Monday, May 27, 2013

$1 Resources for Teachers from Scholastic... sweet deal!

Ok, so I am a pretty huge fan of Scholastic, and right now they are selling a good amount of their resource materials for just $1.  Of course, most of it is in e-reader format, but I actually find that to be more convenient than getting the entire book.  Basically you just download the pdf's and save them into folders on your desktop.  Then, you can easily access them any time in the future, and print just the pages you need without having to walk over to the copy machine.  So... if you need extra supplemental workbooks in any subject, now's the time to buy them from Scholastic.  Here's the link:

Don't miss out on this pretty rare deal!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Differentiated Projects for Early Finishers

In my classroom this year, I have a handful of 'little geniuses' who always tend to finish their assignments before others can even start.  It boggles my mind when I check their work I see that it's neat, complete, and accurate.  Therefore, I've begun to invest myself this year in developing fun projects that this small group of students can engage themselves in at the back table.

This project is a landform map of California that the students created out of a large poster and tissue paper squares.  The first step was to print a map of California and then project it onto a large poster so that I could trace the outline of the state.  Next, my students looked at an actual landform map and drew the lines which separated the different landforms (as close as possible).  Then, they created a map key for the different landforms.  Last, they color coded the different landforms by gluing on colored tissue paper squares.
This vertebrates poster project was completed during our unit on animal classification.  I pretty much completed the entire backdrop of the poster and the students did the rest.  I had a large collection of animal magazines which they sorted through.  Then, they cut out the animals and pasted them in their distinct categories:  birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.  My higher-level thinkers really enjoyed this project as it allowed them to think critically about each animal and debate amongst themselves a bit before they came to a final classification decision.

I hung both projects up from the ceiling with paper clips.  They're so great to display in the classroom because they promote learning and appreciation.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Common Core Word Wall & more frog stuff...

As I'm sure you know, academic language is hugely stressed across all subjects throughout the Common Core.  This year, I've been experimenting with a "New Words" wall in my class and now that I'm nearing the end of the school year, I'm reflecting back on its success.  This word wall has helped my students in so many ways.  They refer to it during assignments, they look at it during tests (which I think is great), and they know exactly where to find definitions for new words that I use during instruction.  My favorite part about this word wall idea is that it is so incredibly easy to maintain all year!  How it works is that each frog is labeled with one of the core subjects taught in class.  Then, I pin plastic sheet covers to the board.  Every week, I switch out the words according to the concepts being introduced that week.  This is so easy to maintain because I can simply type up new words and not have to worry about updating the design of the board itself.  Many of my fellow teachers have mentioned that they are totally implementing this idea in their classrooms next year.  Bravo to great ideas!

...and since I'm referencing my frog-themed resources, here's my reading groups chart.  I think it's a cute way to display your reading groups without giving out any hints to reading levels.  I'd never want to number these groups.  My students absolutely love looking at the fascinating pictures of the different frog species.  ...and the best part about this pocket chart is that it only cost me $1 at Target!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tech Project: Historical Figures Trading Cards

Here's an assignment I'm currently having my students do this week.

1.  Students should visit the following site and read about different American figures:

2.  Students will chose 3 historical figures to create trading cards for.

3.  Print out the following template for your students:

4.  Have students complete the research template and assemble the cards.

5.  Students may draw the person's picture, or find Google images, print, and paste.

5.  Once finished, a fun idea would be to have your students trade the cards with other students as a great way to promote sharing and learning.