I’ve done posts before about using Facebook templates for your students to create engaging and thought-provoking projects. Considering the focus in the Common Core State Standards on characterization, understanding point of view, and writing across genres, this really lends itself well to addressing these concepts. I just wanted to share this NEW Wonderful Free Facebook Template that I discovered this week!
Here are just a few ways that you could use Facebook templates in your teaching and learning…
- historical figures
- elements of the periodic table
- fictional characters
- national parks
- geometric figures
There are lots of great “Guess the Wordle” projects out there, and it is definitely one of my go-to activities. Jen Wagner is definitely an expert on GTW projects, and if you haven’t checked out her site, stop reading now and go there (just please come back).
Wordle, and other similar word cloud generators, are an awesome way to reinforce inferencing skills with your students of all ages. This set of activities was designed for a presentation I did for a science workshop, so these are “Guess the Scientist” Wordle’s. I’ll start with some examples…
Can you guess the scientist from the clues given in the word cloud? What are some of the key points that might give it away? GTW’s are something pretty quick and easy to do in a series and you can do them at home. I keep a file of them that I can pull out at any time with themes like Classic Fairy Tales, Guess the Day in History, Famous Inventors, etc. On a rainy day, or when I have just a few minutes, I can post one and students can try to guess. They also make excellent interactive bulletin boards.
So, how do you get started? Go to http://www.wordle.net and click CREATE. Use the URL of a site you like or copy/paste text. That’s it! I do recommend that you go through your copy/paste and delete any key words that might give your Wordle away a little too easily. I found this site for short biographies of scientists that worked perfectly!
Are you looking for ways to introduce your students to basic and advanced science concepts? Do you have a one-computer classroom?
Check out these awesome science simulations on the PhET site in all science content areas from the University of Colorado at Boulder. I was looking for a way to show my students how the movement of molecules changes when heat is applied or reduced, and I found “States of Matter: Basic” simulation. It’s easy to find (I just searched “matter”) and easy to use, without having any exceptional technology requirements. For those of us with download restrictions on our school computers, I also appreciate that you can run them online. These activities could be great for classroom demos, student research or classroom flipping. How else do you see using them in your classroom?
At NCCTM today, I attended a session based on integrating the arts into the math classroom. I was so impressed with the presenting dance teacher’s express understanding of the math Common Core State Standards. She specifically designs lessons that help her students reinforce what they are learning and she used the phrase “visually, cognitively, and kinesthetically.” What if we approached every lesson this way?!
Here are some resources on integrated the arts into the regular classroom. Many of our students would benefit academically from our efforts to include elements like these in our teaching. I know we’d all have a lot more fun!
Music and Arts Integration Lessons – super easy, accessible and ready to go
Arts Edge – an exceptional, searchable resource from the Kennedy Center for the Arts
Math, Art, Fun – What more needs to be said?
Math in Art and Architecture
Links and Resources – from Education Closet
Do you love biographies? Do your students enjoy learning more about historical figures? Consider enhancing your teaching of historical people with the series from Animated Hero Classics. These great videos are about 30 minutes each and provide excellent information about people like the Wright Brothers, Madame Curie and William Bradford, just to name a few. The videos are available on Discovery Education and on YouTube. Recently, I found teacher guides to accompany each of the videos/people with cross-curricular activities that relate to the person and build greater understanding of the person, the times surrouning his/her life and the contributions he/she made to society. You can find these great resources at http://www.dscl.org/kids/animated-heros-classics.html. Each guide is a downloadable pdf document that is around 50 pages of exceptional resources and ideas for instruction. If you were already using this great series, these documents are a definite bonus!
Are you looking for ways to teach your students ways to tackle their comprehension of non-fiction texts? Check out this excellent resource from the Center for Urban Education. I love how the graphic organizers are simple to draw, so I don’t have to run copies ahead of time for my students. They are also broken up into different comprehension strategies and text structures, so I’m always going to be able to find one to meet my needs.
Obviously, these graphic organizers fit beautifully with non-fiction texts of all kinds and levels. But, have you thought about using them with videos or clips from Discovery Education? I love teaching the use of these organizers with video clips because we can focus specifically on the featured learning objective, like summarizing. My lower readers do really well with this activity because they can get a handle on the skill I am trying to teach before they are struggling with the texts, too. This way, they know what they are doing and what to look for, as well as how to think about it. Give it a try!
Are you looking for texts to use with your students that relate to your science curriculum? Do your students love seeing what’s going on in the world of science?
Check out Science News for Kids! There is a huge, easily searchable database of articles with beautiful pictures that relate to all areas of science. The articles have an upper elementary readability level, and would be great for non-fiction texts in guided reading groups or for small group study. They even pull out and define key vocabulary.
We are starting school-wide flexible guided reading groups on Monday, and I’ve been working today on my plans. I’ve found a text on clouds that addresses our current science objectives and it goes through the comprehension strategies that we’ve been studying in English/Language Arts, too. Woot! I get really excited when that happens. Some of you know exactly how awesome that is.
Any ways, one of the tenets of reading non-fiction is have purpose and focus. I love this “Responding to Non-Fiction” graphic organizer that can be used with lots of different texts. I use it frequently, and I really like how it makes the students apply background knowledge, consider questioning as a technique and analyze text features.
Check it out!
Do you remember watching and learning with School House Rock as a kid? Believe it or not, despite the crazy technological advances of today, kids still love them! I knew they were all on You Tube, but my school’s filter blocks YouTube. Finally, I found this collection of many of the School House Rock videos at SqoolTools. If you click on the “filmstrip,” it will take you to the video. If you click on the song title, it will give you the lyrics. Check it out!
One idea to try with your students is to let them watch a particular video three or four times. For example, when my third graders were learning their times tables, they used the “Three Is a Magic Number” to help them out. I divided them into groups and let them come up with a routine to the song, and they made “music videos” to go with each song, which I recorded with my flip camera. They did an awesome job, not to mention mastered their three’s times tables!