Global Read Aloud
This week I kicked off our classroom participation in the Global Read Aloud. I chose the book Fish by L.S. Matthews for my middle school classes. I am so happy to finally be doing some literature-based activities. Our focus up to this point has been strictly informational text.
We’ve been reading and writing a lot about refugees in the first few weeks of school, so my students have a pretty solid background on refugee camps and current refugee situations.
The GRA is designed to connect classrooms around the world. While we haven’t made any contacts with other classrooms yet, I created a Twitter account so we could participate in some of the “slow chats”. However, our school doesn’t allow students to access Twitter, so I am going to need to come up with some creative ways for us to use Twitter as a class.
My 8th graders are already asking if they can tweet questions and comments. I quickly made this simple exit ticket where students can record their thoughts each day and submit them to me for review before I tweet them. I know there are several versions of Twitter Exit Tickets on Pinterest and TPT, but I figured something simple was fine.
Click here for a free PDF of my Twitter Exit Ticket
Literary Element Graphic Organizers – Simplified
Speaking of simple, I decided to revamp some of my graphic organizers and teaching tools. Considering I have some of the same students for a few years in a row, I needed some variety.
I will admit, I used to spend a lot of time making graphic organizers and making them “pretty” and “perfect.”
I realized recently, simple works too. I spend far too much time worrying about the alignment and formatting of my handouts.
It’s time to simplify my life and my classroom a bit and put the creativity into my students’ hands.
As we started our novel, I had students glue each of the organizers below into their reading journals. They glue one on the left hand side and skip the right hand side, because that is where they create their own rendition.
This past week, I gave them three separate pages to glue in. We will be adding to each of them as we work our way through the exposition of the novel.
Clicker here to download the free PDF of my POV, Plot Diagram and Conflict Graphic Organizers
I’ll be sure to share some student samples in the next post. If these aren’t quite what you are looking for, try my Easy Access page with an entire bank of free graphic organizers and teaching tools.
**If you are reading Fish now too, leave a comment! Maybe our classes can meet up online and talk about the book!
Did you know the easiest way to access many of my graphic organizers, handouts, and other goodies is to go to the Easy Access page? It is located in the menu bar or you can click here. Check it out!!
To go along with my Prezi, I decided to create mini-lessons for the five text structures.
The plan was to spend one day on each, using the Prezi as an intro, taking notes in the Text Structure Flip Book I created, and then doing corresponding activities.
The activities took me a little longer than five days but ended up making a great unit.
I used many of the graphic organizers from a PDF I found online (Comprehension and Text Structure Graphic Organizers)
I also used many of the nonfiction reading selections from www.readworks.org.
Here are some highlights from each mini-lesson.
Students used a graphic organizer that really helped them think spatially as they described our classroom. I gave students the option of describing their bedroom if they wanted to.
Compare and Contrast
For this lesson students rotated in groups to three different stations. Each station had a nonfiction selection from ReadWorks.org. I picked a variety of Lexiles and highlighted some text features like footnotes, headings, bold words, and captions.
At each station they had to record three details showing similarities and differences.
I used the questions that come with the selections the following day as a review of test taking strategies on the SMART Board.
Cause and Effect
I used the cards and activity that begins on page 29. I cut the cards and students picked one from the bag. They then wrote their “cause” statement on their paper. I played some music and students walked around until the music stopped. They plopped down and wrote one “effect” on the paper. We repeated this process about 5 or 6 times and each time the students had to read all of the effects listed and come up with something different. I loved the creativity of some of their responses and they loved walking around and writing on their classmates papers.
Sequence or Process Writing
For sequence writing, I used three nonfiction selections spread out over a few days. We completed these individually just like we would the OAA – I read the directions and questions, they read the selection, and I repeated the directions (per their IEP accommodations). This provided some practice and forced them to pay attention to detail and read headings.
- The Scientific Method 600L
- Scientific method questions
- Colorful Crayons 630
- Crayons questions
- Magellan Was First 790
- Magellan questions
Problem and Solution
I turned this mini-lesson into a speaking/listening/social skills lesson where students had to rotate with small groups to 6 different “problems.” For each problem they had to come up with a good solution and they had to use a signal word from the list on the Prezi in their response. After reading some of their solutions, I realized we needed to work on some of our social skills so I will be coming back to this activity later this week.
The final activity was a matching activity and part of the PDF file.
Wow! That is a lot of information. I hope I provided enough information to show the variety of the lessons. The last thing I wanted to do was bore them with a bunch of worksheets but with the OAA coming up tomorrow I wanted to be sure to cover a lot.
And on THAT note….I should probably wrap this up and relax a little before the fun starts tomorrow! If you happen to be in Ohio, or are taking any sort of achievement tests this week….Good luck! It’s all downhill from here!
As I learn more and more about iDraw, the perfectionist in me has felt the need to improve my graphic organizers. I only made some slight changes (a little color and more uniform) but I am happy with them now. I also made notes for conjunctions. To find the originals click here. The updated PDF files are below.
And what would be a post about conjunctions without this video?
My Resource Room students will be writing five short (5-7 sentence) paragraphs on various topics related to the Olympics and our typed paragraphs will be pasted inside construction paper Olympic rings when we are finished.
Here is the graphic organizer we used today to write our first paragraph for our Olympic unit.
Here are 5 graphic organizers I plan on using in my middle school Resource Room as we review the parts of speech.
I will shrink these to half sheets and students will paste them in their journals in the Grammar section as we study each of them.
We will complete the graphic organizer together and then keep a running list of words (in this case, nouns) that go with the Olympics.
Later next week, we are going to the computer lab to make posters about the Olympics and nouns. I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but I will let you know how it goes.
One way to teach vocabulary is to use graphic organizers. Here is a PDF file of the Semantic Maps I use most often. I wanted to attach my SMART Notebook file as well, but I don’t think that is an option. If you would like a copy, leave a comment and I will email the file to you.
I created these years ago, based on others I have seen so I can’t really take credit for coming up with them. I also don’t know where these ideas came from.
I keep a stack of each of these organizers on a shelf so when the need comes up, I have copies ready to go. These pages are small enough they can be trimmed and will fit nicely when glued into a composition book.
If these don’t fit your needs, a quick Google search will lead you tons of graphic organizers for all ages, grade levels, and subjects.
Google tip: Did you know that by clicking “images” on the left hand side of Google the search becomes much visual-learner friendly? This is the most common way I search for materials and resources for my class. It saves me from clicking on useless links.
Here is a screen shot of a search using images: