Thursday, August 29, 2013

Strategy for teaching Summarizing

Summarizing literature has always been a difficult concept for kids.  The problem is they usually want to write too much.  There are the few that totally miss the concept by naming a detail and leaving out the main elements needed to make a good summary.   I have been teaching the concept of Somebody.. wanted.. but ..then.. for awhile.  But--today it hit me.  We are constantly using our colored pencils for making notes on texts, our highlighters for main ideas and identifying context clues for vocabulary--  I decided that this would be no different.  I would assign each part a color. 


After reading the book Grumpy Gloria, We discussed that sometimes the narrator was a main character in the story.  We used the "formula" and wrote the summary.  After the summary was written, we highlighted each part-- (colored pencils) and labeled it.  

This worked like a charm!  I read the Book Alexander and the Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day-- and the kids helped me write a summary using the formula-- and we labeled it.  My plan is to read Tattle Tongue tomorrow-- and let the kids Write their own summary and label the parts.   Hopefully, as we continue to write summaries the rest of the year they won't forget important key components!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fluffy Trufias

The first day of school will be here before I know it, and my room is still a hot mess. I began unpacking my books and rearranged the classroom as much as I could, but I still have tons of boxes and tubs to unpack. 
Photo A  friend of mine had made a cute bulletin board  with tissue paper boarder and some fluffy tissue paper balls (they looked like DR. Seuss's Trufias!) purchased from Party City.  After looking at the balls, I realized I could make them easily. 

1) take about 10 pieces of tissue paper stacked on top of one another (any color)  and fold them like a fan- about 2 inches.  Use a thin ribbon or piece of yarn to tie around the middle and cut the ends into a point. 

Photo 2) Very carefully begin separating the tissue paper .  Be careful as it will rip easily. 

Photo More........

Photo  and the final product.....

Photo I love these!  I can do them multiple colors and I may even figure out a way for students to do them for a Dr. Seuss Bulletin Board or for Mother's Day flowers.... Oh the possibilities. For right now, they will be pretty accents in my room. Rule number one on the first day of school?  No jumping up and hitting my fluffy Trufias.

Friday, August 2, 2013


I am linking with Oh Boy Fourth Grade to do a "currently." As learn more about the world of blogging and trying to link, add photos and set my circles, I am constantly making mistakes.  Good thing I don't have a great big following group that will point out all my big errors.  So here it goes.  If this works, I will be able to post the pic and ad text to it.  So here it goes....


ummmm yeah, got the pic, but can't figure out how to add the text-- so
Currently I am:
Listening: to "Animaniacs" in the background as my daughter is ooooing and awing over a build-a-bear Magazine.
Loving: that my boys and Husband will be home tonight from a youth retreat in Panama City Florida.
Wanting: my classroom to be finished....magically.
Needing: a maid to clean my house-- because apparently the cleaning fairies are on vacation or on strike-- or maybe an inservice on how to do cool stuff on my blog....
Must haves: 1) a cart on wheels with drawers to hold supplies
                      2) My donors Choose project to be funded: "Kindling a fire for Reading"
                      3) a new area rug in my room

Well, off to hit the school sales and No TAX Weekend for my own kids and students!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

A friend of mine posted on facebook-- "Happy New Year to all my teacher friends."  As I thought about this-- she is right.  Although we aren't celebrating with horns, champagne, fireworks and the Times Square Ball coming down at midnight-- it is OUR New Year.  New students, new school supplies, some of us new grade levels or subjects-- and ha! New CCSS!  (Well, for some of us they are new.) It is the time of year to start fresh.  Try new ideas rearrange the furniture in a new way, and start the new school year with a fresh outlook.  I love the new year. So...

New things I am going to do this year--

  • teach just ELA/SS
  • Have students keep a data notebook
  • learn and teach the ELA CCSS
  • facilitate Student led conferences
  • Be more effective with my individual student conferencing- 

As I look at this short list I am already overwhelmed.  I have a suspicion that some of this will grow to be bigger than I'm if I am not careful.... What will be new for you?......