Friday, March 18, 2016

Growing Readers

I am so excited to be part of this link up! It is full of great texts and ways that you can build reading and writing in your classroom. Use this tracking sheet to help you keep track of the secret words for your chance to win! You can win an $65.00 Amazon gift card!

I am a HUGE Jan Bret fan. My mom bought some of her books for me as a kid and I have been in love ever since. I have done several author studies about her with my class. I think I have hooked a whole new generation. I love her stories, but her pictures really set her books apart. I like to use her books to teach several lessons through out the school year. I use them to introduce creative writing and to look for story elements. My favorite Jan Bret book of the moment is Gingerbread Baby. This engaging story has it all; funny dialogue, a play on a familiar story, fun characters and a hunt for the mischievous Ginger Bread Baby. The beautiful illustrations help tell the story of a little boy who is anxious to eat his gingerbread man. He opens the oven too early and a Gingerbread Baby pops out. The town and the animals try to catch the tricky cookie as the little boy hatches his own plan. 
Story elements can be difficult for students to understand. This lesson focuses on character, setting and plot.

Explain what each story element is using an anchor chart. Read a favorite story like Gingerbread Baby. During and after reading look for the story elements in the text.

To check for understanding use the Story Element Sort

Use the story element cards and sorting mat to determine an understanding of character setting and plot. You can use this resource two ways. First laminate the cards and mats to use as a sorting center. Second copy a couple of the element card pages and the mat to use as a worksheet. 

Create an anchor chart to introduce/review skills. I covered mine with post-its so I could reveal it little by little. 

Create a Story Element Guide: This includes character (puff ball person), setting (house), problem (puzzle piece), solution (laminated bandaid) and five story beads( beginning, middle, middle, middle, end). 

Here is a video of me teaching the lesson. Please excuse the blurred out parts for student privacy. 

You can purchase the entire lesson here. Now make sure to enter for your chance to win one of two Amazon gift cards!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for joining me! My mystery word is gingerbread. Please head to the other pages to get more great lesson ideas and resources.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mountain State Meet Up 2016

Some of the Colorado TpTers have been meeting a couple of times a year. We would like to continue to grow that group and collaborate with other TpTers. We are reaching out to the TpTers in CO,NM,AZ and UT. We would love to meet you! Here are the details.

We will meet June 4th at The Fox and Hound in Lone Tree, CO. 

11:00-11:30 Meet and Greet - bring a few business cards and connect with others.

11:30 -12:30 Round Table Discussions 

Social Media 

12:30-1:30 Lunch 

1:30-2:00 School Supply Exchange ( Bring your favorite school supply valued at $15.00. W

2:00-4:00 Bowling at Brunswick Zone Lone Tree, CO. 

If you are joining us from out of town there is a hotel near the meet up location. There is also a lot to do in the area. 

Please join us! UPDATE all spots are full!   Please comment or email if you have questions. 

Genius Hour

I first heard about Genius Hour this summer at the Colorado Educator Technology Conference I attended this summer called innedco. It is based on Google's idea of working 80% on what you need to and 20% about working on learning about and developing your passion.

THIS HAS TO BE MY FAVORITE THING I HAVE EVER TAUGHT. I feel I did very little on my part. The kids did the bulk of the work. Genius Hour is brilliant! Here is the process I took:

I researched Genius Hour like crazy. I created a Pinterest board about it. I used some blog posts an videos about it to show my students what I was looking for.

Then I found a FREE Genius Hour Work Book on TpT from a Double Dose of Dowda.

I showed the kids how to research using Kiddle. Have you kiddled? I am so thankful for this awesome FREE educational tool. Kiddle is a site that is hosted by Google. It is a kid friendly search engine. Kiddle is filtered to be kid friendly. The search summary information is streamlined, a larger print and has a picture. This makes researching so much easier with younger students.

Next I conferenced with the students individually about every two weeks to track their progress. I was also there to help if they asked for it long the way. Some students really used me as a resource and some I would only talk to at our conferences. That kind of help was my favorite because they did the entire presentation on their own and they surprised me with their knowledge.

My students were required to create a 15 minute presentation. They were to teach us something and become experts on it. We had a huge range of projects, from books to art to space and fashion design. We had iMovies, blogs and hands on demonstrations.

I recommend connecting your students with experts in their field. It is better if you have a personal connection. Two students were able to visit with a horse trainer and two students were able to interview someone who works in fashion.

Gabby Douglas and NASA did not get back to us ☹️. 

Some of the highlights for the class was the presentation on guitars. This student was able to shine as she showed use an iMovie about the different kind of guitars. Then she printed pictures of different types of guitars for the class to color. She finished her presentation with a duet with her mom.

I had a student research bionics. I was not sure about it when he told me about it. He created a very informative iMovie about bionics and how they help people.

I had a student use the hopscotch app to create video games for the students to play.

One student studied barrel racing. She created an iMovie, posters and brought in tack to show the class. I was able to connect her with a horse trainer and she visited the training facility. She videoed her experience and included it. She is taking lessons and competes in barrel racing so she was able to show a video of her riding. 

I had a student create a blog about art, paint a picture and have the class paint. 

I had a student research Gabby Douglas, present her biography, the history of gymnastics and performed a routine.

I could really go on and on. They all did wonderful. It's amazing to see what 3rd graders are capable of. 

I recommend this for any class! Please comment with any questions. 


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Move Your Bus

Through the blogging/ Instagram/ Periscope world I heard about Ron Clark and RCA. I follow them on all possible social media and I am constantly in awe and inspired by their school. I recommend checking out Ron Clark and the teachers at his school.

I have looked into visiting RCA and learning from the source. I hope to do it.... someday!

What I have done is start to read some of his books. (Okay I will be honest.. I have been listening to them! It seems to be the only way I can get through a book these days.) I hope to "read" them all soon. They are pretty short so I feel confident in my goal.

I started with Move Your Bus. I had seen it on social media recently so it seemed like a good one to start with.

This book puts people into several different categories:

Runners- The people who go above and beyond all of the time.
Joggers- The people who do a good job but not the best job.
Walkers- The people who do only what is expected of them.
Riders- The people who are only along for the ride.
Drivers- The leader or boss.

Ron Clark takes you through several scenarios so you understand the different rolls these people play in a work place. He also gives tips on how to improve yourself. I think that this book is a must read for any boss but it also makes you think about yourself. I felt like he was talking about me and to me. There have been phases in my life that have shaped who I am. This book made me want to reevaluate my daily routines and it also made me REALLY want to go visit RCA to see all of the amazing things that they do. I recommend reading this book! My next Ron Clark book is The End of Molasses Classes. I will let you know what I think.  Have you read a Ron Clark book or visited RCA? Let me know what you think!