Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Verdi by Janelle Cannon ~ Lexile 530

Janelle Cannon books are some of the most beautifully written and illustrated picture books I have read.  My favorite part of ALL of this author's books is the message that unfolds as you read.  She takes unusual animals and makes them beautiful, and we all learn a lesson that transfers to our own lives so very easily. 

From Goodreads:
Young Verdi doesn’t want to grow up big and green. He likes his bright yellow skin and sporty stripes. Besides, all the green snakes he meets are lazy, boring, and rude. When Verdi finds a pale green stripe stretching along his whole body, he tries every trick he can think of to get rid of it--and ends up in a heap of trouble. Despite his efforts, Verdi turns green, but to his delight, he discovers that being green doesn’t mean he has to stop being himself. “Cannon is on a roll, her gift for creating memorable characters and scenes on glorious display in this tale of a feisty python hatchling.”--Publishers Weekly
Our  fourth grade students have read one Janelle Cannon book each week of September.  I was responsible for planning Verdi, and chose to focus on context clues and inferring as learning new vocabulary words can be applied and extended through inferring.  I also wanted to get students talking and discussing their ideas, so I created question cards in written and QR formats.  Finally, taking notes and learning information from print and digital sources were focused on.  Our students used Popplet to organize ideas, but I put a paper graphic organizer in the unit for differentiation for our team.

Overall Goals and I Can Statements:

  1. I can learn how to use context clues.
  2. I can learn how to infer meaning using prior knowledge and context clues.
  3. I can use a graphic organizer to frame my ideas and learning.
  4. I can gather information from different sources:  text and video.

Here are a few links I used to help with note taking.  This graphic organizer is free on Teachers Pay Teachers AND included in the paid unit as well.


 Below is a snippet of this complete literacy unit including the above graphic organizer, anchor charts, interactive journal templates for practicing inferring, question cards in both written and QR Code formats and my complete week long literacy unit.  You can find this posted on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

I am always looking to purchase new books.  If you click the link below, it will help me gain credits toward this goal.


Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Middle School Grammar Resources

Is there really such a thing as an engaging middle school grammar activity?  I have been working hard to find just that, and I think that I have found quite a few!

As a Reading Specialist, I have been searching high and low for engaging grammar activities for Middle School students.  I found several WONDERFUL interactive journals from Chalk Box Tales that our teachers are using this year.  They are the first layer for teaching grammar and the overall goal of well developed sentence writing. WIN!  Check them out!

Not that Lovin' Lit needs any more advertising, BUT... her grammar quick checks make the perfect entrance and exit tickets to review skills and go along nicely with these interactive notebooks!

Take your pick ~ They all follow the same format and are worth the price!

To add a little spice to grammar, I found the following activities that I think are AMAZING:

  • This {PREZI}is an excellent review for students. 
  • This {PREZI} is titled, Painless Grammar.  I like it!
  • This {PREZI} is nicely engaging and interactive.  Check it out!
  • Below is my FAVORITE 8 Parts of Speech clip:

I love Mr. Folkes parts of speech, but it only reviews Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives.

  • Grammaropolis has fun songs and nice free slides explaining the parts of speech.  The Noun clip is free.  The rest cost $.
  • Flocabulary is my ABSOLUTE favorite site!  This costs $ as well.  You can choose to sign up for a free trial to check this out.  You will LOVE it! 

To go with these resources, I made grammar reference posters.  They are a nice reference that will be sent to students via Google classroom and are  posted on teachers' classroom walls.  We are using these posters grades 4-8.  The continuity of use is so important for our students!

If you would like to try these out, the Nouns poster is FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco ~ Lexile 630 ~ Grades 3 & 4

My youngest son and I are obsessed with Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.  If you have not yet read any of her books, this is the perfect starting place!  It is filled with a positive message about overcoming your fears with themes of bravery and perseverance.  This book contains oodles of strong figurative language and has easy to follow sequencing for story structure.  The story is just plain fun as well!  Buy this  book as it is a classic to keep forever.

I created a unit for my son and our third grade team to work on noticing author's message, character change and the strong figurative language in this book.  I also threw in commas in a series and close reading because both are skills we can always utilize, and they fit perfectly into the sequence of story structure as well as baking a cake.  Head on over to TPT if you are interested in this!

Happy Reading!

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