Friday, January 20, 2012

Arctic Snow Business UPDATE etc.

Okay, first of all, I made updates to my Arctic Snow Business: An Avalanche of Nonfiction Fun pack!  I had a few special requests, so I have added an extra 12 pages to the file as a result.  :)  The packet now covers three more nonfiction features: the title, headings, and subheadings.  I have also added cover sheets for the student work pages to enable you to bind them into books if you choose to!  If you have already purchased the file, you just need to go into your downloads to access the updated file at no additional cost!  I hope you like the additions!

 We are just getting started with "A Symphony of Whales" in our Reading Street series, so we did a little previewing action today.  I like to use tree maps with my third graders as another alternative to the KWL or my schema charts once in a while to mix it up while activating prior knowledge.  Novelty is always a good thing.  I know you see them a lot on kindergarten and first grade blogs, but this is how I use them with older students, and I think it works just swell! :)  Please excuse my chicken scratch.  I frequently pump out quick anchor charts, and they rarely look like anything to write home about.

To preview our vocabulary, this time the kiddos went on a gallery walk.  I wrote the words on blue papers and hung them around the room.  The kids had ten minutes to walk around and contribute to each poster.  They either wrote the meaning in their own words, sketched it out, or listed examples of the word.  I had the kiddos read what other students wrote to prompt deeper thinking and more connections, and it was a hit! They were so into it, that there was an audible groan when time was up.  We took some time to go over their posters afterward, and we clarified any misconceptions about terms by adding the definitions they need to study for the RS test to our posters.  We acted out a few definitions like surrounded and melody, and of course, that always helps cement the meaning too!

In other news, it looks like the Arctic outside of my window.  We're getting hit with lots of snow tonight, so I am totally staying in.  All night.  :)  Yay!!!!


  1. I loved your vocabulary activity! We often do vocabulary tea parties and I love them, but this is a great way to change it up! My anchor charts are usually thrown together in a hurry too, but they work. :) I'm in SW Ohio and we have NO snow! I'm beginning to think we'll have NO snow days and that would be so sad!
    Stories From Second

  2. I haven't tried a gallery walk since I moved to first grade but you just inspired me to give it a try. Thanks for the reminder!
    Finally in First

  3. Hi Amanda!

    I love the vocabulary idea! Barbara at Corner on Character posted a great whale video. You might want to check it out to see if it might fit in with your lessons. Thanks for all you share with us!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  4. I love this vocabulary activity!! Thanks for sharing your idea.

  5. gallery walk with vocab-great idea~

  6. That is an awesome vocabulary activity, and your anchor chart is great! I must be close to you since your weather report includes my area. We got about 4 inches last night,but it won't last long; in the 40s the next 2 days and rain!

  7. I love the gallery walk idea. I remember learning about it in a PD course years ago and kinda forgot. Thanks for the reminder. Can I ask what the job market is like in your area? I grew up in Columbus, but have lived in Idaho for over 10 years and I'd love to move back to Ohio. I'd appreciate any advice. TIA!

    Ed Link - First Grade

  8. We got some snow on Long Island, too! I love your chart. I just started using tree charts after seeing them on blogs. I was always a KWL girl. Love mixing it up.

  9. I read your blog this morning. I tried the gallery walk during my reading lesson today. My students LOVED it!! Thanks for sharing a wonderful idea.
    Please check out my blog:
    Thanks again,