A Cure for the Fidgity {freebie included} Giveaway!

Some of you may already know Tammy, from The Owl Teacher, but if you do not, please allow me to introduce her to you!  Tammy has nine years experience teaching in upper elementary classrooms.  I came across her causation cards a few weeks ago and I thought they were so creative and unique!  I invited Tammy to write a guest post to inform my blog readers about this engaging class activity, and she graciously accepted my offer.  Plus, she decided to make her first set of causation cards free so that you could download the cards and check them out for yourself!  Thanks, Tammy!

I hope you enjoy the final hours of 2014!              

A Cure for the Fidgity!
By Tammy DeShaw, The Owl Teacher

Alright, maybe it's not a cure.  But it's an idea that will help.  

I don’t know about you, but I have a very fidgety person in my classroom.  You know, that one person who has to be constantly moving, touching everything, and their mind is racing a million miles a minute.  Sometimes that person will just really drive the students nuts! While I may be a bit hyperactive (especially if I’ve had caffeine!), it does help me relate to my kiddos a bit more.  

It sure seems that each year we have just a few more kids that are wound up and bouncing off the walls.  All our teacher training tells us that we should get these students up and moving around more to help them.  Our activities should be short and frequently change to help with their short attention spans.  (And mine, too!)

A while back, while using a set of Idiom “I have… Who Has…” cards, I was watching the class go through the cards and realized just how little movement the activity brought.  Stand up, read your card, sit down.  Yawn.  I loved that it required students to pay attention and listen.  All cute little ones could use good listening skills (including my own teens at home.  Did I just say that?  Whoops!).  While I loved those cards, it needed to be “jazzed” up a bit.  So that’s when my wheels started moving (remember, they are always racing…).  I decided I needed to add some action.  That’s when I started creating causation cards.

Just like the “I have, Who Has” cards, students would still have to listen carefully to their peers to know if it is time to read their card.  The cards would still review important vocabulary and concepts, but what is different is that each card requires some sort of action.  The action could be something simple, such as going to the board and writing on it to jumping in the air.  

For instance, take this card below.  The part in green, “prices go up!” is the part a student is listening for.  The part in regular font is what that student would stand up and say, and finally, the part in italics is the action the student does.  In this case, the student would march around the room singing, “Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, off to work I go!”  The action is related to whatever concept the student stated.

The reason I like this activity is because we tend to remember things that we place motion to.  Think about all the brain research.  Not only that, but it is engaging and academic!  It also provides opportunities for students to burn up a little bit of that energy all while practicing fluency and listening skills.

I like to use these cards at the end of a unit to review important concepts, but it could also be used at the beginning of a unit as an introduction.  My kiddos have always loved these cards and love the challenge of seeing if they can beat their time of reading through them.

If you would like to check these cards out, you can download the economic cards here for free.  

Enter the giveaway for a chance to shop at my store, where I have additional sets of causation cards and more!

A special thanks to Deb Hanson for giving me this guest blogging opportunity!  

Tammy DeShaw is currently a third grade teacher, but has 9 years experience teaching grades 3-6.  She has a Bachelor's in Science, Elementary Education Certification, and is 3 credits away from finishing her Masters in Differentiation.  You can follow her blog, The Owl Teacher, for ideas, lessons, and other valuable resources.

Linking Verbs Anchor Chart

Last week I shared an anchor chart for helping students differentiate between action verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs (click here to check it out). 

This week, however, I decided to "zoom in" and focus on linking verbs in particular.  Before I started teaching 5th grade, when I thought of linking verbs, "the big 7" came to mind: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, and been.  In fact, I seem to remember memorizing that list when I was in high school.  Once I began teaching fifth grade grammar, though, I quickly realized that linking verbs go far beyond that initial list of seven.  Yes, I must admit that I did not understand that words like smell, taste, and look can be action verbs OR linking verbs, depending upon the context of the sentence!  (Or perhaps I learned it long ago, but then forgot that grammar rule somewhere along the way!)

I believe that there are three things to remember when it comes to identifying linking verbs:
1.  Linking verbs are used in sentences where the subject is being renamed or described.
2.  Some words are true linking verbs: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, & been.  (This is a good list to memorize in the beginning.)
3.  Some verbs have multiple personalities and can act as a linking verb OR an action verb.  You must read the sentence in context to determine its use in a given sentence!

This anchor charts is my attempt to sum up those important concepts about linking verbs:
Linking Verbs Anchor Chart! Help students understand the function of linking verbs with this anchor chart and a free worksheet!
Clip art by Graphics Factory.

I created this FREE worksheet if you want your students to differentiate between linking verbs and action verbs in sentences.  Just click on the image to download it for free!
Help students understand the function of linking verbs with this anchor chart. Then give your students an opportunity to practice with this FREE worksheet!
Border by Kelly Benefield.

Finally, I created a PowerPoint to use while I was teaching students about action verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs. Click on the image below to check it out!

Types of Verbs Anchor Chart (with a freebie!)

A few weeks ago, Linda contacted me and asked me to consider creating a craftivity to reinforce the three types of verbs (action, helping, and linking) that could be used as a follow-up activity to my "A Closer Look at Verbs" PowerPoint. As many of you know, I tend to create craftivities that are based upon analogies. It is always my hope that these analogies will help students build connections and retain the overall meaning of a concept. Well, I thought of an idea almost immediately... only to discover that it was not going to work. (I could not find the right clip art, and my "vision" just wasn't going to be workable.) 

So, I went back to the drawing board, and thought..... and thought... and thought.  Then, just as I was about to concede and email Linda to tell her that I was going to have to put this on my maybe-someday-when-I-get-a-great-idea list, a light bulb switched on in my mind!  Would it work to make an analogy between the types of verbs and a rock band?  

How are the types of verbs like the members of a rock band? Check out this blog post that features a Types of Verbs anchor chart and a FREEBIE!

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me!  After all, the musicians in a rock band are constantly moving, or doing actions (whether it's singing, jamming on an instrument, or headbanging with the beat!)  The instruments... well, they are like helping verbs!  Without the help of instruments, a rock band wouldn't be much of a rock band.  And what about those troublesome linking verbs that had made all of my other analogy ideas stop in their tracks?  Well, linking verbs are like the speakers that link the music to the listeners!
Verb Anchor Chart: Action, Linking, and Helping Verbs. This blog post contains a FREE matching foldable, too!
Clip art by Scrappin Doodles.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked it, so I went ahead and created the matching craftivity/poster set.
Help your students understand the difference between action verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs with this Types of Verbs craftivity. Three posters and a worksheet are also included!

If you like the analogy and think it might help your students, feel free to download the matching FREEBIE that you can have your students glue into their interactive notebooks.

FREE Types of Verbs Interactive Notebook Entry: Action, Linking, and Helping Verbs. This blog post contains a matching anchor chart, too!
Click HERE to download this for free!

FREE Types of Verbs Interactive Notebook Entry: Action, Linking, and Helping Verbs. This blog post contains a matching anchor chart, too!
Students write example sentences under each flap, underlining the target verbs.
How are the types of verbs like the members of a rock band? Check out this blog post that features a Types of Verbs anchor chart and a FREEBIE!

Free guided reading lesson plans: Flat Stanley and The Big Lie

I’m back for
Thanks for stopping by today!

Today I want to highlight an anchor chart I found on Pinterest that I absolutely adore! I did not make this anchor chart!  This particular chart was made by Nancy at Teaching My Friends.  She credits getting the idea from a chart made by Danielle Mahoney at the Scholastic blogs.

I sure wish I would have seen this chart six years ago.  That was the year that I began my two-year-long stint as a 4th-5th grade guided reading teacher.  (At that time, my ESL position was changing from part-time to full-time, and I had been given a choice between switching to half-time reading, or keeping my ESL position and return to full-time teaching.  My youngest daughter wasn't quite at an age where I wanted to return to full-time teaching, so I switched positions to teach reading for two years.)

I have always loved reading so I was super-excited about my new position.  However, one week into the school year, I was overwhelmed, to say the least!  In this reading position, I saw 8 groups of 4th and 5th grade readers during my morning at school.  I could barely keep up reading all 8 chapter books at once and trying to stay ahead of my lesson plans.  I loved reading the books and having some deep discussions with students, but I felt like I was drowning in a sea of books, lesson plans, and response sheets!

Unfortunately, I didn't even know about TeachersPayTeachers at the time... that probably would have helped me a lot, too!  Instead, though, I spent countless hours creating graphic organizers, book response forms, and "skill bookmarks" to go along with most reading assignments. (Have I mentioned that I am a bit of a perfectionist?)  Just remembering those years makes me feel weary!

Near the end of that first year, I decided that it shouldn't have to be that difficult, and I started handing out more sticky notes and telling students to write some sort of response.  

Anyway, back to the anchor chart...I love it for several reasons.
1.  It keeps things simple!  This anchor chart could be hung in your library area and displayed all year long.
2.  It puts the responsibility on the reader.
3.  Students are reminded that comprehension and being an active reader is KEY!

I "dug up" and "dusted off" two more guided reading lesson plans I created a few years ago.  They are not fancy, and they were written to fit what my particular kiddos needed at that time.  Feel free to download them and decide if you could use any part of them.  (I'm leaving them in Word, so that you can easily edit them.  However, if they don't download properly for you, just leave me a comment with your email address, and I will be happy to send you a PDF version.) 
(Amazon affliliate links follow.)
FREE guided reading lesson plans written for the book Flat Stanley!
Click HERE to download my lesson plans for this popular book (Guided Reading Level M).
FREE guided reading lesson plans written for the book The Big Lie. This is a powerful, heart-wrenching story about the Holocaust.
Click HERE to download my lesson plans for this heart-wrenching, powerful story related to the Holocaust.
(Guided Reading Level T) 
(If you'd like to see the other free guided reading lesson plans I have available, click on the links below.)
Shiloh (Level R)
Flat Stanley (Level M)

Adjectives Anchor Chart

My anchor chart today focuses on adjectivesThis all came about as a result of a conversation that took place around our family dinner table last Tuesday evening.  It went like this:

Kayla (my fourth grader):  We are learning about adjectives in school this week.

Me:  So tell me what an adjective is.

Kayla:  (long pause)  A person, place or thing???

Brooke (my second grader):  No, that's a noun.  And I know that a verb is an action word.

Me:  Kayla, you learned about adjectives way back in second grade.  You remember what they are, don't you?

Kayla:  Hmmm... I can't remember...adjectives are hard!

Me:  An adjective is a describing word, it describes a noun...

Parts of speech.. so difficult for so many kids! As a teacher who has worked with all elementary grade levels, I know that most kids have trouble retaining what they learn about parts of speech.  Fourth and fifth grade teachers, don't you find that you always have to start over and review (a lot) all parts of speech before you can get to the new ones introduced at your grade level??  I can tell you that there was a point when Kayla was in second grade and in third grade when she could tell you exactly what an adjective was, and identify an adjective in a sentence!  But... time passed and she obviously forgot what she learned!

So... I spent a lot of time thinking about this issue this week, trying to think of a clever connection that would help students recall what an adjective does in a sentence.  Here's what I came up with:
Adjectives Anchor Chart- Adjectives are like magnets... they are attracted to nouns (and pronouns)!
Clip art by Educasong.
When I teach this lesson in a classroom, I plan to create the above anchor chart prior to the beginning of class.  I will tape it to the board, and then tape up the bottom so that only the question is displayed at the beginning of the lesson.  I think it would be interesting to have students answer this question themselves.  They may come up with some connections that I hadn't considered!
Adjectives Anchor Chart- Adjectives are like magnets... they are attracted to nouns (and pronouns)!

After a brief brainstorming session, I would remove the tape from the anchor chart and reveal the rest of the information, and discuss the connection that I came up with. 

Then, I would have students help me find the adjectives and the nouns/pronouns they are attracted to in the example sentences on the chart.  
Adjectives Anchor Chart- Adjectives are like magnets... they are attracted to nouns (and pronouns)!

 Now is a time when I wish I had a classroom so that I could teach this lesson and find out if the connection will be meaningful for students, and help them with long-term retention.  What do you think?  Will the mental connection of an adjective being comparable to a magnet work?  If any of you try this approach with your students, please let me know how it goes!  

In fact, I created a matching craftivity!  If you don't want to recreate the anchor chart, you can use the teaching poster that I created for the craftivity file.
Adjectives Craftivity- includes worksheets and a teaching poster! How are adjectives like magnets? Adjectives are attracted to nouns!

Adjectives Craftivity- includes worksheets and a teaching poster! How are adjectives like magnets? Adjectives are attracted to nouns!
Students complete the above worksheet (the file includes another worksheet page, too), and then use their answers to assemble the craftivity.

Adjective Craftivity: Adjectives are like magnets- they are attracted to nouns! This resource includes a poster and a 2-page worksheet.

Thanks for dropping by today!

Save for future reference:
How are adjectives like magnets? This is an analogy that you'll want to use with your students! Check out the matching adjectives anchor chart in this blog post, too!

Anchors Away Monday: Greek Gods and Goddesses

My anchor chart today focuses on 
Greek gods and goddesses.

I have loved Greek mythology ever since eighth grade when my language arts teacher conducted a nine-week-long Greek mythology unit.  I was fascinated with the gods and their antics!  A man who eats his own children and then regurgitates them years later?  (Cronus)  Siblings who marry?  (Zeus & Hera and Aphrodite & Hephaestus are just a couple!)  A daughter who is born by springing forth from her father's forehead fully clad with armor?  (Athena)  These ancient stories were unlike anything I had ever read before and I was enthralled.  Fast forward thirty-ish years... and I'm still captivated by Greek mythology!

I have found that students still really enjoy mythology!  However, keeping all the gods and goddesses straight can be challenging.  
Enter... my anchor chart for this week!
Greek Mythology Anchor Chart- the post includes a FREE partner play about Aphrodite!

A few months ago, I combined my love for Greek mythology with my new found love with writing partner plays, and I created the following two sets:
Greek Mythology Partner Plays! Such an engaging way to work on fluency!
Click HERE to take a closer look at the Greek Mythology Partner Plays.
To take a closer look at the Modern Day Mythology Partner Plays, click HERE.  

Last week I decided to write a brand-new FREE partner play script to accompany this blog post!  Please feel free to download it and use it with your students!  
FREE Partner Play script! Greek Mythology

 For those of you who facilitate a large Greek mythology unit, I encourage you to check out my friend, Dawn's, TpT store (Purple Palmetto)!  She has created 27 different Greek mythology items, including Bingo, "I have... Who has...?", trading cards, task cards, tests, and more!

Nicole Shelby also has created four fantastic Greek mythology resources!
Thanks for dropping by today!