Monday, November 26, 2012

The US Regions and Analyzing Characters

I hope you had a fabulous break.  I got back from Vegas on Thursday just in time for dinner and clean-up at my house with my in-laws.  They were here through yesterday.  I told myself I would be productive this weekend, and I took a nap instead. How about you?  I did spend time yesterday working on my "Common Core Paragraphs" unit.  Hopefully I will finish in the next couple days.  My store is on sale for 20% off today and tomorrow.  (So like everyone else you can get up to 28% off at my TpT store).

Social Studies - Five Regions of the US

Today in Social Studies we began our discussion of the Midwest.  We have already discussed the West and the Southwest.  Next week, we are going to start a project where they have to imagine if they were going through the Midwest, Southwest, and West on a roadtrip, where would they go?  For our text for learning about the regions we are using Jill Russ' Five Regions of the USA Complete Unit from TpT.  It really is fabulous. 

Each region comes with a booklet with five sections that total about 6-8 pages.  It covers things like land and water, landforms, climate, natural resources, and culture. It comes with questions, a test, and a little scrapbook. I really want to work on writing, so this week instead of using the questions they are writing a 1 paragraph summary of each section using a graphic organizer. In the past, we would try to read the whole 6-8 pages in a couple days.  They were really struggling with answering the questions and pulling information out of the text.  This week because there are five sections, they are reading 1 section each day.  This seemed a lot more manageable to them.  By the end of the week, they will have five paragraphs on the Midwest.  They will then put the info in the little scrapbook.  We will probably take the test on Friday.

Along with these packets on the regions, we are learning about the Native Americans of each region while we discuss that region. 

Reading - Analyzing Characters

In Language Arts today, we talked about analyzing characters and adverbs.  I decided at the last minute to make a little bookmark for them to write down their thoughts on the characters in their book while reading.  Before Thanksgiving break, we talked about letter writing a lot, so we are going to start a weekly reading response letter where they write to me about what they are reading.  Each week, I want them to focus on different skills in their reading response.  They can use their thoughts from their bookmarks to help gather ideas for their letter.  I was going to type a bookmark and copy it, but then decided to just cut out cardstock and show them what I wanted them to write.  Sometimes all the copies get old.

To model it, I grabbed a book from my shelf and started it today and wrote down things about the character Sprig from the first three chapters. Each bookmark is about 1/4th of a sheet of paper so they would have room to write. I had them put their name and date, the title of the book (underlined), a reading focus skill, and then words and phrases about the characters. We brainstormed all the things they could look for while analyzing characters.  At the end of reading time, we shared about what we read and they used their bookmarks to help them. I want to build more sharing time into our reading workshop.  We do pretty well with sharing our writing (although I do love the idea of a more formal author's chair).

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2599E2E7-2AAC-4937-A459-80DBCDA9109B-1133-0000019ADBEC53C8, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I am trying to move toward a Daily 5 where they have more choice over the order they complete the elements of Balanced Literacy. Because I am using a lot of technology that needs modeling, I just have not quite gotten there yet. I am playing with the idea of trying to create the mini-lessons (or at least some) for Daily 5 on the computer to create a "flipped learning" aspect to the mini-lessons and then focus more on opening and closing the workshop with sharing and setting goals. I really want to start doing more small-group lessons and individual conferencing and less whole-group lessons. I will probably use the "Listen to Reading" portion of Daily 5 for read aloud or shared reading. Have you tried incoporating technology into your Daily 5?  How does it work for you?

1 comment:

  1. I love Jill Russ" Region packet...found t last year. We are incorporating Tall Tales with the regions this year!


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