Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reused Summer Fun!

Summer is here and I don't know who is more excited-the teachers or the students! My guess it that it is a toss up! Personally, I love summer and all that it entails, but just because you take the teacher out of the classroom, doesn't mean you can take the classroom out of the teacher. 

This past week I decided to get my pre-teen son off of the computer games and outside for a while, so I planned some night time fun with s'mores, water balloons and glow sticks! The idea for a water bottle glow stick ring toss is not mine (but I really wanted to share this awesome idea). I found it on here on  Design Dazzle's Blog. You MUST check this site out for some really cool ideas for glow sticks!

As you all know glow sticks don't last very long. After a day or so they lose their magic glow and look pretty boring. So what do most people do with the old glow sticks? Throw them away, of course. However, the teacher side of me (see? you can't take the classroom out of the teacher even in the midst of summer fun) had an "aha moment" for  a wonderful use for those used glow sticks.  Venn diagrams!

For our ring toss game, I used the long necklace size which came two to a pack at the Dollar Tree.

These are PERFECT for the water bottle ring toss AND for small personal VENN DIAGRAMS!  I would however use a dab of super glue to secure the ends in the connector. Also caution the students not to try to bend and break them or you will have a liquid mess. Yikes! Upper elementary students should be able to handle this without a problem.

Collect your used glow sticks, secure the ends in the connectors with super glue and Voila! You now have instant hands-on interactive Venn Diagrams for centers, desk tops, small groups etc.! AND you have helped the environment by reusing summer fun! You could also use these for a ring toss review game if you wanted to. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

My FAVORITE Strategy for Digging Deep into Text

Text Mapping! I happened to find this strategy while surfing the net. I was a bit skeptical at first, but decided to give it a try with my fourth graders. I'm so glad I did! It is fabulous and my students loved it! They also were very good at it! :) We did this several times during the year and my students were always excited to work on this skill.

The short version of text mapping is that students can have a deeper understanding of the text if they can see it all at once (as opposed to having to flip pages). This is great for the students who need to see the "whole" picture before they can understand the "parts".

I always write the focus questions on the board and we "UNRAAVEL" (this is another wonderful strategy I'll blog about a little later)  these questions as a class before they begin their group work. (Ignore my sloppy handwriting on the board :)  We were in a hurry due to end of the year activities and I usually display my standards in a more appropriate way as well. End of the year chaos and packing had already begun by the time I remembered to take pictures of this skill. :)

It is a little extra work for the teacher due to the fact you have to run off every page of text you plan to use and leave enough white space around the text for student to write.  You can see how the text is shrunk, copied and attached as a "scroll".

The students will then use markers and color coded key to mark specific text features. They do all of this BEFORE reading the text, but I encourage mine to discuss what they are marking and why with their group. They can even read the captions for the pictures or diagrams as they mark it. You can use any color-coded key of your choosing, but this is they one I did.

This is displayed on the Smart Board so students can use it as they work in their groups.

When they have finished marking each text feature, they will read the text as a group and work on the focus questions. (Sometimes they have already found an answer or the part of the text where the answer should be from their text-mapping). I also encourage them to write the question number down beside the part of the text they "think" might have the answer as they text map.

When they have finished text mapping, reading, and answering the focus questions we discuss the text as whole group. This is a sample of a finished text map.

For a more detailed explanation of  Text Mapping  go here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...