Archive for the ‘Constructivism’ category

I is for Ivan

May 19, 2017

I is for Ivan as in The One and Only Ivan, a wonderful novel with lessons for both kids and adults. The novel is based on a true story, a gorilla in Atlanta. We were all taken with the novel and the nonfiction book, Ivan the Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla. So, we created a unit for the novel and a read-along guide for the nonfiction book—both pair well. And, then of course we had to add bookmarks, which are free. Give yourself, your students, and/or your children or grandchildren a treat—read both books!

The One and Only Ivan unit includes:

  • Instructional Schedule for Unit Plan • 12 Lesson Plans with instructional guide and reproducible student handouts • Introducing the Novel Lesson • Setting Analysis Lesson • Character Analysis Lesson • Ivan-isms Lesson • Habitats, Groups, and Offspring Lesson • Pair Read Aloud & Prediction Lesson • Friendship Lesson • Ivan’s Letters Lesson • Novel Quotes Lesson • Ivan’s Many Families Lesson • Pair Read Aloud and Face-to-Face Slide-By Lesson • Ivan’s Billboard Lesson • Summative Assessment w/Rubric • 1 (19 page) Reproducible Student Literary Log • 16 Reproducible Student Bookmarks • • Unit PowerPoint to Guide Daily Lessons w/Teacher Guide • Formative Assessment PowerPoint (includes 3 quizzes) w/Teacher Guide and Answer Key

Ivan the Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla Read-Aloud Guide includes:

  • Pre-Reading, During-Reading, and After-Reading Activities
  • Pre-Reading and After-Reading
  • Vocabulary Activity
  • Making a Timeline of Ivan’s Life
  • Ivan Mapping Activity
  • Advocacy, Protests, and Petitions
  • Illustrations in Nonfiction Literature
  • Research Project
  • Ivan’s Story Cube
  • Suggested Resource List
  • Ivan Grouping Cards
  • Ivan Bookmarks

Sixteen free reproducible bookmarks with quotes from The One and Only Ivan. Use for forming groups or just for fun. Your students will love them.

SALE 20% off May 20-21 The One and Only Ivan Unit and Ivan the Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla Read-Aloud Guide

Save more and buy both products in the bundle!

H is for Homework

May 17, 2017

Homework has little research to support its use or its connection to learning. When I first started teaching, I used the worksheets and quizzes that came with the anthology with one exception. I did the worksheets and took the quizzes and found for the most part they were definitely lacking. Then, I would ask my students why they did not do homework—responses included lack of time, redundant, boring, and just plain stupid. So, I started creating my own assignments that connected to the learning goals I wanted students to attain. I focused on creating assignments that included choice and personalization, that were fun, novel, and interesting to students and me. It worked and now our products reflect those very same tenets.
Meaningful homework assignments should engage students and be fun to do. We have compiled creative alternatives to traditional homework assignments that can be adapted to a variety of content areas along with a list of alternative homework assignment ideas. This product includes:

-Name Lists
-Rounding Up: Adjectives and Adverbs
-Survey. Note. Conclude! Homework Assignment
-8 Alternatives to Traditional Homework Assignments

-Teacher Bookmarks with Homework Quotes (8 reproducible bookmarks)

SALE 20% off May 18-19 Homework: Show What You Know

We also created eight reproducible bookmarks designed for teachers with quotes about homework that are ready for copying, cutting, and distributing. These are included with the homework packet, but are also FREE as a stand-alone. Consider sharing these bookmarks with your colleagues and parents to start the conversation about the value of traditional homework.

F is for Formative Assessment

May 12, 2017

We often focus only on what we do not know and perhaps it might be beneficial to also know what we do know. We developed two products to facilitate formative assessment by creating fun and fast exit slips and fast formative assessments. These two products are grounded in our own practice as well as research.

Exit Slips and Tickets Out are fast formative assessments that you can use daily to see how you and your students are doing. The novelty of these exit slips will catch your students’ attention. They will also give you ideas for creating your own. This product includes:

  • One-Minute Write
  • Muddiest Point
  • Ticket Out
  • Exit Slip
  • Admit Slip
  • One Thing I Learned Today
  • Halftime Report Basketball and Football Themed

Fast Formative Assessment Strategies: Checking for Understanding is a packet of mini-assessments ideal for closing a lesson or unit for grades 6-12. These mini-assessments get students focused on showing what they have learned in clever and engaging ways. This product includes:

  • Stick it With 6
  • Hey Granny Did you Know?
  • Resume of a Leader/Portrait of a Character
  • Scene Rewind
  • A Poetic Moment
  • Fact Checker Quick Check

SALE 20% off May 14-15 Exit Slips and Quick Formative Assessment Strategies

E is for Esperanza Rising

May 11, 2017

E is for Esperanza Rising, a novel by Pam Muñoz Ryan. The first time this novel came onto my radar was when my granddaughter was reading it in fourth grade. She is an avid reader and lucky for me, loves to discuss what she is reading with me. I suppose we are both book nerds—nothing wrong with that.

A few years later I picked up the novel to consider for a novel study and her retelling came back to me as well as how meaningful the novel was to her. As I read it I was taken with how the author titled each chapter with the name of a food that was relevant to that chapter. Then I thought it would be fun to create a novel study that focused primarily on each food as well as how that food was symbolic of the ongoing story. So the Enrichment Activities Connected to Chapter Foods emerged. This product includes:

  • 14 Individual Lesson Plans (1 per chapter)
  • Chat Stations Activity
  • 12 Food Cards for Forming Student Pairs, Trios, and Quads
  • Permission Letter to Parents/Guardians
  • 1 PowerPoint with 58 Slides and Teacher Guide for PowerPoint

SALE 20% off May 12-13 Esperanza Rising Enrichment Activities Connected to Chapter Foods

And, don’t forget to check out the FREE bookmarks!

D is for a Decision Making Process

May 10, 2017

D is for a Decision Making Process. As adults, are there not those times that a decision making process would make your life easier? And, if adults could benefit from a decision making process, then middle and high school students certainly can benefit. This particular product came out of one of our novel studies. Jennifer developed it into an independent process that easily fits in with social studies or literature units. It’s easy to implement and students seem to really engage with it. So, try it out for yourself or your students. Our favorite comment from a teacher who bought this products is:

…moreI decided to download this grid and it was the best decision in my entire life! (11/6/14)

Now, should I continue working or go watch Netflix? Should I make popcorn or just have some mixed nuts? Should I buy the Porsche or Mercedes???

SALE May 10-11 20% off Decision Making Process for Middle and High School Students

Decision making

Learning Stations and Cranberries

November 10, 2016

cranberriesLearning stations engage students in active learning. “Learning stations can be used for myriad purposes—to teach concepts, integrate subject matter, build interest, and allow for inquiry—the possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the teacher and the supplies available” (Jarrett, 2010, p. 56).

Learning stations are designated areas in a classroom, hallway, cafeteria, or community room where students complete tasks. Everything the student needs is available at each station, which could include handouts, activity sheets, experiments, photographs, videos, music, artwork, food, cranberries, etc. There are step-by-step directions at each station. Students move from station to station individually, in pairs, or small groups. The number of stations can vary as well as the time estimated at each station for students to complete the station task. And, students can work at their own pace.

Learning stations work for all grade levels. Consider inviting parents, older students, or preservice teachers to help with setting up stations, guiding students through stations, or even be part of a station, giving interviews, clarifying instructions, doing demonstrations. For example, a parent helper might serve samples of cranberry juice at a tasting station.

Check out Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities to use as a template for developing and setting up learning stations in your own classroom. It’s a great example of the types of stations you might set up as well as what you need for each station. It’s a delicious example of using learning stations!

Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities includes

  • 19 page-teacher guide
  • Materials and picture guides for each center
  • Answer key for student journal
  • Optional QR codes or print resources
  • 14-page student journal
  • 11 center signs for each learning station

Jarrett, O. (January 2010). Inventive learning stations. Science and Children 47.5: 56-69.

Visit our Teachers Pay Store and look at the products we have available–you just might find something perfect for you and your students.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

The One and Only Ivan

The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Surviving to Thriving TPT

HOMEWORK: Show What You Know

July 25, 2016

I like a teacher who gives something to take home to think about besides homework.human-face-with-flower

Lily Tomlin

If you have looked at the research about homework, it generally does not support a connection between time spent on homework and grades (Kohn, 2012). The challenge for teachers is the expectation of homework from both families and students, but not all homework is created equal. Homework is appropriate for preparing, checking for understanding, practicing, rehearsing, and/or processing including analyzing, evaluating, and/or reflecting (Vatterott, 2009).

Meaningful homework assignments should:

  • allow for student choice and personalization;
  • provide opportunities for students to share things about themselves;
  • tap into emotions, feeling, and/or opinions; and
  • be aesthetically pleasing (Vatterott, 2007).

Meaningful homework assignments should engage students and be fun to do. We have compiled various homework assignments that can be easily adapted to a variety of subjects for intermediate and upper level grades. And, there is a list of alternative homework assignment ideas. Check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Homework: Show What You Know includes:

  • Name Lists
  • Rounding Up: Adjectives
  • Rounding Up: Adverbs
  • Survey. Note. Conclude! Homework Assignment
  • Using Graphic Organizers to Show What You Know
  • 8 Alternatives to Traditional Homework Assignments with Mini-Activity Slips
  • Teacher Bookmarks with Homework Quotes (Something to share with colleagues and start a conversation about homework.

References

Kohn, A. (November 25, 2012). Homework:  New research suggests it may be an unnecessary evil. Huffpost.

Vatterott, C. (2007). Becoming a middle level teacher:  Student-focused teaching of early adolescents.  New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Vatterott, C. (2009). Rethinking homework:  Best practice that support diverse needs. Alexandria, VA:  ASCD.


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