Monday, September 30, 2013

Poetry a la carte!

So poems are on my mind this week which means.....I am blogging about poetry today!

Once upon a time...I LOVED poetry. Then, high school AP English happened and, as much as I LOVED me some high school English, it killed my love for poetry. I got so stressed out over deciding what the author really meant and what the multiple meanings for each verse were suppose to represent. It just wasn't fun. So, I crinkled my nose for a few years when the word poetry was mentioned.

Then, I was sitting in a methods course during college and a professor relit my poetry fire and inspired me to use it with my future kiddos as much as possible. 

So, five years I am. I use poetry every week. I use it to strengthen visualization, reinforce weekly strategies, highlight phonics patterns, build stronger fluency skills, and expose students to as many different forms of text as possible. 

Here is how it works. I give the students a poem on Monday along with a poetry menu. There are many different versions out there. I needed one that worked for my kiddos so I created a homework menu that is focuses on skills that will challenge and excite them. The students have all week to complete six of the menu options offered to them. On Friday, we have our poetry reading time during morning meeting and then the students turn in their menus.

It's simple, quick, and meaningful.

Click here to grab the freebie.

How do you use poetry in your classroom?

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Textset Library

If you know me then you know that I am an avid trade books lover. 

If you don't know me then...Hi! My name is Sarah, and I am addicted to trade books. 

My love for trade books means that I spend a lot of time and energy reading children's literature, grouping books into "sets", and determining what Common Core skills and strategies can be applied to specific texts so that I can use them to supplement a lot of the instruction across my various content curriculums.

Using text sets in the classroom provide teachers with the opportunity to reach out to students' interests, expose them to nonfiction texts, and    advance their knowledge about the important individuals who have impacted our world. I just love, love, love all of the opportunities that texts can provide my students. 

So you can imagine my excitement when the creators of the new site asked me to post a text set! I chose to post a mini text set about biographies. Recently, I have come across some new biographies and just had to share them with you!

Hop on over to The Textset Library and check out several great text sets that educators have already posted! And, while your at it...add one of your own!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Visualizing and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Shew! Times be CRAZY!

I keep thinking that my kiddos and I will fall into a consistant classroom rhythm, but it hasn't happened yet. Every time I feel like we are close to one.... something happens, and we take a step back. We will get there though! I just know it!

Anyways...our skill for the last two weeks was visualization. My kiddos rocked it. I am so proud! My class loved doing the poems Oh No!, Green Giant, and My Neighbor's Dog is Purple. We also branched out and spent a lot of time reading poems and trade books to help us strengthen our visualizing skills. 

Here is one of my favorites activities from this skill! I was surprised that most of my students had never read the book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and only a handful had seen the movie. So, I hopped on the opportunity and paired this trade book up with a visualizing activity.

I read the story to the kiddos but would NOT share the pictures with them. It about killed the kids AND ME to not share the fabulous illustrations with them while I read. But, there is something to be said about making the students actually listen to the text, pay attention to the descriptive details and create images on their own.

After reading the story, I gave the students an excerpt from the story. The kiddos highlighted details and key information that they thought was important and then drew an image based on the information that they found in the text.

I loved it. The kids loved it. And, I was very entertained with the            (photo credit for this picture goes one of the kiddos from my teamie's class!) 
pictures that they drew. 

How do you teach visualizing?