FREE Guided Reading Lesson Plans


This is a two-part blog post!

My primary purpose for writing this blog post is to share another set of guided reading lesson plans with you! Again, these aren't fancy, but they are lessons plans that worked for me. I wrote these plans a few years back when I was reading the book Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great  by Judy Blume with a small group of fourth grade students. If you happen to have multiple copies of this Level R book available, I'd love to be able to share these lesson plans with you, and save you from having to write your own plans. I know how time-consuming it is to write guided reading lesson plans each week! (Amazon affiliate link follows.)

My students and I really enjoyed this book. One of the reasons I enjoyed this book is because there are multiple times in this book that the 1972 copyright date is obvious, and it leads to some interesting discussions. As you will see if you download the lesson plans, the copyright date comes into play already in the first chapter when Judy Blume references a record. Later in the book, she mentions a "milk door" and a "mimeograph machine". My favorite way to explain these outdated concepts to students is to simply grab my iPad, go to google images, type in the phrase, and then show them the photograph and explain how it worked "back in the old days". 

If you have a Level R guided reading group and access to multiple copies of this Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, feel free to click on the image and download the PDF version of the lesson plans!
 Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great Lesson Plans

(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)


My secondary purpose for writing this blog post is to invite you to check out my new YouTube video. This was created by the amazingly talented Kayse Morris!  I thoroughly enjoyed working with Kayse on this project- her enthusiasm is positively contagious! I think she did a wonderful job, and would highly recommend her to anyone who is thinking about making a similar video.


I versus Me: A FREE Grammar PowerPoint


This was the conversation that took place at my house about a month ago: 

Brooke (my third grader): Emma played with Lily and me at recess today.

Kayla (my fifth grader who likes to correct her younger sister): Lily and I.

              Me: No, Kayla. She was actually right. "Lily and me" is the correct way                             to word  that particular sentence.

Kayla: No, it isn't. My teacher always corrects us when we say it that way. 
It's always supposed to be "Lily and I".

I won't bore you with the rest of the conversation. Needless to say, however, despite many attempts to try to explain why "Lily and me" was correct grammar usage in that sentence, I wasn't able to convince Kayla that I knew what I was talking about. Like most kids, Kayla thinks her teachers are much more knowledgeable than her mom. :) (By the way, I don't believe Kayla's teacher really taught her that misinformation... it's more likely that Kayla came to the conclusion on her own after hearing her teacher correct multiple classmates that truly should have used "(Name) and I" in a sentence.)

Actually, I can relate to Kayla's overgeneralization of the rule. When I was younger, I always thought that "(Name) and I" was the rule that should be applied to every sentence, too. I specifically remember the exact high school English class where I learned that me should be used instead of I when the pronoun is the object of the verb. For example, in Brooke's sentence above, "Lily and me" are the objects of played.  I is a subject pronoun, while me is an object pronoun. Therefore, in this sentence, "Lily and me" is correct.

This is a common grammar error among many upper elementary students. Frankly, I even know many adults who make the same mistake when speaking or writing. Therefore, the conversation inspired me to create this short "I versus Me PowerPoint"! 

This PowerPoint is FREE in my store, so go ahead and download it if it's a minilesson that might benefit your students. 
Do you have students who struggle with using I and me as pronouns in their speaking and writing? This grammar topic is confusing to many students... and even some adults! If this is a challenging grammar topic for your students, check out this free I and me lesson! It includes a FREE PowerPoint and handout!

I start with some basic sentence slides where students fill in the blank with "I" or "me".
Do you have students who struggle with using I and me as pronouns in their speaking and writing? This grammar topic is confusing to many students... and even some adults! If this is a challenging grammar topic for your students, check out this free I and me lesson! It includes a FREE PowerPoint and handout!

After the brief review, I introduce the structure "(Name) and ____".
Do you have students who struggle with using I and me as pronouns in their speaking and writing? This grammar topic is confusing to many students... and even some adults! If this is a challenging grammar topic for your students, check out this free I and me lesson! It includes a FREE PowerPoint and handout!


Do you have students who struggle with using I and me as pronouns in their speaking and writing? This grammar topic is confusing to many students... and even some adults! If this is a challenging grammar topic for your students, check out this free I and me lesson! It includes a FREE PowerPoint and handout!
               
                                The direction instruction slides, look like this:
Do you have students who struggle with using I and me as pronouns in their speaking and writing? This grammar topic is confusing to many students... and even some adults! If this is a challenging grammar topic for your students, check out this free I and me lesson! It includes a FREE PowerPoint and handout!

Do you have students who struggle with using I and me as pronouns in their speaking and writing? This grammar topic is confusing to many students... and even some adults! If this is a challenging grammar topic for your students, check out this free I and me lesson! It includes a FREE PowerPoint and handout!

Finally, the PowerPoint concludes with 8 practice slides like the ones below:

Do you have students who struggle with using I and me as pronouns in their speaking and writing? This grammar topic is confusing to many students... and even some adults! If this is a challenging grammar topic for your students, check out this free I and me lesson! It includes a FREE PowerPoint and handout!

Do you have students who struggle with using I and me as pronouns in their speaking and writing? This grammar topic is confusing to many students... and even some adults! If this is a challenging grammar topic for your students, check out this free I and me lesson! It includes a FREE PowerPoint and handout!

It also includes a PowerPoint companion handout where students can record their answers on the handout as you progress through the PowerPoint.
Do you have students who struggle with using I and me as pronouns in their speaking and writing? This grammar topic is confusing to many students... and even some adults! If this is a challenging grammar topic for your students, check out this free I and me lesson! It includes a FREE PowerPoint and handout!


Most of the amazing clip art shown above is by A Sketchy Guy. The clip art on the green slide is by Educlips

I hope you like the PowerPoint and it's beneficial for your students. 
Thanks for stopping by!

Math Properties- Connecting with the Terms

Commutative, associative, distributive... the math property terms can be a bit intimidating for elementary students being introduced to the addition and multiplication properties. I know some teachers who rename the commutative property the "flip-flop property", but personally, I'm not a big fan of renaming challenging words. A few years back, I was helping one of my ELL students complete a math assignment. She was supposed to match the equation in Column A to the addition property that was being modeled in Column B. When she saw the problem (5 + 8 = 8 + 5), her eyes lit up and she said, "Oh, I know this! It's the flip-flop property!" Of course, she was exactly correct... but "flip flop property" was not one of the answer choices.

She sat there, tapping her pencil to her lips. I read the answer choices to her, and told her that one of them was the official word for "the flip flop property". Clearly taking a random guess, she pointed to one of the words and asked, "Is it this one?"

As an ESL teacher, I strongly believe in teaching students strategies that will help them decipher meanings of unknown words- whether it's by using context clues, finding a base word, or looking for a root, prefix, or suffix. In terms of learning the math property words, finding a base word is the ideal strategy. The anchor chart below shows how I extract the base words and place each within the context of a sentence to help students make a meaningful connection between the word and the meaning of the property. I also like to attach each property to a visual cue (another ESL teaching strategy) to deepen the connection.
If you would like to create this anchor chart yourself, click HERE. If you print page 2 of the preview, you can color and cut out the images (by Educlips and A Sketchy Guy) on this page and use in on your anchor chart.

I recently created two math property PowerPoints (one for addition, and one for multiplication), and I used the same method described above. These slides show how I introduced each term.





Thanks for stopping by!

Summarizing Nonfiction Text During a Social Studies Lesson (with a free graphic organizer!)

In the past, teaching students to write nonfiction summaries was probably my least favorite ELA topic to teach.  Why? I didn't feel like I was very good at writing them myself! Narrowing down paragraphs and/or pages of seemingly important information to 2-3 sentences has always been an arduous task for me. (Just ask my husband... I have a knack for leaving looooooong phone messages with tons of unimportant details. When I finish leaving the message, he usually says, "You know, Deb, you could've just said ----".)

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I put off creating Summarizing Nonfiction materials again and again... and again. It was added to my "to do" list two years ago, and it sat there untouched until this past week when I sat down at my computer, took a deep breath, and refused to let my mind wander toward another, more enjoyable topic! 

Once I started, it really wasn't all that bad. In fact, after researching various summarizing strategies, my creative juices started flowing, and I ended up teaching myself how to write a really good nonfiction summary, if I do say so myself!! The anchor chart below sums up the step-by-step process I created:
Clip art by A Sketchy Guy.
Step #3 is my favorite. It provides the support my analytical mind needs to start writing a summary. I used this process to write about 25 summaries this past week, and it worked every time. Beyond that, whenever I wrote that first main idea sentence, gleaning the most important details no longer seemed daunting.

When I use this anchor chart in the classroom, I plan to create it with students after I have introduced Summarizing Nonfiction during Language Arts using my PowerPoint, and after my students have had the opportunity to write their own nonfiction summaries using my passages.

I intend to use this anchor chart as part of a Social Studies lesson. I will model how students can use this process to summarize a lesson from their Social Studies textbook. Before class I will have the heading and sentences (in black) already written on the chart paper. After a quick review of the writing nonfiction summaries process, we will read and discuss the lesson.
Writing a Nonfiction Summary Anchor Chart
I used Lesson #4 in Chapter 4 of the 4th grade Pearson social studies text called
My World: Regions of our Country for my anchor chart above.

When we are done reading the 6-page lesson, we will work through the steps on the anchor chart to write a 3-sentence summary. 


Click on the following links to check out my Summarizing Nonfiction resources:
Writing a Nonfiction Summary PowerPoint- It's simple if you just have the right combination!


Finally, if you want to try this method with your own students, feel free to download this graphic organizer.

Thanks for stopping by!

A FREE Text Evidence Lesson!

Teaching students to find text evidence to support their answers is an important reading strategy and test taking strategy. This post contains a FREE text evidence lesson!  It includes text evidence sentence starters, a free reading passage, and other text evidence activities.
Text Evidence... it's of huge importance in the upper elementary grades! After all, it's the first standard listed for Reading: Literature and Reading: Informational Text in grades 3, 4, and 5. I have copied each grade level's related standard below so that you can see how it progresses as students advance through the grade levels.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.1 and RI.3.1- Ask and answer questions to demonstrate  understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as a basis for answers.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1 and RI.4.1- Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. 

 CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.1 and RI.5.1- Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


As you can see, in 4th and 5th grades, students are expected to be able to answer text questions by pointing to a section of the text...
    1.)  that provides the exact  answer
and 
    2.)  that helps them to infer  an answer.

This sounds a bit confusing, but it is quite simple to teach students this concept by showing them a few passages like the one below. I would place this passage under my document camera, read the passage with my students, and label the questions as follows:
You can download this passage by clicking HERE.
Obviously, the first answer is right there in the second paragraph... students can point directly to the words "roller coaster" to prove their answer. However, to answer the second and third questions correctly, the students must use their inferencing skills.

After this brief discussion, I would pass out the bookmark papers to my students, and tell them that the two types of questions require slightly different sentence starters. 
Download these bookmarks by clicking HERE.
The set of five sentence starters on the left is useful when the answer is stated explicitly in the text. The set of five sentence starters displayed on the right are especially useful when the students have to infer in order to reach the answer, because the answer is not explicitly stated. 

After working together to write answers to the questions above by using the sentence starters on the bookmarks, I would have students cut around the outside box and then fold it in half to create a two-sided bookmark, which can now be used as a reference tool throughout your text evidence unit, and throughout the school year.

In case you are interested, I have created a number of Text Evidence teaching resources that are available in my TpT store.  Just click on the images to take a closer look at them!

Teaching students to find text evidence to support their answers is an important reading strategy and test taking strategy. This post contains a FREE text evidence lesson!  It includes text evidence sentence starters, a free reading passage, and other text evidence activities.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Text-Evidence-PowerPoint-2132106

 Text Evidence Passages

Thank you for stopping by!

A Book Giveaway!

Have you run into the book Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts yet?  It is a historical fiction book Kayla (my 5th grader) recommended to me. At the start of the book, 12-year-old Kizzy is preparing for her first year at an integrated school in the fall of 1963. She does not want to attend the new school, and she realizes that her white classmates probably don't want her there, either. (Amazon affiliate link follows.)
One of the features that makes this book especially interesting is that it is written in letter-format. Kizzy's previous teacher asked all of the students to write a letter to their new teachers. Kizzy completes this homework, and thereby begins to develop a relationship with her new teacher which blossoms as the school year begins and progresses.

Kizzy's letters are extremely heartfelt and honest, as she tells about the injustices she and her older brother (a high school students) are experiencing. I think it would be eye-opening for today's students to read about Kizzy's life. At one point, she was publicly switched and humiliated for talking crossly to a white boy.

As I read this book, I was constantly thinking about the powerful discussions that could occur if this book was being read in the classroom as a read aloud- or within a literature circle. Along with the racial issues she faces, Kizzy also has to deal with the large scar on her face that she cannot hide.  Furthermore, she has a very special relationship with her dog, Shag, that would rival Marty's relationship with Shiloh and Opal's bond with Winn-Dixie. I am nearly certain that students would identify several text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections as they read this book.

Because I love this book so much, I decided to raffle a SET OF 6 paperback books to be delivered to an upper elementary or middle school classroom in early November!  Just enter the giveaway below for your chance to win!

According to Scholastic Book Wizard, Kizzy Ann Stamps is a Level T book. It's lexile measure is 920L. Also, I ran into this book on the shelves of our school's Scholastic Book Fair last week! If you don't win the giveaway, but are interested in buying the book, you might want to check out a Book Fair near you.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
(Due to the high cost of shipping, this giveaway is open to residents of the United States.)

Four-Star Reading Responses

When I was a 4th/5th grade reading teacher, I fell in love with the Say Something response assignment. Are you familiar with this reading strategy?  When students finish reading, they are given a Post-it note, and they get to choose whether they:

  • ask a question.
  • make a comment.
  • make a prediction.
  • clarify something.
  • make a connection.

When our guided reading group time was almost over, it was so simple to hand students a Post-it note (that could serve as a bookmark), tell students to finish reading a chapter, and, as an assignment, "say something" on the Post-it note that they will share the following day when the group meets again.

When I first tried this response with students, I quickly figured out that giving them the above list was not enough. As a teacher, you definitely need to model what a well-written Say Something Post-it note looks like!  If you don't model, you will definitely see minimal effort in the form of notes that look like the 1-star notes below.


Recently I ran across this blog post by Chartchums, where they created an anchor chart that showed the progression from a 1-star Post-it note to a 4-star Post-it note for their second graders. I thought it was such a great idea that I was inspired to create a similar anchor chart for upper elementary students based on the Say Something Post-it Note reading strategy.

The Post-it note examples on this chart are based on the book The Name of this Book Is Secret (The Secret Series) by Pseudonymous Bosch. (This book would make an excellent mystery read-aloud, by the way!) (Amazon affiliate link follows.)
I especially like the visual element- it is clearly and immediately evident to students that shorter responses are worth only 1-star because they lack details. In order to write a 4-star Post-it note, students must strive for higher-level thinking that includes details and thorough explanations. When I share this anchor chart with students in the future, I plan to show them the anchor chart on the first day, and discuss what makes each Post-it note deserve that number of stars. On the second day, after students have written their own independent Post-it note responses, I will have each student bring his or her note to the anchor chart and line it up with where they believe their Post-it note should be placed. For example, if a student wrote a prediction, I would have him look at the 4 prediction Post-it notes on the anchor chart and decide which most resembles the type of response that he wrote. After a few days of doing this, hopefully students will be writing 3- and 4- star Post-it note responses!

I was going to make my own Say Something bookmarks to attach to this blog post, but after doing a quick search on TpT, I found that some fabulous bookmarks already exist! Check out these freebies by Let's Geaux Teach!

Do you have any tricks for getting students to write detailed responses to what they've read?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Finding a Partner Idea... with a FREE download!

If you have ELLs in your classroom, you understand the importance of giving them an opportunity to talk and converse with others while using academic vocabulary.  When students are allowed to formulate their own sentences using academic vocabulary based on what they have learned, they are more likely to retain that information. (By academic vocabulary, I am referring to the terms that do not usually come up in day-to-day conversation, but are vital for students for students who are working toward mastering subject area content... words like condensation, evaporation, and precipitation.) And, like the majority of ELL strategies, conversing with partners is not only beneficial for the ELLs in your classroom, but for ALL students.

As an ESL teacher who co-taught in upper elementary classrooms, you can bet that I was frequently telling students to "turn to a partner and discuss...". Think-Pair-Shares were an everyday occurrence. (Read more about Think-Pair-Shares HERE.) The one downside to this partnering idea is that students were limited to the classmates who were sitting directly beside them.

A few weeks ago, I was paging through Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner by Persida and William Himmele (which is an excellent, teacher-friendly book, by the way!) and I found an intriguing idea! This would solve the problem of students always sharing with the same partners, and I am pretty sure kids would love the idea of the business-like atmosphere!  I had never heard of this activity, but it struck me as so clever that I just had to share it on my blog, in case there are others who are looking for a new "find-a-partner" activity.

You begin by taking 5 minutes and having students fill out the following appointment page. (Click on the image to download it.)

Students simply walk around the classroom and set "appointments" with classmates. In order to do this, both students have to select a time that is open on both of their agendas, and write each other's name in the time slot. (If you have an odd number of students, one person may have to partner with you, or have that students join an existing pair to create a threesome- your choice.) Also, make it clear that students are not allowed to turn down a classmate's appointment request unless the time slot is already filled on their paper.

When everybody's agendas are filled in, voila!  You have a new pairing tool that gets students up and out of their seats and paired with different partners. Then, anytime you want students to discuss or share with a partner, you have the option of having everyone pull out their appointment sheet, find their 2:00 appointment, and share the response. I might have everyone tape it to the inside cover of a certain notebook for consistent, easy access.

If you decide to try this activity, I would love to hear how it goes!  Have a great week!

Tricks and Treats: FREE downloads!

How is it possible that October is right around the corner?  And October means... Halloween!  At my house, my daughters have already compiled a list of "possible Halloween costumes".  The topic comes up from time to time throughout the year, but the conversation gets serious once October sets in!

Halloween is obviously on the minds of most of our students while they are at school, too.  So... why not channel this excitement into engaging learning opportunities? My fellow collaborators at Upper Elementary Snapshots and I have put together a "Tricks and Treats Ebook for Upper Elementary" where we each share a trick (a helpful teaching tip) and a treat (a FREE printable)!


My free printable is my Halloween Point of View worksheet. It contains four passages. Students read each passage and determine which point of view the author used- first person, second person, third person limited, or third person omniscient. Click on the image to download the ebook and access all eleven tricks and treats!

Ordering Adjectives... Who knew?

Which sentence is ordered correctly?
A.  We climbed into Dad's red, rusty, old pickup truck.
B.  We climbed into Dad's old, red, rusty pickup truck.
C.  We climbed into Dad's rusty, old, red pickup truck.

C is ordered correctly. It's obvious, right? To those of us who are native English speakers, it's the only one that "sounds" right.  To my ear, A and B just sound awkward and clunky.

I must confess, that's how I went about figuring out the order of adjectives for the first 30-some years of my life. I went with what sounded right.

Then, I met up with the Common Core State Standards...  CCSS ELA-Literacy.L.4.1.D to be precise. Order adjectives within sentences according to convention patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag). Yep, it turns out that there are "rules" when it comes to ordering adjectives.  A quick trip to Pinterest filled me in on those rules, and I created an anchor chart based on what I found.


A few weeks ago, a friend emailed me and asked me if I would be willing to create some resources to match this fourth grade standard. I jumped at the opportunity. As an ESL teacher of 14 years, I believe this is an important language standard.  It struck me that I had been able to get along just fine for decades without knowing any specific "rules" regarding the placement of adjectives within sentences by just figuring out which option "sounded right". The ELLs in our classrooms, however, often aren't quite as lucky. Most of them simply do not have the advantage of being able to determine which option sounds "right", and which option sounds "clunky".

I set out to create a handful of engaging, student-friendly materials to address this standard.   As you can see, most of the materials I created are related to the idea of "sliding adjectives into sentences" in the correct order. Just click on the image if you want to take a closer look!




Clearly, I have no recollection at all of learning this when I was younger.  I'm curious... do you remember learning how to correctly insert adjectives into sentences when you were younger?


Don't let Constitution Day sneak up on you this year...

Please don't tell me that I am the only teacher that this happens to... I promise I'm not unpatriotic!  I truly appreciate the many rights and freedoms that I am granted as an American citizen - the freedom to worship my God openly... the right to vote in order to have my voice heard... the freedom to question and challenge my government should I choose to do so.  Still... Constitution Day sneaks up on me EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.  After scrambling at the last minute again last year, I decided that enough was enough.  I became bound and determined that I was not going to let that be my lot again this year!  My "cure" for this annual predicament?  I created a Constitution Day Readers' Theater Script this past summer and promptly placed it in my newly established Constitution Day file!  (A Constitution Day reminder set for September 17 went on my IPhone, too, of course!)

I consider it a "twofer" of sorts - two resources in one.  Very little planning or additional research is necessary, as the Readers' Theater already includes all of the information about the Constitution that you would otherwise need to share with your students.
I've also included a bonus activity to do besides simply reading the script.  I've designed the activity so that, before dividing out parts and reading the script, students complete a worksheet that's similar to an anticipation guide.  They read and then guess whether the Constitution-related statements given are true or false.
AFTER reading the script, students return to the worksheet and answer the same questions again.  I think they will enjoy seeing how much they learned!  I also, of course, like that it holds them accountable to pay attention while the script is being read.  Another bonus that I find in this kind of activity is that it gives us teachers a glimpse into our students' comprehension skills.

If you, too, want to get ahead of this important-but-often-overlooked-with-the-busy-pace-of-September holiday, I encourage you to check out the product HERE.  I do want to be very clear in stating that this is designed for the more "upper" end of upper elementary.  I encourage you to check out the preview that is included in the product overview to determine whether the readability is appropriate for your students.

UPDATE! CONSTITUTION DAY ACTIVITY SET!
I made a new resource for Constitution Day this year.  This one can be used with younger students, as well.  My Constitution Day PowerPoint contains 25 slides.  The first half  provides a  brief overview of how our founding fathers met to write a document that became an elaborate plan for the United States federal government.  The second half of the PowerPoint focuses on the 3 branches of government, each one's roles and responsibilities, and our system of "checks and balances" between the three branches.

As a follow-up to the PowerPoint, your students can assemble the craftivity.  Students begin by reading the statements on each leaf, and determining to which branch of government the statement refers.  After they have sorted their leaves, they color they follow the student-friendly directions to assemble the craftivity.


Finally, here's another option that I recently added to my store:
Constitution Day Partner Plays


If you are looking for a Constitution Day Activity, I hope you will find one of my activities to be useful in your classroom!

Putting the "Think" into Think-Pair-Share!


Do you use the Think-Pair-Share engagement strategy in your classroom?  After posing a question, you tell students to think of an answer, turn to a nearby partner (pair), and students share and compare their responses. For me, the hardest part of this strategy is providing the appropriate amount of think time. In an effort to keep kids on-task and the lesson moving, I know that I often do not provide enough think time, especially for my ELLs.
Recently, I was scanning a book (Amazon affiliate link follows) called Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner and was reminded of Quick Writes and Quick Draws! It was a light bulb moment for me... if I ask students to quickly write ideas or quickly draw an idea during their "think time", I would be more likely to give students the time they needed to process an answer to the question!  Here's a brief description of how each works along with an example:


Quick Writes
1.  The teacher poses a question or task.  How can weather affect our water and food supply? 

2.  Students are given a certain amount of time to jot down a response.  For the next three minutes, jot down your reflections on how weather can affect our water and food supply.  Most of the time, a list of phrases is fine with me.  In the book, the authors mention the option of writing a word bank of required words on the board (like "drought") so that students are required to interact with key vocabulary.

3.  When the 3 minutes have passed, instruct students to turn to a nearby classmate and share and compare their responses.


Quick Draws
I especially like to do these to review vocabulary words.

1.  The teacher poses a question or writes 1-3 vocabulary words on the board. reservoir, aqueduct, and drought

2.  Students are given a certain amount of time to draw or sketch something in a way that illustrates the meanings of the words.  Write these words in your notebook. For the next four minutes, draw quick sketches that illustrate the meanings of the words.

3.  When the 4 minutes have passed, instruct students to turn to a nearby classmate and share and compare their quick drawings.

Students generally enjoy these engaging activities... especially the Quick Draws.  An added benefit of using these strategies is that they can serve as a type of formative assessment or exit ticket!  You can monitor which students seem to be having difficulty with the task and/or which students show full understanding and which students show partial understanding.

Thanks for stopping by!  If you have time, head over to Upper Elementary Snapshots where I am blogging about a lesson I learned the hard way about teaching author's purpose to upper elementary students.  (It includes a couple freebies!)

Rounding with Number Lines {includes FREE Task Cards!}

It seems there are two schools of thought when it comes to teaching students to round numbers. When you search "rounding anchor charts" on Pinterest, a whole slew of cute little rhymes about "going next door" to the neighboring number appear. You can also find a plethora of images with a rounding roller coaster (which is what I used to teach rounding to my second graders long ago during my first two years of teaching).

Recently, though, I ran across a blog post by Beyond Traditional Math that made me rethink my approach to teaching students how to round numbers. In fact, the author convinced me that teaching students to use number lines to round numbers is the best approach for most children because it provides the necessary conceptual understanding to support long-term retention. Tricks are too easily forgotten, whereas the number line approach supports number sense and place value understanding. (Read the blog post HERE.)

Therefore, when I decided to create a Rounding PowerPoint last week, I used number lines. However, in an effort to make things just a bit more engaging, I added ninjas! These two posters (which can be downloaded by clicking on the images) and the anchor chart show the basic premise.

Clip art by Educlips.  Border by Kelly Benefield.

If you are interested in possibly using this approach to teach rounding this year, feel free to check out my rounding ninja resources. All of these rounding activities address rounding 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-digit numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand... and the task cards are FREE!

Rounding with Number Lines!

Rounding with Number Lines!

Rounding with Number Lines!