Sunday, November 18, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving!

My students created leaf garland about the things we are thankful for in life. This is what we did.

1. First we brainstormed what we are thankful for by listing words and created a list. This could be real things or ideas such as freedom.

2. We narrowed that list by picking out our top 10.

3. Students shared their ideas and choose 8-10 ideas to display on their leaves.

4. They wrote one word on a leaf and them shaded in the leaf with colored pencils or crayons.

5. Leaves were cut out and glued onto construction paper. Leaves were cut out again leaving a small construction paper border.

6. Students then attached their leaves to string with a stapler or hole punch and we hung them up.

Check out the results.

Student work

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Literature Elements-The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

My students are reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Edward meets many characters on his journey and students map out these encounters. We do this whole group and students see all the various problems that he encounters, along with the problems of the other characters. This leads up to the various parts of conflict and plot which includes the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and theme. At about chapter 15 is when the students do this in a group and I step back and watch as they work.


Word Wall-Word Snapshots

One of my student's favorite activities is creating word snapshots. Every week students are exposed to new vocabulary and they study 3-5 words in depth. One of their vocabulary activities is the creation of a word snapshot. Students are given a piece of white paper and they choose the word they will illustrate. The word is written at the top of the paper. Students come up with ideas in their head which show how to illustrate the use of the word. They create a sketch and then color it. The bottom section is where the definition would be written. Sometimes I require the students to include synonyms, antonyms, or the part of speech. I've done this with 3-6 grade students and they love it. I pick out 3-5 pictures every week to display on our word wall and those students are rewarded with a a free pick from the prize box. Eventually the entire wall is covered with words and art. This is the work of my 4th grade students.

Check it out! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Common Core Cooperative Learning Procedures

Last year I created the 5 C's of Cooperative Learning which incorporates the following group work procedures. The picture shows a few of the 5 C procedures. I tell my students what the purpose of their work is and how they can achieve this goal by following the procedures. This eliminates issues such as peer conflict because the approach makes them focus on what they need to accomplish as a group versus an individual. If one member does not work, then the group will not accomplish the goal, and they might be caught on the spot looking foolish in front of their peers. It works and all the kids are held accountable because they need to complete the 5 C's of Cooperative Learning.

Happy Common Core!