Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Great Free Resources to Help Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month


Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th through October 15th each year. When I taught ESL students at my school in Anchorage more than 30% of my bilingual students were Hispanic. I also had a tutor from the Dominican Republic and would not have survived my 9 years without him. Cerami was the warmest and kindest man and gave so much to our school, the parents and the community. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage month was always something we looked forward to. Cerami would organize a faculty luncheon with yummy Hispanic food, the music teacher would teach Hispanic songs and all the classes would add art work or reports to our display at the main office hallway. Our students would learn about famous Hispanic Americans that contributed so much to our country. Having so many students from the Dominican they all wanted to grow up to be Sammy Sosa. Of course the celebration would not be complete without my teaching my students the Macarena and inviting the Director of Elementary Education to come and dance with us, which she did. In case you would like to teach it to your students , here's a "How To" video.
                          

 There are some wonderful websites where you can find great resources such as Smithsonian Education. You can access it by clicking on the image below.


You can find more resources and lessons at Education World. Just click on the image below:

How about some interactive whiteboard games by Scholastic? Just click below.

I always had my students make a Hispanic Country Book. Even if they were very limited in their speaking or writing abilities they could draw their country's map, flag, and special foods. You can get a free copy by clicking on the image below. Check out this great website for finding information about the 21 Hispanic American Countries.of Origin. Your students will find lots of information for their country report on this website.

You can check out my complete "Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month" Unit by clicking on the picture below. I have just revised and updated it. It includes an original Shared Reading Book, Reading Texts and Comprehension Questions at the 2nd and 3rd grade levels, Picture/Fact cards, Writing Activities and more. Please download the preview to see all the materials and activities in this unit.
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Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.





What kinds of activities do you do to cerebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?


Monday, September 24, 2012

Integrating ELA CCSS with a Fun Fall Tree Journal

I always loved science in school. It is the one subject that teachers to all learning styles and most kids love all the hands on activities. Many schools have a Family Science Night with great science stations for the whole family to do together. If you are thinking about doing one you need to check out Education World's tips for making it fun and successful by clicking on the image above. One of the tips was to provide a list of simple activities that parents and children can explore together at home. When I was putting my new Unit Fall Leaves, Fall Leaves Shared Reading, Guided Reading and Writing Unit together, I decided to include to integrate A Science Journal about Fall Trees that students can do not only at school but also as a family activity at home.

I love fall and love to see all the beautiful leaves turning colors on the trees. I was fortunate to have grown   up in New York and spent many years in New England and Mid Atlantic states and always looked forward to fall . Now I live in Northern Florida and miss the many weeks of seeing all the beautiful reds, oranges and yellows lining the streets where I live. Whether you live in a warm climate or not taking a walk outside to observe the trees and having students draw and write about what they observe over time would be a great way to integrate science and language arts.
 After reading lots of books about fall give each student a different color piece of yarn , string or label and go outside. Have students pick a tree they want to observe and tie a string, yarn around a branch or mark their tree. Have them observe the leaves on their tree. Then come back to the room and give each one their Tree Journal. For Kindergartners they can just draw their tree and 1st graders can draw and write about their tree. Add as many pages as you need for each time that you take them outside to do their observation. It would also be a great activity to send home for parents to do with their children to continue the activity. You can download your free copy by clicking in the image above. If you would like to see more of my K-1 Unit on Fall Leaves, Fall Leaves, just click on the image below.


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Hope you have some beautiful fall trees for your students to observe.
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.






What fall activities do you like to do with your students?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Common Core Curriculum Maps Book Study: Kindergarten: Unit 6



HOORAY! All your hard work throughout the year helping your students build their phonemic awareness and phonic skills and  has paid off and they are reading their emergent readers. Here we are at Unit 6 Wonders of Nature: Plants, Bugs, and Frogs. This unit looks so exciting for Kindergartners now that they hopefully have reached the emergent-reader stage and are enjoying reading informational texts and listening to wonderful picture books by Eric Carle and Robert McClosky during Read Alouds. You might want to begin by showing a picture of Claude Monet's "Water Lilies" and ask them how it makes them feel?  (Essential question for Unit 6: "How does nature inspire us as readers, writers and artists?") Show other pictures of beautiful mountains, fall trees,  rainbows and sunsets and talk about the beautiful colors and other adjectives that describe them. How does nature change the way the mountains and the leaves on the trees look. Those are just a few of the Wonders of Nature. 


                                           "Water Lilies" by Claude Monet

You can use the paintings of Claude Monet's Water Lilies  (click on the picture above) to explain that he painted it over and over again revising it until he had the finished product. Relate this idea to students that we do the same thing when we write. We revise stories to make them better by adding more details. Have students write or draw or dictate a story about something amazing they have seen in nature and the name of what they saw, where they saw it and 2 events that happened.. Examples: a firefly, in my backyard, I ran after it and it landed on my arm and then I screamed. (W.K.3) Publish your students' writing in a digital form by scanning them into your computer and making a PowerPoint presentation  that can be presented to their parents as a culminating writing project for the year.(W.K.6)

Unit 6: Focus Standards (“© Copyright 2010National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School  Officers. All rights reserved)
RL.K.10:Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding

RL.K.8:With prompting and support,identify the reasons the author gives to support points in a text.

RI.K.9:  With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).

RF.K.4: Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.

W.K.6: With guidance and support, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including collaboration with peers.

L.K.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple meaning words and phrases based on Kindergarten content.
L.K.4(b): Use common affixes as clues to the meaning of an unknown  word.

Unit 6: Suggested Students Objectives: (Copyright 2012 by Common Core, Inc. All rights Reserved)
  • Articulate cause-and-effect relationships  (e.g. as they occur in the natural world)
  • Recognize the basic similarities and differences between 2 texts on the same topic (both can be informational or 1 can be non-fiction and one can be fictional)
  • Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding
  • Write, draw, or dictate a narrative ((e.g., describing something that happened in nature and a subsequent reaction).
  • Relate the idea of writing revision to a visual artist's creative process (i.e.continuously improving the work)
  • Use common affixes as clues to the meaning of unknown words.
The emphasis on this last 6 weeks is for students during reading and Read Aloud time to recognize that growth and change in nature occurs in both fiction and informational texts. For example as in Eric Carle's : "The Tiny Seed".


 which tells the life cycle of a flower through the adventures of a seed as compared to Helen J. Jordan and Loretta Krupinski's "How a Seed Grows"


Each day during Read Aloud time read one of these books and have your students identify how these books are alike and different. (RI.K.9) What a great way to incorporate a great Science Unit on Plants and have students planting seeds, giving them sunlight and water and watching them grow from seed to plant. They can make A Plant Journal and draw pictures of what is happening each day.

Students also will learn about "cause and effect" by recognizing interactions in nature and how we all have a role in preserving nature. Which of course brings us to Earth Day what has caused the need for everyone to play a role in preserving our earth. So I decided to focus my lesson on an  emergent reader called "I Can Help Our Earth". There are many wonderful pictures books you can read during Read Aloud time before your students get to read their own emergent  such as:                                               
                                    by Alison Inches                         by  Stuart J. Murphy
There are lots of new vocabulary words to point out that are unknown to them so it is a great time to point out the words and connect them to a picture. Talk about how these books are alike and different.

You may also be interested in my Revised and Updated Earth Day product which you will find in my TpT store by clicking on the image below. 

You can see all the activities and materials by downloading the Preview file. It includes my own original Shared Reading book called "Why Do We Need Earth Day?" There are Word Wall Words and Picture/Word Cards for Matching as well as writing activities.There are 3 Guided Reading Books (and Comprehension Activities) at the Early Emergent level for those students who are struggling and 2 Guided Reading  Emergent Level Books. It also includes Literacy Center Activities, an Earth Day Picture/Word Sort,  Sentence Parts March and Writing, Writing Activities and my original chant : "Help Our Earth"

You can find some great free resources, craft ideas and a free activity from me by clicking HERE
  
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Math, Science and Literacy Free Printables from Scholastic for Teachers and Parents


Want to share a great website with your students' parents with lots of free printables for their children to get lots of extra practice with math, science or reading? All you have to do is click on the image above. Take a look at some of these fun freebies for Ages 6-7
You will find "Look for E-Z Addition"


A Trick-or-Treat Graph:

An All About Me Robot Writing activity and many more.

If you are looking for Kindergarten printables click on the image below/
You will also find free Printables for ages 8-10 in all subject areas by clicking on the picture below.


Whether you use these in your classroom or share this site to your students' parents there are great activities for all. Hope you find something to use in your classroom for your math, science or literacy cents.
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

Here are some great Pinterest boards to follow.


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What kinds of extra practice activities are you looking for?

Friday, September 7, 2012

September 11th: Great Free Resources, Tips and Lessons


How do you talk about September 11th with young students? I think about all the heroes of that day that risked their lives to save others. September 11th is very personal to me as I grew up 18 miles north of NYC and several of my relatives worked in the city and were there that day and could see the towers burning from their offices. My sister-in-laws brother was the first fireman to go into the Twin Towers. On that day we were in Anchorage, Alaska and my daughter called and woke us up at 5:00 am because we were 4 hours behind east coast time. My cousin, who lived in New Jersey, described all the cars in the parking lot at the train station that were there for days after the attack of those that didn't survive. I have put together some great websites with free resources, activities and lessons which you can check out. They are great for all grade levels and parents, too.

To start with you may want to have your students read books about September 11th or do a Read Aloud. I found a list of books at TeachHub. There is also a great list at Amazon which you can check out by clicking on the picture below. This one is for K-2.

If you are looking for some free lessons plans for all grades K-12 then click on the picture below. There are Foundational Lesson Plans for K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. You will also find Videos and Tips for talking to Children about 9/11.

You can also find lots of resources at Scholastic which you can access by clicking on the picture below.

You will also find lots of teacher resources, tip and lesson plans at Education World by clicking on the picture below.
If you still re looking for more you can check out Edutopia which is geared more for intermediate students and older.

To honor the memories of the fallen I wrote a unit called "Heroes" for grades K-2. It has a Shared Reading Book, Mini Books at each grade level , Hero Word and Adjective Webs, Writing Activities and a Word Wall. . If you would like to see more of my unit you can click on the picture below.
Heroes is a Great Unit to teach Anytime of the Year! Not just on Patriots' Day.
Students will love making a S'more Hero Sandwich Book that they can make.

I have put together a free Hero Poems and Writing Packet for Grades 1-3 that you can download by clicking on the image below. There are 2 poems, 2 Adjective Word Webs and a Writing Activity to choose from. 

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Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. Let's remember all the heroes of that day and all who are still fighting for our country overseas.

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What activities do you do with your students on September 11th?