Monday, March 27, 2017

Poetry Activity Cards

I used to have a hard time motivating my students to write poetry. I tried everything! That's when I came up with the idea of poetry cards. 


These 27 Poetry Activity Task Cards can be used to create poetry packets, at centers or to model different types of poetry. Each card has a definition and example of a particular poem. Included are traditional types of poems such as couplets, cinquains, odes and more. Humorous and serious poems are included. These cards will even motivate those students who say they dont like poetry, to join in the fun! 

This is also a time to blend poetry with art. Have your students select the poems they would like to illustrate, then display them around the room. Suggestions are given of how to use these cards and how to develop a poetry packet that is a great family keepsake! Laminate and cut out for future use.

Have fun!!

Ruth
photo of children's poems, poetry activity cards, task cards, couplets, haiku, poems, poetry


Sunday, March 26, 2017

101 Book Activities Kids Love!



When I was in elementary school, my teachers always gave us the same kinds of book reports to do. They were VERY boring and that's when I decided that when I became a teacher I'd NEVER give those kinds of book reports. 

Typical assignment:  Write a report about the book. Remember to include the main characters and setting as you write the plot. 

WHAT?? UH?? 
I wanted to write a short skit about the book, or a poem, or write lyrics for a song. I did NOT want to write a boring old report without pictures or something creative. 

So, when I was in fifth grade, the first book report was....yes you guessed it! The same boring assignment to explain what the story was about and where it took place. 

What did I do? I drew an original cover for the book. I spent hours cutting pictures from magazines that would tie in with the plot. I laid it all out, and pasted everything on colorful construction paper. To me the bright colors livened up the plot, and was visually appealing.  On the last page, I wrote my opinion of the book and recommended that everyone should read it. 

As my teacher walked around, collecting the book reports, I handed it to her with a huge smile on my face. She took it from me, flipped through it quickly and said

YOU DIDN'T FOLLOW MY DIRECTIONS!!

I remember it like it was yesterday. I cringed, slumped down in my seat and mumbled something and thought to myself, I did follow the directions, I just presented it differently. 

Did my teacher understand that there are kids who like to express themselves using art or music? No.

Did my teacher understand that creating a report with hand drawn pictures and presenting it in a colorful way is a lot of work and demonstrates that I'm artistic? No. 

Would she see that I followed her directions? Probably not. 

When I first started teaching, I decided to give my students book report choices. Over the many years I've been teaching I've been collecting ideas and creating new ones. It was a year or so ago I decided to compile them and offer them for free on TeachersPayTeachers. 

Why? Because I want teachers to have this list at their fingertips, so they can offer their students many different ways to report about books. 

Give them a list of two or three to choose from and you'll feel their excitement as they talk about which ones they really, really, really want to do!

photo of 101 Book Activities Kids Love, FREE, PDF, Ruth S. book reports, Ruth S. TeachersPayTeachers

Have fun!

Ruth



Monday, March 20, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Vocabulary Detectives 2

This is the second set of my FREE Vocabulary Detective Cards that I created when teachers told me how excited they were about my first set. Using these cards is a great way to motivate students to learn new vocabulary words and to be able to find synonyms, antonyms and homonyms when they read books in class.

Here's how I do it..

Make a Detective Jar. A Mason jar with a wide opening is the best to use.  Print a label for it on a large piece of white paper that says "Detective Jar".

Make copies of the cards for your students. Explain that you'll be running a weekly contest and that you'll pull three cards from the jar at the end of the week.  Be sure to have prizes for the winners. I order them online in bulk from the Oriental Trading Company.

Explain that there must be correct answers on the cards in order to win a prize.

Tell them they shouldn't cut the cards until they've entered the information on all cards. When they're finished they can cut the cards and fold them in half, then put them in the jar.


Hope you and your students enjoy these contests! Thanks for stopping by!

       



Vocabulary Detectives 2, Ruth S, antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, vocabulary, free, detective jar, word study,

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Common Core Standards Worksheets to Use with Any Book or Story!



When the Common Core was adopted, I decided teachers would need Common Core worksheets they could use with any story or book. 

To make sets of these worksheets, would take more time than teachers have on hand, so I've developed some that will make teachers' lives easier. 


Don't you find that students often confuse main ideas with themes? Mine do! These first two resources will help them understand the differences!

photo of Common Core Standards Reading Themes PDF Teacher Park



photo of Common Core Reading Standards Main Idea PDF Teacher Park

Each year, I discover that many of my students don't know the "basics" thus I created foundational skills task cards that can be used as informal assessments to find out who's mastered the skills and who needs a gentle review. :)

photo of Common Core Task Cards Foundational Skills PDF Teacher Park

Enjoy!

Ruth













Friday, March 17, 2017

Tony Danza's book "I'd like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had"


Once in a blue moon, a book comes along that makes me want to jump up and down, reach for the stars, sing and dance, laugh and cry, and share with the world. This is a book dedicated to teachers but should be read by everyone. 

So often I've told people they just don't understand what it's like to be a teacher. The joy, the sorrow, the frustration, the hope, the thrill. I usually end the conversation that centers around "teachers have their summers off" with the statement, "You have to walk in my shoes to understand".  If only they would. They might understand.

I was at a book signing event last week to hear author, Tony Danza's presentation about his new book "I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had". Some might remember Danza on the television shows "Who's the Boss" and "Taxi". I really expected him to appear on stage playing one of those roles, but the minute he stepped out from behind the curtain, my assumptions were dashed.

The Danza event was so huge, it had to be moved from our wonderful local book store, "R.J Julia's, who sponsored this event, to a middle school auditorium. 

When we arrived, the school parking lot was packed. There were lines of people waiting to get inside and as we joined the long line, I felt like I was waiting in line to see a rock concert. 

We all had a common mission that night.. To hear Danza talk about his one year teaching experience at Northeast High School in Philadelphia after being an actor for so many years. We all remember our first year and how difficult it was. Did he have the same feelings? Was he treated differently at the school because he was a "star"? Was he given preferential treatment?

When he walked out on stage, he started by telling us he had many, many regrets in life, but the biggest regret was that he never became a teacher. Teachers cheered and applauded. I felt tears well up and it was all I could do, to keep them from streaming down my face.

Danza's presentation was endearing, humorous and it was very obvious that things he was saying touched the hearts of everyone in the audience. He spoke of the educational crisis in the U.S, the kids of yesterday and today, those kids who seemed unapproachable, and other issues that today's teachers face. 

Danza mentioned how teachers' roles have changed. We're teachers in a complex world and we face complex day to day situations. How many times have I been asked for parenting suggestions at student conferences? Parents are facing tremendous challenges at home. They ask us for advice about how to motivate their kids, what to do to get their kids to do homework and more. I've even been asked how I'd discipline their kids. I know my parents never asked those kinds of questions when they met with my teachers. They were there to ask about my grades and progress in school.  

As Danza's presentation continued, there were people smiling and nodding as they connected with his experiences of being a first year tenth grade English teacher. His descriptions of the staff were very easy to relate to. I only wish he had talked for another couple of hours.

His book "I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had" was taped by A&E and was called "TEACH".  I wish I had seen even one episode of it but my usual evening schedule, when the show was aired, was to correct papers, write up new lesson plans and then fall into bed thinking of my next day... of teaching. 

When I handed him the book to autograph, I told him I grew up with Ron Palillo who played Horshak in "Welcome Back, Kotter".  Ron passed away suddenly, a few months ago, and Tony told me he knew Ron and they had done some theater work together. I felt his sincerity and was going to tell him he should be back in the classroom, but I had taken enough of his time, so I moved on. 

After chatting with some high school teachers, we walked into the parking lot and you know what? I HAD been to a rock concert. Tony Danza ROCKS!

If you read his book,  you'll laugh, cry and constantly shout out "YES! YES! THAT happened to me". 

But most importantly, you'll feel extremely proud to be a teacher! 

I wish Tony had stayed in the classroom because he's a natural born teacher. His ability to sense what kids will respond to and how to connect with them without being their "friend" is usually only what seasoned teachers know and understand. 

His heartfelt attempts to reach the unapproachable kids was deja vu for me. One of my former students is on death row and I have to keep reminding myself that I tried. I spent sleepless nights trying to figure out how to reach him. If only that boy had been mine, I kept thinking, things might be different for him  today. 

Tony Danza walked in our shoes and understands what it's like to be a teacher.




See an excerpt


Listen to Tony talk about his experience and feelings about education. 


Tony: For me, teaching was the road not taken. If you look at my acting work, so many of the roles involve being a teacher. Tony in “Who’s the Boss?” becomes a teacher. I studied history education in college. I wanted to be a teacher. Teaching always appealed to me. Arthur Miller once said, “The best thing you can hope for is that you end up with the right regrets.” I didn’t want to regret not trying this.  ~from Amazon

Click on the cover and listen to Danza talk about his book.

photo of Tony Danza, I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had



Friday, March 10, 2017

Connections Text to Self, Text to Text, Text to World

Kids need reminders to connect what they read and write, to themselves, to other text and the world.
Writing about themselves is easy. Ask students to express their feelings about pets or sports they play or family vacations and you'll hear connections immediately.

Making connections to other books, articles or magazines they've read is a bit easier too. If you ask them to connect two characters in different stories they're usually able to do so. I use character personality trait charts for this connection.

From my experiences, teaching writing for many years, the most difficult of all is making connections to the world. I usually model this connection by selecting a short story or book we've read, as a whole group, and have them think of the problems that had to be solved.

An example I use is the novel Hoot and the middle school kids who decide to fight "city hall" because construction at a restaurant is going to endanger some burrowing owls on the property. I ask if anyone knows what endangered means and if they've read any books about endangered animals and the problems they face. As we brainstorm for connections, I record their responses for everyone to see.

As a culminating activity, we write a good solid paragraph together explaining the connections of two problems from two sources.

Displayed is the cover of the packet of three different mini posters and one of them that's included in the free download. Click on the cover to get all three posters! Thanks for stopping by!


photo of Text to Self, Text to Text, Text to World, free pdf Teacher Park Ruth S.