Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reading Resources for Parents - Translations Included

I'll try to keep this one short and sweet. I have already posted this to Facebook, but I thought it was important enough to share here. One of our evaluation standards is communication with parents. Here is an easy link to very imformative materials (complete with some Spanish translations) that provides parents with information about reading. Some examples are facts for parents, why read aloud is important, how much literacy is lost with too much TV time, and how parents can help. The posters and brochures are available for free download and great to have on hand for parent/teacher conferences or just as a refresher! I want my students to enjoy reading and have access to books, either English or Spanish. I'm happy as long as they learn to enjoy literature of any kind. The first line of defense is having the parents on board. Believe it or not, especially parents of English Language Learners, they really want to help, but are sometimes just not sure what they can do. Help them help you. You can find a list of various brochures and resources listed on this page. Spanish translated materials are designated in parentheses. Click on the image to access Jim Trelease's page. It is chocked full of reading resources. Like any caring educator, his goal is provide students with a positive experience with reading and a love of books. Remember, have these printed and on the ready. You never know when they'll come in handy. If you're in a TKES district, it will even earn you some brownie points!

Monday, December 29, 2014

One Word Resolution for 2015

With all the buzz of the holidays and a fantastic Christmas, it's hard to get the mind prepped for the new year. Caseyjane at Primary Powers offered the best tool to get motivated. Check out the blog post to join the link party.

I love this concept. K.I.S.S. is one of my overall resolutions for the my entire life in 2015, so this fits well. By recommendation of Caseyjane, this particular one word resolution is teaching-related, so here is mine.

Connect. This is a big deal. It will take some work on the upfront, but it will make life easier in the long run. I'm a third year teacher. I still consider myself new, but I will always want to learn and connect with mentors and experts. My current endeavor is arranging to meet with a retired ESOL teacher that ran a very successful book club in a neighboring district. She connected with the local children's theater and had real actresses read books to the children. How exciting!! I really hope she is willing to help me with my brand new book club, even though she is now retired out-of-state. I am hoping that this year allows me my first trip the TPT Conference where I can connect with some of this phenomenal teachers whose blogs I visit and stalk on Instagram. Most importantly, I want to connect the dots for my students. Not only in my classroom, connecting their learning styles with their academic success, but also in the school. How do I make the connection between the ESOL students and the rest of the school family - students, teachers, and administrators included. On the 2nd of January, I am connecting with fellow Georgia bloggers over lunch. This will be a great kick-off to a successful year. I can't wait for the challenge and the connections that will be had.

Happy New Years to my readers!! Enjoy the well-deserved break, or at least the days remaining. We're going to have a great year!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Countdown to the Christmas Holiday

Like any teacher, as much as I love being with my students, I also love any reason to count down to just a smidgen of a break from school. Our last day before Christmas break is in five days. Friday is our last day. It can be a fun five days, but at some points during this week, I'm sure I will have a "pull my hair out" kind of day. I plan to keep pushing my 4th graders through our novel study for The Witch of Blackbird Pond and my 5th graders through their independent research using Wonderopolis.org. Wonderopolis is worthy of its own blog post. I'll work on that over break. 

In between all the seriousness, I plan on reading some winter and Christmas stories during our new ESOL Reading Club that meets every morning (K-2nd). I think I'll even throw in a few days of popcorn and hot cocoa. As our ESOL team sat together and planned last week, I once again missed teaching the younger students. They are always in awe and so imaginative, but at the same time, they are so eager for the teacher's input. Last year during this time, I was reading the series that started with Snowmen at Night

The students enjoyed it so much! We followed the reading of the book and discussion that included higher order thinking questions with a short narrative... "If I were a snowman at night, I would..." Students then created their own snowman designed on ABCya! Be sure to click on the image below and follow the link. I posted the students' writing and a printout of the their snowmen on the bulletin board. I also found a phenomenal packet by Lita Lita on Teachers Pay Teachers that helped students complete an expository text about building a snowman. This is great for practicing this genre but also helps students practice using sequencing words.

So, I love reflecting, and I'm poor about simply doing the same plan twice. I don't have my younger grades this year, but if I did, how would I up the ante on this plan? I would incorporate my Ipad. The app Chatterpix is like the app equivalent of Blabberize. If you're not familiar with either, the purpose of the programs is to take a photo and put a mouth on it. Once you've done this, you can record yourself speaking. The app and the website will then animate the mouth so that your voice looks like it's coming from the photo. Here is my little sample below. So much fun! Hope you enjoy this little activity and find a way to incorporate it into your week. Happy counting down!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

ESOL Support Presentation

I am currently putting together a Powerpoint presentation, worried about how brutal it will feel for my attendees. Hasn't the word Powerpoint sort of become a word of dread? Luckily for those that see my presentations, they'll find that they are used more as a pacing tool, so that I hit my points, open discussion, and give everyone a copy to take with them as a reference.

I wasn't prepared to be so excited about putting this presentation together. The topic is English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English Learners (EL) students and how to support them as a team, and my audience is our school's group of fresh-out-of-school teachers and teachers new to our district. Considering how I felt as a new teachers, I challenge myself further to think if I had started in my early 20s right out of college. What would really help me? While all the different resources and technical stuff would've been too overwhelming, I think learning to empathize with students would have been really helpful. Instead, I learned this more while working to get my ESOL accreditation from UGA. I have a strong belief that how you teach > what you teach. Relationships highly impact the return, especially with ESOL students. 

Obviously, I'm an advocate for our ELs, but I know their story, because it's like my mom's and my mom's students when she taught. She came from Vietnam at the age of 19 and became a teacher's aide in Mobile, AL at a time when the Asian immigrant population was much higher than the Hispanic immigration population. Even though she came at a fairly young age, she admits that her English was never as strong as she'd like. It was an embarrassment for her in certain situations, so I grew up helping her with her language and conversation while also learning "kitchen Vietnamese" myself. Who knows if either of us will be 100% in either language? I joke, but I love that I share two languages with my mom. It brought us closer as my dad became the outsider, only speaking one language.... English from the trailer parks of Mississippi. Was it English, or was it just Ed's language? I loved it, either way.

So back to my presentation. As I decide what points are most important amongst the many, I want to make sure that I give facts and stats, but that I'm also adding a partner activity as well as some videos. The first video is posted below. It really shows the struggle of an EL new to US schools. I'm also giving tons of resources. How fun is it that these new teachers will get a link to my Google Drive that has all of my TPT products saved to it?! I think that's cool! One of the coolest resources I found was a list of picture books and the skills they help teach. Wow!!! I love this list. I guess I'll be Amazon purchasing more books for my library. Click on the I Share, You Grab icon below. It's so extensive! I end the presentation with these notes about our ESOL students:

  • Developmentally, ELs are just a little behind their peers, especially the youngest students
  • Provide ELs time to practice language with their peers of all languages, socially and academically
  • Set high expectations
  • Allow ELs to collaborate and socialize with different groups
  • Allow processing time because it may not be that ELs can’t think, it may be because they’re thinking in two languages simultaneouslyWith your help, one day, they will be proficient in at least two languages“Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” –Mark Twain
 The film is called Immersion. The link takes you to video and the connected lesson plans.

Click on this link for the Mentor Picture Book list. Incredible resource! Before you leave, please tell me what would've helped you the most when learning to work with newcomers that didn't speak English. Leave some love in the comments.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Currently November

As some of you know, I began blogging in January. At that time, I thought that blogging was just for posting what I was currently doing in the classroom. I've learned that it opens up a world full of inspiration, spirited, happy, ambitious teachers that I'm thrilled to meet through blogs and social network. I've also learned about SLANT boxes, shared Pinterest boards, and Blog Hopping. Truthfully, I'm not so sure how to do it all the time, but I'm anxious to learn, so thanks to Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for letting us teachers share with each other!

So, for the month of November, I'm sharing my currently.  Before I do so, November is my ultimate favorite month. It's the month of my mine and my husbands birthdays. Jeff proposed to me in November. Leaves turn beautiful colors at the beginning of this month here in Atlanta. Thanksgiving usually marks the time that I come up for air and stop having "couch breakdowns" that my husband knows too well. This year, we're traveling to Bermuda for my husband's rugby tournament. I love that part the most! With all that said, it's a good month to try something new.

NFL and football in general are the best background noises. Surprisingly, I did get to squeeze in my DVR'd shows and a movie, but I usually just listen to my TV. Must be all thanks to the end of daylight savings time.

For that reason, I loved the end of daylight savings time. I'm sick as a dog with sinus issues, so I didn't really sleep in, but it was good to get out of bed and be productive. I just made sure I had warm jammies and blankets along with hot soup and hot tea.

We have all kinds of freeze advisories in our city. I've already said that Atlanta is as far north as I'll ever live, but our winters are getting to be too much for me. On top of being sick, my morning duty is carpool.... 30 minutes of frozen tundra hell is all that keeps running through my head. My Wisconsin-raised husband needs to share his Long Johns with me tomorrow.

I've been craving the worst food. Right now, I'm wanting Taco Bell in the worst way. Earlier today, my craving was Krispy Kreme donuts. I think I'm fatigued by the two days of chicken and rice soup. The only thing stopping me from getting in the car is the cold and the fact that I scorched my mouth earlier on hot tea.

Honestly, I should hop into bed soon. Waking up is going to stink. I'll need extra time to pack on the layers of clothes and clear my congested head. Beautiful!

Think and Grow Rich because I use to be so much better with my finances. I'm a bit ashamed that I'm not putting anything here that is suitable for my students or related to school at all.  My interests are all across the board, and I freely share that with my students. I hope they all discover their own interests in reading topics of their choice.

Well, I sure hope I did that all correctly. Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sweet Nomination - Liebster Award

After a weekend of traveling, there is nothing better than pulling into your driveway. My bonus was being greeted by my husband who didn't make the trip with me. I was also greeted by a lovely surprise in my inbox. My blog was nominated for the Liebster Award. Thank you for the honor of nominating my little blog, Kristin (A LoveLi Class)!
A LoveLi Class
This award goes to new bloggers with less than 200 subscribers. I'm new and certainly far away from having 200 subscribers, so I'm tickled by the distinction! 
As a nominee, I'm now tasked with answering 11 questions about myself and my blog, and then share this nomination with 11 other up-and-coming bloggers.

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
My blog went live on January 3, 2014. I had decided that I wanted to blog, share my ideas, and really record the activities I did in class with my students. After the anticipation, nervousness, and scrambling in August, December is really when I feel inspired and fired up. The Christmas break was a perfect time to act on my goal of starting a blog. It's been a lot of fun, but you'll find that my blog entries are few and far between during first quarter.

 2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why? 
Fresh. Not necessarily to other teachers or followers, but the whole concept of blogging is so fresh to me. It's so fresh that I don't really see it as successful yet, but I really can't wait for it to ripen or bloom... It's so fresh, I'm not even sure what it will become. I'm also so fresh that I feel that I just blog like I journal.  No one is reading these entries but me.  

3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before? 
I felt like I started off pretty strongly. Early on, I did realize that purchasing a blog template was way less painful than creating one from scratch. There are tons of things I don't know about blogging yet! I'm still waiting to see what I wish I knew before, but I do want my blog to grow and for it to be helpful to others.

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging
Well, my favorite is sleeping in like a teenager whenever that opportunity presents itself, but truthfully, photography has my heart. Luckily, I adore photographing children. When I'm not wearing my teacher hat or my blogger hat or my TPT seller hat, I'm running my business, Atwell Photography. I won't link you to the Atwell Photography website, because that site hasn't been seen since I started this blog. I do manage to update the Facebook page, though. This is from the current shoot that I'm editing at the moment.

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog? 
Mmmm... this time a year, the blog hasn't gotten a whole lot of love. I probably give about 5-6 hours to it. I will be revamping and populating a lot more during the Christmas break and through the end of the year.

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most? 
My guilty pleasure is celebrity gossip blogs. Pretty embarrassing, but I do keep up with a variety of teaching blogs. I love sharing, and I love teachers that share. I'm also so inspired and in awe of the creativity of teachers that blog. I'm always thoroughly surprised by the many ways teachers adapt to meet the needs and interest of kids.

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from? 
Definitely not from one place. I follow tons and tons of inspirational teachers on Facebook and Instagram. The first fellow blogger that I really became a groupie of was Greg Smedley-Warren at Smedley's Smorgasbord of Kindergarten. Funny thing is I don't even teach kindergarten, but something about Greg's personality really resonated with me. Plus, I think he's so innovative. So much so, I stalked him at Atlanta's IKEA. That was such a great day!

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of my post about Liberia and Ebola - I Stand with You, Liberia. My, how it has progressed during that post. While proud of it, I'm upset with myself for not having posted more since. 
9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have postponing it for a while now? 
My goodness, yes. I've been working on a literature packet for eons now. I actually actively use everything in the packet on a daily basis, but the whole write-up is not complete. I'm teaching reading for the first time this year, so I'm still learning about the intricacies myself. I want to make sure my blog post makes sense.

 10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging? 
Simply, I like sharing. That's why it would be great if more readers stopped by. But I know there's so much information out there.  Bloggers are taking over my internet!!  =)

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself? 
How in the world do I pick one?? Can't do it. I love everything in your Monday Made It post! I even have that same mailbox. Unfortunately, I have 2 students in two classes in my classroom. It's stripped away a lot of my creativity this year.  =(

My Liebster Nominees:

I'm looking forward to a few of you hopefully all of you completing the questions, they were actually really good and I learnt a lot about myself :)

 Now that you've been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:
1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out."
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 11 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below!)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

It's All About Character

I feel like I'm pulling out of a rut. I like this feeling in October. I'm so happy to report that a few mornings have been crisp, cool, and dry enough for straight hair. I mean, is there a better register indicating fall than frizz-free hair? It reminds me that the nights will be cooler, and the darkness will set in earlier, inspiring me to create new things for my students for the remainder of the year and the beginning of next year.

We are currently working on character traits and comparing and contrasting features in text in 5th grade ESOL reading. For scaffolding purposes, I thought that short passages would work best for the students, so I created this packet with short reading passages that introduce students to 10 different characters. The goal is to have students focus on character trait descriptions rather than appearance descriptions. Using character trait word banks (and for my entering and developing students a translation of character traits list), I have students read the short stories aloud and brainstorm as partners or a small group what character traits describe the character. Sometimes I add my input to model more challenging vocabulary. Answers must be based on characters interactions, feelings, and words.

Once we've read and written directly on the story with a Vis-a-Vis markers, which I've laminated for repeated use, I ask the students to come up with a way to sort the characters. They are in charge of coming up with their own way to sort - good/bad, boy/girl, young/old, etc. 
After the sorting exercise, each student draws two cards from the deck of character cards. On the constructed response sheet, the student lists the two characters they chose. They can either copy the character traits or try to come up with new ones. The question asked of them is "Would these two characters get along? Why or why not? Explain your answer and be sure to cite examples from the text." I preface their responses by leading them to think about how the characters would act if the two characters were in a new setting like a party or the store. 
I was amazed that my two students really grasped the concept and enjoyed thinking beyond the obvious when listing the character traits. For every character trait they chose, I would ask them to tell me why they chose it.

Enjoy the photos. I felt it was a triumphant lesson, and we had lots of fun. Even my student that NEVER speaks participated heavily today and even smiled a few times. Win!!!

If you like this lesson, please hop on over to Teachers Pay Teachers for the complete packet, including anchor charts, character stories and cards, and the constructed answer sheet. It's very easily adapted for all levels, especially with an adjusted amount of scaffolding. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Elements of a Story

Aw! My sweet second graders. These were my students for two whole weeks before our ESOL schedules messed up the entire school's schedule for about six weeks. I actually had some of these precious 2nd graders last year, so I was thrilled about the thought of looping with them and continuing to work on their strengths and their confidence in my room. I can't help but get a little emotional when I watch this little educational diddy we made in class. I called this class my bucket fillers because they had a way of making me smile every day.

In concert with the W questions of who, what, where, why, and hoW <--- See the W! I taught the kids this chant I found online that I thought would be very helpful. I love utilizing song and gestures to help the ELs with academic language. Elements of a story will continue to come up in their academic careers, so it was important for me to help them retain the story parts. I'm thrilled to report that they really GOT this song in just a couple of days and were so excited about making the video. Can I also add that days after watching the video with me, my husband has been going around singing, "the characters, the characters." Hilarious! It really has the ability to stick, which is exactly what we want for our students.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

R.A.C.E. to Respond

How about a little freebie to make up for my lack of blogging? R.A.C.E. to Respond was a concept introduced to us during a faculty meeting earlier this year. I love it! I like the fact that I can use it in my classroom, poster-sized and in a more manageable postcard size, for my kids to refer to when they answer. For my ESOL students, it's helpful to answer using the guidance of R.A.C.E.  My hope is this will give them a boost in rigor and in comprehension. Rush over to TPT and grab your very own R.A.C.E. to Respond poster. Leave some love while you're there. It's not been the easiest beginning of the year, and I can't wait for the mojo and creativity to make an explosive return.

Friday, August 08, 2014

New Year! Have I blogged yet?

So as a newbie blogger, starting on January 1 was so much easier than starting at the beginning of the school year. It's HARD to blog during the buzz of a new year! I'm part exhausted, part electrified, part unmotivated, part anxious to start. It's such a crazy mix. Later in the year, I find myself more driven, more creative, and more social. During pre-planning days, I hide in my modular and put my room together as if I, too, open my room to parents and students at Open House. But I don't. I teach ESOL. Our Open House was last night. It's the last weekend before all students return. I saw last year's students of mine, thrilled to see them again, even if some lost their baby faces over summer, but I don't yet have a student roster. We won't have students for weeks, but for me to be ready for them, I have to have a clean, organized room. Only then, does my weary mind fall in line, so I hunker down. I commend my fellow bloggers, these curious, over-energized and hyper-creative and hyper-productive beings. This is my year #1. I will continue to blog and create this year. I am determined to attend the TPT Conference in 2015, come hell or high water! I can't wait to get my room ready, begin to implement Daily 5 with my wonderful ESOL students, and share my experience again this year. Blogging has really pushed me, and I hope to find myself with more readers. My students and I enjoy how much this process pushes me. Students come Monday. They always energize me! I'll be back to discuss it next week. Have a great weekend! I hope your students are your bucket fillers, and may your bucket floweth over.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Back to School Sale

Take advantage of a Teachers Pay Teacher Back to School Sale. Save 28% on all items in my store. My cart is loaded and ready to check out. I love shopping for class tools and center materials! Click on the sales banner to get to the Oh, Snap! TPT store!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

I Stand with You, Liberia

Even though I feel such an exhilarating buzz about the new school year, it is also a very somber time for me. In 2011, I completed my practicum in Liberia. Some days, I still pinch myself. I am so grateful to Mercer University's Mercer on Mission that gave us this opportunity. I learned so much, met great people, and experienced a culture that would never have been possible otherwise. I became familiar with a people that overcame so much in their very recent history. A history that I was embarrassed to have had so much ignorance. What I learned is that these resilient people represented just how the world was to me. We seem to think that the miles between us as countries and cultures make us different. Untrue. We're not very unlike at all. If anything, I don't know if I could forgive and forget as well as they had. I don't know if I could cope and move on as well as they had. Knowing them gave me strength, their relationships made me full.

We taught at Rick's Institute near Monrovia, Liberia for three weeks. My teaching partner, William, and I had 40 students in a tee-niny classroom. No electricity, no running water, no supplies like pencils and papers, much less Ipads, activeboards, and internet access. What an experience we shared! The most memorable was making a venn diagram about what ants would rather eat, a salty cracker or a sweet piece of chocolate. With magnifying classes and recording sheets, we put the the food on one of the MANY ant beds and let the kids poke the ant beds to a chorus of laughter and squeals. Yes, there was supervision and just enough of a safe distance! Come on, these kids had way more know-how around their jungle environment than I did. Let's not speak about the coconut tree snakes!!

I want to honor some of my former students as a way to pray for them and keep them close in thought. My hope is that they are all safe with their loved ones and are unaffected by this very scary virus, Ebola. Please let me introduce a few of my students. Some days, more than others, I realize what a gift photography is to my life. Some days, I feel that my introverted nature tricks me into thinking that I am in the mist of it all, though I hide behind a camera. These days, I don't feel this way. I may never see Liberia and her people again, but I have these rich, magnificent memories of them through my photos. I captured them. Please let me welcome you to my journey as I remember those in West Africa as they suffer the effects of Ebola, an awful and scary virus.

Meet Armstrong. He was our quiet charmer. When our time to teach them had ended, he snuck over to our house to tell my teaching partner and me goodbye and to play us a song on his ukulele. What a surprise to have this meek hardworker let us into his world and share his talent. We decided no other name would be so suited to him. Armstrong, we're thinking about you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Whew! Testing is Over....

... and we charge toward the end of the year with purpose! Resolve! 19....18....17.... This is my least favorite time of the year. For the homeroom teachers, every management trick that worked all year is either scrapped or completely retooled. The testing is DONE! Now it's just a waiting game. It's a difficult time to focus for teachers and students, alike. For an ESOL teacher, for every plan you think up, create, and prepare materials for, it feels like four of those will be cancelled. The fun part is not knowing until you go to a class to pull-out students and all the lights are off, little or no warning. Then, the test results come in, and boy, does that bring its own flurry of activity. So, as I begin to already scratch out plans I created this weekend, I have to adjust my attitude. I'll miss my students, and I won't get as much time to reach classroom goals with them or even say a proper, "Good luck in middle school. We'll see each other soon." By year three, I'll be better prepared to only see them a time or two a week until the end of school, I suppose. In the meantime, this little fella made me smile, I hope he can do the same for you. Gotta love Kid President! Remember, you've worked hard all year! You woke up every day because this is your calling. Administrators may have changed, curricula may have changed, expectations from higher ups may have changed. When a child succeeds, when a child is grateful, and when a child shows evidence of growth, we all remember, hopefully. We remember that any job has challenges, but ours has some pretty awesome rewards.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Exposing It - "Four-Letter Words" Review Game

Watching TV CAN be educational! I have always loved game shows, especially the ones with celebrities. Imagine my excitement when Hollywood Game Night debuted. On the first episode I caught, I found the next game for my students. I envisioned the perfect game for review. In my class, I already have the "I Used an Adult Word" wall, so it's only right that the game I discovered was "Four-Letter Words." Here is the clip I saw on TV.

For review, I came up with four letter words from all the 5th grade subjects, and we played some review. I had enough words for a few rounds. At first, I was running for the letters. By the end, my students knew how to run the game themselves. They weren't quite as fluid as I was, but they'll get it in time. See the result.

My voice screeching is so unpleasant to me!! Can you pretend to unhear me?  =)
Isn't it awesome?! Goes to show that it's fun taking risks on my lesson planning sometimes. Hope it inspires you to not to only play more in your class, but to also find inspiration anywhere. You never know what might strike you.

And a side note... I do promote play. We do play to learn a lot in my classes. Please don't think that that's all we do, but it's sure fun to share these moments, my avenue to differentiation. I think it's more fun to use my blog to expand our creativity in this manner. From other teachers, I am always researching methods like Daily 5, guided reading, writer's workshop, and on and on. I've got my eye out!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Using Commas in a Series (List)

Hi gang! I've got a brand new product up. This time, I've posted something useful for first graders and up. This is the first time that students see the standard, but I've taught enough grades to know that this lesson is not lost on any grade in elementary, especially ELLs. This set is differentiated. I always try to offer that for you. Even in my tiny classes, I have levels so spread out that it's difficult to have one type of work to give them. You'll find variety in this packet that I hope you can appreciate. Click on the images below to see the product at TPT. Please pin it if you think your followers could use it.

Coming up very soon, I have a few great posts. The posts I have in the works is a dynamic description of all the things you can do with travel brochures. I'll be sure to have some product for you, strictly for you convenience, but as always I try to just offer suggestions. Travel brochures, are after all, free for the taking! I do love those things. I've been slightly obsesses since childhood.

Another post is about another review game that we did in class today (the video is just not ready) that was inspired by Hollywood Game Night. I was worried it wouldn't be as great as it is on TV, but it was! Happy day. Can't wait to share the video.

And finally.... (takes deep breath), after testing is over, I love to squeeze in the longer-term projects. This year, I get to collaborate with the 4th grade social studies and science teacher. We are going to do a Westward Expansion project. I can't share much now, but it involved an amazing app that I've since become hooked on in the name of project planning! At least I know it'll hook the kids, they'll learn from it.

I look forward to getting these post ready for you. We start testing tomorrow. I'm a read aloud test administrator. It's definitely not the best time to be up, but you can't tell creativity to call it a night. Goodnight all! Hope you're finding inspiration!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chop Suey - Perfect Testing Review Dishes

I have a late one for you readers. I had the best time with this lesson, and I couldn't wait to share it... but, I had to do some Spring Breaking first! So here it is, my Chop Suey review lessons. This is a great, interactive way to connect students with the text and to check their comprehension. Let me start with the prep for this lesson first.

I was able to get a dozen to-go boxes, a dozen sets of chopsticks, and a dozen fortune cookies for $3 from my local Chinese restaurant. I made an 11pm run, so I was willing to pay much more. I was floored and so appreciative of the deal. "I'm a teacher" can be a powerful phrase! There are two Chop Suey lessons I've created. One is arranging a short story; the other, finding the main idea.

Story Chop Suey 
I found stories online and cut them up by sentences. For the product listed below, the stories are mine, completely original, so no worries about infringement. In each to go box, I put the story sentences on white paper that I curled. I also added the other parts, title choice and ending choice. Titles were printed on one colored paper, and story endings were printed on another. Students were instructed to put the white "noodles" in order, using all of them. They were then instructed to choose the BEST title and the BEST ending to the story. Once everything had be chopsticked out of the to go box and taped down, students read their story one more time. When they decided as a group that their story sounded correct, I gave them a story key to check their work.

Main Idea Chop Suey
I put out 8 boxes around the room, and in each box, I put 4 sentences. One sentence was the main idea. I timed the students to see how quickly they could find the main idea. When they were finished picking out the main idea with their chopsticks, I ran to check their answers and told them how many were right, how many were wrong. 

After they had them all correct, I asked students to tell me the main idea and use the phrases from the anchor chart to cite and defend why they thought they'd chosen the main idea correctly. Once finished, we checked the key to see the sentences together.

My ESOL kids loved using the chopsticks. Some had never had the opportunity to try. My students did a great job, and it gave us all a lot of confidence in their reading and comprehension. I've created the packets below that would be convenient for you to purchase; but honestly, plenty of stories are available online, too.

Get out there and get those Chinese food supplies. I'm still figuring out how many ways I can use them. For all of those testing now or in the near future, good luck to you and your kids. Hope they're all kissing and nurturing their brains! Before I link the product from TPT, here is a fortune cookie message. One fortune for you, one fortune for your students.

I hope the pictures help you see what is going on and how you can use the product. You simply print the pages, some on different colored paper, then cut the sentences into strips. Curling is optional, but if you plan on integrating the chopsticks, it makes it more manageable. Flat sentence strips may be impossible to pick up, and that's coming from a pro.... basically! Click on the images below to purchase your own copy on TPT.

Good luck! Thanks ahead of time for any feedback.