Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Reuse, recycle, repurpose...lamination ends....

Hi Fabulous Five....(I have decided to give my first faithful five a name.)

Today, we were working on our story problems and I realized I should share our "invisible" sheets with the world.  Or the five that follow at least.... 

   A while back I was frustrated because I teach word problems using Singapore Math.  The best way by far because when the students follow the steps it takes the words out and replaces them with a diagram/bar usually.  Look up Singapore Model Drawing. (This link is to another site that gives a brief explanation.)  The issue is we do not use Singapore Math, we have Saxon.  Therefore, we have wonderful heavy and large textbooks for my kiddos, into which they cannot write. To be successful with Model Drawing, it is VERY helpful to be able to underline and make marks on the problem. 
   I have used slip sleeves sliced on a long side for sliding the textbook page into.  This became an issue every time it had to be moved.  Some could not put it on and off with out big ordeal.  This year I started out using transparencies.  We have several sitting around now that all rooms have projectors and document cameras.  They are nice because they are heavier and perfect size. However, students seem to have an issue keeping them where they can be found again.  I am sure you do not have the issue.  This was becoming a costly endeavor.
   One day while gathering up my laminating job, it came to me....recycle, reuse, repurpose!  There it was, a large sheet of laminating film at the end.  I cut it into thirds and WAALAAA....extra "invisible" sheets! 
    As you can see from the picture above it looks like the students are writing in their textbooks with Expo markers.  Hence, the name invisible sheets.  When used as often as they should be, they do become cloudy.  Not a problem...just go grab a new one out of the bin.  There is always extra laminating.
   Alternative uses:
       Put over printing, cursive or number writing pages to save paper, use in stead of personal white boards (this is done often when a white board is misplaced), use in an anthology to mark passages or indicate where questions popped up, tape to the desk for message center, as a window into a box to watch the chicks....

WHAT ideas can you think of to use the extra laminating film? 

Cannot wait to hear all the great ideas!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Math Vocabulary meets Pantomime

It is nearing the end of the year.  Though you would have thought we were at the end since before 4th quarter started!! Students are needing even MORE active learning to keep engagement at 90% level my district is striving to obtain.  So......

equilateral triangle

Hmmm...forgot which word they were. 
 I just loved laughter and pure fun they were having in
this picture.

What do you think the vocabulary word was for this one?
(think about it... I am sure you can telepathically see me
pointing to my temple as a signal to not respond.)
(think time......)
"1, 2, 3..tell me."
(Again, I am sure you saw the signal for speak!  :) )
YES! Denominator

I have a great group of future pantomimes! They did a terrific job. Only once or twice was it hard to figure out the vocabulary word.
   I am getting to be a proficient teacher of math vocabulary, solid 3. I decided in February after a quick exit ticket activity that we REALLY needed to focus on vocabulary EVERY DAY!  It has been working.  This was just one way we have practiced.  They love to toss the ball to music and review as well and vocabulary bingo.
   Now, I know I cannot open my student's brains and see if they were at 90% engaged when participating as the audience.  However, because of their interactions, I know they were paying attention better than just sitting and listening to me!  I would have been marked high for engagement when the groups were deciding what to do with their vocabulary word.  I would have dropped fast when they were watching as a whole group.  If you want to keep the "score" for engagement high, have your students pair with another group and show just them.  The "audience" would then be actively guessing together.  The groups would keep moving around the room until they have done their pantomime for everyone.

   Have fun building vocabulary connections inside your student's brains!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Figurative Language lesson .... Good thing I get 3 chances to do it correct!

   It is great that I am given 3 chances to get it right!! I teach grammar/language arts, while my partners teach science and social studies.  We rotate the three classes each week.  Well...I have to confess that this last section has not gone exactly like I wanted.  My poor students are always the guinea pigs.  This time...they received a very short end of the stick! 

     I wanted to get in a last minute review of the various figurative language elements we have had all year through Treasures as a prep for the upcoming tests...yippee!  I wanted to accomplish too---- much the first time the week of lessons were taught.  The second week went much better.  Now, next week I have a very low class and I need to revamp it once again.  Need to find more active learning and hands on activities. 

  The best part of the lessons came about during my first week when I realized it was going downhill and rolling fast. I searched the net and found examples of poetry which demonstrated each literary element (alliteration, consonance, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, rhyme, personification, hyperbole, and idiom) They loved the challenge!  The next week I added a You Tube video which made a huge difference this week.
  I have the song but the video kept the students more engaged the second week than just singing did the first week!
   How do you teach figurative language?  What games or active strategies do you have that I can use for my next class?

Building brain cells together,


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Student Led Conferences

Student-Led Conferences

     I LOVE student-led conferences! 
    To watch the students with their parents is telling.  To listen to how the students speak to and with their parents also gives great insights.  Outside of all the knowledge gained by just sitting back, watching and listening, my FAVORITE part, bar none, is to see and hear the pride in the kids' voices as they discuss goals and what we do day in and out.
     I have had the privilege of trying various ways to conduct student-led conferences.  Last year, while teaching fourth grade, we had students design power points that led them through the conference.  Goals are the focus. The basic pattern is given to the students through a graphic organizer three weeks prior to conferences.  Designers choose font, background and pictures to make it their own.  Sharing their power point and portfolio makes up the conference.  I found that it may be best to have students pull out their evidence from portfolio.  It is very tempting to show EVERYTHING in the portfolio otherwise. (LONG...conferences when families start rummaging through the portfolio.)  The end of the power point discusses what their future plans are and how their parents can help them achieve them. I like the way this student-led conference flows with strong introduction and conclusion.
    This year in fifth grade, I had the students decide on three to four items they wanted to show their parents.  They could go to the music room, gym, counselor, computer lab, etc.  I required only one special, two academic areas.  They needed to sign in  and teach their parents how to sign in on the Mimio board (picture below).  Goal sheet on their desk needed to be shared and explained (picture above).  Goal setting will be another post for the future.  Lastly, parents had to complete an evaluation which students completed for themselves during class.  Then we discussed the results.  I joined this part of the discussion to add what I see within the classroom.  My students are rather proficient at how they are doing in the classroom.  They were not too far off of where I would have rated them.  Once in a while, they would be harder on themselves.  I liked the aspect of  the students teaching parents the Mimio and describing how they develop their goals.  The movement to specials was a great addition. 
    Next step, is to take the summer to figure out how I can meld the best aspects of each as I return to fourth grade.  Keeping the power point is top on my list.  Not only does it serve as a guide; it teaches how to use power point. I may like to challenge my higher students to use Prezi.  (May be a larger bit than I can handle!)  I want to incorporate choosing a special to visit as well without lengthening the night for the families.  The metamorphosis of goal setting within our daily work will continue to be the focus. 
Do you have student-led conferences? 
What do you do? 
Favorite parts? Stories?