Monday, October 28, 2013

Regions of Texas

One of our units recently in Social Studies was the Regions of Texas. It is an interesting thing to teach.

We started with this:

I was really surprised that my kids struggled with vocabulary terms like border, body of water, and states. It was eye opening to say the least. We had just begun talking about all this, so I guess they forgot quite a bit over the summer.

With the help of our textbook, a few videos I found on YouTube, and our journals, we recorded lots of facts about each of the 4 major regions of Texas. The last activity is pictured below. I traced, outlined, and cut our the regions of Texas for groups to label. They aren't perfect, but they worked hard.

Another group was in charge of labeling a full map with the bordering states, country, and body of water. I also wanted them to label the major rivers and cities.

Below is my back wall right now. Before we talked about the regions of Texas, we learned a little bit about the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

Here are some resources that I found:
Bill of Rights for journals
Comparison of the Texas and US Declarations partner research work with iPads
(Next year I will change the websites, the reading levels of these websites were too high)

Fun times! Do you know of any good resources I can use next year?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Science videos

My kids created short videos with Educreations a week or two ago. We are loving our iPads!

We had stream tables set up in the room for science observations. I had them take a picture of the best one and add it to their video. Then we went to Google Earth and looked up the Mississippi River delta. We compared them and added a screen shot to the Educreations video.

I gave them a question to answer for each page. I was pretty happy with their videos, given that it was our 2nd one!

They posted their videos on our Edmodo page so we could all enjoy them.

Here are a few examples!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Retelling with Puppet Pals 2

We are reading Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix as a class. It is a suspenseful book and we are loving it. After we read 2 chapters yesterday, I had them go on Puppet Pals 2 and retell part or all of the story so far. 

Keep in mind that these are the first things we have created on Puppet Pals and they didn't write a script. This was more of an impromptu assignment. We had taken 2 district tests earlier in the day and we had 30 minutes of school left. I wanted to let them do something fun and interesting, so this was an experiment!

I love them! They aren't great masterpieces, but they enjoyed making them.

I can't wait to do more polished ones down the road.

Have you used this with your students? What do you think?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Educreations in Science

We are studying rivers and streams in our science curriculum. Last week we did a science experiment/observation. We made stream tables. Here are a few examples:

After the experiment, I posted this question on Edmodo and the students responded.

I was really happy with their responses!!!

Then a few days later, we continued our study by going to Google Earth on our iPads and looking at the Mississippi River. The students made a video with Educreations. Here are a few of those videos.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Drama, Drama, Drama!

We just finished up a week of drama, as in plays, at school. I love having the kids do reader's theater. They have so much fun working together! Here is one group from last week performing a pirate drama from Super Teacher Worksheets.

Click HERE to view.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Quotation Lesson

Writing WG focus lesson
 We will recognize & use quotation marks.
 I will create a comic strip that includes dialogue.

Focus: Show an example, view Brain Pop video on quotation marks
Guided: We will write one together by choosing 2 characters & creating dialogue between them; pg. 28 WS for practice
Indep: TSW write a comic using properly punctuated dialogue throughout

 How does the use of dialogue enhance your writing?

Enjoy our comic strips. I love the humor.

Have you done this with your kids?

Any suggestions?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Summary lesson

This past week we also used our Pixar short films to write summaries. I use:
Somebody Wanted But So Then as a summary strategy.

I also add Beginning, Middle, and End to the saying. 

My kids hear this a lot during the year: "Summary is Somebody Wanted But So Then, Beginning, Middle, End."

Here are some examples. We did the first together, but the second is original to the student. The first summary is for Pigeon Impossible and the second is from Partly Cloudy.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Writing About Inferencing

We did one of my favorite activities today and it was such a success!

Lesson Frame:
We will use inferencing to draw conclusions.
I will write a question about the video for my partner to answer.

I had the students get out their Reading & Writing Notebooks and gather around the Promethean board. I explained that an inference is something we do all the time. We look or read something, add our thoughts and experiences to it, and draw conclusions.

Then we began to watch this Pixar short film:

I stopped the film about every 30 seconds and posed a question.

What are the birds doing?
What do you think the clouds will do?
What makes this cloud different?
How does the cloud feel about his creations?
How does the bird feel about the cloud's creations? Why does he feel that way?
What can you tell about the bird?
How would you describe the bird?

And so on...

Guys, my kids were writing machines! I would stop the video, ask the questions, and away they went. ALL of them! YES! This is exactly what happened last year, too!

They were using words like devastated, jealous, revenge, feeling betrayed, good buddy, and gear. Their sentence structure is really starting to improve.

Most of them ended up writing more than a page! Mission accomplished!

Here are some examples of what my students wrote.

Have a great evening.