Dos actividades para Cinco de Mayo!

I am fascinated by the Hispanic culture.  I love mariachi music, Mexican food, and my Hispanic students!  Of course, I love their holidays and traditions, too.  Dia de los Muertos intrigues me each fall, and Cinco de Mayo excites me in the spring!

I always like to do an activity for Cinco de Mayo that recognizes the holiday that so many of my students celebrate!  Last year, I took the time to write a Readers' Theater script for Cinco de Mayo. I chose to perform the Readers' Theater in my 5th grade classrooms last year.  (For those of you that might be new to my blog, I am an ESL teacher who spends most of my time traveling between 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms coteaching.)  Since the script has 15 speaking parts, we split the class into two groups and assigned parts.  All of the students seemed to enjoy the activity!
Cinco de Mayo Readers' Theater script!  This 6-page script has parts for 15 readers and contains 5 follow-up activities!

My newest Cinco de Mayo creation is a craftivity! It focuses on the very important skill of using context clues within a sentence to determine the meaning of an unknown word.  After students complete a worksheet, they use the words from the worksheet to assemble the craftivity!

Context Clues activity for Cinco de Mayo!
Students are given a Spanish word, and are asked to name an English word that resembles that word.  Then, they put the English word in the sentence & determine whether the original Spanish word was a cognate or a false cognate.
Cinco de Mayo Craftivity that includes two context clues worksheets!

Feel free to visit my TpT store to check out either of these Cinco de Mayo activities!

Making Inferences Game: 2 Activities in 1! {GIVEAWAY!}

Rewind... A few months ago, the focus in a couple of the classrooms I was working in was making inferences.  At the time, I offered (to my coteachers) to create an Inference Concentration (Memory) game.

I wanted to make the game a bit challenging, so I chose six overall topics (example: a boy is drawing), and I created three matches for each topic.

Not only did the students really enjoy this game, but they did a great job, too!  As the classroom teacher and I traveled around the room, monitoring the games being played, we observed students reading carefully and listening (even when it wasn't their turn!).  We also noticed how cooperatively the students were working.

Fast forward... Last week, I was working with two small groups of students (three fourth grade boys and one fifth grade girl), who were struggling readers - and also happened to be ELLs.  Each group needed additional practice in "reading between the lines", so I found myself looking through my inferencing resources for something that might "reach" them.  I glanced at my Memory game, and my initial thought was No... too difficult.  But a moment later, I realized Wait a second!  These little stories are the perfect length...  I can totally use these in a different way!

With that, an idea was born...this is how I used the resource for my struggling readers:

First, for each student, I photocopied a set and cut it into its individual cards.  Now each student had a set like this:

During my next time with each group, I handed each student a set and instructed them to find the six cards that were labeled with a 1 in the bottom right corner, and lay them flat on the table.   Soon they had six cards in front of them - three with an identical image (and different sentences below the image), and three with short passages (see photo below).  We read the sentence on each "picture card", and I explained that each "story card" would match one of the sentences on the picture cards.  I also told them that we would need to INFER to find the right matches... the author wouldn't come right out and tell us; rather, we would need to use text clues to determine which card matched.
A set of 6 cards - each "story card" matches 1 "picture card".

I then instructed them to find the card labeled 1A.  We read the short passage together.  I asked them what the girl in that story was making.  Okay, I'll be honest... my group of boys started throwing out each answer one by one - basically expecting me to say "yes" to one of them and move on.  I took a deep breath, handed each student a highlighter, and responded, "Well, let's look for text clues."  I waited as the boys skimmed the story.  One boy finally exclaimed, "Hey, I see the word crust! Crust is a part of a pie - not cookies or cupcakes!  This girl is making a pie in this one!!"  I told them to highlight crust and to keep looking for other clues.  We also ended up highlighting peaches and round dish as well.

After highlighting, each student glued the match side-by-side in their own INFERENCES book.
Two pages from the inferences books we made.

We continued reading the story cards, highlighting the text clues, and gluing our matches in our books.   In my opinion, the activity was a winner - just what my struggling readers needed.   This set contains 18 short passages, and by the time they read the fourth passage, they were really doing well!  Although we did the entire activity as a group, I truly think they could have been reading, highlighting, and assembling the book independently!  They were highly engaged.  One student even said "This is FUN!"  (Oh, happy day!)

Show... Don't Tell! A Writing Minilesson

My third grade co-teachers and I are super excited! We recently did two minilessons on "Show!! Don't Tell." in writing, and we are already observing that our students are putting their new knowledge to use in their writing!  HOORAY! (Full disclosure statement: an Amazon affiliate link appears near the end of this blog post.)

This is the second year that I have co-taught writing in our school's third grade classrooms.  We did not tackle this minilesson last year.  However, after a series of emails with my friend, Kelly Roberts, I became convinced that we should try it.  Kelly teaches fourth grade in Florida, and she mentioned to me that she would be doing a "Show, Don't Tell" lesson when her principal came to do her formal observation.  As we traded emails back and forth, I told her that I was unsure that our third graders would understand the concept, but she assured me that the lesson was third-grade friendly... and she was positively correct!  Once she walked me step-by-step through how she teaches this lesson, I knew it would be a winner!  I encourage you to try it with your students!  Here's how the lesson went, based on Kelly's directions to me.
Show Don't Tell Anchor Chart! This blog post contains a complete writing lesson and the printables you'll need to create the anchor chart and replicate the activities!

First, I wrote "excited" at the top of the chart. I informed my students that my daughter, Kayla, was super excited a week ago when she and a friend were outside walking, and they happened upon a $20 bill in the grass.  (Kayla is in third grade, as well, so they love to hear "Kayla stories".)  I paused and asked, "Now if I were writing a story about this event, would it be very interesting if I wrote 'Kayla was excited.'"  (monotone voice, of course!)  They all shook their heads no, and I agreed.  Then I stated, "That's the focus of today's minilesson... how we can write sentences that SHOW the reader our feelings, because just telling them is way too boring!"  Then I returned to Kayla's story, and asked my students... "How do you think I could tell Kayla was excited?  What do you think she was doing with her body that showed me her excitement when she walked through the door to tell me the news?"  They guessed that she was jumping up and down, that she was out of breath from running, that she was smiling, etc.  With each answer, I confirmed that they were correct, and I added each as a bullet to the chart.  I also added a few of my own.

Showing sentences for EXCITED. This blog post contains a complete "Show, Don't Tell" writing lesson and the printables you'll need to create the anchor chart and replicate the activities!

Next, I told them that I made this handy little chart that would help them write showing sentences.
Show Don't Tell Anchor Chart! This blog post contains a complete writing lesson and the printables you'll need to create the anchor chart and replicate the activities!
Clip art by Educlips.

Prior to class, I had only created the top half of the anchor chart. I asked my students what emotion the girl on the chart was feeling, and they responded anger. I then led them in using the questions written on the anchor chart to write sentences that showed anger, and I wrote their sentences on the bottom half of the anchor chart. I also briefly discussed how similes and metaphors can be powerful tools when a writer is trying to think of a creative showing sentence, and I gave them an example of a metaphor that showed anger.

Now it was time for practice. I chose groups of two or three by drawing popsicle sticks. I gave each group a slip of paper with an emotion written on it and a sheet of poster paper. I told them NOT to write the emotion at the top of the paper. Rather, they would only write SHOWING sentences. I stressed again that their emotion should be written NOWHERE on the poster paper, because after 10 minutes, we would be gathering again, and each group would share their poster with the class. If they had good showing sentences, their classmates should be able to guess the emotion that was on the slip of paper. The groups then set off to work!

These were the emotion cards given to the students. 
Show Don't Tell Anchor Chart! This blog post contains a complete writing lesson and the printables you'll need to create the anchor chart and replicate the activities!Show Don't Tell Anchor Chart! This blog post contains a complete writing lesson and the printables you'll need to create the anchor chart and replicate the activities!

Wow, were we impressed! Some of the students were so creative! They had recently learned about similes, so there were lots of similes on their charts! (The photos below show the emotion card that each group received. I had students glue them to the top after the presented their poster to the class.)
Showing sentences for SCARED. This blog post contains a complete "Show, Don't Tell" writing lesson and the printables you'll need to create the anchor chart and replicate the activities!

Showing sentences for SHOCKED. This blog post contains a complete "Show, Don't Tell" writing lesson and the printables you'll need to create the anchor chart and replicate the activities!

If you would like the FREE materials to replicate this anchor chart and lesson, please click HERE.


The next day, as a follow-up lesson, I read The Memory String by Eve Bunting to the students.  We stopped after each page and asked students to identify showing sentences that Eve Bunting used on each page.  They were rock stars at this activity, and easily identified showing sentences.  (This book had some wonderful showing sentences; I highly recommend it!  Beware, though, I found it hard not to cry as I was reading aloud to the third graders!)

When we finished the story, I told students to get out their most recent rough draft.  I instructed them to find a "telling sentence" where they told their emotion.  (They nearly all had at least one emotion sentence, because we have really hit hard this year that every personal narrative should include emotions.)  I told them to draw a line through that telling sentence, and then rewrite a showing sentence to replace it.  They met that challenge easily, and even exceeded my expectations!  Hooray!  I was so happy!  Oops!  I mean.... my eyes lit up and I was grinning ear to ear when I left that third grade classroom!

If you are looking for ready-made resources, feel free to check out my PowerPoint and flipbook!
Show Don't Tell Writing Lessons! This resource contains a 23-slide PowerPoint and a 7-page matching flipbook!

My Favorite Classroom Game {Freebie!}

Happy Friday!  I'm looking forward to the weekend, particularly because my (twin) sister will be visiting!  Although we email daily and chat on the phone several times a week, it's of course extra special to get to spend time with her in person.  My girls are also very excited to see their aunt Dawn and uncle Kevin.  Without a doubt, a good time will be had at the Hanson house this weekend!  :)

Moving on, I wanted to be sure to pass along to you that I am blogging over at All Things Upper Elementary again today.  Stop by to check out my comments about my favorite classroom game, "I have...Who has?"  You'll see that I've made my Greek and Latin Roots game a FREEBIE at my TpT store through the weekend.

I'll also mention that my Subjects & Predicates I have...Who has? Game is a permanent FREEBIE at my TpT store.  Pick it up anytime!

When you stop by to read my post at ATUE, you can enter the raffle giveaway to win my "I have...Who has?" Game BUNDLE!
This BUNDLE will be discounted to $21 this weekend; that's less than $0.50 per game!

  Have a great weekend!