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Teaching Context Clues

Hi friends, welcome to my weekly series ~ ~ ~ 

This week we are diving deeper into context clues.  How do you teach it, what does it look like in your classroom?  How can you assess on it?  We will be touching on each of these in regards to context clues.  I taught this skill last week and felt like my students had a pretty good grasp of it...however after a ELA quiz last week I saw that they could've done better and that told me I needed to re teach.  I knew I could get my students attention and have them buy into this way of teaching it if I turned them into mini detectives.

So, I made an anchor chart and we reviewed all of the strategies that help us figure out a word when we are unsure of it's meaning.  I went to my favorite go to - Flocabulary for an awesome rap/video and then we got right to work...

Context clue detectives at work, printables, lesson ideas and more

I knew since I was reteaching it I had to make a big impact on their learning and make it memorable.  So I created some fun activities and ways to do just that.  The magnifying glass craft is actually a mini book on the glass part.  It has staples if you look closely.  They have 4 pieces of glass ( stapled ) that they wrote a strategy to help them with unknown words on each of those.  This is something they can keep all year and refer back to because I've included a page for their interactive notebook that is similar.  

First off let me say my kids LOVED this lesson!  It took most of our morning and they didn't mind one bit.  IN FACT, we were due for the chrome book cart and they BEGGED me to let them finish presenting their passages first.  That has to tell you something.  They were so engaged throughout my morning which made me so happy!

We made our magnifying glass mini book/craftivity and that reinforced all the strategies that are used when trying to figure out the word.  Then we took a little power point quiz and they recorded their answers on  their detective notebooks.  Of course they felt like little detectives all morning with this activity which they loved.
Then I modeled how I wanted their passage to look - they had to write a short passage in which they changed important words to silly ( nonsense ) words and had to use clues to help their audience figure out what they were talking about.  They were so CREATIVE!!!  After they wrote 4 nonsense words in their passage with the correct use of synonyms or examples to guide their audience they were allowed to wear their hats and read them in front of the class on stage.  When they finished their passage they called on their classmates to 'guess' what their nonsense words were - this was their favorite part for sure!

context clue detectives in action, lesson ideas and printables

Kahoot is always a great go to when trying to reinforce a skill you've been working on OR if you need to reteach something.

My teacher heart was so full because they were so engaged and excited while learning today!
Keep your kids engaged with this context clues lesson

context clues, detective day, anchor charts, activities, hands on

vocabulary , context clues

We had an amazing day of learning - one that I think will stick with them, especially knowing I had to reteach this to make it stick more.  I'm pretty sure it 'stuck' this time.  If you want to try it out in you classroom you can grab it ( here )
Thanks, and let me know if you test it out...as always ~ ~
Happy teaching! 

5 ways to teach compound words

Word work can be a little mundane - so it's always helpful to spice things up with centers, hands on activities or a craft.  Here are 5 ways to teach or reinforce compound words.

Bring out the legos or unifex cubes.  I know I have a TON of legos from when my son was little.  I've kept them in a huge, Home Depot type bin in our garage for our grand kids someday so every so often I take some to use in a center for an activity to reinforce an other wise boring skill.  Legos to the rescue with compound words.  Kids LOVE manipulating blocks or legos so when you bring these out you will automatically see the smiles.  It's always a hands on, fun day when you can reinforce compound words with legos.  You can either write them on random colored blocks or write part of the word on one color and part on another color so it stands out more.

use lego blocks to reinforce word work at centers

Bottle caps are also fun for your students to manipulate.  If you think they need some scaffolding write the first part of the word in one color and the second part of the word in a different color.  To make it more challenging write them all with a black sharpie.  They will have fun building words and will notice that some will work for multiple words.  For instance - firefly and butterfly.  Just another way to have some hands on activities to reinforce this skill.

center idea to use with word work or compound words with bottle caps

Turn the skill into a craftivity when you can.  I get it - it's not always appropriate or you don't always want to waste paper but occasionally it's fun and the kids will love it.  This pineapple craftivity was a huge HIT in my classroom this past week.  They wrote a compound word on each of the hanging rings and drew a picture to match.  

pineapple compound word craftivity

pineapple craftivity with compound words.

Use plastic eggs....it doesn't have to be close to Easter or Spring time to use these my friends.  Pull them out and write the compound words on them and put them in a bucket all mixed up so they have to find them and put them together.  Then have them write what they put together on their white boards.  No copying and very low prep.

center idea for compound words with plastic eggs

Create a class paper chain or individual ones that they can take home.  If you choose the class paper chain you can hang it up as a display and a reference for them to look at almost like an anchor chart.

compound word idea - paper chain

I hope these ideas help you teach compound words in a more engaging and memorable way for your students.  If you are interested in the pineapple craftivity you can grab it here: ( click photo )

compound word pineapple craftivity
This pack also includes a fun dice game that your students  will love as well.

Happy teaching! 

UNPLUG with your students and watch the magic happen

Hi friends, I wanted to be sure to extend my prayers and love to all my teacher friends that are in the path of Hurricane Irma.  I have been thinking about you guys non stop.  Hoping things aren't as bad as what you are expecting.

Thanks for stopping by ~ welcome to my weekly series...

As each year passes I struggle (along with many of you I'm sure) with thinking about planning my lessons to best meet my student's needs.  When I started 23 years ago there was not a huge internet presence and I'll be honest kids had longer attention spans.  With the onset of technology, the instant gratification and 'never bored' syndromes grew and have in some ways turned into a monster.  I wish my students had the experiences I had growing up of being outdoors until the street lights came on.  I wish they used their imagination more and created their own activities and games to do with friends.  Playing school, turning a box into a spaceship, etc.

I truly look for the best you tube videos when I teach a new concept, I subscribe to flocabulary which is awesome and turns almost any concept kids learn into a fun, engaging rap song.  I have a classroom stage, it never ends.  I'll be honest, I like being a ham in front of my students so I truly don't mind some of this however, I am saddened that almost every lesson needs to be a dog and pony show to keep their attention and interest.

unplug - be more creative with your lessons without having your students having screen time.

What if you UNPLUGGED for the day guys?  Oh, the horror - start sending the hate mail.  My daughter is in a program called Young Life and when they go away to camp for a week the first thing they do is drop their phones in a basket when they arrive at camp.  They can't have them back until the bus ride home.  She always says it's so refreshing and really enjoys not having her phone - she's in high school and well most high school kids love their phones...am I right!?!? 
 So you have a 1:1 classroom...so what???  I struggle with this, if some kids are unmonitored and on technology from 3 -7 pm after school why would I want them staring at a screen even for a couple hours under my watch?  Don't get me wrong and think I don't value the use of technology that's not what this post is about, I see its place and worth for sure and with 21st century learning happening there's no getting away from it.  But I do challenge you to think outside the box and be sure the lesson you are going to teach can't be done without a screen.  If it's still engaging and rigorous and memorable without the computer than...why not use your creativity in another way?
I'm always thinking what can I be doing that is engaging with and without a computer?
So along with pulling all my tricks out of my sleeve I'm always thinking how can I make this lesson more engaging?!?  Sure google classroom and incorporating technology is always a go to BUT ~ ~ I challenge you to NOT do that.  That's a given, that's expected, that's one of the reasons they are the way they are....think outside the box.  Yes, there is a time and place for technology but think about all the other things you can do in that lesson to make it meaningful, relevant and engaging and even memorable for them.
Here are some ideas:
* use dice ( play partner games with dice ) there's not too many things more engaging than this and they love it.
* go outside ( I love to teach concepts outdoors ) especially if it lends itself to that.  For instance, we always teach area and perimeter outside and we walk the perimeter of the playground and then we sit in the area of the lunch tables.
* act things out - I was recently teaching on the commutative property of addition and I called on kids to come up front - 5 were on my stage and 3 were on the ground.  We added them and then the kids switched places so they could visually see what that looks like to flip the numbers around.
* use a microphone and backdrops if you can - My students LOVE when I put my red carpet google slide up and let them use a microphone and stand on our stage to read their journals. They ask beg me to do this daily.
* Use props and call kids up front to act out certain skills with the props -  They love this and it gets them moving and thinking critically.  For instance, I wrote out a sentence and cut it up like a puzzle - including the punctuation marks.  They had to first work together as a group to put the sentence together correctly with the punctuation in the correct spots. ( including quotation marks )  Then they had to figure out how to stand in front of the class in the right spots to have the sentence make sense to everyone else.
* teach them a rap song on whatever skill you are working on and sing with them even if your voice isn't so great ( like me ) they won't care, I promise!

As you can see there are lots of ideas you can incorporate!  Think about unplugging and going old school or doing the things I mentioned.  Just because we unplug doesn't mean we are using worksheets all day...right?!?!  Let me know if you agree to some degree or think I'm crazy in the comments. 
As always happy teaching, 

Classroom TOUR 2017 - 2018

Happy back to school friends!  I wanted to talk about 'classroom reveals'.  I think it can be so overwhelming for newer teachers to see class tours and think - I don't have the money for that, I don't know where to start, etc., etc.  Classroom tours are certainly not meant to bring you more anxiety to the start of your school year.  That is definitely not my intention at all and I hope you come away inspired with a couple new ideas rather than feel overwhelmed.  I will tell you my first 'real classroom' had been meeting in the multi purpose room of an inner city school until right before Halloween when I was hired.  I had to throw my class together from noon until 4 one day because we weren't allowed there after hours or on weekends.  It just wasn't safe.
I'm excited to share my 24th year - YES!!! That's right 24th year with all of you.  I can't believe I've been teaching that long, I'm way to young right?!?! LOL  
For the last few years I've had a pirate theme and this year I knew I wanted to incorporate giraffes somehow as I have loved them since I was 3 years old.  I haven't even done a giraffe theme before because I didn't want a typical safari themed classroom and I wasn't sure how to pull off giraffes without it...well I think I did.
I have a shabby kinda themed room with giraffe accents and I really love it.  I feel right at home!  The giraffe items were super easy because I have so many and have collected things over the years.  I can't wait to share how I set my room up and why I did certain things....welcome to my flexible seating classroom and 
 my weekly series...

Come on in...

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up.

This adorable hello vinyl is from my friend Julie - you can get one here:  https://www.facebook.com/MyStickyDesigns/

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up and mini me melonheadz

I get lots of questions about my melonheadz mini me.  Nikki made it for me and then I sent it to Staples and they 'blew it up' for me to a poster size.  You can contact Nikki here if you want a mini me:  https://www.facebook.com/melonheadz/

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up.

I have 2 desks, one where I sit and plan with my calendar and lesson plan book and the front one where I have my smart board computer set up.

My boards and displays were so much fun to work on, I wanted to be sure to put a positive spin on it and incorporate how strong I feel about growth mindset with some of my quotes, etc. 

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up plus bulletin board ideas.

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up plus a classroom stage.

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up plus quotes in the classroom...you matter.

This is at the front of the room and I love that it is such a focal point in my classroom, reinforcing exactly how I feel about each and every child that steps foot into my classroom!

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up

Lots of flexible seating options in my classroom thanks to Donor's Choose!

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up, giraffe ideas

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up, classroom library, classroom library set up and Ikea shelves

This is part of my library - I didn't get a picture of some built ins I have to store more of my books.

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up,

classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up, plus class quotes and bulletin boards.

I have gotten lots of questions about my quote at the top of my board.  You can get it in my store here:  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Class-Quote-3290024

flexible seating classroom tour, classroom reveal, classroom decor and set up, plus flexible seating in the classroom

I have more pictures but this about sums it up my friends.  I hope you enjoyed my classroom tour.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I also did a facebook live of my classroom tour which you can watch here: https://www.facebook.com/teachingandmuchmoore/videos/1256607634450989/
Happy teaching!!!

Top 5 ways to teach rounding to your students.

Back to School in third grade at least means place value and rounding for math.  I have always enjoyed teaching rounding because I have some fun tricks and hands on ideas that have always helped make this concept easier for kids to understand.

One of my favorite tried and true ways to teach this concept is by this fun poem that I've used for years....

1.)  A rounding poem is a sure fire way to help them!

teaching rounding poem posters
So if you teach your students to memorize this poem they will be much more successful at rounding.  When I walk around my classroom I hear my students saying this quietly in their heads when they are trying to decide what to do with a number.

When they look at a number like this:

53...and they are asked to round to the nearest 10.  They know they can use the poem to help them.

2.)  The buddy system never fails!

3.)  A number line can be your best friend when teaching rounding.   Using a number line when teaching rounding is super helpful and very visual for the kids that need it. A number line helps kids visually 'see' where the number falls and what number it is closer to - which leads to my next tip.....

teaching rounding with a number line

4.)  Help your students find the midpoint on the number line when teaching rounding.

5.)  Now that they have found the midpoint they can visually see is the number 5 or higher or 4 or less like the poem from tip #1. 
But go one step further!!!  Give each child a pipe cleaner and a bead...

teaching rounding with pipe cleaners and beads, so hands on

Next...have them draw a number line on their white boards using the numbers involved for the number they are trying to round.

As you can see from the photos - they draw a number line, write the number on top that they need to round and find the midpoint.  After that they write the numbers on either side - this is determined by what they are rounding by...for instance if they are rounding to the nearest 10 it would've looked differently than what is shown since this is to the nearest 100.  In the second pictures above the child labeled their number line and found the midpoint ( and labeled that under the bead ) and then they wrote the number they were trying to round where they thought it would go approximately.  They told me that it was visually closer to the 600.  I had them say the poem to be sure - 5 or more let it soar....and they knew they were correct.

If you are looking for these poems or for some more fun, hands on rounding activities you can find them here:

Teaching rounding first through third grade, hands on math ideas

This is very visual and my third graders LOVE it!  Since we talk so much about resting and soaring I have them first complete a 'sort' and then we do several activities where they circle the airplane or the bed to show that they understand the poem and more importantly the concept or rounding.

Kids love interactive activities so along with some dice games I play with them we use paperclips and pencils to spin and find the right answers for rounding with these.

You can find this pack here which includes all ideas above and them poems :   ( click the picture )

Teaching rounding tips and tricks

I  also have another one here but it doesn't include the poem I talked about in this post:

Teaching rounding tips and tricks

I hope these ideas were super helpful to you if you are teaching on rounding...these ideas can be used 1st - 3rd grade....enjoy and happy teaching!


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