Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero by Deb Pilutti

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero by Deb Pilutti is a guide for budding superheroes everywhere.  This book could be used for several writing lessons.  I have two suggestions from my blog (both are free):

1. Top Ten -- Using Lists to Improve Your Writing
2. Superhero Writing Prompt

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Quote of the Week -- March 27, 2016

"The value of an idea lies in the using of it."

Thomas Edison

Have a good week,

Friday, March 25, 2016

Plant Poems Printable

I'm so glad it's spring.  

Here is a selection of plant poems from my poetry blog Poems of Silliness.  As always, please feel free to use my poetry in your classroom, but please don't use it in paid products.  Thank you.

To download Plant Poems Printable, click here.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Ivan lived in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington until people who cared got involved.  This picture book is based on the same true events as the novel The One and Only Ivan also written by Katherine Applegate.

This is an excellent text to use to teach students the power of individuals who write and share their opinions.

When I have introduced persuasive writing to upper elementary students, I teach them about writing short business letters to real audiences.  This template for a business letter is a part of my Letters That Matter unit.  You can download the template for free by clicking here.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Five Reasons for Making Crafts with ELLs

For six weeks I filled in for the ELL teacher who was on a maternity leave.  During that time we had a visit from the Mariner Moose--the mascot from our local baseball team.  One of the paraprofessionals created a bulletin board to celebrate our local team and my small groups wanted to participate.  It was an excellent use of our time.

Here are five reasons why I would  take a break from the adopted curriculum to make crafts with my ELL students.

1. While having students follow the directions to make the craft, I can use vocabulary that they will need in their general education classes.  For the very new to English, just using colors and shapes in context was good practice.

2.  Crafts can easily be created for a variety of content.  When teaching about a particular habitat, creating a model together and discussing it requires more involvement than simply looking at pictures.

3.  I wanted my students to practice navigating social situations like asking appropriately for materials and sharing.  Practicing in a small group gives them confidence in the larger classroom.

4.  I found myself assessing students other skills besides language.  I discovered one of my students struggled with cutting paper as well as writing with a pencil.  Not all of his learning difficulties seem to be ELL.

5.  Creating stuff is often more engaging than the highly scripted materials we have adopted.  I truly believe art is an underutilized study skill.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Quote of the Week -- March 20, 2016

"Circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him."

Wayne Dyer

Have a good week,

Friday, March 18, 2016

April 2016 Poetry Challenge

I was inspired by a group of highly capable fifth and sixth graders to write this particular poetry challenge.  In previous years, the vocabulary was much simpler and the poetry forms were based on syllable count and word families.  This year I was substitute teaching in a colleague's gifted classroom while she recovered from surgery.  We were working on SAT prep vocabulary words, and I used this study to create this freebie.

April is National Write Poetry Month.  I plan to post a poem a day on my poetry blog Poems of Silliness.  I would love to have you and your class join me.  To download the April 2016 Poetry Challenge, please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store or my Teacher's Notebook store.

If you want to do a poetry challenge with younger students, the April 2015 Challenge and the April 2014 Challenge are still available.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman

When I taught kindergarten and first grade, I would sing "Over in the Meadow" with my students.  At the Old Haunted House fits the pattern of that counting song.  Students will count the creatures that prepare a Halloween party.  (Yes, I know it is March, but you can pin for later.)

To download At the Old Haunted House vocabulary list, click here. 

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Self-Control Revisited

Early in the history of this blog, I posted something about self-control.  It wasn't a great post and the links are broken, but the original idea has lasted.  

The quote above is one I have used in my classrooms.  I often follow up with "Do you want self-discipline or teacher discipline?"

Students don't like it when someone tells them what to do--whether it's me or another student.  I am trying to appeal to their intrinsic motivation instead of external rewards.  I want them to see why someone may be redirecting their behavior.

Recently, I wrote this on the whiteboard in a class where I was the guest teacher.  It was all the redirection most of the students needed.  There's always an outlier.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Quote of the Week -- March 13, 2016

"There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak."

Simon Sinek

Have a good week,


Friday, March 11, 2016

Days of the Week Lesson for ELLs

This year I had a student who moved from El Salvador in November.  One of the first skills I wanted her to have was communicating plans for the week.  I wanted her to know what day to bring her library book and what days to wear her P. E. shoes, etc. 

I created the Days of the Week page shown above.  The words in the boxes below could be cut out or used as a word bank.  This was a perfect lesson to use Google Translate to ensure understanding in her native language.  (To read more about this, click here.)

My student quickly picked up the pattern and we started communicating about plans for the weekend, which days were half days and days off of school.  Intermediate students don't have a calendar lesson each day the way primary students do.  This was a successful intervention for her.

To download Days of the Week, click here.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio

If you are introducing theme to your students, I recommend Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio. Theme is the life lesson a reader can learn from the story.  A bull dog is raised by poodles.  When they meet a family of poodles at the park, the two families wonder if their puppies were switched at birth.

This book illustrates the idea that family is where you belong.  I created a worksheet for students to find events in the story that illustrate the theme.  To download the theme worksheet, please click here.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Another Use for a 100 Chart

Some solutions arrive at a moment of desperation.

I have been giving the online ELL test this month.  One of the first graders became so stressed he started sobbing and I couldn't convince him to finish.  As anyone who has given the mandated state tests knows, this is not a valid excuse for not completing it.  I wish it were.

We decided to test him alone in the counselor's office, and I brought a chart like the one pictured above.  I put a star on each of the questions he had already answered and the counselor drew lines where he could stop to take a break.  I crossed off the numbers at the bottom, because the test had 95 questions. Each time he answered a question, we checked off the remaining boxes.  He had a visual of how he was progressing and so he finished.

No, I don't think that a 95 question test is developmentally appropriate for first graders.  I wonder what we are doing to our students.  Some days I advocate for my students by trying to change the system.  Other days I advocate for my students, by getting them through it.

If you need a chart like this one, click here.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Quote of the Week -- March 6, 2016

"Saying nothing sometimes says the most."
Emily Dickinson

Have a good week,

Friday, March 4, 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Milli Means 1000

All week long I have been celebrating a milestone here at Artistry of Education.  To celebrate its 1000th posts, I have been offering a week of digital swag.  Here is today's freebie.

The prefix milli means 1000.  I wrote a short worksheet with five words that start with milli: milliliter, milligram, milliliter, millisecond, and millipede. 

To download this worksheet, click here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How-to Books -- Celebrating 1000

On Wednesdays I usually do a book review, but to be honest I didn't find a book I loved that fit the theme of 1000.

For those of you just stopping by for this post, Artistry of Education has hit a milestone of 1000 posts.  I am celebrating by giving away freebies each day for a week that are related to 1000.

What I did notice is that many books that have the word 1000 in the title are How-to books.  This gives me an opportunity to introduce a new genre to my students.  People create all kinds of things for their homes and gardens, then write up the directions for others to follow.  (Caution: some of the how to books are not ones I want my students to read. Don't just send them off on a computer search.)

Before we had a district curriculum, I organized my literacy lessons by genre.  I have published several of those lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook.   Click here to see my Teaching Genre series. 

While I don't expect students to write 1000 ways to do something, I do have a free writing lesson called Top Ten.  You can download Top Ten from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Top Ten is also available in my Teacher's Notebook store.

Come back tomorrow for the final piece of digital swag.  On Friday, I will post a round up of the week in case you missed something.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Thousand Years from Now -- A Writing Prompt

Thank you for stopping by this week.  I am celebrating the thousandth post on Artistry of Education.  All week long, I am sharing freebies that have a thousand theme.

Yesterday I shared a mini-research project called A Thousand Years Ago.  Today I am having students travel through time in the opposite direction and imagine what life will be like a thousand years from now.

The questions on the two assignments are similar on purpose.  I want students to think about how people meet their needs based on their surroundings.

To download the organizer for A Thousand Years from Now, please click here.

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