Hands-On Learning: Skills Work

In my building, the current structure of our reading block is novel studies. In my small class, the students rotate between reading the novel and daily phonics/skill work. In my large reading class we utilize literature circles (focusing on skills that coincide with the book) and it's in between books that we really dig into skills.

This week has been a skills week.  It's been a blast thanks to my friend Catherine!

The first skill we worked on was inferencing. Not that the kiddos haven't had to infer throughout the year, but we were in need of a booster shot!

During the last sale, I picked up Catherine's inference activity.


Lots of anchor charts and notes to refresh students and review, which was terrific. The best part was the hands-on activity that had my students up and moving. {This week with our wacko weather had us full of wiggles that needed let out and about!}

Students were given one of the cards from the pack and three note cards to jot down their situations. I should have taken a close up of some of the cards, they did such a great job--creative and funny in many cases.

Once students had wrote their situation for the given topic, they were to raise their hand and look for another student with a hand raised to partner up with.

Students then read their note cards and their partners tried to guess the topic. After both partners had shared, students swapped topics and started again until they had traded three times.

For all of the movement, my room was so quiet! The students were sad when exit slip time came. The marks of a great lesson/activity.

The second activity I started today. It was on my plans all week, but who doesn't love a sale? Worth the early start to my morning to make copies. Although, my sleepy eyes didn't read all of the instructions, so my students dealt with an extra challenge---all of the cards were the same color. Scandalious, made the kiddos sweat, but they were able to do it!


Students had to work with a partner and figure out how to set up their main idea houses based on the cards that were drawn. Determining the difference between the topic and main idea was a bit challenging, but by the end of the hour, students had it down. 

Again, engaging day. Students learned more about some historical events that they didn't know too much about. Looking forward to our practice with science topics tomorrow!


Don't forget... TPT's BIG sale started today and ends tomorrow. Get some great resources at a great price while you can!


A Little Bird Told Me...

That TPT is having a sale to celebrate 3 million strong!

I'm linking up my store and I thought I'd share a few new items that I've been using with my students recently. The sale starts Thursday, so I am filling up my cart now in anticipation. I can't wait to checkout all of the stores linked up and add to my cart!

In our small group intervention time, I needed some activities for R-Controlled vowels that was geared toward bigger kids. I came up with three different games and the kiddos are loving them!

I love using mentor sentences, but my kiddos are struggling with remembering the difference between simple, compound, and complex sentences. I made a review pack with posters, games, scoots, and sentence search to help them see the differences. 

We are also reviewing one of the comma rules that escapes us from time to time: commas in a series, with a fun sports theme!

Then for a little math... The questions on the greatest common factors are different. I thought the QR codes would be good for practice and the regular scoot cards for assessment.

Be sure to check out the other stores linked up and join in too! I can't wait to see what goodies there are to finish out the rest of the year!


Teacher Motivation Saturday & Vocabulary Ideas


I know that it's technically, "Student Motivation Saturday", but sometimes, teachers are motivated too and that's just as worthy of being shared!

At an inservice following Winter Break, I found out that I would no longer be with a small skill intervention group, but a large vocabulary skills group. (Going from just a handful of students to close to 30, short notice, and I really like to have a plan of attack. I may have had a slight panic attack.)

So I did what many teacher bloggers may do, jump on pinterest, search out my favorite blogs, and email blogging buddies for any and all ideas. Let me just tell you, I was overwhelmed by the results. Tons of ideas and products were shared. I am forever grateful for so many individuals who give of themselves, share ideas, friendships made... having the blogging buddies that I do and resources such as blogs to scour both are truly motivating to me!

I've delayed this post so that I could have pictures to share, but between my health issues last month, and the very few brain cells that are left by the end of the day when I have this group I usually forget to take pictures. I apologize for the lack of real-world photos, but I hope you'll still find some ideas!

Joanne shared with me a couple of word work activities that my students love! I've pulled them out about once a week, and the whole class gets into them!



My students especially love the word wizards. It works great for team competitions as well. 

Diane, shared about program that she had used before that included morphology: Reading Olympians. I had remembered reading about the program in the past, but it was nice to hear about how it worked for an extended period of time in a classroom.

Catherine had a new product out in December that I had to have: her root word puzzles. She has a new pack with prefixes and suffixes that I'm going to have to purchase as well. The puzzles make for a wonderful center to review different roots that we've covered throughout the week.

I remember that Amelia had boggle boards in some of her centers packs. A great game included with several centers that I was able to use throughout my communications classes. Her February centers even had a center on various affixes that worked out really well too.

Last year, I bought a resource from Ladybug Teacher Files, it was a morphology dictionary. When I inherited this vocabulary group, I emailed Kristin as well, and she shared many ideas with me too! She's made new posters with morphology and curriculum terms and graphic organizers as well.

Seriously, I was overwhelmed by the response and ideas that were shared. This vocabulary group has been a lot of fun and I feel that the students are learning more as a result of this wonderful network of teachers that blogging brings! Teacher-motivation that then turns to student-motivation, love!


Figurative Language: App Edition

In a blink of an eye a couple of weeks can sure fly by. Life has thrown some curve balls at my husband and I, and blogging has been at the least of my worries. However, I am glad to say I serve a God who knows what He's doing even when I don't. I'm happy to be back in the classroom and back at blogging again. Be prepared for a look back at a few January events that I didn't get blogged about, but hopefully will eventually!

To get me out of my blogging hiatus, I'm joining up with my blogging buddy Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday, and fellow Kansas Blogger at Coast to Coast Kinder for  WOW Wednesday.  {I know it's Sunday, but better late than never!}

One app that I've been using more often with my students is Strip Designer. I love to use it with vocabulary. It could easily be used for describing various types of figurative language as well. I usually have students make a four-piece Strip Design with a spot for the word, definition, use in a sentence, and a picture representation. I think that this app would work great for introducing figurative language as well. Students could write the type of figurative language, a brief definition, an example of that type of figurative language and a picture representation as well. The Strip Designs can be saved to their camera rolls and utilized on other apps or be at their fingertips for easy access.

This is the vocabulary example... could easily be modified for introducing and working with figurative language.

Across the hall, the other 4th grade language arts teacher had a super cute idea that I'm sure I'll use before the year is over. Students were asked to describe their families using similes and/or metaphors. They turned out sooooo cute! Students were able to use Pic Collage, Pages, or Key Note; whichever app was the easiest for the students to use as long as they could print them out. Such a fun project and prompt!
Such a great little writer.. used Pages

Used Pic Collage

 Be sure to check out the links above for more wonderful ELA ideas.  If you utilize the iPad in your classroom, I'd love to know how. Please link up below all month long!