Thursday, April 23, 2015

Behind the Scenes With Literacy and Math Ideas

Dutchman's Breeches Plant and A Friendly Cow

What would it have been like to be a child during the 1800s?  Would you have liked traveling west with the pioneers?  

These are questions that I have asked myself during my recent field studies.  Today's blog post takes you behind the scenes with Literacy and Math Ideas.  I truly love to write and enjoy meeting with field research scientists, living out life in the past, and going into the field to research science.  These are pictures that I have taken recently.

These pictures were taken with my Nikon D5100 camera with natural lighting.  I absolutely love this camera and try to take it everywhere that I go.  

The changing seasons have provided many opportunities to watch migrating birds return to the Midwest as well as watch plants bloom. It is also a great way for students to see hands-on many of the things they learn about in science.

More blog posts and freebies will be posted soon!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Literature Interactive Journal Passages

Hello everyone!  I have some really fun posts planned.  Check back often.  I have been working on several different things.  This is one of them.  It is designed to be such a time saver.

These short stories are thematic and fit right inside of student journals.  Each document provides three stories that teach the same theme, teaching tips, close reading questions, and an answer key.  More themes will be added soon.  Current themes include:
  • Identity
  • Doing the Right Thing
  • The American Dream
This is designed to fit will school district curricula, state assessments, and Common Core.  Students read multiple quick and original stories that address the same themes.  Stories are written using the same writing techniques as award winning novels. These high-interest stories cover multiple genres and are a great addition to lessons.  

Questions are written at different levels of Bloom's Taxonomy to help students evaluate text closely.  Stories can be read in one class period. Each document includes stories that can be extended for an entire week's worth of lessons.  

They are small enough to fit right inside of student journals.  Students can do a close reading of a passage right inside of their notebooks!  This makes them perfect for extending classroom lessons and as a tool for homework.

Use them as a quick assessment between novels.  Use them to review:
  • Themes
  • Character Analysis
  • Literary Devices (Foreshadowing, metaphors, personification, imagery, vivid verbs, symbolism, and more)
  • Tone and Mood
  • Comparing and Contrasting Texts
  • Inferences
  • Plot Structure
This is a great tool for Common Core.  It aligns to nearly all of the Common Core Literature Standards.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Integrating Technology and Reading Instruction: Stop Motion Animation

A Sample of Stop-Motion Animation

Understanding how to use technology is so important for students.  Finding a way to integrate it into curriculum can sometimes be a challenge.  This blog post explains fun, simple, and free ways to incorporate it.

If you have an iPad, stop motion animation and quick movies are possible.  If you have a personal computer, Movie Maker is likely already installed on Microsoft Windows.

Stop Motion Studio is a free app that can be downloaded onto ipads.  It was used to make the animation that is shown above.  Both software programs, Movie Maker and Stop Motion are very easy to use.

1.  Students can create a narrative story individually or in small groups.  Have a "movie day" to show the movies.

2.  Incorporate informational text.  Students can research a nonfiction topic.  They can then create a documentary as an independent project.

3.  Create teaching videos.  Rather than writing their ideas on paper, students can create teaching videos.  They can pick a topic such as main idea or cause and effect.  The teaching video can be used by other students during center time.

4.  Create step-by-step instructional videos.  Students can show step-by-step how to annotate text, how to do a close reading, or more.

5.  Do book retells.  Students select their favorite book to retell during their small group rotations.

Differentiated Daily Literature Practice

What do we all need?  Time.  The goal of this resource is to help fill the needs of students at different ability levels and save time.  How this resource helps:

Below-Level Students
Research recommends that students are taught at their own reading levels.  The conflict comes when a teacher needs to teach the concepts at a student's academic level too. This resource does both.  Level 1A of the document includes core content area vocabulary that repeats across the days to help students fill in academic gaps.  Strategy use is emphasized to help students review reading strategies, it plus builds vocabulary to assist with comprehension. All of this is done while a student reads text and is level appropriate.  Students stay on track with their grade level concepts as they gain tools to fill in their academic gaps.

On-Level Students
Students are exposed to more complex sentence structures to help them grow as readers.  They refine their reading strategies as they practice closely reading text in quick and manageable daily doses.  This helps students keep literature skills sharp as they grow as readers.

Above-Level Students
Not only are the sentences even more complex at this level, students are exposed to ACT and SAT words.  As students practice closely reading text, they practice with resources that help them grow as readers. Each week is thematic.  This helps students learn about specific concepts in-depth and build academic vocabulary.  The daily practice enables students to review literary strategies and refine their skills.

Click Here To Access It

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How to Solve Multi-Step Word Problems

Word problems seem to be one of those types of things that some students "get" and others do not.  Even the students that can correctly solve a word problem at times seem to be unsure how they did it.

This blog post is dedicated to word problems and provides helpful strategies for helping students solve them.

Students often get lost in all of the words of a word problem and are unsure what they need to find first.

I like to begin with word problem frames. They are simple pieces of paper that show addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division.  We then start at the end of the problem to figure out what the math problem is asking a person to find out.

Emma had 223 buttons for an art craft.  Kate had 75 fewer buttons than Emma.  How many buttons did they have altogether?

Step 1
The addition frame could be used to mentally organize what the word problem is asking.  It looks like this.

_____ + _____ = ______

Kate's buttons + Emma's buttons = Total

I first take out the frames and ask students which one fits what is being asked at the end of question.  After a few math lessons, many students can identify the last operation that must be done to actually solve the problem. In this case it is addition.  

Step 2
I ask students to plug in the known information.  It looks like this.

23 + ___ = ___

The students are able to determine that we know how many buttons Emma has, but in order to solve the problem, we must determine how many buttons Kate has.

Step 3
The word problem does not directly state the exact number of buttons that Kate has. Instead, it provides clues.  The number 75 indicates how many fewer buttons Kate has than Kate.  

This is often a sticky point.  Many students will often jump in and incorrectly state that Kate has 75 buttons.  We then look at the word fewer. The context of how it is used in this sentence shows that 75 must be taken away from 223 in order to determine the amount of buttons that Kate has.  223-75= 148

Step 4
I point each student's attention again to the word problem frame.  I then ask, do we have enough information to solve the problem? The students then add Kate and Emma's buttons to answer the question.

223 + 148 = 371

Additional Teaching Resources
These are great for RTI, Math Review, Common Core and Test Prep

Guided Math 

The document includes:
*game cards
*a progress recording form
*a printable box
*an answer key

Click Here To Access Guided Math Level 1A

This document includes:
*20 task cards
*One-step addition and subtraction word problems with smaller numbers
*A printable storage box
*A student recording sheet
*An answer key
*A progress chart

This document includes:
*20 task cards
*One-step addition and subtraction word problems with larger numbers
*A printable storage box
*A student recording sheet
*An answer key
*A progress chart

This document includes:
*20 task cards
*Two-step addition and subtraction word problems with larger numbers
*A printable storage box
*A student recording sheet
*An answer key
*A progress chart



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Big Sale

Literacy and Math Ideas is having a sale. Today is the last sale day.  Click Here

Monday, February 23, 2015

Make Retell Sticks

Making classroom tools from household items is a lot of fun.  This is a literacy center activity that you can make using objects that you most likely already have in your home.

If you have done painting in your home, you just might have a few leftover paint sticks.  If not, your local hardware store might hand you a few sticks free of charge.  

I began by dividing the paint stick into three parts.  They are labeled: beginning, middle, and end.

On some clothespins, I wrote events that occurred in a story that was recently read to the class.  (Put a few wrote details in the mix to test comprehension.)  Students then have to place the clothespins in the correct section on the paint stick.

For Additional Resources For The Classroom, Visit My Store