Monday, February 25, 2013

Need a little help teaching Persuasive Writing? Plus a FREEBIE!

This year, with the introduction of common core, we were asked to change our persuasive writing unit a bit to include reviews, like book reviews and movie reviews. Really, beginning last year, we were asked to begin writing all of our lessons in a more in-depth, scripted manner. In each lesson of each subject we now include the following:

Active Engagement,
Application, and

It is a lot of work to be so in-depth, but it’s really great once it’s done. A couple of years ago, 3rd grade was fortunate to get smart boards for each of our classrooms. We were so excited that we even enrolled in a two-week class over the summer to get some advanced training. Now we use it for so much, so if you use any of my full-length unit products, you'll see that I include documents that are meant to be viewed on the Smart board in addition to other material. It’s great in writing too!

In writing, I feel there is nothing better than using examples of the very writing techniques you are teaching. All too often, we shake our head in dismay at our writing scores and say, "If they'd only listened more! I told them everything they needed to know to make an excellent score!" In fact, we just don't retain much of what we only learn by hearing. We do so much better if we can involve multiple senses, and visual examples help make all the necessary connections. The Smart board helps us not have to "recreate the wheel" over and over. We save all of our documents to our computers, then upload them to a server that we have organized by grade level and then by subject.

I've think I've gotten off track...the title suggests help with Persuasive Writing.
1."Show" writing examples demonstrating the skills you want your students to emulate.
2. Provide them with a graphic organizer to lay out the plan you want them to shoot for.
3. Teach them to open with their opinion. Include their supporting reasons in the body of their essay, and end by restating their opinion in a passionate way.

I have included this and so much more in my brand new Persuasive - Opinion Writing Unit. This is the Cadillac of Units. Not only are there a month's worth of fully-developed and in-depth lessons; they are SCRIPTED, so even the newest of teachers will feel like a seasoned pro. In many of the lessons, I refer to supporting documents that serve as examples of the skill being taught that day. I've included each supporting document. There are charts, posters, checklists, and more. Click here to get take a look.

Here is a Preview of parts of it, but there was just not enough room to include everything.  There are so many more lessons and supporting documents that shows here, but you can get a good idea.

I have been working on this unit for a very, very long time!  To CELEBRATE its completion,
I am going to give you a little FREEBIE that is actually included in this unit.

Here are the posters I use when I teach my lesson on how to write LEADS.  Click here to download your FREE copy.  Please leave your feedback on TPT and I'd love it if you'd leave a comment here on my blog.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope this was helpful!


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Literacy Center Ideas: Context Clues

Do you remember back when 4 Blocks was the rage, the new thing?  I still love many of those activities.  One activity that was great was called "Guess the Covered Word".  I even bought a book just for that activity and inside it had all these so cool state of the art...wait for it...Color Transparencies.  This of course was before the age of the smart boards!!!  Not so many years ago, maybe 5 or so, we used overhead projectors instead.  Well back to the topic... These sheets had certain meaningful vocabulary words highlighted.  My job was to cover these words with post-its or highlighter tape and follow a series of revealing steps that unveiled clues.  The object was to guess the covered word with the least number of clues revealed. Here is a copy of one of the books for fourth grade.  Notice the overhead projector at the dates it just a bit, don't ya think?


First the whole word was covered and students read the sentence, volunteering words they felt might belong in the blank.  I would write them on the whiteboard, then reread the sentence using the suggested words.  We would also look at the length of the space and consider which of the words we had written on the board looked too long or too short to fill that space.  The focus however was on the context of the sentence.  What words would make sense in the space?  I was teaching students how to use context clues.  

I haven't used that activity since the installation of my smart board, and the removal of my overhead projector.  However my teachers and I were just talking about making some of these on our smart boards and using the dark boxes to cover key words.  Of course, since it would be on the smart board, it would most likely be a whole class activity. 

Here is a smart board lesson already created from the Smart Exchange for grades 1 and 2 that teach this skill. These are FREE for teachers. (They are notebook files, which mean they are made for smart boards.  If you don't have that software, don't bother.) If you haven't ever been there, you are missing a valuable resource.  Go check it out!  Click on the picture below and it will take you there, but if you have a smart board, there is an icon at the top that looks like an X with a dot over the top, as well as the words in the menu to the left, that will get you there as well. 


Here is a You Tube video showing an excellent lesson on how to Guess the Covered Word.  The teacher running the lesson is doing it with her second grader.  Its really cute!  Click on the picture below to take a look.

I truly believe that for so many students, they need that smaller group to help focus their attention.  That is why I made a set of literacy center cards to teach this same concept.  They are called "Reading Skills Task Cards:  Context Clues".  Here are what a few of them look like...

When I am working with a group, usually 4 to 6 students at a time, I will use these. I generally start out reading the first card aloud and then thinking aloud for them, modeling how they might think to use the context of the sentence to figure out the correct meaning of the word. Then I will give out a card to each partner set and listen in as they try to work together to do the same.  After a time, I go over their answer choices with them, but the most important part is to go over what I heard them saying as they were thinking.  These babies just need more practice thinking like this, and before long they WILL get the hang of it.  Repeated practice is the key!  There are 20 cards in this set.  You can pick them up at my TPT store or TN shop.

Have fun teaching!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Will You be at School on Presidents Day?

While some schools are on holiday for
 Presidents Day, 
many others are not.

I have two great products to share to make this day even more memorable.  
My first product is called Say Yea for President Day!  It contains a great trivia game, asking questions about several of our most famous Presidents including Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, Roosevelt, Reagan and more.  Print these cards and the game boards that go along with it for a day of fun and learning about some of our country's greatest leaders.

Even if you are off, you may still want to pick up this FREEBIE if your kiddos still need more work on identifying coins correctly.  For the most part, I think of this as a Pre-K to grade 1 or grade 2 skill, but if your kiddos are like mine, there are still some who mix up the penny and nickel when both are shown in black and white images, like on tests.

These charts are the size of a piece of paper, when you print them.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Claim Your Valentine Freebie

If your students are practicing their 3s or 4s facts, then stop by and pick up this great Valentine Freebie.  You kiddos will love playing this multiplication fact game, whether its Valentines Day or not. 

Click here to get your game.
Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Are You Ready for Some Football - and a SUPER Sunday Sale?

Come check out this AWESOME Superbowl
Sunday Super Sale on TPT!
These are just a few of the newest items I've posted to TPT:
Your students will love the chance to move around the room as they work their way through these task cards. Print, laminate, then cut out. Post all 20 task cards around the room or in a center. Hand each student a recording sheet (included) and instruct them to use the context surrounding the bolded word, to determine its meaning. They are to record their answers on the recording sheet. An answer key is provided. Several of these bolded words are key vocabulary needed to advance in some of the leveled literacy inventories.
Your students will love this approach to history! This 11 page readers' theater is specifically created to meet the Georgia Performance Standards for 3rd grade.

Lyndon B. Johnson is one of several historic figures featured in our Social Studies curriculum. However this readers' theater meets several general GPS objectives in grades K - 5, as well as supporting a unit of US Government study, making it a great choice in many Social Studies classrooms.
Need a fun and exicting way to get your kiddos to practice their high frequency words? Your students will beg to play Fry Wordgames! At the end of your guided reading time, or during center time, hand out these word games to students needing practice reading high frequency words. These 5 engaging gameboards are based on Fry's 2nd hundred through 5th hundred word lists. Additional sets will be added soon, since Fry's words go up to the 10th hundred. As a third grade teacher, I have used Fry's checklist as a baseline for RTI data indicating decoding or sight word trouble. Sounding out so many words can get discouraging to an early reader, so the more sight words they know the more fluent they will become and the less frustrated too. Most of my students performing below grade level need concentrated work on reading these words, so I designed an enjoyable way for them to get the much needed practice.

I have students play in groups or 2 or 3 or with me at my guided reading group table. One player rolls the dice. If it is an odd number the player moves one space. If it is an even number he or she will move two spaces. If you want the game to go faster, allow them to move the number shown on the dice. If the student can read the work (even if it is by sounding out at first), they stay on that new word. If they cannon read the word, they stay where they are an wait for their next turn. My students enjoy making up additional rules like if they land on another player, the first player goes back 5 spaces, but be sure that these rules are agreed upon by all players before the games begin. Black and white games are also included for ecomonical printing. Enjoy!

Happy Shopping and ...
                    may the best team win tonight!
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