Sunday, April 21, 2013

Another Fact/Opinion Activity

Blog post #2 for the day!

We have 19 more days of school!  I know some states and districts are in school much longer, but I'm so glad we're close to the finish line.  I have really enjoyed this year, but I'm ready for summer.  The kids are evidently feeling the same way, which is showing up in their behavior and motivation.  Out of sheer survival instinct, I have been more creative in my lesson planning lately.  (This could possibly be because I've been so busy that I'm kind of flying by the seat of my pants.... I tend to be more creative in those situations!)  However it happened, I actually think it is working to keep kids engaged AND keep my sanity. My secret weapon:  CREATION!  A few days ago, I blogged about students creating screencasts for a lower grade level.  That was a hit!  Talk about student engagement and motivation!  Wow! 

The next thing they created were advertisements using both facts and opinions.  They were able to choose what they were selling.  This could be a service or product.  They were very creative and most chose to create a business like "Ashlee's Nail Salon", something that they would really like to do in real life.  They produced one slide on powerpoint that included at least one picture, a title, and an ad that included at least 3 facts and 3 opinions.  It also was to be persuasive, using persuasive techniques that we studied a while back.  Again, they loved making these ads and were intent while they worked.  The best part..... as I showed them to the class on the projector, the students kept a tally for each ad to assure that there were 3 facts and 3 opinions.  Voila!  Grading done during class!


Cuteness! (and an awesome freebie!)

In honor of my new cute blog (thank you Christi!), I am writing TWO blogposts today!  This first one is a fabulous freebie for anyone who happens to check my blog today ONLY!  I just finished creating an Interactive Fact/Opinion Powerpoint (actually Pdf).  I think it's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!  Click on over to my Tpt store and get yourself this "free for one day only lesson." I would love it if you would leave some feedback for this item as well.  I would also love to hear what you think of my new blog design!   

Monday, April 15, 2013

Coming Next Week: Extreme Makeover - Blog Edition

I can't wait for this weekend. My blog is getting a makeover! Christi from is making a new custom and cute template for me. I tried to make it cute by myself, but I'm not tech savvy enough to satisfy my cuteness standards. Cuteness matters, you know! My husband does NOT understand this concept. To celebrate the new look, I'll get an awesome blog post ready (including a freebie, of course) with a great tip to share. Come check it out!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fun Cause/Effect Activity

Has anyone else ever used these commercials for teaching cause/effect?  We had so much fun with this writing activity today. I played a couple of these commercials and had the kids follow along, writing the cause/effect in a graphic organizer.  They loved it!  Next, I had them use a blank graphic organizer to write their own commercial using the same cause/effect format.  Next, they used powerpoint and google images to make the commercial for the class to see.  I think the "get" cause/effect now. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tip for Sub Days and Beyond...

Hello everyone!  I hope everyone had a great Easter.  I did!  Our son who is in the Air Force was able to spend some time at home before he deploys to Oman this Saturday.  He drove home so we could store his car, and then we drove him back this week.  Two days off for me!  I'm going to share my sub plans for those two days because it worked so well.  I've recently been introduced to screen casts.  This is probably not new to anyone else, but it is to me. 

I am so in love with this idea that I'm afraid I will overdo it and screen cast everything! I was in the middle of a writing unit, teaching my students to write using the text structures.  I didn't want to stop and do fluff work for two days, so I made a screen cast of my lesson for both days.  The sub reported that students paid attention because they weren't sure if I was "live" on the internet or not.  I loved it because when I got back, all the work was done up to my expectations.

Making a screen cast is easy and free.  I used "screencast o matic", but I know there are others you can use for free as well.  All you do is make your powerpoint or other presentation, open the screencast o matic, and push record.  I went through the powerpoint just as I would as if I were teaching to a live class.  I saved the file to my desktop and labeled it "Monday's screencast".  All the sub had to do was push play and monitor the kids. 

Students follow along with their copy of the article and the interactive notebook pages for writing with text structures. 

Here comes the "beyond" part. When I returned on Wednesday, I admit, I was not prepared for the day.  I wanted to look through the writing they had done instead of teaching.  I had one of those "great idea" moments!  I told the students they would choose one of the text structure paragraphs they had written to make their own screen cast.  They were to "be the teacher" and explain the text structure as if they were teaching to a younger student.  I told them I would pick the top screen cast lesson and send it to a first grade teacher to show their students.  This turned out very well.  They were busy creating their powerpoints the whole period while I looked over their work. 

The quality of their projects were surprisingly awesome!  Remember, I teach the struggling readers.  I was hearing great things from their conversations as they worked.  They were consulting their interactive notebooks to make sure they had used the right definition of the text structure, gearing the language toward first grade, checking their spelling, and worrying if their content was appropriate.  I love it when those "seat of your pants" ideas turn out to be some of the best ideas!

This is a screen cast by one of my students.