Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tried it Tuesday-Native American Books

I am linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday. I get inspired by so many people out there in bloggerland. I was looking for a faster way to do a Native American project since I teach both 4th grade classes for Social Studies this year. This project was inspired by Tara from 4th Grade Frolics' Native American project. You can check it out HERE.

She used a simple lunch bag to create the project below:

Well, I tried using the same idea but added my own touch to it. We study California Native American tribes in 4th grade. As a culmination of our unit, the students had to pick a Native American tribe we studied in one of the four regions of California.

Then they had to make 5 fact cards about their tribe. We really worked on elaborating their facts into more than one sentence. On one side, they wrote the fact and the other side, they illustrated what they wrote about. These tucked in nicely in the pocket of the bag.

Next, they had to color in their tribe's location on a map of California. This was glued on the inside page. 

The cover was the most fun. They had to have the title of their tribe and an illustration of something they learned about them. The decorating began! They hole punched the side of the book and sewed it together with "Native American string" and beads. Next, they could choose some feathers to add texture to their book. 

Here is how they turned out!
They had so much fun making these. The boys commented how they really liked learning to sew. This was a fun project and easy to do with both classes in a crunch for time. 

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"I'm first. No, I'm first!"

Have you had trouble keeping track of when students are ready to take Reading Counts or AR quizzes? I had students arguing about who was next last year, so I started having them write their numbers on the board when they were ready. Of course, it didn't look that great and had to be rewritten a lot.
So this year I made it more organized. I created smaller numbers and laminated them, used a header for Reading Counts (that is the program we use), and a smaller pocket chart. Of course, everything had to match my room! Now it looks like this...

So far it has been working pretty well. The students have done a great job keeping their number organized when they move it back and forth.
If you would like my system, you can find it at my TpT store. I also added AR Quiz items to the product if you use that system.
Just click HERE!

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Motivating Readers

I am linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching on this fine Sunday morning. I'm a day late but Saturdays just go by too fast! 

In our school, we use Scholastic Reading Counts to help with comprehension. Our fourth grade team sets goals each trimester that the students need to reach. In order to MOTIVATE them to read more than the minimum, we set up a "Reading Through the Regions" board in our classes. In 4th grade, we study the four California Regions in the beginning of the year so this incorporates our social studies as well.

Here is a picture of my board (Matches my theme of course!!)

As they "leave" a region, they get a reward.

Desert Region: Juice Box (they must be thirsty from the hot desert)

Central Valley Region: Fruit snacks (lots of crops growing here)

Mountain Region: Granola Bar (Rugged mountains)

Coastal Region: Beach Ball (from the Pacific coast)

I also give them a certificate when they have been through all four regions (200 RC points).

You would be surprised how these small tokens really motivate my students. I was able to move one student over to the Central Valley this week and all of the other students were so excited she received a juice box. "LUCKY" is all I heard.

Let the reading begin!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"Hands Down" I Have a Great Bunch!

So every year we try and come up with a beginning of the year activity where the kids tell a little about themselves. This year my partner teacher, Pam, found this pin on Pinterest. This looked colorful and fun!

So we took that idea and decided to have the kids make a hand about them and color it with words and pictures that represented them. (Of course, we did a circle map first so they could organize their thoughts)
Our students really had a blast tracing their hands and cutting them out! (We don't get to do enough of that now a days!!) 

Here is how they turned out! 

I loved how unique they all turned out. I also let them share their "hand" with their table groups before we put them up. 

So what types of activities do you do on the first few days of the school year as a get to know you activity? Comment below :-)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Classroom Pictures Are UP!

Make sure you check out the "My Classroom" tab at the top of the page to see a peek at my classroom.

The pictures were taken after school started so it's a little lived in. It's amazing how those few days before school started zoomed by! I know it's October but I'm sure you are all feeling the same way after the first month of school-BREATH!

Here is a preview:

I hope you enjoy it and maybe get some ideas to spark up your classroom too!