How do we avoid such catastrophes in the classroom without spending hours creating fun games and engaging tasks from scratch?!
If you're a part of the BCPS teaching community, you have plenty... emphasis on PLENTY of resources available to you! If you are not part of that community, there are TONS of free resources out there already created for you. I've done the searching, so here's the opportunity to share!
First and foremost let's talk about the start of your Language Arts lessons. Phonics and grammar instruction are necessary in all elementary grades. Students benefit from a whole group lesson that is on grade level and then receiving customized instruction during small group learning and independent work.
The tools I use for Word Work and Grammar Instruction:
- Whiteboards and dry erase makers
- Letter tiles/cards
- A projector and screen
- A Flipchart or PowerPoint with premade slides to keep me on track and flowing through the learning. Here's an example of a lesson using ActivInspire
For more on my Word Work (Phonics) and Grammar lessons, look for a future post on this topic!
Language Arts whole group instruction can include a lesson on a reading or writing strategy or skill. I fully believe in modeling what I expect to my students. When you model, they mimic and hopefully repeat when they are working independently. To ensure this happens, make sure you repeat every opportunity you have in front of your students! Good habits are definitely learned when practiced!!
Before planning a whole group lesson, I make sure we will be working towards mastery of a fourth grade standard. For example, this past week we were working on comparing and contrasting two specific topics (natural disasters) which will eventually lead to CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.6
Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided. By creating a plan and taking it slow, my students will prove to be more successful mastering this standard by the end of the school year.
Then comes my favorite component of ELA instruction--Workshop Rotations!!
Taking aspects of The Daily 5, Guided Reading, and other resources I've stumbled across, this process works best for my kids this year. It changes each year! Always teach to the students you have.
WORD WORK- using what we've done in whole group phonics and grammar, students complete different tasks that enhance or reteach the learning.
- We are fortunate enough to have Wonders from MacGraw Hill and their digital resources. Students play word work games and submit assignments on their "To Do" list.
- We work on root words in fourth grade and students find words with that root. Here are the resources for ROOT OF THE WEEK
- Idiom Pictionary
- Learning to type is essential and our students are already using devices and laptops at home and in school without learning how to type using their home keys! Our county purchased the license to EDUTyping, but a free website for students to use is typing.com
- Workshop Games Galore with
- Keep and eye out for other activities in future posts!
- Free books to read through Epic!
- Free read alouds by famous people on Storyline Online
- Get books donated to your classroom library through Donor's Choose
- Look out for Scholastic Warehouse sales that happen once a year!
WORK ON WRITING- students need to have writing fluency as much as they need to have reading fluency! Build it up by having your students write each and every day. Make writing fun and engaging by providing options, a variety of writing tools and resources, and ways for students to publish their writing pieces!
- Engage your writers!
- Some of my engaging Writing Prompts for students
- Use photographs to grab their attention and spark their writing interest
- Learn about something interesting using expository/nonfiction texts and write a fictional story or poem based on that new learning
- Use journal prompts that relate to their current learning in social studies, science, health, math, or what they are reading about in ELA
- Introduce a variety of writing formats- poetry, stories, songs, lists, news articles, blogs, emails, letters, research reports, presentations, speeches, essays, informative videos, infographics, scripts, etc.!
- Get them thinking about their writing
- Publishing Options
- How to Teach Small Group Resources
- Jan Richardson on Guided Reading with free resources for your classroom
- The Daily 5 method of meeting with flexible small groups
- Resources to be Effective
MORE WORKSHOP ACTIVITIES- I don't always stick to the four rotations listed on the board from this particular day. Sometimes the rotation will change to something relevant to what we are working on during ELA, social studies, or science instruction. I mean... why not? They're readnig and writing in science and social studies to learn about the content! In addition, workshop rotations can include games I introduce during whole group learning.
- Florida Center for Reading Research (if you didn't know about it yet, you're going to love it!)
- Describe It!
- An activity that includes social studies or science activities relevant to what we are learning.
- At the Describe It! Center
- magnifine glasses
- measuring tape
- scales/balances with weights
- goggles (more for the cool effect)
- Describe It! recording sheets
- Students use their five senses to describe the object displayed
- Microscope slides
- Fossils and impressions
- Native American artifacts
- Maps and other social studies tools