March 31, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs 3.31.15

When Paragraph a Week (PaW) was first developed in the late 1990's, the contributors focused on topics that would yield a single paragraph composition. Many of us taught multiple sections of language arts/English and had our students for more than one school year. We soon realized that we would need a wider range of topics and topics that would challenge our young writers. The next phase of PaW's development was to create topics that would yield multi-paragraph compositions.

This week's FREEBIE PaWs is a multi-paragraph topic. You can download the instruction sheet HERE for use with your students.



Other PaW (Paragraph a Week) FREEBIES currently available can be downloaded below. This list is arranged in no particular manner and contains single and multi-paragraph topics.
Leprechauns
Earth Day
Mother's Day
Finish the Phrase
Nice
National Pencil Month
Favorite Valentine Memory
Bird's Eye View of Spring
Abe and George
Journey of a Snowflake
Color
A Tribute to Johnny Appleseed
School Uniforms
Chocolate Rain
Topics soon to appear during the Tuesday Writing PaWs:
My Favorite Outfit
Good Teacher
Allowance
Favorite Relative


March 30, 2015

Mind-Boggling Monday 3.30.15

So what is mind-boggling this Monday? Easter break! There are just three more mornings to contend with before my kiddos and I are turned loose for a much needed Easter break. Spring has been teasing us with bright sunshine, but Old Man Winter won't let us go with freezing temps and light snow. Easter should mark a definite turning point in the weather and in our hearts and attitudes! Let us hope!

Meanwhile, here's a fun Boggle board to tame the winter blues, cultivate spring's warmth, and encourage Easter hope. Just download the image and project it for you and your students to use.



Not sure how to play Boggle? Click HERE for the original game rules.

Need a Boggle board that you can edit yourself? Click HERE for a free editable board.

Want a variety of editable boards to change with the seasons? Click HERE for a bundle of fifteen.


March 29, 2015

Sunday Scoop 3.29.15

So happy to greet this day! It means there are only four (yes, four) more alarm clocks to deal with until Easter break! YIPPEE! So what's the Sunday Scoop this week?




I have high hopes for the coming week! There are only four days before our Easter break begins. In those four days I REALLY hope that I can get all my teachery jobs done so that I do NOT have to deal with any "work" over the break. Now, if I can bring those hopes to fruition!

Who else is waiting (yet dreading) the season finale of TWD? Soooo wondering what will happen to Daryl! There is evidence that he will die... NOOOOO!

Don't forget to pop on over to The Teaching Trio to read more Sunday Scoops and see what's what in the blogging world of teachers. Have a great week!


March 28, 2015

Sparking Student Motivation in Science Class

Today I'm joining Head Over Heels for Teaching and Teachers Are Terrific for two great linkies!


I primarily teach language arts; however, I do teach one section of science, sixth grade. I LOVE science, always have, and I try to imbue my enthusiasm throughout all my science lessons, and especially try to include something science in everything we do. My students enjoy science, no doubt. However, there is a magic word, that if I mention, really gets them motivated and ready to learn!

S.T.E.M.

S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities are super problem-solving, cooperative learning, higher level thinking skill, single class projects. Generally a problem is posed that student groups must solve using a particular set of materials given some specifications and a few constraints.

I first heard of S.T.E.M. three years ago during a summer inservice. As a school one of our goals was to increase student learning in mathematics. S.T.E.M. activities were seen as a way to make math appear fun and necessary. Teachers were encouraged to incorporate at least one S.T.E.M. activity in their classroom that year. Since then I've collected many activities from across the internet and on Teachers Pay Teachers (both free and paid).

The most recent S.T.E.M. activity that I shared with my sixers is this one I found on TpT by Hello Learning.


Students must design an airplane that will fly at least two aliens to their tropical vacation destination. Working in engineering teams and a budget of just ten dollars, students must complete the task in under an hour. In addition they are encouraged to follow the engineering design method (similar to scientific method) by keeping a design journal.


Notice the intense concentration on my students' faces. I took these pictures on Friday afternoon at 2:10pm... dismissal is 2:15pm. I could not get them to stop! Now that's motivation. If you haven't tried a S.T.E.M. activity yet, be sure to check them out. There is one sure to fit your classroom and students.

My students do still have twenty more minutes of design/work time prior to the official take-off Monday morning. Stop back next week sometime to see the results of this science/engineering challenge. Be sure to stop by Head Over Heels for Teaching to see more motivating classroom ideas and Teachers Are Terrific to see what's happening in science classrooms around the blogging world.



March 27, 2015

Five for Friday... and it's still Friday!


I can NOT remember the last time I made it to Doodle Bug's linky Five for Friday. I have good intentions, but what's that old adage?

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!

Yep, that's it! That's me on Fridays. Perhaps it's the thought of the impending Easter break that has me pumped up: I am full of pep this Friday and ready to blog. Of course, it could've been that hour nap I just awoke from.

For the first time in I don't remember how many years, our students participated in the annual English Festival held at the local branch of Kent State University. Open to all 7/8th graders in the county who choose to participate, the day is full of fun learning activities that celebrate reading, writing, and all things language arts. Students must read six pre-selected novels in order to join the day's activities. Some teachers require all their students to attend the day; however, I chose to make the festival completely voluntary. I am so glad that I did! My five seventh graders read all the books and were so excited to join in whole-heartedly. I am sad to say that there were many students who hadn't read a single book. Needless to say, the day was not a success for them. The above photo is of the session about writing, reading and the internet connection that I presented to the students.


Many of  you are familiar with one of my favorite bloggers (and all around sweetheart) Deb Hanson of Crafting Connections. Deb is the queen of craftivities for students. My fifth graders recently were studying visualizing as a strategy for improving reading comprehension. It was as if Deb knew exactly what I needed, for she added a new product to her store: To Read Is to Visualize Craftivity. The craftivity turned out so nice and really hammered the concept home with a terrific hands-on product. THANKS, Deb, for another great lesson!

I was thoroughly shocked that my sixers had never experienced one of the simple joys of my childhood: tin can phones. We had been studying wave theory in science and learning about many kinds of waves. Using slinkies, yarn, videos, interactive notebook folders, etc. we learned the concepts of sound, light, electromagnetic waves... you know!  I'm not sure how the tin can phones came up in the class discussion, but they did. With that a mini-S.T.E.M. activity was born. Students brought in clean tin cans and I provided the hammer, nail, and yarn. I explained the simple premise and turned the kiddos loose. From a private line (two cans, one on each end of a length of yarn) to a multi-canned party line, which you see above my sixers learned how sound traveled in a practical, fun way! Who needs modern technology and all those gadgets anyway?

Look closely! Can you see it?
Yep, crocuses and daffodils!
Spring at last!

I've been working on a lot of new sets of task cards, chiefly for my fifth graders. They seem to have a difficult time with retaining skills. They do really well learning the material and doing immediate practice and assessment. Return two weeks later and it's like starting over. Every Friday now, right after Flashlight Friday/silent reading time, we Scoot or Scatter our way through reinforcement and practice of previously learned skills. I think I've made seven or eight new sets of cards in the past few weeks. Here's one that I just added to my TpT Store for practicing progressive verb tense. My kids LOVED the task cards and performed well with them. I think part of the reason was that I used their names in the card sentences. You can read more about  the cards HERE.


Be sure to hope on over to Doodle Bugs for Teaching to read more Five for Friday's!



March 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Spring Break


Throwback Thursday at The Teacher's Desk will be on Spring Break for a few weeks.
This weekly linky will return in Mid-April with more memories and LOTS of fun!
Until then... enjoy your own Spring Break!




March 24, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs: Strange Rain

Yesterday for Mind-Boggling Monday I mentioned the changeable, strange weather we have been having in NE Ohio. In keeping with a weather theme, this week's Writing PaWs is entitled "Strange Rain." Over the many years that I used Paragraph a Week in my classroom this was by far the favorite topic. I hope you and your students enjoy it as much as my students and I have. You can download your instruction sheet HERE.


Other PaW (Paragraph a Week) FREEBIES currently available can be downloaded below.
Leprechauns
Earth Day
Mother's Day
Finish the Phrase
Nice
National Pencil Month
Favorite Valentine Memory
Bird's Eye View of Spring
Abe and George
Journey of a Snowflake
Color
A Tribute to Johnny Appleseed
School Uniforms
Topics soon to appear during the Tuesday Writing PaWs:
My Favorite Outfit
Good Sub



March 23, 2015

Mind-Boggling Monday: Grades and Weather

So, what's mind-boggling this week? The weather for one! Mind you, I am not really complaining. I just am boggled. It was beautifully warm and sunny last week with temps in the 50's, early spring-like weather. Now it's dingy and cold again with temps in the 20's.  What else is mind-boggling? Grades! I can NOT believe that the third grading period is over. Tonight I have to prepare my online gradebook for printing report cards! Sigh! Where has the time gone... truly mind-boggling!

Here's this week's Boggle board to help you and your kiddos overcome anything mind-boggling in your classroom. A round of Boggle can clear the colly-wobbles, create a brain break, and set the stage for some serious word work! Just download the image and project it for your students and you to use.


Not sure how to play Boggle? Click HERE for the original game rules.

Need a Boggle board that you can edit yourself? Click HERE for a free editable board.

Want a variety of editable boards to change with the seasons? Click HERE for a bundle of fifteen.


March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Fun Reminder


What is Throwback Thursday? How does it work, you might ask? Simply look through your PURR-fect Previous Posts, perhaps a particular favorite of yours, and re-post it! Purr-fectly easy and simple! Your post doesn't have to be from LOOOONNNGGG ago; it can be from last month or even earlier this week. And if you don't have a post to share, perhaps an old photo or two from WAY BACK will do! Even a favorite pin is PURR-fect! Just join in the Throwback fun!



This was such a fun activity to prepare and implement. I was so happy to unearth this older post from March 23, 2013; it serves as a great reminder.

As I posted earlier in the week, my sixers have been hitting the parts of speech pretty hard lately, at least the identification part. They do very well when each part of speech is worked in isolation, they do well when two or three are practiced at one time, but when we look at all of them together... uh oh! Some of my kiddos have even been staying after school- voluntarily- to get in extra practice. They've done worksheets, quizzes, lessons galore and are getting a bit ho-hum with the practice.

So to perk things up a bit this week, that LOOOOOONG week just before a break, we are going to have a Parts of Speech (POS) Round-up on Tuesday morning.  I've been gathering the materials and organizing everything for the past few days. Today it's all ready, except for the laminating (that's Monday morning). 

Here's how it will work. Instead of a regular Language Arts class I'll be setting up six stations, one per table, around the room. Each table will house one activity for practicing the parts of speech. Students will rotate every fifteen minutes until they have visited each station and completed the activity. 

The stations are as follows:


1. POST... a card game (available in my TpT store) for up to six players in which each player brainstorms a list of words for randomly selected part of speech beginning with a particular letter

2. Mystery Pictures based on the fowl tempered friends with whom my sixers love playing. These are available in my TpT store.

3. Egg-cellent Verbs and Egg-citing Sentences... identifying verb tenses and writing sentences with randomly selected verbs that are hidden inside of Easter eggs

4. Parts of Speech Dice... purchased from Amazon, that require students to write sentences using particular parts of speech

5. MadLibs... Easter stories, collected from across the internet, to be completed by providing missing parts of speech

6. Parts of Speech Computer Battleship... the familiar board game turned digital at Quia Quiz site

Tuesday's Round-up should make it a little more fun when practicing the parts of speech. It should also help to make the day pass more quickly... ONE MORE DAY CLOSER TO EASTER BREAK! Can you tell I'm ready?


Although I still have a little time left before Easter break this year, I am planning ahead for those days just prior to vacation, those days when students and teachers alike are anxious to be away from school, enjoying the spring weather. A round-up is the PERFECT activity for this time!

Now it's your turn for a Throwback!


March 17, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs

As PaW (Paragraph a Week) took shape in the late 90's, members of the 5-6Connection shared possible topics on a regular basis. Often the topics reflected "hot trends" in the field of education. One trending topic back in the day was that of school uniforms. Public schools were discussing and/or implementing uniforms for their students. Since I teach in a Catholic school uniforms are not a trend they are a FOUNDATION! They just are!
Our uniforms offer a small variety of color and style.
This week's Writing PaWs is all about uniforms. Should they or shouldn't they be? You can download your PaW instruction sheet HERE.


Other PaW (Paragraph a Week) FREEBIES currently available can be downloaded below.
Leprechauns
Earth Day
Mother's Day
Finish the Phrase
Nice
National Pencil Month
Favorite Valentine Memory
Bird's Eye View of Spring
Abe and George
Journey of a Snowflake
Color
A Tribute to Johnny Appleseed
Topics soon to appear during the Tuesday Writing PaWs:
My Favorite Outfit
Raining Chocolate


March 16, 2015

Mind-Boggling Monday 3.16.15

Mondays are ALWAYS mind-boggling to me! I am not a morning person to begin with, top that with two days on the weekend where I don't have to follow a schedule and can sleep whenever I choose, and you end up with a boggled mind. Many of my sixers seem to suffer from this same syndrome. Monday mornings are quiet, slow-moving, and just plain hard... even for THOSE kids! You know which ones I mean!

One way to combat the Monday morning MIND-boggle is to grEet your class with a game of Boggle instead of the typical morning work. Here's a board that's perfect for this third week of March. Download the board as you would any image and project it for your kiddos to play use.



Not sure how to play Boggle? Click HERE for the original game rules.

Need a Boggle board that you can edit yourself? Click HERE for a free editable board.

Want a variety of editable boards to change with the seasons? Click HERE for a bundle of fifteen.


March 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: St. Pat's Take Three


What is Throwback Thursday? How does it work, you might ask? Simply look through your PURR-fect Previous Posts, perhaps a particular favorite of yours, and re-post it! Purr-fectly easy and simple! Your post doesn't have to be from LOOOONNNGGG ago; it can be from last month or even earlier this week. And if you don't have a post to share, perhaps an old photo or two from WAY BACK will do! Even a favorite pin is PURR-fect! Just join in the Throwback fun!



This post first appeared at The Teacher's Desk 6 on March 11, 2013.

I've been a fan of Classroom Freebies and Classroom Freebies Too for quite some time. In fact, it was these two blogs that encouraged me to turn from a traditional website to a blog myself. I've followed Manic Monday nearly every week, checking out what's available, who the bloggers are, and downloading MANY wonderful products. Now that The Teacher's Desk 6 blog is up and running, it's time for me to be an active participant in Manic Monday. I'm offering a St. Patrick's Day Take Three. This is a simple activity that is easily adapted to nearly any grade. I'll be using this with my fifth and sixth graders this week, and our fourth grade teacher is using it with her students. My kiddos will be doing some quick internet research, writing sentences and paragraphs, and doing some spontaneous speeches about the material. It's a great filler activity, homework assignment, cooperative group project, etc. I hope you can find some use for it. You can download it HERE, or by clicking on the link below the graphic.



Now it's your turn to post a Throwback.





March 10, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs: Making Writing A-peeling!

Routine can sometimes become tedious, to use my kiddos' word... BORING! And the last thing teachers want is for writing to become boring. PaW (Paragraph a Week) is a routine writing program; that's its special purpose, writing each week, regularly! One way we tried to overcome the "boring" factor was to include fun, timely, kid-friendly topics that celebrated unusual birthdays, events, or holidays.

This week's FREEBIE PaW requires students to write a descriptive paragraph honoring the life of John Chapman by writing about APPLES! Click HERE to download your copy of the PaW sheet.


Other PaW (Paragraph a Week) FREEBIES currently available can be downloaded below.
Leprechauns
Earth Day
Mother's Day
Finish the Phrase
Nice
National Pencil Month
Favorite Valentine Memory
Bird's Eye View of Spring
Abe and George
Journey of a Snowflake
Color
Topics soon to appear during the Tuesday Writing PaWs:
My Favorite Outfit
School Uniforms

Looking for some fun ELA activities to round out your celebration of John Chapman?


This is a bundle of three fun and engaging ELA activities (each is sold separately in my TpT Store, but by purchasing this bundle rather than the individual files you are receiving a considerable savings). The items span a range of interests while being centered on a theme. Perfect for any Johnny Appleseed celebration, the activities can be used as part of a literacy center (QR Codes are provided for self-checking), for homework, or whole class involvement.

The bundle contains the following items:

Johnny Appleseed SCOOT... 20 task cards to practice revising sentences for punctuation, capitalization, and spelling

Johnny Appleseed ZAP!... a fast paced game to practice fact vs. opinion statements

Johnny Appleseed Mystery Picture... a printable worksheet for identifying parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions)




March 9, 2015

Mind-Boggling Monday: Testing, Argh!

What has my mind boggled this Monday? PARCC testing, that's what!

 Because I teach in a Catholic school our students are not mandated to take the PARCC tests. However, our students that are on special state-funded scholarships are required to complete this new test. This means that when I am supposed to be teaching a particular class, as many as half the students may be out testing. It has boggled my mind for sure AND...there is one more week to go! Just breathe, Angela!

One way I've been coping is doing a LOT of review and reinforcement of previously taught skills. Task cards have been my friend. Here you see two seventh graders practicing point of view with Deb Hanson's task cards.


Another way that I have been coping is holding daily Boggle competitions. Here's the board we'll be using in sixth grade on testing day this week. It's free for you to download and play with your students as well. Just right click the image and save it to your device. You can project it or print it for your students to use.

This board honors Johnny Appleseed who died March 11, 1845.
Not sure how to play Boggle? Click HERE for the original game rules.

Need a Boggle board that you can edit yourself? Click HERE for a free editable board.

Want a variety of editable boards to change with the seasons? Click HERE for a bundle of fifteen.