Sunday 24 March 2013

Spring Break, Easter & a Freebie

Well unfortunately in just a few hours, Spring Break will be officially over for this year. The only thing keeping me going is the two short weeks I'm facing. I cannot believe that it will already be Easter next weekend! I have been hard at work updating my Easter units from last year:

Includes some fun, some writing and a little bit of math.

To be used with Jan Brett's The Easter Egg
I've also got a little freebie to share, one I created for Spring Break last year - my Spring Break Mini-Pack. Unfortunately I don't have a picture to share for it, but if you click {HERE} you can access the freebie on TPT. Go link up with Classroom Freebies to find more fantastic freebies (who doesn't love free stuff?).

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Using Picture Books to Teach Genres

I love picture books for sooo many reasons, but one thing I love to use them for is to introduce topics in the classroom. Almost any topic and in any classroom. There are so many great picture books that teach lessons, introduce cross-curricular subjects, introduce a new topic, etc. During my practicum as a student teacher I ended up using picture books to teach the students about genre. The first picture book I brought out was oohed and aahed (The Lorax to teach story elements) over and I was suddenly relieved as I wasn't sure how picture books would be received in an intermediate classroom.

From there I went through the same formula and I loved it. I would introduce a genre, talk about the different elements/characteristics of the genre, then introduce an excerpt from a novel. As a class we would go over the excerpt, and the students would point out the different clues that told us to what genre the book belonged.

After that first introductory lesson, I would do a read-aloud of a picture book and as a class, would fill out a genre-specific graphic organizer (that I had created before I knew about clipart and fun fonts).

I would then provide students with picture books and have them work with partners to fill out their own graphic organizers.

Since this occurred during a time when the students were doing their own novel studies, this was a perfect way for them to use the information provided to them during these mini-lessons, to figure out the genre of the novel they were reading independently, while providing evidence to support their conclusions of course.

It was always fun to find new picture books to fit the genres I was teaching, introduce the students to new genres, and watch as they tried to figure out the genres of their own books.

I recently updated my Literary Genres Unit, so if you are interested, click on any of the pictures or {HERE} to check it out! I've included informative posters (that can be used as handouts for the students), a suggested book list, tons of graphic organizers (genre specific and generic), story elements & fiction/non-fiction sorts, original short stories for each genre, a genre quiz and full instructions on how I teach the unit.

I have to mention that the suggested picture book list only focusses on picture books and is very brief. I've given a few suggestions for each genre, but must mention that there are so many more fantastic books to be used, I just didn't bother writing them all out.

Let me know how you teach genres in the classroom. Do you have genre-specific books you love to use? Let me know as I always love to hear of more fantastic picture books to add to my collection!

Sunday 3 March 2013

1 Freebie, 2 Weeks, 3 Link-Ups

Well who knew this Sunday would be so busy for blogging town. Well really it's busy for me because I'm late to a bunch of link-ups. So without further ado, here I go:


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Here I go again linking up with the craziness that is Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies. So this week I decided to go seasonal and created a St. Patrick's Day freebie.

So this freebie contains Lucky Number cards (8 primary, 8 intermediate), 1 recording sheet and of course an answer key. Students follow the directions to answer the multi-step questions that require basic operation skills (addition & subtraction for primary, addition, subtraction, multiplication & division for intermediate) then record. Seasonal, fun & common-core aligned, what else could you ask for?? (Was that a bit of an over sell?)
Click {HERE} to check out the freebie on TPT and {HERE} for non-TPT users and go check out Classroom Freebies for more fantastic freebies.
2) Next up, another linky. I am linking up with Sharing Kindergarten for her St. Patrick's Day Products Linky Party.
So I shared a St. Patty's freebie above but I also blogged about my St. Patty's unit and some other ideas {HERE}.
3) And finally, I have heard of the Currently linky forever and finally I've decided to join. So let's hope this works.
So I guess I need to explain:
Listening: Umm I think this is self-explanatory. I am a reality TV junkie and I will tune into any franchise of the Real Housewives, but really, isn't is always fighting?
Loving: Again, self-explanatory. As soon as it is Spring, it will basically be a blink of the eye until Summer. Ahhh.
Thinking: The weekend does seem to go awfully fast.

Wanting: Who wouldn't want a pot of gold?
Needing: I should really do those dishes sitting in the sink, but there are so many other things I'd rather be doing.
Like: Sweets. I eat way too much chocolate (or maybe, not enough!).
Love: Well I did say I love Spring Break, but now that I think about it, my school district only gets one week. I would love to have two weeks!
Hate: I always seem to be sick around Spring Break. Since I had strep throat last week, hopefully I'll be good to go on Spring Break.
Well there I think I did it, my first Currently link-up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!
Ok, I think that's all the freebies, link-ups, posts, recaps, wind-ups, etc. for today. Phew!

Saturday 2 March 2013

The Importance of D.E.A.R.

Do you think D.E.A.R. is important? Do you know what D.E.A.R. is? Although it may be called by other names, I think every school, most classrooms have something similar. Drop Everything And Read. I've called it D.E.A.R. for awhile no, although I do remember a time in elementary school (maybe just in a single class) where it was referred to as S.S.R. - Sustained Silent Reading- and every time I saw it on the board I always thought of the U.S.S.R. (even though I was probably 8 and had no idea about the actual details of the U.S.S.R.).  Anyway, every time I saw it on the board (which was everyday) I was happy. I was happy because I loved to read AND because the classroom had books that I didn't have available to me at home. As a teacher, I still see the importance of D.E.A.R. but I wonder what other teachers think.

via Pinterest

A reading professor at University said that when she was in the classroom, she ALWAYS read at D.E.A.R. time along with the students. She said that it set a good example for the students and she loved the chance to set other work aside and read uninterrupted and I 100% agree.

I think that by seeing the teacher read, it sets a good example for students and shows them that we practice what we preach. We can tell students over and over again to do something (ie. read everyday) but I think it is much more powerful for students to see us doing it too.

via Pinterest
I know teachers are busy all the time, but I really feel that it is beneficial to take those few minutes during the day, and relax with a good book.

So I would love to hear what others do in there classrooms. Do you have a set D.E.A.R. time everyday? Is this a catch-up time for you or do you spend it reading as well?