Sunday, April 22, 2012

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.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mrs. Lirette's Mega GIVEAWAY!!

Last Thursday, Mrs. Lirette's blog "Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives" blog was viewed 100,000 times!! Amazing!

Mrs. Lirette features creative lessons that bring a smile to her students' and blogger friends' faces :)

To show her appreciation,  there is a huge GIVEAWAY on her blog!  

Click below to join this exciting celebration!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Our Environment Earth Day Activities FREE

We're avid recyclers.  The first time we went to Germany to visit our German friends, who live on Lake Constance, in southern Germany, we were amazed to see the system of recycling they have. In each home, there's a recycle rack on wheels that has plastic bags that hang down to almost the floor. The bags are different colors and represent different types of plastic that must be recycled. All throughout the countryside, people  lay neatly stacked bundles of twigs, branches and other biodegradable materials that are tied together by the roadside for pick up. They looked to be about two feet in length.  It's understandable that a country the size of Michigan, that has over 85 million people, enforce these regulations.

The first time we went shopping in Germany, we were in for a big surprise. After paying for our groceries, we waited for the clerk to bag our purchases and were shocked when she told us, in very good English by the way, that we have to bring our own bags.

We walked out of the shop stuffing our purchases in our jacket pockets, in my oversized pocketbook and carrying them in our arms. Our next trip, we brought a German cloth bag that fit quite nicely in our suitcase.

That was back in 2000. I wonder how long ago they required cloth bags?? Within the last few years, cloth bags have been available in our stores and we immediately began using them.

Since our trips over there, everything in our home is recycled, reduced or reused. Our wet garbage, vegetable peelings and anything else that is biodegradable goes in the compost bin and is used to enrich our gardens. All cans are recycled. Once a month we take our paper to a town recycle center where it's put in huge trucks and taken to recycle companies to be remade into some other plastic product. Nowadays, when I open a plastic bottle of juice, I wonder where the plastic came from. Was it once a bottle of seltzer? A plastic bag? A toothbrush? Hmmm...

I created this 38 page free environmental packet so that teachers might encourage their students to recycle, reduce and reuse. I collaborated with Suzanne Corso, an award winning author, who wrote the children's book "Sammy and Sue Go Green, Too" and "Brooklyn Story" to create the packet that can be used for Earth Day this year and years to come.

Design a hybrid car! Play an environmental match game! Research animals and fill out the animal cards!
Write a letter to a legislator and tell them about a pollution or environmental issue in your neighborhood! Or write a letter to a friend and explain why it's important to recycle!

These and many more activities are included in my FREE 38 page packet. Click on the cover for the download.

photo of Earth Day, environment, Our Environment Earth Day Activities FREE, pollution, recycle, reduce, reuse, Sammy and Sue Go Green Too, Suzanne Corso,


Monday, April 16, 2012

Predictions and Strategies

It always seems that when kids are asked to make predictions, they always predict what will happen at the end of a story. For that reason, it's important to model predicting. I often use a fairy tale or short story to help them learn how to predict what will happen NEXT.

Read a part of a fairy tale, stop and ask what's happened. After volunteers have summarized that section, explain that predictions should be made about what will happen next, based on what they read. Be sure to emphasize that the predictions shouldn't be wordy. They should be brief statements. That's also sometimes difficult to do because kids love to add details, details, details!

This worksheet can be kept at centers, used with literature circles, guided reading groups, used independently or as assessments. Click on the image for the free download.

photo of predictions free pdf  reading strategies Teacher Park

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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.

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


Monday, April 9, 2012

Vocabulary Detectives 4

Hot off the press! Another pack of Vocabulary Detective Cards! My first three sets were so popular, I decided to make more! Kids search the books they're reading for the types of words or grammar on the cards then put them in the Detective Jar for the weekly drawing. Instructions how to use the cards for weekly drawings are included as well as the links for the first three FREE packs of cards with this set. Have fun!

photo of Vocabulary Detective Task Cards 4 Teacher Park grades 3 - 6


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Earth Day Linky Party at Sunny Days in Second Grade

Check out the great Linky Party for Earth Day on Sunny Days in Second Grade! Many teachers have posted the best of the best Earth day activities!