Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beezus and Ramona and Finding a Buddy

Whew folks! Is is really only one week until Halloween, cuz I could SWEAR my kiddos are chowing down on candy everyday before they come to school. 
They are keeping me on my toes, that's for sure! 

I thought I'd pop in and share a quick little close reading lesson I did with my kiddos using  a timeless classic!  

It all started one afternoon when I was digging around in my team's resource pod looking for a new chapter book to read with my thirds. I am blessed to be at a school that has put so much money into books as my pod is literally ceiling to floor shelves of chapter books. I wanted something that the kiddos could relate too, have a good story line, and have *just* enough humor to keep 'em interested.

That's when I found a whole class set of this gem!


I seriously hadn't seen this book since I was probably in the 4th grade! I knew I had to snatch it up! This is a Beverly Cleary CLASSIC. It had everything I needed for our close reading lesson:
 quality literature, solid story line, relate-able characters,and just enough humor to keep everyone interested!  



You can check out this book and so many other fabulous Beverly Cleary books here on Amazon.



To started off our close reading lesson, I pulled up a clip from "D.W.'s Imaginary Friend" from the Arthurs series on PBS.


Such a great way to illustrate the strained relationship that often happens between older and younger siblings! We discussed how Arthur felt about his sister during in the beginning of the clip and how he had changed at the end. Then at their table groups, students discussed how they felt about their younger siblings. If they didn' t have a younger sibling, when it was their turn to speak, I had them share how they think they would feel having a younger brother or sister.

On the heels of that discussion, I passed out copies of "Beezus and Ramona" and gave a very brief description of the story and the characters. Then we jumped in and read the first chapter.


While the students read, we discussed the word, "exasperating".  This word is used a lot in the book, I knew it was a perfect chance to stretch our vocabulary. Our first discussion of this word was mostly about what it meant. As we progressed through the book, we studied by Beezus felt that way about Ramona and why the author choose that word over "annoying".

On day two of our close reading, we jumped into chapter two and learned more about these two sisters. After finishing the chapter, we created this chart to compare the two girls.


Then we made some connections to the text and compared ourselves to Ramona and Beezus. Were they more like Beezus or Ramona?

Their answers were just too cute!




Of course most of my kids identified more with Beezus, but their reasons were precious!

For our third and fourth days of our close read, we used my Literary Discussion cards to discuss the text more.


I loved how the kiddos used the text as a reference in defending their opinions to the questions! Using this structure provided a meaningful activity after reading, but not always having to something big and formal. You can grab these here in my TpT store.

On our last day of the close read it was time for students to share their opinion of little siblings. To complete the assignment, students had to answer the question and provide at least three pieces of evidence from from the story. Students could also draw upon their own personal experiences to support their position. I took this as a writing grade.


You can grab this little writing response sheet here for free!

In addition to all that sibling fun, I also implemented a new way to find a buddy.


In years past, I've always allowed to students to find their own buddies with the understanding that we could work with everyone and anyone. This year my kiddos really struggled with finding a buddy, so to take out the headache, I created this buddy cheat sheets. I chose two of their buddies, and allowed the students choose the other two. Now whenever we need a buddy, I just say, find you summer buddy and boom we're ready to work! You can grab this here for free, too!

Now it's time for me to pack! I can't wait to share with you where I'm headed this weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tips and Resources for The Leader in Me

A few weeks ago I shared how I broke up with my beloved clip chart, started using "Class Dojo" AND began implementing the program, "The Leader in Me". 

You can read all about that fun here...

It's now almost 3 weeks later, we're still going strong with "Class Dojo" and "The Leader in Me".

 I thought I'd share how I'm using "The Leader in Me" program to help shape my thirds into proactive and collaboratively minded students.

The Leader in Me resources, ideas, posters, FREEBIES


Now, I don't have access to the book (yet!)


I just ordered it! 2 Day Shipping with Amazon Prime! SCORE!

 So most of my information is really more like bits and pieces that I was able to scour from various blog posts, websites, and just plain ol' intuition! But, those bits are working really starting to show progress, so I thought I'd share a few ideas and resources with you. 

First up, a Pin board... 

Check out this pinboard and follow LOTS of others by clicking here...

Like all great ideas in the 21st century, I decided to dedicate a whole pin board to this program. All those bits and scraps I have collected are now organized for safe keeping. 

Videos, printables, other Leader Stuff all in one place! 

Next up... the 7 Habits. 

The heart of "The Leader in Me" program is the 7 habits.  If you've ever read, "The 7th Habits of Highly Effective People" then you'll be very familiar with the habits in this program. They are pretty much the same, just reworked to be kid friendly. 

I went ahead and made some reference posters for my classroom. 

The Leader in Me Posters- Be Proactive

The Leader in Me Begin with the End in Mind

The Leader in Me Put First Things First

The Leader in Me Think Win Win

The Leader in Me Seek first to Understand, then be understood

The Leader in Me Syngergize


You can download these for FREE here

As we learn about each habit, I keep it posted on the chalkboard and refer to it during our "Leader in Me" lessons. Then, I move them up to the space above the chalkboard. Well...  that's the plan. We are still working on being "Proactive". I figured we'd be working on that one for at least another month... 

Each day, we watch a quick video and discuss it's over all message. The kiddos talk at their table, then we discuss it as a class. In the afternoon, I do a mini lesson with a focus on the habit we discussed in the am. 

I've been using this Prezi to help guide my instruction as well!


If you're not familiar with Prezi, it's a really cool interactive presentation system. I like to think of it as a glorified PowerPoint. It's FREE to use as well! No program to download. Just click and go!  

Since we've been working on "Proactive" behavior, we've done bubble maps of things we can/can't control. We also made a "Best of Me" brain map that the kiddos keep in their folders. 

Our latest lesson focused on what it means to be a good classmate.


Yeah... it's not pretty, but it's REAL life, people! We made this literally in the last 7 minutes of class. I was surprised we were able to get as much on there as we did!

I can't wait to move on to our other habits and grow into the Leaders I know we can be! Stay tuned for more on this journey!

****DISCLAIMER**** I am not in any way affiliated with "The Leader in Me" program. All information here is written with the intent of helping the readers and by no means should be used as a guide for beginning the program. All items are offered as free resources and will remain that way. Please be sure to check out the book and other "Leader" links for more information**********

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Learning Multiplication with Arrays!

Do you teach multiplication using arrays? Multiplication has always been a weakness of mine (something my family LOVES to tease me about) but I am bound and determined to make sure my thirds have a SOLID foundation of multiplication! 


One way we are building that foundation is by using arrays! 

building an array using manipulative

Today, we spent the day building and re-building arrays using manipulatives. Tomorrow, we'll move to stickers and then eventually to just drawing the array.  But, for today, we were all about the concrete! 

To begin the lesson, I presented a word problem to my students. Then, we discussed the expression we could use to solve the problem. I showed them how to write the equation and place it into the "array frame". We discussed how the array can help show the ratio between the two factors as well as an easy way to find a product. 

model of an array
 Yeah... those are STUCK to my board!

Want to make modeling using manipulatives a breeze? Here's a genius tip!

tip for math manipulatives
Seriously folks... END.LESS! 

Anywho, after modeling a few different arrays, it was time to get our hands (or desks) dirty and try them for ourselves. As a class we worked through several problems right on our desk using dry erase markers...

Here's a few snap shots of how the kiddos used an array to find the product for 
the expression, 3 x 4...

I loved how they showed their thinking! 

manipulative for teaching arrays
 Add up each row...


example of using array to teach multiplication
Skip counting...


As an "exit ticket", I gave them an empty array for 3 x 3, and had the kiddos draw out the array and the expression...
array frame

 Here's a few different ways we found the product for 3 x 3... 

strategy for using an array to solve multiplication
 repeated addition...

example of an array within an array
Grouping (or finding arrays within an array) 

Once students got my stamp of approval, they were free to "exit" the guided portion of my lesson and move on to creating arrays with their shoulder partners using these multi-sided dice...


(You can check those out here!)

Those multi-sided dice made differentiated our partner practice a breeze! My kiddos that were still working on using arrays were given dice with only 7 or 8 sides. The kiddos that were already starting to see arrays with in arrays and had a strong handle on multiplication were given up to 12 sided die.

Here's a shot of an array one of my mathmaticians made using the 12 sided dice.
Look at that math on the side there!

Here's a pair of students TRYING to use an array to solve 9 x 9...

Look at that addition over there! Don't worry! Eventually they found that they could split their array into 5 x 9 and 4 x 9 to get 81!

I can't wait to continue our array practice tomorrow with stickers!

I'd love to hear your favorite way to teach multiplication! Comment below!