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I always start the year off with Place Value, so I have compiled the different resources I use here in one place.  I use the following numbers and place value posters to provide a visual model of the different place value digits.  Students are able to use this as a handy reference throughout our place value unit as it is displayed in the front of the room. I have made this FREE for you! Just click on the pic below.

The next download has a variety of place value templates and exercises like the one seen below where students practice different place value concepts.  In the following weather disaster investigation students practice word form, standard form, expanded form, comparing numbers, and finding the sum and difference of larger numbers. These resources center around numbers to the billions. 

Don't forget to have students fill out EXIT TICKETS at the end of your lesson! I like to do this at least once a week in order to assess my student's learning. Click on the link below to go to my free download for Math Exit Tickets.
I am excited about trying out the next project with my students this year. Students will work in groups of 6 to complete place value concepts using their BIRTHDATES! My favorite part of this project is students are working together and collaborating with each other to complete each task. 
Click on either picture to be taken to the BIRTHDATE PROJECT!
What are your tips and tricks for teaching place value?
5 Back to School Must Haves
The first thing starting the year that is a top priority for me is to get to know my students.  While this takes time, here are some of the things I do the first week of school to get to know everyone.
#1) Learning Styles Surveys
You can never be too over-prepared for the first couple of days of school!!! I love have these surveys printed and ready to go for a moment when I need a 10-20 minute activity.  They are great reflection tools and great for students to add to their portfolio.  Also, another good way to get to know the kids! 

#2)All About Me TOTEM POLES
I am SO excited about this next project I am going to try this year! Got Paper Towel Rolls??? I have been collecting mine all summer for the kiddos to do this take home project so I can get to know them better.  The directions? Cover the roll with ANYTHING in your house that you can find that reveals information about you.  I had so much fun creating mine and this is how I will introduce myself to my students the first day.  I am excited to have my students create and write about each item they decide to add to their totem pole.  I'm thinking it will make a great looking bulletin board. I'm SO excited about these!!!
#3)Parent Informational Sheet
Something I can do immediately is go to the expert on the child….the parent. 2 must-knows for myself are allergies and asthma, so I highlight those on the top right of the form.  I also like to get down to the nitty gritty and ask specific things about behavior and academics so that I can begin to familiarize myself with where a student may need extra support.
#4) Index Card
The first day is all about survival! Getting to know 34 names can be tough. When the students walk in, I like to give them an index card where they can fill out basic information that would be helpful for me to refer to. I just love having the cards that I can quickly shuffle through and figure out who is who! I attached the PDF to the pic below so you can easily print and put under the doc reader so the kids know what to write.

#5) Getting to Know You Towers
Every year I love to have my students create these Getting To Know You Index Card House Towers.  They offer an alternative to the traditional all about me project and look really great for Open House! Click on the pic below to see further instructions and to get a copy of the template.
Other Resources to Kick Start Your Year!
Please share what you have had success with the first week of school. 
Do you have a special way to get to know your students?
Since I have only been teaching 5th grade for a few years, I was not quite sure which novel I had wanted to use for our next Novel Study. So my friend Stephanie (Teaching in Room 6) recommended and lent me her ENTIRE set of novels for Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins. My class (and myself) were SO thankful! I had actually never read this book before, was not sure what to expect, but my class and I were hooked IMMEDIATELY just by looking at the cover.  This book really captured their interest.  What 5th grader wouldn't be intrigued by people in a foreign land riding bats?  

Throughout the novel study, every time I told students to get their books out, I was often received with cheers and smiles. As we read the novel, students curiosities rose. WHERE did the author get the inspiration for writing this book? As we researched, we found out that the author, Suzanne Collins, inspiration for writing Gregor was from Alice and Wonderland.  This led to the PERFECT opportunity for teaching comparing and contrasting. I printed out a passage that gave the overall gist of Alice and Wonderland HERE. The following compare and contrast materials (that can be used when comparing ANY 2 novels) can be downloaded for FREE at the end of this post! :)
First, we reviewed the good old VENN diagram with the following visual. I had the students glue this into their Writing Notebooks.

Next, we focused on the elements of compare and contrast, most importantly signal words. I had the students glue this into their Writing Notebooks too!
Students used the following guiding questions to help themselves compare and contrast the two novels.
Below is a final picture of one of my student's work... 
Next week, students will be working on their rough drafts using the Venn. 
Check back to see how that goes. 
Click on the picture above to download these materials!

This year our entire grade level in combining poetry from each class to make a POETRY anthology in order to raise money for our 5th grade end of the year events!  We are SO excited about this and even more excited to get some of their poetry in the hands of their friends and families to share. My entire class delved into poetry head on. Was it easy? NO! This year, our focus has mainly been the dreaded 5. paragraph. essay. SO I think it was a very welcome change for my students to try something new.  The beauty about poetry? There are no paragraphs to write. It doesn't matter how long or how short it is…poetry has very few rules….because…it is poetry!!! :)

One thing my students have been practicing this year is figurative language.  So I thought, why not put all of the different types of figurative language together into one poem! What the students came up with was inspiring, refreshing, amazing AND revealed SO much about their individuality and personalities! 

The directions were to write figurative language related to one topic.  Something they wanted to become or positive qualities about themselves.  The hardest part? For the students to stay on topic…but once they could differentiate between what belonged and what didn't really "go" with the theme of their poem, they came out great! Here are some of my FAVS!
I LOVE how she drew a fork in the road to illustrate good vs. bad paths we can take in life.  
I LOVE how even some of my struggling students wrote the most AMAZING poems!
Here are some more examples!
To make their pictures more vibrant, I actually took a photo of their drawing, inserted it into a Power Point slide, selected the photo, selected the recolor option in the menu bar, and then selected the top right color saturation option.  This really made the text stand out when changed to white and I just LOVE how they look!





These are going to look GREAT in our 5th Grade Poetry Fund Raising Book all compiled together…and HOPEFULLY we will raise a lot of $$$ for our end of the year activities. WIN/WIN!!
If you would like to try this out with your class, click on the link below to purchase 
all of the templates that can guide them through the process!
I'm so excited about incorporating more options for SMALL GROUP work for my students with my new series of ENGAGEMENT STATIONS! I decided to start making these stations because I really want my students to be working in small groups on RIGOROUS tasks that fall within a higher DOK (Depth of Knowledge) level.  I want my students to be CREATING and INVENTING things on their own!
Engagement Station#1) Etymologists
The first station I created is called Engagement Stations: Etymologists.  Students have been studying PREFIXES, ROOTS, and SUFFIXES all year. At this point, I knew students were ready to start creating words on their own.  Students take different prefixes, roots and suffixes to create NEW WORDS that they have not seen before.  Where does the deeper DOK come in? The students need to DEFEND their word by coming up with a definition and a sentence.  I decided to copy the prefixes, roots, and suffixes on different colors so that it was easier for the students to visualize!
Engagement Station#2) Figurative Language Poetry
The next station I have created is called Engagement Stations: Figurative Language Poetry.  After teaching students about figurative language, I thought, what a GREAT way for students to PRACTICE developing figurative language? Make POEMS out of it! With all types of figurative language put together, it sounds pretty poetic if you ask me! ;) The first thing I do in this station is let the students complete a mix and match. 
I had already used all of the materials from my FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE unit, but wanted to still have a chance for my students to review!
I also have this anchor chart available in the center for the students. Grab a copy of this FREE anchor chart to use in your classroom by clicking on the pic below.

Another thing I LOVE to have in the center are these CLASS INTERACTIVE notebooks! The students are truly interacting with the notebook as they can add different types of figurative language to it AND use it as a reference tool! 
So, to start….students need a SUBJECT or an idea to start with. They have a few options here. Students can pick a picture card OR an idea card to come up with their topic. I am OBSESSED with the organizer seen below in the pic! I picked this one up at Staples. They are GREAT for organizing the stations! The area in the back are great for holding file folders for all the templates and papers the students need too! 
Below is a picture of a poem that I was helping a student edit. When the students color code the different types of figurative language, it is a great editing and reflecting tool! They often find errors and things that they need to make better or fix. 
Here is my poem that I wrote as a model (seen below.) 
I LOVE the way that combing different types of figurative language together brings a poetic sound.  The students are learning how to be POETS, interacting, and collaborating! 
Click BELOW to be taken to these stations!

Circulatory System
Circulatory System Introductory Video: Circulatory Video by SCIENCE KIDS
I LOVED using this video to introduce the CIRCULATORY SYSTEM because it was a great way to show the students a red blood cell traveling through the body and back again as it deoxygenates.  This video was short and sweet and a GREAT intro.  Click on the the link HERE.
Circulatory System Foldable: The students used their textbooks and a CLOSE READING article from my Body Systems Unit to fill out the following foldable.  Students reported on the different parts of the Circulatory System to include the HEART, BLOOD VESSELS, and finally the BLOOD.  Students also had fun illustrating the oxygenated blood (red) vs. the deoxygenated blood (blue) on the front cover of their foldables.  Click on the picture below in order to download this FREEBIE!
Respiratory System
Respiratory System Introductory Video: Respiratory System Video by Akron Chrildren's Hospital
This video does an awesome job of introducing the different parts of the Respiratory System while providing great visuals and information with a question/answer format, all while providing a little humor that the kids LOVE! 
Respiratory System Newspapers: One of the focuses in my school right now is to come up with activities that are considered to be rigorous on the Depth of Knowledge scale where the kids can design and apply information that they had learned.  I looked at all of my resources and most of them were just question/answer type formats and I just couldn't find WHAT I was looking for! (I HATE when that happens!!!!) So, I started thinking about having the kids create NEWSPAPER articles about the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM.  I made the following template to help the kids get started.
Student template for students to complete a project on the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM! <FREE> DOWNLOAD!!!
Students researched the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM and then wrote NEWSPAPER articles and drew a diagram all in ONE! DOK 3/4 activity!
Here is how the whole display looked!

Digestive System
Digestive System Introductory Video: This site offers a great intro video to the digestive system (although a tad bit corny!) Also, from the Akron Children's Hospital, click HERE to be taken to the video. 
Digestive System Activity: After completing the CLOSE READ on the Digestive System from my BODY SYSTEMS unit, I had the students illustrate the foldable labeling all of the organs that are involved.  One thing my grade level was having the 5th graders do was write a narrative formatted story about the journey a piece of food takes in your body to be digested. Here is a pic of the Close Read!
Here is a picture of the foldable that I had my students complete last year. You can click on the picture to get this free download.  This is what I had the students do last year, and this year I changed it up a bit! Keep reading below to see what we did...
This year I put my students in partners of 2 and I gave them a blank sheet of large white construction paper and said, "GO TO IT!" The instructions were to diagram the digestive system and to include all of the parts necessary.  Then, students wrote about the journey that a particular piece of food takes through the digestive system on a separate sheet of paper. 
Example #1 
Example #2 
Example #3
Here is a glimpse of the entire display!
If you need articles for EACH body system to build your students background knowledge, click on the pic below to be taken to my pack…Happy teaching! Do you have any unique or unusual ways for teaching Body Systems???
I am dedicating this post to some FREEBIES and goodies I have for you all so check back from time to time to see what I have added! I like to think of this page as an online file cabinet where you can find all of your goodies in one place! I will be linking this post to the side bar so that it is easy to find!

APRIL HOMEWORK DATA CHART
I LOVE using this HOMEWORK DATA CHART daily with my students.  As soon as the students walk in in the morning they lay out their homework on their desks so that everything is laid out and someone can see that they have completed their HW with just a bird's eye view.  They circle the YES/NO depending on whether or not they have completed their HW and write in the missing assignment(if they have one.)  I walk around to give them a stamp or smiley face to reinforce. On Friday, if they have a perfect homework score, they earn a 20$ bonus with our classroom dollars. They LOVE it! As the year progresses, I choose different monitors to stamp their homework logs.  They LOVE this and it makes them feel super responsible. Also a great tool to show parents. Click on the link below to grab it! 



4th and 5th Grade Common Core Charts
These common core standards charts are great to use when planning! I have even run these off in the past for students to keep in their folders so that students can check off the standard we are focusing on in the beginning of the lesson.  I used these with my state standards far before common core came along and they were a great way for my students to stay focused (as well as myself!)  They also helped me make sure I was "fitting it all in" and were a good visual for myself to see what I still needed to cover!  


I will be adding more soon! 

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