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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cause and Effect

 First, I lost the month of October and now, I've lost the month of November! I cannot believe it's Black Friday already! 
I have been teaching 11 years, and every year I tell myself that I will not loose the holiday months. But the next thing I know, they are gone. The first 60 days of school just seems to be a blur as everything is happening at once and at neck breaking speed! November was no different...from safety days and drills to parent conferences, and end of quarter assessments, there was no slowing down! 
My county is off this week, I am thankful for the chance to just breathe. I had every intention of getting ahead with lesson plans and station activities, but I have just been too pooped out! I just hit week 29 of my pregnancy, and I feel great. But my body is just a wee bit tired...So instead of getting my creative juices flowing, I've just been nesting around the house.
Today, I have some extra energy, so I am taking advantage of that to share with you my cause & effect lessons from November.

I don't know about you, but there are some things my county will not give us wiggle room on. One of those being following the scope and sequence of the reading textbook. I have to be honest and say I am not in-love with it. I am not a fan of teaching a comprehension skill (1) this week, only to move onto a new one  next week (2), and then back to the first skill (1) the third week. It just makes no sense to me, the kids are just starting to really get it by Friday. But then on Monday, we throw a new one at them. I can hardly keep up, so I feel for my kids! 

With that in mind, I have been trying to find more visual ways to represent each skill so when we are flip-flopping skills around, the visual will hopefully help my kids remember the skill. 
For instance, when I taught visualization, it was all about referring back to the images in the brain. 
This time, I used puzzle pieces to represent the relationship of cause and effect. For the first lesson, I read Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type. After I read the story, I introduced the idea of cause and effect. I provided a few examples and then asked my students to think of others. 
I created a chart with the cause and then we went back through the story to locate the effect.
After a brief review the next day, we played partner match-up. Each student was given a cause or effect card. They had to walk around the room and find the student who had the matching piece. My students loved this. It really had them talking and thinking about whether the cause and effect could match. 
Next, I gave each student a puzzle piece to illustrate the cause or effect. Again, they had to match-up to find the missing piece. 
Throughout the week, we worked on several other activities. One day the added the cause and effect flaps to their interactive reader's notebook. They wrote the definitions on the top and then lifted the paper to draw and write an example of each. 
We also read Giggle, Giggle, Quack. I provided the cause on the chart, and they had to locate the effect using the text. 
Next on the list, was Thump, Quack, Moo. This day, I provided the effect and they had to locate the cause. 

This was a little more challenging for them. It was a great opportunity for them to discuss what was actually in the text and what they thought in their minds. It led to a great lesson on text based evidence. 
For response to this lesson, I gave each student a puzzle piece with the cause and they had to write and illustrate the effect.

Here is a picture of the bulletin board as it began.
Now, when the skill comes back after Thanksgiving break, there are a few more activities we will do. I created a cut and paste match-up. 
 Also, a quick assessment with a cause and effect matching sheet.
I am still working on the next set of books we will focus on for cause and effect. I know I will be using The Rain Came Down for the first lesson.

You can find Cause & Effect in my TPT store here... 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Should The Fly Have Dinner with the Spider?

Hi all! It has been a crazy few weeks!!! I feel like I completely missed the month of October and now we are half way through November!
Here are some updates from my class...from October!!! 
We wrote our first opinion piece which needed to tie in letter writing. 
I started by reading Mo Willems...
Then I wrote a letter to the Pigeon, giving him my opinion. My class was great in helping me draft this letter. Several made the connection that the pigeon thought taking care of a puppy was like taking care of a plant. 
I was able to briefly touch on the pieces of a letter as well as opinions and reasons.
Then I read 
Now it was time for the students to write the Fly a letter and explain their opinions on having dinner with the spider. 
We brainstormed a list of opinion statements on the first day. 
I had them choose which one they wanted to use. Then we began our letter graphic organizer.
We had another brainstorming session for reasons...
So after two days, I had a modeled teacher letter, opinion statements, and a list of reasons. 
 The students began drafting sentences for their reasons. In the next lesson, we restated our opinion for the conclusion. 
 For the final lesson, I modeled for the students how to use my graphic organizer to complete a final draft. I first went through and edited my organizer. Then I transferred each sentence onto my chart paper. My students then completed their own final draft. I had a pop-in from my administration at the same time, and it was fabulous! The kids were able to read their pieces to her and several caught their won mistakes with conventions and spelling while they were reading to her. They actually stopped and made corrections right then and there! I was so proud of them. =) 
You can find this writing lesson here... 

 Student work...

 During October, we worked on retelling for our comprehension skill. This year, we are being asked to assess each student one-on-one twice during the nine weeks with a retelling rubric. I have really been trying to hit this hard, and work with my students who are still having trouble retelling a story. 
 I began with a review of beginning, middle, and end. 
Then we moved onto the sequencing words. 
You can see more of my retelling and sequencing activities here...

In my next post, I'll update you about how November is going! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Flashback...Spiders and Bats

Hi friends! It's a beautiful day here, so I am having a flashback post today! 
And did you hear the news? TPT has reached 100,000 Facebook fans and is throwing a flash sale. To join in on the celebration, I have put my whole store on sale for an additional 20% off! Clear those wishlists while you can, the sale ends Monday night at midnight. 

Spiders, spiders, and more spiders! While I love teaching about spiders, I am burnout on them this year.  One week of plans turned into two weeks since my kids were loving learning all about spiders!
We started out with a reading of The Spider and The Fly by . My kids always love this book. We created a story map together. 
Then I led into informational text about spiders. We began with our wonderings. Each student was sent off to record 2 things they wondered about spiders. We charted our wonderings.
At the end of the two weeks, the students wrote what they learned. We added this to our anchor chart.
This was our first attempt at wondering and learning. It really gave me a glimpse of where my students' thinking was and where we need some guiding. 

We read a bunch of books on spiders and viewed some videos. They just could not get enough! 
I had to bring the spiders into math. Since we had been working on part-part-whole (and I failed to find enough plastic spiders to use as manipulatives), I had the students cut and color this cute little spider to use. The first two days, the students used them with mats.
On the third day, they had to create their own addition sentences using dice and the spiders. 

I also introduced graphing with the spider theme.
We compared narrative text and informational text. I was really surprised at the comparisons my students were able to make, all on their own!
As always, we had to complete a Can-Have-Are organizer. 
 I love that while the students were able to use the group chart for information, several kids wrote about things they learned that really stuck with them. Of course, I don't have a picture of those ones! 
The students took all of their learning and compiled it into a written piece. 

It has definitely been a webbed out theme on spiders! You can grab some freebies I created last year here. Or you can check out the revised unit here

Now we are Going Batty!

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