Monday, February 11, 2013

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and Character Traits

This past week we used an amazing book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, to learn about character traits.

This book is about a 14-year-old boy, named William, who builds a windmill in his drought-ravaged village in Africa bringing electricity and running water.  William is truly a hero that students can relate to.  William shows that no matter how young you are, with creativity, determination, and hard work, you can save your world!

While reading, students recorded character traits to describe William and we paused to record them at the beginning of the story, in the middle, and at the end.  Here is what our chart looked like when we were done...compliments of my student scribe.

Afterwards, students selected the 4 best character traits to describe William and then defended their reasoning for selecting the character traits with evidence from the text.

Students published their writing in a fun windmill display for all to see.

I organized all the graphic organizers, worksheets and templates that I used in this mini-literature pack for the book, available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I also included a few extended response worksheets for students to practice writing about reading in preparation for state testing.

Check out the book!  It's the perfect addition to your Black History Month read alouds!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fraction Fun for Monday Made It

Well, last Monday Made It was just a few posts ago (sorry) but it's time again for February's Monday Made It.  Boy, does time fly!  Cheers to Tara, from 4th Grade Frolics, for continuing to host Monday Made It throughout the school year.  I must admit, it is the one linky party that I simply can't resist.  No matter how hectic life gets...I just have to link up!

Today we started our fractions unit.  So, my Monday Made It focuses mostly guessed it...fractions!

On Wednesday we are going to learn how to estimate fractional amounts using benchmark fractions.  This is usually tricky for some of my kiddos so each year I fill up water bottles with water and food coloring to use as a visual tool.  This year, I decided to fill the bottles with Crystal Light.  I did this for two reasons.  One, because I forgot to buy more food coloring.  Two, because after Wednesday's lesson I plan on drinking them!  Crystal Light is one of the few things that I can drink without my blood sugar spiking...and enjoy!

Today we created these adorable fraction books from the fabulous Amy Lemons.  I put a little spin on them.  Rather than turn them into books, we spread out the pages a little so that you can see each page of fractions.  Students can reference this lovely book throughout our fractions unit.

This fraction book will definitely come in handy on Thursday when we start equivalent fractions!  You can easily use a piece of paper to line up the equivalent fractions.

Purchase Amy Lemon's fraction book and then snag the template I used to line up all the pages here!

Have you seen Fourth Grade Flippers amazing Monster Fractions Centers?  We will be using these fun centers and games throughout our fraction unit.  My favorite is the Monster Half Stack.  I have it laminated and ready to go for the day we cover comparing fractions.  Students play with a partner to sort fractions into two piles: greater than 1/2 and less than 1/2.  The monster theme is absolutely adorable!

I have a few fraction products in the works.  However, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to try out all my products before I post them on Teachers Pay Teachers.  So, I can't share them until after my students have used them!  Check back though...I plan on taking lots of pictures of our fractions unit and I will definitely have lots to share with you!

Last but not least, I had to revamp our math centers.  We have had a few additions to our class so our groupings have been getting a little crowded.  I also needed a quick way to be able to rotate students through centers and it seems that each day we have less and less time to spend on them.  So, modeled after my reading center wheel, we now have a math center wheel!

I'll share more details about my math centers in a future post!

Don't forget to check out all the other Monday Made It's!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Super Bowl Sale

I know I poor blog has been neglected.  But, I'm back!

My last few weeks have been a say the least.  I've had a lot going on and to make matters worse, I've been sick.  Very sick.

It started out as a stomach bug.  Then, just when I started feeling better I got the flu shot and the very next day...I got the flu.

Well, the flu then turned into a sinus infection.  I went to the doctor and was forced to wear a mask.  I felt like a zombie.  The walking dead.  Everyone staring at me and not wanting to sit any where near me.

The the antibiotic the doctor prescribed made me nauseous.  So I got to take some anti-nausea medicine.

For weeks food tasted like a combination of paper and I didn't eat or drink much (very bad decision) causing me to get dehydrated.

This is the first time I've been sick...I mean really sick...since I got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  It was not pretty.  My blood sugars were up and down and all over the place.

So, to make a long story short....I have been a mess for the last few weeks.  I could barely drag myself out of bed, let along manage all my school responsibilities or home responsibilities which in turn left my poor blog abandoned.

But, I'm back!  I'm starting to feel a little better and I'm chomping at the bit to show you some of the cool things my students have been working.  Not to mention, I'm very excited to finish up some of my new Teachers Pay Teachers products.

Speaking of Teachers Pay Teachers...tomorrow I will be participating in the big sale!  Check out my store tomorrow for some awesome discounts on all of my products!

I may be posting a few new products throughout the day tomorrow.  I have a number of math word problem products just about ready to go, I just need to proofread them.  If anyone has some time Sunday to proofread math word problems shoot me an email or comment below.  I'll email you the products, and the final copy as well, so that you can have it for free in return for your help.

Be sure to check out Teachers Pay Teachers tomorrow before, during, or after the big game!  You won't want to miss this sale!