Five for Friday: A short week of CRAZY!

Happy Friday friends!  This has been a crazy short .. did I say CRAZY week?  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for a little Five for Friday!

1.  I loved the beginning of our week with Monday off for Memorial Day.  I took my kids to the park to relax and soak up the sun.  We've been busy doing a lot of cleaning and organizing, and I wanted to get my Bernese Mountain Dog outside for a little fun:

2:  My students have been reading novels with Multiple Perspectives.  This week we were working on a Graffiti wall that shows some of the amazing quotes we found in the book.

3:  I used this great subway art from Messare Clips and Design for the wall.  I'm going to blog a little more about this soon, but if you like the idea, you can check out the product by clicking on the picture below:
I like how he did both a portrait and and a landscape option.  It gave my class a lot of choices!

4.  We went on our class field trip on Wednesday.  This year we went back to WonderWorks and the Canyon Climb.  I always have such a fun time on this field trip, but I'm exhausted when I get home!  This year I was up on the Canyon Climb with a few of my students.  They were crazy up there.  So much braver than me!  Something else I thought was cool was the Apache helicopter simulator.  

5) I'm thinking of participating in a blog challenge for June.  You blog every day for the thirty days.  I'm not sure if I can do it with it being the end of the year, but then again, I don't back down from a challenge either.  Anybody else in?  You can read more about it {HERE}.

Have an awesome weekend.  I'll see you Sunday for my first challenge post!


Wordless Wednesday: Field Trip Frenzy!

Thanks for stopping by and joining me for Wordless Wednesday.

Today was all about the class field trip!  This is where I took my class:

Don't you love a good Canyon Climb!  What is your favorite field trip?


Sparking Student Motivation to Love Your School!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend Friends!  It is so nice to have the extra day coming up for picnics, parties, and just plain fun.  My family is going to see Godzilla this weekend, and I am uber excited!
Before we head out to the market, movies and more mayhem, I'm linking up with one of my BBBs to share a little motivation for our incoming fifth grade students.
Next week the fifth grades will be coming to our school for a tour and orientation.  My team is not participating this year because there are 6 teams and 5 elementary schools.  We drew the short straw so to speak.  But that didn't stop us from wanting to welcome these new Smarties!
I used this awesome writing sheet from another one of my BBBs Nick at Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason, and we wrote 50 things we love about our school.
First, my Smarties made their own 50 things sheet, which we will put into our Communication Journals after orientation.  I love how they all want to tell the 5th graders how much more freedom they will have!
Then, each student chose two of their favorites, with NO repeats to add to the class poster.  We hung them up in the hallway so the fifth grade students could see how awesome our school, and team was!
This was a great reflection piece for my kiddoes, even when they didn't know they were reflecting about the school year! 
I'm going to use Nick's awesome 50 things I love in the fall instead of my heart map for writing.  My students see a lot of heart maps before they get to me, and this class was over it when I started my writer's notebook.  I think this fun worksheet will be a perfect fit.  You can go {HERE} and grab it if it motivated you!  It's FREE!  be sure leave my buddy some feedback though, because he is awesome like that!
Stop by and visit Joanne at Head over Heels for Teaching for other ways to keep your students motivated as you end the school year!


Teaching the Industrial Revolution with Primary and Secondary Sources

We spent a few days recently learning about the Industrial Revolution.  My Smarties are going to be taking a final exam in social studies, which is based on a DBQ, so I wanted them to have a little practice with primary and secondary documents.
Have you seen this picture of Addie?
This famous photograph is by Lewis Hine.
I started by putting Addie's picture up on an anchor chart, and giving my students a similar copy for their interactive notebooks.  For homework, I asked them to make observations about the picture, and write them down in the notebook.

The next day, we discussed what we observed, and I wrote their observations in BLUE marker on the anchor chart.  Any observations that they didn't have were added to the notebook.  There was a great discussion about the inferences they could make about young Addie, and of course I made them back it up with at least two pieces of text evidence, either from the actual photograph or from what we had read in our text book.  

Then, we read an article:  Searching for Addie The Story behind a Famous Photograph by Elizabeth Winthrop.  After reading and discussing the article, we added information from this secondary source in GREEN on the anchor chart.  We had a great discussion about the information you can gather and how it is different based on whether it is a document, photograph, primary or secondary source.

Finally, we started our DBQ on the positive and negative effects of the Industrial Revolution.  I went over each document and question with my students before providing them the TDEC organizer for writing.  I love the insightful comments they were making when they had to look closely at a second photograph from Lewis Hine.  Kudos to my Smarties!
Hang in there, we can almost see Friday!


Reading Paired Texts: Boston Molasses Flood and Chemical Spills

I'm just trucking along here in the North East, with about 5 more weeks of school.  I am so jealous that some of my friends have less than 10 days left.  June seems so far away... and June 25th is like looking for Antarctica.  This week we will be finishing up a little work from a narrative nonfiction article that we read from SCOPE magazine.  I have to tell you how much I have loved using SCOPE this year.  The articles are in depth and informative.   If you have an upper elementary classroom grade 5-8, invest in a year of SCOPE.   It is packed full of great stuff!  .. Look at the cover from our March issue.
Doesn't it completely draw your attention!
This past week we focused on a paired text series.  One of the stories was called The Boston Molasses Flood of 1919.  It is the story of a huge tankard of molasses that cracked and sent a 50 foot tidal wave of molasses into Boston's North End, killing 21 people.  
If that sounds intriguing and if you study immigration, you can watch this really cool video about the Molasses Flood.

It was a great social studies tie in for us too because we are finishing up the Industrial Revolution, and beginning World War I.  My Smarties were amazed that they used to make bombs by distilling the molasses.  Who would have thought!

We are pairing it with another environmental story called Don't Touch the Water about a chemical spill in West Virginia.  This was interesting because the people could not drink or use or TOUCH the water in their community for weeks!  The area has still not gotten a complete diagnostic about the chemicals that spilled into the river.
After completing some close read questions, about each topic, we compared the two texts.  That is another thing I LOVE about SCOPE.  There are so many different activities with each story, and suggestions for differentiation too!
These two stories kept my students completely engaged in reading last week.  LOVE it!  Especially with more than 25 days of school to go!  

How are you keeping your students focused?


Wordless Wednesday 5/14

I'm down to about 30 days left to teach.  This is how I'm feeling.

How about you?


Plot Summary Review using Plenty of Polacco Picture Books!

We are just starting our last novel unit for the year.  To review a few basics, I grabbed books from one of my favorite picture book authors:  Patricia Polacco.  I'm sure you have read many of her books. Don't you just LOVE them!  I really like them for my Smarties because they have depth for sixth graders.  They make them THINK.  They are usually a little more lengthy, which is perfect for a one period class, and helps my struggling readers because of picture clues.

We needed to review Plot Summary, so I used a Erin's Plot Pyramid from her Interactive Notebooks.  First we reviewed the points together using Just Plain Fancy.
This is a great story that has a little bit of foreshadowing in the beginning when we see a bouncing van heading down the road with the back door open, and Naomi wishing she could have something fancy, which goes against her Amish beliefs.  I wanted to read a single story with my whole group so I could use it as a mentor text later when I review Author's Craft.  Next week I will be teaching foreshadowing, so we will have a common text to refer back to.  I also need to practice a little more grammar skills, so I will be using it for Mentor Sentence work as well.  

After reading the story and doing a plot pyramid I gave each of my students a different Polacco book to read and complete a new plot pyramid.  This is another reason I love Patricia Polacco!  SO MANY BOOK CHOICES!  I could challenge my high readers with books like Bully, and still provide my struggling students with books like Thundercake.

Then they had to work in groups and share their Polacco stories using the Plot Pyramid.  It gave them great practice in summarizing the book and getting to the point!  I also had them make text to text or text to world connections with the story and back it up with specific evidence from their stories.  Oh the conversations and comparisons!  Be still my beating heart!

Look how engaged they are.  I promise I did not pose them for these pictures!

This week we will begin to do something similar with our novels.  I chose novels that have Multiple Perspectives.  Stop back soon and check out how it is going.

Last but not least, I have joined Pinterest!  Use the Pinterest link in the sidebar to follow me.   I love sharing ideas.  Hope to hear from you soon.


Teacher Appreciation Sale! MAy 6 + 7

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  TpT is having a great sale!

Stop by and grab a few things that have been on your wish list, or pick up a few things to end the school year.  Everything in my store is 20% off and you can get an extra 10% off with the code:  TPTXO.
My Student Survival Kit is a great end of year writing project, and you can display them next August/September for your newbies on the First Day of School.
Or grab up this Algebra bundle at an AMAZING LOW PRICE for 11+ products.  It includes great review and games for math.

I'm just starting our last novels of the year.  They will all be books with multiple perspectives, so I'm going to utilize my Reader Response Rectangles to spark conversation in my groups.  My students are already chattering about them! YAY! 

 Have a great day everyone!


Five for Fraterday! Tests are OVER.. Back to Teaching!

This has been a crazy crazy week of State Assessments!  I am so glad we have finally finished!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for a little  Late  Linky Fun..

1)  This has been our first week back from Spring Break.  It was a fabulous break.. full of sun and softball.  My "24" did an incredible job catching in 5 games in 5 days.  

2)  As I mentioned earlier, we spend most of the week completing our State Assessments for Math.  We take three days of tests.  I have to take down everything math related off my walls, and clear my classroom door.  BORING!  

3) Speaking of testing.  It was REALLY REALLY REALLY difficult test for my students.  Some of the questions I'm sure were embedded field questions, but it was stressful.  Our team assistant, who is incredible made us a Margarita Cake for lunch.  How ironic  when we are currently studying the French Revolution!  Let Them Eat Cake!  Well, not my students, but ME!

4)  Now that we can finally get back to learning, I grabbed a ton of awesome books at the Library Sale at our local library!  LOVE IT.  I'm trying to decide how to code them for my library.  It needs a major overhaul.  Should I write in the Lexile Levels, or go with Guided Reading?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you think is best!

5)  Last, I'm so excited for us to start our last novel groups for the year.  We will be reading books that are from multiple perspectives.  Even though my students will be grouped with similar books, I will be breaking them up in conversation groups as well.  I made a set of Reading Response Rectangles for them to use.  I can't wait to listen in on the conversations!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!  
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