Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Argument Writing in 4th Grade

Now, I know that argument writing isn't part of the 4th grade writing standards-but opinion and persuasive writing is.

I thought it would be a good idea to be introduced to stating opposing opinions in their writing-so they'll be super awesome when the time does come for them to write arguments :)
I used a few different strategies from Making Thinking Visible to do this.

I first started out by writing different (and I thought thought-provoking) questions on half pieces of chart paper.

I did read the questions aloud before placing them around the room-and I loved hearing their first reactions. Let's see if we can't change that :)

Then I had the kids work in pairs to write a reason for, and against each question.

After they had done their first one, I had them move onto the others. They could also extend upon a previous sticky on the chart.

*Side note-on the day we did this it was Orange Day in honor of my student (who is doing a little better but still not back on school)*

Then, a few days later (and this took multiple days), we went through each questions, and ranked the reasons from weakest to strongest.

We put the strongest reasons on the outsides and the weakest ones in the middle.

They took this one in a different direction than I was anticipating-but we still had some great convos about it!

The discussions they had while placing each reason was amazing! They would start to talk amongst themselves and build upon what others' had said. There were times that I just sat back and smiled. :)

Then, I took one of the posters (Should students wear school uniforms), and started showing them how to write an essay.
I laid out the other questions, and had the students start writing theirs.
I did have them use the reasons on the charts-that's the reason we did it and talked about it-but I did allow them to add in their own if they wanted to.

I also showed them how to state and opposing opinion and rebut it, and highlighted the different 'power words' they could use.

They've been working hard on their drafts-and this is one we are going to type (hopefully! The labs may be busy with more testing).

So even though argument writing isn't a 4th grade standard, I think that we have had a nice introduction to it-and maybe they've learned to think about other's viewpoints and opinion. :)

Smiles and Sunshine,

Friday, May 22, 2015

Five for Friday

T-20 (with kids) days left (and T-24 until totally done!) I think I can , I think I can, I think I can.


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I've been working hard on my Math curriculum maps-it'll be awhile before I'm done!


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We also finished our Colonial unit-we've started working on the Revolution. It'll be tight, but I think we'll be able to finish it before the year ends!

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It's been a few weeks, but my goal to keep my desk clean is going strong!
two weeks ago

last week
This week:

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We've been doing some argument writing in 4th grade (and yes, I know it's not a standard-but my class is pretty awesome :)  I'll post about it next week!

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Are you going? I'm super excited-only two weeks away!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Curriculum Mapping ~ Math Style

I recently(ish) blogged about how I map out my ELA curriculum for the year.

I thought I would share how I am going to do my Math curriculum-which is different from how I handle my ELA.
The first thing you should know is that I do follow the math program (although I do supplement, I follow the order of the lessons).

I follow it because this was our first year with it (and we spent a lot of money on it!), and I'm not as comfortable yet pulling away from it as I was with ELA (although I should note that it did take me three years to get frustrated with the order of the ELA program before I ripped it apart and reorganized it).

The things I recommend in my ELA post, I also recommend here.

The first thing I did was to sit down with the math book, and sheets of paper.

Since we had testing for TWO weeks, I used that time to work on this.

I started by going through each chapter/lesson and writing down the skills that it focused on (not just what the book says it focuses on) and write down the CCSS it covers.

This way, I could clearly see the skills that are being covered, as well as the standards.

Now, having said that ever since we looked at this program that it is not CCSS aligned (and there have been articles to proven I was right-it often goes above and beyond, or just mentions a standard here and there in a problem-which is not the same as teaching it), I also went through and added 5th grade CCSS where applicable (mostly in our fraction unit).

I also added the number of 'recommended' days to teach each lesson.
Now all the chapters are planned out, with skills and standards.

Then, since we had ANOTHER three days of testing for science (and we still have MAPS to take....sigh), I brought in my computer to start transferring it over.

I sat down with the chapter maps I had created, the book, and iPad (turned to CCSS standards so I could write them down) to plot it out (I pretty much use PowerPoint for everything now-it just gives me so much more versatility).

I talk about this app here and here
I started going through each chapter again, and noting down the skills in more detail on the computer.
Sorry for the glare...my desk is right under the fluorescent lights
I'll also be adding the big idea in.

Now (when I finish), I'll have all the chapters and skills at a glance, and can fill in and supplement as needed. :)

Since I'm doing this one by chapter, and not necessarily by week like my ELA maps, I'll be able to use it for years to come.

I should add that I usually follow the 'flow'-chapter 2 follows chapter 1, etc., although I did put in geometry, angles and area and perimeter in between the fraction chapter and the decimals chapter-mostly because we were testing and I wanted something more fun. I also think it gives the kids a break from the heavy computation math.

Ideally, I would put the 'fun stuff' in between division and fractions-but we'll see for next year :)

Smiles and Sunshine,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The One iPad Class ~ Essentials, Part 2

This is part 2 of my essentials app post.

You can see Part 1 here.

First up is,
 Image result for remind {FREE} Remind is a way for you to stay in touch with your parents-without them having your phone number or them having yours! It can even work with students!
It's super easy to set up and use.

The Brown Bag Teacher and Flapjack Educational Resources both have posts on this (and I'm sure there are many more!)

Next is:
Image result for team shake {$0.99} Team Shake. I first learned about this from Glitter in Third. It's a great way to create random teams and pairing in your classroom!

You just have to add your class list.
Decide if you want a certain number of teams, or a certain number of people.

Give it a shake and it will create the groups for you!

You can also use the 'pick one' feature to just pick on one student (similar to picking sticks)
Very easy to use, and it takes the fuss and bother out of partners!

Last, but certainly not least,
Image result for pinterest {FREE}Pinterest (What? That's old and outdated, you say!) I actually use this quite a lot in my class-especially when making anchor charts!

First, I follow a lot of educamation types of people, so my home page usually looks like this
(Although there are days when it's mostly crochet pictures :)

I will search during class for whatever skill we are working on, and I'll get to pull up a feed of things related to that skill. I can scroll through and pull out and mention the things that I think are important and relevant.

Plus, it's also good when you have a few minutes and want to procrastinate on the paper grading :) I mean, when all you papers are done being graded ;)

Smiles and Sunshine,