Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Month of Mysteries- Part 3 Writing

My teaching partner Racquel came up with the idea of giving the kids pictures from the Chris Van Allsburg's book, "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" and having them write their own mysteries.  I did some research and came across a great unit on Teachers Pay Teachers from Rundees Room.  (only $3.00, I have purchased many items from her shop)  I followed her lessons to get the children motivated to write their own mysteries.

I used "The Portfolio Edition of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" which are large prints from the book. I laminated them, so they would be sturdy for my long term use.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (Portfolio Edition)

Day 1- I used Rundee's idea and had the children bring in flashlights.  I read the introduction from "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" and how the book came to be.  The children walked around the room and looked at the prints with flashlights.  The room was dark and silent.  They came back to the rug and made inferences about the prints.  Then, I had the children walk around once more and stand by an illustration that really interested them.  My direction was no more than three by a print.  They had to talk about their print  and come up with a very short story and share it with the class orally. 

Day 2- The next day I spread the prints around the room and had them walk around and select  a print they wanted to use for their written short stories.  It did not have to be the same picture as Day 1.  Once again, it could be no more than three in a group.  I emphasized picking prints and not friends.  The children then brainstormed ideas for their stories.
Day 3- We generated a Mystery Anchor Chart.  (I have added ways to include more suspense to my chart since this photo was taken.)  We began writing our short stories.  I use four-square graphic organizers for all of our writing.The kids were so motivated and had no problem getting started!

Drafting, Revising and Editing- The children worked for several days on these steps.

Publishing and Sharing and Other Extensions- Children have been sharing their stories as they finish. 

I have one group that is creating a script and making their story into a play...auditions are on Monday!  (I love creative kids!) 

I designed a PowerPoint slide show of their illustrations and recording the groups reading their stories onto their slides. 

Chris Van Allsburg has recently published a collection of tales written by popular authors including Lemony Snickett, Kate DiCamilo and Stephen King!  I purchased the audio book from Itunes and the children are listening to their story written by the published author.

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales / With an Introduction by Lemony Snicket

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Finds (on Pinterest)

I love the idea of making little sets of flashcards that the kids can take
 home to practice before their fact tests. 
Love this storage idea.
This site has great posters and bookmarks to print out! 
I already made my set of posters. 
 I am a big fan of using bookmarks for Daily Five.

Daily 5 Resources
I have always loved Yahtzee!  I think my kids will love this game. 
I printed out the sheets to play this on Valentine's Day.
Just need to get more small wooden cubes at our local craft store and assemble.
(I made one set and I am using packing tape to cover the is time consuming)


My new obsession is OWLS!  They are everywhere. 
 I have a pin board just for them! 
Here is a cute valentine that I will use for my class.

Valentine Printable

This is my earring holder that my husband made for me. 
I have it hanging now and I love it!
Happy Pinning!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snow Many Snow Globes!

I love snow!!!!  (I really do)
We finally got our first storm of the year.

We began the month of January with the writing prompt, "If I Lived in a Snow Globe." I saw so many great examples of the craft (on Pinterest) and wanted to incorporate it with a writing lesson. 

We first brainstormed a list of what we should include in our prompts.
  • a great beginning
  • how I got in there 
  • sensory images
  • figurative language
  • feelings
  • what I would do in the snow globe
  • a great ending
The children were very excited and could not wait to start.  I had them use a four-square to organize their stories.  I conferenced with them and had them publish on a border snowflake paper.  I ran it through the copy machine to make it lined.

I used this pattern for the base
Pinned Image
I purchased clear plastic Chinet plates at Target.  I traced them to make a globe template.  The kids traced and cut them out on the blue poster board.  They added snow on the bottom and stamped the trees and snowflakes (stampin up).  They cut out their photos.  I had the kids put a handful of fake glitter snow on top in the middle.  I used a hot glue gun to attach the plate.  I found it was easier to hot glue after all pieces were attached to background paper.

Here are examples of the final products:

 My Little Snow Angel!!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday's Five Fabulous Finds (on Pinterest)

I am SOOOO addicted to Pinterest and spend a lot of time pinning ideas for my classroom and home.  I am to the point that I need some intervention!  I thought I would share my five favorite finds every Friday. 

Here is week one...a little late or very early...however you want to put it!  I will be back this Friday.  Click on images to get to Pins.

Freebie...great bulletin board or file folder activity for prefixes, suffixes and root words.

I am going to put this in my hall for February.  I will create a book challenge with the hearts.

I need to make this for before MCAS prep time and review problem-solving.

I just started math note booking this week....I LOVE IT!!!!  I was very inspired by this blog and purchased her note booking pages .  I was going to wait and start in September but decided that this will be a great way to review our fourth grade standards.  I will blog about this at a later date.
I love this mnemonic device to teach the steps of long division.   For this poster all I can say is....
"I'm lovin' it!" LOL!

Come back  Friday for my "Five Fabulous Finds!"

A Month of Mysteries- Part 2 Book Report

Please read my "A Month of Mysteries Part 1" for the unit kick-off.

I continued this genre by brainstorming books that are mysteries with my fourth graders.  I pulled out my mystery book collections and had way more than I thought.  Here are some of the series and books that I have in my library.  I keep the collections in bins that are labeled with the series and I have one bin for miscellaneous mysteries.

Here are some series that are popular in my class:
I showed the children their" Case Files" and they were so excited about their new book reports.  I wanted to model the project before sending it home so I chose the book "Who Stole the Wizard of Oz?" by Avi.  It  is a quick read aloud and has plenty of suspects and clues.  We completed the packet as a class.
The children were so excited to get started on their own "Case Files" so I had the kids pick out a "Just Right Mystery Book."  I allowed them to choose books from my classroom, the library or at home(they have to bring it in)  Once I approved their book selections,  I gave them their Case Files to take home.  When I assign a home project,  I always include a parent-sign off page. This helps with projects coming in on time. 
Here are samples of my Case Files. 

Click the image below to download your Case File Cover. 
Their photos fit perfectly on the sheet.

I got this idea from Beth Newingham's website.  Please visit her site for all down-loadable sheets.  They are posted under teacher resources.  She is an amazing teacher and has a lot of great resources!!!!

Case File Cover
Suspect List
Clue Clipboard
Case Report
Ingredients for a Mystery
The project is due at the end of the month and the children are going to be sharing as News Reporters and Detectives in an Interview Format.  I will video tape them and make a DVD for the kids.

Coming Soon...A Month of Mysteries Part 3- Writing

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Month of Mysteries- Part 1 Vocabulary

I have a mystery to solve...What happened to my super long post that I have been working on for several days?  I went to open it today and it vanished...a blank screen...UGGGHHH!!!  I am going to post this in three parts so I don't lose it again.
I am trying to get my class to read different genres this year and I decided to kick off the new year with a mystery unit.  I was never a fan of mysteries growing up, but we never had the selection that our kids have now...the choices that I had were Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys. 
 I did some research on the Internet for "Mystery Ideas" and was inspired by Beth Newingham's Blog. Go to teacher resources and it is listed under Reading Workshop, and then Reading Detectives.  She also has a unit "Exploring the Mystery Genre" on Scholastic.  I dressed the kids up as detectives and took some photos. (Lucky for me, I do costumes for our High School Drama Department and had a great trench coat and plenty of hats)

We started off the unit talking about vocabulary words that are in mysteries.  The children came up with a long list of words that we knew.  I created three folders labeled: nouns, verbs and adjectives.  I typed up their words and added some of my own.  I punched them out using one of my Stampin Up punches.  The next day, we sorted the words into the three categories and the children realized that many of the words could be used as different parts of speech.   A couple of examples were, caution,  spy and suspect.  I had the children then choose 2 nouns, a verb and an adjective to write a quotation for their speech bubble.  They are hanging on my "Get a Clue" bulletin board with their photos.  The font I used is called "Old Typewriter" in case you want to make your own lists.  Click the documents on the left below to download the sheets that I used.  The children are collecting new words as they read their independent books and putting them on sticky notes in the folders.  (I will type them up later)

Click for Printables

Here are some of my detectives and their quotes:

Part 2- Kicking off the Case File Book Report!
Coming Soon...