Sunday, July 3, 2016

Let's Talk About Grammar: Subjects and Predicates

Isn't grammar one of the hardest things to teach sometimes?

And let's be honest. Sometimes, the grammar concepts we are charged with embedding in our student's brains make us want to stab ourselves in the eye with a dirty stick. Does anyone really enjoy imparting their knowledge of direct objects? Really? Really??

When I teach any grammar lessons, I try to do one of two things: laugh or sing.

I totally understand how that might be hard to imagine. I mean, how comical can you make subjects and predicates? Well, in our room we try... a little. :)

When I'm researching for grammar lessons, I usually look to YouTube first. There are lots of engaging and short videos I can show to build background knowledge, reinforce the previous day's material, or review before our state testing each spring. I thought I'd share a few of my kiddos' favorites below.

The first video is a clip from a show called Twinkle Trails. It's only about three and a half minutes long. I typically use this one first because it gives just enough information to lay the groundwork for my first big lesson.

I think we've all seen this gem. :) Who doesn't love sharing a little old school knowledge with their students? I end up humming this song for a few weeks afterwards, but I think that's the point - right?!

One more song... I think this one may be my favorite! We love watching this in the weeks leading up to our state testing. It's a great way to get kids moving and reviewing a key concept for our Language Arts test.

Seriously. Wouldn't your kids LOVE that? And, I love that it has built-in captions! #teachernerd

I also love to practice identifying subjects and predicates using silly sentences. Sometimes when I'm making them up, I swear there is a 10-year-old boy that lives inside my brain. 

But you know what? It works! :) I've also used funny anecdotes from our class as inspiration for sentences. Little things like this keep my kids engaged - and laughing - throughout our lessons! 

Maybe there isn't a ten-year-old boy in your brain and this super easy anchor chart is more your style? :) 

I only teach one sentence part at a time - subjects first, and then predicates a day or two later. I do teach complete and simple parts at the same time. 

This is a sample page from our grammar notebook. This is exactly what I give them on Day 1. We go through the anchor chart together in a whole group and work through a few more sentences the students and I create together. Then I send them back to work on a short notebook page at their seats with a copy of the day's anchor chart. This prevents a lot of getting up and down to go look at the class chart (read: students avoiding work). It also encourages them to be more independent. Our lesson is right in front of them. So, unless they bombed the group work on the carpet (and we know who those lovebugs are), they should be fine! 

I also have some interactive options for centers, early finishers, homework, or another lesson for reinforcement. 

They love these interactive pages! Both my inclusion and ESOL student groups really benefit from the visual supports these activities offer. 

To bring it all together, I almost always use poetry. It's a great way to sneak in some fluency practice. I love to write poems for my lessons - again, it's another way to keep them "hooked" on an otherwise boring topic. 

This is a great partner or small group activity. The students have to find the nouns and pronouns in the poem, then sort them into subject and non-subject noun groups. It's an easy way to show them that not every noun or pronoun will be a subject! 

All of these gems are in one of my best sellers: Subjects and Predicates {A Wonderland of Resources}. It's just gotten a HUGE makeover and is jam-packed full of brand-new interactive notebook pages, anchor charts, practice pages, and a small group game! 

I also have this game, which is a *sweeter* version of a game in my Wonderland pack. 

If you really love both of those packs as much as I do, and you'd like to save some money, take a look at my newest Bookworm Bundle! 

I also found some random subject and predicate odds and ends that I didn't use with either of the smaller packs, so I made it into a quick FREEBIE! Enjoy!!

Use this image to PIN this post for later, and make sure you follow my Grammar Resources board on Pinterest as well!  

If you have any tips and tricks for grammar concepts, I'd love to hear them! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Springing Back into School with my Sparkies! {A SALE!}

Hey there!

My Sparkie peeps and I are working together to throw a Springtime SALE your way!

I'm including two resources that have gotten a makeover recently...

This is an easy small group or partner game that student can play to reinforce simple and complete subjects and predicates. I'm also working on updating my Subject and Predicate Wonderland pack. It will be up by the end of the month! 

This small group game has also gotten a makeover - complete with 6 new noun cards and TWO sets of differentiated practice pages! Your students will LOVE playing this game! 

Check out the rest of the Sparkie dollar deals below! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Guided Reading DREAM! {Joy Cowley Giveaway & Review}

Recently, the sweet folks at Hameray Publishing sent me a few treats to try out with my students. I was so excited to see the books they sent, especially when I knew they were going to be by Joy Cowley. I mean... is there anyone who writes better books for guided reading?

They sent over a few titles from 2 of Joy's newer characters - The Huggles and The Gruesome Ogres. You can click HERE to see the entire set of characters.

I have to admit this... I was nervous to try these books out with some of my older struggling readers. I have 3 different 4th graders on my caseload right now, and one of them in particular really struggles with reading.

I also had to make sure the books matched the levels my kids were working on at the moment. I visited the Hameray Publishing website and clicked on the series I had received from them.

Once I was viewing the series, I was able to find the guided reading level and word count for each book.

They also included a set of guided reading lessons ideas you can use in the back of each book. It made planning for this week so much easier!

At the end of last week, I asked my struggling reader friend to take a look at the new books I had. I invited him to pick one out for us to work on next week. He doesn't get excited about much, (Anyone else out there with some *too cool* 4th graders?) but he looked pretty close to happy about the Gruesome series books that I got to try out. He even asked if we could try two of them this week. (Sure!!)

We pulled out the first one he chose yesterday - The Gruesome House.

It was a hit! The vocabulary is rich for the lower-level text Joy writes, but it was still engaging for this big kid!

I also used The Huggles series with a 2nd grader I just added to my caseload not too long ago. We started with the first book in the set - The Huggles - last week. This week we added Huggles' Cold.

I love the vivid verbs, with lots of detailed illustrations to support her as she reads. It is the perfect set of texts to help ease her into the next reading level. There are also lots of opportunities to study conventions (varied end punctuation) and why authors are using them.

Wouldn't you LOVE to WIN the ENTIRE Joy Cowley collection??? You can!!

Click HERE or on the picture below to go straight to Hameray's website to enter. The Grand Prize is AMAZING - a set of character-based finger puppets, big books, guided reading sets, and MORE!

The contest will run through April 13th and winners will be announced April 14th. Hurry over and enter today --- and tell your friends as well!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sharing Sunday for April!

It's that time again!

My friends and I at The Primary Peach have gathered the best of the best so you can get started on your April planning! Just click on any of the pictures in this post to download a PDF file of links to all of these resources!

I've tried to add in more read-aloud suggestions for each set of resources when I could. I love to find any excuse to buy a new book for my classroom! (affiliate links included in PDF)
The Titanic freebie above is GREAT for upper grades this time of year. The Titanic sank 104 years ago this April, but my students are still just as obsessed about it as I was in 4th grade. How about yours?? I know they will lose their minds when I pull this out! :)

LOVE the freebies and ideas Jen shared in her Rainbow Week post. There are tons of freebie links, anchor charts, bulletin board ideas, and center ideas perfect for the beginning of Spring!

I'm also in love with the Spring Edition of Apply the Adjective. Newly updated, with extra noun cards, and 6 new practice pages!

Finally, a few extra fun freebies for you this month. You know I LOVE Rachel's Would You Rather questions for my morning meetings.

There's also a link to an observation log freebie you can use with your kids if you grow lima bean seedlings with them. I'm also in love with my friend Jen's lima bean nugget. :) SO CUTE!

Hope you've had a great weekend! I'm off to get ready for the week ahead! Make sure you check out the rest of our posts at The Primary Peach. Click the photo below to go directly to the link up!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Growing Readers and Writers with Spring Mentor Texts

I have been so excited about working with the rest of The Reading Crew to bring you another set of fantastic mentor text lessons just in time for Spring! I've already peeked at a couple of the lessons my friends are sharing today and I can't wait to see the rest. They are fabulous!

Let's get started!
I chose a book I've used in my own classroom for several years. The Best Part of Me is a collection of photographs and student writing pieces focused on the parts of themselves they love the most. The book is the result of a collaboration between award-winning photographer Wendy Ewald and Durham Public Schools in North Carolina. This text is a great way to use student writing as a model in your own classroom. You can click my affiliate link on the picture below or on this hyperlink to take a peek!

I'm sharing the first couple of lessons from an *almost* finished unit I'm working on based on this text. I had hoped to have it wrapped up for this weekend's link up, but it's not going to happen. Teething toddlers are no joke, folks! :)

The first lesson is simply an opportunity to share pieces of the book with your students and have them brainstorm a list of favorite parts of themselves they might like to write about.

This isn't really a book you're going to sit down and read with your kids all in one lesson. I'm also a big believer in keeping a mini-lesson as mini as possible. We want our kids to spend the majority of their Writer's Workshop time writing, right?

On the first day, I introduce the text and choose a couple of my favorite pieces and photographs to share with my students. This is so they have an "end in mind" as they're working over the next few days.
First, I model the task of brainstorming a list of my favorite parts. Step out on the writing limb with me, friends! We have to MODEL what we want our kids to do during their independent work time. This means lots of thinking aloud, modeling recording our thoughts, and fixing a few mistakes along the way. You can do this with a document camera if you're lucky enough to be able to use one every day, or print the page out as a poster and do it on a larger scale.

I'm also including a Bonus Lesson today! In fact, I wrote the first two lessons and went back and added this one shortly afterwards. It will help your students "narrow their focus" before they begin drafting the next day.

You'll model the task by choosing one of 6 body part picture cards. Glue it to a piece of chart paper and make a list of adjectives and descriptive phrases underneath that describe this part on your body.

You could also use one of your students as a "model" and have the class describe that part of their body.

After the students repeat this activity in a small group, your students will practice the skill independently with a "Describe Your Part" work page. You can differentiate the levels of support your students will require with one of three work pages. This kind of tiered work is especially helpful for my ESOL and EC students.

To grab a copy of this lesson sampler for yourself, click HERE or on the image below to download it from Dropbox. Once the unit is published, I'll move it over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Before you move on to the next post, my mystery word is SUNSHINE. [HERE] is the link to the form you can use to keep track of the mystery words at each stop. You'll need them for an entry on the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out the other lessons in the link-up here:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Adding Captions to YouTube Videos + An Updated FUN Freebie!

One of our super-awesome Kindergarten teachers was playing my FAVORITE morning meeting song when I stopped by last week...

Don't tell my principal, but I miss singing this song with my kids. When I walked into that kinder room last week, I had to bust out some moves and sing along. :) 

My friend and I were talking and I mentioned I had a set of lyrics for this song as a freebie in my store. When I went to send them to her, two things happened. 

1. I had to redo the freebie. It hurt my feelings to look at it. :) 

2. On a search for the video, I learned a new trick that I'm sharing with you today! I may be a little behind on this trick, but I hadn't heard about it yet, so I'm guessing some of you are missing this little gem of knowledge too. Ha!!

I found a way to ADD CAPTIONS to You Tube videos! 

So, as you search for videos on You Tube you can filter through your results, right? Today I noticed "Subtitles/CC" as a filter feature.

Once I clicked on Subtitles/CC, it only showed videos that would play with Subtitles or Closed Captioning! 

When the video started playing, I rolled my mouse over to adjust the volume and I noticed the CC icon. Once I clicked on it, the subtitles/captioning appeared for the duration of the video! 

I hope that little trick helps you!

I'm also sharing my updated freebie for this video. I put a copy of this song in our Leadership Notebooks. I also sent it home in our homework journals so that our kids could look it up and sing it with their families (probably annoying them to death, but at least it worked!).

We also printed this out poster size and hung it in our room. 

Click the picture above to grab the freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers store

If you'd like to see more Morning Meeting tricks and tips, be sure to follow my Morning Meetings Pinterest board! 

Follow Abby Spann 's board Morning Meetings on Pinterest.

Monday, February 29, 2016

New Reading Intervention Tricks and Tools!

My intervention bag of tricks had been getting a little low.

I am constantly Googling things like "sight word interventions" and "letter recognition strategies" to see if anything new is popping up. In addition, by the time children are sitting at my table their teachers have already emptied their own bag of tricks into the student for 6-12 weeks.

That's a lot of tricks, y'all!

I'm also a big advocate for doing kinesthetic interventions whenever possible. Little people need to move things around! But manipulating the same set of magnets around every Monday is getting a little old! :)

Recently, I discovered a new tool that brought life back into some of our "routine" interventions. They are super easy to pull out, with little/no mess involved. They claim to dry in 90 seconds, but it really never took longer than 30! :)

When The Pencil Grip contacted me about doing a review for these, I was a little hesitant. I didn't quite know how I would use these with my intervention students. But really, these arrived just in time. We have been having a blast!  :) (Click the picture above to see them on their site!)

My youngest friend has had the best time completing his letter recognition pages with PAINT! Every Monday, I have him complete a visual discrimination page that I make based on the errors from his letter recognition probe on Friday. He's really been struggling with b/d and c/s so that's what this week's page reflected.

After a couple of weeks of watching J get a little "marker happy" when he was identifying letters, I brought out the transparent color chips. The extra practice has been really good for him, and it gives us a chance to discuss any errors before they are "set" on his paper.

Finally, we go back with the Kwik Stix and circle/underline/color them.The Kwik Stix are a bit "fat" and it can be hard for my littlest friends to manipulate them, but they get the hang of it pretty quickly!

I've also used them to "freshen up" another strategy I like to use with a few kiddos who are working on their sight words. Our special ed administrator shared this strategy with me and my kids LOVE it!

I take a piece of plastic embroidery canvas and cut it into 3-4 inch strips. We place it underneath a piece of paper and draw from a pile of 5-6 unknown sight words. Today I had a few I knew I wanted L to work on, so I wrote those in highlighter first.

Then, I have the student write it in LARGE print in pencil first and say it. then again with a Kwik Stix. Finally, because the Kwik Stix dries so quickly, I have the student trace over it with their fingers. We say it out loud every time we write or trace over it.

If you'd like to try any of these strategies out in your own room, consider using the affiliate links below to grab them for yourselves!

Do you have any ideas for using Kwik Stix in the classroom? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and strategies. If you'd like to keep up with the freebies and ideas I find, follow my RtI board as well!


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