This week, we really hit close reading HARD! :) I displayed sample codes from my Close Reading Pack on the SMARTboard to introduce specific symbols as a whole group before we broke into groups for centers. During group work, I also provided a laminated copy of the symbols for a jumping-off point, but I told my students that they were free to create their own as well. I don't want symbols to get in the way of metacognition because it's all about the end result, not really how they labeled it. :)
While I worked with my Close Reading groups in my third grade block, our gifted specialist worked on critical thinking skills with another group. A third group essentially wrote a cover letter to a local business (using an iPad) explaining why they would make a great employee, and a fourth group created three toy trading cards each...to explore the concept of "value", "worth", and the concept of bartering. They were able to use the Toys R Us website to help them make reasonable prices for their toys. If they finished that center early, and finished trading cards with other students, they wrote a journal entry contemplating what their lives would be like if they were the "richest person in the world". I wish I could have snapped more representative pictures of those activities, but I could only sneak away briefly while my group read quietly. I hope this gives you somewhat of an idea of how the groups rotated through though. Each group made it to each center... and we allotted about 25 minutes per center. We will be doing this every Day 6 out of every 8-day cycle. :) So far, so good.
My classroom kind of looks like a hot mess in that picture because, well, it kind of was. It has been really humid, and since we don't have air conditioning at school, things have a way of falling off of the walls and looking a little disheveled and unkempt. I'm not a fan, but I can only do so much. I am not a miracle worker. :) Here's a fun fact though... sticky tack can MELT. Isn't this lovely?!
By the way, the posters are from Stephanie from 3rd Grade Thoughts. I used them as a display, and I use the posters and resources from my Depth and Complexity Starter Kit in small groups.
In other news, we also recently went on a field trip to see an Andy Warhol exhibit. Of course, I couldn't snap any photos of the actual exhibit, but it was really neat to see. The kids had been learning about pop art and Warhol (in general) in art. We did a little tie-in to review vocabulary words. The students wrote the words and definitions on the back of each square in their own words, and then they created a repetitive image to represent the topic on the front... and played with color.
We also spent some time working on visualizing a little bit more. My students really enjoyed creating this simple little craftivity with Jack Prelusky's poem "My Neighbor's Dog is Purple". I love the way they turned out. This cute little activity is from Teacher's Clubhouse! So cute!
We also kept right on journaling with more Just Glue It prompts. This is an example of one of the prompts from the third grade group. :) The kids LOVE responding to these prompts, and they get repeated practice with multi-step prompts as we work our way through them. I am so glad I took the time to create these at the start of the school year. I am already seeing a HUGE difference in their extended responses as a whole. This past week, the third grade focused on Realism/Fantasy, and the fourth grade focused on Author's Purpose. We intertwined both skills in both groups as much as possible for exposure's sake!
Both groups created comics to correspond with their main selections and review summarizing in a fun format. Here's a fourth grade example from "Lewis and Clark and Me". The template is from my We Are Authors Pack. :)
This group was OBSESSED with Lewis and Clark. They were completely fascinated by them, so we spent a lot of time looking at videos, primary sources, secondary sources, and multiple texts from multiple points of view to deepen their understanding and overlap a few extra skills. The next several pictures are all from Rachel Lamb's Determining Importance Pack.
My third grade group started working on their lemonade stand business plans this week as part of my Lemonade Economics unit. I can't wait to see their finished products!
In totally unrelated news, I got a new color and cut this weekend. I have flitted back and forth between various shades of red and strawberry blonde for years now. Sometimes it was just because of exposure to sunlight, and other times, I heavily highlighted or colored my hair. I even went platinum last fall... which was not the brightest idea in the world, especially considering that my hair has continued to get darker over the past few years. The red roots were not really that flattering! Ha! I finally got SICK of dealing with regrowth and roots, and tiptoeing around it. I needed to get rid of the last of my damage from going platinum, so I just figured, "Why not get it over with?!" So, I asked my stylist to match my roots and whack my hair off. It will grow back... and now I won't have unsightly regrowth to deal with. The color is a little bright right now, but it will fade a little after a few more washes. I'm definitely a happy camper though. My days of being a strawberry blonde are officially over. Hello auburn hair. I'm accepting that my natural hair color has darkened over time, and I am going to embrace it. :) Sometimes we just have to be ourselves, right?! Happy weekend!