Top Teaching > 93 posts categorized "Projects"

Start the Year With Super-Easy, Tech-Savvy, Six-Word Memoirs

Second graders shoot their digital six-word memoirs!How do you get the Twitter generation to write a memoir? Start with Hemingway and six words. Novelist Ernest Hemingway didn't tweet or text, of course, but he's inspiring students to write and share their life stories online. Reportedly challenged to write a story in just six words, Hemingway wrote: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." True or not, this legend lives on thanks to SMITH Magazine, home of the Six-Word Memoir project and a series of books, starting with Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith's Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

You can use this pithy form of the memoir to get students to speak with confidence and build community, and to quickly set expectations for digital projects throughout the year. Read on for a short video excerpt and to scroll through a few of my students' favorite six-word memoirs dealing with issues ranging from divorce and death to self-image.

Above: Isaac, a 2nd grade director, and Emma, a 2nd grade cinematographer, shoot their six-word memoirs.

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Comments: 3

Rethinking Motivation for 2011–2012 School Year — Thanks, Daniel Pink! Part One

Icebreakersk5 “The ultimate freedom for creative groups is the freedom to experiment with new ideas. Some skeptics insist that innovation is expensive. In the long run, innovation is cheap. Mediocrity is expensive — and autonomy can be the antidote.”

—Tom Kelley, General Manager, IDEO

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Comments: 2

No Money, No Time? No Problem! Five Fabulous Ways to Integrate Technology!


This kind of technology is a laughing matter!This fall, I will be teaching 280 tech-hungry students in a building without interactive whiteboards, limited electrical power, limited Internet access and just 10 Apple computers. Nonetheless, my students will learn to safely navigate the wild, wild Web; produce digital products (e.g. blogs, movies, podcasts) and take control of 21st-century communication tools such as Skype and Twitter. Read on for five fabulous quick fixes for teaching 21st-century skills in a low-tech classroom.  

My colleague laughs at the equipment in our new "technology" room! 

 

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Welcome Aboard! Decorating with a Classroom Theme

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Bon voyage! This school year we are setting sail with our year-long theme, “Cruising Through Kindergarten.” Read more and climb aboard our classroom ship for a fun-filled cruise through the school year. You can see some of our classroom theme decorations, bulletin boards, and future learning activities. In this post, you can also get a sneak peek at some future blog posts on my Top Teaching kindergarten and early childhood blog. Welcome aboard, matey!

 

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Comments: 63

Planning a Productive Summer for You and Your Students

IMG_4263 As a teacher, I am fully aware of the summer reading decline that affects so many students. In his article "Bridging the Summer Reading Gap," Richard Allington states, "Regardless of other activities, the best predictor of summer loss or summer gain is whether or not a child reads during the summer." In this post I will share the ways I encourage my students to reflect on the year's reading achievements and then to use their reflections as motivation to continue reading over the summer.   

But this post is not just about students. Teachers need motivation too!  Every year there are things that I want to change in my classroom or ways that I want to alter my curriculum. The summer is the perfect time to reenergize and make concrete plans for next year. In this post I will offer specific tips and suggestions for making this your most productive summer yet! 

 

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Comments: 4

Gain a New Perspective on Teaching and Learning — Study Abroad This Summer!

PlaneLast week we looked at how we can help students make great summer reading plans. This week it’s all about YOUR plans for the summer. Are you signed up to teach summer school? Or will you take some time off to relax and recharge? Perhaps you’re going to do something really meaningful and volunteer. Or maybe you’re looking to learn a new language and explore a foreign country? I've got a few ideas that include many of these possibilities. Get your bags packed and your passports stamped to study and volunteer abroad!

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Comments: 7

Your Kids Can Do It: Quick, Free, and Easy Stop-Motion Videos

Stop_legoToday is not only my last day of teaching, but also my last day posting on Top Teaching for this school year. For my last post, I would like to share a fun classroom activity. As our year wrapped up, my students took some time to become more familiar with stop-motion animation. Using a free program, we were able to create stop-motion videos from start to finish in fewer than thirty minutes — and jazzed-up versions in less than an hour. With videos featuring Mother's Day messages, Harry Potter in LEGOs, and a demonstration of a llama's digestive system, this post will help wrap up the year in a fun and engaging manner. 

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Comments: 4

How to Throw a Fabulous Year-End Celebration

P1020895Have you ever seen a 3rd grader accept an award for an Excel spreadsheet as though it were an Oscar? Have you seen a 5th grader pose on the red carpet for their first animated film? If not . . . the time is now. The next Bill Gates or George Lucas could be tinkering away in your tech class. Accomplishments in technology class should be widely acknowledged and celebrated by school staff, parents, and peers. When you celebrate potential, students are encouraged to mobilize technology, make their voices heard, and/or discover new worlds.

Read on to see how project-based learning takes center stage at a multimedia tech celebration and to discover for tips on throwing an over-the-top kid party that will rival the Oscars. 

The cast of "Stop Smoking!" poses for the paparazzi after receiving the 2010 Techie Award for Best Social Issue Cinema.

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Comments: 1

Saying Goodbye

BusWaveBye2TH[1] Over the years I’ve noticed that things tend to fall apart, socially speaking, at the end of the school year. Maybe you’ve noticed this phenomenon, too. This social disintegration is marked by short tempers, unkind words, and increased sensitivity and rejection. Rejection is one way students separate from and prepare to leave their classmates. We’re all exhausted and ready for a break, but it’s up to us to ensure that all students feel safe and accepted through the last day of school.

Here are several suggestions for helping students transition peacefully to summer vacation and to their next grade.

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Comments: 6

Host a Reality Fair

 
Reality_main
Your school probably hosts a Career Day each year, but what about a Reality Fair? If you haven't heard of this before, it's a wonderful addition for grades 5 and above. I have never seen any other event hit home like this does with regard to selecting a profession and trying to work with a budget. Read on to see how our fantastic school counselor organized and created our Reality Fair to give our students a taste of reality. This could be a wonderful addition to your scheduled school events next year.

Photo: Students meet with a university advisor about college costs and entrance requirements.

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Comments: 2

Redwall Day!

IMG_6858On the first day of school, eager 2nd graders ask, "Are we reading Redwall this year?" and beg, “When can we start Redwall?"

Throughout the year, my students continually bring up Redwall by Brian Jacques (pronounced Jakes). I explain they'll need to build listening stamina for long books before we can read Redwall. I want to give my students most of the year to mature. From past experience, I know Redwall will work best with 2nd graders who have become strong listeners and thinkers. I usually start this read-aloud in mid-March, hoping to complete the 300+ page book by the end of the school year. More than just a book, Redwall Day has become part of 2nd grade mythology.

Read on to find out about this book and  celebrating Redwall Day.

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Comments: 3

Finish Off the Year With Amazing Summer Reading Plans

CamilaplansWow! It’s hard to believe that it’s just about time to wrap up the year with summer reading plans. You've taught your students a ton of reading strategies this year and showed them what it means to be a good reader. You'll want to ensure that they keep up their reading stamina by making summer reading plans. With your help, they'll be excited to grab a new book along with their snacks and sunscreen and hit the beach. Let the summer reading plans begin!

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Comments: 4

Technology and the Great Outdoors

Bronx New Schoolers explore the great outdoors with digital field guides! This summer, rather than venture outside, many students will succumb to television-induced comas or play an endless series of video games. Research shows that today's students spend almost eight hours a day looking at some sort of digital media indoors. Author and naturalist Richard Louv says that kids today spend half as much time outdoors as they did twenty years ago! Louv calls the phenomenon "nature deficit disorder."

But contrary to what many critics are hollering, technology doesn’t have to be Mother Nature's enemy. In fact, technology may be her best PR person! Educators have used technology to make social studies exciting, to bring vocabulary to life, and to virtually eliminate school absenteeism. Now read about four fabulous ways technology can get your students outside and get them moving.

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Comments: 14

The Power of a Student-Made Magazine

Magazine_mixThis week we begin the publication cycle for our class memoirs. It's always a delight to see the finished products, and students love to receive a copy of their writing, published along with that of their peers. I enjoy using resources such as Studentreasures for publication, but there are other great resources that can take the look of your students' writing to a whole new level. In this post I'll share some of these resources — and the power of creating high-quality classroom magazines — with you. 

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Comments: 14

Planning for Next Year — Hogwarts' Houses

Hogwarts%202[1] Right now we’re immersed in state tests that will run through the end of May, leaving just enough time for field days, class plays, and an all-school meeting before students board their buses for the last time. Many of us are thinking ahead to next year as we discuss class lists, consider groupings, and receive room assignments. Some of us will move to a new grade or school.

So now seems like an ideal time to share an idea about setting up small groups for next year. Keep reading to find out more. . . .

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Comments: 5

How to Make a Music Video in Five Simple Steps

Dominique and her mentor, cinematographer and parent A. Carlton, shoot a music video. Do the names Willow Smith, Selena Gomez, or Justin Bieber pop up in class discussions? Are the folders or book bags in your school plastered with images of singing/dancing Disney and Nickelodeon stars? If so, you are not alone. Today's students have been raised on a streaming media diet of MTV, BET, and other channels that promote prepubescent superstars. American Idol and overnight YouTube sensations like Justin Bieber plant dreams of stardom in young minds. Thus, it is inevitable that students will ask, “Can we make a music video?”

Use that curiosity and taste for fame to unlock hidden talent, skyrocket self-esteem, and discover the work involved in producing a music video. Read on to view videos produced by a group of talented Bronx youngsters and to note helpful tricks for moving students from passive media consumers to critical, powerful music video producers.

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Comments: 3

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

MEXC0001[1] Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, is a Mexican-American holiday celebrated in the southwestern states and in U.S. cities with large Mexican-American populations. It's a much bigger holiday in the United States than in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo commemorates a surprise victory of the Mexican Army led by Benito Juárez over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Sometimes we confuse this special day with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated throughout Mexico on September 16.

Read on for easy ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at your school.

 

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Comments: 25

My April Top Ten List: Going Green at School

  
FourthWhile it's certainly worthwhile to use Earth Day to help students understand the importance of “going green,” it’s also crucial to encourage students to be environmentally conscious throughout the year. In this post, I will share a variety of projects and activities that my own school has implemented to become an official “green school” in Michigan. I hope you can use these ideas to help your school go green, but I am also looking forward to reading your comments and seeing how schools around the world are helping to save our planet.   

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A Visit to Bronx Arts

P4130042 This week I visited Bronx Charter School for the Arts in Hunts Point, a Bronx, NY, neighborhood. I was there to attend their Arts Education Conference, which coincided with the school's Arts Week. During our visit, the other conference attendees and I got to see the arts in action.

In this post, read about a few of the discoveries I made at the Arts Education Conference that might interest you, whether you're an arts educator or a classroom teacher. I’ve also included links so you can find out more. 

Photo: Art gallery with aboriginal-style paintings.

 

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Comments: 6

Celebrate Earth Day by Teaching Kids to Make a Difference

DontlitterposterAs we approach Earth Day, this Friday, April 22nd, join me in educating students on the impact we have on our environment with a Promethean flip chart and some powerful photographs of animals in trouble. And get your markers and crayons ready so your students can create posters that will educate others about why we all need to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Hooray for Earth Day! 

(I must warn you. Some of the images in this post are heartbreaking and difficult to look at.)

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Comments: 8

Gifted and Talented Students — Don't Let Them Fall Short of Their Potential!

Gifted  Because of NCLB and initiatives like First to the Top, there is a heavy focus on raising standardized test scores. And with this focus, much of our funds, energy, and time are directed at our lowest performing students, often ELL and low socioeconomic students. So, what happens to our very brightest students, the ones with the most potential? Or, to put it a better way, what would our very brightest students look like if they became the primary focus? With one in five high school dropouts testing in the gifted range, and only two cents of every 100 federal education dollars aimed at the gifted, I can't help but worry that we are leaving out an entire population. The truth is, we often deny students the opportunity to reach their full potential. Read on to see how you can help make a change.

Image: Did you know that gifted programming and funding is not mandated in many states? How does your state rank on gifted rights and opportunities? Find out with the interactive version of the map above at DavidsonGifted.org. Copyright © 2011 Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

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Comments: 11

Overcoming Spring Slump

Gardenpartnership[1] Every April, with the end of the school year looming like a black storm cloud, I experience a feeling of letdown and quiet panic. I suddenly realize all the wonderful plans and ideas I had last September aren’t going to happen because I’m running out of time. The challenging student I wanted to reach, the science unit I promised myself I’d improve, and those math games I was going to make: all will have to wait until next year. There just isn’t time.

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling overwhelmed with the end of the year in sight. Over the years I’ve worked out ways of coping with Spring Slump. If, like me, you tend to experience end-of-year blues, I hope these coping mechanisms will help. Read the strategies in this post, and write in with your own ideas and solutions.

Photo: Spending time outdoors helps.

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Comments: 14

Writing List Poems That Are Better Than OK

JustinbahbinokbookFor the second week of Poetry Month, I’ve got a plan for creating list poems that will allow your students to showcase their creativity as well as the qualities that make them unique. This week's activities involve writing, editing, revising, publishing, and some watercolor painting, so get ready for a busy classroom filled with lots of fun. With the help of one of my favorite authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, we’ll get our writers creating poems that are "better than OK”! 

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Comments: 4

April Book Picks!

SpringbooksApril is finally here! We’ve had a cold and snowy winter in NYC, so we are welcoming the spring weather with open arms — April showers and all.

This month’s booklist will help you explore all this month has to offer. We’ll kick off Poetry Month and plan Earth Day activities. Did you know that April is also National Humor Month? Many of my picks will keep your students laughing right along with you. Click on the links to find out more about the authors and illustrators featured this month, and be sure to grab some free resources from their sites. Happy spring! 

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Behind the Scenes, Part 5 — Editing and Publishing Your Movie

IMG_0739“Edit and revise.” Do these words make your students cringe during writing time? Giving your students the opportunity to edit a movie is an exciting and relevant way to teach students the importance of these writing steps. Read on to see how even kindergartners can edit their movie and translate this important understanding to their writing.

 

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Digital Poetry — Make Words Zoom and Fly Across the Room!

Bronx New Schoolers recite "Sugar Cookies" by Dominique and Sharlene.All you need is a computer, projector, and an Internet connection to give students the power to make their words larger than life. Digital poetry can turn a typical school poetry slam into a multimedia event. Read on to captivate the most tech-savvy wordsmiths, grab links for your interactive whiteboard, and partake in some 21st century word play.

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The Celebration of Teaching & Learning — Dr. Oz and Much, Much More!

InspiringLast week I had the opportunity to attend the 6th annual Celebration of Teaching & Learning in New York City. There were over 150 exhibits to explore and many workshops to attend. Some of the world's best thinkers and practitioners spoke, and educators joined together to gather ideas and resources to use in their classrooms. It was an incredible experience, and I truly wish I could have taken you all there with me!

Check out the wonderful organizations, incredible speakers, cool sites, and innovative resources that stood out on this very busy day.

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Behind the Scenes, Part 4 — Filming Your Movie

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Lights, Camera, ACTION! You’re ready to start filming! This is an exciting time, especially for the students, but there is still a lot of important learning and planning at this stage. Read more and find out how you can prepare your students to film your class movie in a smooth and successful way.

 

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Comments: 8

Five Ways to Make Standardized Test Prep Engaging

TestprepWith state testing quickly approaching, my grade level decided to try out some new ways to review content across the curriculum. One idea that has received rave reviews from both students and parents is our weekly TCAPalon competitions. "TCAPalon" — a play on our state test's name and "triathlon" — allows our classes to compete academically with each other while receiving quality review instruction. Read on to learn how to turn standardized test prep into a team event, and to read about some tried and true test review methods. 

Photo: Students learn how to review using the "Great BamBunyi" method.


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Comments: 10

Working Together and Using Technology to Understand What Is Happening in Japan

JapanbeforeandafterDevastating videos, images, and stories are coming out of Japan. Educators are looking for just the right way to teach students about the earthquake and tsunami as well as the growing concerns about the nuclear reactors. We know that covering current events through activities that incorporate listening, speaking, reading, and writing can increase literacy skills in the classroom. But how do we use online resources to tackle difficult topics with sensitivity and heart?

This week I'll share my experiences working with a 3rd grade class to study the events in Japan. Check out images from my flipchart, click on links to online resources, and download activity sheets that will have your students collaborating in groups and using technology to understand the effects of the earthquake and tsunami on the people in Japan.

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Behind the Scenes, Part 3 — Writing the Script and Storyboarding

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Have you ever seen extremely motivated student writers? The opportunity to bring their writing to life on the big screen is highly engaging and meaningful for students. Read on to learn how my kindergartners wrote the script for our class movie, with attention to "showing" and "telling" writing, and how we storyboarded it out to assist us in the next step — filming our movie.

 

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Comments: 4

Conducting Interviews to Honor the Amazing Women in Our Lives

BulletinboardwomenshistoryinterviewsIt's mid-March, and our Women's History Month celebrations are in full swing. "March Book Picks!" had us researching big names in history as well as reading books by spectacular authors. This week we'll give students the opportunity to honor the incredible women in their own lives.

Whether they've been inspired by their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, or teachers, this is the time for your students to share the stories of the great women in their lives. In this project, we'll create questions for our interviews and ask these special ladies to give us advice based on their personal experiences. Click on my downloadable templates to get your budding journalists started on an important interview.

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Behind the Scenes, Part 2 — Creating a Rubric

IMG_0672 
 “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” This is a common saying about how the acquisition of knowledge is empowering.

One way to empower students is to involve them in the process of analyzing their learning and evaluating their work. When they do, true learning takes place, way beyond the intended curriculum. READ ON to see how you can create rubrics with your students to evaluate student-created videos, writing, or other projects. Included are two examples of rubrics my kindergarten students made to evaluate their digital photo story and our class movie.

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Comments: 2

Behind the Scenes, Part 1 — Finding a Topic

IMG_0646Are you interested in creating movies with your students, but not sure where to begin? Do you feel as though you don't have time to create movies with all the curriculum and standards that you need to cover? Take a look at this first post in a series about filmmaking with students. In this series, I will walk you through the process of creating a movie with your class so you feel confident in creating student films.

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Comments: 2

Teaching Moon Phases

AddiMoon phases seem to be taught across the grade levels. My son is in 2nd grade and recently completed a study, which included keeping a moon phase log each evening and creating moon phases using Oreo cookies. As I have taught grades 2–6, I dedicate this post to the various ways you can teach moon phases in the classroom. This includes my FAVORITE activity, building a moon phase transporter, as well as some great music resources and videos (four videos, to be exact).


 

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Comments: 2

Ready . . . Set . . . Revolution 2.0 Reporters!


Revolution 2.0 Reporters! My 5th grade students must document a pressing social issue (e.g., bullying, sexism, racism, smoking) using Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. For their attempts to change the world through short movies, Microsoft awarded us $10,000. The most difficult aspect of this lesson was not in writing, shooting, or editing, but in helping kids realize their power to sway opinion and prompt positive action. Weeks later, they realized their ability to influence, impact, and organize a community for positive change, to stand up for their rights, to start a movement or even overthrow a tyrant! This lesson was priceless. 

Whether students are buzzing about the myriad protests around the world, American patriots in history class, heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, or teacher rallies in Wisconsin, provide them with ample time and tools to investigate how ordinary people have prevailed in times of upheaval. If you've got a Mac computer and two 40 minute periods, you can EASILY create iReports of protests around the world. iReports force students to condense their retell of confusing world events into coherent 60 second sound bites. Read on for three steps for using simple technology to thoroughly digest and retell these stories of revolution.

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10 Questions for Diane Johnson, Iditarod Dir. of Education


Diane Johnson Since 2005 Diane Johnson has been Director of Education for http://iditarod.com.
Even though it’s her busiest time of the year, Diane graciously answered questions about the Iditarod and her role on the web site.  She talked about teaching the Iditarod, and teaching in general.

Read interview with Diane...

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Comments: 2

March Is Women's History Month! Celebrate With Art, Literature and Ruby Bridges

ArttiashaMake the transition from Black History Month to Women’s History Month smooth by revisiting your lessons on Ruby Bridges to learn more about her courage, strength, and impact on education at such a young age. With the teachings from last month set as the groundwork for this lesson, ask your students to step into Ruby's shoes as they paint a scene from her life and give her a voice. Get out the watercolor paints and celebrate this great woman in history!

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Comments: 10

Filmmaking — Stop-Motion to Bring Curriculum to Life

IMG_0652Stop-motion has long been used to entertain children and adults on television and in the movies. Think back to Gumby or the cute Christmas specials, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and The Year Without a Santa Claus. All of those were done by using the stop-motion technique of filming. This year my kindergarten class has been interested in stop-motion. We are currently in the process of creating a stop-motion movie to learn about plants using candy. Click to read more about stop-motion and see some student examples of how this exciting filmmaking technique can be used in the classroom.

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Comments: 53

My January Top Ten List: Writing Lessons and Resources

OliviaWriting Workshop is something my students can count on nearly every day. It is a time when they can develop important ideas and relive small, memorable moments from their lives. It is also a time when there are not a lot of rules, as writing is the most open-ended subject I teach. While my students are asked to write within a specific genre, the freedom to express themselves in their own creative way is often liberating. However, there are always those students who find it difficult to perform when they are not given prescribed directions and are instead asked to come up with ideas on their own. This month’s top ten list includes a variety of writing lessons and resources that will challenge your top writers and motivate your reluctant writers as well.

READ ON to find creative mini-lessons, useful printables and posters, interactive whiteboard resources, ideas for incorporating technology into your Writing Workshop, and links to cool Web sites where students can publish their work and receive tips from published authors.

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The Powerful Pull of Sled Dogs!

4-Husky[1] Not surprisingly, many students are drawn to the Iditarod and become avid Idita-fans because of their interest in sled dogs. Children love animals, and dogs that are born to run are captivating!

This week I’m blogging about the true heroes and athletes of the Iditarod, sled dogs. I’ll share an Adopt-a-Dog Journal, an idea sent in by an Alaska teacher, and explain the Idita-harness, a kinesthetic experience you'll want to share with your students.

Read on to find out more . . .

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Comments: 12

Inspire Families to Read Together — Host a Pajama Party!

YasminsfamilyChildren love being read to, especially right before bedtime. There’s something really special about cuddling up in bed under the covers with a great book. Why not motivate your students to read by creating a class celebration that promotes literacy? Read Across America Day on March 2nd is the perfect date to invite families into your classroom for a reading celebration. Take a look at photos from the last pajama party at my school, and read about sure ways to make your party a hit. Grab a comfortable pair of pj's, and let the reading begin!

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Comments: 9

Finding THE MEssage: Grasping Themes in Literature

IMG_2230With state testing fast approaching, I have found myself carefully analyzing our benchmark assessments for instructional focus. One of our identified areas to address includes identifying the theme of a passage. Being new to the grade level, I wasn't sure if this went beyond my familiar 3rd grade goal of understanding a fable. After some work and research, I'm ready to share how you can teach theme in the upper grades. This post includes SMART Notebook files (also in PDF form), a project idea, and printable graphic organizers and posters.

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Comments: 8

Iditarod Excitement Is Building!

Images[5]Every spring my group of excited 2nd graders and their enthusiastic parents prepare for the Iditarod, a 1,100 mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. There’s so much I want to share with you about the Iditarod and what we study and learn that I’m planning to write several posts about the race.

For ten years I've studied the Iditarod with my class as a way to teach standards for media literacy, language arts, and character education. Students learn how to navigate a complex Web site independently and follow links under my supervision. Students write musher profiles and sled dog poetry. Everyone picks a musher to root for and follow for the duration of the race. They graph Alaska’s daily temperature and wind speed and compare Alaska's weather to our own. As students follow mushers’ progress, they learn about perseverance, practice, courage, and hard work. They sing, dance, and shout about the Iditarod. Students even pull one another around the gym on carpet-square "sleds"!

Read on to find out more. . . .   

 

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Planning for Read Across America Day!

Julia Read Across America Day, March 2 (Dr. Seuss's birthday), is less than a month away, so now's a good time to start planning. In researching Read Across America Day I discovered wonderful ideas from dozens of creative teachers and numerous activities, printables, and certificates. Knowing how busy you are, I’ve gathered a bunch of the best resources below, to help you as you plan.

Read on to discover these resources and find out how my class celebrates Read Across America Day.

 

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Comments: 8

A Valentine for Savannah — Hope Is an Open Heart

HopeWith Valentine's Day approaching, we are all making plans to create heart-shaped cards, write thoughtful poems, and teach our students to send messages of love to friends and family. Before the glitter dries, I'm hoping to inspire all of you to send an extra special valentine to an amazing girl named Savannah who is fighting hard to beat a rare type of cancer. Click on the links below to find out more about her as you gather resources to help teach your students about love, understanding, and hope this Valentine's Day.

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2-D, 3-D, and Beyond: Developing Geometric Thinking and Spatial Sense

3d_1If you are responsible for teaching students about moving from 2-D to 3-D and 3-D to 2-D, and creating and understanding nets, surface area, and/or volume, then I have THE lesson for you. Read on to learn how you can quickly help your students master 2-D, 3-D, and beyond! 

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Comments: 2

Beat the Clock — Capturing Stories of the American Civil Rights Movement

Our First Civil Rights Interview! The majority of American students do not fully grasp the historical significance of Barack Obama's presidency. How could they? No history text accurately and vividly reveals the pain, power, individual sacrifice, and wisdom of the civil rights movement.

But with today's technology, any student can get firsthand accounts of the movement from local heroes and share those inspirational stories with thousands . . . online. Read on to see how you can help kids capture eyewitness accounts of one of the greatest and most provocative movements in American history. 

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Comments: 4

William Steig Author Study

Theamazingbone[1] When I was a kid, I loved William Steig’s cartoons and covers for the The New Yorker. Much later my own children loved Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and The Amazing Bone, books I read to them dozens of times.

Because I love Steig as an illustrator and author, I read his books with my class. Steig’s stories capture the imaginations of 2nd through 5th graders, who are old enough to appreciate his daffy sense of humor and rich use of language, but young enough to still get drawn into the fantasy adventures.

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Comments: 4

Give Your Students a Voice With VoiceThread

Voocethread 

VoiceThread is a Web 2.0 tool for online group conversation, collaboration, and sharing, and it's sure to be a winner in the classroom. This tool is great whether it is used with one computer or many, with advanced students or English language learners. Although I've used VoiceThread for about four years, I continue to come up with new ways to incorporate it into my classroom to enhance or assist with instruction. Come take a look at an example of a VoiceThread created by my kindergarten class and at a video sharing ways I use this tool in my classroom. Plus, get authentic practice by participating in a VoiceThread right here on our blog!

 

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