Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wax Museum - Non-Fiction Unit Presentation

We finished our non-fiction reading unit, so the students shared what they learned by presenting in a wax museum.  This is something people have been doing forever, but I just thought it was so cute.  My students really got into it.  They wore their outfits all day and we had to refer to them as their character name.  It was very impressive to see how hard they worked and to see how much they learned.  The students were so well prepared that many spoke as if they were the actual person and shared a lot of information about him/her.   Check out our pictures below!

Ferdinand Magellan 

Harry Houdini

Neil Armstrong

Anne Frank

Jane Goodall

Thomas Edison

Walt Disney

Jackie Robinson

Babe Ruth

Then, we had other students in our school visit.  Each person was given 3 tickets to attend 3 different exhibits.  When they handed the ticket to one of the presenters, then the presenter would unfreeze and begin talking.  The kids loved being "frozen!"

Researching Book Awards - Opinion Writing

Once we had researched the different book awards, (you can find that blog post here) the students were given different books to read in a small group that was a winner of one of the awards. I wanted the students to read books that had won the awards so they could get a better idea of their style of writing and why he/she won!

The students were able to focus on the pictures of the books and the words to better understand why that book earned the award.

I was hoping this would model for the students how to make their writing better and more detailed. 

When they finished listening to their books, we gathered on the rug and came up with examples that supported why that book may have won the award.  Then, we talked about how we could use these styles of writing in our own writing to make it better.  We also highlighted on different skills that we could focus on when trying to convince our reader to vote for out book.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Awards - Opinion Writing

While writing our opinion pieces about our favorite books, we had to learn more about different book awards.  The students researched these various types of book awards and shared their findings with the class. 

In order to keep it organized, I made a QR code for each student that would pull up the book award they were researching.  The first day I tried this activity, I had students just get on the computer or tablet and google the award.  WOAH - that was a HOT mess.  We got nothing accomplished and the kids were feeling frustrated.  So, I stopped the lesson and thought we could go back to it tomorrow.

That's when I came up with the idea of using QR codes and it would take the students to the website that would explain to them what the award meant.  It was kid friendly and the students were then able to regurgitate what they learned.  I felt brilliant! (haha not really, but it was much easier!)

You can see the kids working together using the QR codes and then recording what they learned in their writing journals.  The kids were feeling much more productive and were learning something today!

Once they finished, we gathered on the rug and the students shared the information they learned about the book awards.  I placed it on this fun chart so we could reference it as we went.  

Then, we came up with our own award categories for our opinion pieces.  The students chose three categories: funniest, most entertaining, and mysterious.  Then, the students were split into the three categories so I had 3 students writing opinion pieces about each topic.  When we completed our unit, the students read their papers to the class and the class voted on which writer persuaded them the most to read the book.  Then, that was the winner!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Fun!

St. Patrick's Day is one of my most favorite days to celebrate in my classroom!  I love having the opportunity to allow my students to be creative.

The day before St. Patrick's Day, I have my students create a leprechaun trap.  First, they have to make a plan to figure out how they can trap the leprechaun.  The students were placed in small groups where they wrote how they would make their trap to trick a leprechaun.  They also drew pictures to help them visualize what they were going to do.

I love how they were beginning with the end in mind by making a plan before they began working.  This is much more productive!

I love seeing them think and talk together.  This is a great team building activity.

Once they had their plan, they began making a trap!

I had sent in a letter the week before asking families to donate items for our leprechaun trap.  So, they sent in several recycled items and various craft pieces to help my kids make their traps. 

I loved seeing how each group was creative in their own way.

The students worked hard to listen to one another and come up with an idea that would work!

Here is an example of one of the plans the students' made.

Check out our completed traps!

The next morning....

the students received a surprise note from the leprechaun!

Oh no! They were all ruined!!

Once my kids got past the excitement of the leprechaun being in their room, they colored a fun 100's chart that turned out to be a face of the leprechaun!

Then, we did a fun graphing activity where they used lucky charms.  This is one of those activities I'm sure everyone does, but who doesn't love cereal?  When they finished, they got to eat it!

Later in the afternoon, my students went on the hunt for the leprechaun rocks the leprechaun left us.

I learned about leprechaun rocks from Gift of Curiosity.  You can learn how to make them and see what she did with them by clicking here!

Boy, they were excited!!

We gathered all of the rocks together and placed them on the table.  Luckily, I had vinegar at school so we could complete the task of the rocks. (wink, wink!)

The leprechaun told us to put the rocks in the vinegar and watch the magic!

There was magic!  They sizzled and bubbled and disappeared! 

Then, the students took turns reading the facts the found and recorded their information on the paper below.  

They had a really fun day.  We were able to complete fun activities for St. Patrick's Day and complete our classroom assignments.  It was the best of both worlds!

What fun things do you do on St. Patrick's Day?