Sunday, November 1, 2015

See You in 2016!

It is hard to believe November is here, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. I am writing this evening to let our readers know that Lesson Lady and I are taking some time off from blogging.  We will return in 2016.  In the meantime, enjoy this holiday season!  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What To Do With All the Halloween Candy

Happy Halloween!  I hope you all are having fun despite the crazy buzz of excitement and sugar rushes that come with this holiday.  Today I'm posting a fun way to use up some of your students candy besides consume it.  CandyExperiments has simple science experiments you can do with some of the excessive treats that kids collect.  Here are five of my favorite experiments...

1) Chocolate Bloom--students expose their chocolate bars to different temperatures and see what happens when the ingredients start to separate.

2) Life Saver Sparks--students eat life savers in the dark in front of a mirror and watch what happens.

3) Candy Bar Bath--students test candy bars to see which sink and which float.  Then they predict why.

4) Harvesting S's and M's--students pull the letters off of Skittles and M&M's.

5) Hidden Sugars--students learn to read labels and, hopefully, rethink some of their food choices.

This could be done in class or sent home as an experiment.  I doubt many parents would mind seeing the candy being used for the sake of education instead of tooth decay!

Have fun.  Be safe.  Let us know if you try it and how it goes.  We'd love to hear your feedback.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Vocabulary and the Common Core

One of my favorite books on teaching vocabulary across the K-12 spectrum is this book: Vocabulary for the Common Core by Marzano and Simms.  If you are looking for a book that lays out tier two (general academic) vocabulary and tier three (content specific) vocabulary that is necessary for unpacking the common core across the grade levels, this is a worthwhile $30 investment.  There are a lot of lists in the book, but there are also a lot of great ideas.  Chapter two lays out steps for teaching vocabulary that helps students access meanings of words at their deepest level.  It unpacks what definitions do and do not provide, and how it is critical that we dive deeper into what words are suggesting, how they are used, and how they connect to other concepts. There are straight forward activities, including several pages of game ideas that will teach vocabulary while hitting on other standards (like listening and speaking).  I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

45 Pages of Spanish Unit One Activities

Check out Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  There you'll find a number of printable activities at reasonable prices to use for centers, exams, quizzes, homework, class work, sub plans, etc.  Unit I materials cover the vocabulary for numbers, greetings, calendar and time.

The activities include Spanish Centers: Introductory Unit, Spanish Centers: Greetings, Spanish Centers: Los Numeros, an 80 page compilation of activities, and much, much more (including 5 brand new activities).

Everything comes with answer key and/or rubrics.  And, at $1-5, everything is priced to sell.  Don't reinvent the wheel, creating activities.  Check out the store's digital resources today!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Virtual Tour of Chichen Itza

About five years ago I took a much anticipated vacation to see the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.  I had seen the Aztec center of Tenochtitlan several years before, and this completed my tour of Mexico's most significant ancient American sites.  Despite the heat, it was awesome.

I translated the pictures I took and information I learned into a powerpoint to share with my Spanish class.  I uploaded my lesson to TeachersPayTeachers as two separate files.  I uploaded the ppt as one and another file with the ppt + worksheet.  They are priced at $4 and $5 respectively.

Check it out today!  Or wait until tomorrow when this and everything else in my store is 20%.  The sale goes from May 6-7 in honor of Teacher Appreciation week.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Daily Five

I just finished reading The Daily 5: Second Edition by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (2014) in preparation for my new job as an elementary school literacy coach.  The two sisters, as they refer to themselves, have been sharing their strategies with the rest of the world for awhile.  Their latest edition is a book worth reading, though, if you are an elementary school teacher who is familiar with their work but wants to hone your skills.  For teachers who are unfamiliar with the daily 5 framework, it is a must read.

This is the daily 5 in a nutshell: read to self, work on writing, listen to reading, word work and read to someone.  Each of those is just what it sounds like too.  It is not a curriculum, but rather a way to manage that time of day when students are working on reading and writing so that all students can engage in meaningful, independent skill building while the teacher confers with students individually.  Students are taught to read books, write and improve their vocabulary during self directed sessions, building their stamina throughout the year.

I am not going to summarize the whole book right here and now, but I will list ten reasons it grabbed and held my attention as I began to investigate what quality ELA instruction, especially at the elementary school level, looks like.  Here they are:

1) The daily 5 structure teaches routine and procedures so that students can learn to become independent.
2) The book is replete with references to the most prominent experts and latest research.
3) The structure engages students in meaningful, authentic reading and writing.
4) The book addresses the ever important issue of stamina and how to build it in students.
5) It addresses the latest research about the connection between time spent reading and reading scores and proposes a simple way to increase the number of minutes students spend reading each day.
6) It provides sample lessons and tips for getting started.
7) It addresses what to do with students who struggle to become independent and offers helpful tips.
8) It responds to high frequency concerns the sisters have heard as they've travelled around visiting other teachers.
9) It makes suggestions for how to differentiate.
10) It frees up teachers' time so that they are engaged in meaningful instruction rather then tedious work.

Check back in a couple days for a collection of freebies to help you get started using the daily 5!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fabulous Freebies: Superhero Style Lesson

For this week's freebies I'm showcasing a fun free lesson idea I got from a former art teaching colleague. She used this Superhero Registration in a fun lesson plan that is perfect for a cross curricular lesson!

The Superhero Registration form would be a fun start to a fictional story or interview for a literacy project. My former colleague combined it with a lego person template as the base of their superhero and had them draw their own hero by adding key details onto the example. The finished examples looked great and I think her students had a lot of fun with it!

If you wanted to add a science element to it you could always do a science experiment to test out super powers like making invisible ink!

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