Sunday, September 19, 2010

Songs, Poems, and Place Value

I was visiting Sarah over at Confessions and she got me thinking about songs. I teach with tons of songs, chants, rhymes, and poems to help my kids learn about all kinds of things. I have shared several with you since I began this blog, but I wanted to share an idea that some of our teachers use. The kids keep a notebook or 3 pronged folder with any songs or poems we learn in it. We go through and we practice the songs so we truly learn and remember them! I will share more new songs that I have written soon!

So, I finally finished the place value game file that I have been working on for the last week! The link is the word file in the last sentence. I think some people were having trouble finding it. It has place value games for all ages in it and some of them are quite fun! I have used several of them and think they are wonderful tools for teaching place value.

Let me know what you think! I have an addition and subtraction games file coming soon, so stay tuned! Hope you all have a fabulous week!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This week has been crazy...

I have been totally swamped this week and haven't really had the chance to sit down and write a decent post and I should probably be in bed right now...but, here I am blogging.

So, this will be short and sweet. I know I have posted a ton of Social Studies and Science activities lately, but they tend to be my favorite and the most fun! I'll be posting some Math Place Value games in the near future so be on the lookout!

We have been learning all about our state over the past couple of weeks. The regions, the rivers, the landforms, cities, you name it. We've learned it.

We took different colors of yarn and glued them on construction paper to show where our four major river systems are located. Here are a few:




To introduce the students to the 6 regions of South Carolina, I made posters for each one with pictures, phrases, and facts about each one. Students rotated around the room to each poster writing an I wonder, an I know, or a connection to each one. Here are a couple of the posters and some of the responses. (I apologize if you can't read what some of them wrote. Neither can I!)




And my final gem for the evening are the lovely tableau's my kids made after learning about the Blue Ridge Region of SC. We viewed a powerpoint with pictures and information about the region and I asked them to work with their group to come up with frozen picture of something they might do in the Blue Ridge Region. (Sidenote for all you non-South Carolinians who have no idea what the Blue Ridge Region is: This is a mountainous region. I'm not sure if mountainous is even a word, but you can hike to waterfalls, see wildlife, go canoeing, hunting, or sight seeing, and just enjoy nature here.) Here are the tableau's the kids came up with. I was soooo impressed at what they did and how quickly they were able to come up with what they did. But, then again, that's the great thing about tableau's is that they are a quick and easy way to assess what they learned. I also like to ask the rest of the class what they think the tableau is showing. They are all usually dead on!

In case you were wondering, the two kids on the floor are the fish in the river about to be caught by the fisherman! Sooo cute!!


These friends are canoeing together. I love the little sightseer with his binoculars and how the girls are paddling while the boys are just along for the ride!!! Adorable.

I will try to post more this weekend, but we have a new roommate moving in and it will be quite busy around here! Hope you all are enjoying your week! I am soooo ready for the weekend! Holla!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Context Clue Activities

As I promised Joan earlier this week? or last week? I am sharing some ELA strategies. Context clues are important in determining the meaning of words you don't know in a text and a very useful strategy for students to use when they are reading independently. Here are some activities you can use:

1. "What's the word?" - The teacher reads a story with omitted words. These omitted words are placed on index cards and given to the students. While the teacher is reading the story, the students focus on the comprehension of the story. When the teacher stops at a blank, the students supply the words that make sense. The students read their words to complete the sentence.

2. "I Have, You Have" Synonym game - The teacher will write the synonyms on cards. For example, the cards will start with something like, “I need to find some synonyms. Who has a synonym for big?” The next card will read, “I have large. Who has a synonym for small?” Next card, “I have tiny” and the game continues. (Same activity can be used for pronouns.)

3. "Be a Detective" - Give students a few sentences with underlined vocabulary words you want them to figure out. Make sure the sentences have clues in the sentence that hint at the meaning of the word. Have the students read the sentence with a partner or their group. Tell them they need to be detectives to find and highlight the clues/words/phrases in the sentences that help them figure out the meaning of each underlined word. I often use this activity when introducing a new set of vocabulary words. You may even want to let them use little magnifying glasses just to make it fun!
 
I am going to try to share some activities for each reading skill at least once a week. What activities do you use to teach context clues?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Back to School Fun

We've been doing lots of fun stuff since school has started back and I'd like to share a few of those fun things with you! First, Math can be a pain for some kids. I like to spice it up and play lots of games and do lots of hands on stuff. I think I mentioned a few weeks ago about the marshmellow place value idea, but are some pictures of that activity.





Another fun Math activity is the game Finish First. Partners share a game board where each side has 12 spaces (1-12). Each partner should have game pieces to cover up their numbers and one set of dice for the game. Partners take turns rolling the dice. They can either add, subtract, multiply, or divide to get an answer to cover up. The first time we did this, we just used addition and subtraction. The object is to cover up every number on your game board. If you rolled a  5 and a 4, you could add for a sum of 9, or you could subtract for a different of 1. They can only cover up one number though. The strategy here is to realize which numbers are harder to cover up (1's, 2's, 11, 12) since there aren't as many ways to make those numbers with the dice. The kids love this game! Here are some fun photos from the game!





We've also been doing lots of fun science experiments! One of my favorites is Boat Afloat. I allow each student to make a boat out of tin foil. I tell them that the object is for their boat to hold the most number of pennies without sinking. They had so much fun building and testing their boats! And of course, we recorded all of our data in our Science Notebooks! Here are some of our boats!






I believe the rectangle boat held the most pennies.

The kids had a great time constructing their boats and testing them! I had a lot of fun watching them! I'll post more later!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Now that school is in full swing, I am finding it hard to make time for blogging about the things I am doing in my classroom and the things I am learning along the way. I love my students to pieces, but good gracious they are sooo low this year. I have to take everything down a notch when I am teaching so that they are ALL with me. I feel bad for the couple of high ones I do have. They are probably bored out of their minds!

Anyway, onto the goodies for today. This week we have been talking about SC symbols. The state tree, bird, gemstone, etc...As a culminating activity to the two day lesson, students cut out pictures of the symbols and glued them into an outline of our state. I thought they turned out really cute and you can do this with any state! Here are a few examples:



I thought they turned out pretty cute!

I hope everyone is having a great school year so far! I'll try to keep posting on a regular basis, but I can't promise multiple posts per week. I'm a busy girl these days and I my students require ALOT of attention.