Monday, October 12, 2015

Measuring Penny- A Math Must Read Mentor Text

Happy Monday!

It's time for another Must Read Mentor Text! Today's text is a Must Read for Math! I love incorporating literature into Math whenever I can. It's a great way to hook your students at the beginning of a new unit or to show them real world examples of Math all around them!  :)

Our Must Read Mentor Text is Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy. It's an adorable book (it has all these cute dogs and I LOVE dogs!), but it's also so comprehensive. It covers all different types of measurement from length to time to capacity. It would be great to introduce your study of measurement or to review at the end!

Here's a summary from "Lisa has an important homework assignment--to measure something in several different ways. She has to use standard units like inches and nonstandard units like paper clips to find out height, width, length, weight, volume, temperature, and time. Lisa decides to measure her dog, Penny, and finds out ...
Penny's nose = 1 inch long
Penny's tail = 1 dog biscuit long
Penny's paw print = 3 centimeters wide
... and that's only the beginning! 
Lisa learns a lot about her dog and about measuring, and even has fun doing it. This clear and engaging concept book, delivered with a sense of humor, is certain to win over the most reluctant mathematician."
There are so many ways that you can use this mentor text, but here are a few of our ideas!
1. Have students measure the lengths and heights of objects around the school using standard and nonstandard units of measurement. Since Lisa measured dogs, she used dog biscuits. Since your students are measuring classroom objects, let them use paperclips or sticky notes or something else you have handy. I like to buy the fun seasonal erasers from the dollar store and let students measure with those- it's very engaging to measure with tiny bats or spiders!  :)  And, if you teach upper elementary students, you can even have them convert units like inches to feet or yards or millimeters to centimeters or meters.  

2. Let students bring in a stuffed animal to measure. They can measure with standard and nonstandard units, and then you can compile all of the data onto a class measurement chart or graph. You can review or introduce graphing when you make a class bar graph, and then create math problems using the graph. It would be a great way to compare measurements using greater than, less than, or equal to signs. Or, throw in addition and subtraction while asking questions like, "How many more students have a stuffed animal with a height of 10 inches than a height of 8 inches?"

3. Use the page showing Penny's Time Schedule to review elapsed time. You can ask students questions like, "How much time passes from the time Penny nibbles on dog biscuits to the time she gnaws on a bone?" You can also let students create a class time schedule of the school day or a time schedule of their Saturday. Then, students can ask each other (or you can ask) elapsed time questions using the schedules they created. 

We hope that you enjoy this book and can use some of these ideas with your students! 
Thanks for stopping by! Please check back each Monday for a new Must Read Mentor Text!  :)

Have a GREAT week! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Runaway Pumpkin- Must Read Mentor Texts are BACK!!!

Happy Monday!

I am so excited to announce that Amanda and I are bringing back our Must Read Mentor Texts! We took a break from sharing our Must Read Mentor Texts last year (click HERE to see the list with links to all the Must Read Mentor Texts we already shared), but now we are excited to share lots of new books and ideas with y'all!

We have changed things a little bit- instead of a Linky, we will just be sharing mentor texts, ideas, and activities on our blog. We might bring the Linky back if people are interested in linking up  :)

Also, we will be sharing our Must Read Mentor Text each MONDAY instead of Sunday. So, please stop by each Monday to check out the post with a new book and lots of ideas of how you can use it in your classroom!

When we shared Must Read Mentor Texts before, we alternated between sharing a Language Arts book one week and then a Math book, a Science book, and then a Social Studies book. Now, we won't have a set schedule- we will just share all kinds of texts each Monday, including some seasonal favorites!  :)

So, today's Must Read Mentor Text is a perfect Fall book- The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis.

This is such a fun book for Fall and Halloween! 
Here is the summary from Amazon- "When Buck, Billy, and their little sister Lil spy the biggest pumpkin they've ever seen, they can't resist. Buck and Billy try to roll the pumpkin down the hill to show everyone, but it's too big! Before they know it, it's bumping and thumping and rolling down the hillside out of control. This read aloud Halloween treat is perfect for kids and families."

As you can see in the Mentor Text Memo image above, there are tons of skills that you can teach with this adorable text! 

This book is great for teaching cause and effect. As you read, stop at different points and have students identify cause and effect examples. You can also have students sequence events of the story. They can write out sentences or have them create a story board with illustrations to sequence the story- my students always enjoy that! Check out the examples below, and if you would like to use them, just click here to download them for FREE in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

I like to have students search for alliteration, amazing adjectives, and vivacious verbs as I read the story aloud. The author's language is such a great model for students to use in their own writing. I created a graphic organizer that they can use to do this. 

The illustrations are also a great teaching tool. I like to have students make predictions and inferences just by looking at the pictures while I'm reading the book aloud. Have them look at a particular character's face to make an inference about how that character is feeling at that point in the story. Or, have students predict what that character is going to do. Ask them why and how they know. The look on the little girl's face as the pumpkin is about to topple down the hill is priceless! It's amazing how much you can infer and predict just by reading the pictures!

I hope that you and your students enjoy this book! Thanks so much for stopping by, and please visit us each Monday for a new Must Read Mentor Text!  :)   

We also are a part of two awesome Fall giveaways! Yay!!!! We love giveaways! 

The first one is a Spooktacular Giveaway with 1stgradefireworks! Please click the pictures below to go to the websites to enter!  :) 

The second giveaway is over at The Primary Peach, the collaborative Georgia Teachers blog we are a part of! You can win a $50 Amazon or TPT gift card! (AND we will be offering this giveaway 3 times in October!!! So if you don't win this week, you can try again 2 more times!) Please click the picture below to go to The Primary Peach blog to enter!  :)

Have a great week!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Freebie Mentor Sentence Lesson- Diary of a Spider

Happy Friday and Happy October!

This is a quick post to share a new FREEBIE with you that's just in time for Fall and Halloween!
I created a Mentor Sentence 5 Day Lesson Plan to use with the book Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin. It's one of my favorites!!!

Included in this FREEBIE:

* 1 Mentor Sentence taken from the text Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
* 5 Day Mentor Sentence Lesson Plan with suggested responses
* 1 Assessment with Answer Key

This mentor sentence addresses the following skills-
nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, homophones, contractions, subject and predicate

I love using Mentor Sentences in my classroom because it's such a fun and engaging way to teach grammar and writing skills! If you would like to know more about how you can use mentor sentences in your classroom, click here.

We also have a Reading and Language Arts unit to accompany Diary of a Spider and Spiders by Gail Gibbons if you want to check it out! It compares fiction and nonfiction using Common Core skills.

I hope you enjoy this freebie! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

States of Matter and the Water Cycle

Hi, Friends!

I wanted to share some resources and ideas I use when I teach about States of Matter and the Water Cycle!

One of the first things I do is read the book, What's the MATTER in Mr. Whiskers' Room? It's such a cute book, and the perfect way to introduce states of matter to your students! It takes you through a day of incredible science exploration in Mr. Whiskers' classroom. He uses hands-on learning stations to teach his students about matter. The book exposes students to important vocabulary and concepts. Many of the learning stations you could even replicate with your own class!

One of the stations that Mr. Whiskers has the kids explore is an ice and water station outside on the playground. His students learn about how heat melts ice and how water can change states. I tried out his painting with ice on the blacktop idea- didn't work perfectly, but I know kids would love it!

I also thought students could do an experiment to try and see WHERE on the playground ice melts the fastest. You can talk about how a sunnier spot will melt faster or how the blacktop or basketball court is a hotter surface than the woodchips or the grass. The kids could even time how long it takes the ice to melt in each location- you can make it like a little contest- which ice cube will melt the fastest?!

In the book, Mr. Whiskers has a very special station set up with OOBLECK! This is probably the students' favorite part of the book because oobleck is so cool! A few years ago, I made oobleck with my class- it was SO MESSY, but my students LOVED it! It was a special treat at the end of our matter unit. (The author explains how to make it at the back of the book!)

Another activity that is great to kick off or review your states of matter study is a hunt around the school searching for solids, liquids, and gases! It's an easy way to reinforce that matter really is everywhere- you can also tie in water cycle vocabulary like condensation and water vapor as you are searching the school with your students.

*If you want to try this states of matter hunt, I posted a FREEBIE in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store with a graphic organizer and flip book you can use. The graphic organizer and flip book could be used in lots of other ways too of course- note taking, review, homework, etc.   :)

We've also got a NEW unit posted for States of Matter and the Water Cycle if you want to check it out! There are 5 articles, flip books, comprehension questions, and an assessment. It's great for interactive notebooks!

Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Thursday!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Subtraction with Regrouping- Edible Math!! Always a win!!!

Hey there!!

Do you like to use food in math?  I do.  Or maybe it's that my kids like me to...either's pretty much fun for all!!  Who doesn't love to eat AND love to do math??  ;O)

I had heard about some of the 2nd grade teachers at my school using marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and graham crackers for place value recently.  I'm assuming it's from Pinterest or something because everyone (except me) knew about it.  Well, I do love Pinterest, but apparently I missed that.  But since some super awesome teachers at my school were doing it, I still heard about it so it's really a win-win situation!

I started to think and wonder how I could use this for 4th grade because, well, even though the kids are bigger, they still like edible math.   So, I decided I'd try it with subtraction with regrouping because the common core standards do want them to understand how to regroup and what it means.  And truly, they need to actually do the regrouping to understand why they are crossing things out and making trades.  Plus, I want them to avoid becoming the Grim Reaper and slashing through numbers without thinking.

So, we have always used base ten blocks, but I thought on a Friday afternoon, we could maybe do something a little more fun.  Use food!!
So, we used small marshmallows for ones units, pretzel sticks for tens rods, chocolate Chex cereal for hundreds flats since it was cheaper than graham crackers, and big marshmallows for thousands.  I gave them 20 of each except only 5 large marshmallows, just to be sure they had enough to trade with. 

I put yellow butcher paper on the desks.  One, because it was clean and even after wiping the desks, who's to say they are clean?  And two, because I wanted them to be able to write the problems and actually work the algorithm as they did their regrouping with the food manipulatives.
I had everything bagged up and ready to go!  (Warning- it smells VERY sweet when they all get their "manipulatives" out!)!

Then, I put problems on the board.  We worked through the first few together, and then they could begin working through it on their own.
They were really excited to be able to write on the paper!  It made me laugh!!

Now, this was pretty abstract for some of them because they couldn't see how 10 small marshmallows were equal to a pretzel stick, so you'll want to do this AFTER you have worked with the base ten blocks!!  I strongly recommend it though!  They'll love you for it!!

I want to link this up with my sweet friend Joanne for her
since food always motivates kids!  ;O)

How do you make math edible??

Saturday, August 22, 2015

You're Finally Here- A Great Book to use for the First Day of School AND with New Teachers!

Hi there!

So, a year (or more) ago we had this really awesome linky called "Must Read Mentor Texts!"  Now, it wasn't necessarily awesome because we hosted it, but more so because Stacia and I are both obsessed with books and so this weekly linky fed our addiction because awesome bloggers would link up books we'd never heard of (which then led to us buying them...and...well you see where this is going, right?)

So, our sweet and wonderful friend AMC linked up an adorable book for Back to School 2 years ago in this post HERE.  And I remember thinking that the book was completely adorable!!  But here's the problem.  We already had, like, 5 books that we tried to cram into the first few days of school and so for ONCE I didn't immediately buy it. was imprinted on my brain.

Then, over the summer, I saw this pin in my feed:
And I remembered AMC mentioning this book 2 years ago!  Seriously.  2 years ago.  And I thought, well, I'll just click and see WHY people think this is the cutests book EVER. (but I already knew it was super cute because I remembered AMC talking about it...I was just feeding that addiction because now if 2 people said I have to have it...well...I'm outnumbered and I DO have to have it, right?)

So I clicked it.  The pin.  And it took me HERE.  And O.  M.  G.

HELLO???  HELLO CUTENESS!!  Do you SEE all of Linda Kamp's adorable ideas for this book?  I mean, the cuteness almost never ends ON TOP of the adorable book!!

So.  CLEARLY I needed this book.  But here's the kicker.  It's totally unavailable in the U.S. unless you want to pay, like, $70 for it.   And, although I loved the book and the ideas, I just couldn't do that.

But never fear...because that's when I realized that I have the very BEST blogging friends EVER!  I posted about Linda's ideas on our blog's Facebook page and I immediately hear from AMC.  She realizes I can't get the book and she offers to get it for me (since she lives in Canada and they DO have it for a reasonable price) and send it to me!!!!  I mean, is she not a doll or what?!?!?!  And so, like one of the best friend's I could ask for, she feeds my book addiction and sends it on down to me!!  I just love her!!

So, starting this year, I am not a classroom teacher.  I know what you're wondering.  What was I going to do with this book and how DARE I make my friend send me that book from Canada if I don't even have a class to read it to, right?

Well, I had an idea.  Since I am an instructional coach for grades 3-5 at my school, and I have a super sweet partner for grades K-2, we had a new teacher orientation coming up.  This year, we had the most new teachers we have had at my school since I've worked there.  13 new teachers!!  So, we had an entire day with them that we shared our school's expectations and some of the initiatives (close reading, etc) that are important.

I loved the idea that Linda had the kids write on post-it notes to share where they have been and so inspiration struck!  It's such an adorable book, I thought we could read the book to the new teachers (since it was a week before our pre-planning started) and then they could write where they had been on sticky notes and that was how they could introduce themselves.  Plus, we could CELEBRATE that the teachers are FINALLY our school...with us!!  And we could make a big deal about how excited we are to have our new teachers!!

So, I read the book.  I stopped and let them fill out their sticky notes and put them on the poster and then we finished the book.  Once we were done with the book, we had them share what they wrote on their sticky notes.

Then, because it was the very beginning of a long day and we wanted the new teachers to like us, we gave away 2 more copies to two very lucky new teachers!  (Again, thank you AMC for coming through on that for us, too!)  We told them that they could try the same activity with their students, AND we shared the link to Linda's blog post.
Now, you know how new teacher meetings can be.  Some teachers talked, but not a lot.  I had no idea if they thought we were nuts for reading them a picture book or if they liked it.  Until they were all preparing for the first week of school and they realized how expensive the book was and we had 5-6 teachers who needed to borrow our book.  And then we walked around and saw that the NEW teachers had shared the idea with veteran teachers and THEY were going to use the book, too.  Yay for having conversation starters right off the bat between our new teachers and the other teachers on their grade levels!

I'm not going to lie.  I was very relieved that they felt they had taken something away from the training - besides the hours of wisdom we tried to impart on them ;O).  Even if I know, deep down, it was probably that they are obsessed with cute books, too.  They ARE teachers, after all.  ;O)

So, whether you have your own classroom or you work with teachers who do, I strongly recommend you check into this book.  You can order online from Amazon Canada and get it shipped to you, you know.  I pressure...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Light a Fire With a Good Book - and a HUGE Giveaway!

Hello hello!!!  Can you believe that we are already into August???  I don't know when you go back to school, but I am headed back on Monday!!  Well, to be truthful, I've been in meetings and staff development since July 22nd, so, I feel like I'm already "back!"

Since the end of summer is here, several of us bloggers have come together to give you some awesome ideas for Back to School Books! These books can be used to set up your classroom community, begin a good lesson, or just as a fun read-aloud.
The book I'd like to share with you is...Enemy Pie!

It's a great book for building community within the classroom!  We use it each year, and it's always a class favorite!  We love this book so much, we even made a unit to go with it!!  AND, it's JUST been updated!!!

Check out the adorable "friendship pie" that we made with our classes last year!

We have a freebie that goes along with Enemy Pie that you may want to check out!
We also just uploaded a new product that can go with ANY back to school book!!!  These interactive notebook activities would be a great way to do a quick assessment of skills your students have or haven't mastered and there would be no stress for students because they are such fun activities!

And have you heard? Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site-wide Back to School Sale August 3rd and 4th, so you will be able to get our Enemy Pie Unit and our Back To School Interactive Notebook Activities for 28% off using the promo code BTS15!
We know what else really "lights a fire" in you, and that is fabulous technology! We are giving away a brand new Kindle Fire HD6 to one lucky winner! 
Enter the rafflecopter below by hopping through each of our blogs and entering the secret word that can be found on the tablet in each of our posts. Also make sure to follow our TPT stores because the winner will be announced through a message in your TPT inbox! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We are also giving away a $25 gift certificate to Creative Teaching Press!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck! We hope you have a successful start to your school year! Click below to continue on the hop with my good friend Christy from Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road!

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