Friday, October 17, 2014

Five for Friday: Fall Fall Fall

Linking up with Doodlebugs for another Five for Friday

We are all about bats the past week and a half! Check out Tuesday's book talk here to see what we've been up to!

We went on a field trip around our town and to a farm last week. The kiddos had a fabulous time, especially in the one room school house! The questions were priceless... "how could all those grades fit in here?!" "how did the teacher know what to teach?" "why did the students have to use chalk?" Yes we have reached a generation where very few kiddos have been exposed to chalkboards in a classroom!!!

I've expanded my "teach your hand" to "teach your foot" while students are waiting for the rest of the class to finish writing something down during a whole group lesson. To learn more about teaching your hand and foot, check out this weeks Whole Brain Wednesday.

I've been dying for an excuse to use the magic curtain strategy I learned about in my grad class to build excitement and get students talking about a new unit. We are starting a unit on matter, so I decided to cover up solids, liquids & gases on the carpet to build excitement while my kiddos ate lunch (they eat in my room) wondering why I wouldn't tell them what was hiding under the table cloth!

You might have thought there was candy or critters underneath with how excited they were when I finally revealed what was underneath. After observing and discussing with their partner, they had to make a prediction about what we'd be learning about in science.

We made these awesome pumpkins last year and it took FOREVER... so this year I smartened up and had our 6th grade reading buddies help us out with the cutting. These are really cute and simple... 11 same size orange circles, fold 10 in half and make a slit about half way from the fold side. Slide the folds onto the 1 not-cut circle and spread them out to create the pumpkin look. Then glue on a green stem... easy peasy!

Have a lovely weekend!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Teach Your Hand!

Hey everyone, I'm here with another Whole Brain Wednesday with another easy to implement WBT strategy...

Teach your hand & Teach your foot...

You all know the dreaded "down time" that no administrator wants to see or hear about... And don't even mention the word "filler!" But as a teacher you know there are times where some of your students are waiting... oftentimes the waiting is for students who are moving more slowly.

Think... stop & jot... you're reading a great read aloud, where students have a sticky note trail. You stop, ask a question, students do a turn & talk (or teach, okay in a WBT classroom) and when they're done talking with their partner they jot their answer on a sticky note. You can probably picture the exact kiddo in your class who will be the last one to finish... every time. You want that kiddo to get the chance to finish, but you don't want the rest of the students just waiting... so, I introduce Teach Your Hand & Teach Your Foot.

In my classroom, anytime we have to stop & jot or record an answer when we are all together in a group, my students know they should "teach their hand" or "teach their foot" the answer when they are done writing. Even in reading groups, kiddos know to "retell their hand" while they wait for other students to finish reading.

It is exactly what it sounds like...
The kiddos whisper teach the answer to their hand OR to their foot! After the first time, when they look at you like you're CRAZY, then giggle uncontrollably as they teach their foot; the kiddos just do it without thinking... they don't sit around and wait, they just KNOW to teach their hand or foot!

And, common, don't they look adorable???

If you love this strategy... I suggest you introduce "teach your hand" first, then when that starts to lose its excitement, tell students they can choose "teach your foot" which will introduce a whole new level of excitement into waiting time!

Enjoy & go teach your foot what you just learned ;)

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: Bats!

After being MIA for a week... I'm linking up with Mrs. Jump for Book Talk Tuesday...

We've been doing lots about BATS in my classroom over the past week and a half or so.
We started off by reading the well-known: Stellaluna.

We read the beginning of the story together (up until when Stellaluna falls into the bird nest) stopped and made a prediction. We then continued reading and students had to identify if their prediction came true or not. If it didn't they had to tell what really happened.

The next day, we retold the story aloud using our Whole Brain Teaching retell gestures... check out #3 on this 5 for Friday post if you're interested in the gestures. We then reread the story and used this retelling scaffold freebie from me to retell the story in writing. It was the first independent retell my kiddos have done, which is why we used the scaffold. Some of my students will use this scaffold for the better part of the year. Others are already ready for less structure.

We reread the end of the story on the third day of Stellaluna to identify the author's message. We also worked together to find proof of the author's message.

Finally, our book buddies came on their usual Friday mornings but instead of reading with us, helped us make these cute bat crafts. I got these templates free from A Cupcake for the Teacher here.

After we were done with Stellaluna, we moved onto what we Know & Want to Learn about bats. We did a class KWL & then the kiddos created their own. I make sure my students ask a question for the "want to learn" section.

Today we read Bats by Gail Gibbons, whose nonfiction texts I've raved about here. The text is short enough and interesting enough for kiddos to sit through the entire thing! ALSO in the same sitting *gasp* my kiddos were just about jumping out of their seats each time I answered one of our questions from our W section.

We completed the L section while we read (the text directly or indirectly answered each of our questions) then the kiddos went back to their KWL and answered the questions they had asked (if they could).

Later this week, the kiddos will read leveled texts about bats to complete the organizers in my TPT product below. Next week we will compare birds and bats (also with the organizers from my TPT product). Check out the bats/birds mini-unit below!

I love combining a fiction & nonfiction books into mini "themed" learning! I hope you'll consider going "batty" about learning in your classroom too!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday: Happy October!

Linking up with Doodlebugs for 5 for Friday!

My week started off with a Whole Brain Teaching Workshop that I hosted for any teachers in my district who were interested. Two amazing techies at school got my mac hooked up to my promethean so I wouldn't have to stress about technology snafus like I had at our parent night... It went surprisingly well... around 25 teachers showed up!!! And the thank you emails, stops in the hall to tell me what they've tried, requests to pick my brain, my kiddos from last year excited to be doing WBT again have made me excited for part 2 of the session later in October!!!
One of the excited first grade teachers in my building even got me make a frog themed super improver wall! Check it out - it's free!

This week we read If You Were a Compound Word and made compound word foldables - super easy, all you need is blank paper fold the sides in, draw lines on the folds then copy so the kiddos don't have to figure out where to make the fold. Some of the compound words my kiddos came up with were so cute!

I was so proud of my kiddos and their gestures this week. They are remembering our story gestures with ease & are able to identify character, setting, problem and solution in the stories we are reading together.

Character - walking our fingers along with both hands

Setting - Place - spreading hands out in front of body & Time - tapping wrist (where a watch would be)

Problem - arms crossed in front of body, angry face (sorry for the poor quality of this photo!

Solution - hands up, shrug shoulders

I've started using A LOT of sticky notes, especially during read alouds and strategy mini-lessons. We now have a sticky note parking lot in our class. I'm also working on a way to use these stickies as an assessment. Currently I have a simple template with the objective/standard at the top and a page for approaching, on and at target. If it becomes at all more complicated or awesome I will certainly share!

Addition (and subtraction when we start it) lends itself SO well to game after game after game... so that's pretty much been math for us this whole week... quick minilesson followed by addition game rotations and a little XtraMath too!

Double Facts - Double Trouble! - from The Bubblegum Tree's freebie

Doubles Plus One - Add One for Fun! - also from The Bubblegum Tree's freebie.

Addition Sentence Match Up  - from Amy Lemon's addition & subtraction stations.

10 Facts! - freebie from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits here.

Hope you have a great weekend :)
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Freebies

If you've been to my TPT store or scrounging around in my other WBT posts in search of anything Whole Brain to download, you'll notice all the WBT items are free! I do this because all the folks over at allow you to download EVERYTHING on their site FOR FREE! So if they aren't making money off of their amazing ideas, ebooks & more than it would be totally uncool of me to be making money off of them...

So anyway, I've neatened up a few of my WBT products, finally uploaded a few that have been sitting in files, and am offering many to you here as freebies in my TPT store or free through my Google Drive. Some I'm sharing here on the blog for the first time (and many I just uploaded last week)... Enjoy!

 *I have these laminated, cut out with magnets on the back, on my whiteboard.*

I hope you can use one or more of these freebies! I love sharing the joy of WBT, especially when it's with free resources for classrooms! Where do you find you WBT resources?

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