Friday, 21 December 2012

You've Been Grinched! and popsicle stick ornaments

Last day before the holidays and I thought I'd try out the Lump of Coal rice krispies for my class.  Of course it was a stormy night and I realized when I got home that I didn't pick up the black food colouring!  So I revised my plan and made You've Been Grinched rice krispies instead.

1/4 cup organic butter
approx. 300g mini marshmallows
3 and 1/2 cups rice krispies cereal
Melt the butter on low.  Add the marshmallows.  When all is melted add the food colouring.  Stir in the rice krispies.  Lay out on a cookie tray and let cool. 
Cut treats with a heart cookie cutter for the full Grinch heart effect.

I found this idea a few years ago in a magazine.  It takes a bit of prep on part of the teacher with the glue gun (pre assemble popsicle stick trees and attach ribbon at bottom edge).  Guide children through weaving their ribbon through and around the tree.  When they have woven their tree, tack the edges with the glue gun.  Next day provide students with sequins or other ornament like shapes to glue on their ornament.  I added a little poem this year with their tree (font: Kevin & Amanda, frame: Digital Potpourri, poem: The Love Filled Christmas Tree).  You can find the gift tags here.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Polar Express FREEBIE

Here is a little Polar Express booklet that I whipped up for Movie Monday!  The term was coined by one of my students.  Last week it was The Grinch.  This week Polar Express.  They are fantastic movies to explore character, sequencing and are just plain fun.  The quotes are from the movie.  Questions are from the Teacher's Guide for the picture book.  Enjoy!


Saturday, 15 December 2012

the people we want to be

I read an interesting quote recently:  Education as inquiry provides an opportunity for learners to explore collaboratively topics of personal and social interest for purposes of producing a more equitable, a more just, a more thoughtful world.  In this way, curriculum becomes a metaphor for the lives we want to live and the people we want to be  (Harste, 2001).

It was another tragic day for education on Friday.  It makes you reconsider our role as teachers and the impact we have on our students.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Andy Warhol, Letter Writing, the Grinch and Assessment

I love Andy Warhol at Christmas.  Here's a quick and effective art activity.
1.  Provide a variety of Christmas tracers for children to choose from.  They will choose 1 symbol and trace it 4 times.
2.  Students colour each box in a different way.  I encourage children to colour dark (no white spaces) and keep the designs simple.  I also remind them that what they add to one design, they add to all designs.  We use oil pastels to make our art pop.

I love the panoramic option on my iPhone5!
We have been working on writing letters in the classroom.  I loved the Help Wanted persuasive letter writing activity I put into my North Pole Times at TpT.  Being able to choose their writing topic gave the kids opportunity to be specific with their reasons and examples to support their job of choice.

As for assessment, I created some rubric labels for the learning goals and success criteria we focused on.  Here are our I can statements for writing letters with the Curriculum Expectations:
W1.1  I can identify the topic, purpose (opinion) and form (paragraph, letter) for writing.
W1.5, W2.1  I can use graphic organizers to plan and write my ideas with supporting details.
W2.5  I can form an opinion and support it with reasons and personal experience.
W2.4  I can use linking words (first, then) and joining words (because, so).
W2.6, W2.7  I can use feedback from the teacher to improve my writing. 
·  “Can you think of another way you might get the attention of your audience at the beginning?”
·  “Have you provided enough detail to support your main idea?”
·  reorder sentences, remove repetition, add examples, add linking words / phrases (connect ideas)

We read a couple of my favourite books about letters:

Then we revisited How to Write a Letter.  Earlier in the week we watched the cartoon version of The Grinch and talked about how characters can change.  We webbed the character traits of the Grinch at the beginning and at the end.  We retold the story from beginning, middle and end.  In the end the children wrote a letter to the Grinch persuading him not to steal the toys from Whoville.  You can find the Grinch letter freebie here.

R1.5 I can infercharacter traits of The Grinch by his words and actions.
R1.9 I can retell the story from the perspective of The Grinch / Cindy Lou Who
R1.4 I can retell the story using details about specific elements of the text such as characters and theme.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

North Pole Times: Christmas Persuasive Writing Activities

I can't wait to introduce persuasive writing this Christmas season with my new: North Pole Times.  I love that my kids can choose the job they want to apply to!  You can find it at my TpT store here.


Saturday, 1 December 2012

s-blend word sort and Polar Bears Past Bedtime freebie

This week we worked with s-blends.  We also read Polar Bears Past Bedtime by Mary Pope Osborne (#12 in the Magic Tree House series).  Who knew it was a perfect book for sorting all kinds of s- words!

Here is a word sort freebie for the book.  I may have gone a bit overboard with the amount of words from the book!  But I figure I will add the strips to our word work bin and the kids can continue to sort the words until they are pros.

Check out our big class sort.  They even figured out the oddballs (words that looked like s-blends but didn't sound like s-blends: 2 letters = 2 sounds and 3 letters = 3 sounds).
On another note, this week's hangman illustrator got creative!