Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Can, We, Work, On, Commas, Please!?

     One of my school's key standards for the month of November is commas.  It's one of my favorite skills to teach because there are just so many different and fun activities to do with it.  My favorite activity is making "Commapillars".  I usually make these when I'm on my 2nd grade part of the loop so I didn't do them this year.  I can try to take a pic of the one in my file if anyone is interested.

     This month I did a few activities which I'd love to share with you - one of which I was observed doing.  I don't have any pictures of that one.  Obviously, I was being watched!  LOL  But I do have the materials and I'd love for you to have them!

     Around the room hunts are some of my favorite things to do with the little ones.  But I like to give them a twist.  I posted a while back about a hunt I did with Pronouns - You can read about it here.  Basically, I take sentence strips and lay them around the room.  Then each student is given a card which they then have to match to a sentence strip.  This activity is a neat twist on the "Around the Room' type activities that we all love to do.  To make it more fun, I try to make sure that the students get to switch cards and we play many times to make sure whatever the concept is, we truly get to practice.  Here are some photos of us doing this activity with commas.






For this activity I took the 6 comma rules we were working on:
*Dates
*City/State
*Series
*After Yes/No
*After a name
*Letter

On index cards I wrote each rule 4 different times - which gave me 24 cards in all.  Then I made 4 sentence strips for each comma rule.  On then was a sentence that needed the comma.  Therefore each index card could potentially be matched to 4 different sentence strips and each student had a match, no one left out.  After switching cards a few times all of my students got to practice each rule at least once. They had a blast.  Once they found their sentence strip, they would sit next to it and place their finger(s) where the commas should go.  It took 45 seconds or so to walk around the room to check everyone's and then we continued to play.  :)  This activity can be adapted with lots of different skills.  Let me know if you try it!

The lesson I did for my observation was more of a sorting lesson.  I modeled reading cards with sentences on them and inserted the comma in its place and then sorted the cards based on their rules. I warn you - this is not 'pretty' but it did the job!  You can click on the photo below to grab the modeling activity and cards.  


For practice, the students were given a larger version of the above chart.  I drew them on large poster paper.  Students were given index cards, on them were sentence again with missing commas.  In groups, the students drew in the commas and then sorted the cards on the mats.  To help differentiate the lesson, I had my lower ability students only focus on a few rules, and then higher students did all 6 rules.  Below are the index cards.  They make index cards that can go through the printer, or you can just print and cut out the cards.  Snag them below!



Can't have a lesson without a quick You Do/Assessment.  I differentiated these to match what the student's practiced.  There are three - one for each level!  Click the photo to download them as well :)


Whew!  Dont you just LOVE commas now!?  Like I said - I do!  Since we've now learned all about them we'll be ready to review during spiral learning in the upcoming months.  So I created a fun Christmas Commas activity just in case I missed my dear commas in December.  We actually used part of it already - :)  This activity pack has 4 printable worksheets and a sorting activity that can be used as a small group intervention or a center.  I hope you'll check it out!


What are YOUR favorite comma activities?  I'd love to hear from you!  The 1st three people to comment will get the Christmas Comma pack for free!  Make sure you leave your e-mail!

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's so HARD to be a Verb - An ADHD Inspired Post

     First off, I want to thank Laura Candler for putting on this very inspiring linky as well as Julia Cook for creating and writing some amazing story books that are great for both classroom and parental use.  If you haven't checked out any of Julia's books, definitely make sure you do so!  Just click on the photo below to check out her website.



I'm writing today to discuss an amazing book written by Julia - It's Hard to Be a Verb!


This amazing story is about a young boy that we all know very well - a child who just can't....stop....MOVING!  The story goes through his struggles and his daily life and all of the ways and reasons he gets in 'trouble'.  It discusses how he just can't stop wiggling, and itching, and twitching and how he wants to stop - but he can't.  This story is golden if you've ever had a child in your classroom, or even of your own, like this.  It truly displays their thoughts and concerns and wantingness (not a word - but it should be for this sentence!) to be 'still'.  

There have been too many times to count where I've told a student to 'focus' or 'settle down' or just plain old 'STOP!' forgetting the fact that they, well, can't.  We forget that their bodies truly do not understand or know what it feels like to be 'calm'.  Calm to them is completely different from what others think and feel is calm.  It's true those itches and twitches just won't go away.  As an educator, it is our job to find tricks and implement them into these students' daily routines to better allow them to deal with these wiggles rather than give consequences for something that they simply cannot control.  I would like to give some tips, tricks, and even a lesson in this post.  I apologize in advance for its length.  Please feel free to bookmark it to come back and finish reading when you can!  

There are TONS of suggestions and tips out there - the thing is, you will need to figure out what works for each student.  Remember, what works for one won't work for them all.  Below are some basic suggestions for different behaviors triggered by ADHD.

For students who have inattention problems:
  • Try and help the student by making someone else other than the student to keep attention on the task
  • Keep tasks short
    • Break down assignments if needed
  • Eliminate as many distractions as possible
  • Make everything as engaging as you can.
For students who are hyperactive:
  • Allow the student to move around as much as possible without being a distraction to others or interfering with the task
  • Make work as interactive as possible
For students who are impulsive:
  • Try not to emphasize speed on activities or assignments
  • Promote thoughtful study strategies
Overall
  • Keep your expectations realistic
  • Keep the difficulty level appropriate for the child
  • Spread seat work throughout the day instead of one specific time


Like I said, you probably have many other tips to go along with those - but they are the basics.  

Better than that - I want to share something that truly does work with a LOT of ADHD students and then some!  We call it our Remote!


Basically its a simple remote control that teaches the students many different strategies on how to control, prevent, and change their behavior.  Students are given a copy of the remote to place on their desk permanently.  After being taught separate lessons on what each button needs, students and teachers use the remote in the everyday routine of the classroom.  This remote gives the students the necessary tools to succeed in the classroom.  I've created a quick little guide on how to use the remote along with quick lesson ideas for each button on the remote control.  On the last page are copies of the remote to use if you'd like.  Just click the photo above to check it out! (Let me know if any links are not working!)

I truly hope you will check out this resource and more importantly, check out Julia's book - It's Hard to Be a Verb!  With the story and the 'remote' hopefully your wiggly students will find themselves more in control of themselves.  Please let me know if you have any questions on this program or the book!  I'd love to hear any of your strategies as well!  Make sure to leave a comment!

Thanks again to Laura Candler and Julia Cook!  Make sure to check out the other teachers in the Blog Hop to learn more about Julia Cook's literature and some amazing ways to use them in the classroom!







Sunday, November 10, 2013

Educents Bundle & GIVEAWAY!!



Reading is my absolute FAVORITE subject to teach - but with that being said, it can be a challenge to find great Language Arts materials for sure!  So I have teamed up with several other top sellers and Educents to provide you with this great bundle for 3rd and 4th grades!  






Very excited to be a part of the bundle with Educents!  I know you will love my Vocabulary Voyage Test Prep Through the Year Packet!




I've been using this packet all year this year and the ability of my students when it comes to being able to answer standardized test questions and knowing what questions are actually asking and what they need to do to answer them is phenomenal!  Daily - it takes us 5 minutes to do this and the impact seems like we spend all day every day doing this.  I'm super pleased with how they're doing and can't wait to see their standardized test scores at the end of the year.  I truly hope you'll check it out!



There are many other products in our bundle to get your kids learning!  
Centers, printables, vocabulary, book studies, interactive notebooking and so much more!


But that's not all!   Since you are on my blog I would like to give you a chance to win something extra for free!  Please follow me or pin something or shout it out on FB and enter to win any item from my store.  Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


 




The deal won't last long so head over now!





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