Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Widow's Broom - Text Dependent Questioning


It is I, Gary, from ScrappyGuy Designs.    The month is October, the leaves are falling, the moon is full in the inky darkness above. Perfect timing for a spooky tale!

I love this time of year. In Atlanta the mornings are cooler as I walk to work, yet on the way home the jacket is off as I sweat my way back. Halloween is my second favorite holiday, right next to Christmas. I think it has something to do with my upbringing. My family loves horror movies and we often have competitions to see who can bring the scariest ones to watch whenever we get together.

I've learned to tone down the graphic and gore in my teaching, but I still love the spine-tingle. That is why I love sharing The Widow's Broom by Chris van Allsburg with my students.

I could go on and on about the amazing artwork presented in a sepia pointillism that does incredible things with light and shadows. The sense of movement is absolutely palpable in various illustrations. Such as this one:

But that's not my focus for today's lesson. It's about the spooky tale woven by Mr. van Allsburg about a shy, lonely widow who discovers an injured witch in her garden one morning. She helps the witch in her recovery. The witch disappears as quickly as she arrived, but she leaves one thing behind.

Her broom.

Thus begins the tale of Widow Shaw and her relationship with a magical item. My students love discussing this book. Especially the meanness to the broom instigated by the Spivey neighbors. Watch out for van Allsburg dog, Fritz, to make an appearance!

My school does a lot of work with Text Dependent Questioning. 'Common Core expects students to use evidence from texts to present careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. A central tool to help students develop these skills is text-dependent questions: questions that can only be answered by referring back to the text.' (

I've got a spooky treat for you. Here's a preview of the questions I ask my students about this book.

I've also put some of the questions together on a net of a cube that you can cut out and glue together to make a dice for students to work together in a group to answer the questions. You can click on either picture and it will take you to the downloaded materials for your records.

Your students will have fun rolling the dice and discussing their impressions of the book using evidence from the text to prove their points.

Hopefully you will have fun this October watching your kids enjoy this book. Definitely check out Chris van Allsburg's other titles. There's always more than meets the eye!


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Zombie Apocalypse--Peach Style

Imagine, if you will...

a classroom full of actively, engaged students, working collaboratively towards a goal of prepping for a

Not so scary if you are using the CDC's Handbook- Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic!
The CDC uses the zombie theme to educate and express the importance of being prepared and putting together an emergency preparedness kit.  

I teach the gifted students and am constantly looking for ways to keep them engaged and use higher order thinking skills.  Using the CDC handbook to start the organization process, I am teaching my upper elementary (not recommended for younger children) life skills - no, not the survival of the Zombie Apocalypse kind- the collaborative and research kind.

The lesson is presented as a through a zombie apocalypse threat is imminent.  The students, at a minimum can write a speech advising the community about what actions to take to save the remaining member of the town.  Some extension activities I am doing are creating a chain of command, approaching it as a proactive or a reactive scenario,

The CDC has provided a fantastic guide for us to use in our classes.  Here is a link to the CDC handbook.  Here is a link to the lesson guide from MaryGrove College. Have fun!!

For even more ideas from The Primary Peach, be sure to follow us on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook to catch all the latest news and updates!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall Favorites and a GIVEAWAY!

This is such a beautiful time of year!!! Since Fall is a FAVORITE of ours here at the Primary peach, we thought we would put together a post of our favorite books for the fall!

Do you want a FREEBIE for this book?  Mandy created a freebie for this book- it has activating and previewing strategies!! You can snag your freebie here!

Are you looking for some text dependent questions for this book and several other spooky favorites? You can pick up this pack from Gary here. And stay tuned- he has a great blog post coming up about text dependent questioning here on the Peach on Sunday!

Collaboration Cuties also wrote this incredible pack comparing fiction and nonfiction for both of these books.  It is jammed PACKED with all kinds of standards based fun!  Check it out here!

Looking for an adorable FREEBIE to go with this book?  Ashley has created a template for a class book!  You can get it here FREE!

Tami also has the Halloween Holsteins Count and Clip Cards (the name is hysterical to me for some reason!  Love it!) that are perfect way to integrate math centers! You can snag them here!

Are you looking for a fun, interactive way to teach this book? You may be interested in lap books!  Meghan has this adorable lapbook  for Stellaluna (and many others)!

The fun is not over yet!  Would you like to purchase some of these fall books or ANY books off your wish list?  We can help!  Just enter below to win a $30 Amazon Giftcard!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fast and Fun Fall Math Activity

Hello, everyone.  I am Tami from Kamp Kindergarten. 

The mornings here in Georgia are feeling like fall though the afternoons still feel like summer.  I am ready for fall weather and all that it encompasses. When I think of fall, I think of many things.  I think of cool evenings spent in warm comfy clothes or soft, cuddly pajamas.  I think of yummy fall treats and hot drinks that warm me from the inside.  Pumpkins and candy corn are also among the many items that signal fall is here for me. 

I love detailed and well thought out learning activities as much as the next person.  I have always been willing to take time to prepare materials like that for my little learners.  I experience such a feeling of accomplishment when I get an activity printed, laminated, cut, and ready to use.  Even so, there are times that I just need a quick, easy, and fun activity.    I want to share one of those fall math activities that I made with pumpkin doilies and candy corn. 

Most teachers love dollar stores. I am no exception.  I got the items for this activity at the dollar store.  If you are busy and can’t get to the dollar store (or just don’t want to change out of your jammies) the items are also available on Amazon.

You will need pumpkin doilies, candy corn, and a Sharpie type pen.

Use the Sharpie to write a numeral on each doily.  Choose the range that best meets your learners’ needs. I chose to write the numerals for 0-20.   The pumpkin doilies can be laminated for durability if you wish. 

Learners put the correct quantity of candy corn pieces on each pumpkin.

You may choose to have learners put the pumpkins in numerical order first if they need extra practice with that.   As indicated earlier, this activity is easily adaptable to the needs of your classroom.

You may wish to have learners organize the candy pieces to show tens and ones where applicable.

As I mentioned earlier, I got these items at the dollar store but they are also available from Amazon.  Here are Amazon affiliate links if you want to stay comfy in your jammies. 

Pumpkin Doily Link

Here are a couple of FREE fall math resources if you would like additional activities. Sorry. They do require printing, laminating, and cutting, but that can be done while you are snug and cozy in your favorite warm jammies.  You can even sip hot cocoa or spiced cider from your favorite mug as you work.

Here is a Candy Corn Count and Clip activity.  Your little ones can work on counting and fine motor development in one easy-to-use resource.

Candy Corn Count and Clip Cards

Here is a Pumpkin themed Addition Activity.  It will get your little ones up and engaged in mastering addition facts. This activity is great to help keep little ones focused if the weather does not permit outside activities.

Pumpkin Seed Add the Room

I hope you and your learners enjoy these fall math activities. 

Have a Fantastic Fall! 

Kamp Kindergarten

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