! Make sure you check it out! :)

This month, I participated in a fun "Swap & Share!" I was so excited to be paired with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper.
4th Gr Flipper
We both teach 4th grade, and we both have similar teaching styles (even though we live in two completely separate states!) so we both adore each other's products! I actually had a hard time choosing a product from her store because I already OWNED almost everything that was designed for 4th grade! Hee hee! I was finally able to decide on her awesome Natural Disasters Project, though, and it was PERFECT because we are smack in the middle of our weather unit! If you are looking for an informational/research project to do with your class- this is the product for you!

Because this product is EDITABLE in her store, I was able to adjust some of the wording in the project explanation page to fit my classroom's needs. Since we are learning about weather, I had mine choose either hurricane or tornado to research. Next year when I do this again, I'll probably add in flood, blizzard, and drought as choices, but I just needed to keep it simple for the first time!

The students were expected to choose a topic that they would be writing a research piece about at school, as well as creating a visual and presentation for at home. I checked out EVERY book in the media center about tornadoes and hurricanes so the students would have plenty of resources in the classroom. Students got into groups to look at the books together and decide what information was important to include on their outline.

Holly provided a great outline in her product that the students should use to prepare to write their research piece. It clearly lays out how the paragraphs should be "grouped" in their paper. She also provided an example research paper about hurricanes, but I didn't use it this year because I didn't want my students that chose hurricane to "copy" it.

We also went to the computer lab and used our PebbleGo and TrueFlix subscriptions (provided by our school) to get some more research in! These two sites are awesome because the students can read it, or they can choose to have it READ TO THEM!! This is a great option for your ESOL kiddos!
Once students had enough research, it was time to write their piece! This was a great time to have a mini-lesson on good leads and endings... no one wants to read about tornadoes when the first sentence is, "I'm going to tell you about tornadoes." I read some opening paragraphs from a few of the books they had used for their research, and we also talked about making personal connections to grab their attention. Here are a few examples my kiddos came up with on their own:

The whole week we were working on these research pieces at school, they were working on their visual aids and presentations at home. Holly's project explanation does a great job of letting the students (and parents) know what is expected, and I didn't have ONE single email or phone call about what was expected... and EVERY child had their project on the day I required it to be at school! Yahoo!

The students are asked to create a presentation that is 5-15 minutes long. Their visual needed to be used in their presentation. A few of my students created powerpoints, many made posters, some made dioramas, and one made a video! Here are some of the visuals that my students made:

Didn't they do a fabulous job? Honestly, their presentations could have been a little better... but it IS the beginning of the year, and it was their FIRST time getting up in front of the class to present anything! Because of this, I was more lenient as I graded the presentations... which PS - Holly provided some awesome rubrics to use- one for the essays and one for the presentation. Both rubrics are very clear and easy to use. We have to use county-created rubrics to grade our writing pieces, but if you don't already have a writing rubric made, the rubric Holly provided is perfect! The presentation rubric was fabulous- my students clearly understood the expectations with the wording Holly used.

This is DEFINITELY a project I will do every year. The students really enjoyed listening to everyone's presentations, and learning information they didn't already know. If you are looking for a ready-to-go Common-Core-aligned project with an awesome explanation page, kid-friendly outline page, well-written example essay, adorable project idea pictures, and clear, user-friendly rubrics, grab Holly's Natural Disasters Project!

This is the last week for this topic: Getting Workshop Started in the Classroom. Please write about only one workshop in your post so that you can link it up accordingly below! I hope you'll share any tips, ideas, or lessons that you haven't shared yet. :)

Today, I want to share how I get started with Opinion Writing in my classroom. First, we talk about what an opinion IS, then we make a list of things we can have an opinion ABOUT:
They made all the suggestions, and I wrote them down. I was SO GLAD they said "people," because it led right into my lesson!
I read Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend (cutest book in the world, and hilarious!) and we talked about how Scaredy Squirrel's opinion changed in the book. At first, his opinion was that it was better to be alone than to have a friend (because friends would probably be germy biters). Then he decided that a goldfish might be the perfect friend because:
Luckily, he realizes that there CAN be friends that aren't biters (but still a little germy, and a bit slobbery, too) after he has a run-in with one... I won't ruin the ending for you, but it is ADORABLE.

Sooooo my students have created a list of things that, in their opinion, make the perfect friend. They will be writing about it, and hopefully taking some of these qualities to heart!! (We've had some drama issues in my classroom. Sigh. Yes, already!!)

I hope this gives you another idea to add to your opinion writing toolbox! I know we tend to use a lot of the SAAAAAAAME books, so I'll be back next week to share another idea for opinion writing with a "new (to me)" book! :o)

Link up your ideas for getting started with workshops below!

I got the BEST idea from Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings last week when she linked up for Workshop Wednesday last week! I decided to try it this week, and I'm so glad I did, so I'm linking it to one of my fave's: Holly, for Fourth Grade Flipper's Tried It Tuesday!
We are working on voice in our writing, and making sure we can determine point of view using voice and descriptive words. I showed my students this picture:
...and showed them the caption, "Wow! You're big!"

They could tell me that the little dog would be the one saying that, but I asked if it really told a story, or helped describe the details of the picture. (Thankfully, they told me no.) So then, I showed them this caption:

PLEASE don't eat me! I'm not a squeaky toy! I'm not a snack! I'm just a tiny chihuahua!

My students loved this one, and they laughed! (Which of course, was the point...) I had my students practice with this picture from the point of view of the big dog, and then share out. They had some really great ideas already, so I was excited for the activity that was to follow.

I posted eight pictures around the room, similar to the one above. They walked around with their writing journals and came up with a caption for all of them. I floated from picture to picture and chose a few of the best/funniest for each picture (making sure that all of my students had one to share). They wrote their caption on a sentence strip, which are now proudly on display in the hall with the pictures! Here are some of my faves:

This was such an EASY and FUN activity! My kids asked me if we could do it every week. I might have to have a "caption this contest" instead. :)

Don't forget to link up for Workshop Wednesday tomorrow, or at least pop in and get some awesome ideas from others (just like this one)! It will be the last week of sharing how to set up workshops!

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