Saturday, May 30, 2015

Integrating Social Studies and Reading

 Hey guys! It is Science and Social Studies Saturday and I am squeaking in at the last minute with a post! Fingers crossed I can get this done before midnight! LOL!

I wanted to share a few ideas on how to integrate Social Studies and Reading. In second and third grade there are a TON of historical figures to study.  They are perfect for a biography study!

 Biographies are a great introduction to informational writing because they tend be sequential and follow the life of the person studied, with a clear beginning, middle, and end.  It has a somewhat similar story structure to narrative. This makes it more familiar to most students.

However, the big elephant in the room?  Grade appropriate text.  Yah.  Finding stuff on Mary McLeod Bethune for a third grader to read independently is not so easy! LOL!

So here are a few suggestions.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE using science and social studies books for  reading mini lessons.  They still cover the content, and can also touch on those important people.  I will say, I usually do NOT read a biographical book about the individual in reading  until we have explored the person a few days in social studies.  That way, students have a bit of background before plunging into informational text.

However, there are lots of great LITERARY texts about time periods or experiences that can be great to build background, too.

I love reading Freedom Summer before learning about MLK and Jackie Robinson.  

You can read the lesson I did with that book here.

I haven't read this book (yet), but it looks like a great way to introduce the struggle of not being able to do something or follow your dream, because of something outside of your control (race, gender)- and then breaking through barriers!

In the beginning of the year I use the book, More than Anything Else to teach a Hopes and Dreams lesson.  I love, love, love, it.  However, the book could also be read later in the year as a preview for not being able to do something (learn to read) due to race.

You can get that lesson, free on my blog here.

I have found it really difficult to find text on many of the figures for my students- especially when I taught third grade.  Here is a list that I put together from my Informational Writing Unit. They are for research, but you could also use them for read alouds.


Click here or on the pictures to get your free copy! 

Here is the full unit. You can check out the unit in my TPT store here!

I think my biggest struggle is to find grade appropriate texts the kids can read independently.  Some of the books on the list above may fit.  Unfortunately, whenever you are dealing with informational text, often the readability is just stinkin' so high!

Even the little readers provided by my district were WAAAAYYY too high for many of my students.

I decided to write some leveled, guided reading texts about the figures so there could be more accessible texts for students.  So far I have written two packs: one on Jackie Robinson (2nd) and one on Susan B. Anthony (3rd). 

Each pack contains three, leveled readers (about a beginning, middle, and end of the grade level) as well as other activities.

I am hoping to write more of these  because I know that teachers need them! I also have a little, EXCLUSIVE freebie for you from the Susan B. Anthony pack! Just a few writing activities that can be done with my pack OR without it :).  Hopefully it helps!

Just click on the picture to get your freebie!!! Hopefully , this post gave you a few ideas on integrating!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Technology Tuesday - Resizing Printed Pages

Hello, Peachy friends!  I'm Meghan from Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris.

Whew!  I've worked all day moving my classroom/office into an office/closet.  Downsizing is not for the organized at heart.  To many decisions to trash, store, or keep were made today, but I'm happy to say we only have 3 days left of the school year!  Yay!  It's Technology Tuesday and today I am bringing you a little tip for resizing printable!

Is there anything more annoying that printing out a center and finding that not everyone in the group has space to participate? I love board games, but most of the time the kids end up knocking over their players, fighting over not being able to see or sliding the board around
so much we forget where we are or the purpose of the lesson. Not anymore sweet friends!


Wow!  Can you see that difference?  Take another look...


Before on the 1 page printed board game, the game pieces were crowded and didn't have room for them to all be on the start spot.  BAM!  FIXED IT!


It's all about how you print the file!  The files are all designed (hopefully) with high quality clipart that is able to be blown up to many times the file size.  Open the file and find the board game you are wanting to print.


That's it friends!  You have the perfect sized board games now for you and your students to enjoy!  #nofights  #teacherwins   Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Creating "Shape Pictures"

Hello and Happy Memorial day! It's Erin from The Elementary Darling. How are you spending your day honoring those who lost their lives in service to our nation? I am writing this blog post and spending some time with my family today!

Today is Monday Math Day on the Primary Peach and I am going to talk to you about my favorite shape pictures. 

When you teach gifted children, often they are really creative. This particular class I had this year was very creative and when I had them create things, they learned the standard better than any other way that I tried. That works for me, because I love creativity. Some of my other teacher friends are always worried about it but there is a way to keep controlled chaos. (Well I think...) :)
Creativity isn't just great for my gifted firsties. When I taught other groups of students, this particular activity gave them the same creative freedom and they did just as well on it, if not better.

There are a few ways you can approach this activity. I did this after I had taught the vocabulary and showed the students examples of the shapes. The students can trace the shapes or cut them out. This time, I had the students cut out the shapes on a pattern block printable I had from several years ago. I also gave them an easy printable I just typed up. I really wanted them to work on identifying quadrilaterals, hexagons, triangles, and squares. You could modify this to include any shapes that you wanted!

I wanted to show you some of the amazing examples that my students this year did. Until you give them the freedom, you just never know what they will come up with. I was so proud of their pictures. They really stepped outside the box. Some of them even had 3-D elements!


I love how this one has the birds flying off the page! This activity also gives them some space to write and explain their drawing. I love incorporating writing into math! I hope that you can use this activity and that you love it as much as I do!

You can download the shape picture I used here for free! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Keep it Fresh Friday - Market Day - EOY idea

I can't believe it. By the time this post goes viral live this Friday, I will have already had my last day with students. That happens on Thursday. Wow, this year went by so fast!

One of the things I like doing with my students to end the year with a bang is have a Market Day. For our Fourth Grade curriculum we study economics and how the earlier inhabitants of this great nation used it to their benefits. What better way to help educate the future money minds of America than by immersing them in the practice?

I 'pay'  my students with $10 fake money for each day they come to school and then an additional $10 for each day they properly perform their class jobs (line leader, pencil sharpener, clean up crew, etc). Then I withdraw 'taxes' from them to pay for the lights, water, and salary of the classroom. They groan about that, but it does help them understand why adults have to pay taxes.

We start the year off deciding what items they would like to use their money for each week. We then post the class store list of items which they can buy every Friday morning. The selections range from Shoes Off, to Sitting at the Teacher's Desk, to Lunch with the Principal. The prices range depending on interest and difficulty of setting it up.

As the year closes, many still have some funds in their bankbooks to use for our Market Day. I start about two weeks out sending parents a notification about what is coming. The students all start thinking about what Goods or Services they'd like to provide for their classmates. They can sell things such as lemonade, cookies, old toys, paper airplanes, rubber band jewelry, and tattoos. Or they can provide a service such as a nail salon, desk cleaning, neck massage, or hair styling.

I have them pair up so that during our Market Day hour one of them can be out shopping while the other is behind the booth selling things. Then they switch in half an hour. They create advertisements for their stores drawing in the crowds and decide on a price they think their customers will pay. Sometimes if there are two booths selling the same items, I have to step in and regulate the price like government. Oy.

Each store has a cash bag to collect their  money in behind their desks. I give each student a page of 'checks' to cut out and use for the day. I try to give each of them only ten checks but they can request more from me so I can determine if they are approaching their money amounts. Wouldn't want them to be overdrawn now would we? At the end of the day they tally up how much they have made and split the profits with their teammate. Then I collect all the checks and separate them out by name to tally up how much they've spent and remove that from their bank books.

Bank Books: click here to get a two page file to print out back to back and create your own!

Check Sheet: click here to get a sheet to print for your own.

This year I am doing something a little different, I decided to go with a State Fair theme and asked the students to think of carnival type food and booths they could create. We needed to brainstorm ideas for the booths since they weren't really getting the idea. Here's a shot of my board after we finished.

The Big Day arrived on Wednesday. We usually have a short week on our last week of school so I like doing it the last Friday of the year, but I was working with another teacher and we had to come up with a plan. So Wednesday it is. My students were really excited and even though I had posted a schedule of the day on the board they kept asking when we would be doing Market Day. The lead up to it was a whirlwind of getting desks arranged, putting the items out, getting bags ready, helping kids tie down goals, and figuring out where everyone needed to have their booths set up.

We ended up with a great turn out and had to put three of the more interactive games out in the hall. Bowling, soccer goals, and Toss the Football were out there. Inside we had some food booths (great brownies!), Super Hero Quiz (I totally rocked that one), and Ring Toss. But the most popular booth of the day was the Ice Bucket Challenge. There was a bowl of water with ice cubes in it and you had to dunk your face inside to see how long you could keep your head down. He even provided some goggles for you to wear. There were various prizes for the length of time you accomplished.

Overall I think they had fun and learned something about earning money and being careful when they spend. At least that's what I told the principal we were doing. If you have any questions about how all this works, feel free to leave me a comment and I will get back to that I'M ON VACATION!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

10 Tips and Tricks for Classroom Teachers

Hi, y'all! It's Shannon from Bryant's Brain Train, and I'm so excited to be sharing my first post on The Primary Peach with you!
I'm here today for another installment of Teacher Tricks and Tips Thursday from The Primary Peach. With almost 20 years of teaching under my belt (seriously, can I be getting this old?!)  I wanted to share some of the tidbits that I have found to be the most useful throughout my teaching career.  You might call this my "Top 10 Tips for Teachers!"
The end of the school year is just around the corner, but as you look ahead to next year, these are some ideas from me to keep in mind as you plan (and as you strive to maintain your teacher sanity...even on the craziest of days LOL)!  
Top 10 Tips and Tricks

1.Never let them see you sweat--EVER! Appear to be in control, even if you are not!

2.Be prepared and organized, yet flexible! You need to expect the unexpected because with children if it can happen, it will happen! Never lose sight of the fact that you are the adult in the room!

3.Never yell! Speak authoritatively in a deep, calm tone, but never shriek, scream, squeal, or lose it! They will have won, and you will be the one to appear out of control!

4.Be creative! Have fun with teaching and guiding, and children will have fun with learning!

5.Parents are your best allies! If you are a teacher, win them over right off the bat! Persuade them that you also want the best for their child!

6.You are as much an actor as you are a teacher. Just dispensing information is not enough. Be animated, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and innovative!

7.Except respect! I try to create a safe, secure learning environment for all of my students. I will respect them, they will respect me, and they will respect each other!

8.Use redirection as a chance to improve vocabulary. Big words sound so impressive and intimidating anyway! I do not hesitate to use words like inappropriate, intractable, loquacious, etc. in my redirects.  What a great way to capture student attention!

9.Always debrief after a redirection. This gives children the opportunity to talk about better decision-making in the future, and it brings closure to the incident.

10.Be positive, be positive, be positive!!!! Attitudes are contagious! Positivity goes a long away in creating a safe, supportive, optimistic environment!

Enjoy your remaining few days with your students!  Hope all goes well, you have a safe and restful Memorial Day weekend, and these tips help you stay afloat in the new year ahead!  All the best!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Workshop Wednesday- End of the Year Read Alouds!

Hi Friends! It's Chandra from Teaching with Crayons and Curls! I am SO excited about my first post on this amazing blog with some amazing teachers from Georgia!

I am so excited to share Workshop Wednesday with you! 

I am officially SEVEN days away from the last day of school! It's absolutely crazy, but- Oh. So. Exciting! I don't know about you but the end of the year can be completely chaotic- trying to get in all those last minute assessments, award shows, field, day, etc. So many exciting things going on! But, I really enjoy taking some time in between all the chaos to just read to my kids. It's one of my favorite things to do as a teacher. I wanted to share some of my favorite read alouds for the end of the year! 

Last Day Blues is a classic last day of school book. If you don't have it, find one! It goes along perfectly with First Day Jitters (a must-have read for the first day of school) and is such a great read aloud to end the year with! 

Another favorite my Julie Danneberg is First Year Letters! It's a book with a collection of letters written to Sarah Jane Hartwell during her first year teaching! Another great story to end the year! It's a great book to introduce memory books or have students write letters to future students about their year in your class! No matter what, it leads to a great conversation about all the fun you had throughout the year!

Grab these {Letters to Future Students} FREE in my store! 

Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi has become one of my favorite books this year! One of my amazing colleagues let me borrow it one day and I ordered it from Amazon immediately! It's about this sweet little pig who has big dreams for herself and realizes to never give up! 

After reading the book, you can have your students discuss their own dreams for their futures OR dreams that they accomplished this year! Grab these freebies

Here are some other great read alouds for the end of the year: 

I hope everyone has a fabulous end of the year!  I'd love to know your favorite read alouds for the end of the year! Make sure to comment below with your favorites!