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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tried It Tuesday {Rock It with Movement, Songs, and Stories!}

It's time for another week of Tried It Tuesday!  I hope you will link up with anything you have "tried" in your classroom or home (new or old!) or just check out the ideas linked up.  I love reading the tried its each week and always learn something new!  

My Tried It:
Rock It! 
I was contacted this summer to try out some activities from the book, Rock It by Steve Reifman in my classroom.  When I read the description of this book, I knew immediately that this was a resource that I had to have!  I am always looking for new and fresh ways to incorporate movement and songs to help my students learn.  Sometimes I feel that is the only way to get my students' attention.  Not only am I a teacher, but I also need to be an entertainer!  This book is FULL of ideas to engage students!  
Here is a brief summary of the book from Rock It's website:
Rock It! Transform Classroom Learning with Movement, Songs, and Stories has over 100 activities you can implement today in your elementary classroom to energize your students and help them learn. 

All of the movement activities, songs, and stories for teaching math and English language arts are aligned with Common Core State Standards in grades K - 5 to help you meet those learning goals. Other activities help students learn science, social studies, and health curriculum topics. There are also ideas for movement warm-ups, breaks, and creating a strong classroom community. 

Research shows that getting kids active while learning helps engage the brain. The activities in Rock It! will get your students rocking to the beat of success!

I love how the book is divided into eight chapters, with each chapter focused on a different topic and focus for incorporating movement, songs, and stories into the curriculum.
Chapter 1- Movement Warm-ups
Chapter 2-Teaching Math with Movement and Stories
Chapter 3- Teaching Language Arts and Movement with Stories
Chapter 4-Teaching Science, Social Studies, and Health Movement and Stories
Chapter 5-Songs for Learning
Chapter 6-Movement Breaks
Chapter 7-Rhythms and Chants
Chapter 8-Creating a Quality Classroom Culture with Movement and Stories

Since I am teaching three blocks of ELA this year, I decided to try a couple activities from Chapter 3: Teaching Language Arts and Movement with Stories.
The first activity was "The Contraction Blues".  I chose this activity because we were studying possessive nouns recently (Jivey's mentor sentences) and contractions came up during our discussion as another time an apostrophe is used.  It is amazing how little my students knew about the the term "apostrophe" and the difference between possessive nouns compared to contractions.  After we played "The Contraction Blues", the students had such a great visual and it really started to click!  This game is aligned to Common Core State Standards ELA-Literacy.L.2.2c. 

I called the number of students I needed to the front of the room and gave them a card with a letter on it.  The students then arranged themselves into two words using the cards (for example, "I AM") with a space between the words.  The directions also stated that teachers could pass out a card to each student with a letter of the alphabet, but since my sections only have 15-16 students, I didn't want to worry about missing letters or needing double of a letter like in "CAN NOT" for example.

Next, I chose someone to be the "contractor".  We discussed prior to this what it means to "contract" (get smaller).  The "contractor" came to the front of the room and had to tap the person holding the letter that was no longer needed once the contraction was made.  For example, the contractor would tap the student holding the "A" for I AM since the word becomes I'M when contracted.  Naturally, the students loved being the contractor and tapping someone on the shoulder to tell them their services were no longer needed and they could sit down. :)  Here, the student in the green shirt is the contractor and tapped the student in the black shirt to dismiss him.  
The "contractor" then stands where the apostrophe would be inserted and the other students move closer together to make the new contraction (great visual!).  Students can visually see the word "contracting"!  Below the student in the pink sweatshirt is the "contractor.

 Below is the contraction "WE'RE".  It was pajama day at our school for spirit week. :) 
Below is the contraction "CAN'T" with the student in the black shirt being the contractor.
 Another activity I tried with my class was "The Slouch Game".
This game helps students distinguish between proper nouns and common nouns.
I love this quick game because it really assesses if the students know the difference between proper and common nouns quickly and is a good movement mini break!  Many of my students are having a difficult time capitalizing words properly and some of them are capitalizing common nouns on their pretests for spelling.  This was a topic that needed to be addressed in my classroom.

The teacher simply calls out a noun and if it is a common noun, the students slouch in their chairs to approximate the height of a lower case letter as shown by the students below.
 If the noun is a proper noun, the students sit up tall in their chairs to approximate the height of a capital letter as shown by the students in the picture below.
The students really liked this quick activity.  I started with common nouns followed by a proper noun example of that common noun (for example, city and New York City).  Then, I changed it up and would say two or three common or proper nouns in a row.  They really got the hang of it fast and I could easily assess what they knew by observing how fast they changed their height while seated!  This activity is aligned with Common Core Standards L.1.2a, L.2.2a, L3.2a, and L.42.a.

There are SO many other activities in this book that I can't wait to try.  Each activity in the book includes step-by-step instructions, including preparation, procedure, and variations. Activities can be easily adapted for the age group of the students.  I love how there is a reference in the back of the book for each grade level, K-5, grouped by subjects and the Common Core Standards addressed in the activities.  Just a few of the other activities that I will be trying soon for ELA are "Making an Inference", "Cause and Effect", "The Synonym-Antonym Sidestep", and "Subject and Predicate".  There are also activities for math in Number & Operations in Base Ten, Fractions, Measurement & Data, and Geometry.  For science there is an array of ideas for incorporating movement, song, and stories into lessons such as "The Water Cycle", "The Life Cycle of a Butterfly", "Rotating and Revolving", "The Energy Wave", "Sources of Energy Challenge", and much more!  

All teachers know that students need to be active during the day. Their attention wanders when they are stuck in their seats too long. Rock It! Transform Classroom Learning with Movement, Songs, and Stories by Steve Reifman lets teachers instruct students while they are moving.  Check out the website for Rock It here and download a free PDF sample!


  1. I totally want that book! It sounds amazing! Thanks!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  2. That book sounds like it would be right up my alley! I'm going to check it out! I love getting kids moving and out of their seats! Did you have pajama day??!! Thanks for hosting and sharing!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. Oh my gosh such fun! I love getting the kids up and moving too-this seems like a great way to get them all engaged! Thanks for sharing and for hosting!

    Learning to the Core

  4. You had me at "Rock It"...I really didn't need to read anymore, BUT you know I did! I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE! I love that you've already had a Pajama Day. That is my absolute favorite dress up day every year. On my way to go download a preview. LOVE!!!!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  5. This looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing! I love PJ Day. Our kids are working on earning one by bringing in box tops.

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
    Find me on Facebook

  6. I love the sound (haha) of this resource. We just started using Flocabulary - the students love the songs! I love, love, love PJ day. Ours is in January - I love an excuse to buy new comfy jammies!!

  7. I like that it is spelled out for you. I would like to try more songs and movement, but I am not that kind of learner so it is way out of my comfort zone. I would need something with more explicit ideas for me to use them in the classroom.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack

  8. Love the ideas you tried out. I love that slouch game, will have to remember that when we work on nouns, as 5th graders they still struggle with it. So cool!