Saturday, January 31, 2015

February 2015 Currently

It's still January here near Seattle, but I know it's February on the East Coast.  Time for February Currently at Oh Boy 4th Grade.

Currently I'm listening to Chris Tomlin singing, "Lord, I Need You" on a loop.  Let's just say it was a tough week.

I'm loving that my report cards are almost done.

I'm thinking that I need to go to bed soon.

I want the cat to leave me alone a little longer.  She likes to sit on my shoulder when I'm blogging and block the screen.  Now she's giving me her back.

I need to get some lesson planning done...tomorrow.

If I had a pageant title, it would be Queen of Comedy.  I love to laugh and spread laughter.  When I'm upset about something, if I can find the humor in the situation, I feel better.  I laughed a lot this week.

Join Farley for Currently February.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Healthy Habits Poster Project

I enjoy teaching the systems of the human body to my fourth graders.  This year my group started out a little more squeamish than most, but I can see them start to become fascinated.

I have two goals for this unit:
1. Identify the organs for each of five body systems: digestive, respiratory, immune, circulatory and nervous.
2. Explain how to take care of your body.

The Healthy Habits Poster Project is a free mini research project that can be used as a culminating project to any health unit or as a stand alone project for students who need enrichment. This product contains an assignment sheet with a rubric for the students, a template for a works cited page, and a list of online resources. Common Core Standards are listed for this project.

You can download the Healthy Habits Poster Project here at my Teachers Pay Teachers store and also at my Teacher's Notebook store.

To download an Organ Research page, click here.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Greek Mythology Resources for Upper Elementary

Meet Argus, the mythological creature with all the eyes.  My students were asking for an Elf on the Shelf in December, but I didn't want to be cliché. (I bet they remember me years from now and it won't be because I helped them passed standardized tests.)

I have been reading several book series that introduce Greek Mythology to 9-12 year olds.  Here are four and my ratings.

The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan


I love this series by Rick Riordan.  I often read the first book and students read the rest.

  Myth-o-mania by Kate McMullan
I read the original set with my stepdaughter when she was in elementary school.  I was excited to see that they were rereleased.  

Heroes in Training
I thought this retelling of the original myth was good for my classroom library.  Several of my students have read and enjoyed this series.

Goddess Girls (also by Joan Holub)

I was less impressed with the girl versions of the myths.  They are set in a modern school setting with crushes and make up and the like.  In my opinion, girls deserve better.

To find out more about my rating system for books, click here.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Another Innovation Designed to Save the World

Once upon a time in the great land of administration, someone decided that milk cartons were a waste of space.  The solution? School lunches must now serve milk in plastic bags.  These plastic bags would take less landfill space.  We could save the world.

The plastic bags had a circular spot where the consumer would push a straw through to drink the milk.  Milk tended to leak from the hole and the straw.  The design was perfect for a lunchtime entertainment of projectile milk.
Without checking with anyone who actually works with children, these plastic bags were brought into elementary classrooms during lunchtime.  Teachers had to give up valuable class time to train their children to use these new devices.   The predictable results occurred.

I am not making this up.  This really happened in our district about ten to twelve years ago.  The decision was made with great fanfare about this wonderful innovation.  In a few years they went back to the traditional milk cartons.

The moral of this story: if you are concerned about the latest policy coming down from on high, this too shall pass.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Quote of the Week -- January 25, 2015

A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend. ~Author Unknown

Have a good week,

Friday, January 23, 2015

Vocabulary Recording Sheet

Today's freebie is a simple one page document where students can record the vocabulary words they encounter in their reading.  You can use this for their independent reading or as a part of a non-fiction unit of study.

I run several copies back to back and staple with a cover to make a student created glossary.  To download Vocabulary Recording Sheet from my Google Drive, click here.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Flora is a cynic and Ulysses is a squirrel with superpowers.  That's pretty much all you need to know about this humorous book.  When Flora discovers her new pet is not an average squirrel, she fights to keep him despite her mother's schemes to get rid of him.  I loved this book from beginning to end and read it in a day.

Parts of the book are written as a graphic novel.  Here is a link to a storyboard form where students might create their own.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Groundhog Predictions 2015

In previous years, I did this activity with my class and posted our results online.  This year, because of technology changes in our district, I am going to do this as a pencil paper task.  I have already contacted personally the teachers who joined me online to tell them of the changes. 

This free six-week unit includes the format for science experiments: Question, Prediction, Materials, Procedure, Data, and Conclusion.  It includes worksheets for each section. 

Groundhog Predictions is available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Groundhog Predictions is also available at my Teacher's Notebook store.

I hope you enjoy this activity with your class.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Quote of the Week -- January 18, 2015

I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go into the library and read a good book. ~Groucho Marx

Have a good week,

Friday, January 16, 2015

Gomoku Multiplication

To download the game board for Gomoku Multiplication, click here.

My fourth grade students need all the practice they can get with math facts.  This five in a row strategy game is one of many I have to get them to automaticity.  Students roll two dice, multiply them together and place a marker on a square with the answer.  The objective is to place five markers in a row.

This is one of a series of games I am sharing on my blog with my teaching tips.  If you want to download the whole set for free from my Teachers Pay Teachers store, click here.  Gomoku Games is also available in my Teacher's Notebook store.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham

My students complain that I don't have enough scary stories in my classroom library.  I don't like scary and I'm quite picky about books I'm willing to promote.  I checked out The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham a couple of summers ago, but didn't get around to reading it.  When it won an award in our state, I decided to give it another try.

Teddy lives in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State.  He starts meeting other boys his age who disappear mysteriously.  There's also a creepy tree in his neighborhood that's been drinking radioactive water.

There are elements to this story that are cleverly written.  I wouldn't read this aloud to all my fourth graders, but students who love scary will love this book.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Quilt Square Project #3

If you are a frequent reader, you know I have been creating some quilt square projects for my students to use their knowledge of geometry, measurement, and fractions in a hands on way. 
For this project, I modified the trapezoid project we did last year.  This time I gave my students a 6 X 6 inch square and four 3 X 3 inch squares.  I showed them how to cut diagonal lines on the 3 X 3 squares that were not corner to corner.  The resulting shapes are trapezoids.  We drew some congruent trapezoids with the remaining squares and then reassembled on the 6 X 6 background.

 When I stapled them all together on the bulletin board we ended up with a "quilt" like the top picture.

If you missed Quilt Square Project #1, click here.

If you missed Quilt Square Project #2, click here.

I hope you enjoy these lessons with your students.

Have you visited Math Spies?  This post right here introduces Quilt Square Codes.  Students use the fraction of each color to solve a code word.

The full paid product has 32 task cards and is available at TPT and TN.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Quote of the Week -- January 11, 2015

“There are three constants in life... change, choice and principles.” Stephen Covey

Have a great week,

Friday, January 9, 2015

Odd One Out Vegetables

Odd One Out is an activity where small groups of students discuss which of four items in a set should be left out and justify it.  The one page pictured above is really two activities.  I run 8-10 copies for my class, cut the page in half and staple each to a piece of notebook paper for the groups to 2-4 students to record their thinking.

Here are two previous Odd One Out freebies with a geometry focus:

Odd One Out with Polygons

Odd One Out with Triangles and Quadrilaterals

All of these are available in my 22 page paid product at TPT and TN.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wild River by P. J. Petersen

How can playing a video game give you the skills to survive a river rafting adventure?  This is what Wild River by P. J. Petersen suggests.

Twelve-year-old Ryan agrees to join his older brother Tanner on a river rafting trip.  When something happens to Tanner, Ryan has to figure out how to survive.

A colleague called this a "Let's get boys to read" book.  I think it just might work.

Here is a free printable summary graphic organizer.  Remind students that sometimes the plot is man vs. nature or man vs. self.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

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