Have you ever gone to a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party? I've probably gone to parties not knowing my sweater was even tacky! Designing an ugly Christmas Sweater is a fun activity that involves creativity, writing, and computer skills.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Saturday, November 5, 2016
If you haven't read Sophie's Squash, I highly recommend it. This Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book is the sweetest book about a little girl who finds a new friend... a squash. There are several life lessons your can learn when reading Sophie's Squash.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Sunday, October 16, 2016
People in Austin have a deep affinity for bats. Every evening between the months of March and October, hundreds of people line up along Congress Street Bridge to see the bats fly out for their evening meal. Bats along with other animals are becoming endangered. They suffer from loss of habitat, disease, and effects of pollution. With Bats Conservation International being located here in Austin, we have an opportunity to learn more about this important creature of the night.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Friday, October 7, 2016
Author Elvira Woodruff was inspired to write The Memory Coat after a visit to Ellis Island Immigration Museum. She came across an exhibit of clothing worn by the immigrants and was touched by the story of one piece of tattered clothing. After doing research, Elvira learned about the plight of Russian-Jews coming to America in order escape the cruel treatment. With this information and her imagination, the story came together.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
The first step in developing a Project Based Learning unit is to determine the instructional goals to be taught during the project. These are not the goals of the students but the core standards that need to be addressed during the unit. The standards may cover different subject areas such as science, social studies, math, ELA... This post focuses on how reading informational text develops successful readers through Project Based Learning.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
The fall migration of the Monarch butterfly has begun. The Monarch butterflies are now migrating from Canada to the warmer climate of Mexico. Did you know that they travel about 3,000 miles and up to 500 miles a day? Austin falls in the path of the monarchs traveling south. So, it's important to get involved and for us to do our part to save our Monarchs.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Did you know that there are over 2,500 different varieties of apples? They come in shades of yellow, red, and green and they are grown in all 50 states. There are also many learning activities that can be focused around this delicious and healthful fruit.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Are you looking for ways to go paperless in your classroom? Try this great app that can be used for your assignments, review, and assessment. I like Classkick because teachers can create the lessons, students work during real time and they can receive instant feedback as they work. Students can even request help from the teacher or from other students while working on the assignment. Classkick is an excellent resource for students who are too shy to ask for help.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
It's time for school to begin and I know your students are eager to get to know their new classmates and tell all about their summer activities. I'm going to share some fun beginning of the year activities that can be displayed for Back to School Night with your parents. All you need are scissors, glue, staplers, and crayons.
Friday, August 5, 2016
Building a Class Community Through Project Based Learning
It's the beginning of the school year and your goal is to create a positive atmosphere and community in your classroom. It's important to set the tone at the beginning of the year so your class meetings go well, your students work productively in collaborative groups, and your students can resolve conflicts.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
There's so much going on this week. Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Back to School Sale on August 1-2. You can get up to 28% off all of my products.
There are two different raffles you can enter. You can receive up to $90 in TPT gift Cards.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Are you ready for the Summer Olympics? I love watching all of the events, especially swimming and gymnastics. There are some great learning activities that go along with the Olympics and your students will love beginning the year with this unit. And, I can't think of a better way for students to learn about countries and their cultures.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Sunday, July 17, 2016
I bet you had no idea that today is World Emoji Day. The truth is, I didn't either. A friend clued us in last week.
Emojis are small digital images or icons that are used to express an idea or emotion. They were actually born in the late 1990's in a Japanese research facility. A mobile phone provider in Japan was the first entity to allow users to add pictures to commonly used emotions to their text messages.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
It's Christmas in July and I'm sure you never stop thinking about all that you need for your students and classroom for the new year. I'll make your life a little easier with this FREEBIE.
At the beginning of the year, there's so much you need to discuss with your students and parents. Many of you have a back to school night when you go over Snapshots of what's coming up during the year.
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Have you ever read books with your class and wanted your students to actually visit these places? With Google Earth and Google Lit Trips, you can take your students to these different locations around the world. Two of my favorite books are Make Way for Ducklings and Big Anthony: His Story. With Google Lit Trips, your students can follow the ducklings to all the places they visited in Boston and travel with Big Anthony through his disasters in the cities of Italy. By using Lit Trips, you can easily incorporate literature and social studies.
Friday, June 3, 2016
School is out for most of you and I'm sure you've encouraged your students to read, read, read during their summer vacation. I always recommend books on the Texas Lone Star Reading List and other award winning books. This year's Caldecott winners are amazing. They teach life lessons about diversity, emotions, and friendship.
I came across Last Stop on Market Street and immediately fell in love with this sweet book. There are so many lessons to learn in this award winning book by author Matt de la Pena and illustrator Christian Robinson. In fact, it won both Caldecott and Newbery Awards this year.
A little boy named CJ is not happy about riding the bus across town with his grandmother. He wonders why they don't have a car like his friends and questions things he sees while riding on the bus. CJ's grandmother wants him to appreciate the world and people around him. Nana finds the beauty in unexpected places. The author even uses visualization as a passenger plays his guitar and a blind man talks about using his other senses.
I suggest introducing the book by talking about the different ways students get from one place to another. Ask students if they have ever taken a bus or some type of public transportation other than their car?
1. What are some things they notice about taking this type of transportation?
2. Do they study the people traveling? Wonder where they are going?
3. Do they notice things outside?
4. Would they rather ride in a car or enjoy public transportation? Why or Why not?
5. Do they ever get upset because they don't have things that other friends have?
Draw the students' attention to the inside cover. It's filled with pictures that are seen throughout the book. How is this different from other books? Ask the students if they can visualize how these may be used within the book. Hand out the picture cards. Ask the students to listen to the story as it is read. When they hear the word of their picture bring it to the front of the class. The pictures can be displayed on the board or anchor chart.
Tell the children that this book is about a little boy who rides with his grandmother on a bus to the last stop on Market Street. He's not happy because they don't have a car. He notices things that others have and he doesn't. Listen as the book is read to see how the boy changes and begins to appreciate the world and people around him.
1. Discuss the difference between physical traits and character traits. Students will write all of the physical traits of CJ and his nana, then write all of the character traits.
2. Not all traits are written. Students can infer the traits from reading the text. Students can write the quotes of CJ and then write the trait they infer from the reading.
3. Sometimes characters change from the beginning of the book. Students can list the events that may have influenced the ways CJ changed after his nana helped him appreciate the beauty around him.
Creating mental pictures is important for reading comprehension. As students read, they create mental pictures. In the book, a man plays a guitar and people close their eyes. CJ closed his eyes and visualized things he saw while listening to the music. Students have their own unique pictures as they visualize during their reading. They can draw what they visualize from reading the book and compare drawings.
The last stop on Market Street was at a soup kitchen where CJ and nana were going to volunteer. Visit with students about different ways they can volunteer. They may volunteer through their community, church or other organizations. Your students may even come up with ideas for their class to volunteer.
For your free resource, just click on the image below.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Many of your students may not have an opportunity to go on a family trip during summer break. So, let them plan a fantasy vacation with this fun Project Based Learning Writing and Math Project! While learning about a state or country, your students can plan the vacation. You may even have students who want to plan a "Stay-cation" and research fun places to visit around their own town or city.0
Friday, April 29, 2016
1. Do your research!Never go into an interview without knowing about the subject. Doing research helps the interviewer come up with good questions to learn even more.
2. Contact the person ahead of timeWhether you are going to a business or someone's home, contact the person first. Set up a good time for the interview. If the person cannot be interviewed in person, you may need to do a phone interview or even Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangout.
3. Prepare questions ahead of timeAfter researching, write down between 10-15 good questions. Don't ask yes or no questions. Ask questions that are open-ended so the person has an opportunity to elaborate. Practice asking questions with a friend or your parents.
4. Be prepared and on time for the interview
Bring your notebook, pencil and questions. If you are recording the interview, bring the device. Always make sure to get permission if you want to record or video. And, make sure to be on time.
5. Be courteous and professional during the interview
- Be friendly and relax during the interview.
- Dress nicely to show that you are serious about the interview.
- Give the person a chance to answer the questions without going on to the next question.
- Listen carefully as you take notes. Feel free to ask follow-up questions.
- Sometimes one of your questions may already be answered during the interview, so don't ask it again.
- Ask the person if there's anything else she/he would like to add.
- Thank the person for taking time to be interviewed.
6. Review your notesReview your notes right after your interview. You may remember some information that you didn't write down.
7. Write a thank-you noteFollow-up the interview with a thank-you note.
If you enjoyed this post about ask an expert, you'll also enjoy the other PBL ideas at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. You can view all of my Project Based Learning resources here.
Monday, April 18, 2016
I love having games available in the classroom. Students learn so many skills when they play strategy games, board games and simulations. They are perfect for struggling learners because students are using their senses and higher level thinking skills. It's a wonderful way to present concepts and address differentiation in the classroom. Stronger students can even peer tutor.
1. By playing games, students learn and practice math skills. Students are able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the concepts.
2. By playing games, students learn life and social skills. They can learn critical thinking, teamwork, to cooperate with others, sportsmanship, and communication.
3. By playing games, students are more apt to retain the information. Students not only learn math concepts, they learn skills in reading, following directions, and vocabulary.
4. Games are motivating! Students don't even realize they are learning when they play games.
5. Games are fun for all ages. Many games are still fun to play no matter how old you are!
Here are a few math games that have a spring theme. These are perfect for math stations:
1. Ice Cream Scoops - Just write numbers on cards. Students will take turns turning over a card and subtract it from 99. Then, continue subtracting from each difference. Write smaller numbers on the cards for easier problems.
2. Double Bee's - This is a fun game with multi-steps. Students will roll the dice. (You can use blank dice to add numbers 4-9.) Multiply the two numbers. Add the two numbers and then add those totals. Find the answers on the bee hive.
3. Flower Power and Sweet Treats - You can write your own problems for these games. Make sure to laminate all of these so you can use them over and over. Students get a different experience every time they play. Use erasable markers so you can just erase the problems and write new ones.
4. Roll and Cover and Catch the Bug - I love using themes for games. You can incorporate games into all curriculum areas. Catch the Bug involves working with coordinates and the flower themed Roll and Cover is also played with dice.
You can find all of these games in one product. Or, you can purchase a year of themes in one bundle. And, they are discounted just for this linky! Just click on the images below.
Saturday, April 2, 2016
When implementing a successful Project Based Learning unit, there are several questions you need to ask yourself. What is your overall goal for the unit? What skills do you want to cover in the project? Does the project fit into your curriculum? And, is your unit really project based? Many times commonly used terms such as inquiry based learning, authentic learning, problem-solving... are confused with actual project based learning.
Friday, April 1, 2016
It's spring and flowers are beginning to bloom. It's warming up and your students are anxious to go outside and explore. This is the perfect time of year to focus on life cycles, or - more specifically - the life cycle of a plant.
Take your students outside on a nature hunt to identify the parts of the plant. Students can record their observations. As students learn about the life cycle of a plant, they can color and cut out each phase and put them in the correct order.
As students learn vocabulary related to plants, they can create their own mini-book.
Put QR Code task cards at centers so they can view videos and learn more about plants.
This fun interactive PowerPoint explains the parts of the plant, life cycle, seeds, pollination and how plants are useful.
This Claymation video is a wonderful way for students to understand the life cycle of a plant. These are so easy to create.
For all of these life cycle of a plant activities, drop by my TPT store. You're going to love the life cycle of a plant resource (or the other bundles it's included in)!