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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Book Club (for students!)

Our recent post on Teaching Blog Addict has me thinking.... I know I can't wait to read over the summer, but what about my students?  How can I help prevent that mega-gap between what they know now and all they forget by the fall?  So, I had an idea.  In previous posts, I have mentioned my classroom blog.  My students are in love with the blog and use it daily!  We're starting a summer book club on the blog!  This way my students (and I) will read great books this summer AND still get to stay in touch and communicate about great books, authors, themes, and plots!  To top it off, the 6th grade teachers have a suggested reading list for the summer... we'll start there! 

This hasn't happened yet - but I have a post asking which book they'd like to start with!  Check back frequently for updates because I'm hoping it's going to be a huge success! Also, feel free to join us on the class blog!

What do you do to support summer literacy? 

-Kristen

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Reading List

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think it's quite commical that I am counting down the days until summer vacation starts ... (10 full school days, 3 half days, 1 professional development day).  And yet, the first week of summer vacation will involve a trip to the book store, or amazon, to buy books to start reading for ...  yep.... you guessed it.... NEXT YEAR!  :) 


Anyway, here are the books on my list for the summer!  Please share yours when you have a chance. 







Math Wall Linky Party

Little Miss Kindergarten is having a Math and Calendar Wall Linky party, so I thought I'd join up!  Teaching fifth grade, I don't have a calendar wall anymore.  (I do still have the pocket chart calendar displayed, though!)  But I have been thinking about some new ideas for a math bulletin board next year.  Because my students are older and more independent, I was thinking of putting the bulletin board in their hands.  We use Everyday Math - so at the end of each lesson I was thinking of giving one student a colored piece of cardstock (large notecard size 5 x 8) and having them write the most important part of the lesson.  For example, if we learned the formula for area of a triangle, they could write and design that notecard for the bulletin board.  Each chapter we'd start over. 

I've seen some really great ideas on Beth Newingham's Website for a math wall.  She also has great ideas for implementing the math workshop in your classroom.  Something else to think about! :)

Thanks for reading my ideas - if you have any suggestions please help me out!  Otherwise, head on over to Miss Kindergarten and leave your own ideas! 

Little Miss Kindergarten

-Kristen

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Review

Fellow Bloggers, you've inspired me!  I just created my very own TpT account.  The first document I will be sharing is my book review!  My class of fifth graders are working on this assignment this week and so far they love it.  I've created a little spin on the traditional book review.  Please head to my TpT account and download this book review for FREE!  (While there, please take a moment to rate my product!) 


-Kristen

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Classroom Blogs

I'm not sure if you've noticed or not, but there is a link to my class blog on the top left of this page! (or click here!) I encourage you to check it out.  Here is place where my students are actively, and yes I mean VERY actively, involved in their education.  I chose to go with Blog.com because of the commenting format.  I love the way students are able to communicate with each other in a clear lay out from the indentations.  Please feel free to comment or browse as you wish!


Today, I wanted to specifically address how to insert SMARTboard Notebook files into your blog.  We just did this yesterday as part of our math review!  Together, as a class, we reviewed what we knew about perimeter, area, and volume.  Then we did some sample problems (using the capture tool in notebook).  I was able to save this file to a PDF (File, Export, PDF) on my computer.  Then once on the blog you can add files from your computer.  This takes the lesson from the classroom directly into the homes of my students.  Now they are able to go back to the sample problems we did in class (that, oh my gosh! look shockingly similar to the problems on the homework!) to get help for for the homework.  What a great tool for parents when their student says, "Well that's not the way my teacher did it!" 

Let me know what you think!  Do you have other great ideas for classroom blogs or SMARTboards?  Please share!! 

-Kristen

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Intolerable Acts

I am new to fifth grade this year, and I have to say this might be my favorite lesson of the year!  I apologize there are no fancy pictures, colors, or gadgets, but hang with me because it gets good! 

We're studying the events leading up to the Revolutionary War.  So far this week we've discussed taxation without representation, debt, The Stamp Act, The Quartering Act, Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre.  Today, before reading the section on the Intolerable Acts - we had to have a special meeting with our principal. 

Our principal came in, very serious, and distributed a letter to each student.  On this letter was an explanation of state budget cuts to education (not far from the truth...).  Due to these cuts, parents and students were going to have to start paying for different aspects of school.  Lunch was raised to $5, recess was $2, specials classes were $3, computer lab was $4, etc.  (He provided a list in the letter.)  Our students went crazy!  "How could you?"  "This is unfair!"  "We should protest!"  He then excused himself.  I let my class stew for the rest of social studies, math and science.  Students kept bringing it up again, "Can I share a locker with someone to cut the price?"  Needless to say, it was on their minds!

Just before my class left for art class, the principal came back.  He asked what we learned in social studies today and the kids did a great job explaining the Intolerable Acts.  The principal asked if this was fair, how they felt, etc.  Slowly, I could see the light bulbs going off ... this wasn't real!  We had a great discussion related these two activities and really getting a sense of how the colonists felt.  I'm pretty sure this is a lesson they won't soon forget... even if they are mad at me! 

-Kristen

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Our Week in 3 Words

Alright, so I can't take complete credit for this idea.  Have you ever seen the segments on Good Morning America's Weekend Edition called, "Week in 3 Words?"  They're amazing.  Completely inspiring.  There are several examples on  youtube (it may be my secret pasttime..) to preview!  At any rate, we took this idea into the classroom and my fifth graders ran with it! 


video

As you can see, some students talked about what we learned in class while others talked about what they were going to do this weekend.  They are starting to get more and more creative with the way they display their words.  I find them now approaching me throughout the week saying, "I already know what my 3 words are going to be!"

-Kristen