May 31, 2014

I Need Picture Book Suggestions for Social Studies!

Big News!  It is official!  I will be teaching one block of ELA/Social Studies in FIFTH grade and another block of ELA/Social Studies in FOURTH grade!

How is this going to work you ask?  I have no idea!  The scheduling end of this plan is being left up to someone else.  :)

My part of this plan involves the unit building and teaching...which I am VERY, VERY EXCITED about!

I currently teach 2 blocks of ELA/SS in fifth grade.  I spent a lot of time this year building integrated units that I am very proud of.  In fact, part of our presentation in New Orleans at #IRA14 was all about integration.  You can read more about there here.


I am a firm believer that READING AND WRITING are important in every aspect of life and should be taught that way in our classrooms.  Therefore, my instruction is totally intertwined with ELA all day long!

Here's where you come in!  I need some help.  I use lots and lots of PICTURE BOOKS for instruction. I actually teach most of my grammar through picture books using model texts and" stealing", as Ruth Culham calls it in The Writing Thief.  :)  I need to hear about your favorites so I can begin building my fourth grade units!

I have my fifth grade units covered, but I always LOVE a good book if you other suggestions...I am starting fresh with my fourth grade units and I want lots!

HERE ARE MY TOPICS:
1 -I will start with the land bridge and early explorers.
2- I will move on to European Settlements.
3- The Road to the Revolution
4- Revolutionary War
5- Planning our Government
6- Westward Expansion
7- Slavery in the North and the South
8- The Civil War

Please email me, or share in the comments, or tweet to me, or find whatever social media contact you like to help me start my collection for these units.  :)  I have already written and funded, (YAY), a Donors Choose grant for graphic novels to cover all the above listed topics, so I have graphic novels completely under control.  I do a complete graphic novel unit, which you can read about here.

If you are not familiar with Donors Choose, you should really check it out.  I was able to order almost $500 worth of graphic novel with funds that added up in less that 24 hours!  What a happy day!

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Have a great weekend!

May 25, 2014

The "All-in-One" History Book!

How often do you spend time looking for historical short stories to use for small group instruction, work stations, or close reads?  This book has it all!  500 years of American History through the eyes of those that saw it happen.

This compilation of short narratives has something to address every topic in history no matter what you are studying.  From "Columbus Meets the Native Americans" to "Getting Wired: An Email from Bill Gates," this book touches every part of our nation's history and tells the stories from a few perspectives you might not have heard before.  Other interesting titles include, "America's First Steam Engine Races a Horse", "The First Telegraph Message", and "Dropping the Atomic Bomb."

Yes, it is written for adults.  I'm also the teacher that encourages picture books in upper grades (see post here), so why not adult books in lower grades, as long as they are appropriate, of course. :)  I pull the short stories, adapt to lower levels if necessary, credit the author and the editor, and use these stories in all sorts of ways!  Perhaps best of all...my kiddos get excited when they realize they are reading really grown-ups stories from a grown-up book!

Lots of great history and lots of great reading, just waiting to be used by social studies teachers!

Check it out and see what short stories you can borrow from this fabulous resource!


Click over and visit Collaboration Cuties and find a few other great Social Studies Mentor Texts you can use in your classroom!


If you are out for the summer, have a wonderful week.  If you are still in your classroom, enjoy your kiddos!



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May 17, 2014

Sparking Reading Motivation in Big Readers and Little Readers

Yesterday was a great day!  Heck this entire week has been fabulous.  I returned from New Orleans in the middle of the night on Monday and crawled to school to volunteer on a field trip...there was no way I could have taught all day.  We attended and presented at the IRA Conference and had a fabulous time!  The field trip was wonderful and I got to drop in on all my kiddos to say a quick hello. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we simply enjoyed DEVOURING all the new books I brought back from the conference!

We were so successful at finding comfortable spots to read that we invited a few little guys in to watch us! They needed to see how big kids CRAWL into books.  :)  I gave my ZOMBIE analogy, and after they all looked at me like I was crazy, they began to let their brains CRAWL out of their bodies and into their books as well!



Today I'm linking up with an old blogging buddy over at HEAD OVER HEELS FOR TEACHING to share a MOTIVATIONAL tip!  If you have big readers, let them model for little readers!  We helped them create iMOVIEs for their books, let them tell us about their books, and simply let them join us as we read comfortably!  It was very motivating for everyone involved...AND...I even got to read a bit of my newest book by Kelly Gallagher that I picked up in New Orleans!  What an inspirational guy!

Have a great weekend and click over and visit Joanne to find some other Motivational ideas!


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May 4, 2014

Picture Books in Fifth Grade? Of Course!!

How many of you love a great picture book that makes you think?  How many of you think that today's kids spend too much time with technology?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, this book is for YOU!

Chris Van Allsburg is a phenomenal author!  He really makes you think.  If you haven't taken the time to read his books CLOSELY as an adult, you really should.  

Reading this book as a small child, it is about a group of intelligent men who board a ship together on a mission.  They love to read, talk, and play games together.  They stumble upon a stone that emits light, and is slightly gray in color.  They begin staring at the stone instead of the other things they did when they first came aboard.  As the story goes on, the men begin to turn into apes that want only want to stare at the "stone" and the light coming from it. HINT, HINT!!

Now...AS AN ADULT, or as a TEACHER wanting to make students think more DEEPLY about a text, what could a stone that makes intelligent men stop doing intelligent things and simply sit and stare possibly be? ;)

This is the type of deep CRITICAL thinking we want to teach our children!  AND, this is a must have book for all teachers!  In fact, almost all of Chris Van Allsburg's books can be used in this way!  ENJOY!

Click over and visit Amanda and Stacia at Collaboration Cuties to find a few other "must haves" for your classroom! 

Happy SUNDAY and have a great week!  
I'm off to New Orleans for the big IRA Conference!  I CAN NOT WAIT!!
I'll be presenting on Saturday.  Come see me if you are there!

Cutting the Ties to One Size Fits All Literacy Instruction
Saturday May 10 at 11:00
Room 340-341
Event # 01374
You can also download some of the handouts that will be available at our session here! :)
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May 3, 2014

Who's Going to New Orleans?! :) #IRA14



Not only am I super excited to be presenting this year, I can't wait to attend other sessions and learn from all of you! Come see us at Cutting The Ties to One Size Fits All Literacy Instruction and leave a comment here to let me know where you are presenting and I'll try to come by!


Cutting the Ties to One Size Fits All Literacy Instruction
Saturday May 10 at 11:00
Room 340-341
Event # 01374

Our Workshop will consist of 3 SECTIONS!  See Below:

1~How to teach your students to love reading, while still teaching the standards!


2~ How to teach integrated units using music, picture books, videos, writing, etc.  Anything and everything except TEXTBOOKS!


3~How to motivate and encourage lifelong readers and writers through authentic reading and writing communities!


I'll attach a few handouts here just in case you can't make it.  Help yourself to anything you might be able to use!  Hope to see you in NOLA!



Click here to download a copy of the Book Talk handout.











Click here to download a copy of the Celebrating Authors handout.









Click here to download a copy of the Creating Book Trailers with iMovie.
You can also read more about it here. :)




Click here for a copy of the Dr. Seuss Goes to War handout.
You can also read more about it here.  :)









Click here for a copy of The Great Depression and Graphic Novels handout.
You can also read more about it here. :)





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