Friday, August 29, 2014

Create A Close Reading Kit

Close reading kits are handy pouches or small boxes that individual students can use in order to closely read text.  Instead of looking for a highlighter or additional resources during the middle of guided reading or guided math, students will have a variety of types of tools at their fingertips inside of their personal kits.

 You will need close reading bookmarks Click Here To Access Them For Free Here, colored pencils, highlighters, a pencil, a pouch, and clay to create your kits.

The clay is optional, but I think that it is helpful for both reading and math.  I roll pieces of clay into thin strips and use them to underline text that is on laminated task cards.
This is from my Differentiated Close Reading Task Cards.  The card has been laminated and clay is used instead of a colored pencil.

The different colored highlighters can help students color code their ideas.

I purchased the plastic pouches for $1 at Target.  Either small plastic containers or plastic pouches can be used to store your individual kits.

The kits were also used during math time to make it easier for students to understand math concepts.  

To access free close reading bookmarks Click Here

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Teach Mean, Median, & Mode in a Hands-On Way

Each time that math can be taught in a visual way, I jump for joy.  I love it when a student smiles and says "Ohhhhhh" when he or she truly understands a concept.  This blog posts shows how mean(average) can be taught in a visual way. It is great if you have students that struggle with math, and seeing the colorful visuals can help students retain what they have learned.  Most local based school assessments (the IOWA, Stanford, NWEA, etc.) address mean, median, and mode in fourth and fifth grades.  This is standard 6.SP.A.3 and is introduced in sixth grade in Common Core.  It is in the Data and Statistics category. 

Median and mode are simple concepts to teach.  Mode is the number that appears the most.   The "mo" in the word mode and the "mo" in the word most is a great mnemonic to help students know that the mode is the number that appears the most.


The mode is the number 3 since it appears the most in this set of numbers.  How can median be taught in a visual way?

The term mean refers to the average.  In this case, a student was asked to determine the mean of the numbers 2,3, and 4. Different colored blocks were used to represent the amount of each number.

For additional math resources and visual task cards, access a link below.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Literacy and Math Ideas is Having a Sale

Literacy and Math Ideas is having a one day sale.  There are less than 12 hours left to save.  Add code "BOOST" at the time of checkout for an additional discount.Click Here And Scroll Down to visit Literacy and Math Ideas' store.

(100 Reading Passages) Grade 7 Daily Common Core Literature and Informational Text

Common Core has just become easier.  This document contains 100 passages that align specially to the Grade 7 Literature and Informational Text Common Core Standards. Informational Text, literature, poetry, fantasy, folktales, plays, suspense stories and more are included.  Click Here To Access It
  • Review literature skills in between reading novels.  With Daily Common Core, students can review important literature skills and closely read text with quick, daily passages.
  • Save time--The reading passages include school friendly themes that are taught in middle school literature such as self-acceptance, resolving conflict, and more.
  • Monitor student progress.  The Common Core Standard is written next to each question to make student and teacher progress monitoring easy.  A weekly checklist at the end of each week lists the Common Core skills that were covered.
  • Expose students to a variety of genres. The passages include realistic fiction, informational text, poetry, historical fiction, and YA fiction.

The Common Core Standard is written right next to each question to make progress monitoring easier.  This is a great way to quickly review figurative language, inferences, character traits, and more.  Click Here To Access It

Action, fantasy, realistic fiction, informational text, poetry and more genres are included to help students practice literature skills across multiple types of text.

Monday, August 18, 2014

STEM in the Classroom: Make a Lightbulb

If you are looking for a fun science project or science related activity, this one will definitely please a crowd.

This project just takes a few minutes to create and can be done as a classroom activity or as a fun science project.  Most of these materials are easy to find.  The pencil lead is the same type that is used in mechanical pencils.  This can be found in most stores that sell pencils and school supplies.  The alligator clips can be found at electric supply stores.

Step 1:  Tape two different ends of alligator clips to the sides of a paper towel roll using the electrical tape.

Step 2:  Tape the positive and negative (top and bottom) ends of the batteries together.

Step 3:  Attach the pencil lead.

Step 4:  Cover your light bulb with a glass or jar.  Then attach the loose ends of the alligator clips to the battery.

Did you see what happened at the end of the activity?  It is so much fun.  Wait for the alligator clips to cool off because they become very hot.  Then, replace the mechanical pencil lead to do the activity again.

Explanation of the Project:  
The electrons are flowing through the wires and batteries.  Since the electrons are not able to pass through at the same time, the electrons collide to create friction. All of the friction causes heat to form.  This is the light bulb begins to glow.  

In traditional light bulbs, there is a thin filament inside of the bulb.  The electrons collide as they attempt to pass through this filament and produce heat.  Irons, curling irons, and coffee pots work this same way. Thomas Edison experimented tirelessly with different wires and with filaments that were of different thicknesses in order to create the first light bulb.  In our activity, the pencil lead works as the filament.

For Additional Science Resources, Access A Link Below--

Easy Ways to Teach Word Problems

Hello guys, I am back with some fun ways to teach word problems. I began providing individual math assistance to a student during the end of last school year.  Like so many children, this student is a visual learner and was just plain confused about word problems. 

I would like to share some of the strategies that I presented to this student and to so many others over the years. These are tools that will help students navigate through the Common Core Standards as well as understand general math problems.

1.  Begin with blocks.  I purchased these from the dollar rack at Target.  Any type of blocks can be used.  This example involves a comparison word problem.  Comparison word problems require students to understand that known information can be used to determine unknown information.  

2.  Reinforce word problems with diagrams too.  We eventually worked our way up to more challenging word problems like the one shown below.  When we progressed to larger numbers, I used diagrams to represent numbers rather than blocks.  

Visit often for additional math, reading, and science ideas. 

For additional math resources, including self-teaching task cards, visit the links below:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Vary Sentence Structure

When students write, they must pay attention to several aspects of writing as they read. One of those aspects is sentence structure. Using a variety of sentence structures adds flow and makes writing more appealing. 

This blog post includes free task cards to help students remember to use sentence variety.
Free Varying Sentence Structure Task Cards

The Case for Using Sentence Variety
Why should students be concerned about sentence variety?  Writing clear and cohesive sentences are not only focus points of the new Common Core Standards, it is also a valuable tip that will help students score higher on ACT and SAT exams. Understanding how and when to use different sentence structures not only improves writing, it also helps students understand how authors develop and convey ideas to their readers.

How Authors Use Different Sentence Structures
Varying sentence structures can heighten the tone in an action story.  In informational text, it draws a reader's attention to specific ideas.

In addition to experimenting with different sentence structures, students should analyze the writing structures that authors use.  They can ask questions like:

  • How does the author convey tone in the text?
  • How does the use of this sentence structure (in paragraph 10) help the speaker be more convincing to listeners?
The Common Core Connection
The Common Core English Standards lead students into deeper levels of analysis as they progress into higher grade levels.  While words such as analyze, think about, and compare are used at the lower and middle grade levels, terms such as diction and syntax are directly used at the high school grade levels to address this deeper level of analysis.
View additional posts on Classroom Freebies

To access close reading task cards from my TpT store, Click Here