Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wompanoag for a Day!

Every year after we study the Pilgrims and Wompanoag attire and ways of living, my students just LOVE to turn into a Wompanoag for a day. I usually make the headbands out of sentence strips then we write a sentence or just copy some of the symbols they used to communicate by writing. I staple the sentence strip so that it fits around their tiny heads. Then they cut out and feather (make tiny cuts) in brightly-colored feathers made out of construction paper. I drew the feathers on paper and then copied them onto construction paper. Students just have to cut and "feather" their feathers. How many feathers can they put on their headdress? The SAME number as their age. This keeps things consistent, fair, and organized. :) See pics of our headdresses below.

In writing, we write a leaf cinquain. First we write on a template, then we copy onto paper or type them if we have time. Next we glue the writing onto a giant leaf template which, I usually hang from our ceiling. Super festive! Here's an example of a student cinquain below:

Orange, Brown
Falling, Swirling, Floating,
You jump in them.

I'll try to upload my template next, but I make it so that lines are placed on a page in the exact places students need to write. So they're all centered. This helps the students understand and visually see the pattern of a cinquain. Of course, showing examples from years before on my document camera is extremely helpful.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wonderful Website

Just stumbled onto a new website that is completely irresistable.  Do you DOJO? Click the link below and find out how you can virtually reward students for positive behavior and provide consequences for negative behaviors. For free, you can enter your class and have bar graphs and data that are constructed FOR you...less work, yay!!!!!


I can't say I'm ready to implement Dojo into my classroom this year, because my behavior plan is solid plus, my students and parents are used to it. I currently use a basic (green-yellow-red) stoplight behavior plan coupled with reward tickets for positive, "bucket-filler" behaviors. I'm actually thinking of entering my various table teams (desk clusters) into Dojo and then setting a goal so that the teams can work towards lunch with teacher, etc. I usually just write tallies on the boards for small group goals/rewards but this is SO much more visual, fun, and easy to manage (I won't have to worry about the janitors erasing my tallies anymore :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

VOTE for Books!

Even though this isn't a big election year, I can't help but notice the plethora of political propaganda that seems to surround me. Midterm elections were held last year and I was desperate for a way to get my students involved in the elections and teach them about our voting process. I assigned a book report/book talk titled: "Vote for books!" Students had to self-select a book, read the book, and then  complete a graphic organizer I found in a mailbox book which, was just 3 blank stars. On each star students had to write one reason why someone should read their self-selected book. To keep up with political propaganda, we even made book campaign posters! This is a great assignment that leads right into persuasive writing and could easily be adapted for all elementary students (K-5). It's definitely something to consider as the 2012 elections get closer and closer...check out the pics below!