Monday, April 14, 2014

#IMWAYR April 14th: Day of Tears

This week I'm doing a little preparation for my Smarties for AFTER our Spring Break.  We just finished up The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordin, and I want to get back into independent novels.  I'm looking for books that have multiple perspectives, so I picked up this to use as my novel in the study: Day of Tears by Julius Lester.
Holy WOW!  This book is amazing!  The figurative language in it is amazing!  I can't wait to get my Reading Graffiti wall up after break.
Good Reads Summary:
I know a lot of my students will pick Riordin's books.  They love him. But I'm hoping a few will branch out into some different territories.
My daughter is currently reading:  I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.
I'm really interested to see how she likes this book because generally, she is not into science fiction.  Here is the Goodreads summary.

What are you currently reading?  Stop by and visit Jen at Teach Mentor Texts, and add a few books to your MUST READ list!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Peek at My SHORT Week! Terrible Tudors, Figurative Language, and Math Review

Happy Sunday all!  I'm doing a quick link up with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings  for a Peek at My Week Party!

We have a short week.  Only two and a half days until Spring Break... We... can... make... it!
I'm spending a little time tying up some loose ends before we leave because when we get back we have our HUGE THREE DAY #thisteacherisstressed Math Assessment.
So here goes:

I am finishing up a unit on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation.  My Smarties have loved learning about the feudal system, Magna Carta, Da Vinci and Martin Luther.  I'm reviewing with a little Middle Ages Bingo tomorrow and showing them this funny video about Henry VIII and using this Terrible Tudors video.  My class LOVES these!

Next, I'll be finishing up my Geometry unit by teaching volume.  We'll be finding the volume of a few rectangular prisms using food boxes.  I teach a surface area lab using this, but it will have to wait until after our assessment.  We just don't have enough time!

Next I'll be reviewing for our assessment using Task Cards.  I'm concentrating on Algebra and Ratios because those have the biggest emphasis for our test.  I'm using Algebra Multiple Choice Task Cards, Algebra Wacky Wordies, Ratio and Rate Multiple Choice Task Cards, and Wacky Wordies Ratios and Rates.  I'll be adding in Integers and Rational Number review after break.

Last, I'll be doing a little fun review practice with figurative language using my Spring Figurative Language Pack while we finish up our Biography Writing.
If you head over to my Facebook Page you can Pin It to Win It.  I'll be picking a winner a little later this afternoon when we get home from soccer.  Just like my page and follow the directions on the Pin It to Win It post.  If you are already following, did you know that Facebook may not be showing all of your liked pages anymore?  If you go to my page {COFFEE CUPS AND LESSON PLANS} and hover over the LIKED button a drop down menu appears where you can GET NOTIFICATIONS.  If you select this then you won't miss any posts.  I'm starting to do more flash freebie notifications there, so you don't want to miss out.  Plus you can ONLY enter the Pin It to Win It through Facebook.

Have an awesome week!  Get out and enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Read Alouds

I'm linking up with Christina over at Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday!

What book is a MUST READ with your class before the end of the school year?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sparking Student Motivation with Reading Roll and Retell

This week as many of you know was our state ELA testing.  In our middle school after the testing is over, we still have all of our class periods.  I spent time in my ELA class watching The Lightning Thief because we are going to be writing an argument essay between the book and the movie.  Before we took our ELA test, I did some fun review that practiced citing text evidence using our novel.

Do you use Roll and Retell in your classroom?  I first saw the sheet on Pinterest,
I believe it is from Fun In First.  I loved the idea, but the questions were a little too basic for my Smarties in the sixth grade, so I created an upgraded version.  My students loved being able to sit in groups and play.  We did three different rounds using the myths we have been focusing on with our Lightning Thief books:  Promethius, Medusa and Athena, and then our novel.
I put a die in these cool containers that I had purchased from Staples in August.  I like using them because my dice don't go flying all over the room.
I increased the difficulty as we played, first asking them to cite one piece of evidence for each roll, and then as many as 3 pieces when we got into the novel.  I loved what I was hearing from groups!
They were talking, they were arguing their points, and they were enjoying group discussion.      I couldn't ask for anything better than that!  I'm linking up with one of my BBBs, Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching to share this fun activity.  If you are interested in the Roll and Retell, you can get a copy of it {HERE}, it's free. 
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: LOSE IT! App

Today I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for a little Tried it Tuesday!
I haven't really tried anything new this week in my classroom.  If you read my Sunday post, you know that I'm in the last week before assessments, so we are staying low and steady on the course.  I wanted to share with you an app that I started to use to track my exercise and eating habits.  It's called LOSE IT.  
I have totally been lazy this winter.  Our days have been so cold and snowy that I have basically stopped exercising and I can totally feel it right now.  This app allows me to set a goal for weight loss and how many pounds I would like to lose per week.  Then I add in all the food that I eat during the day and it keeps track of the calories.  
I like that I can scan a food item as well.  So if I can't find it in the food search I just scan the item's barcode and it tells me the count.  I did that for the yogurt  I had for breakfast since it is a store brand.
I also like that it tells me my meal calories.  I always try to eat more at lunch time, and math geek that I am, I also like circle graphs!

When you sign up for an account (which is free) it will link the information from your app to the computer automatically so you can keep track of your info.

Now me being a competitive person,... sometimes... well basically with myself,... I like that there is a little box that tells me if I am over or under calories.  I like to keep in the green which means it is always under.  It keeps me in check too.  For example, I KNOW I want a little ice cream tonight after dinner.  It motivated me to walk/run a little extra on the treadmill so that I would stay in the green. Little things my friends, little things!
I've been using the app for a few days now and it has motivated me to run/walk at least two miles every day.  
I'd love to hear what you have tried and what has helped you stay healthy!  Drop me a line and let's keep each other motivated!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Peek at my Week: I'm on the Bullet Train to Assessment Street and a FREEBIE!

This is the last full week that I have before my Smarties take their ELA assessment.  Although my students haven't amped up the stress zone, this teacher has!

Part of my evaluation as a teacher is based on this test, which I think is ridiculous because I am not privy to information that is on the test.  Things that I think are important to emphasize in the CCSS may not be what politicians in the state believe should be important, but I'm not writing this post on my soap box.  I'm buckling my seat belt on the bullet train and hoping for a smooth ride into the station.
We have been reading and writing about informational text all year long.  Citing evidence and finding/discussing the central idea or theme has been a huge component.  We've also talked about most of the figurative language pieces, but this week a colleague of mine reminded me about idioms.  They were on the test last year..something along the lines of "getting the job was the cherry on top."  Most of our students thought the story was about the girl liking cherries... and not about her accomplishments.  So this week in ELA we are going to focus on idioms.  It will also be a perfect segway for me to teach Poetry in April.  Luckily, this Educents bundle just came out, and it is packed with Poetry and Idioms
It is a total score for $10.99.  I think there are over $70 worth of products in it.  I really like these idiom cards by Jivey.  It matches the idiom with the real meaning.
I printed them multiple to a page and we are going to work in pairs to put them into our Word Work notebooks.  In the Educents bundle there are two different packs of idioms both of which have a matching practice.  I'll use those as a formative early in the week before I  hit them up with a few poems that contain idioms.  Then we will write about what the poem means and practice citing the evidence including idiom meaning.  I saw a really cool pack  about writing nonfiction poetry.  I think that will be an awesome part of our unit post test.  April is going to be a great month!

In Math, I have a little bit more time before the assessment, but I still haven't finished all of my curriculum yet.  Of course!  I'm doing Percentages this week.  I made a little freebie to practice percent of a number.  I'll be using it later in the week.  You can download it if you need something too.. just click on the picture.

I'm linking up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for a Peek at My Week.  Stop by and visit to see what other people are prepping for!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tried it Tuesday: QR Codes in the Classroom

I'm linking up with Holly today over at Fourth Grade Flipper to share something "new to me:" QR Codes.

I know there are a lot of people around the country that use technology and QR codes almost daily in their classrooms.  Some of you may reading this may also, and be thinking what?  Coffee Cups, surely you are behind the times.  And indeed my friends, I feel a little like that.  But, old dog.. new tricks, I think it is important, and here I am.
We are finishing up a unit on Rates.  Within this unit I had to teach: Unit Rate, Unit Price, Constant Rate of Speed, Rates in Measurement and Choosing an Appropriate Rate.  Fun Fun!  I wanted a new way to review because.. well... it's March. March is a long, long, long, long, long, month for us in the NorthEast.  We get snow, wind, rain, and sometimes sunshine. We don't usually get any days off, and we don't see spring break until the end of April.  One of my BBBs, AMC just wrote about using QR codes in her classroom to help with math facts, and I know, we need to perk things up a bit.  So I gave them a try. 
I found a great website that will convert my answers into a scannable QR code.  I'm sure there are many out there, but you can go {HERE} to see the one I used.  I created a set of 20 questions that reviewed Rate.  On each one, I set up a scannable QR code.  In class on Monday we used the review packet.  I loaded my Iphone and Ipad with a scannable app for free to use.  Then I used my group table as a checking station.  Students came to me to scan and check using one of the devices.  It allowed me to check on the work they had to show since I am big on Constructive Response at this point, and it allowed me to watch them use the devices.  BINGO!  So MUCH FUN!
Even my most reluctant math students were using their notebooks and working through problems to get to scan the code.
Students worked together, and helped each other.  They were patient in line, and used kind words of encouragement while waiting.
I was so happy to see this technology being used!  The codes were really pretty easy to make, and I'm sure there will be more of this in my future.
If you teach Rates and happen to be looking for a little something to perk up your review, you can go {HERE} to check out my packet.  Let me know if it was helpful for your class as well!
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