Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Vocabulary Question Cube

I have so much fun with my students when I put an iPad in their hands! They are actually very good at anything to do with Technology. This is great since the Common Core Standards have interacting with technology as a major strand.  I love taking pictures, but my students are the best when it comes to putting their thinking into power points and videos. This is a lesson using the Vocabulary Question Cube. I let them video themselves playing the game. We can spend three to five days on a lesson with everything that is involved.

This is a quicktime video made by 4th grade students. They are on the carpet, with their words and finished cubes. Now they roll the cube and ask each other questions using the words they wrote and defined. Because these are new words, this gives them more practice using the words in sentences and just saying the words. 

I used one of the products I have on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store, the Vocabulary Question Cube. This product is aligned with the CCSS ELA L.3.4d, L.4.4c, L.5.4c.
Vocabulary Question Cube - Comprehension 
I love this little comprehension, question game and my students love it also. The first thing I did was give them a passage (4th grade) or text (The Odyssey, 5th grade.) In 4th I wanted them to practice some of the "testlets" with questions. Mostly these are so boring for students, but this is how they are tested on the EOG so they need to practice! Why not make it fun!
5th Grade with Odyssey and Workbook.

5th Grade Looking Up Vocabulary Words or New Words!
I gave each student an orange post-it note so they could write down 6-8 words while reading that they thought were interesting or that maybe they didn't really know the meaning. Each student had a dictionary so they didn't have to wait for someone else to finish and they could look the word up immediately. Yes, I still use workbooks when I can, I just add a little fun to them!
4th Grade Reading Passages.
4th grader using highlighter.
My 4th grade students needed practice finding the main idea, inference, supporting details and other elements of text. I found these great comprehension books that are common core aligned. Notice that I write notes to my students before copying so they know exactly what they will be doing with the packets. We go over our answers at the end and students make corrections and we discuss WHY the answer is right. I don't have them put Xs on the ones they have wrong, they just erase and put the right one after we discuss it. I encourage my students to voice their opinions and why they thought their answer was right. Sometimes they make very good points and they really should get some credit! With only 3 or 4 questions per passage, it doesn't take long and my students get to discuss the reasoning behind the questions.
4th grade - after finding the words, they glue the I Can statement in their notebooks, and write the word, definition, illustration, sentence and part of speech. We call these notebooks our Vocabulary Word Notebooks. I have used this for years and love them. Nothing like color to keep students interested.
4th grade - You can see the I Can Statement better in this picture. This student loves to illustrate her words!

Some students take great pains in coloring their cubes!

The last day we use the Vocabulary Question Cubes. We have to make them about 3 times a year since they are paper and get messy after being used so many times. After about the 3rd time, (you can see from the picture above,) students really get creative in their coloring!
They might be discussing their words or the story while coloring, but they have to keep their discussion on literacy. Sometimes I will put out recorders on the tables to make sure they follow this.
Finished product and ready to play!

You do not have to "play" a game with these cubes. They can be used as an exit ticket at the end of a class. I have also had students use these independently with whisper phones so they can hear themselves say the word and see if they remember the definition. These are great for buddies to use during literacy centers. Let me know any ideas you have for how these can be used!

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Thanks for reading. I am officially on Spring Break! I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter and Spring Break!

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Most Amazing Dodecahedron Book Report Project Ever!

Right before Christmas, I went looking for a book report project on Teachers Pay Teachers. I wanted something that would look really awesome to my students. I had bought each one of my 4th and 5th graders,  Mudshark by Gary Paulsen  for a present, but wanted a project to go with it. I found the most amazing book report project ever!

This is what I found: Dodecahedrons!

 In the beginning I have to confess I couldn't even remember how to pronounce the name. So being a K-2 teacher for years, I wrote the phonetic spelling on the board and my students learned faster than I did. Twelve pentagons are put together to make this great shape. They are huge. Mr. Hughes makes each one fun to color and also give them a focus for each slide.

I had my students read the book over Winter break and answer some questions on an index card that went along with Mr. Hughes' project. When they came back from break, I gave each of them, all 31 of them, a copy of each shape and a detailed Student Direction Sheet which is included in this very thorough project. The packet contained 13 sheets in all.  They had to write their book report first, then color, and then cut out. I checked each step before they could go any further.

Some students did extraordinary work. My ESL students especially enjoyed this because the directions were all written out and they did not have to guess what to do through out the project. They worked independently, but spent a lot of time discussing the book while they were writing and then coloring. We used color pencils and crayons, with a few using markers.

I had protractors handy to help with the folding of the tabs. We folded our tabs outward since I found it was easier for 4th and 5th graders to put together. I had the color in each of the tabs so they would add more color to the project. We used lots of glue sticks and paper clips to keep everything together while the glue was drying. I did not help any of my students with the folding or gluing. 

This entire project took about 6 to 7 days. I didn't let them work on the book report part at home, because I didn't want the pages to get messed up in a book bag or lost. Letting part of the Dodecahedron dry over night really helped.

They were all so proud of their work!

We tried hanging them outside our room on some yarn, but they set off the alarm that evening. :(

We ended up putting some of them in the media center for all to enjoy. Then I decided to hang the rest from my Word Wall curtain. I still have them up. I love the way they look and they still let in lots of sunlight.

I smile every time I look out the window. I told my students they could take them home when they made another one. Mr. Hughes also has other Dodecahedron Projects which I am going to try out.

This was the best book report project I have ever given my students. They did not even fuss once about having to do a book report. 

Mr. Hughes can be found on Teachers Pay Teachers at this link.  I was the first person to leave him feedback on this project, so if you buy this please leave feedback! He has lots now, but everyone, even teachers :), want feedback! 

The project includes Materials List, Teacher Directions :), Step By Step Instructions for writing the book report, Step by Step Instructions for Assembly (with pictures and in color,) Tips for Displaying, and of course the 12 student pages.
Or click the cover of the Dodecahedron Book Report Project to get your copy.
Mr. Hughes has a great blog, An Educator's Life. Give yourself a lot of time to browse through his past posts.

Hope you enjoyed this post. I still have lots more to come so please follow me by email and join my blog! Oh, one last picture... one of my students during silent reading time. He never even knew I took the picture until later that day when I showed it to him.

Thanks for the visit!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

NCAGT's 39th Annual Conference - Teaching Digital With Bloom's

I had a GREAT time at the NCAGT's Conference in Winston-Salem. The theme this year was "Gifted Education: Kick it UP a Notch!'
Guess what the logo was... Good ole Texas Pete.
Cute isn't it! We even received a small bottle with our conference bags.

There is a lot to share. Today though I will just share the workshops I attended. I went through the program guide and picked my favorites, mostly Digital Learning. Many of my teaching buds will not be surprised by that! 

I have an online class on Edmodo that is going great. My students are clamoring for more work. This work is very detailed and involves a lot of writing, and they are still wanting more! Mainly because it is digital. Something they relate to and can make a connection to immediately. More on that later!

This pyramid says it all when wanting to use digital media with your lessons. See how many you are already doing in your classroom.

The digital classes I selected were all centered around the Common Core Curriculum and using social media. I am going to start Monday with a lesson I picked up for older students, but will use 4th and 5th grade level books. Digital Retelling and 21st Century Skills by Danielle Sullivan, Union County Public Schools. (I don't have her email, but she did say she would be happy to talk with anyone about what she was doing with digital retelling.) The class was amazing! She used The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe to have small groups interact with a story and produce a digital retelling. I can't use the ppt. she used to explain how she did this, but I will show the one I plan to use for my students as soon as it is finished. 

I have some other anchor type charts from ZaidLearn: A Juicy Collection of Digital Posters.
This one shows some of the Apps that you can use for each of the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy Levels.

This is great to show different websites with learning games and videos.

This is a short post but... I will be back soon with my version of the Digital Retelling and Narratives. If you follow by email, my posts will pop up in your email! The next post will have some digital content from my students! It is easy to do and all levels of learners will be engaged in learning!