Sunday, 29 January 2017

Celebrating Groundhog Day

Here are some fun activities to engage in with your students for Groundhog Day:

Making Predictions:

Have students predict the outcome of Groundhog Day.  Will spring arrive early or late?  By placing two visual markers on the board, students can vote on their prediction.  Several activities can take place after doing this.  Students can tally their votes, create double bar graphs based on other classes' votes, work on decimals and percentages as well as fractions.  Using some fun clip art images will help with the visual display.

Math Stations:

Groundhog Day Math Stations are a fun way to celebrate February 2nd. A Groundhog Day package of games includes 3 games. The first game involves drawing a groundhog based on products (for a multiplication game) or sums (for an addition game). The second game is called Race to 2. Students will use addition or subtraction to move their way back to the number 2 on a hundred chart. The first person to land on 2 is declared the winner. The final game is a race to spring. Whoever reaches the finish line first after dividing numbers is declared the winner. Quotients and outcomes are based on both whole and decimal numbers.

For the younger students, Ten Frame Groundhog Day Clip Art images have been created.  They can easily be placed on card stock and enlarged for a fun math talk. 

Fun Writing Activities:

Roll a Story prompts students to tell or write story with a Groundhog Day theme. This unit includes a story prompt sheet, graphic organizers, word lists (Groundhog Day & transition words), rubric and specialty writing paper with full and half lined pages.  All you need is a 1 to 6 number cube. If students want to continue writing, Groundhog Day themed writing paper is a fun way to display their creative work.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Guided Practice for Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is an effective way to describe a person, place or thing to form a picture in the reader’s mind.  This is detailed and allows students to “tap” into their senses when writing. Depending on students’ levels, the use of similes, metaphors and personification may be introduced.  Strong adjectives, nouns and verbs are encouraged.  

Descriptive writing is organized by order of importance.  For example, when describing a person, the writer begins with physical characteristics and then progresses to a character’s thoughts, actions and/or feelings.  Students will be encouraged to “show” and not “tell” their work.  Here's a fun way to teach students to "show" how they feel.  

Take a simple expression such as "I am hungry" and change it.  What things can be stated?  Imagine sentences like "My tummy is growling."  Explore senses when writing descriptively. Use some everyday sentences and have students change them.  "I have a headache" can become "My head is pounding."     

Here's a fun way to work on descriptive writing. Students organize an interactive folder that supports ideas for writing:


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Celebrating the 100th Day of School

It's time to celebrate the 100th day of school with students in grades 3 and up!  We often see younger students celebrate the 100th day of school.  They bring in 100 things and arrange them in creative ways.  One of my grade 3 students asked me once why we don't celebrate the 100th day of school.  That got me thinking about creative ways to do this.  We spend the day rolling a story about 100th day and work through some fun math stations.

Click below for your free math printables to celebrate 100th day with your students:

Free 100th Day of School Math Printables

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Guided Practice for Recount Writing

        Recount writing can be found in articles, autobiographies, biographies, blogs, diaries, journals, letters, poems and even scripts.  Recount writing has several features.  These include the following: 

*  Setting the stage Who? What? When? Where? Why?
*  A chronological order of events
*  An ending that contains a personal comment
*  A written piece in the past tense
*  Use of transition words that connect the events together
*  The use of first person (using the word “I”) when it’s autobiographical or third person when it isn’t  

      Prior to learning how to recount an event, a student has had some experience retelling an event.  A retell is an event from a story heard orally while a recount is written output of events in chronological order.  I often include a retelling organizer to support students' thinking.  Here's an example of a visual I have used:

Retelling is a verbal way of communicating about an event or story.  With retelling, students can use the rocket retelling model to retell a story.

Setting the Stage:  Each corner of the triangle represents the following: characters, setting and plot. 

Events:  Events are in order.  Students may use the transition word chart to assist them in moving from one event to another without saying the words “and then

Solution:  The ending is explained.  Here a personal comment is added.  Students are encouraged to think about how they felt about the events.   

Heart of the Message:  Did this retelling leave the listener with a message or something to think about?

Ideas for Retelling a Story

o   Read popular children’s books. Have students retell the story (fairytales are excellent for this purpose).
o   Fill a box with several artifacts.  Have students sit in a circle and then remove one artifact at a time to create an oral story. 
o   Fill a box with several magazine pictures. Have students sit in a circle and then remove one picture at a time to create an oral story. 
o   Use story prompts. 

I have created a "recount writing" display board with several prompts.  Using dollar store hard covered notebooks, title pages and graphic organizers, students select their recount book.  The recount book then becomes a great place to share a story.  Here's an example of the display board I use: 

Below is a free download for a Recount Book:

     The Recount Writing unit will focus on writing about personal information and factual information.  Students will engage in retelling warm-ups to prepare for recount writing.  A list of ideas, graphic organizers and rubrics is also included.  Just click on the link below:

Monday, 2 January 2017

Examining the Structure of Procedural Writing

Procedural Writing provides a reader with directions or instructions on “how to” do something.  Some examples of procedural writing include:  recipes, giving rules for games,  sports or situations, giving directions to go to a location, conducting experiments, taking care of something, constructing something, etc.

Procedural Writing:

Gives a clear reason for the procedure.

Provides a list of materials required to conduct the procedure.

Addresses any safety precautions or rules that need to be followed.

Includes all necessary steps for the procedure.  Steps should be in proper order (using transition words like “first”, “next”, “then”, “finally”......).

Is easy to follow and implement.  Directions should be clear.  There should be no confusion.

Examining the Structure of Procedural Writing

Learning Goal:  Teaching students to explore the features of a procedural text. 

Materials NeededHave students bring in a variety of procedural texts.  Examples include:  recipes, manuals, instructions for games, directions from an online site (for example, getting from a student’s house to school), craft assembly manuals, toy assembly manuals, and so on. 

Brainstorming Sessions: Students are encouraged to work in groups to complete this activity.  Place several different procedural manuals on each table.  Have groups of students explore the text features of a procedural manual, recipe or instructional guide.  Students are encouraged to record their findings on chart paper.  Call all students together to gather all ideas.  Create a large anchor chart to assist students (see sample anchor chart to follow).  

When ready, begin scaffolding "how to" write a procedural text.  Give ample opportunities for students to talk about "how to do things" before they write them down.  Students also love task cards with "how to" prompts.  Remember everything they do during their daily routine is a "how to activity". Think of things like turning on a computer monitor, playing a sport, or riding a bus.  

For the full unit on Procedural Writing, click on the link below:

Procedural Writing