Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sharing Sunday - March 20

Ahh, April. The beautiful flowers in bloom, birds singing, shorts weather, and sun is back.

Working in April can be a bit of a push. The kids really (and I do mean REALLY) want to be outside instead of cramming their heads full of Westward Expansion. So close to the ending yet so far away. Plus there's testing to get through this month.

If that is already about to make you crazy then I've got an idea to help you through your struggles.

The last read aloud I like to share with my students is Dan Gutman's The Homework Machine. It's a fun read. The Homework Machine is a unique book because it is written in 'perspective' from varying characters. The tale of four children who band together to keep a secret of a machine that does their homework. It is rife with turmoil as things get out of hand. They end up giving their statements in the Grand Canyon Police Office.
My students always get a kick out of it and want to build their own machines.

Click on the Image below to see the links provided.

Here is a little freebie of a novel study I put together to  help you out.


During our Social Studies lessons in April we always dig into the fun that was the Oregon Trail. Last summer I  put together a packet that you could use to really immerse them into understanding what it was like during that time.

One of my favorite parts of that packet is the Choose Your Own Adventure tale that takes the kids on a journey where they are the main character. Along the way they have to make critical choices that could cause some of their travel companions to lose their life!

I also used a resource my grade level put together as a daily writing exercise that results in each student having a travel journal. I start off giving them some brown construction paper for 'leather' cover and white computer paper to put inside. Each day we do something different to our journal to make them more authentic. We might step on it, throw some water on it, tear it, or even crumple it a bit to make it look like it's gone through the very same trials and tribulations as those on the Oregon Trail.

Click on the Image below to see the links that will take you to that packet.

Head back to the Primary Peach for MORE April fun and freebies.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Harry Potter - Celebrate the End of First Year

I had so much fun with this unit and got as much back from the students as I put into it. It was our final day with the book before I packed it all up for next year. I brought in a ton of fun goodies to share.

I created some Acid Pops from sour ring pops dipped in water and then coated with Pop Rocks.

I made some cauldron cakes from Lil Debbie Snack cakes and Twizzler strings for the handles. I poured out some butterbeer for each. It was cream soda with whipped cream.

As a parting gift I gave each of them a small cauldron filled with sour candies, topped with cotton candy to look like flames, and of course a spider ring on top.

They couldn't believe it when I told them they could take the cauldrons home. I think they got confused because I kept telling them that they couldn't bring the copies of HP01 home because they were donations.

It took longer than the suggested five weeks, but the kids hung in there with me all the way. There were lots of groans and whines when I asked them to bring back the books. Many asked if were going to read Chamber of Secrets next. I told them I always read the first in a series to get them excited to read the rest on their own. Hopefully I've sparked a love of reading in some of them. If not for reading in general at least for J.K. Rowling's classic series.

We watched a few scenes from the movie to compare to the book. I loved sitting there listening to all the gasps when characters first arrived on the screen. The clapping at certain events such as Harry's midair capture of the Remembrall. Loads of laughs and squeals throughout.

It's over now and I'll miss it. We've only got 50 more school days together, and I think I've accomplished my goal of bringing my class closer together.

Thanks for following me on this magical  journey. Let me know if you try something similar in your classroom!

Harry Potter - Final Countdown

So sorry I've kept you waiting for a month for my next installment to this fantastic journey! We've been really trying to finish the book and just reading like crazy. The vocabulary work was all done. The comprehension questions were written up. The sketches were completed. And our writing piece is up on the wall.

We do this Snow Globe writing piece every year to help the students gain more practice with using sensory details and including tons of figurative language. They have to pretend they are stuck in a snow globe and figure out a way to escape. This year I just tweaked it a little and had them think if they were cursed into the globe and how could they use their wands as a means to get out. We studied spells such as these.

I need to get back to school in order to put up one of their writings for you later.

Our House Cup competition is over as well. We've been adding jelly beans to our House Cups. We counted them and then divided them equally among the House members And the winner is....

Our final two Potions lessons were completes. I really loved making the Forgetfulness Potion. It turned out to be a mix of water, veg oil, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer. Which low and behold makes a kind of lava lamp. The kids were freaking out!

Here's a shot of our group making Mandrake Revitalizing Drought. This one was weird since it included Bat Dung (cocoa puffs).

 The best part of this whole EIGHT week unit came when I got the final exams (we were calling them N.E.W.T.S.- Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests). Every single child, all 20 of them, scored 91% or above. It was incredible. The whole test included simple recall, as well as some tough analytical ones. They had to write complete sentences which has proven hard to get them to do this year. But all of them managed to answer exceptionally well and scored Exceeds Expectations on their finals.

It made me so happy that they all got so much out of this book. If you want your own copy of this test, check it out here.