Thursday, April 11, 2013

Get Your Reading Academic Vocabulary On!

Missing pieces of the puzzle

Hello there! It has been awhile since I last posted and I apologize for that! Between 3 young babies, standardized testing, and whatnot... it has been a challenge!

Have you noticed that vocabulary has seemed to go downhill in the past few years? Seems when kids come to me their reading levels are a few grades under and their vocabulary follows suit. What is causing this phenomenon??

My guess is that there are a few factors involved...
* There are less parents reading to kids. I do understand! Working a job (or maybe two), with a household of kids to get fed, bathed, and homework done before bed, maybe even a single income household or single parent household. Times are hard and that means on the parents too... unfortunately, this is not helping our children in the department of loving or learning how to read and grow their vocabulary.

* Technology is also become a major culprit. Children are spending far more time playing on Wii, Xbox,  Nintendo DS, IPad, and cellphones. (My 5th graders had a smartphone before me! What??) They are spending less time reading, do imaginative play, or even talking and having conversations with individuals.

So, what do we do as teachers to help the situation?

1. Read, read, read to our kids. Even my 5th graders love a good book and the novelty of curling up on pillows and listening in. We are currently reading Where the Red Fern Grows and I let them know that we will not get through this book without a tons of tears (from myself). I think it is good for students to hear the teacher read and experience his/her own reactions to the book as they read. I discussed with my kids that this was a book from my childhood and not a time as gone by that I have read this book and didn't cry. I'm not sure if my kids last year could hear the ending clearly through my sobs (lol) but they cried right along with me! Choose books that are meaningful, will make a personal impact, and that is rich in experience and vocabulary. If you are reading to them, you can go a level higher than what they can (or more!) and this will allow them to experience stories they would have otherwise missed out on. Also, it can be a good motivator to improve their reading when they see the quality of stories that are out there once they get to those higher levels. (Another series I just LOVE to share with my students is the Fablehaven series... this is in an earlier post)

2. Surround your kids with vocabulary! Students need to not only hear it but they also need to see it and use it! Cover your walls with vocabulary that you can constantly refer to throughout the year! This is great for lower level kiddos. If you can add a picture to help associate... then even better! You could have a spot for academic vocabulary, current novel vocabulary, daily use vocabulary, or different themes as they come into your classroom. You could even have a living vocabulary wall that students can modify as they discover difficult and interesting words. Over the computers, you could have technology words, and over your centers you could have words associated to the current lesson. Cover their desks with daily use words like: pencil, paper, paragraph, etc... Students could carry a popular word reference sheet or handmade dictionary to refer to when doing their daily writing.
If you need help getting started: Check out my 30 Reading Academic Vocabulary Poster Activity and Reference Posters for Grades 3-6.

3. Have your students write daily! Always have students write in complete sentences. Who else has heard the question, "Can I use text language?" Uh... no. Texting has ruined our kiddos! Give them a plethora of opportunities to respond, think, create, and motivate! I have seen over the years where sentences seem to longer start with a capital nor do they have to end in any sort of punctuation. My kids just left 4th grade where I KNOW they were taught how to write due to the writing test they are required to take in 4th grade. How does it all dissolve over the summer? It is a shame that we have little control over what our students read and write over the summer. It feels like we play catch up the first half of the year and then are allowed to begin moving them toward their new goals for their current grade. It is frustrating for the teacher as well as the students. But, you can only focus on what you have control over... so no texting language! (Unless you are doing some super cool texting activity... then I'll let it slide ;-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

VideoScribing the Classroom

If you haven't heard of video scribing then you are missing out! It is sooo fun and admittedly a bit addictive! I wanted to introduce a new line that I will be placing in my TPT store soon. I have tons of ideas that I want to go with this but I am starting out with weekly idioms. You could easily show more than one if you would like to cover more than one each week. These could be placed on classroom computers for students to review and use in centers. There are tons of ways to use these!

Enjoy and let me know what you think! I'm always looking to improve and inspire. I'm hoping to get my first set of idioms in my store in the next couple of days!

What idioms would you be interested in seeing? :)

Idiom of the Week: Skeleton in My Closet

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale!

Don't miss out on one of the very few HUGE sales that TPT has during the year!

Most sellers will have their shops marked down 20%! Then before you finish check out - Type in the code CMT12 for an additional 10% off!

Fill your baskets now and be prepared for an awesome Monday (and Tuesday!)

Click the pic above to start shopping now!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Fun Way to Practice Text Features!

So I downloaded a new program and having been playing around with it. I think I like it! I'm going to try this out in my classroom this week since we are learning about text features and see how it goes!

What do you think? Would you like the see more? Should I put music in the background or leave it mute so you can talk over it with it in the background? I made a few tiny errors here or there and fixed them as it ran lol. Can't alter it in this program without starting all over. Hey, it can be a quick lesson that even teachers make mistakes and have to fix them sometimes lol Maybe you won't even notice them lol

tell me what you think!
If you would like to see more, what topics would you be interested in??

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Body System Fun!

So, I was thinking back to my first year teaching and remembered a fun activity that I did and wanted to share!

I had drawn each of the body systems and then we copied them onto transparencies ( man that was a long time ago huh? Now I'm dating myself :)

As the kiddos learned about the body systems they received their clear transparency version. We had them use sharpie markers (already a winner when they get to use sharpies) to color the different parts.

Then they would layer the body systems onto one another so they could see how they fit together. Leave a small place on top of the head to staple so they will stay together. Maybe shape it like a hat? lol :)

The kids had a lot of fun and it made for a really cool parent open house showing!

Feel free to free hand the different systems to make a copy but it you are not in the mood you can always download my body systems clip art which has the blackline (which is perfect for letting students color in) and the colored version if you don't feel like tackling markers in class. Click here!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

You're Invited to a Poetry Party!

Okay, so I opened this product up and my eyes were delighted by bright colors and adorable graphics. At that point I didn't care what the content was... I was sold! But, there is also some amazing content to be found... BONUS!

Poetry Party! A poetry unit for kids by Christina De Carbo

Take a look at this Table of Contents! Are you kidding me! That is awesome! It covers all you could ever need to teach poetry and then more!

My kids loved these activities. I heard oohs and ahhs over the graphics and several times I heard, "This is fun!"

The activities are well planned out, easy to follow and understand, and fun for the kids to look at. It keeps their interest while focusing on a difficult skill for students to comprehend and eventually master.

When it is all said and done, students will have a poetry book that they will remember and can always refer to as a useful resource.

Here is what happy customers are saying!



461 followers can't be wrong! Why don't you follow her today so you have a front row seat to all her amazing resources in your classroom??

Click here to get her amazing poetry unit! (Oh and btw... because of this spotlight she has it on sale today and tomorrow... you're welcome) :) 

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