Thursday, October 9, 2014

Three Foldables to be Used with Any Nonfiction Text! Including a Free Download!

Have you heard of a foldable? Are you familiar with interactive notebooks? They seem to be the new fad and not only are they fun and a wonderful hands-on learning experience for students, they are also a great resource for a student to refer back to throughout the whole year. I used some high interest nonfiction books about sea life that my students were begging to read. Although we do not teach this topic in our curriculum, I tried to sneak it into my small group instruction. While teaching different ELA strategies, I was able to break the students up into small groups and allow them to use the underwater collection as a resource. This week my groups read different chapters in Clever Crustaceans and then jigsawed as a class to share out their information on the whole book. Together students from each group made a presentation sheet for the foldables they created. They were very proud of their results and LOVED sharing their posters with the whole class.

I had the most success with the students creating and completing
·            An accordion nonfiction summary
·            A vocabulary flip flap
·            A Venn-trifold

Nonfiction summaries are very difficult to write, and my students often struggle. The accordion summary foldable is a great hands-on approach to breaking text paragraphs up into shapes. While giving students one or two pages, from a nonfiction book, they can easily create a short summary. We focus on the five W’s, (who, what, why, where, when, and how) when writing a nonfiction summary. The students are easily able to locate the main idea and important details from each paragraph and write them into the boxes of the foldable.

The vocabulary flip flap foldable is always a student favorite. Not only is it a fun paper to cut and fold, but it also organizes information very well. When using this foldable, I choose eight vocabulary words, with a similar theme. The students write the vocabulary words on one side and define them on the other side of the little blocks. In the center, they try to guess the theme or the commonality between all words. When defining the vocabulary, they can use the nonfiction text features such as the glossary, index, bold face print words, or even context clues.

Using a Venn-trifold is very easy. It is just like a Venn- diagram, except the two opposite sides open and the commonalities are written in the center. Students usually use bullet points when writing on their trifold to keep it neat. It is a great visual aid when one side is colored one color and the other side is colored a completely different color. When the trifold opens, the students usually mix both colors together to signal “alike”.  

The students in my class were excited for group this week and could not WAIT to find out more information about the underwater sea creatures. 
Check out the materials by clicking here or on the picture below!

I hope you can incorporate these fun foldables into your small groups or whole class lessons.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturday: Realistic Cursive Fun!

Hello Friends, Today I am linking up with sweet Joanne for her Spark Student Motivation linky. Yesterday, I posted about teaching cursive and my Instagram friends and I had some great conversations about what we use as resources, when we can squeeze it into our busy schedules, and how the kids feel about learning cursive. I was excited to see that many teachers feel strongly that cursive should not be a lost art. It should be taught, practiced, and used throughout school.

 As we introduce a few letters a week, I am going to be creating, printing, and correcting self made worksheets for the students so they can practice their first and last name in cursive. They were SO excited when I told them about this because the thought of having their own personalized worksheet, was amazing. They cannot WAIT to start. So this weekend, I am typing up worksheets for all of my students. The trick is to always keep one master copy so you do not have to recreate sheets on the computer. 

First, I found this great worksheet maker online. (Click the image to check the site out!) It's super easy to create and the best part is, it's free.

I will have first and last names for each student, but didn't for the picture. The students will trace their names and rewrite it directly below the traced line. Once the students master this skill, we will be moving onto our fun cursive project. I am going to test this out this week with my own name, hang it up in the classroom, and see if any students actually get what it is.
Scholastic put out an awesome tutorial on making cursive/name skeletons. The ribs are actually students' names, using a line of symmetry! These are going to look awesome in the hallway and the students are going to FREAK out when they hear they can use paint in class (meanwhile they will be hitting CCSSs in Writing and Science).

Don't you worry, I will be posting pictures as soon as my students complete these cute skeletons! Have a great weekend! :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday with a Special Freebie! :)

Wow! It is Friday and I am actually able to post a 5 for Friday! Is it a miracle? Nah, just my little Kindergartener is home sick, so I am taking care of her. Unfortunately, I think I am next. It's that time of year and I have a monsterous migraine. Anyways, here are FIVE things we did this week that were note worthy!

1. We worked on our first interactive piece for our Interactive Reading Notebook (from Nicole Shelby's IRNB on TPT). The kids loved, cutting, gluing, coloring, and seeing the end result. Inferencing is something we are working on for the next few weeks.

2. While continuing with inferencing, we read Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot.  One of my personal favorite stories. After reading the story, we read a few pieces of nonfiction about WWII, the Berlin Blockade, and the Berlin Airlift. The students absolutely LOVED this and were so emotional over the issue when they realized the book was based off of a REAL EVENT.  The students wrote down quotes on post its while listening to the read aloud. The quotes were examples that led the students to infer how the people of Berlin must have felt during the Blockade. I charted on a T-Chart while the students copied it into their notebooks.

3. The next day, the students were supposed to refer back to their notes and write a narrative journal entry from the perspective of Mercedes. As a example of the (I do, we do, you do) gradual release model, I modeled with the perspective of Lt. Halverson. When I started writing the entry, the students became really involved.  After turning and talking with partners, they helped me add on to the journal entry and we were really pleased with the results. When I gave the students their assignment (To write a journal entry pretending they were Mercedes, the night she received a package from the Chocolate Pilot) they were more than ready to begin. I will post some of their responses next week, after I get to grade them.

4. Do you teach cursive writing or did your district give it up? Robyn and I usually supplemented our own material for cursive, but this year our district is adding it to the report card for a standard grade. So we are actually expected to teach more into it.  They consider it to fall under the CCSS 4.4 (To produce clear and coherent writing.) Do you agree? Since we are grading it on a report card in a few weeks, we got to work. Believe it or not, my students LOVED it. The hardest part is remembering not to let the letters float. The three lines seem to mean nothing to them right now. lol

5. Time for the special freebie! I made this sheet for my principal who passed it around at the staff meeting this week. Do you do staff breakfasts? Do teachers donate to them? What does your staff do to boost moral in the school?  I'd LOVE to know and hear any suggestions!
 Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful Friday and weekend!