Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Try it Again and a giveaway

Have you ever tried something you created with one group of students and it worked well?  And then the next year, you tried it again, and you thought, "Huh...why did I do that?"  Well, that's what happened to me this year with my Cause and Effect Scavenger Hunt.

The scavenger hunt part was fine.  I sent students out with a partner in groups of 6, and let them wander around the school looking for causes and effects around the building.  Before they walked out the door, we had a talk about behavior and responsibility and they really did well.  

Talking about it when they returned, they were somewhat surprised at how many causes and effects they found.  It was so much easier than they'd expected.  Which made them that much more willing to go digging into text.  But by the next day, I could see they were struggling in some places, so I started meeting with them in small groups.  And discovered that the passage I'd written about the Dust Bowl could be interpreted several different ways.  And a couple of students struggled with the meanings of some words, so they weren't sure how to determine whether or not cause and effect was shown there.

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD!  I rewrote parts of the passage, and then created another version of the same passage that was a little easier to read.  And then changed up a few things because I can't leave well enough alone!  Gave those to some of my kiddos, and YAY!  They had a much easier time this go-round.

So, here's where the giveaway comes in!  Be one of the first three people to look at the product and follow my store.  Then, leave me a comment with your email address here, letting me know you'd like this and I'll gladly send you a copy!

Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Celebrating a 30th birthday (not mine)

Hi all,

So Cheryl, at Techie Turtle Teacher is celebrating her 30th birthday this week (it was on Saturday).  And yes, I'm old enough to be her mother.  But that's not the point.

Sixty (yup, 60!) teachers have teamed up to help her celebrate and I'm one of them.  So go on over to her blog and sign up for one of her give-aways.  She has three K-2nd grade prizes, one 3rd-5th grade one, and one middle/high school one.

Winning free stuff is always good!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Breathe deeply. Testing is over.

The difference between the week before testing and the week after is really only a few days.  So why does it feel like months have gone by since last week?  Something about the pressure off my shoulders makes me relax a little and enjoy my students a little more.

You know I started using CAFE this January.  And today....well, today was one of those days when things went so smoothly that I actually thought to take pictures.  Me!  Remembering to take pictures!

Here are some pictures of groups of students discussing some of the best books they've read this year and convincing other students to try them.  This was part of the independent reading station, and the other kids wrote down books that sounded good.  We still have a marking period to go, and some of my voracious readers need to hear about more good books!
I loved watching this student gesturing as he spoke.

These students were totally caught up in this boy talking about the Charlie Bone series.

These students were working together to preview some difficult vocabulary before they starting reading a nonfiction story about building the Great Wall of China.  They created word webs to teach each other the fairly complicated words they'd encounter in their reading.

I also had small groups of students working on a Cause and Effect scavenger hunt around the school building.  I created this last year to help some of my students see real-world causes and their effects before they looked for them in text.  The kids had a ton of fun quietly walking around the school.  And they started to look at things like pencil sharpeners and water fountains differently, now that they realized how much cause and effect there is in real life.  Tomorrow, they transition to text!  Here's the link to the scavenger hunt in my store, if you're interested.
Tomorrow is Friday!  And spring is in the air (even though it's raining right now.)  Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!