Daily 5 and CAFE for the Upper Grades

29 May 2012

I am so excited!!!  I've seen so many fabulous book studies for these books, but up to now, everything I've seen has been for primary.

Well ... guess what?  I'm joining up with a group of fantastic bloggers to bring you the biggest and best book study for grades 4 - 6 ... and YOU'RE invited to join us!  We're going to cover BOTH books - and discuss how to implement them in our upper grade language classrooms.  Have I mentioned how excited I am about this???  I read both these books on my own last summer, and I really wanted to start using the ideas and strategies this year ... but I wasn't able to wrap my head around how it would work or what it would look like in my classroom.  And now I KNOW that won't be a problem next year.

Make sure you have copies and get ready to join us.  Our book study adventure begins at the beginning of July.  I'll let you know a little more when we have more of the details ready.

Happy Tuesday (aka - testing Day 2) (aka - 23 more days to go ....)


Memorial Day Sale

27 May 2012

I know I'm Canadian, but a group of my fantastic bloggy friends was getting together for a linky party sale, and I do love a good party ... and a good sale!  ALL our products will be on sale for 20% off today and tomorrow!  Click on the picture above to view my store, and then be sure to click on the images below to see some more fabulous deals.

I've just posted a fun little End of the School Year Drama Circle.  You can click on the picture to the right to preview this product.  And right now, it's on sale for only $1.60!!!

Hope you all have a WONDERFUL weekend - and enjoy the holiday for me ... I'll be starting testing on Monday!

Our Poet-Tree

26 May 2012
photo of Poet-Tree bulletin board @ Runde's Room
I LOVE our Poet-Tree outside our classroom.  With a short week, and a day and a half of our school Track and Field Meet, I didn't have a lot of time to get it put together.  But I did, and it's up, and it's FABULOUS!  (just need to add a few more tissue paper leaves)  My students want me to add a squirrel head and paws coming out of the knot on the tree ... I think I'll have to oblige - such a cute idea!

We've been hard at work on our poetry portfolios lately - and we will continue to add to them next week in between our TESTING!  Yep - it's testing week next week.  My grade 6 students will have 6 hours of testing (well, 6 testing booklets - they can actually have as much time as they need).  We stretch this out over the week, so most days they will only have one booklet, and I'll squeeze that last booklet in on a day when they seem particularly on task (fingers crossed we actually have a day like that).

OK - back to poetry.  We've added 5 published poems to our poetry portfolios - and the students couldn't be prouder of their published work.

We started with biography poems - there are many "I Am ..." templates available on the internet.  I like starting with a simple template for my students (who may be a little scared of poetry) to experience success.

We then moved on to Haikus.  The students had a lot of fun creating Haikus with my magnetic poetry kits.  Once they had a poem they liked, they published that version for their portfolios.  Because the Haikus are so short, I asked them to add an illustration to their published copies.

We wrote Emotion Poems after studying figurative language in poetry.  These poems are full of similes and metaphors.  I was so impressed with the raw emotion expressed in this poem.  This was written by one of my boys - a boy who often experiences anger "issues".  He is not a fan of writing, but was so proud of this poem when he finished it.

This is another template poem - adapted from Judith Viorst's "If I Were In Charge of the World".  We looked at a few different versions (on youtube) and discussed the each author's point of view.  We also inferred what the author was like - gender, age, interests, etc.  Such a great activity.  The students then wrote their own copies to be published.

Because the students are working at their own pace to edit and publish their poems for their portfolios, students who have finished all the poems so far had the opportunity to write a free verse poem.  No rules ... just write.  I plan to do this again at the end of this week.  Students who were scared to write free verse at the beginning of our unit, are now excited to write (and share) their very own poems.

photo of Poetry Learning Goals and Success Criteria @ Runde's Room

And, because any work we display has to have the Learning Goals and Success Criteria posted, I have this little paper in the upper corner of our Poet-Tree board.  We co-created the Success Criteria as a class.  The students will use this success criteria when they complete a "Glow and Grow" self-reflection on their work.

If you're scared of teaching poetry, or in need of a few simple templates and ideas, here is a link to a site I found many years ago when I first started teaching:  30 Days of Poetry.  I still use ideas from this resource when I'm looking for a quick and easy template for the students to complete.

Do you have any sure-fire winners for poetry in your classroom???  I'd LOVE to hear some of your ideas - I'm always looking for new resources and ideas to add to my bag of tricks!


More Learning Goals - Grade 5 Bundles Completed!

21 May 2012
I took advantage of some of my free time this (LONG) weekend, and completed a project I have been working on for a while - my Grade 5 Learning Goals based on the Ontario Curriculum.  I know some of you have been asking about them, and I apologize that they took so long to complete, but ... they're done and they're posted!  Each bundle contains both the PDF and Word files in case you need to make small changes to a goal.  The complete bundle contains learning goals for our 408 different expectations ... 408!!! .... no wonder we stress so much about fitting it all in!!!  Click on each file name for a preview of the product.

photo of Grade 5 Learning Goals based on the Ontario Curriculum Expectations
Ontario Learning Goals - Complete Grade 5 Bundle

Ontario Learning Goals - The Arts Grade 5

Ontario Learning Goals - Language Arts Grade 5

Ontario Learning Goals - Mathematics Grade 5

Ontario Learning Goals - Health and Phys Ed Gr.5

Ontario Learning Goals - Science and Social Studies Gr. 5

In case you missed my previous post about Learning Goals, click HERE to read more about how I post my goals in the classroom, and how we use post-its on our goals as our exit slips at the end of the day.  Discussing our daily learning goals every morning in the language used in the curriculum has definitely raised the bar in our classroom - students know what their goals are for the day, are accountable for reaching the goals, and use the specific language in their oral discussions and written answers.  This has worked so well in my classroom this year - just wish I had started it sooner!!!

Happy Monday!!!


Sunday Math Journals - Transformational Geometry

20 May 2012
OK - just a quick one today - I'm off to the cottage to enjoy this beautiful day!
photo of transformational geometry math journal entry @ Runde's Room

We've been studying tranformational geometry this week.  We made up this interactive tool for our math journals.  I saw the idea of using a paperclip for translations (slides) on pinterest months ago (I'm sorry - I couldn't find where I first saw it, so if it was yours - it was brilliant!)  We cut a trapezoid for the translation and recorded the location of the vertices below.  We then translated it 4 units to the right and recorded the new position of the vertices.  We coloured where the translated shape would be, and checked with our original.

For the rotation we cut out a triangle and used a brass fastener so we could rotate it.  We recorded the original position of the vertices, then performed a 90 degree clockwise turn and recorded the new position of the vertices (we also had a chance to discuss how rotations can sometimes be described as reflections as well).

For the reflection we used a square (we had three squares folded together so we could show a reflection over the x-axis, and a reflection over the y-axis.)  We recorded the original location of the 2 x 2 square, then the new positions once they had been reflected over both the x and y axis.

We used the 4 quadrant coordinate system so I could also review integers - our provincial testing is in one week, so the more I can squeeze into them right now, the better.

I don't have pictures of the left-side of the journals today - we finished this one up late on Friday, and many students had to complete the proof and reflection for homework - many students were coming up with their own version of the interactive tool.

Happy Sunday!!!  Have a FABULOUS day!!!


Exploring Poetry

17 May 2012
photo of Exploring Poetry @ Runde's Room
We've started poetry!  I LOVE reading and writing poetry with my students!  This is a label that one of my students made for his poetry folder - how fantastic is that!?!

We keep all the poetry we're writing in a two pocket folder.  Drafts go on the left side, and published poems go on the right.  At the end of the unit we'll use my binding machine to turn our published poems into wonderful little books.  Such a treasure and a treat to send home at the end of the year.

photo of Exploring Poetry @ Runde's Room
For now we're posting our published poems on one of our language bulletin boards.  These were the first poems we wrote - biography "I Am ... " poems.   I always start with simple template poems to get the students used to writing, and then we move on to more difficult forms.

With a limited number of computers available, I've decided to publish our poems by writing them on smaller pieces of blank paper, then gluing them onto pieces of scrapbook paper cut down to 8 1/2 by 11 size.  Students have the option of adding an illustration to their poems to add to the visual appeal.

photo of Writing a Haiku on the smartboard @ Runde's Room
Yesterday we wrote haikus.  I have a fun little smartboard lesson I've made to teach writing a haiku - it's based on the idea of magnetic poetry tiles.  (This haiku is written about one of my pictures of a lily in my garden {LOVE my lilies - can't wait for summer to have them in bloom again}).  After the students learn about the formula for a haiku, and read some examples, they work in pairs to create a haiku based on the word list they have.  Students can then come up to the smartboard to share the poems they have written.  To take a peek at my Smartboard lesson, Writing A Haiku Using Magnetic Poetry Tiles, click on the lily picture above, or the poetry screen below.

photo of Writing a Haiku on the smartboard @ Runde's Room

photo of DIY Magnetic Poetry Kits @ Runde's Room
When the students finished this activity, I let them "play" with the magnetic poetry kits I've made for my classroom.  I made my kits a few years ago, and they're such a hit with my students, I decided to make a few more this year.  They had a lot of fun writing haikus with the kits.

photo of DIY Magnetic Poetry Kits @ Runde's Room

photo of DIY Magnetic Poetry Kits free pdf download @ Runde's Room

These magnetic poetry kits are great for writing centers, collaborative poem activities, or even to keep the kiddos busy during indoor recesses.  I whipped up a little FREEBIE last night and posted it to my TPT store in case you're interested in making your own magnetic poetry kit.  All you'll need is some magnetic paper (I buy mine at Staples or Walmart, but I'll post the link to Amazon below in case you have trouble finding it), and a cookie sheet or metal sheet.  Click HERE or on the picture to the right to grab a copy and start making your own Magnetic Poetry Kit. Trust me - your kids will LOVE them!

Happy Thursday ... just one.more.day.


Hunger Games - A New Drama Circle

15 May 2012
We didn't officially read The Hunger Games as a novel study this year, but almost half my class has read it this year during independent reading, and ALL of them have seen the movie, so I thought it would be fun to make a Hunger Games Drama Circle for them.

photo of Hunger Games Drama Circle activity
A few weeks ago I was missing quite a few students, it was a Friday afternoon, and the weather was beautiful. We spent our afternoon outside doing a few of my drama circles ... and they had a blast!  They begged me to make a few more.  I have also had quite a few requests from my followers to make more drama circles.  So here's my first new one.  You can click HERE or on the picture to preview it.  Right now all my drama circles are still only $2.00.  Just in case you have a few on your wish list,  I wanted to warn you that the price will be increasing a bit this summer.

As always, if you think you could use this in your classroom, I would like to send a free copy to the first three people to leave a comment with their email address.

Happy Tuesday, and may the odds be ever in your favor!


Math Journal Sundays

13 May 2012
Happy Mother's Day to all you fabulous mothers out there!  I wrote this post early and scheduled it to go out today because I'm celebrating with my family today.  We're starting with a fabulous brunch (my own family, my sister and her family, and my mom and dad), then all the girls in the family are going to see the Cirque du Soleil, and then I get to return to a fantastic supper cooked by my wonderful husband (and hopefully cleaned up by my girls).  Can't think of a better way to spend the day!

OK ... on with the post.  I only have one math journal entry to share with you today.  I had planned to do another one on Friday, but a coworker of mine brought quite a few of my journals with her to our board's "share fair" on Friday.  No journals = no journal entry for the day ... that's all right though, it gave us more time to finish up our Mother's Day activity.

We're still in our 2D geometry unit - just need to finish up transformational geometry before we move on to fractions.  This journal entry was all about symmetry.  Symmetry isn't a new concept for my students, but rotational symmetry is new for my grade 5 students.
photo of Symmetry math journal @ Runde's Room

This is the right-side of our journal entry - the one I model (I use my document camera to project it over the smartboard while I work on it) for the students to copy.  We started out with our learning goal, then made a T-chart to compare Lines of Symmetry and Rotational Symmetry.  We gave a definition for both, the cut out a trapezoid, square, and parallelogram for each side.  For the lines of symmetry, we folded the shapes to check for symmetry, then drew the lines on the shape.  We glued the shape down so that it could still be folded to check for symmetry (tricky with the square - we could put glue on 1/8 of the shape so that it could still fold).  We discussed the "big idea" that regular polygons had the same number of lines of symmetry as sides on the shape.  For the rotational symmetry side, we attached the shapes to the page using brass fasteners, and then traced the shape on the page.  We could then rotate the shapes to check for rotational symmetry.

Students also completed their "left-side thinking" - learning goal in student-friendly terms, what I know, what I learned, proof, and a reflection.  They work on this side independently.  I really like how this student completed another example of rotational symmetry, using a different shape then we used on the right side.

At the beginning of class the next day, one student reviews the lesson by sharing his or her "left-side thinking".  They put their journals under the document camera, and talk us through their thinking.  Ever since we have started the left-side thinking, at least one of my students asks me if they can be chosen to share the next day ... now that screams success and engagement to me!  What more can I ask for???

photo of Symmetry math journal @ Runde's Room

Well, that's about it ... Happy Sunday, and Happy Mother's Day!  Hope all you mommies get lovingly spoiled today!


Mother's Day Purse Poems

12 May 2012
I so wish I was one of those organized people who post their fabulous ideas days (even weeks) before special occasions ... but alas, I'm not.  I'm lucky I even squeezed in a Mother's Day activity this week.  So, I'm offering  you the next best thing.  This is what my class did for Mother's Day ... and if you like it, you can pin it for next year (I guess that's the best I can do).
photo of Mother's Day Purse activity @ Runde's Room
We've been studying and writing poetry lately, so I wanted the kids to write a poem for Mother's Day.  And, I wanted to present it in a special way ... so we made Mother's Day Purse Poems.  

We used 12 x 12 scrapbook paper cut in half for this activity (I included the link for the pad of paper I used at the bottom of the page).  Fold the bottom part of the paper up, so that it is about 2 inches from the top of the paper.  Fold the top of the paper over to fold a flap.  Then the students cut the paper into a trapezoid shape.  I told them they could round off the edges of the flap if they wanted.  They cut a thin strip to use as the purse strap, and taped it to the inside of the paper.  We used a velcro dot to hold the flap down to the paper (purse).

For the poem we used one of the simple "I Am" templates found on the internet.  We just changed the "I" to "She".  Because some of my students don't have a mom in their lives, they could write about a grandma, aunt, or any mother figure they have in their lives.  Students wrote the poem on the inside of the purse, so that when the flap is opened, their "present" is revealed.  Cute, easy, and quick ... just what I needed on a Friday afternoon!
photo of Mother's Day Purse activity @ Runde's Room

photo of End of the Year Cootie Catchers @ Runde's Room
I also wanted to express just how jealous I am reading about all of you who are just about finished the school year.  I'm not going to tell you I still have 7 weeks (35 days) left ... wait, I guess I just did ... ;)  I guess I was living vicariously through all of you, and wanted to feel like the end of the year was just a bit closer, so I made up a fun little reflection activity for the end of the year.  End of the Year Cootie Catchers would make a great activity for pairs or small groups to get them thinking about all the wonderful things they accomplished and took part in through the year.  You could also turn one of the prompts into a reflection writing activity - a perfect end of the year activity for the students' portfolios.  Click HERE or on the picture to take a peek at my newest set of cootie catchers.

As always, I'd like to offer you a little treat.  Be one of the first THREE to leave me a comment with your email, and I'll send you a free copy of the cootie catchers.  Enjoy ... and HAPPY SATURDAY!!!


Math Journal ... Wednesdays

09 May 2012
This post should have gone out on Sunday, but I was so busy with the jackpot event (downloading all those freebies), I put it off a for a few days.

We're currently in our 2D geometry unit - last week we were examining the different types of triangles, and angles in a triangle.  We completed two math journal entries to help us with our understanding of the concepts.

photo of Types of Triangles journal entry @ Runde's Room

For the first journal entry, we made 6 different triangles (scalene, equilateral, isosceles, acute, right, and obtuse).  (We folded our coloured paper in half and made all of the triangles along the fold so that we could open them and write on them).  We then wrote the terms down on the right side of the page, and matched each triangle to a term.  On the inside of each triangle we also named them a second way (example:  the equilateral triangle is also an acute triangle).  We also measured the angles of the triangles to come to the "big idea" that the sum of angles in a triangle is 180 degrees.  We wrote this on a circle at the bottom of the page.  When folded in half, the front says, "Important".

photo of Types of Triangles journal entry @ Runde's Room
This above entry went on the right side of the students' notebooks.  For "left side thinking", students had to write a student-friendly learning goal, include what they already know, write what they learned, give proof, and write a reflection.  For the proof, this time I asked them to answer a question.  I asked them if a triangle could have 2 right angles.  This particular student completed a mnemonic device for remembering the 6 ways to name a triangle.

types of angles in a polygon journal entry @ Runde's Room

The next day we continued with triangles.  I asked students to construct a triangle (again, along the fold of the paper), with an angle of 115 degrees, and two line segments of different lengths.  We measured the angles to ensure that our completed triangle had angles that added up to 180 degrees.  We then opened up our triangle to make a quadrilateral.  We talked about the line of symmetry (the fold line).  We also measured the angles of the quadrilateral, and the students found that the angles of a quadrilateral equal 360 degrees.  We made another "important circle" for our "big idea" that the sum of angles in a quadrilateral is 360 degrees.  This shape was fun to do because students had to figure out the measure of the reflex angle.

photo of Angles in a polygon journal entry @ Runde's Room

photo of Angles in a polygon journal entry @ Runde's Room

This above entry was on the right side of our notebook.  We also completed our "left side thinking".  In this particular journal, one of the students made a cross-word type reflection with different terms from our 2D geometry unit.

I am so LOVING the "left side thinking" we've been including in our notebooks (and so has my principal).  If you think this is something you want to try next year, you have to check out A Teacher's Treasure Interactive Student Notebook - I can't wait to include more of her ideas into my math and language notebooks (yes, I'm definitely starting language notebooks) next year.

Happy Wednesday!!!  (half way there ... )


Classroom DIY

08 May 2012
Are you looking for new ideas to spruce up your classroom?  Do you get bitten by the craft bug?  Are you itching to try your hand at a few do-it-yourself project?  Can you tell we were learning about idioms at school today?  ;)

Well, come on over to Classroom DIY.  I am SO excited to be a part of this brand new collaborative blog!  And you can get in on the fun, too.  If you try one of these fantastic projects in your classroom, you can send in a pic and grab a FABULOUS thank-you package from the authors involved.

Come check out my first post by clicking on the button below.  ENJOY!!!

Classroom DIY

Happy Tuesday!!!