Thursday, January 31, 2013

101 Ways to Make Book Reports Fun!

I am so excited to announce the completion of 101 Ways to Make Book Reports Fun!

     Why make book reports fun?
Research consistently shows that children learn more when they are actively engaged in the learning process and having fun. These activities tap into children's interests: drama, art, music, reading, writing, and more! 

Who are these activities designed for?
These activities are created for children in grades 2-8. Assignments could be modified to meet the needs of slightly older or younger students.

Many of the activities contain a particular focus: character, setting, sequencing, theme, drama, creative writing, music, persuasion, poetry, and more. While students should not be required to do a book report with every book they read, periodically requiring students to select assignments from different categories will help to deepen their literary experience.

Can I use them with my current curriculum?
These activities are designed for use with any classroom or homeschool curriculum, with a single student or an entire classroom. Most choices may be done independently; some are best done with a partner or in a group.  Activities speak to a wide variety of learning styles, including those that incorporate movement. They are also cross-curricular and include reading, writing, speaking, music, drama, and art. The activities also allow kids to share the joy of reading with other important people in their lives. 

You will have THREE options on how to use this product.

Option 1:
Create a book by stapling it or adding it to a three ring binder. Keep it near your lesson plans or your child's study area to use as a reference.
Option 2:
Print on cardstock and cut out the cards. Add them to a recipe box or a similar storage container. Your child can independently choose the activities he is interested in OR you can use the box yourself to file the activities you have completed with your students. Just add the cards you have completed to the back section.
Option 3:
Print this document (included in the pdf) on cardstock and cut out the cards. Punch a hole in the upper left corner of the cards, and add a key ring to create a flip-book. This will keep the activities organized while flipping through the cards to choose activities to complete.

      Enjoy making book reports FUN!

This is the second release in the Making Learning Fun series. Information about the first book in the series, 101 Ways to Make Spelling Fun by Tamara Chilver, is available on her blog, Teaching with TLC. Additional titles in the series will be available soon.

This product is available from Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Math Monday Blog Hop #84 (Jan. 28, 2013)

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Kids Create Subitizing Cards

My sweet kinders love to subitize. In case you're unfamiliar with subitizing, look at some of my past blog posts. Basically, we're working on developing number sense through instant recognition of quantities. I downloaded a free set of subitizing cards that have a variety of dot combinations. For example, if I flash them (just for a moment) this card:

...and ask them "how many?" they may say "7, because I saw a 4 and a 3 and that makes 7." Or they might say "I saw a 2 and a 2 and a 3 and I counted them [in my head] and that makes 7."

Today we switched things up a bit. Imagine their delight when I told them they were going to make their own subitizing cards! Here's how:

1. I gave each child a 5"x8" index card with a line penciled lightly down the center. I asked them to find the LEFT side. A student suggested that they lay a Cuisenaire Rod on that side to help them remember. 
    2. I told them that they were going to make quantities with dot stickers. (Dot markers would also have been fabulous.)

    • Use two colors.
    • Build any number from 4-7 (later I added 8.)
    They then placed dots on the left side of their index cards.
      3. Each child practiced writing his number on an individual whiteboard and showed me before writing the number on the right hand side of the card in his BEST handwriting. (This prevented a few backward numbers and a few dot miscounts.)

      4. When the cards were done, we tried flashing their cards to a grandma who came to pick up her grandson. The kids were SO PROUD when they flashed the dots on the left and Grandma was able to figure out the number, hidden on the right side of their cards! We'll continue to use the kid-produced cards, making more with higher quantities.

      This was a huge success for us! Hope you enjoy it. (I'd love to hear about how it goes with your kids!)

      Monday, January 21, 2013

      Math Monday Blog Hop #83 (Jan. 21, 2013)

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      Friday, January 18, 2013

      Free Game Teaches Parallel & Perpendicular

      Have you ever played the "dot" game? My kids play it sometimes. You start with dot paper, and take turns making lines to create little boxes. For every box captured, you score a point.

      Today we played a similar game from the Math Learning Center, "Dots & Lines," that gives kids opportunity to explore the terms parallel & perpendicular. Players take turns spinning either perpendicular or parallel lines to indicate the direction in which to place their rubberbands. As squares are made, they are captured with game markers. You'll find it here, under Geometry, Supplement C1 Parallel, Perpendicular & Intersecting.

      By the time we were done, my student thoroughly understood parallel & perpendicular. And we had a great time in the process. Enjoy!


      Wednesday, January 16, 2013

      Do You Repeat, Repeat, Repeat Yourself?

      Has this ever happened to you?
      Teacher: Turn to page 31.
      [As the last word falls from her mouth, she is interrupted by...]
      Student: What page are we supposed to be on?


      Teacher: Put your name in the upper right hand...
      Student: Should we put our name on our paper?

      Who is working harder in your classroom? You or your students? Think about directions. Who works harder? Do you work harder to explain (repeating yourself over and over and over) or do they work harder to listen?

      If you are a classroom or homeschool teacher and find yourself repeating-repeating-repeating yourself, here's an idea that I'll call "Take 3: Ask 3 Before Me." The idea? After you've given a direction or answered a question, you do not repeat yourself until a student can prove that she has asked at least 3 other people for the information. It looks like this:

      Teacher: Take out your math books.
      Student: What are we supposed to be doing?
      Teacher: Take 3. [Alternately, the teacher puts up 3 fingers or points to a visual cue on the wall and moves on.]

      The student then finds 3 other people to ask. In order to return to the teacher with the same question, she must list the names of the 3 people she asked. Not surprisingly, this rarely happens!

      A modified version can be very effective in the homeschool setting. "Take 3" means that the student sets the timer for 3 minutes, working at a task for mom (emptying dishwasher, folding laundry), all while trying to remember what the teacher said. At the end of the 3 minutes, if the child still doesn't remember, Mom is able to repeat a direction because the child has worked to replenish the energy that Mom will use to repeat herself.

      Grab the free posters in my TPT store.  Like what you see? Some TPT feedback would make my day!


      Monday, January 14, 2013

      Math Monday Blog Hop #82 (Jan. 14, 2013)

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      Wednesday, January 9, 2013

      Facebook...and Snowing Angles

      I'd LOVE to have you join me on my new Facebook page.  I'll be sharing links, photos, videos...quick, fun ideas for teaching and learning.

      Today, I'm sharing a link to a fantastic follow-up on Human Angles.  We're measuring snow angles* since we still have no snow!

      If you appreciate new teaching ideas, consider "liking" my new Facebook page. Thank you!!! :)

      P.S. On my Facebook page I'll also be occasionally asking for volunteers to proof-read or test lessons in development!

      *Photo captures student working on a free worksheet from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational. 

      Tuesday, January 8, 2013

      Teaching Position (Geometry in Kinder)

      So is it weird that I think teaching position, a la CCSS:
      CCSS.Math.Content.K.G.A.1 Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to. the funnest thing ever??? I've been feeling a tad obsessed about my "position" collection. I'd love to share it as you consider ways to make this geometry concept fun!

      Student Print Resources

      Where is the Shape?
      After discussing posters depicting shapes (and cats!) in positions relative to a table, students make their own little position books. I'd love feedback on this! Please drop me a comment if you use it. :)

      Gingerbread Man Under and Over
      A cute printable considers the concept of under/over with a gingerbread man and 8 common items.

      Teddy Bear and Box Calendar Markers
      This calendar pattern set from The Math Learning Center explores positional words throughout an entire month using a box and teddy bear.

      Books to Explore Position

      All About Where (Tana Hoban)
      Like other Hoban books, this features a variety of photographed scenes.  Students can discuss where they see positional words (included) in each picture.

      Up, Down, and Around (Katherine Ayers)
      Cute illustrations with text describing where vines grow in the garden.

      Bug Dance (Stuart Murphy)
      A personal favorite (because my son loves it!) where a centipede has a hard time following dance directions in gym class.

      Left Hand, Right Hand (Janet Allison Brown)
      Explore left and right with hands.

      Online, Tech Activities (Games & More)

      Dance Moves
      Move a dancing bear to the correct position. This could be done by a single child at the computer or with an entire class watching a projection. It'd be great to have the whole class follow instructions and dance along!

      Treasure Hunt
      Follow directions to dig for treasure.

      Monday, January 7, 2013

      Math Monday Blog Hop #81 (Jan. 7, 2013)

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      Friday, January 4, 2013

      Changing Math Expectations: This Ain't the 50s Anymore!

      If you're a classroom teacher, you already know this. If you're a homeschooler, you'll probably want to know it. Math expectations for our kids have changed. Drastically.

      I point you to a fascinating article, "Ralphie's Math Vs. the Common Core," which compares what 9-year-old Raphie--of the movie A Christmas Story--was supposed to know vs. what current third graders must know.

      Some days, I look at Common Core Standards, my eyes glazing over, trying to figure out how to make the content user-friendly. Not long ago, this was my fourth grade bugaboo:
      CCSS.Math.Content.4.NF.B.4a Understand a fraction a/b as a multiple of 1/b. For example, use a visual fraction model to represent 5/4 as the product 5 × (1/4), recording the conclusion by the equation 5/4 = 5 × (1/4).
      Hit me with a watermelon truck in January.

      It's too embarrassing to share how many times I read that over, trying to figure out how to make it palatable to the average 10-year-old.  Palatable. Not necessarily fun. Or able to compete with the newest video game. Just palatable. How would you make that standard developmentally appropriate for a 10-year-old? I've got one. A 10-year-old, that is. Not a way to make that standard developmentally appropriate.

      Read the article.  If you're a teacher, it might make you feel better. If you're a homeschooler, it sheds some light on what your child's peers are up to.

      Wednesday, January 2, 2013

      Temperature Story: Cold Snap

      If, like me, you're a fan of Marjorie Priceman's How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, you will love her illustrations in a new book, Cold Snap, written by Eileen Spinelli.  Feeling a bit jealous of the snowy weather reports in other parts of the country, my only alternative was to read about a week of falling temperatures in the town of Toby Mills. By Friday night in this freezing town, the cold residents are happy to gather for a time of merriment with a bonfire, hot cider, sugar-on-snow candy, and singing.

      The book would be a perfect introduction to the concepts of temperature and hot-warm-cool-cold as described in the Fahrenheit and Celsius poems, available on the Math Learning Center website as a free download.

      View additional math-related children's books.

      Disclaimer: If you use the Amazon link, Grace and Hope (foster care for kids in China) will make a few cents (at no cost to you.) Thank you!

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