February 9, 2012

Sliding Around the Southeast

Our 4th grade Social Studies curriculum is currently centered on the Regions of the United States.  I say 'currently' becuase you never know how things will be changing as we work to align with the Iowa Core.  For now, we're learning about the states in the United States and I must say that I love teaching them!  I love social studies and was thrilled when I got the chance to teach all of our social studies this year - it is so fun to have some freedom to explore with these units!  For example, right now my kiddos are working on 3D maps of the states in the Southeast region and they are looking so neat!  They'll be finishing them up next week and giving presentations to share their knowledge.  Lots of pictures to come!

For now I'll share an activity I created for them to practice recognizing the states and matching up the states with their capitals.  I had a substitute in my room all day today so I could do DRA2 testing on my students and this was an easy way for them to practice while also being an easy plan to leave for the sub!  I called it Sliding Around the Southeast States and Capitals.  What I loved most is that it gave specific directions for them to practice with, but after completing the 10 directions I gave they could continue to give more directions to their partner!

And of course, I'm in the sharing mood!  You can find the PDF version of this activity here!

February 4, 2012

Word Wall

Our 4th Grade Data Team is currently working on helping our students develop their vocabulary skills, especially finding meaning within the context of the text they are reading.  One of the changes I have made in my room to help facilitate this development for my students is with a new word wall.  We have weekly vocabulary lists and do a word of the day, but the kids have not been USING the words we've been studying.  Hopefully the portability of this new word wall will encourage them to use the new words in their writing too.

I got this idea from Pinterest and am so excited about it!  I love the new pop of color it added to the room and I know the kids are going to love it too!  Each letter has a book ring on a hook and all new words are added behind the letter (in alphabetical order).  The book rings let us add and change words as often as we like and kids can take the letter's ring to their desk to use the word in their writing. 

The word cards include the word on one side with the part of speech, definition, and an example sentence on the other.  One of our class jobs is Word Wizard and that individual makes the new card each day for our word of the day.  They share the sentence and introduce the word before putting the new word onto its ring.  Of course, I also have a pocket of notecards punched and ready to go for whenever students find a great word that needs to be shared - they'll just have to look up the word's part of speech and definition in order to share the word!  Great practice for everyone!

If you'd like to try this and like the letters I used - I'm happy to share!  I printed them four on a sheet and laminated them before hanging.

Beginning Division

Although our recently implemented Iowa Core includes a great deal of division in 3rd grade, we're all still adjusting to the changes in teaching sequences and my kiddos are brand new to division this year.  No fear, we're great with our multiplication facts so this should go smoothly - right?  Perhaps I'll keep dreaming.

We did get started with division last week though and they seem to be catching on quickly, I even began some long division with one of my small groups during guided math and although they were giving me blank stares at first, were able to complete at least one problem on their own!  Baby steps! 

Here is the booklet I created to use as a guide for my lessons last week.  We worked on a skill idea each day and then either filled it into our booklet or I save the space for the next day to use as a review before the lesson.  Although I'm becoming hooked on the idea of math notebooks for all of our vocabulary and examples, they are not something I've started this year (next year!) so I love having something like this booklet for each subject we study.  This way they can keep it in their math folder and pull it out when they need reminders.

Perhaps it will be useful to someone else as well!