Five for Friday - October 21

What a week. This one felt like a very long one for some reason.  The full moon on Sunday/Monday night didn't help things either. I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another round of Five for Friday. Here's what we were up to this week...

This was a first! I've had many kids tie their shoes together - this was a first for socks! My little friend's socks have capes on the back of them and she was experimenting.  She had quite a fun walk down to the lunchroom with her socks tied together.  

We are about to start our Vocabulary Station during Literacy Stations. I like to introduce the activities on the task cards whole group first, before they do it with a partner in the station. To help practice our weekly vocabulary words, students worked with a partner and had to use the words in a story they created together! Great way to incorporate writing and vocabulary!

This week we reviewed nouns. We first made a tree map of nouns and then went back to identify which nouns were common and which were proper.

Then, we played a little "game" called Common or Proper.  I showed the word on the projector and the students wrote a "p" for proper on their white board or a "c" for common. This was a quick way to practice and check for understanding. And, way better than a worksheet!


My newest product is now up in my TPT Store. It's called Grammar Fix It. The first version covers capitals and end marks.  Great way to practice whole group, small group, with a partner, or independently!  Check it out here...
We are loving the new Blazer Fresh channel on GoNoodle. My favorite is "Read with Expression." That tune just gets stuck in your head! We tried out their new one about patterns this week and the kids loved it. What's your classes favorite GoNoodle video??

Grammar Fix It - Capitals and End Marks

Here are a few ideas for how to review end marks in your classroom.  And, I have a new product posted at the end that I'm super excited to show you.  It covers capitalization and end marks.

First, we watched the Brainpop Jr movie on end marks and then created this chart as a class. Students helped me create the examples of each type of sentence.

Then, the next day, students created their own sentences for their Morning Message.

And, lastly students worked on Grammar Fix Its in groups during our Morning Meeting activity. Grammar Fix Its provide quick practice on different grammar skills. The first pack has capitalization, end marks, and a set with both.  These can be worked on whole group, small group, with a partner, or independently. It would be perfect for Around the Room or for an activity for a grammar literacy station.  I like to think of it as an updated version of DOL without the extensive drill and kill, repetitious practice.  

These pages are printer friendly and offer two printing options.  The pages can be printed 8.5x11 or I have another set that offers four to a page.

How do you review capitals and end marks with your students? I'm always looking for new ideas to change things up! Leave your ideas in the comments.

Five for Friday - October 14

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. October is moving along and it'll be the holiday season before we know it. See what we were up to this week below...

This week we continued on with our Statue of Liberty PBL. Students used books as well as a teacher-created website to research more facts on the Statue of Liberty. They really got into it and I love how excited they were to tell me the new facts they found!

We worked on inferring this week in reading. I love using pictures and videos as a way to introduce inferring/drawing conclusions, which is quite a tricky concept. We used the pictures above that I found on Pinterest a few years ago and had to infer what was happening in the picture. Then, I showed them the Pixar video. This was a new video to most of them and they were dying laughing. But, they also made some good inferences too :-).  

We are finishing up our first Writing Workshop unit on Narratives. Students this week finished editing their pieces and writing their final drafts. We'll have our first author's celebration this Monday!

I love this quote! So important to remember! If kids can see and feel our passion for what we're teaching them, they'll love what they are learning even more! A little inspiration for my Five for Friday.

Last weekend I was back up in Cedar City, Utah. We went to another football game and also visited the C Overlook, which is about 2,200 feet above the town. Beautiful views from up there!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Johnson Elementary - Back to School PBL

This is one of my favorite school projects. Last year, I wanted to move into Project Based Learning as a way to teach our Social Studies standards while also incorporating Reading and Writing. My teacher friend, Katie helped me out with some great ideas for how to get started.  See how I teach my first PBL of the year....

Going over rules is an important part of any classroom. And, it's something that has to be done in every class at the beginning of the year. The first few standards we typically tackle in Social Studies had to do with community, rules, etc.  So, instead of the same old boring here are the rules, here is why we follow them...Johnson Elementary was born.

The kids are introduced to this project by finding out that they will be teachers at Johnson Elementary.  I am the principal - Principal Johnson and they quickly become Miss ____, Mr. ____, etc.  The excitement that builds just from this announcement is amazing! Buy in happens instantly!

Next, we talk about the school we're opening and what classes our school will have. The teachers (students) get to pick what class they are teaching. We've had math, kindergarten, roller blading, ballet, science, cooking, Legos, Minecraft, etc.  I'm pretty flexible on what they can teach. I want them to have fun and pick something they like.  

Here's the cover page of our PBL Packet.  The Essential Question we focus on is - How do rules help people function in a community and school?

Teacher Info:
On the next page, "teachers" give more information on the class they teaching. They tell me what they picked and why. They also create a list of a few things they will be teaching in their class. 

Class Set-Up and Map:
Before starting this we look at a few pictures/maps of classroom online. We talk about making sure you have things you need to teach and things your students will need to learn.  "Teachers" start by brainstorming a list of things they will need to have in their classroom. Once they have finished brainstorming, they draw their classroom map on the next page.

Classroom Rules:
Before the "teachers" write their rules for their classroom, we research class rules. We read Officer Buckle and Gloria, read an article from ReadWorks on rules, and look at multiple examples online from many different types of classrooms. We even brainstormed a ton of rules on our circle map below. We talked too about a good number of rules. We thought 40 would be too many for kids to remember and 1 rule was not enough. So, we decided to keep the rules between 4-10.

Group Project - Expectations:
In addition to rules in the classroom, we talked about other places that needed rules and expectations. We decided to focus on the bathroom, hallway, playground, and lunch room. The students broke into groups of 4-5 and worked with their group on expectations for their area. They first brainstormed some ideas. Then, they came up with again 4-10 and explained why they picked them.  The last piece was presenting. Each group presented their expectations to the class. They did awesome! Great first presentation to the class.

Essential Question:
After completing the project, students then went back to the Essential Question and explained why rules are necessary in schools and communities.

PBL Rubric:
I created the rubric below as a way to score this project.  This is our first PBL so it includes less pieces than some of our later ones, but I wanted to be able to identify how they did on each area - especially the Essential Question. Most kiddos did great! They really understood why we had rules - safety, keep things fair, etc and really enjoyed this project.

Do you use PBL at your school? What's the first project you do with your students?

Five for Friday - September 30

Where oh where did September go?? It seemed to fly by! Fall is sort of here in Vegas and tomorrow is the first day of October! It'll be Christmas before we know it.  I'm linking up with Doodle Bug's Five for Friday to show you what I've been up to this week!

We've been working hard on and continuing to practice our addition strategies. During Math Stations yesterday, I pulled back some of my kiddos that get it and challenged them with some larger problems.  They did awesome! Love seeing them apply our strategies to problems of any size!

In Writing Workshop this week, students worked together to peer edit each other's papers using our narrative checklist. They take this so seriously and I love that their feedback has been right on! This group is really in the swing of Writing Workshop.

We started our next PBL (Project Based Learning) on the Statue of Liberty. This week students brainstormed questions and things they wanted to learn about the Statue of Liberty. Then, as a group we decided on a few areas to focus our research on. Next week, the research begins!

Oh Parent-Teacher Conference gets me every year. I enjoy this day because I like having the time to sit down with each family one at a time.  However, this day is also tiring. I had 18 conferences back-to-back from 7:30-5 with only one 30 minute break! But, they went well and it was great discussing each child's progress and goals with the families.  And, getting sweet notes like my one little friend brought me the next day makes it all worth it too! These little reminders pop up reminding me why I teach! Love sweet moments like this.

Last weekend, Andy and I participated in the Southern Utah University's Homecoming events. They put on quite the Homecoming celebration! Fireworks, games, tailgates, etc! Had a great time and almost froze (46 degree weather) at the football game. This girl who has lived in Vegas and AZ for a very long time needs to get winter clothes :-).

Have a wonderful weekend!