Are you playing 4 Pics, 1 Word yet? It’s a free app available for iOS and Android, and the whole idea is to generate one word that would apply to all four of the pictures. I will admit it. I’m obsessed. As I was up playing last night, way past my bedtime, I kept thinking about ways that I could use this with my students. The game asks you to make connections, interpret pictures, find nuances, and have a grand command of vocabulary. How is this not awesome for kids?
So, how could I use this with kids?
- They could make their own! This would be a great way to teach students about open source images and Creative Commons searches. If each student made their own based on a set of vocabulary words, you could display them as a “real” or virtual bulletin board for students to solve one another’s challenges.
- Make some for your students based on their vocabulary words or spelling words, and they would have that list to use as a bit of a word bank.
- Save the app on your own device, and put it under the document camera for all of your students to see and help you solve, especially when you are stuck in that moment of having 5 minutes before lunch or dismissal and you want to keep them busy.
I will make the quick disclaimer that I haven’t seen any inappropriate pictures, but I will not say that there aren’t any at all!
Do you feel like no matter how much you accomplish, you always have a zillion things to do? You do, but I’ve recently been checking out a great way to help with that. Learn Zillion!
There are tons of great things out there to help with the transition to the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, but they are often overwhelming. As I’m learning the standards and making their labels part of my daily language, I want a resource where I can go for lessons, learning, clarification and sharing. That resource also needs to be read-able after a long week of work with my students, my own children and everything else that life throws at me. I love the clarity of organization and tools!
If you are flipping your classroom, this is also a great place to go for lessons and ideas!
I’d definitely encourage you to check it out!
Are you looking for primary sources for your students to use? Are you stumped at finding new places to get non-fiction historical text for your students? Do you need news articles for comparison and reflection?
Check out NY Times Machine!
We are currently doing a unit on the Civil War, and I can’t wait to show my students the actual news articles from when Lincoln was assassinated. We will compare the information here with what they have learned, dissect why it is somewhat different, and analyze how news is shared today (versus in 1865).
I’m really looking forward to using it for other learning objectives, such as…
- word choice
- spelling changes
- and more!
How do you see yourself using the NY Times Machine?
My students have been studying the American Revolution for the last few weeks, and we’ve had a blast. As we are wrapping things up, each student chose a historical figure from the war era to do more research about. Students researched their people and wrote essays about them. I partnered with the art teacher to have the students make puppets to represent the people they researched. They were amazing! Check out General George Washington and Paul Revere!
Over the weekend, my students are reworking the biographical components of their essays to be autobiographical because they are going to be recording their puppets telling about their lives, character traits and roles in the American Revolution. Thanks to a great presentation at DEN VirtuCon on Tra-Digital Story Telling , we got inspired! After we film the puppets on Monday, we are going to drop them onto different backdrops that represent the historical figures’ roles in the Revolution. I can’t wait to share them!
In the past, the fifth graders at my school had done something like a living wax museum, where students could choose anyone to represent biographically. We decided to go digital this year for a multitude of reasons this year, which didn’t necessarily have to be related to 21st century skills. We knew it would be difficult for our students to get costumes to represent characters from the war, and we didn’t want our boys or girls to be limited on their choices by their own genders. We also wanted a way to easily share our learning with our parents and community members. I am so excited to work through this project and share our results!
Are you looking for a great way to celebrate the holidays with your students, while making a variety of curricular and cultural connections? Check out PROJECTS BY JEN. Jen’s projects are always well organized and this one will be no exception. I love how she has included a component of service by having classes send a card to a children’s charity.
Be sure to make this a deep and meaningful project! Here are some other things you can do…
- Pin a Google Map with the places that you are sending cards to and where you receive them from
- Have students research the places their letters are going
- Students can calculate the distances that the letters are going to travel
- Make Skype calls with the classes you are coordinating with to share about your schools
- Make comparisons with the students in different schools
- Students can generate a digital “ad” for their class to teach more about your area and share that link with your card.
- Blog about the experience of exchanging cards
- The possibilities are endless!
Thanks Jen for coordinating this awesome opportunity!
We are in the midst of a unit on the Revolutionary War with my fifth grade students. We are making cross curricular connections and blending our social students and english/language arts time. I’ve been collecting lots of resources and realized today that I just need to start sharing them here. I did a big unit on this last year, and my students loved it. The topic hasn’t really changed, but my approach has been modified some due to the changes in Common Core Standards for ELA. One of the things that we are hitting on right now is figurative language and reading across genres, so we are tackling proverbs. The Revolutionary War unit is perfect for this because some many of the proverbs and expressions that we use today originated with Ben Franklin. Here are a few of the resources that I have found…
ThinkQuest on Franklin’s life with a section dedicated to proverbs
Proverbs from Poor Richard’s Almanac
Proverbs and quotes from Franklin
Printable “Complete the Proverb” activity
I’m planning to discuss a few proverbs with my students, and then I’ll hand out papers to each of my student groups. Each paper will have a proverb on it, and they will have to explain what it means and give a modern expression that might be an equivalent. Here’s what they are doing!
I am that mean mommy that makes my kids read every day all summer long. I know. It’s just not fair. In order to help turn summer reading into a bit of an adventure, I set my nine-year old twins, David and Tyler, up with a book blog. They titled it “David and Tyler’s Great Book Adventure.” I have been amazed at how excited they’ve been about the blogging, the comments they receive, and the pinpoints on their ClustrMap. At one point, Tyler even said, “They need to make us do this at school!”
I have done blogging with my students in the past, and I hope to develop it again at my new school this fall. I’m really liking how this is playing out with my boys, and I’m hoping that maybe I might take our classroom blog in a similar direction. As I get back into habits and develop new routines, focusing the blog on books might just be the direction we need to take.
If you are not blogging with your students, what would it take to convince you to start? Would David and Tyler convince you? Check out David and Tyler’s Great Book Adventure!
I am loving this blog post from Mrs. Bainbridge’s Class where she shares her monthly spelling choice sheets. These are great and adaptable to anyone’s spelling list. They may be a bit “cute” for older students, but they will enjoy the activities – even if they don’t admit it. If nothing else, you could re-format the borders around the pages but still use the activities.
I always love the years that the Olympics come around because they are such a great learning opportunity for children, the world over. This summer’s Olympic games will be completed before we head back to school, so I’m trying to find ways to bring them into the classroom anyways.
Some things I might try…
- Math Olympics game at Math Playground
- AIMS Math Events for Olympics
- Have students create their own graphs of the final medal counts of different countries and compare, find range, median, mean and mode
- Calculate the distances that different athletes traveled to get to the games in London
- Divide up the class into country groups to research about different countries that entered the Olympics
- Choose an Olympian to research. Create a timeline of the Olympian’s life.
- Take a virtual tour of the Olympic village.
- Research the first Olympics in Ancient Greece.
- Watch the Time Warp Trio’s “My Big Fat Greek Olympics” and do related activities
In the past few years, I have been working with teachers a lot on DIBELS assessments and then what to do with the information that they gather from their findings. I thought I’d share with you some of the websites that are my “go to” places for strategies, lessons and resources to address general and specific literacy needs, especially in the K-3 classroom.
Florida Center for Reading Research
- To be honest, I can’t believe that resources on this site are free. The Instructional Resources section for teachers is AMAZING. There are hundreds of lesson plans and pre-made activities for students to address each of the strands of emergent literacy. I have downloaded and saved all of the PDFs for future reference because the activities are so good.
- Free Reading is similar to the FCRR site because it offers lessons and activities that address the strands of reading and you can search by those strands.
- Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Fluency, and Writing
Kathy Bumgardner Reading
- I have to admit that the organization and layout of this site makes me a bit dizzy but the quality of the resources really makes up for the busy-ness.
- I love the Think Clouds for my students to model and use metacognitive strategies while reading.
- The fiction and non-fiction walks are also awesome.
- In other words, just check it out!
The Reading Genie
- So, this resource is really just a collection of more resources, but holy moly! You’re just going to have to hang out with the Reading Genie, but I especially love the tongue twisters section of this site.
- Mrs. Perkins’ Dolch Words site has all of the dolch lists prepared in every format imaginable. It is such a time saver.
- It’s also a great place to point parents to get the words to review with their kids at home!
- With a name like “Sparklebox”, what isn’t there to love?
- There are hundreds of interactive resources here that are perfect for whole group lessons or small groups. They are awesome in stations for individual students or on an interactive whiteboard.
- This site is new to me, but it looks great. I love how it is organized by topic and grade level. The material looks easy to navigate and easy to use with kids. I know what I will be doing this summer!