Before the big state test, I give my students a little hand written note. I created these templates to make it a little more fun and ease any test tension. I give one out before each test. In the 4th grade, there are two days of Language Arts tests and two days of Math tests. The notes go along with the days.
I'm blogging on the road- I will post full instructions for this when I get home. To summarize, this activity gives kids am excellent hands on visualization of the effects of tectonic plate movement. Play dough and Legos are all you need for this one! Below are pictures of my 6th grade Earth Science Class.
What's that? A blog? For students?
This website brings all the modern wow of blogging into your classroom. There are so many ways to implement this into your classroom. I run two separate blogs using kidblog.org
In the beginning of the year, I kickoff my BookBlog. This is a modern day version of a book club in a sense. As students complete a boom, they blog about it. They start off with a short paragraph summarizing the beginning and the middle of the book- a brief synopsis of sorts. They can't give anything exciting away, but they must write enough to interest the other kids inthe class. After this, they simply write a quick recommendation of the book!
This is ridiculously engaging. I have to admit, when I first implemented it I had a hard time keeping up with monitoring posts!
The beauty of kidblog.org is the 100% ability for teachers to monitor and keep it private. The settings allow for either public blogs, or password protected blogs. You can set it to automatically post every student blog, or have the website designate you as a monitor. Nothing I posted until it is reviewed by the teacher.
The set up is quick and easy- every student gets a user name and a password which is created by you. Students are then able to log on, customize their pages, post BookBlogs and comment on other users blogs.
Again, this really gets students excited about both reading and writing. I will post templates and rubrics shortly! The site makes grading writing quick and painless- any comments you have to make about a student's writing can be kept private and they format makes it kick and easy to give relatively quick feedback.
This site is AMAZING. To how students just how vast the universe truly is- check this out!
This activity is highly engaging and aligned to Common Core Standards
There are tons of different ways to run Literature Circles. Over the years, I have tried a lot of different methods but in the end I have had to do a lot of re-working and rebuilding to create something that fits my style, and my classes needs.
I group students according to Reading Level. I currently have a class of thirty-six. Of these, ten students receive some type of Reading Intervention. My Literature Circles run during a thirty minute block which includes Reading Interventions. I have six separate groups each composed of 4 or 5 kids.
Student's meet only once a week. Meetings are held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Some class (or simply some groups) need less support than others and will only need light monitoring. Other groups may need the entire thirty minutes with a teacher guiding them through the meeting.
During the meetings, we discuss the student's weekly jobs, and share the work they have completed. Before coming to the meeting, every student must give themselves a grade and write a short rationale behind the grade they gave themselves. I ultimately decide on the grade but I find that this type of self grading keeps them accountable and assures that they are putting in their best effort that week. At the end of the meeting, after discussing everyone's jobs and thoughts on the reading, we collectively decide on the next week's assignments.
Groups that are not in a meeting are busy working and enjoying their book!
Whiteboards are used daily in my classroom. They are highly engaging and keep students actively involved in the math lesson.
Years ago I was lucky enough to receive a grant for "Dry Erase Sleeves" from www.reallygoodstuff.com but they are an easy DIY project. You simply need clear page protectors and white card stock. You can make them fun and colorful by adding colorful dictape as a boarder (pictures to come!)
These type of whiteboard give you flexibility and the ability to customize your whiteboards whenever you need to. Need a number line to teach decimals and fractions? Just print it out! I know some teachers who set up their whiteboards in the beginning of the year with every whiteboard ready to go, number lines, fractions, graph paper... It's all there.
I prefer to hand out inserts as I go through the year. Students are able to keep it in their whiteboard during the lesson or unit. When the class no longer needs the whiteboard template, it goes into a student's math binder for review or help with homework.
This activity is a fun mess. You can either pre-make these amazing balls of earth or have your students make them. Either way, prepare for a mess!
This is a great way to teach the earth's layers. It is pretty simple, you will only need the following ingredients:
The Inner Core : a gum drop or dots
The Outer Core: a marshmallow
The Mantle: rice crispy treats
The Crust: Hershey's hard shell chocolate
For a full set of directions, head here:
I usually send the directions home with kids during this unit. It's a great at home family activity! I suggest only attempting this in class if you have parent volunteers!