April 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Page Poetry


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!


Today is the last day of April, National Poetry Month, so I thought I'd share one of my all time favorite poetry lesson: Page Poetry. This post originally appeared on The Teacher's Desk 6 on April 30, 2013.

During the month of April my sixers and I have been reading, writing, and ENJOYING poetry! What began as groans after Spring break has turned into eager cries of "What kind of poem are we gonna do today, Ms. A.?"

So far we've enjoyed highly formalized poems such as haiku, tanka, and diamonte; explored rhyme scheme with couplets, quatrains, limericks, and clerihew; and giggled, laughed, and been left speechless by free verse and dada.  "What is dada?" you say. Hmmm? Better than I trying to explain this most unusual poetry format, try your hand at a dada poem here:


A poem similar to dada is a Page Poem. I had never seen this type of poetry until I stumbled upon it on Pinterest. Pinterest? Ah, what would I do without Pinterest? Here's what I pinned about Page Poetry.










I absolutely fell in LOVE with Page Poetry. Crazy and deviant as dada, Page Poetry calls for great visual creativity, not something added as an after thought, but art that is essential to the meaning (if you can call it that) of the poem. Some Page Poems appeared to be random ramblings of strange, twisted minds while others appeared well thought out and planned. I can do this, I thought! My sixers can do this! And so they did and with great fun, great thought, great sharing, and great discussion.

I introduced Page Poetry to my sixers by sharing my Pinterest Pins and visiting some of the websites. Fresh from creating dada poems, they were hooked and couldn't wait to begin. Next we began looking through our library for a book that might lend itself to creativity and fun. It also had to be a book that was well loved, meaning it was ready to fall apart. We hit the jackpot with an old copy of one of the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books. With some sadness at having to destroy the book, I ceremoniously began tearing out pages at random and passing them to my sixers with great dramatic flair. From there my sixers spent quite some time reading and rereading their given page, searching for just the right words.

Once the words were chosen, they had to decide how to present their poems, how elaborate would the page appear? Some simply used black pens to circle the words and draw directional lines, some added color, others added textured lines, while others utilized multiple colors, shapes, and designs.

 These are just a very few of the Page Poems created by my students. Enjoy!



Now it's your turn for a Throwback post.




April 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Book Club

I'm joining Miss DeCarbo for...


Do any of you facilitate "after school" student book clubs? If so, what are yours like? What do you read? What do you do? This is something new we are doing this year. Several very dedicated parents and I invited all interested 5-7th graders to join us in reading quality literature, snacking, and going on literary excursions. Here we are on an excursion to a local Underground Railroad local museum. So fun and so educational!




April 28, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs: Mother's Day

Paragraph a Week (PaW) was initially developed before commercial writing programs became popular and was designed to foster a writing routine along with teaching necessary writing skills. Routine can be good, developing consistent habits, but it can also become a bit "boring". Therefore, the group of PaW creators tried to include a wide variety of topics in many genre to keep students motivated and interested in their writing. They tried to provide students with choices within a single topic. The following PaW topic regarding Mother's Day (fast approaching) is one that allows for some student choice. You can download your FREE instruction sheet HERE.


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
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
Good Substitute Teacher
Earth Day

Topics soon to appear during the Tuesday Writing PaWs:
My Favorite Outfit
Good Teacher
Allowance


April 27, 2015

Mind Boggling Monday: 27 Days and Counting

So, what's mind-boggling this fine Monday? TWENTY-SEVEN days, that's what! Twenty-seven days to finish all the things that should get finished, all the projects, all the plans, field trips, special Masses, Fun Day, Awards Day, etc.  EEK! How will we fit it all in?

Plus, I will be moving rooms. Our enrollment is increasing each year... what a blessing! It means that we are adding additional grades; next year we will have two kindergarten, two first grade, and two second grade homerooms. As a result the fifth, sixth, and seventh grade classrooms are moving down the hallway to the high school wing to make room for the primary grades. Where are the high schoolers going? To the new addition! The mind-boggling question: when will the move take place? Now, when we return in August, or at mid-semester next year (if by chance the new addition is not finished on time.) Mind-boggling indeed!

In the meantime... just enjoy the final days of this school year! One way to do that is to play some fun review games and skill building activities with students. One great activity to try in your classroom is Boggle. Here's a Boggle board to get you started. Simply download the image to your computer and project it for your students to use as morning work, a literacy center, a brain break, etc.

Background courtesy of Creative Clips

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 blank boggle board template for your students to use with classroom boggle? Click HERE.

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



April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday Returns with a FREEBIE for the Fifth of May


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 originally appeared on The Teacher's Desk 6 on April 26, 2013.

The CCSS ELA calls for students to demonstrate command of standard English grammar when speaking and writing. At nearly all grade levels identification and usage of specific parts of speech are listed in the standards. My sixth graders (and my fifth graders) hate to practice the nitty gritty skills of Language Arts such as this, but turn it into a game or make it a fun activity like coloring mystery pictures and you've got them hooked!

Here's a parts of speech mystery picture for the upcoming holiday of Cinco de Mayo. My students, both fivers and sixers, are learning Spanish and will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo as part of their study. This mystery picture "The Fifth of May" requires students to identify nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, and prepositions. You can download it HERE, or by clicking on the link below the picture.




Now it's your turn for a Throwback!







April 21, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs 4.21.15 Earth Day

For this week's Tuesday Writing PaWs I'm sharing a topic that appeared nearly two years ago on this blog. It was one of the first times that I mentioned Paragraph a Week and one of the first freebies that I ever offered. This week's topic is in honor of Earth Day and involves the skill of writing in a specific letter format (a two-fer lesson, the best kind in my estimation). You can download the instruction sheet HERE for use in your classroom.



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
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
Good Substitute Teacher
Topics soon to appear during the Tuesday Writing PaWs:
My Favorite Outfit
Good Teacher
Allowance


April 20, 2015

Mind Boggling Monday 4.20.15 Autism Awareness

So what is mind-boggling this spring Monday? Just how many wonderful, teacher bloggers there are in the bloggy world, that's what is! Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month? And that Melanie over at the Teacher's Lounge arranged a TERRIFIC product round-up to help generate funds for Austism Speaks. SOOOO MANY teacher bloggers have generously donated products to create bundles for this worthy fundraiser.


Here's just a sneak peak at ONE of the FIVE bundles available for purchase! It is chock full of awesome teaching products. You can purchase this bundle valued at over $82.00 for just $20.00 on Teachers Pay Teachers.


If you visit the Teacher's Lounge you'll find something for all levels and content areas. Make sure that you visit and grab a bundle by April 30, 2015. After that they will no longer be available.

Meanwhile, grab this Boggle board by downloading the image to your device and projecting it for your students to play use during morning work or for a literacy center.

Clip art courtesy of Creative Clips by Krista Wallden

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 blank boggle board template for your students to use with classroom boggle? Click HERE.

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


April 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: What Are You Teaching?

I'm so happy that Wordless Wednesday has returned over at Miss DeCarbo's blog! I enjoy seeing all the photos and great ideas shared by blogging teachers. Be sure to stop by and check our this fun linky.


There are only 35 more alarm clocks left to this school year (I love teaching but hate the rude awakening from the alarm clock, thus how I do the year end countdown). YIKES! That is not much time!

What are you teaching during this last part of the school year?


Besides doing LOTS of skills review (the above pic shows our classroom ELA Easter Egg Hunt) we will be covering informational text features, characteristics of folk literature, and poetry... all my favorites... saving the best for last!



April 14, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs 4.14.15: Favorite Relative

One feature of Paragraph of Week (PaW) was its intent to not only present a topic to write about but to also teach elements of good writing. Often within the text of the topic were specific writing skills as you can see from this week's FREE writing PaWs. Notice the first paragraph of the instruction sheet contains text that explains what a good paragraph should contain. You can download your FREE PaW topic sheet HERE.



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
Good Substitute Teacher
Topics soon to appear during the Tuesday Writing PaWs:
My Favorite Outfit
Good Teacher
Allowance

April 13, 2015

Mind Boggling Monday 4.13.15

What's mind-boggling this Monday? A return to classes after Easter break! I LOVE my kiddos, but it's that alarm clock ringing at 5:20 A.M. that truly boggles my mind.  So what's a teacher to do?

A perfect way to clear the boggled mind is with a game of Boggle. It's fun, it's educational, and it will engage your students immediately while you get yourself back into your morning routine. Just download the gameboard and project it for your students to use as bell work. SIMPLE!


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 blank boggle board template for your students to use with classroom boggle? Click HERE.

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


April 4, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: S.T.E.M. Part Two

Last week I blogged about a S.T.E.M. activity that really sparked my students' motivation when I joined Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her weekly linky...


This week I am once again going to write about S.T.E.M. (Science, Technoogy, Engineering, and Math) activities. They are probably the best hands-down, single motivating activity that I do with my sixers. Say "S.T.E.M" and they are all over it! They constantly beg to do S.T.E.M. activities. Why? They are fun and packed full of learning (but don't tell my kiddos that).

Last week the S.T.E.M. activity that we were involved with dealt with designing an aircraft that would transport aliens to their dream vacation. You can read more about it HERE. At the time of the blog post, we had only finished about three-fourths of the project. Basically we had time to design and build the aircraft, but we still needed to run the safety trials and the actual TEST, meaning did the students meet the challenge posed to them.

Listen in to this group as they make plans for their airplane. They had just researched how a plane flies. Notice the concentration, the problem-solving, and the scientific principles of flight they are incorporating. They didn't care about all that, they simply thought they were having a competition to see whose plane would fly the farthest!


And here you see photos of the TEST to see which aircraft was the best!
Because my sixers completed the Alien Aircraft S.T.E.M. activity so well and had so much fun while doing it, I decided to do another S.T.E.M. activity this past Thursday, the day before Easter break. I needed something that would totally engage my kiddos and keep them learning! This is what I chose...


Did it motivate my sixers to learn on the last day before break? Judge for yourselves.

There is no video to listen in on this activity; however, I can relate many of the topics that were discussed in the student design groups: simple machines (the lever), trajectory, force, Newton's Laws, mechanical engineering, gravity, fricton.... Whoop, whoop! They were using the concepts they had learned in Science class on their own! Score another one for S.T.E.M. activities!

Be sure to stop by Head Over Heels for Teaching for more Sparking Student Motivation posts. I always find great ideas during Joanne's lnky party.