Sunday, April 28, 2013

To Earth and Beyond!

This week, we celebrated Earth Day on Monday with this fun activity from Colleen over at Totally Terrific in Texas.
First, we began with one of my favorite Earth Day books, Earth Day Hooray!

(It was also a nice way to review our place value knowledge!)

Then,we brainstormed ways we could help our planet and recorded them on a chart.

Students then made the craftivity, making sure to write on there ways to keep the Earth clean.

I think they turned out pretty cute and DEFINITELY show my students' personalities! :)

To finish up our study of Geography, I have the kids do a "Create Your Own Continent" project!

If you'd like the project directions, click {here}.  It's in Word, so feel free to modify it to fit your standards.  It's an activity I've done for several years and they always turn out really cute! :)

This week, we're off to Ancient Egypt, one of my favorite units!  Once I get the pages sorted out, I can't wait to share my Egypt and China activity books with you! :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Trip Around the World

Whew!  What a week!  I think the closer we get to the end of the year, the crazier it gets, but I don't remember it starting quite this early!

It's good that my students have been a little distracted by our continent study.  I have been so excited about creating these continent boxes!  I wish I had an unlimited budget, because I'd have it crammed full of things.  As it is, our local education foundation is sponsoring a grant, so I think I might get my wishlist in order and apply!

What I have so far are a few things I've already collected, as well as a trip to Michael's and Barnes&Noble.  The animals are from Safari Ltd. "Toobs" or from Schleich (more expensive, I know!) and the books are from B&N.  The labels are ones I've had from Dollar Tree and the larger laminated poster back there is from a Postcards Around the World bulletin board set I've had for years but can't seem to find the manufacturer (sorry).  The boxes were a great deal at Walmart and are the 15 quart size.

I would really like to add the "Rookie Readers" Geography series - I LOVE those books!  They get right to the point and although small, have great photos as well (I usually stick them under the document camera to read to the class).  That's on my wishlist. :)
The continent boxes inspired me to go on a search for printable books about the continents.  Well, there wasn't a lot out there to choose from, and the best one I saw was written at a primer level with repeated text that wasn't quite what I was looking for.

So, I created my own!  All the pictures are from either Microsoft or from public domain.  The clipart for the continents are from "Clip Art by Carrie" who has a great pack called "My World Doodles."  They're written on a 2nd-4th grade level. (There's a 21-page preview of a few pages from each book on TpT if you'd like to check it out!).

Then, in my search for printable books, I found this.

It's a passport to each continent.  How cute is that?  Best part?  It was a FREEBIE!  It was so great to share the boxes, watch a video or two from the wiki page about the continent, read the book together and then fill out where they had been in their passports!  Saved me a LOT of time!  I love stumbling into things like this. :)  Please be sure to check out the seller's shop "Teacher E."  

Another thing I do every year to help students practice locating places is create a placemat/poster for them to take home and use.  This year, I decided instead of me making 21 of them, it would mean more to my kids (and good practice) for THEM to create the map!  Here's my sample (ignore how large the labels are.  After I put my sample together, I made them smaller so they wouldn't crowd up the map!).  If you teach SOL 2.5 (VA), it has all the components, plus the Native American regions.  If you teach outside VA, it's also good practice!

I can't thank bloggers out there enough for sharing their ideas!  I found a TON of links from Pinterest and found that these continent boxes are Montessori-based, and found too many to mention freebies of photos.  It's on my Geography Pinterest page if you'd like to check it out.

So, they're calling for storms so I guess I'd best be heading out of here and to the safety of home!  Click on any of the pictures to learn more about our "Trip Around the World!"

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sushi Monster: Favorite App Linky Party

I'm joining up with The Techie Teacher to showcase one of my students' (and mine, since it's helping their math skills!) favorite apps!

We have 4 iPod Touches for our classroom from a PTA Grant and Donors Choose, and when my students have it as one of their BUILD Centers (or for extra time), they always choose "Sushi Monster."
The concept behind it is for students to add numbers together (the first level is basic facts, then it grows harder with each level) and touch the correct plate of sushi (with the answer).  It's a FREE app by Scholastic.  There is also multiplication on there as well for your higher students!

Be sure to check it out! ;)  Also be sure to link up to "The Techie Teacher" to share your favorite app! :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Possessive Practice

While my kiddos have been traveling around the world, learning about our different continents (I'll leave that for my next post when I have pics!), we're also learning about possessive nouns.

I started with good ol' Annie Scrambler and the "everything I want I just add 's ("apostrophe s") to my name and its mine!"

That always goes over big.  If you'd like to check out the video clip, head over to my grammar wiki page on possessive s {here}.  There are also some links to games and some other clips.

Throw in a little Moby and BrainPop, and the kids are getting it a little more.

Show them my sample of my "I Want" page (piece of copy paper folded into fourths with "Mrs. Youel's ______" and pictures) and they are ALL over that!

one of my student's from last year
 possessive noun activity
My students were owning roller coasters, amusement parks, 4-wheelers, etc.  They had a blast and it was a good way to practice.

Cue the next day.  The difference between plurals and possessives.  Not too bad.  I used my favorite book, The Greedy Apostrophe, and we discussed the difference between plurals, possessives, and contractions.

Still good.  Well, that is until day 3.  Singular possessives versus Plural Possessives.  LOT of confusion.  The next day to reinforce it, I pulled out the sticky notes (cool idea I got off of Pinterest).  This way, they were able to manipulate the apostrophe and s whether we were talking one or two.

post-its for possessive nouns--better stock up! ;)
Getting better.

Handed them a sheet that my grade had copied for practice.  *wince*

My lovelies struggle with learning.  Orally, they are sooooo on it.  Give them a center, they're okay after practicing.  Give them a written activity, and its not too pretty. :(

Soooo...I decided after looking at what my grade level had copied and recycled a few that I knew would be more headache than learning difficult, (reading level too hard, directions too difficult, etc) this weekend I decided to start from scratch.  I mean, who knows your class better than you, right?

I'm pretty proud of what I came up with.

Complete with word bank.  I LOVE word banks.  There is one plural possessive in each one of the 3 sheets (circus, space, sports themes).  Click on the pics to take you to TpT to check it out closer.

Also, I'm planning on introducing my "Pirates vs. Zombies" this week as well.  I imagine my boys will be all over it! :)

Also my "Rounding Up Possessives." (I have no idea why the pic is so small or blurry!)
 A great way to review possessive nouns, as well as distinguish between plural nouns and possessives

To see what I did with last year's group (and for a little more pictorial help with my descriptions), check out {this post} about possessive nouns.  Hope you can use these to help your kiddos! :)


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Confusion in the Ranks

Well, sorta, not really, but it was a catchy title! :)

After being sick for most of spring break (what IS it about our bodies that they're like, hey-on break-let's take all those germs we've been exposed to and get sick!!!), I finally am into school for a few hours to work.  

Anyway, in getting my new-found obsession - aka "continent boxes" - sorted with the materials I've found/bought so far (obviously this is going to be an on-going project!  Check out my Pinterest page on Geography for more details/links), I'm at a loss for one particular country.


Is it considered part of Europe or Asia?

Everything I see says both, or says it's really "Eurasia."  Honestly, if I didn't have to teach China after this, I'd just combine the boxes, but I don't think the higher ups who create the standards would want me to teach "Eurasia."  Heck, it was hard enough to teach the 5th ocean and get people to accept it! (Southern - it surrounds Antarctica).

I guess its a big debate for me because my kiddos this year are so concrete, I'm not sure if they'll get its part of both continents.  (Heck, they were surprised that "North America" wasn't just USA or sadly, for some of them, Virginia).

I found this HUGE debate on Yahoo Answers, but it's five years old (and let's face it - that part of the world is a cartographer's nightmare!).  It seems that although the culture is mostly European-based, most of the land lies in Asia.  Then again, some brought up the point that the farther east you go, the more Asian the culture is.  *sigh*

I'd just skip it, but I'm also putting together a Powerpoint/SMART presentation on each continent. Not to mention, the anal organized part of me wants to figure out what box to put my resources in!

So, I'm asking for the professionals' help (the teachers!).  

Do you think Russia should be considered part of Europe or Asia?  

Please comment below and let me know what you think in your professional opinions!

Yes, I know, I can teach both....or I could do as one person wrote "Russia is Russia - it's not part of anything"  Hah hah.  Not.  

That kind of thinking is what has my kids thinking that the USA IS North America! :(