Thursday, February 28, 2013

St. Patrick's Day: Making Sentences with Sentence Frames



Hard to believe that it is March and St. Patrick's Day will be here soon. I got a lot of nice comments on my first post about making sentences with sentence frames so I decided to do one for St. Patrick's Day and add a little extra. I decided to add Picture/Word cards to make sure that students are familiar with the vocabulary that is related to the holiday such as in the picture below. Students will not only match the pictures and words but also have a chance to write about a few of them.

In the teacher directed activity each student will have the 3 sentence frame cards. Explain that every sentence needs to have these 3 parts. On the board or on a sentence strip, if you use a pocket chart, write the following sentence that you see below: The girl is holding a gold coin. Then hold up "is holding" card and ask the students, "Hold up the card that tells what part of the sentence this is." Students will then hold up the frame card "is doing or did" card. By checking all the cards you can informally assess which students do not understand. You can ask students to hold a pencil in their hand and ask, "What are you doing?" The students reply by saying: "I am holding a pencil in my hand." Ask if "holding is something you do? Is it an action? Then it is "is doing or did" part of the sentence.
Continue with "The girl" and "a gold coin" Then talk about how every sentence begins and ends. There is another example to do with the class in the packet. Then students will practice making sentences with frames such as the one below which you will copy and cut for a literacy center activity. Then students will write their completed sentences on a recording sheets. There are 8, 3-frame sentences and 8, 4-frame sentences. 
Students will then write sentences and illustrate them and also unscramble sentences. 

Finally they will choose words from a Shamrock  and write 4 sentences independently to assess their understanding of writing a complete sentence.


You can check out the complete lesson and get 2 free activities when you download the Preview file by clicking on the picture below.


I also have a freebie  reading activity that can be used with the writing packet that you can download by clicking on the picture below called : St. Patrick's Day: Roll the Die and Read Activity.

Hope you enjoy the free activities. Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. 




Sunday, February 24, 2013

March Poetry Time: Let's Write a Holiday Poem



February is such a short month and goes by way to fast. With March right around the corner I think it's time for some March poems. March is full of so many events and holidays. Did you know that March 14th is National Potato Chip Day? Why not learn a new poem and eat potato chips too! In my new "Meandering Through March with Poems" you will find my fun poem: "Potato Chip, Potato Chip What do you see? There's also a Make and Take Mini Book  to go with the poem that your students will love to read over and over again. Here's a small sample:


You will also find a fun Chant about Basketball to celebrate the NCAA March Basketball Tournament or otherwise known as "March Madness."  There is my "March is...." poem that includes all the march events and celebrations including the familiar Lion and Lamb saying about March weather. There are 8 original poems and Anchor charts to help your students write 3 different poetry forms. You can check out all the poems and writing activities by clicking on the picture below. By downloading the Preview you will get a free poem and March Class Writing Book cover.

Would you like your students to learn how to write a "Holiday Poem?" It's really quite easy. A Holiday poem has only 7 lines- the first and last line name the holiday. Here are the directions:

Just have your students think about the 5 senses - what they see, smell, hear, taste and touch on any holiday.  Here is a sample of my Easter one:


If you would like the directions and the Easter Holiday poem just click on the Easter Holiday Poem above to download your free copy. Your students can write a Holiday Poem during each month of the school year. Hope you love poetry as much as I do. Hope March doesn't come in like a Lion where you live. Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.
Freebie Fridays




Thursday, February 21, 2013

Vocabulary Matters: Part 7- Semantic Maps

Wow! Can't believe we're up to Part 7. Today I want to talk about the Semantic Map. I think I have used the semantic map more than any other strategy with my ESL students. It is is wonderful for any content area or any reading material. Since semantic maps are used with written texts this strategy is for Grades 2 and up.
Below you can see what semantic maps do to help students build connections between words by classifying words related to a specific content.

Semantic Maps:
builds connections between groups of semantically connected words
is highly flexible and adaptable to different contexts
concepts are tied graphically to each other
can be adapted to enhance vocabulary instruction in any reading program

How to use the Semantic Map:
The Lesson Plan:
Introduce the Concept
Brainstorm
Make the semantic map
Read the selection
Discuss the selection and revise the map
Active Engagement

I chose to illustrate the use of a semantic map with a book I used in Alaska called: Polar Lands which is published by Steck-Vaughn. If you click on the image below you can download the document that has all the information presented below.

  • I chose to use the category "Wildlife" and begin by introducing the word to the students by writing it on the board. 
  • Then I ask my students to brainstorm a list of words related to the topic  and explain what wildlife means: living things other than human or tame
Brainstorm
Ask students to brainstorm a list of words related to the word “wildlife”
They might suggest elephants, deer, wolves, bear.
Now add words from your text: Polar Lands (examples)
 penguins, moose, whales, otters, seals, fox, snowy owls, ptarmigan
If necessary show a picture of wildlife they may not know. 


Make the Semantic Map
Tell students that a semantic map can help them understand relationships between words.
Have them use the list of words that they brainstormed about 
 wildlife to make the semantic map.
Have them look at the words and say: “Let’s group these words into categories. What do whales and otters have in common? (They live in the water.)
Print the word water on the board with a line connecting it to “Wildlife”.
Then ask what other words can you group with water? (penguins, seals)
Ask: “Can we group the rest of the words into a category? 
What do they have in common? (They live on land.)
Then print the word Land on the board and draw a line connecting it to the word “Wildlife”
Ask students what other words they can add to this list?
 ( moose, fox, bear, wolves, elephants)


Here is what the Semantic Map might look like before reading:

Read the Selection
 After completing the preliminary semantic map. Have students read the Book: Polar Lands: Animals of the Arctic. This can be done independently, in pairs or read aloud as a whole group.

Discussion of the Selection and Revise the Map
After reading the text ask students if there are any other animals that need to  be added the map.
What other land animals did we learn about? walruses, musk oxen, caribou- add to these to the map.
What other water animals did we learn about? ocean sea, spiders, krill

Active Engagement
Provide situations in which students can interact with and discuss words on the map.
Compare 2 animals- alike and different
Choice questions
Can a penguin be found on land and in the water?
What other wildlife could you find on land and in the water?

Think about what topics you will be teaching in the next few weeks. Try to pick one that you can use with making a semantic map.  What I love most about this strategy is that doesn't take any prep time and is really easy to do. I hope you will try it.

If you have missed any of the first 5 parts you can access them by clicking on each part below:
                                              Part 6
                                              Part 5
                                              Part 4
                                              Part 3
                                              Part 2
                                              Part 1

Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.



Monday, February 18, 2013

Time for the Iditarod: Great Books, Free Resources and Activities


I was so lucky to have lived in Anchorage, Alaska and was able to see the "ceremonial" start of the Iditarod each year (unless it was below 0 ) . One year we were able to see the mushers on the trail. I'm so in awe of these mushers who endure this grueling 1,110 plus mile race from Anchorage to Nome each year. You can't imagine what kinds of conditions they face over the 10-30 day ordeal. Even if you can't be there, there are so many ways for you and your students to follow the race from beginning to end!!!! In 2013 the official  race begins on March 3rd.

First, you may want start by building some background with some great books: The Great Serum Run  is a great book to give the history behind the race. You can find out about this book and other great books by clicking on the picture below.

Scholastic also has some great free resources, activities, information about the mushers, and Alaska which you can check out by clicking on the picture below.

Of course the best website to be able to see videos, daily updates about all the mushers, weather conditions, trail information, checkpoints and "the teacher on the trail" activities for your classroom is the official Iditarod
headquarters which you can access by clicking on the image below. It has everything you need!!!!!!

Last year I wrote a unit about the Iditarod and completely updated and revised  it, adding many new activities. It includes a Word Wall, Picture/Fact Cards, 2 Reading Texts and Comprehension Questions at the 2nd and 3rd grade levels, A Biography of Lance Mackey, Character Traits Activity, Follow a Musher on the Trail Log, Biography writing about a Musher in the race, Map the Trail Activity, Graph the Temperatures Compare and Contrast Activity, Writing a Triangle Poem, 4 Writing prompts and Graphic Organizers for Informational Texts and Opinion Pieces. You can put all the writing into a class book by copying the Class Writing Book Cover. You can see all the activities by downloading  the Preview File- just click on the image below.

Of course I have another free activity for all my wonderful followers and viewers which you can download by clicking the picture below. Your students can follow 2 mushers on the trail by filling in a log for each musher and then compare and contrast the 2 mushers using a Venn Diagram. Then each student uses their Venn diagram to write a text. How fun it would be to put them in a class book so everyone can read about other mushers as well. Afterwards you can see how many finished and how many dogs they had left when they crossed the finish line. For your freebie just click on the image below. I hope that you will leave me your feedback after looking at it.
I guess you can tell how excited I am about the Iditarod even though I am now living in Florida. I guess I have a special place in my heart for the wonderful years we spent in Alaska.
Hope you find some great free activities and ideas! Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

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Classroom Freebies Manic Monday





What activity would you like to do with your students?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vocabulary Matters: Part 6: Concept Picture Sorts


Hope you had time to review what I've talked about in the first 5 posts. Last week I shared information for Explicit Vocabulary Instruction for Tier 2 words in Independent Texts for Grades 2+. Today I will focus on Concept Picture Sorts for primary grades.

Concept Picture Sort:  
  • Provides primary students with the opportunity to classify and categorize new information to the word knowledge that already exists. 
  • Provides a beginning for concept picture sorts during Read Alouds.
  • Can be adapted to any reading program.
Here is a Lesson Plan Guide to implement the Concept Picture Sort:
Prep Time:
Divide a bulletin board into two sections.

Read the Story:
I chose the book by Eric Carle : A House for Hermit Crab ( Give a short synopsis)

Teach/Model
After reading the story , show a picture of a sea urchin and say to your students:
"In the story Hermit Crab comes upon  sea urchins  and says "How fierce you look!" 
He said that because sea urchins have sharp and prickly needles and can be wild and dangerous.
  • Post the picture of the sea urchin on the left side of your bulletin  board or display.
  • Then show the picture of the shark and ask: Is a shark fierce or gentle?
  • Another way to do this is to this is to say to your students:  “If you think the shark is fierce show me 1 finger and if you think a shark is gentle show me 2 fingers. (I personally like to make sure that all my students understand the concept so I like to use the 1 or 2 finger method to get 100% class participation)
  • Say” Yes, sharks are fierce because they are wild and dangerous too. Say, “Now I will post the picture of the shark near the picture of the sea urchin.”
  • Now show your students the picture of the lamb and say "A lamb is not fierce because it isn't dangerous. We say that it is gentle.”
  • Post the picture of the lamb on the right section of your bulletin board or display.
  • Next show the picture of the soft towel and ask.”Is the towel fierce or gentle? 
  • Yes, it is gentle and put the picture of the towel on the right section of the display.
Guided Practice:
  • Now ask students what other things in the story were fierce (Electric Eels) and gentle( sea anemones, smooth pebbles) . Let students add the pictures to the display. 
Independent Practice:
  • Distribute copies of old magazines and ask student to cut out pictures of 1 or 2 things that are fierce and 1 or 2 pictures of things that are gentle.
  • Then after they have cut them out have them put them in 2 piles: 
    1 for things that are fierce and the other for things that are gentle.
  • Ask for volunteers to add each picture to the display by asking:
  • What is your picture? Is it fierce or gentle? Does it belong with the sea urchin or  the lamb?
  • After answering the questions they can add their picture to the display.

I have put all of this information and all the pictures into a document which you download by clicking in the image above.
If you have missed any of the first 5 parts you can access them by clicking on each part below"
                                              Part 5
                                              Part 4
                                              Part 3
                                              Part 2
                                              Part 1
I hope you will try to use the Concept Picture Sort Strategy with a Read Aloud Book over the next week.
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.





What strategy have you found that you would try to use in your classroom?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Celebrating Black History Month through Free Resources, Biographies, Poems and Free Activities


February is so full of celebrations so I'm happy that we celebrate and honor African Americans all month long. Using biographies and poems is a great way to teach students about many wonderful African Americans who have contributed so much to our country. Many of them whose bravery and courage paved the way for others even against great odds. I found some wonderful resources to access free biographies and information that I'd like to share with you.


If you are looking for some great websites with biographies you can check out the ones below. The first one is called Bio.Tru Stories. You can search any name and it will not only give you a biography but also a video to go with it. I found this very informative. Just click on the picture of Ruby Bridges below to check it out.

Another great website is called Time for Kids. Here you can find not only biographies but lots of other information to help you celebrate the month. Just click on the image below to check it out.


At Fact Monster you can find 500 biographies of past and present African Americans. Just click on the image below to check out this site.

Finally Scholastic has a wealth of resources to access depending on your grade level. You can check it out by clicking on the picture below.

How about Bio Poems, Subject Poems, or an interesting poem called the 5W Poem? How much fun for your students to not only read these types of poems but write some too. Here is one I wrote about Ruby Bridges. A 5W poems answers the basic questions who, what, where,when and why.

Here is the basic form of a 5W poem:


You can download your free poem and form by clicking on the picture above. This is just one of the poems and activities included in my Celebrating Black History Month Packet.You can find several more poems such as the Bio Poem, Subject Poem, a 5W Poem, and Biographies by checking out  my "Celebrating Black History Month through Biographies, Poems, and Writing"Just click on the picture below and download the preview file to see all the materials in the packet and get another free activity which is included in this packet. This product has been revised and updated.

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Freebie Fridays

Hope you find some great resources to use with your students this month. Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.



Monday, February 11, 2013

Presidents Day Free Resources, Books and Free Center Activities

You can view this post by clicking HERE

When I was growing up in the fifties and sixties we celebrated Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays on their actually birthdays. Today we combine their birthday celebrations and celebrate them together.  Many of you just have a one day holiday but some school district have a whole week winter break. I have put together some great resources for your classroom Presidents' Day celebrations.

These are two of my favorite books about Washington and Lincoln. You can find a complete list of wonderful books for Read Alouds as well as for independent reading by clicking on each picture below.

If you are looking for some great craft ideas for  your  students to make I found a few great sites. How about this cute George Washington Cotton Ball and Paper Craft or a Patriotic Hat? Click on both pictures to find lots of craft ideas.

There are lots of free activities, poems, puzzles and math problems at Family Education. Just click HERE to find 50 of them or HERE to access a complete list.

If you are looking for a complete unit of reading and writing activities you may want to check out my latest packet, "Presidents Day" for Grades 2-3: 
Just click on the picture above and download the Preview file and get this free literacy center activity below.
Finally a freebie for my wonderful followers and viewers. If you click on the picture below you can download my Free Presidents Day Noun Sort. Students will sort words related to Presidents Day into 3 categories:
Proper Nouns, Plural Nouns and Compound Words. Hope you enjoy using it in your classrooms.
Freebie Fridays



Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. Have a great week!