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September 13, 2014

I Like Grammar!


This year I am having so much fun teaching grammar.  Say what?!  Yes, I am having fun!  During the first trimester I have been spotlighting one part of speech per week.  I usually choose something that ties into our mentor sentences.  You might already do this, but I pull up Grammar Rock on the big screen for my students to watch.  I also own the VHS videos (that I stick in on rainy days), but when it's just one video I pull up the link.  


Grammar Rock Unit

After we watch it I give them a couple of pages from this pack.  Stephanie has the lyrics and then activities for each part of speech. 


I shrunk them down 2 per page for the students to glue into their ELA Composition book.  We talk through the song using our highlighters to spotlight the certain part of speech.


Then the kids get a chance to practice themselves using the activity sheets.

I also have the songs on our class iPad, so after we learn it, it will go into the song rotation when I'm playing DJ.  It's wonderful review. 

Speaking of review, have you picked up my Monthly Grammar Coloring Sheets?  My kiddos love to color, and this gives them some extra practice.

Monthly Grammar Coloring Sheets {Year Long Grammar Review}

Do you do something fun for Grammar?  Please share!  



September 9, 2014

California Teachers - FREE Science and Social Studies Materials!

This year has been a struggle with Science and Social Studies.  The big thing is that the kids aren't allowed to write in their workbooks anymore since the adoption is up.  Of course I still need to teach the standards, so when a teacher friend shared this with me, I was so excited!  These are free teacher and student materials that allow you to go deeper with the curriculum.   

First up, head to this website - California Education and Environment Initiative 


It looks like above.  From there - before you can order materials, you have to be trained on how to use it.  Click on the "Get Trained" tab near the top.    


It will look like this.  They have, or used to have in person and live trainings, but you want the one that says "Watch Recordings of Past Webinars".  Depending on your grade it could be super short, or a little longer.  If you do it at home, you can definitely multi-task.  It explains how the curriculum works.     


After you click the Watch Recordings, it will take you to the grade specific screen.


Yes, they have material through high school.  My 4th grade one was about the Gold Rush.  

From there, after the training, you need to email EEI@calrecycle.ca.gov and tell them that you watched their webinar (give specifics as to what webinar you watched) and that you would like materials.  They email you right back with an order form.


I did my initial order form on Labor Day and had my materials 4 days later on Friday.  Quick turnaround!


Inside my big box was everything needed to go in depth with both Regions and Native Californians.  They sent student workbooks - separate ones for Regions and another one for Native Californians, dictionaries, posters of CA Regions and Tribes, Vocabulary Cards, Word Cards, and a bunch of teacher materials too.   We covered Regions yesterday and today using the materials, and are set to work on Native Californians when we get there in 2 weeks.

They also have a bunch of science options.  Since I could only order one set at a time, I just went on and completed the quick survey so I could order an Ecosystem set as well.  These are all based and created on the new CA standards.  

I hope this helps you!  

September 7, 2014

Keeping Busy - Reading Products that Work!


I hope you had a good weekend.  Mine consisted of "trying" to clean my house.  It's one of those 2 steps forward, one step back type of things...  One thing that I loved was having all my papers & tests graded before I left school on Friday, I contribute that to my husband bringing me my favorite Starbucks drink to school.  Gotta love a little caffeine to power through.  I know, he wins the best hubby ever award!   


What are we tackling this week at school?  

Reading

Our main story this week is Chapter 3 of Charlotte's Web "Escape".  We are actually reading the entire chapter book as our read aloud, so the kids have already heard it before.  I love when these kind of weeks happen, as then there is more time to spend working on skills and strategies.

2 Truths:
*These kids really need to work on their reading skills.  
*These kids are probably already sick of working on their reading skills since we are constantly working with them.

This year my school is in full Common Core mode.  We have new texts for Math, but not for Reading.  So I am using our old textbook as a jumping off point, but adding a lot more (since we have been given the green light to expand, create, delete, and not follow everything in the old text).  

During the typical week, I am using these following products for as much practice as possible:

Open Court 4th Grade Pack - Themes, Vocab, Writing, and Gr
We use this for our vocabulary and writing practice.  I didn't copy it off for the kids, but I use it as my jumping off place to get the kids thinking and extending their thoughts.

Reading Graphic Organizer Bundle {3 products - Adventure,
Every week I try to tackle at least 2 strategies.  I printed these off 1/2 size and the kids glue them into their Reading composition books.

Close Reading Concept Posters
Close Read Posters
I'm not an expert in Close Reading... yet.  But I'm learning about it!  I printed these off half page, and they are perfect for kids to glue into their notebooks.

Common Core Weekly Reading Homework: 3rd-4th-5th Grade {Co
I printed these off at the end of last year, and so far we are using them for Close Read Practice (whole class), and then comprehension is homework.  Each week there is an one page article/story, a page with comprehension questions, and a skill page.

Reading Response Menus Across the Year {4th Grade CCSS-Aligned}
I use these for homework practice.  This year I decided to print them half size - perfect to glue into their composition books.  Now it's easy for them to keep things organized by month in their booklets.  I love how it's working with their exact standards.

Daily Close Reading {September}
The kids are using these for fluency practice with a parent helper, and then we go through the Close Read part as a class.  Since I have so much other stuff going on, the plan is to use one of these per week (instead of daily).

Read Aloud {Blank} Mini Pack
Like I mentioned, we read together every day.  I have the kids write about it every day.  It keeps them focused and only takes a few minutes.

Complete NO PREP Reading & Writing Units for 40 Mentor Tex
Better Than Basal
You know I use Mentor Sentences in my classroom.  Since I already have that going on, I added this to our morning routine too.  This contains activities for each of the mentor sentences from Jivey's program.  I don't copy everything, but I do use the lessons and the ideas to have the kids dive a little deeper with each book we read.
Partner Plays 4th-5th BUNDLE (a set of 90 2-person scripts
These kids need to practice their fluency, and I'm excited about how excited they are about reading together.  I set these up just like the example.  The kids take time to practice during our workshop time.

Reading Response Newspapers!
Reading Response Newspapers
Every once in a while (like once a month), I have the kids do a mini book report over what they have been reading at home.  I change up what skills they need to report on - such as characterization, or setting, etc.  These make an awesome bulletin board!

Bundled EDITABLE Weekly Reading Records (Fiction & Non-Fiction)
Reading Response Prompts
After the student's silent reading (Read to Self), I have them take out their reading logs/journals to write in for 5 minutes.  I have these printed out, laminated, and color coded with a dot on the top corner.  The papers are rotated around on Fridays from one team to another.  I think it helps keep kids accountable for their reading. 

Okay - I guess the main point is that I use a lot of stuff for reading in my classroom.  All of this on a weekly basis, even more stuff for those "special" projects.  What did I do before TPT??  :)  What do you use on a weekly basis?