Vocabulary Instruction, Character Traits & Presidents' Day

Back again, and talking about vocabulary instruction! With both Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day looming, I can't think of a better time to expand students' vocabularies with some carefully chosen Tier 2 words.

What are Tier 2 Words? 

Tier 2 just means that the word is high-utility, and is worth taking the time to explicitly teach! These are words that are not in our students' normal-day vocabularies, but are also not so highly specialized, that they would hardly ever need to be used. In other words, they are words that our students will be seeing in their reading, and should be using in their writing!

Some great choices for this time of year might be:

Valentine's Day: compassion, courtesy, crimson, elegant, fragrant, generous, grateful, gracious, lavender, humorous, precious, courtesy

Presidents' Day: ambition, announce, compromise, collaborate, declare, innovative, honorable, creative, decisive, communicative

To read about what we did, with some of these words, in our classroom, head over to my blog. Link below.


Thanks for popping by,
Nicole

President's Day Activities


Hi everyone! Sarah here from Sarah's Snippets. Today I'm here to show you one of my favorite social studies units. Years ago I create this unit for President's Day. I wanted to give my students some real "meat" during social studies. I was guilty of teaching social studies in a very shallow way. I wanted to help my students really understand what the president does. I wanted to up the rigor a bit too and make it cross-curricular. I spent about a week on this unit. Students were "presidents" for a week.


I'm going to share a little "snippet" from this unit. If you want to read more, check out the post on my blog.  The purpose of this unit was to help kids understand the main jobs of the president. 

This is a favorite from the unit. There are two different versions of this: a country version and a classroom version. In both, students are given money and must decide how much to give to each group. Then you can follow up with a writing activity where the students need to articulate why they chose certain groups over others. Opinion writing- Boom!


Next, students discuss what makes a good leader. Students will write about a person who they believe would make a good leader for their "cabinet" or for another leadership position in the country. 


Here, students learn that a president doesn't make the laws in our country. This is always eye-opening for kids because they see the president as the person who can do anything they want. With this activity, they learn that a president has a role to play in creating laws but cannot do it alone. 


This next activity serves two purposes: to show the president as a diplomat and to exercise their problem solving skills. :)



To see everything that students get to do during this unit, visit my blog! :)


Behavior Tips for ANY time of the YEAR

I don't know about you all but sometimes around this time I need a 'pick me up' as far as behavior incentives in the classroom go.  Hi guys,  It's Vicky from Teaching and Much Moore and I'm happy to share some ( tried and true ) ideas for you to use in your classroom this month.


Pick up a chair cover from the Dollar Tree that is seasonal.  Walk around the room and when you see a student engaged, working on task and quiet ~ sneak up and place the chair cover on the back of their chair.  I also pick up a necklace ~ so this month it has hearts on it...next month it has clovers etc.  I place it around their neck as well. ( even the boys dig this in third grade ).  As the day goes on I move it around to other children.  At the end of the day whoever has it gets a trip to my treasure chest.


Here's a picture from the other day ~ I picked up a cute felt envelope from the Target Dollar Spot and cut the bottom of it so it opened from the bottom and it fit on the top of our chairs.






Another idea is to bring in a stuffed animal ~ it's a similar idea.  You can place the stuffed animal on a desk and use the same incentive above - prize of some sort at the end of the day....OR you can place it a set of desks and it can be used as extra table points.  Either way the kids love having it. { my favorite animal is a giraffe but you could bring in anything } If you have an owl theme in your classroom bring in a stuffed owl.  Or if it's March bring in a stuffed leprechaun.




My last behavior idea to use is a also great seasonal one for the classroom.  I just started them in November and it's been a big hit for my students.  I call them Behavior Bites and sell them in my store.  Here's a peek ~~~




Thanks for stopping in and visiting with me!  I hope these ideas are helpful and bring more sanity into your life and joy into your students lives. If you are interested in the behavior bites you can grab them { here }
xoxo,
Vicky









Grammar Instruction in the Primary Grades


Happy first day of February, 2016! 

Today, I am tackling a hot topic... grammar instruction.  Ahh yes, the age old question...to grammar, or not to grammar? What is a teacher supposed to do?

Click on the image below to go to Mrs. Rios Teaches and 1) read about what my 20 years of experience in the classroom has taught me about grammar instruction in the primary grades, and 2) pick up your copy of my most popular freebie (305,000+ downloads and counting!) that you can incorporate into your grammar lessons today!


Thanks for stopping by,

Nicole

Miss DeCarbo's Read Aloud Round-Up: February 2016

Hi everyone! Christina here from Miss DeCarbo's Sugar and Spice! I am SO excited to announce a new monthly series I am sharing with you here on The Elementary Chalkboard: Read Aloud Round-Up!
Do you ever find yourself reading the SAME picture books year after year? Each month, I'm going to feature a few picture books and ideas for read aloud books in your classroom.  Each month's "read aloud round-up" will feature a couple seasonal selections, a notable nonfiction book, and a character education book that I have picked out.  I will try my best to include a one page freebie printable for each of the character books I choose to share with you! To grab the books from Amazon, just use the links underneath each picture. 
Fun, right?! Let's take a look at this month's picks! 

        
I know Arthur's Valentine is not a NEW picture book, but I LOVE reading this book to my class every February - and here's why! The book lends itself to a really FUN writing activity you can use with your students.  In this book, Arthur receives secret admirer letters from a classmate.  In my own classroom, we tie this book in with learning about inferences.  The students all write secret admirer letters to ME without signing their name at the bottom. They have to give me clues about themselves. The following day, we read each letter aloud and we use the clues from each student's text AND what we know about one another to infer who the letters are from. There are always lots of giggles and squeals. It's adorable to see how well the kids know each other as friends both inside and outside the classroom. 


What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamanda is an AMAZING book that just arrived in my mailbox this week. I have some BIG plans for this book that I can't wait to share with you - soon! This is the story of a little boy who gets an idea, but doesn't think it is good enough. As he begins to grow in his confidence, the little boy's idea starts to come to life. What an incredible, necessary life lesson for us to teach our children! Use this book as a discussion starter for your class, stressing the importance that everyone's ideas matter and are important. 


Recess at 20 Below by Cindy Aillaud - I know that not everyone lives in cold, icy Ohio in the winter - but even if you do not live where it is cold, this is a fabulous and very interesting book for children.  My love of this book stems from the fact that children can RELATE to the book so well. All children understand the joys and difficulties of outdoor and indoor recess, so this book is exceptional for the many text to self and text to text connections students can make. The book discusses a classroom who lives in Alaska. The children go outside for recess even when it is 20 degrees below zero! (No thank you!!) This is a fabulous book that we use for reflection, questioning, and interesting inferences and information in our reading journals.  The photographs are beautiful and really launch your students into deeper level thinking. If you don't have this book, go buy it! You won't regret it!



Character education is so important in our classrooms. So often, we tend to push these lessons aside because we are so busy with standards, testing, and the ins and outs of classroom routines. Each month, I will pick out a character education book and try to provide a one page printable that you can use to have your students reflect and discuss the month's book. 

This month, I chose Spoon by Amy Krause. It's an adorable book about a spoon who thinks all of his friends (chopsticks, fork, knife) are all more interesting and better than he is. He learns that he is very special and unique. He also learns to love himself! Spoon is a great book to teach your students how to celebrate themselves and appreciate their individuality. 
To help your students reflect on how special they are, you can grab this free printable to use after you read the book together. :) Just click HERE or click on the picture below to download the page!
I hope you all loved this new blog series on Elementary Chalkboard, and I hope it gave you so me new titles or new ideas and purposes for read aloud books in February! I can't wait to bring you next month's "picture book picks" for March! I'll be back on the last day of every month with a new list for you.  

Have a wonderful week,


Teaching Black History: Don't Do This, Try This!

 Black History Month is coming up and I felt the need to share some ideas that teachers can try out in their rooms, and ideas that should be avoided!

 For the complete list of ideas, resources, and a FREEBIE head over to my Read Like a Rock Star Blog!


Kindergarten RTI: ABC's and Phonemic Awareness

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your three day weekend. After the holiday break, I had a big change in my lesson plans for my kindergarten RTI groups. We're transitioning from focusing on alphabet recognition and phonemic awareness to phonics. So I thought this would be the perfect time to stop and reflect on how we got to this point.To give you an idea of where we started, my students knew fewer than 10 letters (some knew only 1 or 2) and could not rhyme. Some could identify initial consonants but not all.



Here is how I set up my lesson plans. I wanted to set them up to reflect all the steps that I went through to teach and reinforce these skills. I work with students who needed more time learning each letter, so I had to think of many many ways to teach and reinforce. Sound familiar? I learned not to only focus on the alphabet, but also to get started on phonemic awareness skills early on. They do not need to learn every letter before beginning phonemic awareness instruction. Many kids pick it up on their own, but many do not so they need to be explicitly taught. 

Come by my blog to read more, see these lesson plans filled in...


along with examples of how I teach each section of my lesson plans and how the layout of my lesson plans change as the year progresses. 
(Here is a blank version of my lesson plans now.)

Click here to visit my blog to see these lesson plans filled in, along with much much more detail!