Monday, March 28, 2016

Using Book Reviews to Prepare for Opinion Writing

My class has one last writing unit for the school year, which is opinion writing. In order to introduce them to this concept, we started with book reviews using my quick book review bookmarks (which are a free download at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.)

Using book review bookmarks to prepare students for opinion writing provides a quick practice that links to true opinion writing - includes a free download from Raki's Rad Resources

As a class, we read four books as read alouds - I Wanna Iguana, Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, The Luckiest St. Patrick's Day and A Bad Case of the Stripes. For each book, each student completed their own book review bookmarks. They rated each book from 1 - 5 stars and wrote a few sentences about why the liked or disliked the book. This gave us lots of time to talk about fact vs. opinion and to discuss reasons why we might like or not like a book, slowly processing out the "This book was cool. You should read it." and the story retells. By the end of the week, we were getting more and more solid, descriptive opinions, some even backed up by facts! We put the bookmarks together onto posters to hang in the hallway and the other classes have enjoyed reading our thoughts on these books.

Using book review bookmarks to prepare students for opinion writing provides a quick practice that links to true opinion writing - includes a free download from Raki's Rad Resources

Then last week, we took the book review process a step further using our Primary Writing Journal for Opinion Writing. The students each chose their own book and started brainstorming and drafting on the topic "The best book in the world is..." We didn't get too far into the process, but it's a good start and I am starting to see quite an improvement in the students' writing.

After Spring Break (which is this week - woohoo!) we will have eight more weeks to conquer this important topic in writing. We will work slowly through our opinion writing journals and publish prize pieces just before the end of the school year. 

What's your final focus of the school year going to be?



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New Storage Containers, a New Novel Study and an Audition for Wheel of Fortune - March's Show and Tell!!

Today is the third edition of the the Show and Tell Linky Parties at Forever in Fifth Grade. This month, I have really settled in to my new classroom, so I'll be showcasing a few things from my classroom and then I'll tell you about how I "almost" made it onto Wheel of Fortune! If you're interested in reading my previous Show and Tell posts, check them out here: January and February.



Show and tell from Raki's Rad Resources - my new upcycled storage containers created with recycled tin cans and spray paint.


My husband has recently taken care of some of my storage needs with a quick recycled item. These cans came directly from our recycle pile. We open all of our cans with a smooth top Pampered Chef can opener, so there are no sharp edges. He gave them a good coat with blue spray paint and voila! These cans make a great container for pencils, markers, crayons and gluesticks. They are shatterproof and durable. And of course the best part is that all 15 of my containers cost us only $2!



Show and tell from Raki's Rad Resources - my newest novel study for the Magic Tree House novel Vacation Under the Volcano

One of my highest reading groups was in need of a novel study, so we went to the library and let them choose from the Magic Tree House books. Of course the kids chose one of the books that I didn't already have a novel study for. So I sat down and prepared a novel study for Vacation Under a Volcano. They are working on this every afternoon and it is providing just enough to guide them and challenge them to think critically about what they are reading. 


Show and tell from Raki's Rad Resources - my audition for Wheel of Fortune with fellow teacher blogger Veronica from When Inspiration Strikes

Now, how did I almost end up on Wheel of Fortune? Well I didn't, but I did try! My friend, Veronica from When Inspiration Strikes, who I have actually known since college, invited me to go with her to the the local Wheel of Fortune auditions in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Sunday. We applied all three rounds, but never got our names drawn out of the batch! While we were disapointed to not even make it on stage, it was super fun to sit there watching (and critiquing) all of the other applicants. We also hit the free photo booth three times and had fun hamming it up for the camera. In short we had a great girlfriend day, even if we didn't end up on the Wheel of Fortune.  #wheelmobile

So that's what I've been up to this month, what have you been up to?




Friday, March 11, 2016

Springing into Learning Blog Hop

Springing into learning blog hop - using poetry in the classroom is a great springboard into spring - ideas from Raki's Rad Resources.

Spring is here! The flowers are starting to bloom on the cottonwood trees. The weather is warming up a little bit more every day. My boys and I planted lettuce and herbs in our pots to celebrate. 


Today I am going to further my celebration of spring by participating in the Springing into Learning Blog Hop hosted by Elementary Antics. Everyone who is participating in this blog hop will be sharing spring ideas and freebies.

In my classroom, spring means poetry. We are heading into our unit on poetry full speed, starting with experiencing as much poetry as we can. My students have limited exposure to poems of any kind, so we are going to start with nursery rhymes. For each rhyme we experience, we will be using my Differentiated Nursery Rhyme Response Sheets to help my students continue working on fluency and comprehension while we tackle our nursery rhymes. These sheets are available for free at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.


Springing into learning blog hop - using poetry in the classroom is a great springboard into spring - ideas from Raki's Rad Resources.

After we have spent a significant amount of time learning about nursery rhymes, we will venture into reading fun poems from poets like Shel Silverstein and even some serious poets like Robert Frost.

Finally we will explore Spring by comparing and contrasting the four seasons. Spring gives us so many great things in nature to write about like: budding trees, blooming flowers, baby animals, and warm breezes. We will use our observations and comparisons to create seasons poems using our Four Seasons Poetry JournalThese journals are available for free through Google Drive.


Springing into learning blog hop - using poetry in the classroom is a great springboard into spring - ideas from Raki's Rad Resources.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is celebrating poetry with Spring. Leave your best poetry idea in the comments, so we can all learn from each other.

And don't forget to stop by Elementary Antic's Springing into Learning Blog Hop to see what everyone else is doing this spring.