Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fun with Figurative Language

This past week was ALL ABOUT figurative language (similes, metaphors, hyperboles, personification, onomatopoeias, oxymorons, and idioms). Throughout the week, we discussed figurative language, watched videos, analyzed Robert Frost's poem "Walking in the Woods on a Snowy Evening" and analyzed "Gold" by Britt Nicole. This song has such a great message, and my students loved finding figurative language in it. I heard quite a few times, "Can we listen to that again?" Here's the video I used with the lyrics.
While searching for fun activities to do with idioms (yes, you know I was on Pinterest), I found an exciting activity on "Head Over Heels for Teaching's blog." I decided to give it a try.

For homework, students were to bring in an idiom. They could create it, draw the idiom, bring objects in, or act it out. First, I put a picture of my cat in a bag and pulled it out several times. They got it! "You let the cat out of the bag!"

Let the fun begin! We had so many creative idioms brought in. I truly think idioms will be memorable in their minds for quite some time. See some creative examples below.

Early bird gets the worm

When pigs fly

Apple of my eye
A little birdie told me

Kicked the bucket

Put a sock in it & One foot in the grave

Figurative language has been a blast! Can't wait until we spiral around to it again!

Blessings and happy teaching,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Today's Golden Nugget: The Third Circle

Since school started, I've been busy with planning and implementing activities in my fifth grade classroom. Therefore, I haven't been able to read for personal pleasure as often (you know how that goes).

As soon as I got a few free minutes, I once again grabbed one of my favorite professional development/education books: Teach Like a Pirate written by Dave Burgess.

Today's Golden Nugget: The Third Circle

If you're like me...I wondered what in the world "the third circle" was (interesting title). After reading the chapter, I totally agree that so many professional development workshops and meetings focus on the TECHNIQUES such as scaffolding, "think-pair-share," whole brain teaching, etc., and on CONTENT. Yes, these two "circles" are absolutely important. However, too many times no one is talking about the third circle...PRESENTATION.

I was fortunate enough to experience, in person, the man who's on a mission to change this. Thank you, Dave Burgess, for going on a "one-man mission, traveling far and wide" to share this pertinent aspect of the classroom.

So how do we focus (and improve upon on) the presentation part of our lessons? This chapter reminds us to create those "magical moments" in our classrooms by making it so entertaining that students don't realize they're actually learning. What a concept! We must keep the students engaged throughout the lesson; not just at the beginning of lessons (the energy must be maintained). We must "turn up the heat!"

To keep the energy in the room maintained, we must also transition smoothly. Transitions (in Burgess' words) can kill us. Just taking a few extra minutes to make sure all props, gadgets, equipment, etc. is set out and ready to go can make an enormous difference in the flow of our lesson and student engagement. For example, this past Monday, I knew I was going to play a Connect 4 vocabulary game with my students and show a cute video at the beginning of class to "hook them." What if I'd not had the Connect 4 set up? What is my video wasn't ready to show? What if I didn't even have my projector on or my computer hooked up? We've all been there...we know what happens, and it's not pretty. We lose our students and precious time.
Planning like this (and being totally prepared prior to the lesson) takes extra time and effort. However, just like Burgess sees in his classroom, I sincerely believe we'll also observe positive and worthwhile results and "master the art of gaining student engagement AND also master the art of not losing it."

I can't wait to dive into the next few chapters which discuss numerous hooks and ways to get students moving, focused, and engaged.

Thoughts and ideas come from the book Teach Like a Pirate.

NOTE: CONNECT 4 GAME - I had the class play against me simply using the Connect 4 Game. I projected task cards onto the screen and read them one at a time. I went around the room and called on students to answer the cards. If the student got it right, he/she got to put in a Connect 4 chip. If the question wasn't answered correctly, I got to put a chip in (oh boy). Of course the first to CONNECT 4 chips of the same color WINS. I can tell you that all eyes were on me, all students were ready to play, and all students were 100% engaged. When it was time to quit playing, I got quite a few NO's!  Connect 4 can be played with any educational concept. Have fun!

I LOVE using, and creating, task cards. If you're looking for task cards to use in the classroom, you can find many in my TpT Store

Blessings and happy teaching,

Monday, October 13, 2014

Today's Quote - Happy Monday

Happy Monday! Here's today's quote..."The true aim of every one who aspires to be a teacher should be, not to impart his own opinions, but to kindle minds."

Let's get our students thinking on this beautiful Monday morning (even though their brains are usually half asleep at the start of the week).  :)

Wishing you a wonderful and productive week!

Happy teaching!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Going Digital and Lovin' It

This past week, I attended an informative meeting regarding Edmodo and its features. Yes, we're that fortunate enough in our district to have "technology gurus" stay after school and impart their knowledge on us. Well, I was so curious that I couldn't wait to get home and check it out. I spent a couple of hours perusing this Edmodo site.

Yes, you know you've all done it...I stayed up past midnight figuring this "baby" out. It's pretty simple, by the way. I just had to figure out the type of quiz I wanted my students to take with their reading vocabulary words. I went with "matching" and ran with it.

I also decided that since our homework this week was pertaining to Paul Revere and his midnight ride that I'd check out youtube for any informational videos on this famous Patriot and eventful night in 1775. I found a great video and uploaded it into Edmodo. When you set up the assignment, you tell the students what they have to do to complete the assignment. I had them tell me one thing they learned about Paul Revere or his ride.

Next, I knew of a great video from one of my favorites (Schoolhouse Rocks). The students then watched "The Shot Heard Round the World" and told me one thing they learned. Great feedback, by the way, from this one!

Yes, it took some time to get all kiddos into their accounts, yes it took walking around and answering MANY questions the FIRST time to get them in the rights spots, answering questions on how to turn in assignments, telling them where to go next, etc. Was it worth it? You watch this video and be the judge of that!

Could you hear a pin drop? Me too! Was it a beautiful site? Yes! Did you see any off- task behavior? Neither did I! Check out some of the comments my students left me (which is another feature of Edmodo).

I have to say...this was one of my favorite teaching days so far this school year. Not just because we're going digital but because I tried something new and was prepared for failure all the way. Even if I failed, I'm teaching my students a wonderful life lesson. It's okay to fail. As a matter of fact, because of failures, we experience grand success. Ahhhhhhhh, sweet success on this beautiful Friday!

If you'd like to check out this user-friendly site, go to  Set up your free account, and enjoy the results.

With that, have a great and relaxing weekend! Thanks for following!