Apr 24, 2014

Facing Everyday and Every Student with Positive Thoughts

Hi Friends,
Apparently I was into positive thinking today and decided to join two other groups of bloggers to share my joy!
I'm linking up with Comprehension Connection and Mrs. Laffin's Laughings to share a quick positive post!
I saw this on Facebook last night and it really got me thinking!

As teachers, we all get to give our gifts away everyday.  How many people can really say that about their jobs?  What a wonderful way to face everyday! :)

It also got me thinking about our challenging students.  Everyone, I MEAN EVERYONE has a gift.  It is up to us as teachers to help our students find those gifts and build on them to help them become successful members of society.  If we dig deeply to find the strengths in each and every one of our students, maybe the challenges will pale in comparison!  Have a great day with your kids!

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Apr 23, 2014

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? {Test Prep Workshop}

Hi Teacher Friends!
Welcome to Workshop Wednesday.  I’m linking up with Jivey from Ideas By Jivey to talk about TEST PREP!  Yes, you heard me right, the dreaded TEST PREP words. 
I have never been very fond of tests, or frankly even prepping for them!  School should be exciting and fun…TEST PREP…usually isn’t either one!

This year, to prepare my sweet kiddos for our Social Studies state test, I've decided to challenge our parents to Are You Smarter than Mrs. Green’s Fifth Graders?


We have been very busy training for our BIG DAY!

I have covered 8 units this year, so I needed 8 training stations.  Here’s how I set it up!

I made copies of our notes from each unit, and set up a training project to go with each set of notes.  

My darlings know that they must READ the notes, SYNTHESIZE the information, and use their writing skills to communicate the information in a CREATIVE way.

They are on DAY 2 of our rotations, and by the end of our 8 DAY TRAINING SESSION; our parents will join us to see if they really are SMARTER THAN MRS. GREEN’S FIFTH GRADERS!

Any thoughts on how to improve our training sessions or ways to make GAME SHOW DAY fun?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Thanks for stopping by!

Click over and find some other great TEST PREP IDEAS at Ideas By Jivey!

Apr 20, 2014

The Other Side and Freedom Summer {Social Studies Mentor Text Linky}

Hi Everybody and Happy EASTER!  I'm dropping in for a quick link up with the ladies from Collaboration Cuties to talk about 2 Social Studies Mentor Texts this week.

The 2 books that I've selected today go hand in hand if you are interested in integrating Social Studies into your ELA instruction.

The Other Side is about 2 little girls who live on opposite sides of a fence.  They watch each other and want to play together but their parents don't think that it's a good idea.  

In contrast to The Other Side, Freedom Summer is about 2 little boys.  One little boy's mother works cleaning the home of the other family.  They spend lots of time together playing often because the family welcomes the son of the housekeeper into their home and encourages their friendship.

Both stories are written about a time in history when the mixing of cultures and races was frowned upon by many, but these stories offer such interesting differing points of view on the topic that they beg to be discussed!
Imagine the reading lessons and topics that can be pulled from such interesting books!  They offer opportunities for many comparing and contrasting lessons, as well as strong point of views and, because they are so beautifully written, all literary standards could be discussed while sharing these books.  These are "must reads" for a civil rights movement study.

HOP on over to Collaboration Cuties and check out a few other Social Studies Mentor Texts this week and enjoy your day with your families!  Happy Easter! :)

Apr 13, 2014

Books, Books, and more Books! :)

Spring Break has been wonderful!  You have to know that I have been on break, or there is no way I would have found time to blog.  Haha!  Sorry about that...I am trying to get back into the swing of things and have finally completed a full year of building and integrating my own ELA/Social Studies program AND... just might see to it that I have some blogging time on my hands again! YAY!  Today I'm linking up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings to share "A Peek at my Week!"

This past week I spent a lot of time organizing a year's worth of curriculum and decided to share one of my favorite resources from the year!  KIDCAPS! Having time to reflect on what I've been teaching, I realized just how much I have used and loved these books all year long.  This week, I will begin reviewing all 8 of my previous units to gear up for our final unit, The ABCs of American History from 1865-Present Day.

The unit we are wrapping up is a narrative unit.  When teaching literary standards, I love short stories because you get the big picture, from start to finish in one sitting.   It allows you to cover multiple standards quickly.  Since testing is coming up, multiple standards quickly is a big goal for me...isn't it always?

This particular series of informational texts starts with a NARRATIVE INTRODUCTION that grabs students from the word go!  Each book is then packed with informational text that explains some not-so-kid- friendly topics, in kid-friendly ways.  For example, this series addresses each war in American History from the Civil War to our current situation in Afghanistan.   Kid friendly materials on Afghanistan is not something that is easy to come by and because this series uses both narrative and informational text structures to teach about historical topics, these books are a WIN-WIN no matter what ELA standards you are teaching!

Because I plan to review literary standards and social studies topics together this week, (that's just what I do) some kid-friendly narrative nonfiction short stories are just what I need!

I typically retype and credit the KidCaps narrative so that I can highlight some key terms, figurative language, plot points, etc. and then print on card stock with a few pics, to file away in my unit binders for next year. Here's a little taste of one of the narratives I'll be using this week.  By the time I finish this story, I am certain my students will never forget what happened in Normandy, France!

adapted from: America in World War II-KidCaps
So, you see why I've been a bit MIA in blog world this year!  I have been researching, organizing, typing, reading, and planning like a crazy lady!  I have had a blast and have learned so much about American History as well as the ELA Common Core State standards that I don't regret a moment of the work, but I sure have missed my blogging buddies!

Thanks for taking a moment to let me share "A Peek at my Week!"  I hope you can find some KidCaps to assist you as you integrate your content area topics into your ELA classrooms!

Hop over and take a PEEK at the weekly plans of a few teacher friends over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings! Maybe you'll find something else you can incorporate into your week!  

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