Poetry Photo Dump

The title sounds so salacious and dirty for such a boring post.  I took several pictures of students' final color poems and I wanted to make sure I posted them.  Click here and here to read more about how to write and publish these color poems.  Student names are blocked out for privacy.

Here is a student example of her first brainstorm, color planning sheet and final product:

I was so proud of their work!



Top Teacher Giveaway Galore WINNER!

I am sorry this is a day late!  The weekend has been wonderful and I have gotten behind on blogging! So a big congratulations to the Top Teacher Giveaway winner....

Amelia, I will be emailing you your prize later today!  Thanks so much to all that entered!  I am off for a lazy Sunday nap!


National Poetry Month: Poetry Frame

The last activity for my poetry week is an activity I learned from a teacher I worked with several years ago.  I thought she was (and is) brilliant and want to be just like her!
We use the poem If I Were in Charge of the World  by Judith Viorst as a model and write our own version.

If I Were In Charge of the World
If I were in charge of the world
I'd cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.

If I were in charge of the world
There'd be brighter nights lights,
Healthier hamsters, and
Basketball baskets forty eight inches lower.

If I were in charge of the world
You wouldn't have lonely.
You wouldn't have clean.
You wouldn't have bedtimes.
Or "Don't punch your sister."
You wouldn't even have sisters.

If I were in charge of the world
A chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts would be a vegetable
All 007 movies would be G,
And a person who sometimes forgot to brush,
And sometimes forgot to flush,
Would still be allowed to be
In charge of the world.
By Judith Viorst

Just as in the Grandmother’s brook poem we first read the poem two times.  Then we read the poem line by line and discuss.  Some things we discuss:
Who is the speaker?  How old is the speaker?  How do you know this?
Does the speaker have allergies?
Why would the speaker want brighter night lights?
What happened to the speaker’s hamster?
Why would the speaker want lower basketball baskets?
How does the speaker feel sometimes?
Does the speaker have a sister?  How does he feel about her? What makes you think this?

Then we talk about how to speaker really let the reader in to know his or her inner-most feelings and thoughts.  By reading the poem I feel like I actually know the speaker!

I show students the graphic organizer and I model how to fill in.   I send students off to their seats to fill in the graphic organizer.  We stop A BUNCH and so a mid-workshop share.  Students share whole class, with a partner, with their table groups and so on.  This is an activity in which the more students discuss the better and more thoughtful the responses are.

After students finish the graphic organizer I call students to the carpet and model how to fill in the poem frame. After students fill in the poem they can illustrate with their own pictures!



National Poetry Month: Visualization

Another one of my favorite activities is to use poetry to teach visualization.  Since I teach this during testing, I try to add in some interesting hands on element to the lesson.
I project this poem by Rachel Fields.

Grandmother’s Brook
Grandmother tells me about a brook
She used to pass on her way to school;
A quick, brown brook with a rushing sound,
And moss-green edges, thick and cool.
When she was the age I am now
She would cross over it, stone by stone.
I like to think how she must have looked
Under the greenery, all alone.
Sometimes I ask her: “Is it there,
That brook you played by--- the same, today?”
And she says she hasn’t a doubt it is-
It’s children who change and go away.

First I talk about how to make friends and understand a poem.  I read the poem two times.  Then I read it line by line and talk about what I notice in the poem.  Some of the things we discuss are:
·        What is a brook?  What would it look like or sound like? I have students close their eyes and visualize.
·        Who is the speaker?  How do we know?
·        How old is the speaker?
·        How did she cross the brook?  What does stone-by stone mean? I have even had kids act it out if they are especially antsy.
·        What is greenery?  What would it look? I have students close their eyes and visualize.
·        I have students close their eyes again and visualize what the brook would look like now after all the information the speaker has given us.
·        What is the purpose of the hyphen?  Why would a pause be important in how it is read?
·        What does it mean when the Grandmother says, “It’s the children who change and go away?”

     Students go back to their seats and use pencil to draw in the brook as the background of the poem.  I have them use the entire page- even over the words. Students illustrate what they visualize when we read the poem.  I encourage students to use the details that we learned from the poem.  For example we know the color of the brook, the trees around it, there is a school house, the stones across the brook and so on.

Then I pull out the big guns. I give students water color paints and have them paint what they visualize.  Once again, it is a great way too cool sown after a long say of testing and is still academic.



National Poetry Month: Color Poetry Part Two

Yesterday, I wrote about how to organize and brainstorm ideas for color poetry.  Now it is time to draft and publish!
            To actually write the color poetry is very easy. I have students look at their Renaming Crayons sheet and choose their 3-5 ideas. If I were to do this activity in second grade would most likely choose 3, and in fourth grade I would chose 5 ideas.  Then drafting is simple!  Students start the poem with the color and then each of their color names is one line.  The poem ends with the color again.  Here is an example:
By Mandy Gregory
Freshly cut grass
Little inchworm scooting up a leaf
Spring time bugs
We talk about what would create the best look, rhythm and beat since it is poetry.  I personally like to guide students to using the longest line in the middle and building up to it and then going back to smaller phrases.  For example in the Green poem it is 1 line, 3 lines, 6 lines, 3 lines, 1 line.  The lines don’t have to have the same number like the 2nd and 4th lines- that was just chance.
Then I have students neatly recopy the poem and go over it with black pens.  Students then cut around the poem. 
To publish I then do what I call “Name Artwork.”  I have no idea if it really has a name, it is just something I made up.  Students use a big marker to write their names in large (side to side) block letters as they turn the page.  Students need a larger marker and white computer or construction paper.
For example, for my name I would start with the M going from the top to the bottom of the paper. 

Then I rotated the paper and drew the A, once again in large block letters from the top to the bottom of the page.  

I kept on rotated the page and writing the letters until the paper looked like this. Sometimes I wrote the letter off center to add more lines to the sides of the paper.  Then I connected any lines that where in the middle of the white spaces.  The final result was this:

Now it is time to break out the colors!  I once again pull out the baggies of crayons from the HUGE box of crayons.  Students then color in each box a different color from the baggie- I don’t care if mine use the exact ones from the Renaming Crayons sheet.  I just let them use a variety of colors.  I do encourage them to not let the same colors “touch.”  When students finish coloring, then the glue the poem in the center.
This is a perfect activity after a long day of testing because it is so mindless AND they look great in the hall!


Top Teachers Giveaway Galore!

It's Giveaway time and you are not going to believe this!  Over 20 items up for grabs from AMAZING bloggers all over the USA!  It's Top Teacher's Giveaway Galore!

Just comment on THIS POST YOUR EMAIL
before APRIL 27th and from me you could win:
Geometry Fun: A Supplemental Unit by Mandy of Mandy's Tips for Teachers"This 77 page packet includes vocabulary cards, a student dictionary, three games, two sorting activities, two creative art projects and a short assessment." ( Grades 2-4)

I will randomly draw one comment using a random number generator.  The winner will be announced Saturday, April 28th!

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(Please note there is a link to the product and blog, you will want to visit their blog to enter.)

Sight Word Snap Cubes by Jennifer of Empowering Little Learners"Looking for a fun new center for your kids? How about having them make the sight words with Snap Cubes! Use these cards to have your students count out blocks to create the letters and form the pre-primer sight words! Then they count how many cubes it took to make the words! Two recording sheets are included (one where students just count the snap cubes, and another where students count and write the word.)" (K-3)

Making Words with Blends by DeAnne of First Grade and Fabulous: "Making Words is a great activity to work on phoneme isolation, segmenting sounds, and blending sounds to make words. This packet includes Blends (with both short vowels and long vowels with silent e. You will find ten different making word directions which include their own recording sheets." (k-2)

Dolch Sight Words for Kindergarten by Lidia Barbosa of Kid’s Reading Activities: "Sight word cards in a fun theme. Use them in a center, small group or on your word wall. A word sorting activity is included." (K)

  Center Signs in Spanish by Lidia Barbosa of Kinder Latino: "These are 24 colorful center signs in Spanish. It includes two sizes. One full page size plus small cards for your Centers pocket chart." (K)

  Adding 3 Numbers Pack by Melissa of Dilly Dabbles: "Pack full of activities to support instruction on adding three numbers with sums within 20." (K-2)

 Baseball Antonyms by Sally DeCost of Elementary Matters: "This is a game to practice antonyms. It has a baseball theme, and can be played like "Old Maid" or like "Concentration". It can be played with a pair of children, or a whole reading group.." (1 - 3)

 Compound Word Magic Square for Grades 3, 4, & 5 by Heather of HoJo's Teaching Adventures: "This is a great fun puzzle where students need to match 24 compound words together. You will get three different puzzles with this item."(3-5)

  Interactive Student Notebook by A Teacher's Treasure: "The ultimate alternative assessment & differentiating tool. Students will become creative, independent, reflective, thinkers, readers and writers. Students will be able to express their own ideas, process, and or apply the information and skills learned in this class. This notebook serves as a live journal, personalized textbook, and working portfolio. Engages learners of all learning modalities & multiple intelligences." (4-12)

  Vocabulary Detectives 2 by Ruth of Teacher Park: "Run weekly vocabulary contests! As your students read their books, they fill out the Vocabulary Detective cards and put them in the Detective Jar. Have a drawing at the end of the week for the winners!" (4-6)

  Alphabet Writing: Quick Prompts From A to Z by Erin of Small Types: "Get students' pencils moving and their creativity flowing with these short alphabet-themed writing prompts. Students can write notes to friends, make lists, turn alphabet letters into main characters and describe the details in fictional adventures--All corresponding to the letters of the alphabet. (Includes five prompts for each letter to suit different levels and interests.)"

Fun on the Farm by Brian of Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings: "Here is a fun Farm Packet for primary grades. It includes Farm Rhyming Words - The words used are actually from the book Country Morning by Christine Lynn. Read more about it on my blog. It also includes I Have Who Has Dolch Words, Addition and Subtraction Center. You can use them as concentration matching, go fish, etc. All, but the I Have Who Has, has a work sheet and an answer key to go with it! I hope you enjoy!" (K-2)

 Busy Teacher Forms by Michelle of Teach123 : "Fourteen forms to help busy teachers." (K-3)

Farm Math Work Station Activities numbers 11-20 by Mandy of A Special Kind of Class: "Seven math work station activities including, subtracting, counting, number recognition, number matching, measuring and 2 adding activities. Includes response sheets and answer keys." (K-1)

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  Writing Center by Caitlin of Kindergarten Smiles: "I created these activities for my students writing center. They are all independent and fun! These can be used throughout the year (more than once). Activities range from name writing, to writing the globe, to sight word writing, to much, much, more!" (K-2)

   I Spy With My Frog's Eye-A Differentiated Word Work Activity by Marsha of A Differentiated Kindergarten : " This is a differentiated I-Spy activity which includes 16 pages of CVC, CVCC and CVCe activities that are tiered to help you meet the readiness levels of all your students." (K-2)

  Writing Lists by Nicole of Teaching With Style: "This set of 10 lists is perfect for using during Daily 5. In my classroom, if students choose Work on Writing, they can work on their story from Writer's Workshop, start a new story, write a letter to a friend, or write a list. " (K-3)

  Digital Clock Sorting Game by Jennifer of Best Practices 4 Teaching: "This product allows students to sort digital clocks by 'quarter til', 'quarter of', 'quarter after', etc. Students will quickly see the pattern of the times and commit it to memory! In 2 days, all of my students had learned this concept using this sort whereas the lesson in our math kit totally confused them!"

  Synonym-Antonym Rap Packet by Abby of Third Grade Bookworm: "This packet is full of activities for a 2nd or 3rd grade classroom studying synonyms and antonyms. Students will enjoy the Synonym-Antonym Rap, partner game, buddy reading activity and other printables included in this set. Wrap it all up with a cute class book template that can be used with other units in the future!" (2-3)

Early Elementary Science - Human Body Unit with Literacy Math by Lisa of The Lesson Guide: "This Early Elementary Science based Anatomy Unit will teach students about the Human Body (inside and out) with colorful graphics and diagrams using a variety of Literacy and Math skills. This unit includes Measurement Skills, an original Poem with a Get Moving Analysis, Information/Facts about each Body Part with Vocabulary, Templates for students to create a nonfiction book about their body, Full color pictures of body parts and locations of body parts, a Classification and Math graphing activity with Critical Thinking Analysis, a Unit Project/Human Diagram, a Word Wall Classification activity with Phrase Cards, Resources and more!" (K-2)

  Building Popcorn Words by Krissy of Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business: "This product includes weekly cut, build, and glue activities that follow along with my Monkey Popcorn Word Fun Unit as well as the Treasures series word list (which includes many Dolch and other HFW as well). It also has center materials that students can build the words in a pocket chart." (K-1)

  Scooping Up Story Elements by Tonya of Super Second Graders: "This is a fun way for students to pick story elements to plan out a story. Students will pick a card from characters, setting, and plot and record then on the recording sheet. Students will use the chosen element to create a story. Students will have a blast getting to create fun and whimsical stories. " (1-4)

  The Answer is… What’s the Question? Math Task Cards by Michelle of Making It As A Middle School Teacher: "28 numbered cards that leave the level of difficulty and specific math skill to be assessed up to you! Some students may only do basic operations, while other students may be required to do more advanced skills and give more details for their answers. Two student response options are also included!! Use for early finishers, have the whole class complete in Round Robin style, or use as a center. Pull out specific cards or use all 28 cards." (5-8)

  David Shannon Author Study by Mary of Sharing Kindergarten: "This is an 80 page author study using the books of David Shannon. It features 8 book. Each book title has a reading comprehension game, answer key, and writign prompts with it. " (K-1)

  Candy Land Long Vowel Game by Mel D of Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations: "This unique game is one of over 50 games I have to offer! Over 18 pages of long vowel words are on "look-alike" Candy Land cards. All you need is a game board & game pieces. Print, laminate & cut & use for years to come. These games can be used during Daily 5, tutoring, literacy stations, Daily 5 Math, RTI, ELL, Title 1 groups, homeschooling & more! The possibilities are endless!" (K-3)

A Not So Wimpy Resource: Fractions, Decimals & Percents Using Money by Kathie of The Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher : "This resource is great for differentiating instruction. Help struggling students, or those who have a difficult time with math concepts, understand fractions using money. This resource includes an info sheet, practice sheet, flashcards, and a bingo board." (3-5)

Again, comment your email on this post to win my product before APRIL 27th.  Winner will be announced on April 28th!  

And then hop on over to these great blogs to enter to win their free products too!  



National Poetry Month: Color Poetry

              During testing I do one of my most FAVORITE units- poetry.  I really wish that I did this unit earlier in the year because I think it helps out SO MUCH with word choice, but it seems like I never fit it in. I like to do it during testing since my kids are so fried and poetry is so much fun. However, it does fit in nicely since April is National Poetry Month.  Over the next few days I will share some of my most favorite poetry ideas!

This year I started with color poetry, but normally I start with sensory poetry- I had unintentionally hooked my kids and needed to do the color poetry first!
To start this activity my students I do a simple web.  Yes, I know that foods are a thing, but I separated them for spacing issues since the students come up with so many foods.  I choose a color and then model for students.  Then students find a partner and brainstorm more things and we complete the web together.

After I have modeled this, students choose a partner and a color and then complete the web with their partner.   After students have had a few minutes to work on the web I pull them back to the carpet.
            I explain that now we are going to do an activity with our color.  I show students this sheet.

I explain that Crayola has created some new colors and needs help naming them.  The unintentional hook?  This is where this comes in.  Earlier in the day students had seen me sorting crayons.  I bought one of those crazy big boxes of crayons with a million colors and the built in sharper like this. 

You know that one that drives you batty when students bring it in the beginning of the year because it NEVER fits in the desk?  That one.  I sorted all the crayons into basic colors (red, green, blue, yellow, brown, and so on) and put them in baggies.  The kids where crazy curious about what those crayons were for!

Since I modeled with the color green I choose the green bag and 6 crayons.  I colored a different color in each square.  Then I modeled thinking aloud a name for the color (and discussed NOT looking at the crayons label- we are coming up with NEW names!).  Instead of mint ice cream, I wrote melting mint ice cream cone on a hot summer day, or freshly cut grass, or military man. I modeled refering to the web from early and expanding on it with these four questions:
What does it look like?
What is is doing?
When is it? 
Where is it?
 We continued to do this together.  This activity was VERY hard for some of my kids with language issues.  I was so glad I did partnerships.  I sent kids off with the bag of their crayon color and the worksheet.  Some groups chose the same color so I simply split the bag between the two groups.
Next post, I will share how we turn this into poetry and so an art project to publish it!



Is it Over Yet? and a FREEBIE!

Thank you so much for the well wishes. I am MUCH better after a really HORRIBLE bacterial infection. I felt *almost* normal this week and finally feel like myself now! They did find out (just by chance) that I also have gall stones and my doctor is recommending that I get my gall bladder taken out this summer. The fun never ends around here. I can't decide if it was the age of 33 or having a child, but my body has officially fallen apart! I have issues with my thyroid, right foot and now my gall stones! Yeesh!

We are halfway through our standardized testing. We will be done on Wednesday. I kept on thinking, "If I feel this tired just administering the test, my kids must be EXHAUSTED from taking it!" I am so proud of their effort. However, I am ready to be done!

Next week will be making some changes to our classroom and routines. Students will be attending one center (normally students are always with an adult since we have so many adult hands in the room at this time) since one of the teachers will be pulled from our reading block. I am looking forward to trying this out! Students will complete a worksheet and then a game that will (for now) be focusing on a vocabulary skill. First up is antonyms! I made this packet to use for this center and then realized I had several, already made games (anyone ever do this?). To save the laminating and cutting, I will be using my old games....so on to the fun stuff!

I am posting the antonym packet I made as a freebie since it has not been classroom tested yet! I may eventually pull it and put it for sale, but I am not making any commitments! :) For now it is FREE!

This 19 page packet includes several activities:
· Directions for an Antonym Concentration game for two or more players
· Matching antonym cards and directions for one player
· Direction for a Flip Flop Antonym game that requires students to draw a card and mark an antonym of the word drawn. The student that gets 4 words in a row wins!
· Antonym cards
· Independent “Wild about Antonym” worksheet that practices identifying antonym pairs. An answer key is provided.
· Game answer key
* Antonym poster for display
I am considering making a series of these ready-to-go centers with directions, a worksheet for practice and/or a grade, and a game to match for partners or independent practice, and the whole nine yards. Do you think people would want this? I am off to get a good night’s sleep! Have a great week!


Testing, Testing

Today was the first day of standarized testing for our kiddos.  It was the reading portion.  I didn't even take the test and I am exhasuted!   I am so proud of my kids- they tried so hard.  Now I have to anxiously nauseated calmly wait for the results.

Yesterday we could tell their brains were about to bubble out of their ears from all of the review.  We decided to take a break and make secret good luck cards.  I called kids into the hall and they drew a classmate's name out of a bag.  The student's jobs were to make good luck cards for their secret pal and we had an exchange at the end of the day.  The secret about killed some of them, but they LOVED it!   Some of the cards were SO sweet.  I have the kindest bunch of children this year.  I will definitely add this to my to do list every year.  Here are a few examples:

Here is another one:

Aren't they super cute?

I had mentioned in another blog post that I do a lesson on HOW to check your work.  Here is the simple, no frills anchor chart.  First, we took a mock practice test whole group as practice.  Then I modeled the incorrect and incorrect way to check your test as I thought aloud.  Students had to talk to a partner to determine which was the correct way and WHY it was correct.  They had some good talk going on!

I am off today to go 'night-night" as my 18 month old says.  I am exhausted.


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