Differing Perspectives Anchor Chart

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Last week I told you which concept I dreaded teaching each year.  This week, however, I am switching to one of my favorite concepts... teaching how different people can have perspectives!  I think this is fun because there are so many fun books to read when you introduce this topic to your students.

If I had to choose just one to read aloud to my class, I would probably choose The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies.  It is actually a series of books (The Lemonade Crime, The Bell Bandit, The Magic Trap, and The Candy Smash are the other books in this series) and I love to get students hooked on a new series!  Whenever I have read The Lemonade War to or with students, there have always been always several students who are eager to read the other books in the series!

In terms of my anchor chart, this is the one that starts our discussion of perspective.  It looks like this at the beginning of class:
The sunglasses are a FREEBIE by Ashley Hughes.
Students really seem to enjoy brainstorming the differing perspectives of Jake and Mom concerning the soccer cleats!

I also created the following craftivity to accompany this concept.

I'd love to see an anchor chart that is hanging up in your classroom!  Please link up!

Writing a Fiction Summary

I have to be honest- summarizing is probably my least favorite ELA skill to teach.  It's just one of those topics that makes me want to groan when the time for teaching it rolls around each year.  (I'd love to know... are there concepts in your curriculum that you feel that way about?)

When I started co-teaching in 5th grade four years ago, Katie (my co-teacher) informed me one afternoon that summarizing was the next skill to cover.  I groaned.  She agreed.

I believe firmly that teachers should put forth their best effort to not impart their own negative feelings about a topic to students.  So I was determined to put a smile on my face and act like I summarized in my free time because it was just so fun.  I also knew that I wanted to try something other than the "Somebody Wanted But So" strategy.  I tried to teach that strategy once, and it was a disaster.  When students came to me needing assistance, I quickly realized that I don't think this formula fits for all books- not for the way my brain operates, anyhow.  (For example, if the story is about a kid who has to move to a new city and is heartbroken about having to leave his friends, is the best summary really "Ben WANTED to not have to move away from his friends, BUT his dad got a new job in another city SO they moved."?  In my opinion, no, that is not a stellar summary.  But it can be difficult to explain that to a fifth grader who points out that he got all of the "magic words" in there.)

Many of you will not be surprised that I devised my own strategy and related it to food!  Sweet food, in fact!  ICE CREAM SUNDAES!  Yum!  Doesn't that make your mouth water?  Hmmm... all of a sudden, the idea of writing a summary is a bit more enticing!
If you are teaching students about writing stellar summaries, try the ice cream sundae analogy. This blog post contains an summary anchor chart that explains the analogy.

The first two years I did this, I brought play-doh to the fifth grade classrooms.  I sculpted a banana and cut it in half and told the students that these two banana halves represented characters and setting.  Then I formed three balls to represent the three scoops of ice cream, because a good summary addresses the three sections in the book- the beginning, the middle, and the end.  I flattened out a piece of brown play doh and put it on top of the first scoop of ice cream- the beginning is topped off with identifying the problem in the story.  I flattened out a topping for the middle scoop and told the students that the middle of a sundae summary is topped off with explaining the most important events.  I created a quick topping for the end scoop of ice cream and reminded them that the end is topped off with the resolution.  Finally, I sculpted a little cherry and told them that the cherry represents the theme, and that adding the theme in a sundae summary is optional.

Last year I created a PowerPoint version of this analogy to share with my friends on TpT.  I suggest using this (or the play-doh lesson above) on the first day of your summary unit.
Summarizing Fiction PowerPoint using the ice cream sundae analogy!

After the concept has been introduced on Day 1, Day 2 is the perfect day to introduce an anchor chart.  At the beginning of class, my anchor chart looks like this:
If you are teaching students about writing stellar summaries, try the ice cream sundae analogy. This blog post contains an summary anchor chart that explains the analogy.
Clip art by Aim Less Daze.

After a quick review of the parts of a sundae summary, I read one of my all-time favorite books by Margie Palatini, Piggie Pie! (Amazon affiliate link follows.)
If you are teaching students about writing stellar summaries, try the ice cream sundae analogy. This blog post contains an summary anchor chart that explains the analogy. Plus, a sample lesson using the book Piggie Pie is included!

After reading the book, we complete the anchor chart as a class:
Summary Anchor Chart- teach students how to write a stellar summary using the ice cream sundae analogy!

Once the anchor chart is complete, I model how to take our anchor chart (which serves as our graphic organizer) to write a summary.  

If you are teaching students about writing stellar summaries, try the ice cream sundae analogy. This blog post contains an summary anchor chart that explains the analogy.
You might notice that I did not write the theme in the summary.  I teach my students that adding the theme is optional.  I didn't feel like the theme we identified was a major part of this story, so I left it out.
Whew!  That wasn't so bad after all!  It's amazing how ice cream makes anything fun!

If you like this approach to summarizing feel free to check out my PowerPoint and craftivity! Just click on the image to take a closer look at the craftivity shown below!
Summarizing Fiction Craftivity- teach students how to write a stellar summary with the ice cream sundae approach!
Summarizing Craftivity- After students read an original short story, students create a sundae summary followed by a written summary.

Summarizing Fiction Craftivity- teach students how to write a stellar summary with the ice cream sundae approach!

Anchors Away Monday: Discussion Questions

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If you've been following my TpT store for the past few months, you know that I am into obsessed with writing Partner Plays!  Most students love to read with a partner, and I tried to make these scripts engaging and fun to read.  My partner plays are among the products in my store that I am most proud of- because they engage students in a beneficial activity while providing the classroom teacher time to work with individual students or small groups during reading time.

My partner plays are short- in fact I timed my two daughters reading a partner play and discovered that they read the play in 2 minutes & 15 seconds.  (In a classroom, I would require my students to read each script at least two times to work to improve fluency.)  That knowledge motivated me to create this anchor chart that would allow students to have meaningful discussions after they have read the play twice.

Then, I had the idea to create a FREEBIE for those who purchased my partner plays.  Please download it if you would like to use it with your students.


Finally, just in case anyone is wondering what these partner plays are all about, I will include some links to my store, where you welcome to
take a closer look!

I have just begun created some new sets, focusing on science and social studies themes!
My other new sets include Economics, Biomes, and Go Green!

Download these freebie scripts if you want to give partner plays a try in your classroom!

I look forward to seeing your anchor charts!
(If you haven't already entered my book giveaway, keep scrolling down to my next blog post and enter!)

Tracking Character Traits and Theme through Read Aloud {GIVEAWAY!}

One of the great things about having a child in fourth grade is that I get to see many new books for these upper elementary students.  For instance, this past summer I took her to the library and she asked the librarian if Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea was available.  It was up for the Iowa Children's Choice Award last year, and Kayla never got to read it because it was constantly checked out.  It was available this time, though, so Kayla happily checked it out and brought it home.  She agreed to let me read it with her, and we both LOVED it!  It's the type of book that sticks with you long after the last page has been read.  Just last week (four months after reading it), we made another connection to this book!  It is also one of those books that, as a teacher, you find yourself planning all of the ways that it could be used as a teaching tool in a classroom!  As most of you know, I don't have my own classroom right now, but I plan to return to the classroom, so I am writing a plan out for how I will use this book in a fourth or fifth grade classroom now, and then it will be available for easy reference when the time comes!

Because of Mr. Terupt

The author alternates which character is telling his/her story throughout the book.
I love this teaching-perspective opportunity!
I would read this book aloud to my students either in January (as you can see from the cover, the part of the book set in the winter is important) or when we begin to study the concept of perspective.  The author tells this story by alternating between seven main characters:  Jessica, the new girl; Alexia, the bully; Anna, the outcast; Danielle, the timid student; Peter, the class clown; Luke, the brain; and Jeffrey, the kid with the bad attitude.  The daily occurrences in Mr. Terupts's fifth grade classroom are often told from different students' perspectives, which makes this book extremely compelling, as it challenges the reader to consider how a single action can be interpreted in so many different ways.

With so many unique characters each having their own storyline, this book is perfectly suited for tracking character traits and themes throughout the story.  I recently came across a blog post by Kristine Nanini from Young Teacher Love (click HERE to read this wonderful blog post!) in which she assigned students different characters of a book, and then posted chart paper with character names in boxes, and had students track character traits.  The photos Kristine posted of students adding sticky notes to the boxes looked so engaging that I think I would like to try that sort of tracking activity with this book, too!
Students write character traits on sticky notes.   They can change them or add to them throughout the book.

The overall theme of this book is FRIENDSHIP.  However, I believe that each character has a "mini-theme" that can be attributed to him or her, as well.  For example, through reading Danielle's story, we learn that we can't judge people based on their past mistakes.  Through Peter's story we learn that one poor decision can have huge, life-changing consequences.

Would you like your own personal copy of this book?  Enter the giveaway below!  I will buy a copy from Amazon and have it shipped to the lucky winner!  Good luck!

Contractions (not just for early elementary!) Two FREE games!

Contractions... this is one of those skills that shocked me when I became a teacher.  I started my career teaching second grade, and I had no idea that some students found contractions to be so challenging.  They had always made total sense to me. When I took my ESL endorsement classes, I learned that ELLs often struggle with contractions because English is one of the few languages that use contractions.  I was surprised again when I moved into teaching positions involving the upper elementary grades and found that some students still did not understand basic contractions.  Furthermore, several students did not understand that some contractions can mean multiple things!  ("They'd" can represent "they would" or "they had".)

A week ago, a past third grade teacher colleague of mine emailed me and asked, "What do you have for teaching contractions that's fun?"  I knew that I didn't have any resources for contractions, but I had an idea within a minute!  Would the image of a child kicking a board apart in taekwondo help students better understand the concept of contractions?  I truly thought it would, so I decided to create some contraction printables that I could send to my colleague. One of the things I created was a Concentration game freebie (see below)!

Obviously contractions have been on my mind this past week, so of course I created an anchor chart to share with you!
Contractions Anchor Chart (not just for early elementary!) This blog post contains TWO FREE games! by Crafting Connections!

Have you ever finished an anchor chart and realized that you didn't like the way you worded something? That happened to me this time. I do not like that "Remember" sentence.  I wish I would have written "Some contractions can represent multiple things. Read the entire sentence to identify the meaning."

I created some advanced FREE contraction concentration game cards that address this very skill.  Please download them if you think your students will benefit from them.
Contraction Concentration- a FREE game! This advanced version of the game was designed for upper elementary students.

I know those are way too hard for some students, so I also created this easier, more basic FREE contraction concentration game for those of you who work with younger students.
Contraction Concentration- a FREE game!

If you  are looking for additional materials to use with your students, check out my TpT store!
Contractions Craftivity- includes two versions for multiple grade levels!
Students love this craftivity!

Contractions PowerPoint- This 65-slide PowerPoint can be used to introduce or review contractions.

Halloween Point of View freebie

I am linking up with my good friend, Angela from The Teacher's Desk 6, who is hosting this fun Halloween Link-up Party!  

After writing my Point of View blog post for Upper Elementary Snapshots (read it here- it contains another freebie!), I was inspired to create one more Point of View free resource for my readers.  If it's something you can use in your classroom, please download it and use this 2-page resource!
FREE Halloween Point of View worksheet! Includes first person, second person, third person limited, and 3rd person omniscient.

Have a great day, everyone!