Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wintery Pattern Block Fun


This week we combined the wintery elements outside our windows with our current unit on geometry for a little project fun.

We have been working our way through reviewing names of common polygons and exploring their attributes using pattern blocks. Thus, in working to take it one step further and embrace the season, I asked my students to make snowflake patterns by selecting at least three different shapes to use in their creation. 


The students traced the patterns on to a sheet of white computer paper with a pencil. They then retraced their finished product with a permanent marker and cut before gluing onto the blue background.

To take it one step further, they each wrote a paragraph about their snowflake. (We sneak writing in wherever we can, right?!) In the paragraph, they had to share the names and how many of each shape was included in their flakes.


And there you have it. Quick, fun project that incorporates math, writing, and the season!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Metacognition Masters

We spent the better first half of our year really focused on different strategies for thinking while we read (aka. metacognition). Here are a few different tools of the trade we use on a daily basis that have helped us become "Metacognition Masters".

First up, our "Metacognition Wall" found in our classroom library.


It contains the anchor charts we utilized as we learned about each strategy along with key phrases the students can use in sharing that type of thinking.


The students also have a mini copy in their reading notebooks shown below. You can grab a free copy of this printable here. (Note: It looks small/does not take up the whole page, so that when you print it will fit on a notebook page.)


In addition to key phrases in their notebooks, the students also have thought bubbles that they use while reading to remind them to be thinking as well as quick reference bookmarks that they often use during read-to-self.


The bookmarks can be downloaded here.


As a final project to demonstrate their understanding of the various thinking strategies, our third graders this year each selected a "good fit", fiction text to read, think about and utilize to create a piece of writing titled "Metacognition" in which they shared information about the strategies and how they used them with their readers.

Here is an example of how the students jotted down their thinking to begin "generating their ideas" on post-its.


After reading and jotting down all of their thinking, I asked the students to go back and star 3 of the post-its, each a good example of a different type of metacognition that they would like to use in writing their piece.


They then went through the writing process to develop a multi paragraph piece about their writing like the one shown below.


They read all of their pieces and shared the books they utilized in small groups before we headed out on winter break. It was a great way for the kids to engage in discussions about reading and writing and learn about different book options for future reading in the classroom as well!

What are some of your tips, tricks, and goodies for teaching metacognition?



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Our families "light up" our lives...

We had a blast today putting together our family gift before we head out for winter break tomorrow.


Each student was given a set of 6 lights. The very first light on each string of lights states "Mi familia ilumina mi vida porque.../My family lights up my life because...". On the other 5 lights, I asked students to share a reason as to how their family members make their lives brighter.


The kids came up with some very sweet things to say, sharing everything from "you support me when I am sad", to "you help me with my homework", to "you cheer me on at my sporting events". 

After writing each of their ideas, the students worked to evenly space the lights and tape them on a piece of black yarn (this tied in nice with our fraction unit we just finished up- equal parts had meaning!)


Then they were ready for wrapping. A little tissue paper, a fun tag, and a red lunch sack (compliments of Target), and we are good to go folks!


You can grab a copy of the lights template here in Spanish or English.
Fun font is from Kevin & Amanda and cute light graphic is from My Cute Graphics.

What are some of your favorite classroom gift making ideas? I always love to have a bank ready for years to come!



Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Thankful Class



Yesterday afternoon we took some time as a class to share our gratitude for the special qualities that each student brings to our classroom. Each child was given a name of another student in our classroom and asked to write a note of thanks to that student sharing something positive they bring to our classroom community. 

I then compiled each page written into a book titled 
"Damos gracias por nuestra clase/We are Thankful for our Class". 
We will be reading our finished product on Monday morning upon our return from break.

Here are a few samples of the respectful and wonderful things the kids had to say about one another. Looking forward to keeping this in our class book bin to look back on from time to time throughout the year!


(I am thankful for ___________ because she is kind, a good friend, and funny.)


(I am thankful for ________ because he helps me when I do not know something to find the answer.)

Happy Thanksgiving blog family. I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with love, gratitude and lots of good eats. God bless.




Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bilingual Blog Hop - Nov. Ed.



Welcome blog hoppers. I am so glad you are all here!

November is a month chalked full of gratitude and I must admit, I absolutely love it.
I am so incredibly thankful for the abundant blessings that I have in my life every day. 
That being said, I wanted to take a moment to embrace the spirit of this month to give thanks to those who make this lil' ole' blog of mine possible and that motivate and inspire me to be a better teacher and person each day.

First, I want to thank all of you - the readers- that are here, taking the time to not only partake in what I have to say, but continuously sharing your input and ideas with me as well! You all definitely motivate me - particularly when life gets going and the blogging' gets tough- to keep it up and stick with it.

Second, I want to thank the network of incredible teachers (particularly my iTeach Bilinguals guys and gals) that I have come to know, love, and lean on for support and insight over these past few years. Sharing is definitely caring, and this network of educational bloggers is such a powerful one to be a part of! 

Third, I have to thank my students. They are the ones who I ultimately do all of this for and who provide me with the content to be a blogger in the first place. They consistently teach me new things, keep me on my toes, and encourage me to be the life longer learner I strive to be.

With that said, as my way of saying thank you to all of you, a little freebie is most certainly in order.
My class is full of energy this year and loves participating in "I Spy" task card activities as it gets them up, moving, and most importantly learning. We are currently reviewing 2-digit subtraction with/without regrouping, and I thought I'd whip a quick set up to share with them and you all of course :).


If you haven't used an "I Spy" activity with your students before, it's super simple. Simply cut out the cards provided in the pack and place them in different places around the classroom. The students will then take the recording sheet (in English or Spanish) around with them (mine use a clipboard) and copy the problem and solve it in the space that corresponds to the letter on the card. The best part is, each of the task cards includes a QR code as well that your students can scan to check their answer. If you have the technology available to utilize this feature, it's pretty awesome, but if not, no worries - you can still use the cards and work together to check your responses together as a class at the end instead! Click on the image to grab your copy. It will be free for the duration of the hop Nov. 7-9 and after that will be on sale in my store!

If you are interested in more freebies and Spanish materials feel free to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store and/or my Facebook page for updates and ideas! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Now head on over to your "Next Stop" with Carolina @ Fun for Spanish Teachers to check out all of the goodies she has in store :). 




Saturday, November 1, 2014

YouTube and Spanish Texts


With many bilingual/immersion teachers such as myself having a limited number of Spanish texts to fill classroom libraries, I have come to find that YouTube is a wonderful backup option when there is something specific I am looking for!

There are a wide variety of Spanish texts read aloud and recorded that are available at your fingertips. 

For instance, at the beginning of the school year, I really wanted to use the book "Alexander y el día terrible, horrible, espantoso, horroso" for a character education lesson. But low and behold I could not get my hands on a copy. Enter YouTube to save the day.


On Book Character Day this fall I dressed up as the Paper Bag Princess and wanted to share the text with my students to start our day and do a character trait lesson. Unfortunately, I only had a copy of the text, myself, in English. YouTube to the rescue yet again.


And I just recently ran across this other fun little YouTube read aloud find.
Perfect for this weekend's occasion.


I must admit while I love holding a book in my hands and spending that quality time with my students huddled together enjoying a text together on our rug, I have come to enjoy and find that sharing the texts with them on YouTube is equally as engaging and taps into this technology age we live in.

Not only that, but you can share the link with students and families and they can listen again and again if they would like at home as well!

Do you use YouTube read alouds in your classroom? What are some of your favorites?


Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Conference Treat

I decided to take in the last fleeting moments of warmth and sunshine yesterday afternoon by sitting out on our front porch and putting together this little delight in preparation for our upcoming fall conferences that begin tomorrow afternoon. Hard to believe it is that time of year already - as I feel (like I do every year) like the year just started!


I put together each fall themed treat bag using the following supplies:


You can grab a copy of the "treat so sweet" tag as well by clicking here.
Fonts and Graphics: Kevin & Amanda, Krista Wallden

I've got all my treats packed up and ready to deliver to all of my lovely families beginning tomorrow afternoon!