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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Math Centers You Will Want to Gobble Up!

Teachers, it's about time for some math centers especially created for this time of year.

Turkey Squares combines math and critical thinking skills as students try to fill arrays with different colored turkey icons without repeating a color in any row or column.  Also known as statistical arrays, you may recognize these as a mental exercise similar to Sudoku. Turkey Squares allows you to easily differentiate your instruction by providing successively more difficult arrays.

Turkey Fractions & Pumpkin Pie, Oh My! is, obviously, focused on fractions.  It consists of 28 cards to use with the game, "I Have..., Who Has...?"This center activity can also be used with the entire class. It is CCSS aligned.

Your students will practice addition and subtraction within 20 in Tail Feathers Math Center. After computing the value of each tail feather, students will place the feather on the turkey with that value. There are 4 full color work mats, 28 color tail feathers, labels for your center folder, and a black line recording sheet included in this product.  This activity is CCSS aligned.

While not exactly a math center, Pilgrim Square Puzzlers does exercise problem solving skills while disguising it as fun. The challenge with these puzzles is to reconstruct the square so that all of the images match on every interior side. 
There are 3 levels of difficulty included in this center, providing instant differentiation. These square puzzlers are also great for fast finishers. They won't be able to finish these quickly.

Pumpkinoes are holiday neutral, but perfect for this time of year. There are 8 games that can be used in all elementary classrooms to practice a variety of skills appropriate to the ages and stages of your students. Thus, differentiation is inherent. Skills in this unit include:
  • Counting and cardinality
  • Composing and decomposing numbers
  • Addition, subtraction, and multiplication
  • Even and odd numbers
  • Greater than and less than
  • Higher Order Thinking Skills

Included in this product are 45 Pumpkino cards in both color and black line. The number pairs on the Pumpkinoes range from (1, 1) to (9, 9). No blanks, or zeroes, are included. Also included are labels for your centers and directions for each of the 8 games. Recording sheets are provided for some activities. No answer keys are provided as all of the activities are open ended.

How Many Ways?  Fall Edition is an interactive bulletin board activity. The challenge in this activity is to arrive at a given number in many different ways. 

It readily provides differentiation by allowing the teacher to choose between 2 questions: one asks students to count to the target number; one requires students to use basic operations to arrive at the target. It may be easily adapted to any elementary grade level and provides differentiation within a single grade.

Turkey time is upon us!  It's time to stuff your centers.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Literacy Centers for Turkey Time

It's about time, teachers, for some literacy centers especially created for this time of year.

Your students will love working on vocabulary, parts of speech, synonyms, rimes, making inferences, and interpreting data while having fun with Thanksgiving Hink Pinks, Hinky Pinkies, and Hinkity Pinkities.  

If you are not familiar with Hink Pinks, et al., you are in for a treat.  Hink Pinks are riddles wherein the clues lead you to a 2 word answer. Each answer word must have just one syllable and the 2 words must rhyme. Hinky Pinkies are 2 word rhymes with 2 syllables in each word. Hinkity Pinkities are rhyming word pairs with 3 syllables each.  For example:

The answer to this riddle is raise maize.  

This product includes 20 cards with Thanksgiving themed clues and, naturally, an answer sheet. Copy the cards on cardstock (pink, of course), then laminate them for years of use. I recommend solving several clues together to ensure your students’ success. This activity is CCSS aligned.

Turkey Drumsticks uses Thanksgiving vocabulary to practice constructing compound words. Students search for two drumsticks that form a compound word when joined together. They place the pairs on plates until they have found all 9 compound words. 

A recording sheet is included. The recording sheet requires students to write the compound words they found and apply them to the context of the sentences.

Turkey Tails requires students to focus on the long and short vowel sounds of a & e. 

After determining the vowel sound of the word on each tail feather, they will place the feather on the turkey with that vowel symbol. The words used are taken from the first 200 words on the Fry lists. 

This center contains 4 full color work mats, 28 full color feathers, labels for your center folder, and a black & white recording sheet.

Let's Talk Turkey Words exercises your students' abilities to be fluent and flexible in thought and oral language. It will also inform you about your students' command of common spelling patterns and sight words.  

Give each student the letters for one of the 4 seasonal words. Challenge them to create as many words as they can using that set of letters. A recording sheet is included.  This center is CCSS aligned and it's FREE!

Scrattle: Thanksgiving Edition is a learning center that combines word work with computation; individual effort with competition. As in Scrabble™, students use a set of letters to create words. 

After recording their words, they calculate each word’s score using the Scrabble™ letter values. Then they engage a friend in a battle wherein they compare their scores using >, <, and =. 

The student with the most > wins the battle! BTW, Scrattle derives it names from SCRAbble + baTTLE. 

SCRATTLE can be played by students with simple addition capabilities, multiplication abilities, as well as those skilled in solving mixed operations in complex equations. Three different recording sheets are included, providing instant differentiation. This center is also FREE!

It's about turkey time, teachers!  Fill your centers with turkey goodness.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Do You tsū?

It's about time for a new social media site...

...and it's www.tsū.co/

It's very similar to Facebook, but better (IMO). 

  • Better because it shares your posts with ALL of your friends, not just a select few.  
  • Better because YOU OWN your content, not the site.
  • Better because they share the revenues, keeping only 10% for themselves. 
  • Better because it's BRAND NEW, meaning you can be a pioneer reaping the benefits of this fertile newbie.
Go to the tsu website and read about it. Revenues are derived proportionately from people who sign up under you.  Will you be able to retire in luxury from this venture? Probably not. But, it can't hurt to get your ideas and resources out there.  If you make a little money along the way, maybe it will offset the price of that clip art you just bought.  

The site does require an invitation to join, which, like Pinterest, is as easy as clicking on my membership and setting up your profile. Quick, easy, what more could you ask for?

I hope you will take the time to check it out -- and join.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Poetry for Fall & What to do with It

Poetry is a great tool for teaching more than rhymes, rhythm, and poetic devices. It can be a vehicle for exploring a host of different language arts topics. For example, the following poem is replete with contractions. 

So, after presenting the poem to your class, conduct a lesson on contractions. This could be a whole group lesson or a small group effort, depending on the ages and needs of your students. It could also be a literacy center activity with individual copies for each student and the directive to highlight the contractions. Then the task could require pupils to write the 2 component words for each contraction on the back of the poem or another sheet of paper.

Quotation marks are also prevalent in this poem. Hence, you could use this poem to study quotation marks, speaker tags, and the various rules that quotation marks invoke in reading and writing. This can be especially effective if you engage your students in choral readings of the poem. 
Assign one student to read all of the narration and speaker tags, while the remaining children chime in with the quotations. You will love the focus this generates.  

In my experience, children, especially reluctant readers, find poetry less threatening to read than prose. Perhaps it's due to the expansive white space.  Maybe it's the rhyme and rhythm (when present) that aids predictability and fluency. Whatever the reason, the light that shines in my Title I students' eyes when I bring out a poem is undeniable.  And that is enough to cause me to use poetry everyday.

If you are interested in more ideas for using poetry to teach myriad topics, check out my Poetry Possibilities products. They provide the poetry and possibilities for lessons.



Monday, October 13, 2014

Autumn Themed Centers

Autumn themed centers for your classroom -- check them out.  

Ghosts Say, "Boo!" is a literacy center for primary classrooms. In this activity students will focus on 2 sounds of /o/:  ō and ōō.

There are 2 ghost work mats: 1 labeled "Ghosts," and the other labeled "Boo!" Students sort the 20 word/picture cards by matching the vowel sounds to the 2 ghosts.  This center includes a recording sheet and labels for your center folder.

Bats & Bridges Literacy Center also challenges students to work with vowel sounds; long and short /a/. Students will sort the bat word cards and fly them to the proper bridge for roosting.  A recording sheet is included, as are labels for your center folder.

This center activity is part of my thematic unit, Hanging Out with Stellaluna.  It is now available as a stand-alone product for the first time.

You get to combine 2 subjects in 1 center when you use Scrattle: Halloween Edition.  This wildly popular activity challenges your students to exercise their verbal fluency by making words out of the letters provided on candy corn pieces. Each letter has a numeric value, as in Scrabble(TM).  As your students record their words, they compute the value of each of them.

Then they challenge a friend at the center to compare their numbers.  In the process, your students will practice using >, <, and =. The winner of this word battle is the 1 with the most >s.  (Scrattle gets its name from Scrabble + battle.)

Not only does Scrattle give your students practice with ELA and math, but it comes with 3 different recording sheets: 1 using addition only, 1 requiring multiplication, and 1 employing mixed operations. Thus, you can readily differentiate your instruction. Moreover, this center is CCSS aligned. And better yet, it's FREE! Even better, there are multiple editions for several holidays and they, too, are FREE!

John Hughes, author of An Educator's Life blogspot, is hosting a Fall-Tastic Activities and Resouces linky party.  You are sure to find some great activities there.

Until next time...