Monday, September 30, 2013

Halloween Interactive Notebook Activities to use with ANY text! Pin it To Win It!

One of my very favorite teaching strategies is using interactive notebooks. I love them, AND my students love them! Interactive Notebooks are a fantastic way to organize my kids' thinking and learning.

I also LOVE foldables that my students can paste in their notebooks. With Halloween approaching, I decided to create tons of Halloween themed interactive notebook activities that could be used with any text! They are also aligned to Common Core Skills.

I am SOOOOOOOO EXCITED about these because I will be able to share some of my favorite Fall texts with my kids and use these flip books with those texts to teach my Common Core Skills. 

Some of the skills covered include characterization, inference, literary elements, point of view, summarizing, parts of speech, and so many more!  So, they will be really easy to use with any book or article I choose. 

I can't wait to use the little bat flip book to review main idea and details as I read Stellaluna. Then, I will use it again when my students and I read a nonfiction book about bats.  :)  

This pack is available in our TPT store, and you can PIN IT TO WIN IT!  

If you'd like this Halloween Interactive Notebook Activities Pack, you can pin it to win it!!  Here's what you do:

1) Pin the Pack on Pinterest (please make sure it is the image directly above).
2) Leave a comment with your email and the Pinterest ID in the comment (all you have to do is copy the URL after you pin it to your board and then paste it into the comment section).

That's it!  I will use a random number generator to find 2 lucky winners this week.  Thanks for entering!  :O)


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Halloween / Fall Must Read Mentor Texts plus a Pin it to Win it!

Hey there!!

I just got back from a weekend retreat for a group that I was chosen for called Teachers as Leaders, so this will probably be a quick post because my brain is full of all these ideas on how to increase leadership with teachers and students!  I love a good staff development that gets those wheels turning!!

I wanted to share two books (I know I'm breaking the rules!) with you today that I love to use in October!

There are sooooo many great books for October, and I hope they all get linked up today so you can see them all...if not, I will feel sad that I didn't share them all here.  But never fear...I'll find a way to share them if they aren't linked up!  ;O)

The first one is a well known book, I think.  Stellaluna by Jannell Cannon.  I loooooove Janell Cannon's books!  They are soooo wonderful and full of so many great aspects of literature!

This book has amazing language in it!!  There is so much that you can do with it!

The second book is a book we are going to use to compare and contrast the fiction text of Stellaluna with a nonfiction book about Bats by Gail Gibbons.

This is perfect for the Common Core standards of comparing fiction and nonfiction and it's just plain fun!

Here are some things that we did last year!  Stacia made some freebies (which we had already posted about, but we are putting them in here as well!)

FREEBIES to use with Stellaluna and a nonfiction bat book. Click here to download-
My Favorite Part of Stellaluna
My Bat Facts
Vivid Verbs
Vivid Verbs recording sheet for students
Students draw their favorite part of the story and then write three complete sentences telling why.
Students write down 10 facts they learned about bats.  Great for a daily grade!

These two printables are a fun way for students to record all of the vivid verbs they read in Stellaluna. They are in color and black and white.

Also, here are some bat crafts to go along with these resources. They will be really cute displays!

Click here for the Free printables we used to make these bat crafts-

I am going to put these headings out for my bat displays:

Click here to download these- Bat Display Signs

If you like this, check out our Fiction and Nonfiction Compare and Contrast Pack with Stellaluna and Bats.  It goes more in depth with each book.  

Stellaluna Pack
We'd love to do a Pin it to Win it for this pack!!  So, you know the drill!
If you'd like this Stellaluna Pack, you can pin it to win it!!  Here's what you do:

1) Pin the Stellaluna Pack on Pinterest (please make sure it is the image directly above).
2) Leave a comment with your email and the Pinterest ID in the comment (all you have to do is copy the URL after you pin it to your board and then paste it into the comment section).

That's it!  I will use a random number generator to find 2 lucky winners next week.  Thanks for entering!  :O)

We hope that you enjoy these!!!  And, we can't wait to see what you link up!

Please Link Up!

Next week's linky- Language Arts

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September Swap and Share from Christy at Teaching Along the Yellow Brick Road- Place Value Centers

Happy Thursday, Everyone!

I am so HAPPY to be sharing a product from my friend Christy at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road! This "Swap and Share" was such a FABULOUS idea!

After looking through her store and seeing TONS of products I wanted to try, I settled on her "Differentiated 4th Grade Common Core Aligned Place Value Centers." 

I decided that these would be perfect for my students to review the unit I had just finished...and they loved them! I LOVE that they are differentiated so that I can meet the needs of all of my students.

We started with her "I Have...Who Has?" Game. Because my students had never played a game like this before, I chose to do this whole group. So, I had all of my students form a circle and I passed out the cards (I laminated all of them for durability and so we could show our thinking on them). Each student received 2 or 3 cards and then we started the game. I had the child with the "start" card begin and then we got rolling.

Each student had to listen really carefully to see if their card was called. If their card was called, they came up to my table and put their card under the document camera so that we could project it onto the board. Then, as a class, we figured out the answer. This allowed for wonderful discussion (I was able to see who was still confused and who had a solid grasp on this skill).

All the students had to be on their toes as they waited to see if they had the next card. And, it was so sweet to see the kids helping each other. Some of my struggling students were hesitant at first because they weren't sure if they had the card we were waiting for. But, I encouraged the kids to help the person next to them and work together. So, when they realized it was their turn to come up, they were so excited and PROUD. I love that this game involves everyone and enables all the kids to be successful!  :)

We all know that our students each have their own strengths and struggles, and I love that these centers were differentiated to accommodate their needs. My students were so thrilled to play the "Build a Bigger Number or Build a Smaller Number" Game. For this game, the students have to roll dice to build numbers. Then, they have to use their knowledge of place value to compare the numbers. My students love a little competition so this was great to review these skills.

But what I loved was that the game boards were differentiated to meet the abilities of my students. My students that have a solid grasp on place value were given the boards with 6 digit numbers, and my students who were still struggling with number sense were given the boards with 4 digit numbers. The students all knew they were playing the same game, but it was tailored to meet their needs.

Christy also has other games included in this product that are wonderful. The Place Value Race Board Game is so much fun! It is a great review of all place value products. (And all the kids LOVE board games!)

Next week, I am going to review with her Place Value Sorting Mats, and I am going to have students sort the standard, expanded, and written form of numbers. These are skills that must be reviewed all year long, so I am so excited to have a fun way to this with my students.

This product truly is a must have for 4th grade math teachers because it is aligned to the Common Core Standards, and it is meaningful and engaging for students! These centers are going to be a part of my Math Workshop all year!!! They are Perfect for reviewing these important number sense skills.

Please Please Please check out the rest of her AMAZING products! I am already adding some to my Wish List!  :)    
Thank you for letting me share with you!
-Stacia  :)

PS- Be sure to check out all of the other amazing products that are linked below!  You'll find even more you have to have!

September Swap and Share with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching- Interactive Character Analysis Posters

Hey there!

I am so excited to be a part of a product swap with one of my good blogging buddies, Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching!!

There were so many wonderful items in her TpT store that I had to choose was a very difficult choice!!  But I finally made a decision!

I can't wait to share how we used her wonderful Character Analysis Posters!!

I originally read about these posters when she linked them up to our Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  I immediately loved the idea!!  It's so simple, yet I had definitely not thought of it!! I am soooooo thankful that Joanne did because these posters are amazing and have really helped my students with character analysis!  (Joanne always has the best ideas!!  Truly!!)

Let me tell you how I used them!

We have been studying Native Americans in social studies.  I love the book Rough Faced Girl by Rafe Martin.

I knew I wanted to use this book and I wanted to compare it to Cinderella, since Rough Faced Girl is a Native American version of Cinderella.  

So, I read Cinderella by Barbara Karlin the first day.

It's very similar to most versions of Cinderella, with a few differences (which we discussed).  Then, we pasted a character traits chart into our notebooks and discussed different character traits that we had found in the story and EVIDENCE from the text (through dialogue or actions) that supported our thinking.  We wrote these in our journals.

I was setting them up for the next day, when I would read Rough Faced Girl.  

The next day, I had about 18 of Joanne's pretty posters printed and laminated and hot glued to the only space I had left in my room.  :O)

I chose the 18 posters purposefully, knowing the story of Rough Faced Girl.  Joanne includes 50 posters in this pack and I didn't want to overwhelm them with choices.  I think adding new posters as the year goes on will work very well for my students!

So, using the character traits lesson we had done the day before, I told them to really think about the characters in this story.  I wrote the 18 different traits that I had picked out on the board and we read them and discussed them.

I showed them the pretty posters (which of course they had already noticed but it was still an awe moment!).  I showed them the sticky note space and I explained that when they knew a character was exhibiting a certain trait, they needed to write down the characters name, what character trait they exhibited, and evidence from the text (dialogue or actions or both) that proved it.

They were ready and excited to get started!

I had them list character traits on a sticky note with the character name as we went through the story.  There were tons!!  When I finished the story, they chose their favorite and wrote a sentence about the character, the trait, and the evidence that supported it on their sticky note.

Then came their favorite part.  Sticking them on the posters!!  They each read their sticky note and then put it in it's place of honor on the poster!!
It was very fun for them!

I also love the fact that this activity is automatically differentiated.  My higher students could use character traits like resourceful, while my strugglers could pick cruel, yet all were successful!!

(You can see that a lot of students automatically went with the safe trait of cruel in describing the sisters, which is fine because they could all back it up with evidence from the text!)

But, you can also see, that many challenged themselves to think deeper.  They did an awesome job of using evidence from the text to support their thinking, too!

After we got their sticky notes up, I issued a challenge that there were several posters that didn't have a post it yet.  I wondered if anyone would take the next day or so and see if we could also find these character traits within the text and find evidence to support it.

Well, it wasn't even five minutes later and more sticky notes were going up.  While we were lining up for PE, mind you.  But of course, being a few minutes late to PE did not bother me one bit...Look at all of this thinking going on!!

THEN, the next day, we used these posters and character traits within our guided reading groups.  The posters are actually right behind my small group table so it's the perfect location to refer to them often!  They were pros at it by now!!  And, now they were challenging each other to use as many of the traits as they could!!  Score!!

My next level will be to have them do this with their independent books while I am pulling small groups.  I'm positive they are ready!!

I can't thank Joanne enough for thinking of this and sharing it with us!!  After I finished this lesson, I had that awesome teacher feeling.  You know the one...the one  you get when you just did a lesson and you can TELL that it totally stuck and it was successful?  Yep, that one!!  And, I owe it all to Joanne and this wonderful product!!!

So what are you waiting for?!?  You MUST go try this out!!!  You MUST!!  You will be so thankful you did!!!

PS- Be sure to check out all of the other amazing products that are linked below!  You'll find even more you have to have!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mentor Sentence Starter Pack Winners and Sale through Sunday!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the Pin It to Win It for the Mentor Sentences Starter Pack. I am so excited to announce the 3 Winners! I will be emailing you shortly.  :)

But, since so many people participated I decided to put the Mentor Sentence Starter Pack on SALE through Sunday for 20% off!  So, if you want it, please stop by our Teachers Pay Teachers store before Sunday.  Thank You!



Monday, September 23, 2013

Mentor Sentence Starter Pack {10 complete lessons and assessments} Pin It to Win It!

Last week I finally finished and posted my Mentor Sentence Starter Pack! I am so excited about this because it is going to be a great resource for me and my kids this year. I know that Amanda and I have talked about Mentor Sentences before (click here to go to our posts), but I am really happy to share these with you.  :)

I always think I am such a nerd when it comes to Grammar because I LOVE it! I mean I LOOOOOOVE it! I could sit and look at sentences and identify parts of speech all day....well maybe not all day, but I think it's fun! I never have really met anyone else (besides my Dad) who loves Grammar like I do. And then I found out about Mentor Sentences and how cool they are and now all of my students love Grammar too!

They really enjoy analyzing the mentor sentences. I think they love the "Invitation to Revise" day the best because they get to be real authors but in a safe way. What I mean is, for my kids who struggle with writing, when we do mentor sentences, they feel safe and comfortable because they know they are only having to focus on one sentence. When they get to revise they are so proud and eager to share how they have become authors and changed the sentence all by themselves. Even if they are just adding one word, like an amazing adjective, their hands shoot up to share. I love seeing them so engaged!  :)

The Starter Pack I created has 10 COMPLETE Lesson Plans with labels, sentences, suggested responses, and assessments. I chose sentences from some favorite fiction and nonfiction books.

3 People can PIN IT To WIN IT! 
I will choose the WINNERS on Wednesday evening.

If you'd like this Mentor Sentence Pack, you can pin it to win it!!  Here's what you do:

1) Pin the Mentor Sentence Pack on Pinterest 
2) Leave a comment with your email and the Pinterest ID in the comment (all you have to do is copy the URL after you pin it to your board and then paste it into the comment section).

That's it!  I will use a random number generator to find 3 lucky winners this weekend. Thanks for entering!  :O)

Click here to see winners...

Have a great Monday!
-Stacia  :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

9/11 Mentor texts {Must Read Mentor Texts for Social Studies}

Hey there!

I know this post is coming after the fact, but I just wanted to share two books that I used on September 11th.

The first book is The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.

Here is the description from Amazon: In 1974, French aerialist Philippe Petit threw a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and spent an hour walking, dancing, and performing high-wire tricks a quarter mile in the sky. This picture book captures the poetry and magic of the event with a poetry of its own: lyrical words and lovely paintings that present the detail, daring, and--in two dramatic foldout spreads-- the vertiginous drama of Petit's feat.

This book is based on a true story, which automatically captures the class's attention!

I used this book on September 11th and I had my students do sticky notes to go along with the book.  They like to make a lot of predictions and they always have a lot of WOW moments!!  It's a very fun book for them and for me!!  

Now, when we were reading this book and doing sticky notes, I noticed a lot of students were predicting that Phillipe would be walking on the tight rope between the towers and then the planes would come and hit the towers.  They really weren't understanding that this happened a long time ago, even with picture clues AND with what the text was SAYING.  This was a little concerning.  

So, I decided to get this book:

I definitely had the feeling that my students did not know a lot about the events of September 11, 2001.  So, I thought pairing this with nonfiction may help with some misconceptions.

Now, I will say this.  

I was in my second year of teaching in Tennessee on September 11, 2001.  I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when a teacher pulled me from my classroom to tell me what was going on.  It is all very vivid for me.  There are a lot of emotions within me on September 11th every year.  And I wasn't even right there, in New York.

So, when this book came in the mail, it took me a day or so to read it.  And then I did.

I was struck by how very matter of fact it was.  It is very well written.  Yet, it was very nonfiction, if that makes sense?  Just the facts.

I found myself getting emotional.  But, I was emotional because I was alive when this happened and I could remember all of those feelings and fears associated with that day.  Looking at the pictures and remembering all of that, had me viewing the book in a different way.

It had me thinking about all of the other nonfiction books I have read about historical events.  We teach about the Revolutionary War and I started thinking, wow, I sit and read these nonfiction books without being very affected.  I don't get very emotional when I read other nonfiction books about historical events because it is about events that occurred long before my time.

Yet, I read this nonfiction book and it evoked a lot of strong emotions in me.  

It was important for me to relay that to my students.  Even though I was sharing the facts with them, it goes a lot deeper than just the facts.  I knew they couldn't connect to it because they weren't even alive yet.

I wrote a narrative that I shared with them about how I felt that day.  September 11, 2001.  I worked really hard to be very vivid in my writing and to really get across how I felt and how this tragedy affected me.  And I wasn't even there, right where it happened, so I shared how my experience was different from everyone else's but that it was very real to me and I wanted to make it real for them.  (I was also trying to model vivid writing.)  I wanted them to see my perspective.

We talked about the difference in my writing about the event and the nonfiction book we read.

It was a way to connect it to them so that when we start talking about the American Revolution, they will hopefully understand why we learn about these historical figures and why it's important to look at primary sources and see how George Washington was feeling why he felt that way (for example).  He was there.  It was important to him and affected him in ways we may not even know.  But we can dig deeper and see if we can make some inferences about it.  Because it's important to our country to understand.  Just like September 11, 2001 will forever be in our hearts.

So, this is what I did for September 11th (over a few days).  I just feel like it's so important to remember and share this with students.  My students already had misconceptions or just didn't even know what had happened.  I wanted them to know and to try to understand.  And, honestly, it helped to have the nonfiction book there so that I could answer questions without only giving my opinion.  When needed, I could just give the facts about the who and the why.  Especially because I still don't even understand the why.

I hope this was helpful and that you will take a look at these two books.  The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is always a favorite!

PS- September has 5 Sundays.  We were thinking next week you could link up any books for fall, Halloween, or October so we can all get some great ideas to use in the upcoming month!  :O)
Please Link Up!

Next week's linky- Books for Fall, Halloween, or October

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