Parts of Speech Review (with no tomatoes thrown at you)

Today was our last day with the kiddos!  I was sad to see my friends leave.  I'm so ready for summer, but then the next thing you know, they're walking out, and you're boohooing.  Tomorrow is a teacher work day for us (code name for endless mounds of paperwork.)  I know some of you are still in the classroom, so here's a post to help you stay sane.

Parts of Speech Week!
Yes, with a happy exclamation point.  Your kids will actually like this.  My students did initially look at me with something pretty close to an evil eye when I told them we were going to have a parts of speech review week.  
This is easier if you have access to a laptop cart, but if not, you could have kids rotate through the computers in your classroom.  Here are the elements:

1.  Brian Cleary books
I love, love, love this series!!!  Basic without being too basic, fun, and plentiful.  If there is a part of speech, this guy has a book for it if not two.  We started the day off by reading the book about that part of speech.  

He has a pretty cool website, too!  The World of Brian P. Cleary

2.  Grammaropolis
The content on this website is incredible.  Some of my students even went home and downloaded the songs off iTunes.  For real.  What's even better is that Grammaropolis is a pay site but gives teachers a free account.  There are songs, books, videos, and quizzes for each of eight parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. We visited this website as a class on our whiteboard.  You could easily have them go to the website on their own, though.  It's very user friendly.

Click here to visit the noun part of town (free to everyone): Noun Town
Click here to request a free teacher account: Teacher Account

3.  Pendemonium
Pendemonium is a video series on Discovery Education Streaming (used to be United Streaming, I still have trouble not calling it that!)  This series is very much meant for older kiddos, 3rd and up, maybe savvy 2nd graders.  It's a fun series full of puns.  The main characters are a pencil, Blackberry, and a couple of pens.  They work to save the newspaper from their arch enemy, Dark Marker.  Lots of fun.  In addition to parts of speech, the team also works to save capitalization, spelling, and other writing skills.

    Penny and the gang                                        Teaching about adverbs

Oh,, how I love you so. is perfect for when you have a collection of websites that you want your kids to go to.  You know how well that works.  Anywho, at you "krunch" these together into one website that YOU name.
Here are a few of my parts of speech krunchd sites:

Let them loose on a site and get some paperwork done.

5.  Parts of Speech Packet
No rocket science here, just a collection of worksheet pages that support each day's part of speech.  I let them complete the pages with a partner because I feel that it's important to get them talking about what they've learned.  The talk that happens between the kids is more important than the worksheet will ever be.
Maybe one day I'll make my own fabulous, amazing packet and post it here.  For right now, I just used some pages pulled from various workbooks and Mailbox magazines.

In the future . . .
I've used this the last couple of years to keep a happy balance the last few weeks of school.  The last few weeks of school are all about survival.  It's a fun week (or two!) with academic value and happy kids.  However, there's some really good stuff in the books and websites.  Next year, I'm moving to third grade. I'm thinking about giving each month it's own part of speech to focus on.  We'll use the websites, videos, and books, but I want to add in some anchor stations and art projects, too.  I'll post more about it in September!

I Have a Love Affair with Office Max

I'll reveal an embarrassing fact about myself.  The people that work at the print counter at Office Max know me. I'm mean really know me. I coached the new guy on how to find the right barcode in his binder, so I could check out the last time I went.  (Yesterday.)  As in, they even recognize my husband because I send him over there a bunch to pick stuff up for me.  (I have a nice husband.)  I'm at the print counter at Office Max waaaaaay too often.

Here's the thing, though. You know how you see a poster at the teacher store, and it's almost what you want? And you're thinking to yourself, "Gosh, if it just said _____________ instead, it would be perfect!"  This happens to me often, especially with writing.  We use Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for writing, and let me tell you, there are no Lucy Calkins teaching posters at Lakeshore.  Yes, I could make it on chart paper. But I can't. Because I expect my posters to look like this:

I Do, We Do, You Do                                  The First Grade Parade

Working for the Classroom                          The Inspired Apple

And they never do. Ever. So what's an OCD girl to do but make them herself on the computer? If you have the newest version of Word, you can do some snazzy stuff. Check out this post I read on Teaching Blog Addict that tells how to use Word to make a blog button:  Blog Button in 3 Tutorials.  You can make some good looking graphic work. I didn't know about all this business in the newest Word, but I do have Printshop. I even recently downloaded Photoshop Elements. I love it, but it's a bit of a time commitment to figure it out.  So go create your 11x17 file in one of these programs and get to the next step.

Moving right along. At Office Max or Office Depot, you can upload a file to their website (or bring in a flash drive), and they'll print out an 11x17 color poster on nice, glossy card stock for you. For less than $2. Seriously.

It works like this:

After that, you put in your name/number/etc. and then select which store you want to pick it up from.  Office Depot's process works EXACTLY the same, except you also have the option to pay online.  I'm sure Staples has something similar.  Sadly, no Staples near me.

Try it out for yourself! Here are two posters I've made:
Plot Poster
**To download, click on the name of the file (shown above the image).  The link will open and just click download.  Voila!

Happy poster making!

End of the Year Assessment Organization

End of the year.  Summer dreams of sleeping in, staying up late reading, lounging on the beach.  Ahhhh.  But first, end of the year assessments.  I just finished mine Friday (about five minutes before they were due.)  End of the year assessments don't frighten me as much as they once did.  More of an elevated cranky stress level than the previous hair pulling, screaming at the top of my lungs.

You know the worst part of end of the year assessments?  No, not hearing 44 kids read the same passage. It's all the forms you need.  And don't have.  And can't find.  And forgot to make copies of.  And where are those DRA books?  That to me was always the worst.  Then I'd get started late, be rushed, frustrated.  All lovely feelings to throw into the end of the year mix.

But Now!  I have my box.  A lovely, simple, white Ikea magazine box.  This beauty has everything I need.  Take a look:


I didn't say this organization was rocket science.  But it is efficient.
I have a folder for our fluency screener and another folder for our quick phonics screener.  Each folder has a million copies of the recording sheet and a several of the student sheet.  Behind those folders, are folders for each DRA level that I might possibly need. The last folder holds originals of everything. You ever notice that if you put the original in with the copies you use, you inevitably use the original? Not in this classroom.

This last picture shows how I make sure I get all the tests in that I need. In our district, all fourth graders take the fluency assessment. ESL kiddos and at risk kids are also assesses using the DRA and a quick phonics screener. I make one sticky note for each of my sections to keep track of what I still need to do. (I made fake sticky notes for my students' privacy.)  Again, not rocket science, but it has made my reading assessments much less stressful to manage.  Next year I'm moving down to third grade.  I'll use this sticky note organization for wrapping up my testing.  I'll make a list for all the kids I missed (absences, crazy long restroom breaks, tutoring, etc.)

Hope this helps!

Main Idea and Supporting Details + Surviving the End of the Year

That's a hard combo to make work together, but we are this week in my classroom.  The secret of many teachers (certainly me!) is that we find a great idea online, steal it, and change it up to work in our classrooms.  I found this super fabulous, wonderful idea at Julie McKown's Little Literacy Learners.  I liked it.  I liked it a lot.  My kids are pretty good with main idea and supporting details, so I thought I would turn the lesson inside out.  What if I had my kids work in groups to create the bags, and then share them with some younger students?  Here's my plan:

Day 1: I followed her lesson to a t.  I had a bag (main idea: baking brownies) and presented each item one at a time.  Saving the detail that confirms the main idea for last, we discussed how it's important to read the entire paragraph before determining the main idea.
**I really meant to bring in real objects for this bag instead of pictures.  But I didn't get up early enough that morning.  This is real life, people.  I'd like some credit for the fact that I could have faked this.

Day 2: The kiddos got in small groups and planned a bag they would create.  Each group filled out the form and discussed their bags.  What they would put in it, bring from home, draw, you get the idea.

Day 3: Each group assembled their bags.   This involved items brought from home, pictures printed from the Internet (love Kid Rex as a safe search engine!), drawings, even a little playdoh.  I cannot even tell you how happy they were.  And loud.  But happy.  Someone from our district came to get paperwork and told me how wonderful my kids were.

Day 4: Tomorrow each group will practice by presenting their bag to the class.  We will hopefully be able to determine the main idea for each.  Yea!

Day 5: Friday, we'll meet with a second grade class.  Each second grader is bringing a clipboard and a pencil.  I'll give each second grader a packet with four of the recording worksheets.  The plan is for them to rotate in small groups through four of our bag stations.  (We have seven stations, but I am pretty sure I won't be able to keep their attention for that long!)  Each group of fourth graders will present their bag and helped the second grade group complete the sheet.

In the end, we will have spent our second to last full week of school engaged in an activity that has academic value.  We also get to help out a some second graders.  It's a win win!

Our rotations with second grade were fabulous!  I have two sections, so each section met with a different second grade class.  The second grade teachers loved it, my kiddos loved it, and the second graders were pretty excited to work with the "big" kids.

Oooh! My First Post Ever

Hello, world.

Chirp, chirp.

Really, hello crickets of blogland!  Welcome to the first post of "I Teach.  What's Your Super Power?"  Teaching truly is a super power.  The list of tasks we must complete and issues we must deal with daily in enormous.  When someone is able to do the impossible (on a daily basis, no less), they must be a super hero!

Why Blog?
I think the blogging community that has developed among teachers across the country to support each other is incredible.  This blog is my effort to throw in my two cents and be a  part of the educational blogland that has enhanced my own teaching so much.  I'm so excited to be a part of it even in the tiniest way.

Um, Why Start a Blog at the End of the School Year?
Um, because it took me forever to cobble the idea of this together and get the courage to start it.  Plus, I figure I can get better at it over the summer.  **Side note, I consistently overplan what I can get done in the summer.

What ever happens here, Welcome!  I'm glad you stopped by.