Working on Poetry? Let's Try Some Thematic Poetry

We've been working on Lucy Calkin's Poetry Unit and we've been trying to get a good grasp on how to read and write poetry.  So we took a few minutes to go to google and look for sites that would help us get a leg up on writing poetry.  Anyhoo, we found this website and the kids had a blast working on it with their Chromebooks and iPads.  This will guide you step by step so that your kids can create poetry.  I put these shots up on my smartboard.

So this was our final poem!

Enjoy!  Jenn


Rigorous, Fun Centers with Zero Prep Time!

Hey friends - Denise from SunnyDays here!

So, one night after spending endless hours printing, cutting laminating and sorting things for the upcoming week, I honestly started to think there has got to be a better way! Now at the same time,  I've been mulling over the fact that we were recently told by a common core implementation team that we need to bump up the rigor of our independent centers. I honestly can't argue with them there.

So true story, later that night while in the shower, inspiration struck me like a thunderbolt! I think I figured out a way to make at least some of my centers easier to prep while providing both rigor and engaging activities for the kids. I'm calling them EZ Prep See-it Centers. EZ Prep for you, See-it for the kids. All you have to do is print out ONE page for the center and and answer sheet for the kids - and done! This is from the preview, it explains the whole idea. You can download the preview here.

Since that original post, I've created EZ Prep Centers for  Beach and CampingFall,  Winter FunBowling and Day at the Park, Pirate Adventure and Undersea Fantasy and a FREE Back to School version.

Here's a peek at my newest set, which happens to be my favorite. It's a great one to use at any point in the year and it's going to captivate both boys and girls with the fantasy scenes.

All you have to do is make one color copy of the scene you decide to work with first and then copy the ELA or Math answer sheet for the kids. That's it! Each set contains 2 ELA and 2 Math centers, so really if you use one a week, it will last you all month. These also work great for an early finisher activity. I also have one in my emergency sub folder with the directions to project the scene and let the kids collaborate on the answer sheet. That, by the way, is a great method to introduce the centers to the kids for the first time.

Along with the scene and answer sheets for the kids, I've also created answer keys for you with possible answers. These are really valuable to help you train the kids for how to find what they're looking for. It may be odd at first for a kid to try to list 10 verbs they see when there are no words in the picture! They pick it up fast though and this center has a ridiculously high engagement factor compared to matching cards and writing sets of answers.

Hope you dig this idea as much as I do. I'd love to know what you think!


Fun with Graphing {And a Freebie!}

Hi, Owl friends!  Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend!  It's Day one of my Spring Break, so I'm on cloud nine!  

I'm excited to share one of my favorite resources with you!  It's a graphing pack that helps the kiddos practice:

- counting data
- creating a bar graph
- analyzing data 

Here's a closer look at one of the packs:

Each pack comes with three versions.  I wanted to differentiate the graphs to fit the needs of my first graders.

Here's a peek at Version A:

Version B:

Version C:

One tip that always helps my kiddos is using three different colors for the three different pictures on each graph.  It's a great way to keep things organized.  

You can check out the pack by clicking {HERE} or on the Zoo Pals pic above.  I hope your kids enjoy these graphing packs as much as mine have!  It's the perfect way to offer constant practice for a tricky skill.


Drama in the Classroom

Aloha! It's Nicole from Teaching With Style!

I shared some pretty big news on my Facebook page this week - I'm moving to 5th grade next year! Not only am I changing grade levels, but I am changing schools once again.  This time, I'm moving to our neighborhood school.  My commute will go from 21 miles to 1 mile! I can't wait and am hoping to stay there for a long, long time!

My new school uses some strategies that are new to me, so I've been brushing up.  They are REALLY big on using drama in the classroom to teach vocabulary and demonstrate comprehension kinesthetically and cooperatively.

One main strategy they use is tableau vivant, or just tableau, which means "living picture" in French.  In a tableau, students use their bodies to create a still picture to show the meaning of the concept they are working on.  They usually do not move or do not talk, they need to only rely on their gestures, body position, and facial features. 

You can learn more about teaching tableau here, here, and here.

Earlier this year I went to a drama workshop in Honolulu and learned about tableau.  As an intro to drama integration, we learned a technique called snapshots.  In a snapshot, students work individually to convey a message.  This is low-risk because all students are doing it at once and only the teacher should be looking around the room and seeing what the students are doing.  The easiest way to get started with this strategy is to use it when teaching Language Arts vocabulary.

To get started, you need to teach students "actor's neutral".  They should be standing straight with their arms at their sides, facing forward, not talking.  They are also facing away from the teacher or the front of the room.

Next, teach the students that when you say ON, students will turn around and assume their pose to show the vocabulary word.  When you say OFF, they will go back to Actor's Neutral and turn around.  Students need to control their bodies, not flop on the floor or fall over.  They need to also be quiet.  There is no talking in Snapshot. 

Practice ON/OFF with emotions (such as happy, sad, embarrassed, confused), verbs (such as beg or demand) and adjectives (such as bumpy and slippery). 

Call on volunteers to demonstrate their Snapshots to the class and start a discussion about what they did with their bodies to show us the vocabulary word.

Do you integrate arts strategies already? Could you see yourself using Snapshot? Let me know!


Making Art with Air

Hey y'all! It's Rachel from the tattooed teacher and I wanted to share a little art activity we do each year during our weather and air unit!

Sort of by accident I discovered bubbles make great weather art! We were blowing bubbles at recess one time and just seeing all the little spots on the concrete were they'd popped gave me an idea. So the next day we tried it...outside. Nope. Bubbles everywhere but the paper! So we ended up inside!

I had luck with mixing dish detergent, paint, and water to make the perfect blend to blow bubbles and have the pop onto our paper for a little art. This year for the life of me I could not get the mixture right, but we worked with what we had! Each student came over to the sink and blew as many bubbles onto their paper as they wanted. I tried to keep them from smearing and dripping, but they make for interesting pictures regardless. Sometimes I just gotta let go!
So here's my recipe for success...ok, here's my materials list!

After they dried all morning and we watched a little weather clip, I guided them through writing what type of weather their picture reminded them of. You can’t see my bubble picture in the shot, but it just had 2 perfectly popped bubbles with a little bit of “shrapnel” all over. I asked them to tell their reader about the “what”{the weather} and the “why” {they chose it}. I really love how different and unique they are, too!

Here's a little freebie to write their descriptions on! It doesn't have to be about weather either!

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