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Friday, April 24, 2015

Stop, Swap & Roll and A Giveaway!

I'm happy to be stopping, swapping and rolling a product with this fun TpT product swap hosted by Melissa from Jungle Learners.
 

I'm teaming up with Jennifer from 4th Grade Funky Town for this fun event.

Jennifer teaches 4th grade in Georgia, and has a whopping 242 products in her TpT store!  She has a big event this June . . she's getting married and will become an "Mrs."  Jennifer has a task card set called "Real World Problems." This set is for 3rd and 4th graders.   You could use them individually or they would be fun in a math center.  There are 16 different task cards that print 4 per sheet of paper.  Answer keys and a student recording sheet are also included.
 
Here's a peek inside this great product!  This set makes a great math center. Students have to decide whether to add, subtract, multiply and divide. The real life problem set is a fun way to practice using their problem solving skills . . .  and we all know that students need as much practice tackling all kinds of problems!
For the next three days, Jennifer has put her math homework products on sale for 20% off!  Head over to her TpT store to check them out.
Jennifer has also offered to give her Real Life Math Problem set away to one lucky winner!  Enter the giveaway!  Someone's going to win and it could be you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Next, head on over to Jennifer's blog to see my Figurative Language Interactive Notebook set that she chose from my TpT store!  I'm putting the set on sale for this event for 20% off of my poetry products during this swap event!  
Be sure to head back to the jungle to Jungle Learners' Stop, Swap and Roll blog and see the other bloggers and enter their giveaways, too!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is It That (End of Year) Time Already and a FREEBIE!

It's mid April and the countdown to the end of the year is looming.  The end is coming and school will be over before you know it.  There's SOOO much to do!  How will you get it all finished?

Here's what pops into my fourth grade teacher head:
  • Finish, file, and organize end of year portfolios 
  • Plan and host portfolio sharing day (parent invitation, decorations, logistics, clean up)
  • Work on and complete report cards
  • Write report card comments 
  • Do classroom end of year inventory
  • Create your next year's school supply list with your new grade level partners
  • Think of the supplies to be ordered when school funds come back in
  • Classroom cleanup and organization for summer (hopefully you won't have to move to a different classroom or building or you can add 3 days to this list)
  • dusting and cleaning out all of the shelves and dusting everything.
  • Unhook all of the computers and labeling the cords so you can plug them in faster when school starts back up.  Here's a tip:  I get the small sticker dots and place matching stickers on each item to be plugged together.  For example, place the matching purple flower stickers for the projection unit cord and where it plugs in to the back of the computer.  Put a piece of tape over the sticker to make it stay on the cord.
  • Reorganize the book boxes.
  • Go through you reading corner book boxes and pull out the books that need "First Aid" before the new year begins.  Maybe you have a parent volunteer who can help tackle this repair job.
  • Fill out end of year professional goal setting evaluation forms.
  • Fill out end of year baseline data form and make two copies; one to send home and on for the student portfolio
  • Plan a fun math activity that is engaging.
  • Create a Memory Book and having Memory Book autographing day.
  • Repair the 3-ring binders and give them "First Aid" in preparation for being re-used next year.
  • What else?  I know there's more!
One thing I did every year without fail was to make personalized memory books for each child.  These books are designed for the students to do the thinking and reflecting of their year spent in your classroom.  What were the highlights?  What was the favorite field trip?  What was the funniest memory from the year?  What are students most proud of learning?  Each memory book has the same template pages (I think there are 16-18 pages) but there will be many personalized pages added to the memory book as well   Before school begins, I use a plastic crate and put in a file folder for each student.  This will store special memory pages and photo pages we've taken from the year. When the pages are filed into the student folders, the newest pages always get filed at the back of the stack so the book come out in order. At the end of the year, we used the book binder to bind all of the pages together.  Students fill out the template pages and we have a book autographing day.  

I made memory books to share with other teachers for grades 2-6 in full page and also in half page formats.  The half page format is personally my favorite size of memory book for two reasons:  It saves paper.  It seems every year we are out of supplies and saving paper is a big deal.  Smaller books are just plain more fun that a big sheet of paper.  Student write neater when they are writing smaller.  

I made another simple to use memory book that prints on one sheet of paper back to back and folds into a half sheet sized book.  When students have filled out their book, you can use the teacher note paper and insert a special "Goodbye From Your Teacher" message.  I love doing that!  Oh . . . did I mention this is FREE?    Enjoy the end of a great year together!



Enjoy the end of the year together!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

3 Reasons You Should Teach Roman Numerals (Grades 3-5)

Do you teach students how to read Roman Numerals?  It might not be part of your third, fourth, or fifth grade curriculum but it's an important real life skill that uses higher level thinking, is a part of history, and is kind of like solving a mystery.  AND . . . learning about Roman Numerals can be a stand-alone no-prep unit that you can leave with confidence for a substitute teacher that students will have a day full of learning.  Roman Numerals can be taught any time of year, too.
Roman numerals are an important part of history, and we still see Roman numerals in use today. Roman numerals are used for drama and effect, or to make things seem important such as with Kings like Edward the IV. Popes are named using this system as well, for example John Paul II. The most recognized use today is likely sporting events such as Super Bowl XX , and the XXVII Olympic Games. Films, videos and copyrights routinely use Roman numbers for tracking. We also see and use them to mark documents, often adding an air of importance to the work.  They are used in medicine, too.  Did you know that the cranial nerves are labeled with Roman Numerals?
Students find Roman Numerals fun to use and somewhat cryptic, almost like a breaking a secret code. And who doesn’t love a good mystery to get students engaged?   Or how about trying to read the game number for the the big football game?
 
The use of Roman numerals helps students critical thinking and mental flexibility. I use them as a fun engaging way to help teach math concepts of addition, subtraction and place value. Students never get enough practice with equalities. Try balancing them Roman style!

Roman Numerals can be confusing for students (and adults). Let's see... if the "I" is before the "V" do I add or subtract? Students need lots of practice to really get this skill, especially when they need to convert large numbers, like figuring out copyright dates of books.
Teach students how to break down large numbers into smaller ones - like using expanded notation with Roman Numerals.  It's easy when you know how!
Here are a few more real life examples to inspire you and your students!
  • Roman Numerals are used to number the cranial nerves!  This will inspire those kids who have a dream of working in the field of medicine. 
  • Roman numerals are used on old fashion clocks
  • They're used in the sport of football to number the Super Bowl!  Those kids who love sports will be intrigued by this one. 
  • They're used when someone has the same name for many generations, ex: Robert Griffin III, a football quarterback, Pope Benedict XVI, Kind Edward VII of England.
  • They're on old historic buildings.  The history buffs out there will love being able to decipher what the buildings say.
  • They are used for film copyright dates.
  • They are used to number pages in books, especially on the preliminary pages.
  • They number paragraphs in complicated, and long documents. 
  • They are used in teaching music and music theory.
If you teach Roman Numerals to grades 3-5, you are going to love a few new items I just finished up. I created a Roman Numerals Interactive Notebook set and a set of Roman Numeral posters, then bundled the two to save you money.  This makes a great math center, too!
      
Do you teach Roman Numerals?  Leave a comment about what grade level you are and how you teach it!
Graphics: 
© Thistle Girl Designs www.thistlegirldesigns.com

Monday, April 6, 2015

Teach the Key Words of Math

We need to help students learn the language of math.  Case in point . . . when teaching "fraction-of" problems, students are surprised to learn that "of" means multiply.  They actually think that's cool!  (I love it!)  For example, what is 1/3 of 12 means 1/3 x 12 or put the 12 items into 3 equal groups then count one group.

These math operations posters help students learn the key words for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and equals.  There are 18 pages of choices of wall posters and posters designed to fit into an interactive notebook or math journal.   Check them out!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Figurative Language Cootie Catchers are FUN, FUN, FUN!

Who doesn't love an excuse to play with a Cootie Catcher?  This set is full of figurative language terms, examples and gives an excuse to play while learning about figurative language!

There's four templates that give students practice using and identifying figurative language plus there's an interactive pocket foldable to store the Cootie Catchers in your interactive notebook.  Also included are 8 posters with figurative language definitions and a PPT slideshow.
Play, learn and have fun!

Who Wants to (Product) Stop, Swap & Roll?

Hey friends!  Melissa from Jungle Learners is hosting a product sway and I'm in but we're looking for more teachers!  It's a fun way to get to know other bloggers and get the word out about your products at the same time.  There are categories for K-1, 2-3, and 4-5.

Head on over to Melissa's  blog for the details and to get in on the fun!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Teach the Figurative Language of Poetry with Interactive Notebooks

Teaching poetry is fun and it just got more fun for students if you're using interactive notebooks!

Students need to learn and use the meanings of alliteration, hyperbole, idiom, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, and simile.  This brand new set gives students the definitions and examples to glue into their interactive notebooks.  Journal covers are also included in color and black and white.  Also included is a PowerPoint slideshow about figurative language and 8 posters with these definitions.


This new set IS INCLUDED in my 6-week poetry unit and independent poetry project.

Remember that followers get advance notice and HALF OFF for the first 24 hours!  Remember, too, that licenses for teaching buddies are also half off.   Click the green star next to my name on TpT.  You can also follow me on other social media by clicking the buttons at the top of the blog page.

Enjoy teaching poetry this month!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Earth Day Videos that Engage Students to Action

Water covers over 70% of our Earth's surface.  Are our planet's ocean becoming garbage collectors?  Did you know that most plastics never break down?  So, if they never deteriorate, where do they go?  I'm glad you asked!  Think about an item we all know of and probably use . . . plastic bags. Did you know that they use our Earth's oil resources and have been banned in many cities?  Do you know where they end up?  Do you know where their "life cycle" ends?   This blog post is about an issue I love to teach during April.  April 22 is Earth Day.  Here's a great video I like to show and after viewing it, students want to know more and they spring into action.  What teacher wouldn't love that student response? Students taking charge and self-directing their own learning?  Students want to know more... they demand answers.  I love it!

Our fourth grade environments curriculum is the perfect way to tie in this important concept.  Begin the lesson by asking students what is important about April (besides it being poetry month)?  Yes, it's Earth month. Then tell them you are going to show them a "mockumentary.  Make sure to teach students what it means to "mock" (see image, below) so they "get" the sarcasm in this video.   Then show the YouTube video (3:59) called "The Majestic Plastic Bag - a Mockumentary."   You will be asked to show it again, so plan for that!



This movie sparks tons of questions from students.  The video clip shows what happens to plastic bags i.e: their "life cycle" and ultimately where a plastic bag ends its "life" - it ends up in our oceans as trash.  Students are glued to every word, thinking the video is funny but they soon learn that this topic is sad at the same time.  This video really gets students thinking.  It is a great jumping off place that will lead students to pose questions about our planet, healthy oceans, recycling, reusing, reducing waste, plastics and oil use, animal impact, consumerism, and more.  This lesson is self-directed learning at its finest!

Next, your students will be asking to learn more about this "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" they just learned about during the plastic bag movie.  This is another YouTube video from 2009 narrated by Oprah (1:20).  The video clip is grainy, but it's definitely worth a watch.  NOTE:  Teachers, be sure to preview these videos before you show it to students to make sure they are appropriate for showing to your students.   The video clip is shocking and very sad, but addresses very real issues we all should know about for the health of our planet.
And here's another video "Secrets of the Deep:  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Good Morning America" show (4:30) that offers even more information on this issue.  It, too, is grainy but has good content.
Here's yet another video that is interesting about the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch (3:34).  this one has some profanity so before showing to students, you will want to mute the sound and show the images in spots.

Here's some vocabulary you may encounter:  buoyant, indefinitely, coexist, decompose, indigenous, closed system, biodegradable, plankton, currents, food chain, debris.

Ask students to come up possible questions.  Some example might be:
  * What are plastic bags made of?       Plastics infographic
  * Why are they banned in some cities and states?
  * How many sea creatures have been injured by plastic bags and other plastic trash?
  * How much oil does it take to make a plastic bag?
  * How long does it take for items to decompose?      Great visual - poster
  * How long does it take marine debris to break down?       Great visual - poster
  * How long do other products take to degrade in a landfill?
  * Is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch real?
  * How can we reduce the amount of trash we create?
  * What happens to sea creatures that get tangled in the trash?
  * When debris gets into our oceans, where do the currents take them?
  * What can we do about this and where does this end?

For a literacy lesson, you can use this Oprah.com website link to do a close read on the topic.  Be sure to click the numbers 2, 3, and 4 at the bottom of each page to advance to the next page.  Much discussion will occur.

To enhance your teacher background knowledge, watch this TED Talk video (4:41) about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Here's another video about plastics and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (4:56).

Happy Earth Day!  YOU can make a difference in the world.  What ideas do YOU have for Earth Day?  Please share your ideas!
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