Sunday, September 28, 2014

What's Your Point of View?

Want to know the very best part of working with a new team of teachers?  Learning from them! I can not take credit for any of the great ideas that follow because they were all planned for me by one of my awesome teammates.  So, big BIG shout out to Missy for writing such awesome and engaging reading plans to help our 4th graders understand 1st and 3rd person point of view.

We started the whole unit with this awesome Point of View RAP courtsey of Flocabulary. Be careful will very likely get stuck in your head.  I was singing it for days.

After reading lots of excerpts from books, magazines, and more, we made these fantastic Point of View Posters to demonstrate our knowledge of 1st and 3rd person.

Check it out...

Students chose a picture from a magazine that had an interesting character and then wrote about the picture in 1st and 3rd person. 
I love this one because she mirrored the two perspectives perfectly.  They basically say the same thing, only the point of view is switched.  

 Students wrote 3-5 sentences for each point of view.

 Didn't they do a great job?

 I love this one because the writing says so much about the kid.  Staying positive!  LOL!

I have to admit, I would love to know the story behind this surfer and his eye patch.

I hope the pictures are enlarged enough that you can read what the kids wrote.  They really did a tremendous job and enjoyed every moment of it.  It was a great way to wrap up point of view and the lesson really stuck with the kids.  

How do you teach point of view?  I'd love to hear about your favorite resources and lessons.  Comment and share below. :)

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Best Read Aloud for 4th Grade...Seriously!!

Every year, I waffle about my first read aloud of the year.  It's a big decision. I mean... it is the first book that you share with your class. It sets the stage and tone for all future read alouds.  Not to be dramatic or anything, but it's important. :)

But now, thanks to my fabulous new 4th grade team, I know the best read aloud for starting the year in 4th grade.  And, that read aloud is Gooney Bird Greene! 

I cannot believe I had not read this book until this year.  I love books and it seems criminal that I missed this one. If you've been waiting to read this book, don't wait any longer.  It's laugh out loud funny, full of fabulous description, and entertaining from cover to cover.  I mean, it IS Lois Lowry and everything she writes is pretty much literary gold.

Gooney Bird Greene is no exception.

So, why did I wait so long to read this little novel?  Easy.  It's about a second grade class and I thought it would be too young for my class.  Silly me. Silly me.

The story follows one second grade class that gets a new student, Gooney Bird Greene. Gooney is unlike any other student in class.  She's got style and flair.  She's always true to herself and most importantly she's an amazing storyteller.  Soon, the students are begging for Gooney to share more stories from her life that seem larger than life but are actually 100% true.

This book may have been about 2nd graders, but the story is captivating and entertaining no matter what your age. Every student in my room loved this book! They begged for more each and every day.

Naturally, this would be a great read aloud for any grade, but why do I specifically say 4th grade? Easy. Gooney not only tells stories from her own life but gives writing tips along the way. She talks about adding detail and description. She gives advice about staying on topic.  She offers suggestions for transitions and story ideas.  The entire last chapter is Gooney showing the rest of the 2nd graders they they have stories to tell in their lives and how to find them based on the stories she told. It's the perfect idea springboard.

As a 4th grade teacher that teaches personal narrative, I could not have found a better way to start the year.  The kids loved the read aloud and they are already referencing the book during writer's workshop.  They all want to be Gooney Bird Greene and I'm relishing all the great writing instruction they got without even knowing it.

Thank you Lois Lowry and thank you Goonie Bird Greene.

I will never have to worry about my beginning of the year read aloud again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Quick Fix for Lunch Count

I'm always trying to be tech savvy. The kids love using technology and it is supposed to make our lives easier. Right?

Well, I started the year doing lunch count on the Smartboard. And the kids did love it, but lunch count was taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R!

Kids were bouncing the icons all over the board, moving others icons and resizing things like crazy. It was a mess. Not to mention it took up the only screen/board I had for a morning message to my kiddos. I finally decided to pull the plug and just go to something quick and easy.  Sometimes old school is the best school. LOL.

I marched myself down to Hobby Lobby and picked up four small colored buckets from their party section.

Then while browsing Michael's I found the most adorable felt owl stickies. The answer was obvious.

Lunch Popsicle Sticks. Aren't they cute?

I was so pleased with how they turned out.  It cost me less than $10 to fix my problem and lunch count is back to being quick and easy. Most importantly, I get my screen back!! Whoo hoo!

How do you do lunch count?  Do you go old school or new?