Thursday, October 30, 2014

Electrify Your Energy Unit!

Don't let your energy unit run out of "juice"! Check out the terrific links below to energy videos, activities and just plain fun stuff to give your energy unit SPARK!

Kids answer five answers about wind power correctly to light up each window of the home. Get all five and they win!

This game takes some time, but is terrific. Students have the opportunity to choose they type of power that is used for a city, use funds to build it, and discover the impact. 

This is another game in which students choose natural energy sources to save the world. Very educational and fun at the same time! Great for fifth grade!

Great video about circuits! 

This fun game from Climate kids is fantastic!

This is a great site from Scholastic just FULL of energy study jams…includes heat, sound, light, magnetism and SOOOO much more!!

Help kids understand conserving energy with this great activity from National Geographic!

This site has videos and more about solar energy.

This game is perfect for review before the test! You can choose the number of teams to play this Jeopardy type game!

This is a short PowerPoint presentation about energy…be sure to check out the other energy PowerPoints on the right hand side. It says it is for 5th grade, but this and many others are good for 3rd and 4th as well! Very well done!

If you are interested in some energy task cards, and a game….check out my resource below. Check out the coordinating PowerPoint in my store as well!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shhhhh! Silent Consonant Letters

Silent letters can really make a kid's head spin! It takes a lot of practice to learn how to spell these tricky words. The video and game below will help make it easier…and more fun!

If you need a fun game to help your students with silent letter recognition, this is a fantastic one! Students can choose the speed.

You can't help but love this silent letter song…kids will love it too!

This is a print out game called "Rhubarb, Rhubarb" for silent letters. 
This is so, so perfect for centers!

Get great handouts and game cards for silent consonants at this great site!

If you need a resource to teach the silent letter combinations of gh, wr, kn, gh and mb…check out the resource below:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fly High with Langauge Skills and Never Use a Worksheet!

Most of the time, when I pulled out another grammar worksheet, the kids' eyes would glaze over. Grammar is SO important. It makes reading and writing make sense, and builds confidence in writers once they are sure of the rules. But, let's face it...grammar can be tedious. There's ALL those rules, words that don't follow the rules and it goes on and on. The only thing that really helps kids remember the language rules is lots of practice. However, practice with worksheets just don't seem to do the trick. So…how to do it?

There's a number of ways to reinforce grammar without using a worksheet. Check out the ones below, and please add any that work for you in the comments section!

1. Use language task cards in a center. You can make them, or purchase them pretty easily. Task cards don't feel like a worksheet, so kids take to them better. What's pretty awesome is that you can take a 20 question worksheet, and turn it into a twenty question task card activity pretty easily! They are also good for evaluation too. Test-phobic kids do MUCH better with task cards. Keep in mind that task cards don't have to be "beautiful" to do the trick!

2. Use cooperative learning. Divide students into groups of three or four. Give each group the same basic sentence, such as "I got a dog." and ask each group to expand the sentence using parts of speech you have been working on. Ask each group to explain what parts of speech they added to make the sentence more interesting. Learning by doing is the key to retention.

3. Give lots of ideas for writing to a real audience. Make up a postal system in your classroom, or even your grade level, write to authors, create a class blog, or write to local companies. The only person kids write to should not be just the teacher. When students know they are writing to real people, who will be reading their work, they try much harder to make their writing of a higher quality. Not that teachers aren't "real" people, but you know why I mean. : )

4. Start a "Sentence Collection Club" in your classroom. Ask students to write down sentences they think are especially interesting as they read. Put them in the writing notebook, post them around the room, but most importantly….discuss them with the class. What made the sentence interesting?  Why do you think the author wrote the sentence this way? Then discuss the parts of speech, and other language goals you have for the class.

5. Make language board games with the class. Ask groups of students to create a board game that will help them review language Common Core concepts they need to learn. Post the standards for students to use as they make their game. This helps students understand what they are expected to learn during the year as well. I always asked local pizza shops how much it would cost for me to purchase a class set of pizza boxes for the game. They must have felt sorry for me, because they always donated them. As a thank-you I mentioned their donation in my class newsletter. Students glued the rules to the game on the inside lid cover, made the game to fit in the bottom of the box, then included game pieces, questions and an answer key.

6. Play Online Games! The Internet is SUCH a great place to practice those grammar skills. I've included a few of the great sites I love below. I hope they help you too! Bring on the learning stations!

Are you looking for a punctuation activity? Try this one out!

If you need a Greek/Roman prefix/suffix activity, check this one out! There's two levels.

This is a terrific site for students in third through fifth grades! It's all about how to make a word plural.  Students have a choice of how to answer, this includes multiple choice, tough multiple choice, fill in the blank and tough fill in the blank. Plurals are SO important, and this activity makes learning plurals a lot more fun!

Help kids know the difference between a noun and a verb with this fun game!

Need some really good grammar PowerPoints? Try this site!

This one is lots of fun for parts of speech.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Love That 5th Grade Literature!

I came across these two fantastic links that meet RL.5.5 for fifth grade! I hope they help you out! I absolutely love them both!!!

OMG! If there's a better (and more fun) way to meet Common Core RL. 5.5 I don't know what it would be!

If you need fifth grade task cards that meet the fifth grade common core, check out:
5th grade Literature Task Cards and Game

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rethinking Regrouping!

Sometimes it takes coming at regrouping from a different direction to help kids understand what is really going on. That can be as simple as showing a video that teaches the concept a little differently. And what about subtracting across zeros...OMG! That takes real understanding of what is going on! The links below should be a big help in whole group teaching, centers, or cooperative learning. They include different ways to approach regrouping, as well sites for practice. I hope they are helpful!

This is a great video to show to the class to start (or review) regrouping with addition and subtraction…from Math Antics.

                               This is a really good video on subtracting across zeroes…done in rhyme.

Since subtracting across zeroes is such a bear…here's another video with a different strategy.


This is a terrific site to practice subtraction with regrouping. If you haven't found "Study Jams" yet, be sure to look around the site. It's really, really good!

Love this regrouping rap !

 This is the free version…and it's terrific for both addition and subtraction with regrouping!

                        This one REALLY gets into your head...and that's a GOOD thing!

           This one is great for second graders and third graders that are still confused. Very good!

This one is great for the math ninja idea!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Love Those Goods and Services!

Who doesn't like to buy "stuff"?  Ask any kid what they would buy if they had $100 and you'll get plenty of answers! Earning money, buying, and saving are all important skills for kids. They'll be using those skills for a lifetime. Here's the good thing, the great lessons, videos and games on the web can give your unit the extra kick you need to really get kids engaged! Try out some of the great sites below…kids will love them!

This is a great activity to use at centers. Students are given a number of goods and services and must drag and drop them onto the correct category. 

It's always good to let kids hear something other than their teacher's voice! A good short video does the trick! Here are some of my goods and services favorites: 

This video on goods and services is perfect for second grade!

Talking about wants and needs fits in perfectly when studying goods and services!

This is a great (short) video to introduce goods and services.

 Ok! I love Brain Pop and this is a FREE video on Goods and Services...Love!

This site has about any economics lesson you could want!

I love a good story to kick off a unit.  If you would like to check out my story unit
on goods and services, check out the link below.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Literature is Magic!

Kids love a good story, and when kids find the perfect story for them, it really is magical! What better way to help them "dig into" a great book than by using the Common Core Standards. They really help kids think through their reading. That's so important as they head out into the world (and college) to become knowledgeable and engaged lifelong learners. I've found some great videos to help teach students about the different elements in  literature. Some ideas to use with chapter books are also included below, plus a freebie to use with your guided reading groups. Enjoy!

Chapter Book Ideas:
1. Create a newspaper that could be found in the town in which the story takes place. What kinds of things are going on in that town? Included advertisements and drawings. This helps students really understand the setting and how it impacts the characters.

2. Create a poster to promote the book in your local book store. Some students may even like to create a TV add for the book and record it.

3. Design a board game based on the book. A new pizza box (I've gotten some donated by pleading the poor teacher card : )   Students design a game board based on the story, game pieces and create questions for other readers to answer.

4. Create a comic book based on the chapter book.

5. Design a new book jacket for the book.

6. What happens once the story is over? Ask students to write the first chapter of the character's next adventure.

7. Write a letter from the villain in the book explaining the reasons he/she acted the way he/she did.

8. Retell the story in a poem.

9. Ask students to design ten questions about the book, and an answer key. Ask students to exchange questions to answer.

How to determine a theme is well discussed in this video

Simple video on identifying the differences between poetry, prose, and drama

Great rap for the five themes

If you would like an online game that teaches story elements, try this one!

How about that freebie?

12 of the Best Science Sites EVER!

You don't have to be a mad scientist to need a great science site! If you've been looking, and looking (and looking some more) you've come to the right place!

There's nothing like a great website for centers or cooperative learning to reinforce, excite and spur kids on to science! Try out a few of the great sites below…they are sure to please!!! Set your gifted and talented kids loose on any of these sites and see them light up!

Kids will love, love, love this site! Perfect for feeding that "inner scientist" in every kid!

This is a terrific site for older students, and kids who are really interested in learning about subatomic particles…there's a game zone too. This one could really "spark" a new scientist!

This site called "Windows to the Universe" is a really, really good one for fourth grade and up.

Discover the secrets of everyday stuff right here! Strange Matter

From the Smithsonian find great games and activities for astronomy, geology, zoology, anatomy and physics!

Large collection of terrific science activities from the PBS show Zoom. Includes chemistry, life science, physics, and geology! There's something for everyone here!

Science Interactives is a site you do not want to miss! Educational inter actives are fantastic and about the best you will find. Check out their huge collection. Sorted by grade level!

Fantastic site called "Sea and Sky"

Terrific site from the EPA that gives educational resources about the environment…lesson plans, games and project ideas!

The Lawrence Hall of Science can NOT be beat! Kids will love this site!

Block out a CHUNK of time to look around on this site…it's a treasure….from NASA!

Do you teach about cells? Don't miss this one!

How about some great science task cards? Check out the resources below: