March 2014 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom
I'm linking up with my sweet bloggy friend, Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings to share what we are up to this week! This is our last week before Spring Break, so I am trying to wrap some things up before the kids are gone for a week. Many of the things I am sharing today are a part of the Spring Cleaning Sale, so grab them up while they are marked down if you are interested! :o)

In reading and writing this week, we are are researching Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These three women are actually a part of our Social Studies Standards, but with all that we teach, it's not possible to get everything covered if we don't integrate.
One way we'll do our research is with PebbleGo. It's an AWESOME resource that our county pays for, and it has all three women!

We will also read Henry's Freedom Box in reading for some vocabulary activities, using text evidence, and of course, to learn more about the Underground Railroad for Harriet Tubman.
We'll use Joanne's (Head Over Heels for Teaching) unit:
This will also be the book our mentor sentence for the week comes from, and that will be included in the NEW Mentor Sentence Unit coming out NEXT WEEK!!! :o) Wahoo! I can't wait to reveal it!

During Social Studies time, we will continue moving west! Last week, we learned about Lewis and Clark:
...and we started learning about the Oregon Trail. This week, we will finish up the Oregon Trail and also learn about the Gold Rush. We have also been working on our Westward Expansion ABC Books, so we'll try to get those finished up! You can grab the ABC list I use for free here:
My kids have really enjoyed working on their ABC Books. I will share some pictures this week to show you their hard work, along with some of our other Westward Expansion activities!

During math, we will be working on fractions on line plots. This is a great way to review operations with fractions, and it's also one of the standards for 4th grade. We will use Holly's (Fourth Grade Flipper) fabulous unit:

We have been reading The One and Only Ivan for our read-aloud at the end of the day.
Since we are not doing a true study of the book, we are just using the character pieces of Nick's (Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason) amazing unit:
I will use the whole unit next year with my kids when I can plan to do a novel study... that is, if I can read it again next year. I got to a very emotional part this week that made me cry so hard I couldn't read for a minute and one of my kids had to do it! I did the same thing with Wonder last year though, and I managed to read it again this year, so I'm sure I will want to read Ivan again. It really is SUCH a good book, but boy- if you get attached to animals.............

Go link up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings and tell about your week!

I'll be here counting down my five days left of work before nine days of rest and relaxation!

Welcome to Workshop Wednesday!!
Today, we are sharing how we teaching students to write poetry. We are having a lot of fun using informational texts about animals to write poems this week!

You might remember a couple of weeks ago when I shared how I used the book, Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved.
Well, you know how I like to use books over and over in my room. Nothing like a good mentor text! :o) So we are using it again as a model - this author writes her poems so that you learn about the animal when you read them! Here's an example from the book:

I am using a fun unit from Pinkadots Elementary to teach this week:
This unit is amazing because everything you need is included!! There is even a sample you can use with your students if you don't have the book, Vulture Verses. I got my students into five groups and gave them the informational sheets about the animals that are included in the unit. They were so excited to learn about animals that aren't very well known here in Georgia!! (Panda, Jaguar, Beaver, Owl, and Zebra!) They eagerly read the information about their animal, marking the information they thought was most important. (We have been working on finding key information in nonfiction during Reading Workshop.)
Then, as a group, they started "trying out" some verses with each other for the poem. I am so impressed at what they got done, because we've really only just begun writing poetry! (Although we have read quite a bit this year.) Here are some examples of their poems- remember, we will be working on these all week, so these are just "rough drafts." :o)
This group was working really hard on saying the panda is endangered without just "saying it."
How about that alliteration!! This group was fascinated by the noises a beaver makes. Ha ha!
This student is very upset that zebras are hunted for their hide, so she said she wants to include that in her poem. She has a good start, I think!
This student seriously blew me away with his poem! He wanted to work alone because he had all these ideas that his group wasn't listening to, so I let him. (Sometimes, you just have to do that, don't you??) And I mean, WOW. I especially love how he said, "if you do see them, they won't be in town." So many kids are getting hung up on trying to give the EXACT fact- but instead of him trying to say they live in the wild or on African grasslands, he told that fact in his own way. :o)

So, what fun things do you do in your classroom to teach poetry?

I'm linking up with my friends at Collaboration Cuties to share about a fun Social Studies Mentor Text!
We have begun our Westward Expansion Unit in Social Studies! As I was planning out what I would need to cover in the next 22 school days before testing begins (EEK!!), I remembered this wonderful book! We were lucky enough to have the author, Laurie Myers, come visit us last year, which is when I first heard of her book, Lewis and Clark and Me.
This is a perfect example of historical fiction because there is SO MUCH that is based on the information provided in Lewis and Clark's ACTUAL journals, but it's much more fun to read because it's from the point of view of Lewis's dog, Seaman!

It is a chapter book, but it's only 64 pages, so it would make a great read-aloud that could probably be finished in a week or two. Or of course, you could dive in deeper during reading with point of view, author's purpose, personification... the list goes on and on! The kids get so excited about the adventure of the expedition told from Seaman's eyes! They'll want you to keep reading. :o)

Of course, before you read the book, the kids need to know a little background about the expedition, and I have just the thing if you also teach about it! :o)
I just uploaded this Reading Integration Unit to my TPT store. The passages were written by yours truly, and are quite the labor of love (these two passages took me HOURS to write!!) - I can't wait for my kids to use them next week before we read Lewis and Clark and Me! I will print them so that two passages print on one page- this way, they can glue a half sheet into their notebook and write their reactions, responses, and questions around the outside. You could also copy them on the copier at 85%, then cut the extra white space off- I have found that this is the perfect size to glue into notebooks, too!

Happy Sunday! Enjoy the day! I am off to try to get some cleaning done... gotta get these sick germs outta here!

While my BBB Joanne is off enjoying the sun on a FABULOUS Disney Cruise (totally jealous...), I've been dealing with a crazy cold (or some kind of virus that resembles a cold...?) and had to take a couple days off this week to try to get over it. Well actually, the first day I took off was scheduled and I ended up sick! Don't you hate that?? I call that a "personal health day" fail.

But, knowing that I'd be out, I tried to motivate a few of my kids that aren't always "at their best" when a sub is there. I left dry erase marker notes on their desk!
I think it helped! I didn't have a list of names from the sub when I returned, and instead I had very sweet get well cards from my kids. :-P

P.S. Have you heard of the newest Educents bundle? I am excited to be a part of it, with some of my favorites, including Joanne, Amelia from Where the Wild Things Learn, Theresa from Pinkadots Elementary, and AMC from Looking From Third to Fourth!

Click here to read more about it!
Have a great weekend! Don't forget to come back next Wednesday to link up your ideas about how you teach the kids to write poetry for Workshop Wednesday! :o)

Poetry is just so fun to teach. I hope you share the love! Next Wednesday, you can come back and link up to Workshop Wednesday to share how you teach poetry in Writing Workshop (or just get more ideas from others)... 
...but for now, I wanted to give you some ideas of things I've done and LOVE!

I'm sure you know, figurative language is a huge part of poetry, so I spend time working on figurative language over the course of the entire year in reading mostly (and making them incorporate it into writing, especially with our mentor sentences), so that by the time we get to April for Poetry Month, we can really dive in! And now that Spring is upon us, it'll be time to have a figurative language picnic again!!

Idioms and puns are some of the hardest things to teach kids, in my opinion, because they take everything so literally... so we really spend time looking at as many idioms and puns as we can. Two books I love to use are by Tedd Arnold:
I also love to use the chapter book, Punished, as a read-aloud so we can talk about all the puns in the book as we go:
The kids start incorporating these types of figurative language into their writing and conversation. They also love to tell me "you're so punny!" if I make a groan-worthy remark. :o)

Check out these two products that your kiddos will love! The second product is even free! :)
This product includes 30 idioms with full color posters, matching games, interactive notebook activities, and assessments. It would be an excellent product to use to start off the year and introduce one or two idioms a week!
The interactive notebook activities are organized so that the students have to find the similarities among them- for example, these four had to deal with being scared or nervous.

And if your kids (or you) are tired of boring matching games, check out this fun post where I shared how to liven up those games! My kids loved playing with the idiom matches that are included in my unit.

This next product is FREE and one my kids LOVE because we make a class book!
First, I show them this video (song featured in Dumbo):
Then, they each get a page that they illustrate to show "the real thing" and the punny phrase. (For example, a housefly and a house fly: they would draw the insect, but also a house with wings, flying in the clouds!)

Have fun teaching everyone!

Welcome to Workshop Wednesday! Today's edition is all about collaboration and bragging on others!
Link up a blog post that shares someone else's idea or product that you've found, used, and loved!

A while back, I was lucky enough to get a Donor's Choose Project funded for sets of extended texts! (Read about it here.) One of the sets was the book, Who Was Neil Armstrong? which is a biography of Neil.
I am using this book thanks to Amanda at Collaboration Cuties, who told me about it first! She used it in her classroom, and created an AWESOME Novel Unit to go with it! We've been using it as we have read the book over the last couple of weeks. We still have about a week left with it.
The great thing about this unit is that there are multiple activities for every chapter so we can really dive into each chapter and "dissect" the text. We've spent two, sometimes three, days on each chapter!

One of the response prompts included in the pack from chapter two asked why the students thought education was important to Neil. This was the PERFECT time to incorporate Joanne's (from Head Over Heels for Teaching) amazing Citing Evidence Posters! I first heard about them on her blog, and knew I HAD to get them!

We have been spending a lot of time "proving" our answers by using the text evidence, and they are loving having a variety of options of sentence starters! Here are some of their answers to the question about Neil's education:
I've gotten so many awesome ideas from my bloggy friends, and TPT has rocked my teaching world, for real! The products I've been able to incorporate into my classroom from REAL teachers, not just publishers, have been so much more meaningful. If you're a fellow TPT-er, I know you agree!

What ideas and products have you been loving lately? Link up and tell us!

Oh, AND I hope you'll come back next week to share your ideas for incorporating poetry into your writing workshop! :o)

Happy Sunday! I am excited to share a book we read to start off our Force, Motion, and Simple Machines Unit:
The book is a "primary" book- it is written in rhyme, and reviews concepts that students know naturally- like a ball won't roll unless something moves it, and it won't roll very fast in the grass. So how did I use something so simple with my fourth graders??

Over a couple of days, we learned the definitions of force, motion, push, pull, gravity, and friction. I gave them a quick skill practice to make sure they understood these words, which you can grab for free from my TPT store!
Then, they applied that knowledge to the book as we read. I gave them a sheet to glue into their notebook, and we filled it in and discussed it as we read! You can grab this page for free!
The students enjoyed listening to a simpler book, but still were able to apply their higher level knowledge to it! I hope you can use these ideas in your room, too! Make sure to check out the other fun science texts at Collaboration Cuties' blog!

Also, don't forget to enter my Follower Appreciation and Birthday Giveaway! It ends Monday at midnight!

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