Saturday, February 25, 2012

Putting the Magic in Test Prep Part 2

                                                                   Click Cover to Purchase

I've been trying to get my students ready for the test writing prompt. I'm using Barry Lane's videos as writing exercises. These videos really focus on improving student's  style and voice points. Everyday I show a video from his channel.  Then I  have the students complete the writing printable I created for the videos. I have used to convert the videos to wmv and save to my flash drive. (For those teachers without YouTube access at school.)  Click HERE or the pictures for a free copy of the writing printables.

DAY 1 Who Grades the Test
DAY 2 Snapshot

Day 3 Come With Me!

Day 4 and 5 Find Your Own Truth
Barry Lane has a great book,Hooked on Meaning: Building Strong Writers, available at his website. As a matter of fact, all his books are amazing.

For more great test prep ideas, check out my blogging buddy, Teaching in Room 6!  She has a ton of test prep freebies. 
As always, I would love it if you followed my blog. Good luck as you continue to create magic in the classroom!

Friday, February 24, 2012

HearAll Recorder GIVEAWAY!

Have you ever wished you could be cloned? I told a teacher friend the other day that I was going to look into it. Of course, on a teacher's salary I wouldn't be able to afford it even if it was an option. I could really use two of me in the classroom., so when Learning Resources asked me to review their  hearAll Assessment Recorder I got really excited. This recorder allows you to be in two places at once.

The hearAll is ready to use straight out of the box. In fact, I started using it without even reading the instructions! Shhh...... Don't tell my engineer hubby, lol! I did spend a few minutes looking for the battery compartment, only to find it didn't have one. Wow, a teacher's dream: no batteries required! Just plug in the included USB cord to charge from any PC or Mac.
The hearAll can record up to 4 hours of audio, and with 4-omini-directional microphones, the sound quality is excellent!  After recording, you can play back instantly or download for parents or specialist to listen to later.  Even uploading to a student's portfolio is a cinch! The headphone jack certainly makes for quieter listening and a simple right click of the mouse lets you rename the file easily. (See Photo) (MP3 and WAV file compatible)
Another great feature of the hearAll is its simplicity of use. When I showed it to my mother, a first grade teacher, she was confident her youngsters would have it figured out faster than her!


There are so many ways a teacher could use this tech tool in the classroom. I created a Top Five list of classroom uses.

       Top Five Reasons to Buy the hearAll Assessment Recorder
1  Fluency Assessment
At my school we have AR Reading. I use the student's fluency scores to help set the student's goal. I also require 20 minutes of AR reading a night. Of course, you will have students say they are reading each night but haven't even come close to meeting their goal.  I've created a solution to this problem. First, I take a fluency test. Then I give every student and parent a copy of the  word count and fluency calculator I created. Click HERE or on the image for a free copy. Now that I have the hearAll, I will record the fluency test and send it to the parents via email along with the homework requirements and word count chart.

2 Movie Maker MP3 clips
Every year my students create commercials for their business during our Economics Unit. Look and LISTEN to the commercial my student created using the hearAll to record the jingle for her commercial.

3 Podcasting
 It is so easy for students to create a podcast with the hearAll. This could easily be a cooperative group project. Give the students the hearAll and let them create!
4 Readers Theater
 Kids love to listen to a recording of themselves.  Let students read a readers theater script and record it with the hearAll. Then let them play it back. Have them practice several times. This is a great method for improving fluency.
5 Student Portfolios
Whether you like it or not, everything is heading in the technology direction. All of my students have laptops for classroom use, so they complete a lot of work on the computer. I love keeping a digital portfolio of my students and the hearAll will make that even easier now.

Here's the most AWESOME thing about the hearAll: They are also giving one away to a lucky reader of Classroom Magic! 

To enter you must like Learning Resources Fanpage, follow their YouTube channel, (the subscribe button is right beside their name) and fill in the simple entry form BELOW. ( Contest ends on Thursday, March 1st at 10:00 p.m. CT.) Good luck to everyone from Learning Resources and Classroom Magic!

Congratulations, Martha Craft! You are the winner of the hearAll from Learning Resources. They will be contacting you via email sometime this week. Thanks everyone who entered. Stay tuned for another great new product giveaway this week, even better than last week! 


Transformation Fun

I like to break my lessons into chunks. I think this chunking method helps students attend to the lesson better and is brain friendly. A typical lesson for me usually has three to four parts. I have an essential question, such as, what is a transformation? After that, I would engage with the Transformation Hustle. (See the video for the instructions.) I would further explain with the Transformation video. (Let me know if you need instructions on how to save YouTube videos to a flash drive.) Then the students would explore with the transformation craftivity. Click HERE or on the picture for a free copy. I apologize for having a zillion versions, but I was trying to cover a wide grade range. I teach my students the SLide and FLip trick for remembering what a reflection and translation are, so I made some with SL and FL capitalized in the middle. Finally, I would give my students examples of transformations and let them answer on their whiteboards. I jot down the names of students that are still struggling. Sometimes I have them answer the EQ in their math journals.

I would love to have you as a follower. Either way I wish you luck as you continue to create magic in your classroom.

Lessons From The Middle

Permission to Pin

There was some fine print that I should have read before I signed up for my Pinterest account. Apparently, if you pin something to Pinterest you are agreeing that you have the right to pin it, and give them the right to use the images any way they see fit. For more information read the post by Laura Candler. If you didn’t already notice, I added a permission to pin button to my blog. You may pin my site to your heart’s content and many thanks for doing so! Thanks Laura Candler for bringing this to my attention. Click HERE if yo want to follow my Pinterest boards.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Picture Writing Prompts

 I've created a little Picture Prompt e-book with some of my favorite picture prompts. I hope your students enjoy these as much as my students have. Click {HERE} or the picture for a copy.
Want more picture prompts? Click HERE or on the picture below and find many more great picture prompts to hop to.  If you click on the pictures it will take you to the link for the original picture. Credit for the photos is listed in the caption. Good luck as you continue to create magic in your classroom!

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Just In Time for Monday

Just in case you didn't have enough activities for Presidents' Day, here's one more. Click HERE or the book cover for a free online version of the book, Arthur Meets the President. In the book Arthur visits several national landmarks. Teaching national landmarks is in our state standards, so I thought I would work that into Monday's lesson. Click HERE or the picture for a National Landmark Foldable Booklet. Arthur visits each of these places in the book. I've included two versions. One with the names and one without. You could have the kids find one fact about each or just write in the name of the landmark. The map on the last page can be used to trace Arthur's journey through Washington DC.

Here's a cute video,too.

Good luck as you continue to  create magic in your classroom!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Book Review and 3 Day Lesson Plan for Common Core

One of my favorite authors is Laura Candler. Her Power Reading Workshop book changed my teaching life. I recently had the privilege of reading an advance copy of her latest ebook, Graphic Organizers for Reading: Teaching Tools Aligned with the Common Core. Before I read it  I was a little skeptical. I mean I have several graphic organizer books, and I can Google anything I might need, but this book is so much more than graphic organizers. Laura gives you a teaching model to use with the graphic organizers, and I love how well written the instructions for implementation are. As I read the book, I felt like I was sitting at the table with a seasoned teacher being mentored. The teaching techniques outlined in this book were the real treasure and the graphic organizers were a nice bonus. I used Laura's teaching model to teach a 3 day lesson on character traits. The following lesson outline is based on her method:
Day 1: Model how to use the Character Trait graphic organizer with the book Sophie's Masterpiece.
Day 2: Guide students through the process of filling in the Character Traits graphic organizer using the book Rainbow Fish. 
Day 3: Let students practice independently completing the Character Traits graphic organizer with a copy of Recess Queen.

Day 1: 
Click HERE or on the picture for the link to the online video version of this book. You will need to click on "All Stories" to get to the book.  It is read by CCH Pounder. I paused the book and switched to my document camera to demonstrate how to use the text to determine character traits, but you could show the entire video first if you wanted.
I also gave students a copy of Laura's Character Trait list to look at.
Click HERE for a copy.
Example of Character Trait:
Artistic- "She spun webs more wondrous than anyone had ever seen."
Day 2:
Click HERE or on the picture for the link to the online video version of this book. The words appear on the screen, so you can pause the video and let students determine character traits and write the text as proof.  They will need a copy of the Character Traits List. This book is an easy book to determine character traits with.
Day 3:

I showed the students a book trailer of The Recess Queen. Then I gave students a copy of the story for them to independently use to fill in the graphic organizer.  Click HERE for a  copy of the words. I got this copy many years ago but couldn't find the link, so I uploaded to Googledocs. If anyone has the original link, I would love to share it.

My students loved this 3 day lesson! They begged for more, and were able to come up with character traits that weren't on the list. Currently this book is only available in ebook format. Click HERE or on the cover for a link to purchase this book. If you are still unsure, download the preview of the book. I also created some emergency sub plans with this book. It's so easy because they just need her instructions, the graphic organizer, and a mentor text. Good luck as you continue to create magic in your classroom!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Black History Month Freebies

I've created a couple of freebies for Black History month. The first is a map and graphic organizer for the book, The Hallelujah Flight. This is the story of James Banning and Thomas Allen. They must overcome many obstacles, including prejudice, as they journey across the US in a dilapidated OXX6 Eagle Rock plane.  Click HERE or on the book  for the link to this free online version.  Have students plot the journey of the "Flying Hobos." Then have them complete the story map. Click HERE or the picture for your free copy.

The next freebie is for older students and goes great with the book, Who Was Rosa Parks. Click HERE or on the book cover for your free online version. After you read the book, have students write a biopoem about Rosa Parks. Click HERE for you free template.

For more Black History freebies, check out The Diary of the Not So Wimpy Teacher.

Incorporate technology with Scholastic's interactive Underground Railroad. 

Good luck as continue to create magic in your classroom!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Presidents' Day

I say Presidents' Day, you say Presidents Day...Let's call the whole thing off. Ok, we're not singing about tomatoes, but I'm not completely sure what the correct punctuation for this holiday is. I Googled it, and it's still not clear. I think Presidents' Day looks right. Once you get a look at all the goodies I created for you, I don't think you'll mind how I chose to punctuate. I put together a whole days worth of activities for this holiday. I've got Reading, Writing, Math, and Social Studies covered for you. I really appreciate all the kind words you guys have been sending my way and REALLY appreciate you following my blog. It's just like when you have students that are always saying thank you, it makes you want to do that much more for them. I hope you enjoy all the activities. You can click on any of the pictures or HERE to grab a complete and FREE copy of the entire unit. If you like what you see I would love it if you followed me, liked my fan page, and/or left me a comment. Either way, I wish you luck as you continue to create magic in your classroom!

Social Studies
Have students research Abraham Lincoln. Using the information they gather, have them make a biopoem. Once they have created the poem, they can type it into Tagxedo. Have them choose the Abraham Lincoln shape and print. It is so cool. If you don't know about Tagxedo, check out my post from last week, HERE.
Click HERE or on the book cover to get a free online video version of the book, So You Want to Be President. You will have to watch a commercial, but you can download using Zamzar. If you download, it will eliminate the commercial for you and you can save it to your flashdrive. Let me know if you need help with this.  After reading the book, let students write a descriptive paragraph about what they would do if they were president.
Let students stack pennies and find the mean, median, mode, and range. Your students will LOVE this!
Let students read the passage and complete the graphic organizer.

Liz from Liz's Lesson created a great French and Spanish Presidents' Day packet. Click HERE or the picture to get this foreign language freebie.                                                                                

For another great activity, check out Diary of The Not So Wimpy Teacher's freebie.