Monday, April 28, 2014

Phone Pattern Fun

Finding patterns is the sign of a mathematician that can't shut off her mind!  It seems like every time I pull out my phone and check for email I see ANOTHER pattern.  Here's a few I snapped at just the right moment.  Crazy!
What pattern is shown above?  What is the next in the sequence? 
That' our beautiful Golden retriever as my screen saver.  :)

How about this pattern?   What would the next five patterns be?

How about this pattern?  What other clock patterns can you find that are similar?
That's our beautiful Oregon Coast in April by the way.  :)

What's this pattern?  What are the next five in the sequence?

Here's anther one!  When will the patterns end?

Explore patterns and have fun with them and by all means, find the math in everything you do!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FREE Poetry Gift #5

Today is the last day of the FREE poetry gifts!  I hope you're enjoying the fun of writing poetry with your students.  Thanks for helping me celebrate my TpT Milestone achievement.
Today's Landmark Poem poetry gift #5 is the perfect compliment to your social studies unit about landmarks, national parks, state or country reports, or other geographical studies.  The format is similar to the animal riddle poem in that students will give clues about the landmark's details, location, climate, nearest body of water, city, and continent.  If clues are descriptively written, you should be able to guess the landmark. I love sneaking poetry into just about any subject!

Today is the last day of the poetry FREEBIES so be sure that you've downloaded all five while they're still free on TpT!
 Poetry Gift #1          Poetry Gift #2          Poetry Gift #3          Poetry Gift #4

Today is also the last day of the BIG 20% all things LITERACY in my TpT Store!

Enjoy and thanks a ton for your support and following!

Monday, April 21, 2014

FREE Poetry Gift #4

Today is Day #4 of my TpT milestone celebration and today's poetry gift is an explorer poem.  Explorer poems are a great way to incorporate some poetry writing into your social studies unit.  Students will describe their explorer's accomplishments and personal life details with this poem form.   This makes a great addition to your biography unit, too.

Be sure to get the three other gifts from the past few days while they are still free!

Also, tomorrow is the last day of the 20% off all literacy items in my store to celebrate my TpT milestone achievement!  


Sunday, April 20, 2014

FREE Poetry Gift #3

This has been a fun week of sharing and celebrating!  Today's poetry gift #3 is a Fibonacci poem.  This poetry form focuses on syllable-counting and also gives you a chance to have students work with one of the most famous mathematical patterns; the Fibonacci Sequence.

Students will write an 8-line poem containing the same amount of syllables as in the Fibonacci sequence.  The topic of choice is up to students but this poem gives students the opportunity to reinforce syllable counting and get some math patterning snuck in as well!  Three pages of PDF directions, an example, and a student worksheet are included.

Be sure to get the two FREEBIES from the past two days!     

In celebration of my TpT Milestone achievement, everything literacy-related in my store is 20% off until April 23!   Enjoy!

Powerful Poetry

It's April, do you know what that means?  Yes it's the month of April Fool's Jokes, Taxes, Earth Day, and Easter, but did you know that April also happens to be National Poetry month?!  I promise, it's a real thing.  With it being National Poetry month, it's a great time to introduce your students to poetry and encourage them try their hand at creating their very own poems.

My love for poetry began long ago.  As a kid, I remember my dad reciting (by heart) a Lewis Carroll poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter.  I was enthralled listening to his intonation and the voices he used as he recited the poem by heart.  Each night I looked forward to bedtime just so I could hear my dad read poems and stories to me.  Maybe that's where I developed a love of poetry!

You may be asking yourself, how do I help foster student learning and inquiry about poetry when they have little to no previous exposure? Years ago I created a wildly popular independent poetry unit that gives students the opportunity to read poetry from other poets and to try their hand at writing 11 different forms of poetry.  I love it because in our pre-unit reflection, many students (especially the boys) aren't looking forward to writing poetry, some even groan and complain, and at the end they think writing poetry is pretty cool.
Poetry Unit Details On TpT
(On sale until April 23!)

The unit is designed so that students are in control of the amount of points they earn through writing poems.  In this unit, it's all about effort and trying new things.  It's super easy for the teacher to implement and I've added a ton of other things to the set.

My best advice is to read poetry to your students every day!  You can also do Reader's Theaters with poems.  Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer makes a great Reader's Theater.  Read all kinds of different poems from an array of authors.  They will soon be asking you, "When can we write our own poems?"

I have selected a few classroom favorites by Shel Silverstein to share with you to give you a jump start on poetry inspiration.  I love poems that are funny to get students in grades 3-5 laughing and seeing how fun writing poetry is.
Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too - scroll down and click the animation of this fun poem
Backward Bill and Eight Balloons - two animations to show your students
The Toy-Eater - animation
The Giving Tree - animation

Read and write on!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

FREE Poetry Gift #2

Thanks for helping me celebrate my TpT Milestone achievement!  Today's poetry FREE gift #2 is a birthday poem.  Birthday poems are super fun and give students time to reflect upon their upcoming birthday and the responsibility that comes with getting older.  I love giving students a reason for students to write!  The set includes 4 pages of PDF student directions, an example poem, and student rough draft worksheet.  These are perfect for grades 3-5.

Be sure to download this birthday poem FREEBIE and the three others that are coming in the next few days. Make sure you got yesterday's animal riddle poem freebie, too!

In celebration of my TpT Milestone achievement, everything literacy-related in my TpT store is 20% off until April 23!


I've Achieved a TpT Milestone! That Means 5 Poetry Freebies for YOU!

I wanted to let you all know that tomorrow, April 20th, I'll  be featured on TpT as a milestone achiever!  You know what the means right?? ;) Freebies and a sale!  I'm SO EXCITED and want to thank all of you for your support!  I have decided to throw a milestone celebration to thank all of you!  I am offering 5 days of Poetry FREEBIES perfect for grades 3-5 from April 19-23 as well as 20% off all things literacy in my TpT store starting tomorrow and ending on April 23rd!!  Be sure to grab the freebies while you can as they are only free during milestone celebration week.

To get you excited and ready for the sale and freebies, I am releasing my day one of Poetry Freebies early!!  Lucky you!!

Day 1 ~ Today's poetry FREEBIE is an animal riddle poem.  This set includes direction sheets, example poem, and a student worksheet.  Animal riddle poems are perfect to go with your science and habitat studies.  Students will write clues in riddle style to describe the characteristics of an animal or creature. If the clues are descriptive enough, classmates will be able to guess the animal!  These are fun and students eagerly write their clues.

And Don't forget . . . ALL Literacy items in my store will be 20% off from April 20-23!

Thank you for your support and enjoy the FREEBIES! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

I Love My Blog!

If you want an amazing looking blog, you should check out the work of Designs by Kassie!  She made all the structural components of my blog and I love, love, love it!  Kassie showed my blog in her portfolio today and I HAD to grab a screenshot of how great it looks.   Thank you Kassie!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Biography Bonanza

Biography Unit by Heather Renz
Today I'm linking up with Jivey's Workshop Wednesday with my ideas about biographies.

Students love writing about people when they BECOME the person they're writing about.  For years, I've taught using a method called Scottish Storyline where students are the characters in our classroom "story."  I use this method a lot because it's FUN, FUN, FUN for me and I can't say enough about how eager students are to engage in anything related to our storyline.   :)  I'm a big believer that when you give students the control of their learning, you get more from them in return. This project allows students the freedom to soar.

I absolutely LOVE teaching the biography unit!  Students are so self-motivated that it's fun for me to take the role of supporter.

I've shared all of my biography materials in my TpT store.  My unit has all of the student organizers, forms, website links (and structure for students to do their research and report project and culminating event. In a nutshell, students read a biography novel (at their reading level) and research the person using internet sites.  I've found the best websites appropriate for students and made webpages for 75 famous people.  The link to this page is included in my set.  As a culmination event, students dress up as the person and our museum of famous people comes to life!  Check it out! 
Head over to Ideas by Jivey to see who else is linking up their biography ideas.  
Happy teaching!  :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Great Blogs by Grade Level

Calling all teachers and bloggers!  My goal with this post is to make it easy for all teachers to find great blogs that add value to your teaching.

I started this listing of great blogs.  If you don't see your blog listed here, it's not that I don't love your blog . . . it's just that I haven't found you yet!  Please just leave me a comment with your grade level and your URL and I'll add you!  I LOVE being organized and helping others who are trying to do the same.  Happy teaching!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Learning Linky Conventions

There's so much to learn with blogging!    When writing the plural form of Linky, is it Linky or Linkies?  Do you change the -y to -i and -es?

Here's a question for all of you blog-pros:

What is the correct plural form of Linky?
   A)  Linkys
   B)  Linkies
   C)  I'm not sure

The teacher in me says it should be "B" Linkies.  Feel free to leave me a comment with your answer.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Teach the Language of Math Vocabulary With a Daily Dose of Math!

What would the Math Doctor say about your students' math vocabulary skills?

Change up how you teach math vocabulary with Dr. Mathematica's "Daily Prescription" that you choose!

Understanding the vocabulary of math helps build that confidence. We should not  assume that students know the math vocabulary needed during math.   We need to strategically teach the crucial terms of math vocabulary.

3rd Grade Daily Dose of Geometry
I developed the Daily Dose of Math Vocabulary PowerPoint slides and poster sets to give students an opportunity to work with math vocab each day.  Doctor Mathematica prescribed the Daily Dose  {I LOVE having fun and laughing with my students} and students eagerly dig in and take their "dose" of math.   :)

4th Grade Daily Dose of Geometry
The PPT slideshow sets include each math vocab word with a kid-friendly definition and a visual and/or example.  Also included are word wall posters designed to be extremely readable from way across the room.  My students refer to all the time.  To give a hint to a struggling student, I just turn my head and look at the poster and voila - students are learning to help themselves!

5th Grade Daily Dose of Geometry
Each slideshow set also includes ABCs of Math booklet with recording pages.  The "Daily "Dose" requires students to write the word, the definition in their own words, and draw a sketch of the word and give an example of how it's used in real life.  See it ... do it... write about it... learn it.

I created slideshow and poster sets for each of the math domains aligned with each grade level's CCSS-M standards.  Check it out and maybe your students will benefit from a daily dose of math.  

Warning!  Math may cause a great attitude and improvement of skills!   ;)

Head over to Ideas by Jivey to see who else is linking up their geometry ideas.  Happy teaching! :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Thursday Throw Down!

To make lessons interactive, my goal is always to connect the lessons to real life, but the best way I've found to do that is to teach using the Scottish Storyline method.  In Storyline, students become characters in the carefully thought out and planned "story" written by the teacher and there is a setting, or "frieze" created in the classroom for the story to take place.  Events and problems happen and characters respond, all while eagerly digging in and leading their learning.  The teacher weaves the content standards in literacy, math, social studies, current events, science... you name it into the story.

I've taught a bunch of Storylines but my top three favorites were our ocean voyage to the islands of Hawaii (a science themed oceanography, marine life, volcanoes, geography and persuasive writing focus), our Native American potlatch (social studies, cultures and narrative writing story) and the Rainforests at the Crossroads JASON Project Expedition storyline (science, organisms, expository writing, math, and technology story).

My favorite Storyline was the rainforest of Panama. I was selected one of the eight teachers to actually travel with Dr. Ballard's JASON Project expedition team and 24 students to live and work in Panama for two weeks at the Smithsonian Tropical Rainforest Institute.  The student argonauts were responsible for conducting real science in the field with real scientists and then hosting the live broadcasts that were satellite-fed to museums around the world.  Students who were using the program came to the museums to watch the live event.
I used my website to post my daily journals and photos for my students researchers. They asked questions and I replied via the Web.  It was awesome!  In the rainforest storyline, for example, students became researchers and filled out their resumes that qualified them for the expedition team.  We researched occupations in science, college degree programs, and students filled out a job application.  Students created the frieze, a 3-D rainforest on our largest classroom wall with twisted vines and huge 3-D leaves.  Students brought and shared their stuffed rainforest animals that hung in the paper canopy of the trees.  Then it was time to get their passport for the trip to Panama.  Students researched and got their travel shots and pills (jelly beans) and documented it in the passport.  While "there" on expedition, students conducted all kinds of experiments and did a research project on the topic of their choice.  Students learned all about the gravity feed of the Panama Canal locks, among many other topics.
That's one of the most fun interactive ways to connect students to learning and I LOVE teaching using Scottish Storyline.  What do YOU do to make your lessons interactive?  Leave me a note!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Happy New Blog Day!

Today is the day I got my new blog design and I can't be happier about it!  I love all things techie like SMART Boards, iPads, using any computer software, and creating and maintaining a 4th grade classroom website but blogging is a new world for me.  When I need help, I ask for it, and love the work of Designs by Kassie.   Thanks, Kassie!

That's all for tonight!  I'll sleep well and will probably dream of all the things I can and should be sharing on my blog.  :)

Please leave me a comment so I can meet and follow you!

Good teachers share what works with kids because we're all trying to achieve the same end result!
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