"One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar." ---Helen Keller

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Learn the Continents

Below is a link to the cutest video/song for learning the continent names. My kids loved it and sang it all the time. Now...if we can just figure out how to teach them to spell them correctly also:)

The Continent Song

Monday, April 23, 2012

Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources

Lesson Plan using CRISS strategies…

Two great CRISS strategies are “Read and Say Something” and “RAFT”. The following is a lesson plan idea I used a couple of years ago in a 5th grade class to teach students that the limited supply of usable energy sources (such as: fuels such as oil or coal) places great significance on the development of renewable energy resources. That standard has been moved to fourth grade, so I will provide the NGSSS as the standard for this lesson plan.

Recognize that humans need resources found on Earth and that these are either renewable or nonrenewable.

Materials Needed:
  • Science nonfiction book (either text or leveled reader)
  • RAFT poster and writing sample
  • Vocabulary poster or PowerPoint

Pre-reading strategy…
  • Activate prior knowledge of renewable and nonrenewable resources with a PowerPoint of vocabulary word wall.
  • Explain the "Read and Say Something" CRISS strategy. 
What is the “Read and Say Something” strategy and when it is it used?

Rather than letting students struggle with the meaning of a difficult text alone, have them work with a partner so they grapple with meaning together.
  • Have students read their assignment silently or aloud to each other, paragraph-by-paragraph or page-by-page. (The more difficult assignment calls for paragraph-by-paragraph.)
  • After students have completed the paragraph, have them turn to their partner and say something. They can say anything they wanted related to the material. They react to ideas, description, images, and confusing sections.
  • You may want to practice this and model it ahead of time.

Have students read the selected text on the topic of renewable and nonrenewable resources. This could even be material read over the course of a few days to include the textbook, articles from magazines such as TIME for Kids, or nonfiction library books. 

Then teach students about the RAFT strategy and share examples.

What is the RAFT strategy?
RAFT is a formatted writing assignment that can be used to assess whether the students have mastered the objective. A rubric could be used to grade it.

RoleYour role will be that of a nonrenewable resource, such as coal or fossil fuels.

Audience – Your audience will be humans on Earth.

Format – You will be writing a warning resource.

Topic and Strong Verb – You will admonish (SV) humans for using you up and not planning ahead for the possibility that you will not last forever.

Admonish - 1 to criticize or warn gently but seriously. 2 to give friendly advice to.

Weather resource

Weather Wiz Kid is a great teacher web page resource for teachers. It has background information on everything weather related...hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, etc. It is one of the best weather resources I have seen. When you scroll down on any page's topic to the bottom, the author has lesson plan ideas!!!!

 The opening page...Welcome to Weather Wiz Kids®. I'm meteorologist Crystal Wicker. I designed this website especially for kids to allow them to learn more about the fascinating world of weather. It’s also a wonderful educational website for teachers and parents to give them the right tools to explain the different types of weather to children.

Razzle Dazzle Writing

I LoVe anything Melissa Forney uses to teach writing. She is my favorite resource where writing is concerned. I have spent a lot of years in 4th grade and was there the very first year of Florida Writes (now, FCAT Writes). I remember thinking there was no way the students would ever get past a score of 2, but they have surely come a long way. It just took time and a systematic method of teaching it.

I met Melissa at a workshop a few years ago and couldn't wait to show her my copy of Razzle Dazzle Writing with its frayed edges and post it notes marking practically every page. She was just as wonderful in person as I had imagined.. What a great lady! Anyway, I thought I would share some of the powerpoints that I made to teach those ideas. As technology changed, I no longer used those overhead transparencies that I had made of the book's pages. I began to put her ideas into things I could show on the projector. Of course, now I would probably be able to spice them up even further.

One example was her target skill lesson of using "Juicy Color Words" to jazz up their writing.
Juicy Color Words 

Another example is target lesson "Narrative Grabbers" used for teaching how to begin their stories.
Narrative Grabbers

The following is the target skill "Painting a Word Picture" for developing descriptive writing.
Painting a Word Picture

These are just some of the examples of target skills from Razzle Dazzle Writing by Melissa Forney.

She also has a book, Primary Pizzazz Writing for the younger kiddos too. It has an audio CD with cute songs, skits, etc. I made the following slides to match an audio skit. I just flipped through the slides as the audio played an old fashioned radio play. The lesson was then designed to teach the students how to expand their sentences with more description.

I used her book The Writing Menu with the writing portion of the Daily 5. That is for another post, but she is definitely worth checking out.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Love to look at classroom pics

Am I the only one who loves to look at pictures of other classrooms? I think not, since ProTeacher has a whole page devoted to teachers posting the pictures of their classrooms. Just thought I would post my last classroom pictures on that final day of pre-planning. That is the best it will ever look:) Darn those kids...the audacity that they might show up and make it somewhat less than perfect. It was one of the largest rooms I have ever had and had a teacher office that could store all my stuff (and --oh did I have a lot of stuff)!

Looking toward the front from my desk which is in the back. You can see the hallways on either side of the whiteboard. These lead to the hallway. Behind the white board, between those two hallways is my teacher office.

 The teacher office. I loved this, although it could get junky at times.

Standing in the back of the classroom to the right of the white board was the first of two hallways that led out to the main hall. Cubbies on the right and the fiction part of my classroom library on the left.

A closer view of the fiction library.

A closer view of the cubbies. I used the top row for storage of workbooks and leveled readers.On top were my space treasures (autographs)!!!

This is down the left side of the classroom facing my desk and reading group table.

Under the Daily 5 headings, I posted my I charts. 

Between the Daily 5 I charts and the reading group table was the CAFE board and on the counter more of my space treasures. (Remember, I said I was slightly obsessed in the post called "Meet the Coach".

Close up of my reading group table with my CAFE notebook and clipboard of the Status of the Class. Both are talked about under the post about the CAFE.

My curtains above the reading table. I made them!!!! I love to sew

A view from in front of the whiteboard looking to the back.

Oh my...it is looking so neat and organized. Give it two weeks:) 

At the back on the right side. This leads out to our tomato growing area. Also, you will see part of my nonfiction library.

The right side of the classroom. Word study area on the right . 

You may have noticed all the plants in the room. I added lots of plants this year after reading Eric Jensen's books. More about him coming. I loved them. I really did feel like they made a huge difference in the atmosphere of the room.

Closer view of Word Study area.

The other hallway to the left of the whiteboard. Behind the cart was the entrance to my teacher office.

My location to post those objectives! and my clip chart. I will post more about the clip chart later.

Well, that's the "50 cent tour" of my classroom. Hope you felt welcome!!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Space: The Final Frontier

My absolutely most favorite thing I did in my class each year was to present our space play to the parents every May. It was a culminating event in our class, since space or aviation studies in some way permeated every thing I did in my class. To say I am obsessed is an understatement. I went to Space Camp many years ago. One of the things I received was a play to use with the children. I immediately came back and did that the following spring. It was a hit with both the kids and parents. Besides the fun and the learning that took place, I discovered a wonderful thing. We did it as the days were wearing down and kids had that “I don’t want to do anything else attitude” and the discovery was that I had the most well-behaved, on task kids ever. They loved it!!!! The students made all the decorations. We turned the classroom into space. We read the play over and over and practiced, but never memorized it. I didn’t want it to be perfect and become a burden to them.

It is by far one of my most special memories each year with the class. As time went on, I had to rewrite the play to match what was going on at NASA which made it even more exciting because they were dreaming about that future. They had to as a class design a mission patch that told their play’s story.

GREAT FUN!!! The next pictures are from two of the most recent years that I did it.


The crew of Expedition —STS-06 launched and landed on Mars!

Here is our set…You will see DASA (aka- Dolphin Aeronautics and Space Administration) Headquarters, Mission Control, Tranquility Base —(our Moon base camp), and then the space transport, Expedition with Mars. 

 Our mission patch was designed by the students. They chose a star shape. We have talked a lot about the Hubble Space Telescope so that prompted that design. They are leaving Florida on the space transport, Expedition. They designed a more modern version of the shuttle; it looks a little more like a fighter jet/ space plane. They have a dolphin for the school mascot on Florida to represent Cape Shalimar. Moon and Mars are the two places we landed, so they make up a large part of our patch. The American flag is part of the design because we are proud to be Americans and exploring the cosmos for our country. The sash says to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond. That was Mrs. Palmer’s goal to inspire the students to look to the future. 

Future Farmers

I always love the spring of the year. I really think I could love being a farmer…maybe when I retire! I love those shared readings with books such as Charlotte’s Web and my all time favorite Love Ruby, Lavender. They just bring out that need to grow something.
For more years than I want to count, March meant planting time in Mrs. Palmer’s room. Tomatoes to be exact. Every year, I would make a trip to Crestview Nurseries to get my potting soil and tomato plants. They were generous each year and gave me buckets to plant our tomatoes in.
The students would each get a plant to care for… I always tried to time the planting and the tomato plant selection so that they would see tomatoes growing before the year ended. Early Girls were a good selection because they didn’t get too big and had a short maturity date. Patio tomatoes are also good to use for size, but most take too long to mature so that the students can see them before they go home for summer. Of course, I always let them take their bucket home on the last week of school.
The following two pictures are right after planting.

The next few pictures are after they have grown a bit.

 After reading Love, Ruby Lavender one year, I added zucchini also. What Fun!!!

Third grade always get the cabbage plants from Bonnie, so I encourage them to try growing them. As you can see, one of my students did a fabulous job. We entered her in the contest. How could she have not won?

 I also obtained basil seeds that were flown above the space shuttle on STS-118 with Barbara Morgan, teacher astronaut. We planted those and did a little research.

Graphics on this page are from http://www.hshpgraphics.com