Monday, November 25, 2013

Main Idea & Details for 5th Graders

As we worked on main idea and details I used short passages from different books. My fifth graders were given passages based on their level. I pulled passages from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Tuck Everlasting, The Phantom Tollbooth, Stewart Little, and Ella Enchanted. The students read the passage, and created a graphic organizer of the main idea and supporting details. Using the graphic organizer they wrote a paragraph including the main idea and supporting details and drew a picture that showed this. The picture was the hardest part, the students could only draw was they wrote about. The picture had to illustrate the main idea and details only. Below are a few of the paragraphs and pictures my students created. The passage is at the top, with the picture the student drew and the paragraph below.

Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - passage was about the unusual elevator.

Ella Enchanted - passage describes the cure put on Ella.

Stewart Little - passage describe what Stewart looks like.

 The passages used from Tuck Everlasting and The Phantom Tollbooth were more abstract. I used these with my higher students.

Tuck Everlasting - passage describes the month of August.

The Phantom Tollbooth - passage describes the main character.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Job Change!

I just completed my 7th year as a classroom teacher and have loved every moment. My husband and I have been working for several years towards the goal of me being home with my daughter. This year it is finally happening! I am excited to see how this new job goes and what I can do with my daughter. Not being in the classroom come August will be a BIG adjustment but one I am excited to make.

Of course I am going to blog, blogging is just too much fun to give up :)
My new blog is Encourage. Play. Learn.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Civil War Activites and Resources

At the end of the school year we completed my favorite unit of the year, the Civil War. I wanted to post each activity we did but decided to create one big post with everything in it. So, here it is everything we did as we learned about the Civil War. 

**Disclaimer - I did not create the projects below, only modified them for my students.

Underground Railroad and Secret Quilt Messages

In a previous post I shared the book we read and the site we used
to discuss how quilts were used in the Underground Railroad.

Underground Railroad Quilts

Union and Confederate Soldier Comparison

Original Idea

Soldier Comparison Project

Civil War Battle Project

Original Idea

 Battle Project

Lapbook Project

Helpful Websites:

Key West Labor Day Hurricane

This year my students read the book, Blown Away by Joan Hiatt Harlow. This is a wonderful book that tells the story of the 1935 hurricane that hit on Labor Day 1935. The students and myself enjoyed this book, it is a page turner.

After reading the book my students were given two articles about the hurricane. One article was eye witness accounts of the hurricane and the other was factual information about the hurricane. The students used this information to completed a literature writing assignment which included several questions and the front page from a newspaper published the week after the hurricane hit.

For the newspaper students included:
  • title and date
  • illustration and caption
  • eye witness account
  • cover story (factual information about hurricane)
  • how to help victims or how to prepare for hurricane

I love how the newspapers turned out!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Underground Railroad Quilts

We are in the middle of our Civil War unit, my FAVORITE unit! I love teaching history and this is my favorite part of the year. Today, we read and talked about the Underground Railroad. My students were very interested and asking lots of great questions. We read the book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson. This is a great story about Clara creating a quilt/map that leads to the Underground Railroad.

After reading we discussed how quilts were used along the Underground Railroad as secret codes for the escaped slaves. My students then created their own secret code quilts using the site Pathways to Freedom. The site shows you examples of patterns that were used and then lets you create and explain your own quilt. This was a quick and easy activity that went great with the book.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Queen of the Falls plus so much more!

If you have never read the book Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg you should! It is a great story about Anna Taylor, the first person to ever go over Niagara Falls. I have a lot of boys in my 5th grade class and it is hard to keep them interested sometimes. This book and project kept them interested. Below is a basic daily layout of how I used this book in my classroom.

Day 1 - We started by reading about Niagara Falls and looking at pictures of the falls. When I first asked what they knew, the students could only tell me that it was a waterfall and that a man tight rope walked across it, Nik Wallenda in 2012. This actually took longer than I thought it would, the kids were really interested. Living in Florida we do not see waterfalls unless we are watching TV or traveling, so we had a great discussion about the falls. 

*You could easily stop here and save the rest for the next day. I had time that day and the kids were into the lesson so we kept going. 

After all of this discussion, I read aloud Queen of the Falls. I read until the barrel went over the falls and then stopped. :) All my students asked, "Did she live??" or "What happened?" I asked a few basic questions such as: do you think she lives?, if so will she be hurt? Then I finished the story. The kids were amazed that a 63 year old woman survived the 165 ft fall. It still amazes me every time I think about it. 

I asked the students how the information we read about Niagara Falls helped the students understand the story. This was a great opportunity for the kids to relate the story to the non-fiction text we read about Niagara Falls.

Day 2 I posted several different questions about the book. We discussed the student's answers. We then read a poem titled, Queen of the Mist, which tells about Ms. Taylor going over the falls. (We became very familiar with Ms. Taylor and referred to her as someone we all knew personally). As a class we talked about the poem and then students discussed with a partner how the poem was similar and different from the book. I try to compare different types of text as often as possible. 

Day 3 - Throughout our discussions of Ms. Taylor and reading about her, my students ask, "Did anyone else go over the falls?" On day three we learned about the other 13 people who intentionally went over the falls. I listed only the names of each person on the board and let the students pick who they wanted to write their report on. Niagara Falls Daredevils

To keep the kids in suspense, I did not let the kids look at their paper or the picture of their person until everyone had pick a daredevil. When I said, "Ok, you can read your paper." They were silent followed by comments such as; "Oh my gosh!" "This guy is crazy!"I love this part of teaching, watching the students get so excited about a topic.

After reading through their report, they completed the venn diagram on the Daredevil Report. Students compared Ms. Taylor to their person.

Day 4 & 5 - Students worked on writing their report and eyewitness account of their daredevil going over the falls. 

We also read Native American legend Lady of the Mist. Legends and folk tales are always fun to discuss.

This is a completed Daredevil report.

Day 6 - And of course we Tweeted about our Niagara Falls Daredevils.

Friday, March 15, 2013

13 Colonies Project

I am a little behind on posting this project, blame it on my pre-Spring Break vacation. :) The project was turned in a month ago but I was busy then forgot, so here is it. 

My 5th graders each completed a 13 Colony Project, personally I would rather be given a fun project than a test. So, I tend to assign projects over test for social studies. For this assignment I picked 4 different projects that I thought the students would enjoy making and required the students to learn about different aspects of the Revolutionary War. 

This project is a switch up from the 13 Colonies Project that my 5th graders did last year which was a power point.  This year I decided to go with a more hands-on project.

Project Options:

1. Hands-On Map: the map showed the 13 colonies and included 6 major events that were hidden by a flap, sliding window or other moving part. 

2. Newspaper: the paper was written as if the the Revolutionary War has just ended and includes editorials, news stories, political cartoons and other columns commonly found in a paper. 

3. ABC Book: each letter represents a person, event or item from the Revolutionary War. There was also a short description included. 

4. Coffee Table Book: one topic from the Revolutionary War was chosen and written about in detail. 

Five for Friday

 This week my Five for Friday is all about the family cruise we took this past week. Doodle Bug Teaching, Five for Friday.

1. Swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman. It was amazing! 

2.Desserts and sweets! Sometimes before lunch and dinner and ALWAYS after :)

3. No cooking! Enough said.

4. No clocks or windows in our room. Waking up with no windows or clock was the best part of my morning. What time is it?? I have no idea or reason to find out.

5. Family. This was a family cruise with all of my husband's family. We were able to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday and spend the week together experiencing something new. Priceless.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Five for Friday!

1. FCAT Writes is over! YAY! Now on to Student Treasure Books and Reading FCAT. 

2. I found  the bottom of my teacher bag! It does exist! Grades for report cards were due today, which forced me to clean out my bag.

3. Report cards are done and turned in!!

4 & 5. The Mud Walk field trip was so much fun it counts for two numbers on my list :) 

Mud Walk!

Today the 5th graders went on the annual Mud Walk. It is the one trip the kids look forward to for years. It was AWESOME! I have never been before so this was a first for me. It is literally a mud walk.

We started with a half mile walk into the woods. Then the students fished organic matter from the river with nets.

The students searched through the organic matter (mud) for animals. They were standoffish at first then they really got into it. They found tiny worms, dragonfly larva, a small fish, snails, beetles and other things we had never seen.

Next up was the mud walk! The parents were "trees" for the kids to hold onto. We started on a normal trail then it became a mud festival. Some of it was wet and DEEP and other parts were STICKY. If we had not Duck Taped our shoes we would of all come out barefoot. It was so much fun!!

I love having fun with my students and seeing a new side to them.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Knots on a Counting Rope

I found an amazing story called Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. If you have never read this book it is wonderful story about a Native American boy who ask his grandfather to tell the story of when he was born. There is symbolism and theme all throughout. I love the story and wish I had found it years ago. It is a 5th grade Common Core book. 

I did so many things with this book! 

First I read the book aloud but did not show the pictures. Then I gave copies the story text only, no pictures, to the students. They created list of character traits for the grandfather and Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses. The students used their story text to find proof from the story to support each character trait. 

On day two the we discussed the mood of the story when the boy was born and when the boy raced for the first time. Again students used the story text to find proof for the mood of the story. This was a great conversation! On day three we discussed the theme of the story.

Day four was the best day! The students had not seen the pictures from the story at this point. The students had discussed the book so much they were very excited to see the pictures and story. We watched a read aloud on YouTube, Knots on a Counting Rope. After watching the read aloud the students realized that Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses is blind. A few of my students had caught on to this earlier in the week but we did not discuss it until now. The students looked for clues in the text that showed that he was blind. 

Our week was cut short because of county testing or we would of spent another day on this. :(

This has been my FAVORITE lesson with 5th grade this year! It was so much fun to read this book and spend so much time digging deep into a book.

Cereal Box Book Report

One of my favorite book reports my students complete is the cereal box book report. This report allows the students to be creative with their report. The directions are of the Cereal Box Book Report are on my Google drive. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five For Friday

This is my first Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

1. After several busy weeks and not being able to post on my blog I have been able to post 4, YES 4 new post!

2. We started the week with 5th grades American Revolution Trading Card Day. It was fun to watch the kids trade and bargain for different cards. Some student loved their cards so much they were VERY particular or would not trade at all. I loved watching them take so much pride in what they created.

3. My 5th graders are in the middle of studying the American Revolution. After looking at and discussing political cartoons from that time period the students created their own political cartoon. Check out my post on this activity. 

4. My 4th graders completed their cause and effect paragraphs for the story A Bad Case of Stripes

5. Today my daughter and I took our first train ride. It was the birthday of my friend's son, we took a train ride on a real Amtrak train. It was so much fun!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cause and Effect with A Bad Case of Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon is my favorite picture book! I love this story! Anytime I can use this book with my students I do :) We just finished studying cause and effect and learning to write out cause and effect paragraphs. We first watched a GREAT read aloud for the book from If you have not seen this site you should check it out. They have read alouds for many different books. After listening to A Bad Case of Stripes the students wrote a summary using cause and effects words. The students then colored Camilla Cream's face and posted their writing. The idea came from the site Mrs. Heeren's Happenings.

Political Cartoons

The hand represents the 13 colonies.

We have been talking about the causes of the American Revolution for the last few weeks. This unit is stretching out longer than I planned. The kids love it and we are having fun learning about the American Revolution so it is ok if we take a few extra weeks. 

After talking about the Boston Tea Party we begin talking about political cartoons from the time of the American Revolution. We talked about how they were used to spread a message to other colonist. My students then created their own political cartoons about the Boston Tea Party. 

The flames are labeled for each of the colonies.

The small fish to the left of the net are labeled as different colonies.

The only requirements that I gave the students were they they could not draw a picture of what actually happen at the Boston Tea Party. I must say that they fought me on this, it took A LOT of encouraging and A LOT of re-dos. They did not think they were creative enough and that it was to abstract. Let me just say that I have some VERY creative kids that can DEFINITELY think outside the box. I love those moments when you push the kids and they are able to be really creative. 

The hands represent the colonist.