Monday, January 31, 2011

Make your thinking visible

The student used the genre (non fiction) to help him comprehend the article
I like to use annotation with my fourth and fifth graders for test prep. This is a fifth grade MCAS question on nature photography. I tell my students to read with a pencil in their hand...and make their thinking visible by writing notes, ideas, thoughts in the margin as they read. Later, when it is time to correct the multiple choice questions, I give each child a copy of my "teacher notes" so they can see how I made my thinking visible. Sometimes we have the same thoughts and ideas while reading. I love to read what they wrote. Christine

This child wrote which reading strategy she used: infer

This child used questioning in her notes

This is my copy ( I share my notes with the students)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Character traits

While reading Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott Odell we did some work on Karena's character traits. I made a Wordle of character traits that I thought applied to Karena during various chapters of the story. The assignment was to list the trait and the text based evidence. is a Smartboard lesson I used after reading the story. Was Karena a real person?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Smartboard writing pictures

I have figured out how to post a Smartboard lesson! (Little things make me happy.) I have been trying to think of new ways to teach writing a small moment. I used these pictures recently to brainstorm vivid verbs and great adjectives. Take a look. Christine

Friday, January 21, 2011

Personal narratives

We are writing about a great day at an amusement park. I used The Screaming Mean Machine by Joy Crowley as my anchor text for writing a small moment on a roller coaster.

"map" of our roller coaster ride. The stars indicate great moments we could write about.

Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee is another option, but I think The Screaming Mean Machine is a better choice. I love the use of vivid verbs and similes. After we read the book, I did a Smartboard lesson review Joy Crowley's use of creative language. I have posted the link to the Smartboard lesson at the bottom of the page. Next, I had the children draw a "map" of what it would be like to go on a roller coaster ride. This helped enormously when we sat down to write. Here are some pictures of our writing folders. I used a binding machine to bind together three pocket folders. You can see that I labeled each pocket (rough draft, final copy and so on). The last pocket is for miscellaneous papers, mostly handouts. It really helps to keep things organized during writing class.

we take notes when we run across great words

We use stickers to show when we used one of our writing skills

Thursday, January 20, 2011

teacher blogger This teacher has so many great ideas. I spent at least an hour combing through her blog. I bookmarked quite a bit on Delicious. Check it out! Christine

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

See The Ocean I love the story See The Ocean by Estelle Condra. I found a great link to the whole story in a power point presentation on inferencing by Rebecca Binks. I like to use See The Ocean to teach questioning but you could certainly argue that it is a good book to use for teaching inferencing as well. The story starts on page 33 (it takes a minute  or two to download)of the power point, but you may be interested in looking at the whole slide show. Christine

Monday, January 17, 2011

Classroom Management

Some of the techniques this teacher  uses are similar to Whole Brain Teaching. Christine

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Beth Newingham writing lessons

QuestionTalking LeadAction

Sound EffectFlashbackSnapshot

We have been working on great leads for writing personal narratives. This post by Beth Newingham was awesome! Christine

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January poem

Here is another John Updike poem from Poems For All Seasons to share during the snowy month of January.Christine

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wilson Reading

If you use Wilson Reading in your district, here is a great Smartboard lesson I found on Teachers as Technology Trailblazers, Kristen Swanson's site. She is a real tech person, but I get lost of great ideas from her. Christine

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Haddix books

My 5th graders are big Margaret Peterson Haddix fans. Uprising is coming out in paperback in January from Scholastic for $4 each. I'm going to invest in a class set. It is the story of the Shirtwaist Triangle factory fire, one of the most tragic fires in American history.The plot involves a friendship between three young women in New York City in 1911. Two of the girls are immigrants who work at Triangle, one is the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Only one of these girls survives the fire. You must wait till the end of the book to find out who. I made an introductory Smartboard lesson for it as well. The link is at the bottom.This book can be used to teach so many topics: immigration, the history of the american union, the concept of sweatshops. What is most interesting is that the fire was 100 years ago this March 25. Recently I have started researching my family genealogy. My great grandmother was a twiner in a factory in Boston at the time of the Triangle fire. She very likely knew about it.This is the only existing picture of her. Her working conditions were probably similar to those described in the story. It was a fascinating connection to make. Christine

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pets in the classroom For those of you that are interested in having pets in the classroom this is an easy way to get funding. Christine