Monday, September 24, 2012

Native American Dioramas

My class created diorama projects last week. I wanted to share with you how awesome that they turned out! We have been learning about the native people of America.

I split the class into five groups. Each group then drew a geographical region out of a hat to create a diorama on. The five groups that I used were: Northeastern Woodlands, Southeastern Woodlands, Pacific Northwest, and Western Great Plains.

The students were responsible for creating a diorama that depicted the type of house they would have lived in, as well as the surrounding land and culture that would have been seen in that region.

As well as the diorama, they created a folder with a map showing where their area was located and a couple of paragraphs telling some more facts and details about the specific tribes that lived there as well.

Here is the rubric that I used to grade their projects with:

I made the rubric using the rubric website, It is a great website for making individualized rubrics for a variety of activities!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Daily 5 and Cafe and Storytown

Well the school year is well under way! I am now 4 weeks in! I have to say that my class is the best I have ever had! They are very sweet and hard workers. It doesn't hurt any that I only have 20 kiddos (last year I had 28!)

Anyway, we have been practicing our Daily 5 procedures and they love it! We have covered Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone and Work on Writing. We are adding Listen to Reading next week! I have been trying and retrying a few different schedule approaches. I thought that I would share my current plan for all of the upper elementary teachers out there trying to figure this out like me!

I have decided to use my basal reader a little bit this year. I have not used it much in the past and decided to give it a try this year. One of my teammates has been using hers and has so many great ideas to go with it! I am excited to use her great activities in my room as well. Our school has the Harcourt "Storytown" series. So, I have been trying to figure out how to use Daily 5, Cafe, Storytown, and all of the cutesy lessons that I find online.

My Cafe board and meeting area!

Here is my plan as of today:

(I have an hour and 50 minutes for reading time.)

15 minutes: Teacher Read-Aloud (usually a historical fiction novel to go with our current Social Studies curriculum.)

10 minutes: Mini Lesson on our focus reading skill of the week (example: conflict/resolution)

20 minutes: Read to Self (I make my class all do Read to Self at the same time so that the room is silent.)

10 minutes: Mini Lesson on one of our Cafe strategies (example: choosing "good fit" books)

20 minutes: Choice of Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, or Word Work

10 Minutes: Mini Lesson on our Writing Skill of the week (example: subject/predicate)

20 minutes: Work on Writing (I make my class all do Work on Writing at the same time, once again, so it is quiet.)

5 minutes: Share time (my class this year LOVES to share their writing.)

Just a few other details- my class is sooo good at Read to Self! I even had a teacher that stopped me today and said that he saw through my window that my class was reading silently, and they were actually reading! He said, "They were actually reading and seemed to be enjoying it! What's the secret?" He wanted to know how he could do it too! They slowly built up their stamina and it has paid off greatly!

As far as incorporating my Storytown series:We will review vocabulary during the second mini-lesson on Mondays and then I will read aloud the story to them. I plan on reading the story of the week on during the choice time. They can then use the same story during Read to Someone on one of the other days of the week. I also will use the Storytown assessment on Friday during Read to Self, so that when they are done with the test they can go straight into reading their own book. I think that this layout will allow me some structure on my skill of the week as well as give some solid assessment data to base their Cafe goals off of. 

Does anyone else use all 3? I would love to hear how others use them.

Hope you have a great weekend!