Organizing Learning Goals

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I am going to use the following chart this year as a strategy for informing students about what is coming up... I used to type the weekly goals out and give this as a classroom newsletter, but those days are OVER!! :-)  I am going to try this as a shared writing experience and I think the students will internalize the information better. (Hopefully!!!) Click on the chart to grab a copy...

Five for Friday....June 21

Friday, June 21, 2013
This week, I had a few hours to finish completing a product that I have been working on for a while and I was super excited to get it posted. My Reading Response Newspapers are up.  I have found that these are a nice alternative to the Reading Response Notebooks that I usually use with my class, especially when I want to post the student's work for a bulletin board.  Here are a few samples.

The first sample offers a unique strategy for students to compare characters with text to self connections.  In the "newspaper" below, the students are able to draw a mirror image of themselves and a character in the book.  I love how my model turned out!

Click on the following pictures to download a FREE sample from this product.  There is a character conflict chart along with the newspaper that allows students to analyze the conflict/rising action/solution.  Enjoy!!!!

How do you teach conflict in your classroom?

Reading Response Notebooks

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I have been using reading response notebooks for a few years now and I love how students are able to track their work and make a "literature portfolio" of their entire school year. Here's a brief snapshot on how I use these in my class! 
Reading Response Notebooks
First, students add to their reading response notebooks consistently throughout the year based on the reading comprehension skill or strategy that we are focusing on for the week.  This is what the student's reading response notebooks look like.  
 The first lesson that I do with the students explores the difference between fiction and nonfiction genres.  This activity (as seen below) allows students to brainstorm elements of each genre and differentiate between the two.  

Nonfiction Activities
I have the students do different things to record information when reading nonfiction.  
Here students complete a "T" chart where they record facts they already know and questions they currently have about the topic.
I have all the prompts for the reader's notebooks typed in the following format (saves copies) which I then cut apart with the paper cutter.  Students just glue them into their response notebooks. In the example below, students make the distinction between fact and opinion through writing both facts that they have researched and opinions they form while reading.
Another option for students when using their reader's notebooks-nonfiction, is for the students to make a brochure (as seen below) that displays information that they are currently learning about. Students just tape the brochure into their notebooks so that they have it for future reference.
This student also glued in a map that they completed while reading the non-fiction story "Rattlers" that compliments the informational brochure seen on the right.  

Fiction Activities
Usually, I teach a mini-lesson on the concept we will be focusing on for that day. Students are able to independently work in their
notebooks while I am working with small groups on other skills.  Eventually as the year goes by, students will not necessarily need a mini-lesson before diving into their reader's notebook.
The following picture shows a modeled lesson I did with students on drawing conclusions.  As a class, we chorally read a paragraph and then drew conclusions based upon what we had read.  This served as a "shared writing" opportunity with the students since we completed this together. 
I use the following grading rubric during each grading period to show parents during conferences.  Grab your copy by clicking on the picture below.

Both my Fiction AND Nonfiction materials are bundled together in the link seen below. :)

Incorporating an Artist Study

Monday, June 3, 2013
This year, one of my student's asked me out of the blue, "WHY DON'T WE DO ART?" Um.......(crickets.......) Since we had been so busy with test preparation, art was certainly an area that  had been lacking in my room.  So, I felt the best approach for incorporating art just prior to open house was through a lap book.  This way, the students had something concrete to display and then to take home as a finished product.  First I started by allowing students to discuss which artists they already knew, even if it was simply their name.  Students came up with Van Gogh, Picasso, Leonardo DiCaprio(which the other students were QUICK to correct this girl on!), and Monet.  After a class vote, Monet took it!  Monet was our first artist study (and ONLY for this year, but really hoping to do more next year!) :-) 
After reading books from our school's library about Monet, we filled out the follwing graph to organize our information.  (The books can be found in the widget below!)

Students completed recreations of Monet's water lilies for the covers of their lap book, studied on the map where Monet lived, and analyzed a time line of his life.
Students filled their picture pockets with important photos relating to Monet's life and added this to their lap books.
We also had a discussion about his artistic mediums and strategies 
like impressionism as seen below.
Here is a picture of the finished product as seen on the inside!

Other ideas that incorporate Claude Monet projects...
Art with Ms. Chiddo created Monet inspired bridges. Click on the picture to be taken to the site.  These look fantastic!
Below is what they did at The Talking Walls.  This is a great example of impressionism! Click on the picture to be taken to the site.
I love Framed in Swirly Gold's approach to water lilies and the unique use of color! Click on the picture below to be taken to the site.
How do you incorporate art into your day?
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