Monday, February 23, 2015

Teaching Author's Mood

This past week I focused on teaching Author's mood.

We started with reading a few stories that have a change in mood somewhere within the story/passage. I noticed that some of the students were having a bit of trouble thinking of words to describe the mood of the passage. I call these "mood words"while I am teaching. In order to expand their "mood word" vocabulary, I decided to make a list for the projector board so that they could refer to it during our next activity. You'll find the list in a PDF at the end of this blog post; however, you can also see it below :)
(the PDF includes Author's Tone words, as well)

As I had this list displayed, I had my students take a look at it and ask about any words they felt that they were not familiar with (nostalgic, for example, was a common one). We discussed these words so that the students would be able to use them in our next activity. 

I now had my students split their paper into 6 different boxes and we did the most fun thing ever..... listened to music!

My class was super excited about this! The objective - jot down the song title, listen to the song, and write down "mood words" in the box that you feel apply to the song being played. I then had the students separate into small groups of 2 or 3 and create a mini-poster for their song. (I assigned a song, which was previously played in our activity, to each group). Below are a couple of examples of my students' posters they created after listening to their songs. The song is in the caption below the picture if you can't tell based on their poster, haha!

"Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson

"Dream Big" by Ryan Shupe

All of the posters on our Super Work board ... The Mood of Music!

I know it is SO hard to find music that works in a classroom...appropriate music! Appropriate music that also appeals to our students is almost unheard of! I gathered a list of a few I really love!

Continuing the week with the same skill...

As we continued our week of Author's Mood, I had a new activity for the students. Now that they practiced using all of these new "mood words", I wanted them to show me that they could write with the words. I printed out a bunch of photos and/or quotes from Google (you will find my collection of photos attached below in the PDF) and gave one to each student, randomly. The students had to think about the mood the artist or author of the picture/quote was trying to express and then write about it. I wanted them to come up with more than one mood expressed by the picture/quote.

I handed out one to each random

Then the students wrote their rough drafts. Once they had a few friends edit their work, they wrote their final copies on this little paper I printed out.

The picked their construction paper colors - also based on the "mood" of their quote or picture.
(For example, they should not pick pink or yellow if the picture is grim or sad.)

 Below are some examples of the completed work: 
I typed what they say below some of them, just in case it is too blurry.

The mood of this artwork is cold. The man on the bench seems stressed and mad. No one else is there. Just him. Alone. There is not much light at all. He is lonely. All alone. 

I feel like the overall mood is sad and hopeless. I think it's sad and hopeless because everything is dark and dead. The clouds are dark and the trees are dead.

I feel that the overall mood of this artwork is calm, peaceful, and relaxing to me because you are riding  over the water through the sunset on a nice hot air balloon. When I see this picture I feel relaxed. I feel like I want to be on the hot air balloon, floating over the calm water into the sunset. You might even feel free and let go of all your stress and feel free. 

I feel that the overall mood of this quote is confident. I think that this quote has a confident mood because it is telling you to get dressed up and live life the way you want to live it. Other moods for this quote are powerful and relaxed. I think this also goes because it's telling you to have fun and relax. Anyone who reads this will want to relax and have fun.

When I look at my picture the overall mood feels playful because the frogs look like they're friendly and they want to play around. Other moods you might have [are] silly, happy, [and] calm. You might think happy because this whole picture has many different colors. It's colorful. This is the mood my picture makes me feel.

The overall quote is sorrow. Sorrow means sad. I know this because it says tears and when you have tears you cry. Another mood is lonely. I know that because the author is talking to a pillow.

I feel that this activity suited my purpose because the students used the new vocabulary words I wanted them to use. They really seemed to use them successfully. I was really proud of them! 

Keep in mind I used all of these activities along with the regular passage readings we use for reading practice. These activities alone will not teach students how to find the mood of a reading passage; however, I really feel that they broadened the students' knowledge of different words to express mood. They did a really great job with our reading passages after these lessons, and it made them love picking the mood of a reading!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Freebies We Love

Love is in the air! 
The love for FREEBIES, that is! 

I am hoping that many of you will also want to link up to share your favorite freebies on your blogs! Feel free to steal the image below and link up! February is the month of love....for freebies! 

Rules: In a BLOG POST, share some (try for 4!!) of your favorite freebies created by 
others, and then share one of your own freebies that you love! 
Please be sure to link back to this blog post so that users know where to
find everyone's posts! Thanks everyone!

This will give everyone visiting your blog FIVE awesome freebies to check out!

1. ALL Kimberly Geswein one giant download!

What is better than this? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Kimberly Geswein is beyond amazing! Of course, you will want to buy the license if you are using her fonts for use on your TpT products; however, you can download ALL of the fonts at one time and then use them on everything you create! I love using them in my personal e-mails! So fun! 

2. Math Clue Words by Amber Polk

I put this in all of my students' math journals. They refer to it a lot in the beginning of the year, and then I start to ask them to try not to look at it. They really find it useful. I really find that it is useful for my ESOL students, because they are already not reading a test in their first language. This sheet really helps them during the year. They feel comfortable when looking at it, too. It is really easy to look at, organized, and cute :) This is a great time saver, and I love that it is all on one page.

3. Eight reading strategies posters by Rachel Lynette

I really like these! I have just used them as posters in my room, but this year I actually put four to a page  and gave the students these pages for their journals. I really felt that they not only helped the students by being a reference, but they helped guide my teaching. I make sure to refer to them often, and use them as much as possible in each story we read. I really love the convenience of these! I have used them sooo much more than some of the other things I have downloaded! 

4. Figurative Language Puzzles by Catherine Reed, the Brown Bag Teacher

I did not find these until recently but I love them! I use them as a center activity or as test practice/review when it gets closer to testing. They are easy, convenient, and fun for the kids. They make a really great review game that does not waste a lot of time. We all know we don't have that much time to review things when it comes down to wire, so it's great to have something like this that effectively reviews a needed skill! 

5. White board Headers/Titles by Bridget (me!) from Little Lovely Leaders

I use these little headings ALL of the time! I write my homework down and the subjects are clearly separated, I use them for my "must do", "may do", and "objectives" sections, and I also have "reminders", "weather", and MANY other sections in this pack. This pack is available in both a rainbow and a blue & pink version. I use these every single day, no doubt!

Thanks for joining me in my linky party! Check out other bloggers below to see their favorite freebies! I would love if you would link up and post about YOUR favorites, too! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Word Problems: What's Your First Move?

Word problems...

Don't we LOVE them?! ...psych!

I realized this year that my students are having trouble with word problems....wait..let me elaborate. They are doing well with word problems with each section that I teach: adding decimals, dividing whole numbers, etc. However, I realized that the students knew what to do because they used their common sense - "If we are learning dividing decimals right now, then on our test, I will need to divide when I come across a word problem." 

Hm....What about when my students are faced with their standardized test and they will need to figure out which basic operation they will have to use for each word problem on their own? What will happen then? 
This thought is what inspired my most recent creation...

In day one...

...students will not focus on solving word problems, but instead they will work on figuring out which basic operation they need to use in order to move onto solving the problem. In other words, what will our first step be if we were to solve the problem?

Below is a pair of my students working on this activity. They are reading the 20 cards and then placing them in the addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division section depending on what their first step will be when solving the problem. 

On day two...

...students will use any of the five printable worksheets given, OR the task cards used in day one, to solve the word problems we read on the first day. Now, they need to read the word problem, check off which basic operation they will use, and then solve it. An example of the printable worksheet is seen below.

On day three...

...students will be introduced to two-step word problems. These word problems require two steps, or two different basic operations, to solve. Students will need to recognize these, the steps they will use to solve it, and the order in which they need to solve it. A sample of the task cards for day three are shown below.

On day four...

...students will not only recognize the two step word problems, but they will solve them. The printable worksheet requires them to solve their problem in different boxes in order to have the students organize their steps. This will really help you, as their teacher, find where their mistakes or misconceptions are, if any. 

On day five... will assess your students! Yay! Find out how they are doing now that they have practiced word problems. The assessment mixes up the word problems so that they are using different basic operations each time they solve, and in no particular order. This also mixes one and two step word problems. 

Extension activity:

Students can create their own word problem...alone, with a partner, or with a group! They will use the page you see below to set up their work, and then they will create a poster! :) This is one of my favorite projects! 

Here is the link if you would like to see more about this packet! 

Thanks for joining today :)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Freebies to know about!

Isn't it great when you buy something on Teachers Pay Teachers and then use it often!? Getting the most bang for your buck is always a great thing! However, some of these amazing sellers that you are used to buying from, have some SUPER AWESOME freebies! I am always shocked by some of the amazing things I find for free on TpT! 

I want to share some love for a few of my favorite freebies that I have downloaded in the past, and find myself using all of the time! I am a little early for Valentine's Day...but maybe I can mention something you will also find useful!

Let's start with a huge THANK YOU to these sellers for having such wonderful items like these up in their store for FREE!

1. Whimsy Clips 
These freebies are great because the art can go with anything that you do in your classroom. These clip art kids are great on worksheets or letters you send home to parents. I use these a lot for little personal things in the classroom. 

2. Ashley Hughes
Write the room cards are great for all grades! All of our students have one particular thing in common: they love getting up out of their seats! This pack is great because it is ready for you to create a write the room activity whenever you need one! Whether you have all day or 5 minutes to create the activity, this pack is ready for you! I love EVERYTHING Ashley Hughes makes...but this happens to be my "most commonly used" of all of the free items I have from her! Love it!
Click here for her store

3. Lovin Lit
Figurative language is something I teach throughout the year, but it is not always easy to find stories that contain figurative language. This pack is great because if I feel like I need a little something to reinforce the figurative language skill in my class, I can just do these with my students. I can pull them up on my big screen and do them with the kids at any moment. I like this because I don't necessarily need to have copies made for each student. If I do plan ahead and have copies made, then I can use these for morning work, as assessment for my lesson, or as an early finishers assignment.

4. Jennifer Findley - Teaching to Inspire in 5th
This is my newest freebie! I just stumbled upon this recently, but I am SUPER excited to start using it! My students need all of the word problem practice they can get - and I am having a hard time thinking of so many word problems! Haha! It gets tough after a while! This resource is great, and I absolutely LOVE how she uses it in her classroom. She has the students glue the problem into their math notebooks and answer it in there. I love this idea! Thanks Jennifer!

5. My favorite freebie of my own...
I have two favorites ;) I use these sets of posters every single day! One set it great for classroom management - my students use a 1, 2, 3, or 4 to tell me what they need without me having to ask them what their question is (example, if they hold up two fingers, I know they have to use the restroom). This is helpful for management and flow of the classroom. The other set is a set of math posters. I love these because, instead of a plain set of ABC posters, these are math related in content! I also have these for sale in a Science format.

I hope you can find use for some of the freebies mentioned above! I sure love them! ;) Yay for free items! Especially after we all just spent a lot of money over the holidays...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ho Ho Holidays!

Guyyyssss! I am sooo late sharing my December Math Pack with you! However, if you are in the hunt for a few last minute activities that are educational but're in the right place! 

My kids used this pack today in class and we had so much fun! 

Welcome to Dasher's Diner and Frosty's Finds! This diner and toy shop activity is so much fun! My students loved reading the descriptions for all of the holiday-related food items! My kids spent math time today adding and multiplying decimals using the menu and the catalog to "shop" (there are printables that go with this pack, but you can also create your own activities with these items). 

A look at the covers...
(I glued the pages to a file folder, and then laminated them)

and a look inside....

My students worked in pairs to "shop" and "eat" using the item prices found in the menu or catalog. This was such a great way to review their decimal skills without boring them on this last week before holiday break! 

The pair of students below is using the catalog for Frosty's Finds...

...and now they are using the menu for Dasher's Diner!

In this pack, there are also other games like a decimal war game and a "write the room". If you have not heard of "write the room" before, it is probably because it is usually used in lower elementary grades! My sister used write the room activities with her little kinders, and I just HAD to copy because I knew my fifth graders would love an excuse to be out of their seat! 

In "write the room", students have a printable worksheet that displays different images (or other visuals), along with an answer space next to that image. They then walk around the room to find the "clues". The clues have the matching visual/image on them. When a student finds a clue, they answer the question on their paper next to the matching image. When they are done, they find a seat! I usually have something on the board for my students to do when they are done. During "write the room", some students complete their work more quickly than others. I also love to use "write the room" at a center! Then the kids at the center go back to their table when they finish and compare answers. If they disagree, they need to figure out where their mistakes are in their work (with the help of their team!).

Below you will see the write the room cards that come with the Christmas pack, and the record sheet the kids use when they walk around and show their work.

Found a clue! Working hard! 

Just a few more photos of what comes in the pack!
Happy Holidays!