October 21, 2013

Match Hunt--A quick, easy and engaging way to review any topic!

Happy Monday Everyone!

Today (for me) begins one of the longest weeks in a teacher's life!

Yep---you guessed it--conference week!!!!

Now lets get real....when it comes to conference week--you have to plan things that are:

1. Easy to manage
2. Require little grading
3. Engaging for the students
4. QUICK to plan and to put together

Here is an idea that is all of those things!!  All you need---literally--is a stack of note cards, your brain and a pencil.

Using your fabulous teacher brain--come up with a topic that could be great for review.  It could be math (fractions, long division, multiplication, decimals, etc.) or reading (fact and opinions, cause and effect, prefixes, suffixes and roots) or even social studies (states and capitals, historical figures, etc).

Once you have your topic in mind; come up with review questions and their answers.

Split the deck of cards in half.  On the first half of the cards--write the question.  On the second half of the cards---write the answer.

For example: This week my 6th grade math group is reviewing the process of changing improper fractions to mixed numbers, and mixed numbers to improper fractions.  So---I came up with a bunch of improper fractions and their matching mixed number.

Once you have the stack of cards filled out with your review questions and their corresponding answer--all you have to do is play the Match Hunt Game!!  

Take the filled out cards and spread them ALL OVER your classroom in plain sight, with questions and answers face down.

When you say "Go," all students will walk around the room looking for matches.  They simply pick up one card and hunt around the room for the matching question or answer.  

When they think they have a match--they come to you to verify!  If they have a match---they get a point, and they start the hunt again until all cards have been matched up.  

Seriously this game is so easy and the kids love it!!!  It's perfect for conference week!!

And now for a shameless plug.....I finished another group of interactive notebook pages. This particular group includes some awesome foldables for making inferences.   Check them out if interested!

Have a great week!!


October 13, 2013

Eraser Challenge

I typically try to keep my blog posts upbeat and positive....because that is who I am.  I love being cheerful, carefree and lighthearted , but unfortunately tonight I must take a different approach.  As I type this blog post my heart is not light and happy...but rather full of concern.   The cause of  my despair is called "The Eraser Challenge."   Have any of you heard of it?  If you have any interest you can type "Eraser Challenge" into YouTube and see what pops up.  I would have embedded a video into this post...but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Basically the "Eraser Challenge" is a dare that students give to one another.  The students take an eraser and see how long they can rub it on their skin before the pain becomes intolerable. Sometimes students spell the alphabet with their eraser or try and sing a whole song in their head before they stop.  As you can imagine the friction of the eraser on the skin creates a terrible burn.  This burn then turns to a scab and in some cases a scar.

Like I said....I hate being so downcast, yet I feel it is important that we as educators stay informed on what could potentially put our students in danger.  The "Eraser Challenge" is a form of self harm and should be addressed if you see any signs.  We have a fabulous counselor and principal at our school....as I am sure you all do to.   I would highly, highly, highly recommend any signs be reported to your school counselor or principal...this way we can make sure our kids stay safe. :)

Now....let me end on a positive note. I am so, so, so, sooooooooo proud of my sister!  Today she ran her very first marathon. We are talking 26 miles....of straight running!  Yeah-----running....for 26 miles! Impressive!

My sister's first marathon!!  We kind of look alike, don't we??? 

 I also was able to complete two products for TPT.  The first one is a pack of ELA centers for Halloween. Whenever it gets close to the holidays I want to have fun with my kiddos, but I want to make sure they are doing something educational at the same time.  I plan on using this pack with my intervention kiddos.  Included in the pack are two great fluency activities, some grammar games, writing prompts and an informational text on the history of Halloween.  I must say I learned a lot when while researching the history of Halloween.  :)

The second product I finished was more interactive notebook pages.  These pages are all about getting kids to think about their thinking.  Hello metacognition! :)  The pages can be used with any text--and are perfect for comprehension! :)

I hope everyone has a great Columbus Day tomorrow!


October 9, 2013

Syllable Spelling---This free resource will change your life!! :)

Wow....so MTSS Symposium was sooooooo long  ago!  Time flies when you are having fun (or maybe just really busy?!?!)....

Anyway, I promised I would blog about several of the sessions I attended.  I mean, I couldn't just not share---the information.  It is too great not to be shared with the world (or maybe the select few who read my blog).

One of the first sessions I attended was presented by Dr. Deb Glaser.  Dr Glaser is a leading researcher in reading instruction and has published a variety of books on various reading and instructional topics.  Her session was titled Reading Routines for Grades 2-4.  She provided our group with tips and tricks on small group lesson formats, spelling routines and fluency practice. 

The topic that most hit home with me were her spelling routines. I have always wanted to incorporate some sort of spelling practice into my small group lessons...but couldn't find a strategy I liked best .  I am so glad I attended this session, because Dr. Glaser was able to connect spelling to my idea of a whole reader.  :)
If you get a chance you should hop over to Dr. Glasers's website.  There she has some great links and information.

Here is her fabulous weekly spelling routine:

Day 1--Syllable Spelling--I LOVE THIS!!

    • Step 1--say the multi-syllable word to students in syllable chunks.  As you are saying the chunked word, students will place dots in the bottom of the boxes for each syllable they hear.  Example: "re....main.....der"
    • Step 2--Say the multi-syllable word again.  Students will attempt to spell each syllable.  The syllable should be placed above the dot they drew in step one. 
    • Step 3--Check and correct the syllables with students.
    • Step 4--write the whole word "squished together" in the grey box.
    • Step 5--Teach and define meaningful prefixes, suffixes and roots
    An example of a completed syllable spelling page.  
Day 2
    • Cut out the words written in the grey section of the paper and practice saying the words
    • Use the words in a meaningful sentence. 
    • Place the cut up words in a plastic bag, and put in a safe place

Day 3
  • Partner students up.
  • Use two sets of words and play a concentration game
Day 4
  • Students lay words out in front of them
  • Teachers give students a clue to describe a particular word
    • Example: this word has a prefix, this word means...., this word's synonym is....
  • Students must locate the word and correctly say the word
Day 5
  • Students practice writing the words.
    • Use marker boards and do this whole class
    • Pair students up and have them quiz one another

The second I got back from MTSS Symposium I started this spelling routine with my tier 3 students.  I love how this strategy reinforces decoding techniques and provides students with a strategy on how to spell difficult words.

If you are interested in the syllable spelling page or some example lists of multi-syllabic words--- click the picture below which will take you to my TPT store.  At my TPT store, you can get this resource for free!  You should totally take advantage of this---it will seriously change your life!