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October 30, 2015

Owl Week

Wanna see something gross?  Yes, please!

I love focusing on owls during the month of October.  We have a full week of everything owls - we read the mentor text Owl Moon, do a paired owl passage, and then complete Owl Pellets.  This year my class was fortunate to have Donors Choose donors fund this project for us.  We were given a class set of pellets, forceps, owl posters, gloves, and a nonfiction owl book as part of our project.  

Once again it was a hit. The kids got down and dirty, and some wonderful parents were there to help the kids.  Some parents spritzed the pellets with spray bottles, some parents offered encouragement.  I always do this project outside - 2 huge pieces of butcher paper create a "table" for the kids.  Each partner group has a styrofoam plate (because of all the water that is used to break up the pellet a paper plate just won't do).  Each student also received a little bathroom cup to collect their bones and a pair of those blue forceps.  I used to use metal tweezers, but these blue ones do not get lost as easily.  I switched this year to the little bathroom cups since with big bowls they never clean the gunk off as well.  When done, they dump their little batch of bones into a snack size ziplock bag and then head inside to sort and label their bones using the information sheet from Ideas by Jivey... Who am I kidding?  I use a lot from Ideas by Jivey during this owl week of learning!  

Owl Moon Mentor Sentence Lesson & Interactive Activity        Bats, Owls, and Spiders Paired Texts Grades 4-8 (Construct

Owl Moon: Figurative Language FreebieOWLS: Common Core Nonfiction Unit for Grades 3-4

Hope this helped!

October 29, 2015

Charlotte's Web Dialogue Practice

Remember that time I tore a book a part to use it in a lesson? Yeah, I did that last week.  

We have started really working on narratives, specifically we were looking closely at dialogue and the kids needed to see ALL the different parts - the quotation marks, the punctuation, the REST of the quote...  so I tore up a Charlotte's Web book (that was already ripped in half), and each student ended up with a different page.  

Charlotte's Web is the novel we have been reading for the past 3 weeks anyway, so they were familiar with the story and the different chapters. I had them glue the page to the middle of the colored copy paper, and they had to rewrite 4 different quotes - one had to be from the page that they were given, the others could be something that stuck out for them in the book.


The kids really GOT this activity.  As they turned them in, so many of them had to go back to look at it once again... to fix this or that.  Did you know that quotations marks need 2 sets?  That you can't forget the comma or the punctuation mark before the second set of quotation marks? That usually there is more to the quote, for instance how the character is saying it?  So many little things that the kids learned.  I counted this as really good practice that was relative. I've already seen improvements in their narratives.  Win win! 

October 27, 2015

Ecosystem Dioramas

We've been working on ecosystems in my classroom.  LOVE the energy that the students have when they are learning about the different places.  Every year I have them create a diorama to "showcase" their special choice.  This year I decided to make it a formal project, and added clip art to help them with their thinking.

They were first allowed to choose an ecosystem from 4 choices (Ocean, Arctic, Forest, and Rainforest).  I gave them a piece of construction paper that had been precut and they decorated their background.  I put some options on the board as ideas, but being the copy cheapskate that I am, I didn't print them off for them.  :)

I did print out the specific ecosystem animal and grid sheets so they could focus on details for their dioramas.  The sheets are filled with animals on the top, and the grid on the bottom portion.  

Students filled in the grid and then glued it onto the back of their diorama.  They had to identify producers, consumers, prey, predator, living, and nonliving parts of the ecosystem.  It was then easy for me to use the included rubric to give a grade - did they really understand the concepts?

I loved all the unique ecosystems that they created.  I also loved that I didn't get a headache, and that the project didn't take forever to accomplish.  :)  Little things people!  

Create an Ecosystem Diorama {Forest, Ocean, Rainforest, an

Check it out!  Hope you had a great day!