I'm popping in today to share some of our new books that we recently received. I am a big fan of Scholastic and have sent book orders home regularly for years now.

Just in this book order alone, we earned 20 FREE books! Of course, I build up the excitement. Just seeing the BOOK BOX is excitement alone! We look at every book together, label it with a genre sticker, and read the summary. I usually have students scouring the library to see if they've been added yet. Sometimes I'll do a book raffle if there is a lot of interest in one title.

I hope to be back to blogging more regularly soon! This time of year seems to be so busy and I am just enjoying pre-Christmas fun with my little family! Happy Sunday!

Sunday Smorgasboard

Happy Sunday! Today's post is an assortment of random things I thought I'd share. I hope to be sharing more regularly soon. Sometimes life just gets busy and other things are more important. :)

My students love the graphic novels that I've added to our classroom library. All of the graphic novels were free with bonus points from our September book order! I loved The Babysitter's Club growing up. The graphic novel has been a hit so far. I've tried really hard to love the Amulet series. I'm not quite there yet, but my students LOVE it!

We really celebrated Pop Open a Good Book day and that was a lot of fun. Pajamas, popcorn, read aloud's, extra reading time, what's not to love? I shared my favorite book as a young child, Wake Up, Sun. Clearly, it's been well loved.
In Social Studies, we are about halfway through our Roaring Twenties unit. I love teaching history and have enjoyed all of our units so far. 
We just wrapped up our unit on figurative language. I always enjoy teaching it. I used these two read aloud's when teachings similes and metaphors. 

I had to leave early on Veteran's Day with my son not feeling well, but my substitute read one of my favorite books, America's White Table. LOVE that book.

On a personal note, I've enjoyed a less stressful school year and the beautiful scenery around me lately.

Book Review: Christmas in America

I was recently contacted to do a book review of the picture book Christmas in America by Callista Gingrich, illustrated by Susan Arciero.

I really liked Christmas in America. In the story, Ellis the elephant travels back in time page by page and learns about Christmas in America at various stages of American history. It touches on:
  • settler in Jamestown
  • the colonists in Williamsburg, Virginia
  • American Revolution - crossing the Delaware River
  • George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon
  • Lewis and Clark expedition
  • Andrew Jackson at the White House
  • Civil War soldiers on the battlefield
  • pioneers traveling along the frontier
  • Teddy Roosevelt and his wide, Edith, at the White House
  • World War I troops overseas
  • Calvin Coolidge as he lights the first national Christmas tree
  • 1920's, Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Apollo 8 astronauts as they orbit the moon

Being a Literacy and Social Studies teacher, I LOVE the integration this book provides. When I taught 4th grade in South Carolina, I taught everything from early colonists to Civil War. Now that I am teaching 5th grade, I teach the latter events. This book will be GREAT to use in the classroom this Christmas. It'll be great to review previously learned topics and a good sneak peek for future units.

I also love that this book talks about God in a few places throughout the text. On the page about the pioneers it states, "They spoke of an infant, so tender and mild, born in a manger, the holy Christ child." I love being able to share my faith with my students and I love that the author chose to put that in the book.

Here are some photos of several of the pages throughout the book.

 I would definitely recommend Christmas in America.


Popping in today to join in on Farley's Currently series!
I'll be back soon for a book review and to share what we've been up to in 5th grade!

Vocabulary Fun

Good morning, friends! This Saturday morning is one of those that I, crisp air, laundry is going, candles are lit, the lamps are on, ahhhh!

I wanted to pop in today and share a vocabulary game I use in my classroom to review our words. It's an easy game to use and the kids love it. I draw student names (from old fashioned popsicle sticks!) and if they want, they come up to the front of the room. I place the vocabulary crown on their head and then attach a vocabulary word to the crown. They are not able to see what word I put on the crown.

On the board, I have a list of all vocabulary words. We have 10 in each unit. They call on their classmates to give them the definition, hints, and examples of the word.  

Those students who don't want to come up and be "crowned" can still participate by giving out definitions, examples, etc.

What fun games do you use to review vocabulary?

Week in review

We had a wonderful week of school last week. I just LOVE my new school!

If you didn't see my post about generating student excitement, click HERE to go to that post. Students came back to this CAUTION sign! 
Last week was our first Scholastic book order and I was SO excited at the amount of books my students ordered. We still have two more boxes coming! WOW!

Last week we focused on making connections and the types of connections readers make.
I recently introduced our reading graffiti wall to students and I love to see quotes begin to appear on it! LOVE this!

In Social Studies we learned all about immigration and used our USA Studies Weekly newspapers as an additional resource. I love teaching history!
I'll be back in a few days to share some amazing books I've read lately!

CAUTION: New books!

A few weeks ago we had Fall Break and I was able to label and organize 20+ books for my classroom. I also purchased about 10 new (to us) books for my classroom.

I knew that I wanted to generate excitement with my students so I created this CAUTION sign!

I purchased black fabric from Hobby Lobby and caution tape at Target in the dollar spot (with the Halloween goodies). When students came back to school after Fall Break, they found our library like this: 

Y'all, they were SO excited! We previewed the new books before adding them to the library and they were SO pumped!

You could also do this when a Scholastic book order comes in, which would be another fun way to generate excitement! 

October Currently

Happy October! September seemed to fly by, didn't it? So far all we have experienced in October is rain. It has rained for days and days on end. 
Most of mine are self explanatory so I won't get in detail about each one. :)
Happy October, friends!

Book Talks

I have something to share today that is so easy to implement into any classroom. It is something that has made a HUGE difference in my fifth grade classroom!

I cannot express the impact book talks have had on my students. They are SO easy to implement into any classroom and only take a few minutes. Before we dig deeper, let's look at WHAT book talks are.

Who? Both my students and I participate in book talks. At the beginning of the year, I did most of the book talks. I placed a sign up sheet in the room and allow students to sign up voluntarily.

What? Book talks!

When? I know we are ALL pushed for time. One of the best things about book talks is that you get the BANG for your buck! It doesn't take much instruction time AND your readers will reap the benefits. I allot about 5 minutes at the beginning of every class for a book talk. Sometimes it takes more and sometimes it takes less.

Where? I teach Literacy and Social Studies. I implement book talks in my Literacy block. Even if you don't teach Reading, you can easily share books within the subject you teach! Just last week I shared a graphic novel about Henry Ford. Remember, EVERYONE teaches Reading!

Why? I have seen so many benefits in incorporating book talks this year!
  1. After I do a book talk or a student does a book talk, that book is typically flying off the shelf. They are SO eager to read it!
  2. Students are exposed to TONS of great books. Imagine if you are in school for 180 days (give or take) and someone shares at least one book per day. That is 180 books that students will be exposed to during one school year.
  3. Students are practicing speaking and listening standards.
  4. Students begin to truly see themselves and others as readers. Readers that talk about books. Readers that share books.
  5. Need I go on? :)

How? I allow my students to fill in a book talk form if they'd like or they can practice what they'll say at home. I let them know which day I've assigned them to once they have signed up. Most of the time, the book we have shared is a HOT item that everyone wants. I do a book raffle if I have a lot of interest in the book. I have popsicle sticks in a bucket and will simply pull a stick. Students have two weeks to return that book so that other readers can enjoy it.

Here are a few books that I plan on doing book talks for in the next couple of weeks. I've read them all and they are GREAT!

Week in Review

Last week seemed like a short week for two reasons:
  1. My son and I had pink eye and we were out of school one day.
  2. We took our 5th graders to our first field trip on Friday.

The other three days we spent focusing on how to PLAN for reading and how to make TIME for reading. I sent out our first Scholastic book order and they were so excited to pick out new books to possibly order.

This week is Fall Break so we brainstormed ideas on how to make time for reading during break AND our everyday lives. 

These are the thoughts of the two fifth grad classes I teach.

We also celebrated International Dot Day. We read the book, watched the book on video, and made our own dots using coffee filters and markers. After they made their dots, I sprayed it with water in a spray bottle. They turned out so pretty when they dried.

I snapped this picture last week during our chapel. Seeing and hearing our students praise God NEVER gets old!

Assembly line - candy cars

In Social Studies we have been learning about the assembly line and how Henry Ford manufactured the Model T using the assembly line. Our Social Studies textbook (Heritage Studies) had a wonderful assembly line activity.

I gathered all of the materials into baskets for each group.

I purchased plastic tablecloths to cover my desks, which made clean up super easy!

The assembly line steps are outlined below. You can change this into less steps to accommodate the number of students in your group. I had two classes and both have 16 students. I had two groups of eight students.  Some of the jobs below could be combined.
*I would recommend trying glue adhesive dots instead of liquid glue. It was a bit of a mess so we used tape and it worked out okay. I think glue dots may work better, though.

Before we began we reviewed what an assembly line is and how everyone will have one job that they would repeat multiple times.

 I heard some of the funniest and best comments after this lesson. One student said, "Henry Ford would have totally fired us.". Another said as he was leaving, "This was so much fun!". LOVE! Each student went home with this baggie with their candy car.
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