Let's Talk Plot! {GIVEAWAY!}

I was surprised during the big Back-to-School sale at TeachersPayTeachers to find that one of my big sellers of the event was my Plot Task Card resource!  I created this resource late last April, and while initial sales were fine, they didn't lead me to believe that I had a "Top 10" product or anything like that.  :)  While I still think that chances of that are slim, the surprising sales of it last weekend delighted me!
As I tried to figure out the reason for the increased interest, I recognized that it makes sense to hit this concept early in the school year.  The ability to recognize the elements of plot is a basic concept that my students typically catch on to fairly quickly.  It's also important for students to understand this concept before moving on to "higher-level" or more abstract concepts of literature such as main idea, theme, mood, etc.

So, for those of you who haven't seen the Elements of Plot resources I've created, I thought I'd share them with you!

The Plot Task Card resource can actually be utilized as worksheets rather than task cards if you prefer. (If you preview the product at my TPT store, you can see what I mean.)
Included are 4 original short stories:
          - Amy's Day at the Lake
          - Stranded in Wyoming
          - The Unforgettable Hike
          - What to do with Fido
Students are tasked with identifying each plot element for each story:
          - Introduction/Exposition
          - Rising Action
          - Climax
          - Falling Action
          - Conclusion/Resolution
Feedback has been very positive!  One purchaser commented "These will be great to use in centers as we are discussing plot!"  I think so, too...  :)

I will also note that I intend to incorporate this into the interactive notebooks I am implementing with my fourth graders this year.  I will make photocopies of the plot diagram and give one to each student.  In each element's "box", I will have them list a description for it.  This will then be available for them to reference back to later in the year as needed.
I will also make brief mention of my Plot Elements Craftivity, too.  It is an engaging, hands-on activity that I think works great when first introducing the concept of plot to students.

I actually make this a 2-day activity:
          On Day 1, students read the original short story The Play Must Go On. Then they complete a worksheet to identify the story's plot elements. (They also begin coloring their word cards on Day 1.)
          On Day 2, as a class, we reread the story and then identify the plot elements as a group. This gives students the opportunity to correct any mistakes on their worksheet. Everyone then completes the craftivity by following the directions that I have placed under the doc camera.

Hey!  Why not do a giveaway?!  Enter this giveaway for a chance to win my Plot Elements Craftivity AND my Plot Task Cards resource. a Rafflecopter giveaway
As always, though, no need to wait to purchase these products if you are interested!  If you win them after you've purchased them, I will let you choose other resources at my store (up to $6 in value).

All Things Upper ElementaryOne last thing - stop over to All Things Upper Elementary tomorrow (Sunday).  Let's just say that you might recognize the person blogging there, and there'll be a "special treat" to be found, too!  :)

Thanks again for stopping by,

Incorporating Craftivities into Interactive Notebooks

This is my last week of summer break.  I return to school on August 12th, and our students join us on August 14th.  I'm trying to savor this final week.  I don't know about you, but even though I love my job, I'm always sad to see summer come to a screeching halt. Although summer doesn't officially end for another 5 weeks, it sure does feel like summer ends the minute I walk back into that first staff meeting of the year.  The relaxed feel of summer vanishes, and I'm back to wondering how I'll get everything done.  BUT... The less I think about it, the easier the transition is, so I'm moving on!

A major goal I've set for myself for the school year is to implement interactive reading notebooks!  Since I am an ESL teacher who co-teaches in classrooms, this means I need to convince one of my co-teachers to implement these with me.  I don't think that will be too difficult, though, especially when there are great products like Nicole Shelby's Interactive Notebooks to show them!

My plan is to have students add elements of my craftivities into their notebooks.  For example, when our focus is teaching "inference", I will have students complete the "Let's Make S'more Inferences" craftivity.  However, instead of gluing all six onto the construction paper, I will instruct them to glue 5 to the construction paper, and choose one to glue to the next page in their interactive notebook.
S'mores used in my Let's Make S'more Inferences crafitivity.

Likewise, when we focus on "suffixes" and "synonyms", I will have students set aside a few butterflies and synonym rolls to glue to their interactive notebook pages. 
Butterflies used in my Soaring Suffixes craftivity.

Cinnamon rolls and icing used in my Synonym Rolls craftivity.

So...that's my plan!  I am hopeful that these visual references will help students retain all of the skills we will be learning and practicing throughout the year.  I'll keep you updated on how it goes!

One last thing - just a reminder of the raffle I have going on right now...I'm giving away one of my Back-to-School Mystery Readers' Theater scripts! (Check out the previous post for further details.)  Here's the entry form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great weekend!

How is Summer vacation related to nonfiction text structures?

Going on vacation is always a big summer event at my house.  This year we decided to take another road trip.  (One advantage of living in Iowa is that almost any vacation can be completed by driving!)  This summer we pointed our car Northwest and headed for our country's first national park (Yellowstone) and the great state of Montana!
My husband was happy to drive the entire trip, so I sat with my laptop and gleefully typed away until my computer ran out of power.  As a result, I completed some items on my to-do-list!  My tone task cards, tone craftivity, mood craftivity, and nonfiction text structure task cards were all created during our 40 hours in the van.  (Thank goodness for electronic games, the DVD player and the occasional bribe- my daughters were pretty content during the entire trip!)  I am excited to use all of the items I worked on next year with my 5th grade classes!

By looking at the Nonfiction Text Structure task cards, one can identify elements of our family vacation! Task card topics include the following:
  • BEARS  (My daughters were hoping to see a bear... I was hoping NOT to see one!)
  • FRENCH FRIES (We passed a lot of McDonald's restaurants along the road, and yes, we stopped at a few of them!)
  • WILDFIRES (Who knew there were so many dead trees in Yellowstone?)
  • BIKES (There seem to be many biking enthusiasts in Montana!  We passed a lot of them!)
  • THE GRAND CANYON (I couldn't resist including this topic, as this will hopefully be a vacation destination in the near future!)
  • GLACIERS (A tribute to our visit to Glacier National Park.)  
If you teach nonfiction text structures, feel free to take a peek at these task cards.

There are several examples of these types of paragraphs:
Compare and Contrast
Cause and Effect
Problem and Solution
This is my favorite photo from the trip!
We got to play in snow (in July!?!?) ,
while our friends back home were sweating in the extreme heat that week.

With school starting in just over a week, I'm sure we'll have "mountains" of white snow before we know it!  Stay cool!

P.S.  If you haven't already...time is running out for entering my raffle giveaway!  Again, one winner will receive my I Have...Who Has Game BUNDLE ($25 value)!  Sign up today!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

School Week Link Up: Teacher's Choice...Craftivities Galore!

It's the final day of the School Week Linky; many thanks to Tracey at The Teacher's Chair for hosting such a great event!  I love today's topic - Teacher's Choice!

Well, those of you who have been to my blog before likely know that I am addicted to craftivities!  As an ESL teacher, I love hands-on activities.  I believe that all students benefit from hands-on activities, but ELLs in particular seem to depend on them.  It can be tricky to make topics like "inferencing" and "using context clues" into hands-on activities, but I find that I enjoy that challenge! 

I have been rather surprised to find that my 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders seem to love the craftivities I come up with even more than I do.  I think they see it at as activity that gives them an opportunity to be creative, and is totally different than completing a skill worksheet.  As a teacher, I realize that these activities help a ton with retention!  I can't tell you how many times a conversation similar to this one happened last year:

Me:  Raise your hand if you can tell us the author's purpose for writing this passage.
A few students raise their hand immediately.  A few looked stumped.
Student (usually under his/her breath):  Author's Purpose.... oh yeah, those pies we made... (you see the wheels turning, and then suddenly his hand shoots into the air). 

I've also overheard conversations between students.
Student 1:  What is a syononym again?
Student 2:  Remember those synonym rolls we made?
Student 1:  Oh yeah!  The words mean the same!

This is one of my newest craftivities I created for my 3rd grade friends:
Students read the sentences on the "shields" and determine whether each sentence contains a simile, a metaphor, or an example of alliteration.
Click HERE to see a preview of this product!

A craftivity I recently created for my upper elementary students focuses on character traits:
Students read up to 16 passages, and then create a picture frame for each character.  The picture frame has the character's name below the picture, and his/her character trait is listed above the picture.
Click HERE to see a preview of this product!

If you want to try some craftivities this year, I have more than 35 of them available in my store (with more to come!).  And don't forget to email me for your free craftivity (see the top of my blog page)!

One last thing - If you missed my post on Wednesday, check it out...I've got a raffle giveaway going on, where one winner will receive my I Have...Who Has BUNDLE ($25 value)! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway