February 2014 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom
Happy Tuesday! I wanted to share our awesome sound experiments we did on Monday for our Sound Unit and link up with Holly for Tried It Tuesday! We learned all that we needed to know with the help of my handy-dandy sound interactive notebook activities I created (which are on TPT!) so that students could apply this knowledge to their experiments.
They were so excited when I told them last week that we would be experimenting with sound, but only if they learned all that they needed to know first... Giving them something to look forward to is always a motivator!!

I gave the students this Lab Sheet to use as they rotated through the stations:

You can grab a copy of this lab sheet for FREE by clicking on the images above or by clicking here!

Setting up these stations is SUPER easy! You will need two different sized tuning forks (one thick and one thin), a bucket or pan with water, a hanger with some string, access to the internet, and five jars with different levels of water (I put different colors of food coloring in my jars, too).
At the tuning fork station, students are striking the tuning forks to hear the difference in sounds. Then they also get to "see" sound- by touching the vibrating tuning fork to the surface of the water, it makes the water splash! (I had to show each of my groups because they wanted to completely sink their tuning fork...)

At the hanger station, they can hear how sounds travel differently through the air and through solids. They tap the hanger on their desk and hear a tiny clink... but with string attached to the hanger, wrapped around their fingers, and then fingers in their ears, it sounds very loud, almost like a gong!

At the third station, you could do this with individual computers if you had them, or like me- I had it projected on the SmartBoard! This is the website that goes with the lab sheet. I love those BBC websites, don't you?

And last, at the water jar station, the students get to hear how varying levels of water can make different pitches in the jars. They had to arrange them from lowest to highest (don't forget to tell them to mix them up for the next group). They tapped each with their pencil to hear the sounds.

My kids TOTALLY loved these stations!! I hope yours do, too! I'd love to hear how it goes in your room if you decide to do it, too! :o)
Happy Sunday! I'm kind of sad to be saying that actually. How do the weekends always fly by so fast??

I'm linking up to Amanda and Stacia to share a book we are using in Social Studies as we chug along in our government unit.
It's by Jean Fritz, an author I love!
I love her work because she writes such great, humorous nonfiction! Shh! We're Writing the Constitution is no different. She brings to life a subject that is pretty dry and boring (in my opinion). You hear details of the Constitutional Convention and its fifty-five delegates, and of course, how decisions were made. If you can't get your hands on a copy of the book, you can always watch the SchoolTube video of it!

 You can click here to go directly to the video.

I am using this book along with my Heroes of the American Revolution Unit. My kids loved the scavenger hunt! I'm so sad I forgot to take pictures when they did it. I put the color biographies around the room and they moved in groups of three to read and fill in the parts of the hunt.
Friday, I had a Pin It To Win It contest! Here are the lucky winners! Thanks so much for playing!

Also, I wanted to give you the heads up for Workshop Wednesday this week!
Sorry I've not been very good about giving you the topics on Sunday like I'm supposed to... but I will try, I promise! This week, we will be sharing writing tips- What tips can you give other teachers for teaching writing, or what tips do you give students? Can't wait to hear them! :o)
Well, after four days off last week for ice and snow, we had our second full week of school of 2014! Yes- we have only had 2 weeks with five days in them... it's getting hard to work five days in a row, I tell you! ;-)
So... here's what we were up to this week!
I tried something a little different with a math game my kids used this week. I usually teach the whole class a game either through my small groups or with us all sitting in a circle... but on Monday, I pulled 4 of my "middle kids" in a small group and taught them how to play. Then I made those 4 kiddos my "captains" and they are in charge of teaching the game to the others!
I shared about this game on Wednesday- check the post out here

The Educents Bundle is also still for sale- 14 products for $10.99! BEST DEAL EVER! :o)
We started our geometry unit this week! I created an interactive notebook set for geometry that we began using this week:
You can pick up the unit in my TPT store!
We have also been working on our Sound Unit. Some of the concepts are so hard for them because of the vocabulary, so I created an interactive notebook set for sound, too!
And, just as Groundhog Day lasted FOREVER in my room, my Valentine's Day activities that I had planned last week got pushed to this week, too! We finally got to do the lesson I shared at the beginning of the month with two articles about chocolate.
We did some close reading this week with these two articles. We figured out the viewpoints of each article (one at a time of course) and they had to find phrases or sentences that supported the author's viewpoint. Once we had finished with both articles, they used a graphic organizer from my February and March Themed Reading Graphic Organizers to give a summary of both viewpoints.
This unit is also in my TPT store, and since it is halfway through the time you can use them, they are half off!
Many of you know that the products I create for TPT are for me and my classroom first. Obviously, you can tell I use what I create by this post. :o) I would love to give away some of the units I made this week... let's play...
Pin any of the images in this post or from TPT of the product (or products) you'd like to win, copy the URL, and paste in comments! (Each comment counts as an entry, so if you want to enter for all three of my products I used this week - from numbers 2, 3, and 4- leave three different comments with the different pin URLs!) Please make sure you leave your email address if you're not a blogger. I will choose one winner for each product on Sunday! :o)
Welcome to Workshop Wednesday! Today's topic is tricky math... how do you teach those really tough concepts in your classroom? You know the ones- fractions, multi-digit multiplication, fractions, division, fractions, decimals, fractions, word problems... did I mention fractions??? :-P My kids always struggle with this one!!

As I may or may not have mentioned, fractions are a struggle. :-P ESPECIALLY multiplying fractions!! But I have some strategies I teach them, and of course, I have some great products I put into my stations, including this one by my BBB, Holly:
This set is awesome- it includes a board game and task cards! We are finishing up our decimals unit right now, but I always keep previous skills in rotation in my stations. This week, my students are using the task cards and the game in their stations.

The game is a big hit! The kids love the cute monster theme. :o)
Each card requires them to figure out a fraction of a whole number. To figure out this tricky math, I teach my students what I call the "box method." I don't really know if that's the correct term, but my kids know what I mean. :-P

In the box method, the "box" represents the whole number. They divide the box into the number of parts their fraction shows (the denominator). Then, they have to figure out how to "share" the whole number between all the boxes- look at this student's work for a better understanding.
She figured out that three would go in each part to make sure the box equals 21. Then she shaded three parts (since her fraction was three-sevenths) and figured out what that shaded part would represent- 9! So she was lucky! She got to move nine spaces!!

I always have mine work out problems in games in their notebook. It gives them good practice, and helps me see what they were doing when I spot check during stations. :o)

There is one exception though... TASK CARDS. The task cards in this unit have a work space on them, so I put dry erase markers in the drawer with these and the kids LOVE it! I have never had a student only record on their task card recording sheet when dry erase markers are an option.
Check out the kiddo's work on the right- he drew the monsters again to make his model! Now, I know what you're thinking... they are just going to spend time drawing... but even the student who drew on the task card got them all done- and he was happy to do every one!! (For the record, he did figure out the answer was 3, but I didn't get the picture in time before he erased!!) Sometimes, the "trick" is to let them do it their own way. :o)

We had school yesterday (President's Day) to make up for a snow day, and we had school again today... a normal day, yes... but after so many days off, it's hard to work so many days in a row! :)
I'm linking up with Holly for Tried It Tuesday!

We used Groundhog Gets A Say THE WEEK OF GROUNDHOG'S DAY...... and some teachers might just throw in the towel after almost a full week off due to snow, but not me!

After finally finishing our mentor sentence lesson, we were getting this darn poster finished!!!! So we didn't just have Groundhog Day, or Groundhog Week, but apparently, I'm dragging it out for the month.

Since we had been working so much with figurative language, I challenged them to use the facts we learned from the book to write sentences with all of the types of figurative language (alliteration, simile, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, hyperbole) in groups. They came up with some really great sentences!
"The groundhog dug out a zillion tons of dirt from the ground."

"Chomp, chatter! That fruit was delicious!"

"Flap! Flap! Flap! goes the groundhog's flappy ears."

"The whistlepig whistles in the windy wind."

Then, I had everyone in the class write a sentence on chart paper, but they had to read everyone's above them and make sure the one they wanted to write wasn't already on the poster. Look how many we managed to get!!

If you are interested in what we else we did with the book, click below! :)

Well... believe it or not, us southern folks in Georgia might be looking at more days out of school this week for snow and ice! EEK!!! We have already used all of our snow days and have even tacked a day on to the end of the year... now it looks like there will be more! :o(

Of course, my kids were all buzzing about it today - some are happy for snow days because they don't realize the consequences... some are seriously MAD that we may be out a few days this week because they don't want their summer to be shorter! I took advantage of the conversation and we used it with our last text structure - Problem and Solution!

We've been using Pinkadots Elementary's Text Structure Unit - it's been great because the kids get to read a passage that has the focused text structure, then write their own paragraph for that text structure. Today, we wrote about the problem of school being cancelled due to ice and snow. We had a conversation about how it is a law in our state that a school year is 180 days, so their solution could NOT be "don't make up the days." But that was the extent of our conversation because I really wanted to see what kind of solutions they could present. I have to say, I was very impressed with their ideas! Here are a few:

I told this next kid that he was the smartest because he "stole" my idea- I would love if we could just add on a little time to the end of each day NOW instead of coming at the end of the year!!
Mainly because all of the high-stakes testing happens in April- we are missing days now that we need for that test. It doesn't do a whole lot of good to add them to the end of the year... maybe I could send these pages to our Superintendent? :-P

That's right- FULL week! This was literally our first five day work week in forever!!! Here's my FIVE!
We FINALLY wrapped up our snow globe stories this week and we were able to make our snow globe craft! Yippee!
We used the rest of the fake snow left over from making the ornaments at our Winter Party and some glitter flakes to fill the inside - I hot-glued the clear plastic plates on top. Last year, I used small plates, but this year we used the big ones. I think they turned out so cute!!

We've been working on non-fiction text structure in reading. I've been using Pinkadots Elementary's Text Structure Unit, and the kids have really enjoyed it!
Not only have they read different structures, but they have practiced writing them, too! It's awesome! Definitely check it out if you need some resources for text structure! :o)
In Social Studies, we've been learning about how our government was created. We've just gotten to the Constitution, so we are "dissecting" the Preamble and rewriting it in our own words. They had to look up some of the words in the dictionary... and you would have thought I just gave them a million dollars by handing them a dictionary!! We haven't done a ton with the dictionaries this year, so I guess they are a novelty?? :-P Whatever makes them happy!! Ha!!
We did all of our Groundhog Day stuff this week, including our mentor sentence from Groundhog Gets a Say, which is the CUTEST book for the holiday, in my opinion. (General Lee here in Georgia did NOT see his shadow by the way... we had a discussion about who we hope is correct, Phil or General Lee! We all agreed: General Lee!)
This sentence is in my Third Mentor Sentence Unit, and the interactive activity is in the accompanying Interactive Language Arts Notebook Unit. I just introduced relative pronouns to them this week through this sentence and interactive activity. They were pointing it out all week every time someone said "that" or "who!" It was hilarious!
I also have a mentor text unit that goes along with Groundhog Gets a Say, which we used this week, too!
To tie it in with the figurative language we have been learning, I challenged them to use the facts we learned from the book to write sentences with all of the types of figurative language. (They couldn't just make things up to make it fit for the figurative language.) They came up with some really great sentences! We aren't quite done with our project with the sentences, so I will be sharing more next week! :o)

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