Friday, 26 May 2017

Father's Day Resource Round Up

Here are some fun ways to honor fathers on Father's Day.  Those who have worked tirelessly at fatherhood, created bonds or have been an influence on fathers in society can be celebrated with some fun quick writing activities:

Add a fun spin to a writing project for Father's Day with this specialty writing paper for emergent and established writers:

Here's a free printable for a Father's Day Card:

Monday, 22 May 2017

Planning Ahead for a Full Year of Writing

As the school year winds down, many teachers are caught between thinking about finishing the year off and then planning ahead for the next school year.  If you've been placed in a variety of different grades in the same school, the thought of taking on a whole new grade can be overwhelming.  My last placement had me in grades 4/5, 5, 5/6, 6 and then 3/4 within a five year stretch.  I stopped questioning why but starting asking myself "What can I do to make this grade change easier for myself?"  I began creating my own units for writing.  I knew I had to teach writing genres in each of those grades but I wanted to be able to move into different grades and combined grades knowing my students could still use the resources I developed.

In some cases, I taught students for two years in a row.  The one thing I knew was they had to comprehend the writing form but I could differentiate for them by allowing them some choice in their writing.  Here's a fun "snippet" of what my writing for the year program looks like:

If you're planning to a full year writing program, this sampler contains some ideas to get you started. This resource includes: a writing organizer with sample ideas, sample narrative writing task cards, a descriptive warm-up, transitions word list, procedural writing sample anchor chart and specialty writing paper. 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The End of a School Year - Ideas to Keep Students Engaged

As the school year winds down, keeping students engaged can be a difficult task.  Here are some activities I have tried with students.  Some are cross-curricular while others involve gathering memories into a keepsake:

Think about all the Math strands you have taught.  If you live in a jurisdiction that has worked through standardized testing, you have most likely taught all the strands a lot sooner than year end.  This activity from grades 3 to 6 has worked.  Students love it, parents love it and I love it!

We often brainstorm how Math could be an person, place or thing.  Our title for our final display is "If Math Were.."  Most students like to keep the theme the same.  For example, we have written about Math being a sport, food, animal or person.

One year we did a range.  Students could choose whichever topic they wanted.  They were encouraged to think mathematically about their choice through three of the math strands.  Below is a sampling of "If Math were An Animal".

After writing about their topic mathematically, students were able to create a showcase of their topic. Many students chose to draw, sculpt, create dioramas or even act out their topics.  Creating a class book with the final products is a great way to keep students' work.  Taking a photo of the display and holding on to that will ensure students can take their artwork home.

If "Math Were a Sport" is a great one to use especially when the Olympics are taking place.  I love how students write very "visually" about their choices.  The geometry of a hockey rink, the dimensions of a basketball court or the 3-dimensional figures of a gymnastics studio.  Students become very creative and confident about writing when they are writing about something they are passionate about. 

"If Math were Food" was one of the first topics I explored with students.  These students were in Third Grade.  Their choices included pizza, lasagna, waffles and a myriad of desserts.  They wrote about sharing, fractions, cooking time, shape and size.  When students have real world connections, it is easier to write about them.

A fun way to create a memory book is to create an accordian booklet.  

Creating some "High 5" memories include making lists, writing about their year in review.  A fun autograph page is included plus covers for grades 3, 4, 5 and 6.  This little booklet has been a great way to create memories for combined grades.