January 2014 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom
Welcome to another Workshop Wednesday! We are sharing about how we use historical fiction in our Reading Workshop! I usually write my post on Tuesday and schedule it to post on Wednesday so that you can link up anytime... but we had a little excitement here yesterday!! It started at school.........
It's not often you get to have a snowball fight with your friends at school in Georgia!! 

We were not released early... I made it home safely, and so did my students, but there were so many in the metro-Atlanta area that didn't and ended up stranded on the icy roads and even spending the night AT SCHOOL. For all of my friends that live in the north and can't believe this happened with 2 inches of snow... believe it. 
It's like The Walking Dead... every interstate is gridlocked, and people are STILL stuck... it's so scary!!

But this was the scene at my house...
It was Timmy's first snow! He loved it!
This is my front yard and the street in front of my house- with about half an inch of ice on it. 

I will NOT be going anywhere!

So now, onto Workshop Wednesday. :o)
I LOVE this book! It shows the kiddos that KIDS were even important in the Revolutionary War! In this book, Maddy Rose becomes a spy to help her brother, who is fighting in the war, by using a secret code on her clothesline. The clothesline actually informs him about the boats in the harbor.

Two of my BBBs have awesome units for this book! I was able to use part of Collaboration Cuties' Unit yesterday:
...we were going to do some more with the book buuuuut we are not in school. Jessica from I {Heart} Recess has a fun unit too with some Smartboard games and even some Revolutionary War task cards!

I use the book for my mini-lessons all week, and then they work on the skill during their independent reading. For example, we found three traits Maddy Rose displayed, and then they had to do the same in their own book (finding one trait and using evidence to support it). We would have done the same thing with vocabulary and context clues today.



Happy Sunday, friends! I'm linking up to Amanda and Stacia's linky to share about a book that I love to use when are learning about the American Revolution!
It's so good! Most books are written from the "pro-Revolution" side, but this book is told from the perspective of a "Tory" family who ends up having to run from their home because "the rebels are coming!" It has such a heart-warming ending- you will love it, and so will your kids!

I have a unit in my TPT store for this book, and I just "re-vamped" it today! If you previously bought it, make sure to go download the revised version! The unit was one of my first TPT units, so it needed some more love... It's much cuter. ;o) I also added an extra activity to the unit!

Speaking of fun historical fiction books, this week's Workshop Wednesday will be how you incorporate historical fiction into your Reader's Workshop!
I hope everyone has a great week! :o)

Happy Saturday! Are you managing to stay warm where you are?? It is SOOOO COLD here! And it makes me mad because it just should not be this cold if there is no snow on the ground, in my opinion. BRRR!!

Anyway, I'm linking up with my BBB, Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching!! We did something super fun this week and I had to share about it, because honestly, I've never seen my kids so excited to write poems!

Have you heard of two voice poems? These are poems where two contrasting viewpoints are written- they are created so that two people should read the poem... one person reads as one character, and the second person reads as the other. It should be read line by line, so that some lines are read at the same time by both people... I introduced it by sharing this poem:
We read Love That Dog before Winter Break (read about that herehere, and here) and we are now reading Hate That Cat. If you have not read these books, go get them NOW! I mean it. They are so wonderful and the kids absolutely love them, too. So anyway, because we had dogs and cats on the brain, we did a class shared writing of a two voice poem about them. They brainstormed about dogs and cats in their notebooks, noting similarities and differences. (I did stress to them that we wanted to focus more on their personalities, not their appearances- for example, we don't want their similarity to be that they have two ears and four legs.......) Here is the poem that my students wrote as a class! I think you'll agree, they totally rocked it!!
We wrote it first on two pieces of chart paper (one for each voice), then I typed it up and blew it up on the poster maker to hang in the hall. :o)

Then of course, the next day, I wanted them to give it a try. I had them partner up with someone, and since we had been studying the Revolutionary War, I told them to choose two of the people we had been learning about. Boy, did they take the idea and run with it!! Check these out!


They didn't get finished with them on Wednesday, and begged me to let them work on them on Thursday...! Of course, I had to say yes. Then when I told them that, if they wanted me to, I'd type them and make them into posters for the hall like our first one, I thought I might get a few volunteers... but I had 75% of them wanting me to type them! I was so excited! Now to find room in the hall....... HA!

I think having them work together, giving them choice on who they wrote about, and then of course, it being a free-verse poem (no rhyming words!!) really motivated them. Even if you don't teach poetry, I encourage you to try out this activity- it's great for compare and contrast, which is one of our big standards to teach! :o) And of course, integrating it like I did can help cover some of your Social Studies, too!
Welcome to Workshop Wednesday! Today, we are sharing the ways we use food or candy in math. I LOVE edible math, don't you? Well, ok, let's face it... I love edible anything. :-P

We are currently learning about multiples of fractions... This is always a difficult thing to teach- not because they don't know how to multiply, but because of the way the problems are worded. There are two types of word problems they see, and they have to be able to MODEL both. The first way is easy- If 8 people will each eat 1/4 of a pizza, how many pizzas do we need to order? This is easy for them to show in a model- 8 fourths... but then there are the parts of a whole problems that just blow their mind. For example: If I have 6 cookies, and 1/3 of them are chocolate chip, how many are chocolate chip? According to the standard, they can't just multiply 6 x 1/3 to get 2. They have to understand what they are doing- the MODEL... and luckily, one of my fabulous partner teachers came up with a fun Skittles Fractions work page!! (Can you tell we all love food on my grade level??) I bought the fun size packs of Skittles, and each kiddo got two packs.
Then, we began figuring out what fractional parts of wholes would be with our Skittles!
We use what I call the "box method." I don't know if that's really what it should be called, but my kids can do it, so that's all I care about. :-P This activity had the boxes drawn in for them at first to help scaffold. They knew the WHOLE rectangle was 20, and the denominator in the fraction is 4, so that tells us how many boxes we need to cut the "whole" into... then the numerator tells us how many of those boxes to count to find our answer.
By the end of the activity, they had to draw the rectangle, and then decide how many boxes to cut it into, as well as how many should go in each box. They really did an awesome job! And they were super excited that they got to eat their Skittles when we finished. :o)

Since I didn't create the page, it wouldn't be right for me to share it- BUT it would be super easy for you to create if you want to do this activity too! Use that "shapes" tool in Microsoft to draw your rectangles! :o)

Today was our 100th Day of School! That means 80 more to go til summer....... but who is counting?? :-P I created this 100th day activity "for big kids" last year, and wanted to remind you of it in case you haven't grabbed it yet- it's a freebie!
We also made pictures using die cut 100s- it's a GREAT creativity activity. They must use all three pieces in their picture, but they can do whatever they want with it... here are some examples from my kiddos:

 I loved the one above because it's 3D!!



I am FINALLY linking up with my BBB, Amelia, for her A Day Our Way Linky!
I know, I know. Way late to the party... :o) But since I have the day off, and I'm TRYING to finish planning for this week, I thought I'd lay out my schedule for you to show you what a day in Jivey's classroom is like! Since I have blogged about parts of my day before, I will link some parts to previous posts to give you more information about it.
Morning Work: I don't have a set "thing" for my morning work. Sometimes I just have them read, sometimes they work on finishing writing from the previous day, sometimes they work on a Science or Social Studies activity I'm taking for a grade. I really use that time as a "what I need from you" time.

DBQ Time: Our entire school works on Document Based Questions during this time. It is a school initiative to improve writing. You can read more about how I use them in my DBQ post.

Science/Social Studies: Yes, you read that right... we have an HOUR for Science and Social Studies! It's the first time I've ever had that long. The first half of the year, I alternated between Science and Social Studies units, so for example, we would spend the entire hour on Science each day until I finished teaching about the Solar System, then we would switch to spending the entire hour on Social Studies to cover our Colonies Unit. Now, I am using the hour to teach both subjects. Some days, we need the whole hour for just one subject, depending on what we are doing, but most days I can do about half and half. Because my DBQs are usually Science or Social Studies based, it leads right into my first lesson for the day.

Reading Workshop: I will give a quick overview of what this looks like, but you can visit my Workshop Wednesday page and look under the Reading heading to get LOTS of details about what I do during my Reading Workshop. During this time, I have nine students leave, either for ESOL services or Accelerated Reading. I generally start with a 15 minute mini-lesson on whatever skill we are working on, then the students practice the skill during their independent reading while I pull guided reading groups OR the students meet with their partners for Reading Partnerships (imagine book clubs, but with only two or three members). It's nice because I have a smaller class size during this time and I can really focus on my kiddos that need that extra "push."

Mentor Sentence Time: All of my students return from their various places just in time for Mentor Sentences. If you have followed my blog at all, I think you are familiar with how I use Mentor Sentences, but just in case, here is the link to my Mentor Sentences page!

Lunch/Recess: We have partner teachers for lunch and recess duty (we're supposed to alternate days), but my partner and I enjoy having an adult to talk to, so we just eat lunch and go outside together. And yes- you saw the time correctly. We might as well be eating breakfast. It's no wonder I'm starving for dinner everyday at 4:30!!

Specials/Planning: Once a month, we have staff development on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of one week. It does make for a LONG week that week, but the rest of the month for the most part, our planning time is "sacred" to do what we need to do while the kids go to PE, Music, Art, Counseling, Computers, Math, or Writing.

Writing Workshop: It's very difficult to have my Writing Workshop during the 35 minutes I am given, so this is why my morning work is sometimes to work on writing. Just like in Reading Workshop, I start with a 15 minute mini-lesson, then the students practice this skill in their writing as I confer with students. You can read more about these things on the Workshop Wednesday page under the Writing heading.

Math Workshop: I have seven students that leave during this time for Accelerated Math. Aaaaand, just like the other workshops, I follow the same model: 15 minute mini-lesson, then students practice the skills in stations as I work with groups or individual students. You can read more about these things on the Workshop Wednesday page under the Math heading.

Word Study: Our county requires us to focus on Greek and Latin roots for word study. You can read how I teach these in my Word Work post.

Read-Aloud: This is the time I read a chapter or two of a chapter book to my class. This year, I have read Island of the Blue Dolphins, Wonder, and now we are reading George Washington's Socks. I am hoping to read The One and Only Ivan next. 

I hope that this gave you some insight into my day!

This week's Workshop Wednesday is going to be for Math- How do you use food/candy to TEACH math? There are so many fun ways to have edible math, and I'm always on the lookout for more! I can't wait to see what you share on Wednesday!
Happy Saturday! I'm linking up with my BBB Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching to share an AWESOME way to motivate your students to practice storytelling!

Pixar short films are awesome for kids and adults!! They are always so funny, and they are WORDLESS. The lessons you can do with these films are endless. As you know, we are working on writing our snow globe stories, so in preparation, I played the Pixar short, Knick Knack. I did actually find one on YouTube where the girls didn't have huge boobs! (This was a problem for me last year, so I just played the short off of my Finding Nemo DVD.)
My students "took notes" of things they thought were important to the story as they watched the short three different times. (And they totally wanted to watch it AGAIN but I decided three was good...) We talked about the several ways that this story could be told- from the snowman's point of view, from the girl's point of view, from a narrator's point of view... we also talked about how Pixar had to "write" the story first before creating the movie, so we were pretending to be Pixar storytellers. But let me tell you........ even after all this talk, when they got with their partners, I can count on one hand how many students DIDN'T start their story with, "So there was this snowman in a snow globe who wanted to get out..." ACK!!! I stopped everyone right then and there. I realized what they all wanted to do was to summarize the film. I reminded them that they were telling a story, and then I modeled how I would do it by telling just the start of the story:

Do you ever wonder what the knick knacks on your shelf are doing when you aren't watching? Well in the case of one snowman, he only wanted to get out of his snow globe prison and experience the freedom his summer pals had, including one beautiful bikini model. As he stared out at his friends, the point of his carrot nose came into view. He thought, "this just may be sharp enough!" He pulled the carrot from his face and, with a hammer, tried to break the glass. Sadly, all he had to show for his attempt was a crooked nose placed back upon his face...

I stopped there and reminded them we want to be entertained when we hear a story, and although we all have seen the movie, you would want someone to be able to visualize what was happening in the story. As they turned back to their partner, the stories that were told were ten times better! I encourage you to try this with your class. There are some great shorts that can be used any time of the year, like La Luna, One Man Band, Day & Night, and Presto, to name a few!

I also am excited to share the winners of my Blogiversary Giveaway!! Congrats to Rachel for winning the Amazon Gift Card!! And congrats to AMC, Lana, and Allison for winning $30 to spend in my TPT store! I have already sent you an email! :o)
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Wahoo! Workshop Wednesday Weturns!!! (Ha! Couldn't help it. I felt a little like Wodney Wat, too!)

Today, we are sharing about the fun seasonal writing ideas we are using in our Writer's Workshop!

Yesterday, I shared about how I got my kids started with writing sentences using wintry figurative language. Well, I found this adorable figurative language snow globe craftivity from Runde's Room during the last big TPT sale, and thought it would be PERFECT to go with our snow globe writing piece we do! I tweaked her directions a bit and had my students write a sentence with each type of figurative language next to where it said the name (her directions say to define those and write the sentence on the snow inside the snow globe) and then draw the picture literally instead of figuratively. They turned out SUPER cute! Here are just a few examples:


The students will leave them on their desk so they can use these great sentences in their writing piece! I will be doing the same activity I did last year at this time- students will write about being in a snow globe! You can check out the details in this post from last year - and we will be making snow globes again this year!

Here were last year's:
I took each student's picture. They cut themselves out and decorated their wintry scene on construction paper. Then, we put big glitter flakes on their paper and I hot-glued a clear plastic salad plate on top. Here's one up close:
She was banging on the glass trying to get out. :o)

To get my kids ready, I not only played the Pixar short (see the post from last year in the link above), but we also read the book, The Snow Globe Family.
This is another great book for figurative language and sensory details, as well as an adorably sweet story! The family inside the globe is wishing that the family outside of the globe would shake them to give them a blizzard and a hill so they can go sledding! This was a great book to talk about possibilities of how you'd feel if you were in a snow globe. Maybe you WANT to be in there, but maybe you don't! Maybe you really hate it when people shake up your house, unlike the family in the book!

Here is a fun freebie from my BBB Diane to help you with these crafts, too!
Of course, I'll share our finished products when they're done! :o) So what kinds of fun things are you doing in your room during writing?
Linking up to Tried It Tuesday to make you laugh today! :o)
Today I'm sharing about a book I tried BLINDLY. Okay, okay, yes, I've bought plenty of books because I read a blog post about it and thought I needed it... but you know how Amazon "recommends" books you should get based on searches you've made and past purchases? I usually ignore those. Mainly because it creeps me out a little. But let me just admit that it creeps me out because they are usually SPOT ON. They will recommend books sometimes that I already own (which, yeah... the chances are pretty high I own it... I'm a total book hoarder.) or ones that I've borrowed from other teachers.

Anywaaaaaaay, Amazon recommended that I buy Snow Day by Lester Laminack as I was buying the book, Snow Globe Family (thanks to my sweet friend AMC for blogging about that one!).
This book is ABSOLUTELY adorable. I am so excited that I didn't ignore the recommendations this time! First of all, it has great figurative language, including hyperbole, which is sometimes hard to find in books. As for the story- it is told from a first person point of view, and you don't exactly know who is telling the story. But this person is getting very excited about the possibility of snow the next day, which means potentially, no school! They daydream about all the things they'll be doing the next day in the snow... except when they wake up in the morning, there's NO SNOW! (This is something we can relate to really well here in Georgia...) The book has a cute surprise twist- let's just say, my kids connected this book to First Day Jitters. :o)

We found the figurative language from this book and wrote it in our notebooks...
...then I had the students come up with their own wintry figurative language sentences... but you have to wait to find out about that until tomorrow!

Tomorrow, Workshop Wednesday is back! Sorry for the later-than-normal notice... but let's share about our fun seasonal writing ideas! I hope you'll come back and link up! I'll be sharing about the book, The Snow Globe Family and what we did with our wintry figurative language sentences!

Also, don't forget! My one year blogiversary giveaway is still happening!! :o) Go enter!

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