Monday, October 5, 2015

Landforms Building, Narrative Writing, Map Making Project

Learning About Landforms: Our landform building, narrative writing, map making project

One of my favorite units to teach is our landforms unit.
It's always a highlight for me and  
a whole lot of fun for my class! 

Landforms reference charts

My class gets excited when I change out our reference wall. 
They know something new is headed their way!

Learning About Landforms~ Taking a quick, easy (and paperless!) assessment

We read lots of informational books on landforms.
These are a few of the ones I've collected and use each year.

Introducing Landforms by Bobbie Kalman

Looking At Landforms by Ellen K Mitten

What Is A Landform by Rebecca Rissman

Earth's Landforms and Bodies of Water by Natalie Hyde

I was pretty excited when I found this paperback 
set this year!

Landforms books paperback set by Cassie Mayer

We identified and defined many different landforms
then categorized them as land or water features. 

Learning About Landforms~ Taking a quick, easy (and paperless!) assessment

We used Crayola Air Dry Clay to make imaginary
islands with at least three landforms and a story to tell.
(More on that in a minute.)

Building landforms with Crayola Air Dry Clay (salt dough works great too!)

Our dry erase markers made great rolling pins!
I gave each student a chunk of clay about the size of 
a lemon and a good, sturdy Chinet paper plate. 
I've used styrofoam plates in the past  
but these work the best.  Plus, the kids can paint
around the edges of the plate to create an ocean
without the paint flaking off once it dries.

Building landforms with Crayola Air Dry Clay (salt dough works great too!)

Guess what? Almost every single island had a cave or an 
ACTIVE volcano!  Oh, the allure of hot lava to a seven year old!

Building landforms~ A hands-on writing project.

Next, we painted our landform islands and decided in what
ocean and near which continent they would be  located. 

Landform Islands~ A hands-on writing project.

We recently learned all about maps and put those map skills
to work by drawing maps of our islands complete with a 
compass rose and map key.

Map skills and landforms

 I pulled up one of my favorite PowerPoints from 
Teacher's Clubhouse as a reference.

Landforms and map making

This is a map in progress of "Rainbow City"!

Writing About Landforms

Students used this prewriting page to brainstorm and decide on 
the location, landforms, weather, jobs, and 
special features of their islands.

Planning page for our landforms writing project

They then wrote postcards home to Mon and Dad from their
imaginary islands.

Writing postcards home from our Landform Islands.
We glued all of our writing and map inside a construction paper
folder with the postcard on the front.

Landforms writing project with landform building, map making, and writing fictional narratives

Writing About Landforms

In our literacy centers we read and wrote about landforms, 
played landforms partner games, and worked further 
with vocabulary.

Landform literacy centers

Geography Jabber was a big hit!  Students worked in pairs to spin
a landform, determine if it was a land or water feature, then
tell their partner everything they know about the landform.

Geography Jabber landforms literacy center.  Students spin a landform, determine if it is a water or land feature, then tell their partner all they know about the landform.

Landforms reference charts

We used our landforms reference charts as a reference while
making vocabulary booklets.

Landforms vocabulary booklets

On the last day of our unit I assessed everybody with this 
landforms assessment. My class loved all the pictures and 
begged to color them! 

Landforms assessment

We finished our projects just in time for conference week.  
Every single parent told me how excited their child was for
them to see their islands and read their writing.
 I love when that happens!

Landforms writing project bulletin board

If you'd like to do this landforms project with your class you can! 
Click this link or any of the pictures to take you right to it
in my TPT shop.  I just updated the file and added these 
bulletin board display pieces too!

Landforms writing project bulletin board
Happy landform building friends!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links to books I use in my classroom. 
There is no added cost to you for using these links.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

We're Ready to Roll! A Week 4 Rewind!

The beginning of the year is so busy I've barely been able 
to catch my breath!  Here's a little bit of randomness
and a few things we accomplished this week!
Like you I'm sure, I've been wrapping up all of the beginning 
of the year assessments and pushing to get to our "normal" routine.  

Guided reading area set up
Finally!  We're ready to roll!
Assessment folders done.  Reading table cleared. 
Groups up and running.

Thank goodness for small victories!

These Frixion pens are the best for taking running records.
They're super fine lined so I can write between the text.
They also come in erasable, fine-line markers. *swoon*

Frixion pens are the best for taking running records!

I made these little funnies for my teammates because 
after all,a girl's gotta have a good pen when she's 
check-marking like a maniac! 

Hey Girl Teacher Humor

You can grab these Hey Girl gift tags {HERE}
Speaking of pens, how stinkin' cute is this paintbrush pen
 from my friend Jenny at Art with Jenny K

Fun paintbrush pen for art teachers

In an effort to work smarter, not harder, I'm planning to make some
generic reading charts that I can flip through and reuse as needed.

Guided reading area comprehension charts
Gabby's Classroom!  I'm planning to put the story structure 
ones on rings to display as I teach them.

Last week we made these adorable goal setting guys and gals!
Be still my teacher heart, her goal is to write a good,
detailed fiction story!

Back to school goal setting craft
 Click on any of the pics to find the templates I used.

Back to school goal setting craft

This one looks exactly like 
my little friend who made it!

Back to school goal setting craft

My class loves that everybody's holding hands!

Back to school goal setting craft and bulletin board

Back to school goal setting craft
We've been learning about landforms this week and used our 
white boards to play a game called "Define the Landform"

Defining landforms

We also started a landforms project where students 
create an imaginary island with a story to tell.  

Landforms Project: Building our  islands

These islands, with all of their special features and landforms 
culminate in a creative writing project that I'll post more
about when we finish.  You can see last year's post 
on our landforms project as well as 
see the landforms resource I used. 

Landforms Project: Painting our  islands

In other news.....
I got my emergency sub plans turned in!
Like I said before, thank goodness for small victories!

Last week in math we wrapped up working with measurement 
and two-step word problems.  This year we're using the
Eureka Math program and it's been a pretty big
transition for us!

Two step word problems: Comparing length with tape diagrams
I always have students write their solution in written form. 
It requires them to locate and focus on the question as well as to 
write a complete sentence using the question to form their answer.

Two step word problems: Comparing length with tape diagrams
I was hoping to get another year out of these yucky 
whiteboards but I don't know if I can make it!

We began this week working with place value and 
bundled straws to create larger units.

Place value bundling activity

That was our week, how was yours?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Louder, Lili (A Little Gem of a Back to School Book!)

With my classroom almost in full swing now 
(only a few more assessments to go!)
I'm always on the lookout for out for those not your
ordinary beginning of the year books. Last year I found this
sweet gem of a book that's so perfect for building community
those first few weeks.  Louder, Lili is a wonderful story
about an quiet little girl who struggles to be heard.
She is too shy to raise her hand, find a partner, or ask to 
take care of the class guinea pig, a job she really wants.
Cassidy, a bossy classmate, exploits Lili's inability to speak up
by volunteering to partner with Lili then manipulating her
into doing all the work while Cassidy takes the credit.
When Cassidy begins to mistreat the class pet Lili 
musters the courage to finally speak up. 

This book lends itself so well to teaching about character traits 
and the inner journey a character experiences in a story.

One of the skills we focus on at the start of the 
year is retelling the beginning, middle, and end of a story.

We made this guinea pig craft and students retold the 
important details from each part of the story.

Lili's journey to find her voice puts her through some significant
changes which led to a great discussion on how she responds
to the events and challenges she faces at school.

I purchased 6 copies of the book this summer and had groups
work together to complete a "flubble map" as my class 
calls them to describe Lili, as well as provide evidence from
 the story, at the beginning, middle, and end.

The groups then shared their ideas while I added them 
to our map on the SMARTBoard.

We then used our maps to guide us in making these flap books that
we later added to a culminating foldable story booklet.

We worked with character traits, vocabulary, and writing 
a summary in mini-books to add to our story booklets.

We also did some how-to writing during our writing 
block explaining how to be a good friend.

We published our writing in trifold brochures and 
added it to our booklets. 

During our literacy block we worked with story vocabulary 
and made these mini-books for our story booklets.

My kids loved these fluency sticks! Partners took turns 
reading passages from the book in what they imagined 
the different character's voices to be like.  

This book lends itself so well to this standard as the 
author gives quite a vivid mental picture of each character 
and their loud, soft, or bossy voices in this story! 
And what's more fun than reading in a bossy voice?

We practiced writing words in alphabetical order..

And even had a hamster hop! My kiddos got to roam 
the room to find all the cards, then record 
the part of speech of the underlined words.

Here's a little peek at our classroom display once we were
all finished!

I hung some of our prewriting along with our finished booklets to 
show our learning process and because my kiddos were so proud
of their writing!

Click here to find these and more Louder, Lili activities 
along with easy to prep chart parts, templates for interactive 
notebooks, and additional literacy centers in my 

Louder, Lili  Book Companion~ A little gem of a back to school book!

See all of my book companions and literature studies here.
For more literacy ideas visit my Reading board on Pinterest!

Happy teaching friends! Remember to be kind
to yourselves and know it will all get done

This post includes affiliate links for books and
 items I use in my classroom. These links do not add additional cost to you.