Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Imagining Fall: A Plan for Integrating Reading, Writing and Science

I love fall and I love that as a teacher, I get to share my enthusiasm with my students. 
Kids are naturally curious and there is so much to wonder and think about as we look around at the changes that emerge with the onset of this new season. 

There are so many questions that kids want and need answers to:
Why does it get colder in fall? 
What causes the trees to change color and drop from trees? 
How do animals survive through the long winter months ahead? 

Classrooms should be places where kids are encouraged to think, wonder and question.
Then it is our duty to help equip and empowered students so they can investigate and make discoveries. 

I love using literature as springboards to get kids to think, to spark their curiosity. 
Here is a fun one that I've used in the past to get my children to think about how leaves change color. 
Image result for fletcher and the falling leaves

I use this book as a read aloud that is focused on the changes that occur in nature at this time of year.  In this book, Fletcher becomes concerned about a tree that is losing leaves.  He is worried that the tree is sick.  Fletcher tries to help the tree keep its leaves, until at the end of the story, Fletcher wakes up to see the tree glistening and covered with frost.  He appreciates the beauty of the tree, even without its leaves. 

From there, my students will read a short nonfiction passage that explains the science of the changing colors and falling of leaves in autumn.  We are working on the good reader strategy of "visualizing" so we will create mind movie sketches beside each paragraph.  Then we will work on answering text dependent questions that correspond to the reading.  

Then we will work on answering text dependent questions that correspond to the reading.  Students will color in the leaf beside each question and will dig back into the text to locate the answer.  They will underline the answer in the passage with the corresponding color. This one step makes them accountable for actually going back to search out the answer instead of just taking a guess!

Next we let our creative juices flow as student try to reimagine a leaf as something else. 
They are given a leaf shape cut from construction paper. They glue it down onto the writing paper and transform it into another object. 

This becomes a writing activity which is a favorite of mine and all the kids I've done it with. 
It is so fun to see what these "leaves" will become!

Students meet with a partner to tell their story to.  This is called their "oral rehearsal".  Allowing kids to talk out their story first is a great help to my little writers. 

Students were responsible for writing a scene in which their object or character would be described. 

We had the best time reading and sharing these!

I've added this file to my TPT store. 
Click the link below if you are interested in checking it out...

Falling Leaves: Science Reading and Creative Writing

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Problem Solving with Part Part Whole Boxes

Problem solving and real world application of math thinking is a huge component of our math standards these days.  My kids need tons of ongoing practice in this area.  Visualizing the math is a big part of what we are focusing on.  I love using part/part/whole boxes as part of this process. They allow students to see the relationship between a number and its component parts. This helps my students generalize the connection between addition and subtraction.  

For this activity, I included paper manipulatives to help students SEE the math even more clearly. 
Students are given a part/part/whole mat along with a sheet of problems like the ones below. 

Students cut out the paper manipulatives before starting the problems. 

Students read the problems and use the manipulative within the part/part/whole box. 
Some problems require students to combine the two parts to determine the sum. 

While other problems supply the students with the whole and one part. Students begin by placing all their counters in the whole and then they move some into one of the part boxes.  
This allows them to "see" the missing number. 

I like using these problem sheets, mats and manipulatives during my small group guided math time. 
This allows me an opportunity to watch students as they work.
I can "coach" them as they problem solve. 

It is times like these that I really get to know what my students know. 

I have added these to my Teacher Pay Teacher store. 
Click the link below to check it out....