Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Catching Up & Catching My Breath

I'm back from my little hiatus, and we are LOVING our new home!!!!  My life has been absolute CRAZY TOWN, and I really haven't taken enough pictures lately.  Honestly, snapping photos has been the absolute last thing on my mind.  I did manage to capture a few snippets of our classroom activities though.

We have been studying story elements, particularly characters/setting.  Since I am departmentalized, I have started to color-code my anchor charts to showcase the ideas and examples from each class.  :)  The kiddos generated examples of characters and settings on the first day of our story to activate prior knowledge.  This is what they came up with:

Here's a close-up of both sections of the chart:

We used this anchor chart as a launching point to look at how characters and settings are intertwined.  I sent the kiddos to read after we generated the chart, and then they displayed examples from their independent reading time on the board using color-coded Post-It notes.

One of our Reading Street worksheets required kids to identify character traits, so I whipped out a few resources from the "archives".  The following goodies are from my character traits bundle.  We didn't do the full blown lesson, but we did look at a few of the character descriptions to practice using adjectives.  The kids did a MUCH better job answering the questions on the sheet, so I can't complain.  It's always nice to have supplemental resources to pull from when they just aren't getting it.

I have a few pictures of an opportunity cost lesson that we did in Social Studies, but I cannot get them to rotate for the life of me, so I will explain the gist of it instead.  Essentially, each kid was told that they needed to create a product that would retail for $150.00.  I asked them to draw the item on a piece of paper and color it to make it pop!  Once they were done, the kiddos laid their "products" on the Guided Reading table, and we started "shopping".  It basically worked the same way as the lesson in my Play-Doh-nomics lesson, sans Play-Doh.  {Let's face it.  As much as I love my students, I couldn't justify buying 48 tubs of Play-Doh... especially after closing on our home.  So, we whipped out the paper and it worked just as well.}   I had the kids get in line, "shop", and then go back to their seats.  They wrote why they chose their item over the others, we discussed their opportunity costs (what they gave up), and it also allowed us to discuss scarcity... or as one child put it "scare city".  When he wrote, "I bought this item because I was in scare city!"  My first reaction was, "Oh no!  I stressed him out!"  Then I realized that he was using precise language to describe his choice, and then I relaxed.  :)  I love the feeling you get when you realize that your kiddos really, truly, completely understand a concept.  I especially love when that content knowledge shows up in another content area!  Be still my heart.  :)


  1. These pictures make me what to teach 3rd grade! These are great charts and I absolutely love the character sheets you made where the kids have to describe the character. That inspires me to try a little something like that on a first grade level. Wonderful!!! :) :)

  2. Good Grief!! Your anchor charts are BEAUTIFUL!!!:)

  3. Your anchor charts are TOOO cute! thanks for the inspiration...that's one thing blogging has accomplished for me...a need to be more creative in my charts & room decorations.

  4. Welcome back! And congrats on your new house!
    I looooovveeee your anchor charts! Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  5. How in the world do you do that? Your anchor charts are fabulous!!!!!!! I need a good lesson in that!

  6. I pinned your awesome charts. Why don't mind ever turn out that cute?!

  7. Thanks ladies! :) I seriously pick at my charts too much sometimes, because I can't draw a straight line to save my life, especially when I'm rushing to make it while I'm in the middle of instruction. My two column charts have a tendency to look a little wavy! :) Thanks for making me feel a little better about them! Ha!

  8. Do you offer anchor chart art lessons?? I'd totally sign up! I'm so doing those charts tomorrow before we start writing a personal narrative. You're amazing!

  9. These are great! I am working on character traits soon and will use some of your ideas to support what I will be teaching. Thanks for the great ideas!