Sunday, March 20, 2016

April Means Poetry Month for Fifth Graders!

It's hard to get fifth graders motivated for many things, especially in the Spring AND the fact that their resource time is at the end of the day.  So, in essence, they've already "clocked out" for the day.  It does mean they're more than a handful some days!  Thank goodness for our Makerspace - they LOVE that!  So, when I have to do other activities with them that supersede the Makerspace, well, they're not happy.  (Gosh, it's like they have to WORK in school!).

Traditionally, the librarian at our school has always helped the fifth grade teachers by doing a poetry/figurative language unit in April.  Last year, I was so excited and found my favorite all time poem - Jabberwocky - on video and showed it to them.  Then, we looked at copies of the poem and circled figurative language/nonsense words.  Yeah, I think I was the only one excited about it except for maybe 5 total students. :(  I did the best I could with the rest of the unit but there was a lot of grumbling and protests about doing this during resource.

So, this year, I wanted to make sure I was more on top of things as well as making it more fun and active for the students.  Yes, I'll still have those grumblers, but maybe not as many!

First, I asked the writing teacher which figurative language concepts were most important to focus on (similes/metaphors, personification, idioms, and hyperbole).  Then, I created a pretest/survey for students using Google Docs.  You can access it {here} if you'd like to look at it.  I'm planning on asking students to complete it during this week before Spring Break so we can start rolling after break!

This weekend, I've tried to get a head start on planning the unit.  The responses from the survey will give me an idea of how much time to spend on each concept and, frankly, which classes need help where.  Although I'm already planning activities for each concept, I figure even if I don't use them, I can save them for next year's group.  Now in my second year of the Library, I feel I have a better feel for lessons and have even reorganized my filing cabinet and hopefully spend less time "planning" next year and be able to pull files and teach!

Using Pinterest as an inspiration, I looked first at Idioms.  We have this great book called Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold I'll read to students.  Then, we'll watch the video I found {here} about idioms and complete an activity where students use pictures to figure out the idioms.  Since I'm not sure if these are copyright friendly, I'll share it {here} but won't on my teacher stores.  Then, using a sheet I found on another site, students have to pick and draw an idiom to define its real meaning and use it in a sentence.  I figure I can give this to the teacher for a grade!
Image result for even more parts by tedd arnold
With similes and metaphors, I figured I'd best not push my luck with the worksheet.  So, after reading Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk by Brian P Cleary, we'll make it a little more "real life" by looking at quotes from some of my students' favorite books and authors.  To make it a bit more interactive, I have QR codes on each quote so students can scan to see if they guessed simile or metaphor correctly.  I'm not sure if I"ll do it like a Scoot, where students move to each table and work in a group or not.  Either way, I've uploaded the activity on TPT and TN if you'd like to see it closer.
Image result for skin like milk hair of silk

So, I'm left with Personification and Hyperbole.  These should be fun, but I'll save them for another post (and maybe get home by dinnertime so my husband doesn't complain!).

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Women's History Month

I had the great idea to do a scavenger hunt with my students for women's history month - so great of an idea, apparently I did it last year as well!  So, I made sure NOT to duplicate the women chosen from last year and instead, highlighted 20 new women!  It really helped that Educlips offered a women's history bundle in her store which I grabbed!  I have a small women's history book display in the library, but I'm determined to not let it slide by like last year!

I'm so excited by my selections this year!  I love teaching students about REAL people - between Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March!  I'm excited that I am not just sticking with American women.  I really have stressed diversity this year and honestly, looking at some of our Presidential candidates, it scares me diversity is not a big issue with them!'s up to the educators to teach our young ones that diversity is AWESOME!

Here are some of the women I'm highlighting this month, and the books I'm using:

Brad Meltzer's series:  " Ordinary People Change the World", we're highlighting Lucille Ball and Amelia Earhart. (I LOVE this series and can't wait for more!!!!!)
Image result for brad meltzer children's books  Image result for brad meltzer children's books

I fear his Jane Goodall book won't come out in time, so I'm also using:  Me....Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Image result for me...jane

Dear Malala, We Stand with You by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International
Image result for dear malala, we stand with you

Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto by Susan Goldman Rubin
Image result for irena sendler and the children of the warsaw ghetto
and Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg
Image result for queen of the falls by chris van allsburg

I love highlighting these different women - some known, others not so known, and introducing them to students!  Then, add on a scavenger hunt with other women and students are really into the biographies and reading more!

Last year, I created "Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice" which highlighted 16 women

This year, I have a second scavenger hunt I'll put out for the third week of March (because that last week is spring break!) that features 20 NEW women to learn about!

If you're interested in either, you can click on the pictures for TPT and {here} for Teacher's Notebook.