Sunday, January 17, 2016

Word study... and a FREEBIE!

Last year, I would consider myself anti-word-study. Don't get me wrong, I think every individual should be a perfect speller. However, the word study programs that my team did every year simply did not seem effective for my group of kids.

You may notice that the title of the post includes "upper elementary classroom." Third-grade can really go either way. Because my entire classroom is gifted, I tend to academically see them as upper elementary, and socially/emotionally see them still as primary.

 I have made a big change of heart this year. I think my biggest dislike toward word study was the amount of time it took me to make copies and organize all the different pages for the kids. In the end, the information learned never seemed to make up for the time commitment.

We continue to alternate between a week of word study, and a week of morphology (more about that here in this post... it is one of my favorite things we do in my third-grade classroom!).

HOW IT WORKS IN OUR ROOM

Here is our typical word study schedule:

  • Monday: Kids glue in their words to their agendas when they enter the room in the morning. Also, their literacy center activity is to put their words in alphabetical order.
  • Tuesday: Students pick three of their words to look up in the dictionary, using those vital guide word skills.
  • Wednesday: Rainbow words! Kids write their words twice in different colors
  • Thursday: This is a student choice center. Kids can look their words up in the thesaurus, or practice typing them in on the computer. 
  • Friday: Call students to the carpet for their quick quiz. I use the quiz as a literacy station. Kids that are not with me are independently reading or doing a reading comprehension & passage.

WHERE ARE THE WORDS FROM?
I use Words Their Way for my word study lists each week. Studies show that kids learn the words better when they are understanding the patterns behind the words. All my kids tested into the DC or SJ sections of the book. I have two DC groups in different parts of the book, and two SJ books. The majority of the spelling lists each week revolve around prefixes, roots, or suffixes. These groups do not need to sort their words because it would take about half a minute to sort words according to prefix! However, my lowest SJ group I sort their words with them, since they usually revolve around vowels and consonants.

Since my group's spelling words generally revolve around prefixes or suffixes, we skip the sorting. Each student glues their group's words into their agendas on Monday. It's nice having it in their agenda so that they can study a little bit each day, or look over the words. Plus all the kids take home their agendas daily, so no one forgets to take home their word study words for studying!


Interested in the word study packet FREEBIE? Check it out below and download for use in your classroom!





Saturday, January 2, 2016

Health!

Health is part of every aspect of our lives- dealing with coworkers, friends, students and family. Making nutritious choices. Working out (have you tried Pure Barre? It's my newest obsession and is life-changing). Grappling with disease and change all around us. Our own daily roller coaster of feelings. These are skills and information that we teach our students to help them in everyday life. A teacher wears so many hats throughout the day!



I think health is often pushed to the back burner in the classroom. Between math, reading, writing, social studies, science, assemblies, specials...the day is pretty full! Many districts do not have pre-written health lesson plans or easy access to health-related materials. Sometimes schools have resources, but they tend to not be the most fun or engaging for the kids. Unfortunately, vital health skills are often sidestepped because of how many ways that teachers are being pulled.

This health interactive notebook will not only make teaching health easier, but is fun and effective for students! If you can find 30 minutes a week in your schedule, you can make fit health into your schedule!






WHY TEACH HEALTH?
Health is more than teaching kids what is nutritious for their body, although of course it incorporates that as wel! Health education allows students to learn skills to make
health choices in their lives- from food to working out to social and emotional decisions to staying away from drugs and alcohol. While in elementary school, they are still at the malleable age that we want to begin giving them these skills that they will need to use and rely on the rest of their lives.


WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOK?
My health notebooks are divided into six different health sections: body systems, nutrition, drugs & alcohol, health & wellness, personal growth, and diversity. I know that many teachers may have
many materials and resources they love for some of these sections, but are in search of more resources for a different topic. For example, perhaps you have a big selection of nutrition resources, but are looking for a variety of information on social and emotional health. Due to this, I also offer each section separately, so you can custom pick which ones you need. However, the combined Health Interactive Notebook will save you $15, so definitely pick that if you need most of the sections!

What I love about my interactive notebooks is the differentiation included. Have no time one week but need the students to learn all about nutrition? Use the already-made answer key version and have kids highlight key words! Want students to write out personal responses in the social and emotional health section? Use the blank templates so that your students are not feeling stuck in a box for their responses! The fill-in-the-blank versions are also great for special education students or students who struggle with writing. I particularly like using the blank folding templates and flipbooks when I teach about personal growth. Personal growth includes sections on emotions, bullying, stress coping mechanisms, friendship, and personal reactions. Clearly there is no cookie-cutter or unison answers for feelings- everyone has their own. These answers and discussions will greatly differ with your students.



HOW CAN I INCORPORATE THIS NOTEBOOK INTO MY LESSONS?
For the lessons, I love doing a read aloud with the students, creating an anchor chart, discussing the topic, and then filling out the interactive notebook. Sometimes I will also find health videos on Learn360 or Discovery Education. For some reason, my students always LOVE health videos, even the ones that seem fairly cheesy. I think the kids connect and relate to the kids on the screen, and enjoy seeing other situations that may parallel something that is going on in their own life. BrainPop also has a fantastic health video section if your district has a membership (if they don't, bug your principal for a school membership! It is an incredible resource).











Check out all my health interactive notebooks below! The blue one that says "Health" is the all-inclusive notebook that saves you $15.