Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tried It Tuesday {Role Play, New Fan Freebie!}

I go back to work today after a week off for spring break. We also had a wonderful extra day off yesterday. The weather here was beautiful and I'm afraid mention that it may SNOW on Wednesday. Maybe if I write it, it won't actually happen?
Back to a normal routine and counting down to the end of the school year...
It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
My Tried It:
Role Plays
I recently wrote about using Revolutionary War figures for role plays here
We used these Primary Sources of Famous People in American History found here at Rosen Publishing or here at Amazon. I have a collection on loan and had eleven different choices of people from the American Revolution. I have 15 or 16 students per section, so a few students in each class had to choose the same personality.
You can also read about how I used this role play in my classroom last year here.
I had students complete this Revolutionary War Personality questionnaire to use when their groups were assigned and they began planning their role plays. 
You can access this worksheet as a new Facebook Fan Freebie!

 The groups were made from four Revolutionary War Personalities and students were responsible for writing a script including a cast of characters, some stage directions, and setting descriptions for each scene. Here are some images of students performing.

I can't say enough about how many higher level thinking skills really had to be applied with this activity. Students were instructed to include meaningful, educational dialogue based on their character's role in the American Revolution. The roles had to be connected in some way and this was a challenge. They also couldn't have more than 1/5 of their role play be "war scenes". They love those! Props could be used from the classroom and many groups created their own props using materials in the room. 
The groups had one 80 minute class to write their dialogue and begin rehearsing and another 30 minutes of the next day to practice. They really did an awesome job!
Role plays can be used for any topic and used in any subject! 
The students always remember this activity!

Before you go, check out my friend Bex at Reading and Writing Redhead's Milestone Giveaway!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spark Motivation and A Peek at My Week {Frozen, Toliver}

Today is my last day of spring break and it has been a relaxing staycation! I tried limiting my computer time (you just need that sometimes!).
I'm linking up a day late for the wonderful Mrs. Laffin's Laughings weekly linky: 
We are starting Toliver's Secret this week. This will be my third year using this novel. 
You can about what I did last year more here.
Before break, we read Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?
I only teach ELA, but the math teacher will be gearing up for the NYS tests that are next week. In all my 14 years of teaching, I have always been responsible for preparing students for a state exam and we will have a celebration after the tests. Since this goes along with student motivation, I am linking this up with my BBB, Joanne, at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her weekly linky:

The ELA tests were the week before break, and the math tests are about four weeks after that. So, we decided to have two celebrations. Our celebration for the ELA tests was to watch Frozen:
We also had a couple frozen treats!
The whole 4th grade can fit in one of our 4th grade classrooms. The lights were off here but the picture shows it as being lighter than it actually was.
What do students have to do to be able to go to the celebration? They just have to work hard and show us that they're putting forth their best effort on test days! This means taking your time, going back to the text and underlining, and using TWO details for all those short response questions. I discuss this with all my classes in advance and really play up the celebration. They eat it up! I've never had a student not be able to go to the celebration but have had to give some students "warnings" during the test. It might be a little bribery, but, hey, whatever works! They deserve a special treat for surviving the test anyway! :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five for Friday {Spring Break Style!}

After a little vacation from blogging, I am coming out of hiding to link up Five For Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching!   

We are on spring break! Yay!! Last weekend was gorgeous and then Tuesday hit and we had a 40 degree drop in temperature in one day. It was snowing all morning and was cold enough to stick. Yuck!
Before leaving for break, I gave my students a little Easter treat. I love these little cups that were four for $.97 at Walmart. I put some Easter candy and a pencil in them.

I finally signed up after reading all about Stitch Fix!! I can't wait to get my first box of clothes/accessories in the mail next week. I don't make time for myself to shop often with two kids that I have to shop for as well. I'm also not up on the latest trends and could use my personal stylist to help me! I'll let you know how it goes with the first shipment. :)
We spent Tuesday and Wednesday night in a hotel about 30 miles from home. The kids thought we were in another world though! We went to an indoor water park all day Wednesday. It is exhausting but the kids loved it!

Here is my six year old (soon to be seven) who is getting so grown up! She has several students in her class that wear glasses and she had to get some fake ones for herself! Haha! I remember wanting glasses, especially in middle school and we used to "borrow" our friends' glasses to wear. Lilly might be out of luck since neither myself or my husband have ever worn glasses. Hopefully, the good vision genes got to her too! :)
 Here she is with her shipment from Little Passports that came recently. Her great aunt gave her a subscription as a present and she loves it! This month the package was from Egypt and she had to excavate this plaster pyramid to find the hidden treasure inside. :)

I'm Lovin Lit is hosting two awesome fundraising bundles to help raise money for her nephew Jaydon. You can read more about his story here.
This is the 3-6 bundle:
This is the K-2 bundle.
Each bundle is only $10.00!! The bundles are only active for a limited time though!

Have a great weekend everyone!! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tried It Tuesday {Intermediate Science}

Only four more days to go until TEN days off!! I think I can...I think I can! As I sit here writing this post, my grades are due today, my walk-in observation can be any day, and I am still mentally exhausted from last week's ELA state tests (which I get to regionally score tomorrow so I need sub plans made still! Yay me!!). Haha! It's always something!

We are staying home for the most part over spring break but are taking a two night trip to an indoor water park with the kids. I am looking forward to playing catch up on many items on the to-do list! I won't be posting a new Tried It Tuesday post next week, but this link up will be open for TWO weeks, so feel free to link up anytime and check back!
Now, it's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
My Tried It:
Intermediate Science
Now that the ELA test is over, our teachers are gearing up for math and science. I can breathe a big sigh of relief since I only teach all the ELA, but wanted to share some great science resources with you today by some of my BBB's!
One topic I taught when I did teach all subjects in fourth grade was physical and chemical changes. I love using videos in the science classroom and found this engaging "Changes Rap" on Youtube.

I also found this great anchor chart example on Pinterest.
This chemical and physical changes SCOOT game by my amazing friend Sabra at Teaching With a Touch of Twang is a great activity to incorporate when teaching this skill!
I love the chart that comes with this pack listing many examples of physical and chemical changes!
The cards are so colorful and REALLY make the students stop and think!
These students actually used this game at a center and I laminated the answer sheet for use with dry erase markers. They each took half of the cards and recorded their answers with different color markers. Then, when they were done, they calculated who had more correct answers! Of course, you can also play whole class SCOOT with the cards too!

Are you looking for a great deal on some fun, engaging intermediate science activities? Check out this amazing deal on Educents! For a limited time, there are NINE intermediate science downloads (including the SCOOT game above) for only $10.99 from Educents (this is about 65% off!).   

Check out all these amazing science products included in this bundle!

And if you have never purchased from Educents before.. they always have a great deal for your first purchase.  
Click here if you are a first time purchaser to take advantage of a  special offer just for you!   


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