Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Famous American Paper Bag Book

Hello!! I'm finally back with a school related post! Are you all as crazy busy as I am? You can feel the tension build as we are getting closer to state testing time.  If you're like me you're feeling totally optimistic that all your kiddos are going to pass with flying colors!  It's kind of like this:
HAH! Well, maybe not so much...but I refused to get sucked into the stress of the test so I'm teaching the best way I know how and that will need to be enough.  Who's with me on this?  It makes me sad to see talented teachers start doubting their effectiveness because their kids aren't making the mark on these tests. It's a shame, let us not do that to ourselves!

Ok, so off my soapbox and  onto a post on Famous Americans and a paper bag book.  I shared this on a previous post last year but decided to post on it again because I think this type of study guide lends itself to so many possibilities.  What you do is simply cut off the tops of paper bags and then staple the bags together to make the number of pages you need. I gave my students the title page and they glued it on the front cover.  
**PLEASE HELP HERE: Why are my pictures always flipping this way.  The picture was taken the other way but Blogger keeps flipping it.  Any suggestions?

There are certain famous Americans we focus on and certain points students need to know about each. I generally take students down the time line.  I introduce a couple of famous Americans a day. We read biographies, our text  book or view powerpoints/smartboard slides about a person and then we fill out the slip and they glue it onto the next page.   They get a picture of the famous American and they glue it on an index card.  On the back of the card they must draw symbols and write a label that relates to that person.

Then in the bag it goes.  I love using these cards during review sessions.  We take them out and sort them in different ways.  Students can use them to create a timeline of famous Americans, we can group them by founding fathers or people who helped defend the rights of all citizens.  Sometimes they take them all out and I tell them a clue and they hold up the Famous American card that matches. Lots of review practice and something for them to take home to work with for testing review.
We also focused on vocabulary that related to this unit.  These are some hard words!  It was funny because I had a high school principal come to observe me teach and she told me that her high school teachers were teaching the same words! We expect a lot from our third graders!  I always make my kids draw a representation of the word. They must show me meaning in their illustration. I think this helps them build a better understanding.
We cut these apart and they are ready to be worked with.  Parents always want to know how to help their kids study.  These cards are something the kids can do easily as home practice.  We even write the matching word on the back of the definition card so they can check themselves.  This makes it a  very independent activity.  No excuse not to be studying! They can even play memory match with the cards with parents if they want to.

We store the word cards in a ziplock snack bag and then it goes in the last empty page of our book.

All ready to go home for practice and review!  I like the concept of this paperbag book and can see how it could be used for both science and social studies units. 

We will be pulling this out again next month in preparation for the SOL test.
Interested in the materials to make this with your students?
You can find this file at my TPT store.
Check here: