Sunday, May 29, 2011

Vocabulary ideas

I used this idea from Words, Words, Words, as a way to review our vocabulary words ,
may of which were character traits from Trophies, Theme 1, grade 4. I give it as a HW assignment. The children
love putting the stickers on!

I made sets of these Greek and Latin root cards for my 5th graders to use.
I just finished Learning Words Inside and Out by Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher. Its filled with lots of simple ways to incorporate vocabulary into everyday lessons. It inspired me to reread Janet Allen's Words, Words, Words which is another great resource if you are trying to improve your vocabulary instruction. I gathered together some pictures of vocabulary ideas I've used in the classroom which were inspired by these two books:
After studying the Greek and Latin root cards with a partner, students use these posters to
make their new learning visible.

Using roots to relate words to each other is a great strategy to practice with kids.
This poster was made for the story Blue Willow, from our grade 4 Trophies.

I love this strategy for relating words to each other.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

An introduction to Anne Frank

After reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, I like to introduce my 5th graders to Anne Frank. David Adler's picture book biographies are excellent. The one he wrote about Anne is particularly wonderful. It is a beautiful introduction to a difficult but important story that fifth graders a ready to learn a little bit about. I explain that most middle school/high school students are expected to read The Diary of Anne Frank as a class assignment. This is just an introduction.
   The lesson goes as follows: I ask the students to fold a piece of paper into a mini "file". (This represents the file cabinet we have in our heads, our background knowledge.) On the front we make our thinking visible by writing everything we know about Anne Frank. Some students have never heard of her before, their file cabinets are empty and we are about to fill them up. Inside we write all of the questions we have about her BEFORE reading. Then we partner read the David Adler picture book, I have a class set. Next, we write all of the questions we have AFTER reading the book. On the back of the file folder we write a summary of the story. A class discussion follows regarding the questions that came up as they read. I have a collection of books written for elementary age students that I share with them after this experience. Christine 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Compare and contrast

After finishing Number the Stars we compared it to the picture book: Star of Fear, Star of Hope
Here is a anchor chart showing the ways these two stories are different as well as alike. The red stickies down the center of the poster have to do with the theme, the symbols, and the genre of each story. Both of theses stories were a big hit with my 5th graders. Christine

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Studying Helen Keller

We've been reading Scholastic chapter book biographies for homework (Rosa Parks and Neil Armstrong) but in class we are enjoying Helen Keller by Margaret Davidson

 I have a class set so every child has a copy. The text is easy reading (third grade level) but my focus has been inferring both Annie and Helen's personality traits through actions, dialogue or monologue. To introduce the skill I refer to them as thoughts, actions, or words.This is the first time I have done this with my fourth graders and I thought they got the hang of it pretty quickly. We listed the trait, how it was revealed to us in the story, and the text based evidence with pg. number.
                      This is the anchor chart we developed for Annie, or Teacher, as she was fondly known
Several of my 4th graders have really become interested in learning more about Helen Keller. The following website for kids gives lots of info and pictures of Helen throughout her life:
Its great for showing on the Smartboard. Christine

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Number The Stars

Here is a mix of different activities we did while reading the book: Number The Stars by Lois Lowry.
Above is a picture of the two word summary activity we did after reading each chapter.

This is an example of the maps we drew after reading the first few chapters which really outline the setting. In the second picture you can see the color coded key that one child drew.
The last lessons involved studying Annemarie's character traits. What were her strengths and weaknesses?
After reading each chapter we took online quizes from this site:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

sqworl | literacy sites

sqworl literacy sites

I really like the Sqworl bookmarking site because it is so visual and easy to use. I love Symbaloo for my student page, but Sqworl might be my new Delicious. Its a great way to discover new sites that other teachers have already bookmarked. Check out the link above. Christine