Monday, June 27, 2016

Start the Year with Predicting Puzzles

How can you encourage collaboration at the beginning of the year while also teaching reading strategies? Predicting puzzles are one suggestion! 
I use this activity to teach students that predictions need to be checked using text evidence. Predictions are 100% verifiable. Many students make predictions that are not based on text evidence. Others make reasonable predictions but never read to confirm those predictions. 

Side note: In later lessons, I contrast making predictions with making inferences. Inferences can be logical or illogical based on text evidence, but you can never be absolutely certain that an inference is completely accurate. 

The idea for this activity is not my own. I learned about it in a blog post by Jen Jones at Hello Literacy. Her site has a wealth of information about teaching reading. If you've never explored her blog, you should. Jen's TPT store is also a treasure trove.

I bought 6 puzzles so that students could work in small groups.

The basic idea is that each group gets 4 pieces of their puzzle to start with. The box covers are stashed away so that students have no idea what the puzzle picture should be. Groups examine the pieces and predict using clues from the pieces. They're expected to write about their prediction and why they made it. To grab the recording sheet, please click here

To make distribution and clean up easier, I marked the back of each piece with either AA, BB, CC, DD, EE, or FF.  I used double letters so that for future lessons I could remember which starting pieces to give students. The remaining pieces of the puzzle were simply labeled with either A, B, C, D, E, or F.  The puzzle boxes were also assigned a letter (A-F).

After writing about their predictions and the clues they used, the groups put together their puzzles to confirm their predictions.

To close the lesson, we gathered and discussed the following key points:
  •  Predicting when you read is something like putting together a puzzle without the picture on the box. You need to look at clues in order to figure out what the picture will be. 
  • When you read, you use clues from the text and/or the illustrations in order to make reasonable and thoughtful predictions. 
  • When we put our puzzles together, we were checking to see if our predictions were correct or accurate
  • When we make predictions about text, we READ ON to confirm our predictions. (I emphasize words like accurate and confirm. They are important academic vocabulary.)
Thanks for visiting! I'd love to read about creative ways that you teach reading comprehension strategies. Please share in the comments!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bob Ross, Bison, and Beaches

You're wondering how Bob Ross, bison, and beaches go together. I know you are. They're not related at all, unless you put them under the heading "What We've Been Doing With Our Time This Summer". 

Bob Ross
My husband bought a Roku box, and one of the free channels you can watch is The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross! Anyone besides me watch that as a kid? 

My children and I have already watched 3 episodes.  My son thought we should start a notebook where we make tallies every time Bob Ross says "happy little" (trees, clouds) or "Let's have some fun!"

How does all this relate to teaching? It doesn't really. But remember...

In a town next door to ours is a bison farm. The kids and I went yesterday on a "Bison Adventure". We had bison burgers for lunch and then went on a wagon ride to see the bison in the field. 

We've had our first beach day! I'm so thankful to live near the ocean.

What have you been doing this summer?


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Two for Tuesday

Get ready now for back to school! Cyndie at Chalk One Up for the Teacher holds a money-saving linky each week. I've linked up to share two items that will be 20% for today only!

Here are my two items. These bundles are already discounted by 20%, and they'll be an additional 20% off for today only. These bundles are perfect for setting up a sub tub. They each contain three full days of emergency sub plans and materials.

Emergency Substitute Plans for 1st Grade BUNDLE

My daughter Gabrielle was a "guinea pig" and tested out the first grade plans for me last summer!
The kitten wanted a piece of the action...or the pencil.

Emergency Substitute Plans for 2nd Grade BUNDLE

Visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher to find more marked-down products.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Unconventional Math Manipulatives and a FREEBIE

Keep it novel! Every teacher of young children knows that adding anything new to your lessons IMMEDIATELY grabs students' interest. Today I'm sharing just a few of the unconventional math manipulatives I use to keep things engaging. 

At the end, you'll find a related clip art freebie.

Cotton Balls 
Inexpensive, easy-to-find, squishy, and QUIET. They're the perfect manipulative. I use cotton balls when my students explore the concept of multiplying one-digit numbers by multiples of ten. Here, students were using cotton balls and cheap paper plates to demonstrate 3 x 30.

Pipe Cleaners, Beads, and Straws
My local dollar store always stocks packages of pipe cleaners and bags of beads. I use them often. Here students are showing 30 x 3 using beads and pipe cleaners.   

I also have the students use pipe cleaners, beads, and straws cut in half to create angle makers. Reinforcing geometric terms such as acute, obtuse, vertex, and ray is more fun and more memorable.  

Candy and Other Forms of Food
I rarely use food, but there are times when a small ration of candy corn seems like a good way to amp up a lesson. Here, students were using candy corn as greater than/less than symbols. I also gave students buttons with equal signs written on them. I got this idea from a post by Amy Lemons. You can grab the freebie sheet shown here by visiting this blog post (see #2 to find it easily). 

Students in my class also used round cereal and uncooked spaghetti to create points, rays, line segments, and lines. 

Seasonal Items
Foam shamrock shapes become an instant hands-on item when you write =, >, and < on them.

Play Dough! Yes, Play Dough!
My students LOVE play dough math task cards. These were created for a family math center.

I'm sharing the clip art I used to create my task cards. It's the first clip art I've ever shared, so please feel free to leave me comments with feedback, problems, or suggestions!

Click here or on the image below to grab the clip art freebie.

 Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

2 For Tuesday

This is my first I'm-officially-on-summer-vacation post, and it comes with a sale! Cyndie at Chalk One Up for the Teacher hosts a money-saving linky each week. Several sellers link up to share two marked-down items. Visit her blog to see what's on sale!

I've marked down two of my most useful products.

Rounding and Estimating Practice
Division Practice
They offer varied practice with important math skills. They are both on sale TODAY for 20% off.

 Enjoy your week!