Tuesday, October 29, 2013

iPad Apps

For class, I was required to go through several iPad to discover some that might help within our classroom. Our ESOL teacher also just got iPads for the classroom as part of a grant so I can actually apply this knowledge. Woohoo! I am feeling a lot of frustration regarding the lack of apps in Spanish as, for many bilingual teachers, the use of an iPad for intervention with Spanish dominant students in language arts and math would be very helpful. However, I found two apps that seem really great (though they need to be purchased) that I decided to review.
iPhone Screenshot 1
This app, called Deep in the Rainforest , states that in it, "children will learn about the Amazon Rainforest through fun and games by traveling with Amanda. The  journey begins when Amanda meets a native boy, Yapariwa, who is looking for his lost brother Atu. As they walk through the rainforest they will discover interesting facts about animals and learn important values of diversity and respect. Our story includes animated text to encourage children's listening and reading skills." It allows students to jump around and play different games while learning facts about the rainforest so it allows for differentiation as well. This is also available in SPANISH--a huge and rare plus as far as apps are concerned. It connects to the Core Curriculum's Module 2 on the rainforest as well so I hope to make use of it.

Another, by the same company, called Amazon Rainforest teaches specifically about the Amazon and the unique creatures that inhabitat it.

The Barefoot World Atlas App allows children to explore:
  • A beautifully illustrated 3D globe with multimedia features, including zoom and animated icons
  • Music and effects soundscapes for each region of the world
  • 3D rotations of historial objects from the Royal Geographical Society
  • Live country facts from Wolfram | Alpha
  • Audio narration by acclaimed BBC TV presenter Nick Crane
  • Enhanced graphics for the new iPad
  • Available for iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®
  • Switch in seconds between English, Spanish, Catalan, French, German and Japanese

    This app is very individualized as well and allows students to explore the world in an interactive way.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Research Paper

As I reflect upon a research paper I recently did, I end up feeling quite frustrated. I was looking into any research done on integrating Spanish educational technology in the classroom and the research available was slim to none. While I thought this might happen, as I am constantly astounded by how many bilingual and Spanish resources I must make to supplement for my own students, I thought that perhaps more academic (and possibly slightly less helpful) research might be available. I did searches in both Spanish and English and hardly anything came up. I was forced to wax on about articles that only glanced over these resources and really didn't provide teachers with solid ideas and strategies for Spanish language technology for the classroom other than translation tools. Therefore, I began to look to other teacher's bilingual blogs and I was met with more success. In particular, http://spanglishbaby.com/ provided me with a multitude of lists of links for Spanish and bilingual websites, apps, and book lists. Overall, while frustrated, I did end up with more sources for Spanish educational technology than when I started, if not from a necessarily as credible source.
Spanglish Baby : Raising Bilingual Kids

Westward Expansion Board Game Webquest

For our next unit of Social Studies, we'll be studying westward expansion and, in my silly infatuations with webquests, I've created one that leads students to create a board game covering one of four topics: Lewis, Clark and Sacajawea; the Oregon Trail; the Pony Express; and the Transcontinental Railroad. These all correspond to migration which ties into our Core ELA study of Esperanza Rising. Hopefully, students will be getting really comfortable with the format of a webquest so that it's even more student centered and less teacher supported compared to our mock trials. Let me know if you make use of it! I'd love to know how it turned out. Here are links to the planning pages in English and Spanish and then click the button for the webquest pptx file itself. Make sure you're downloading everything to your computer from Google Docs instead of just printing from there (the formatting will be different).

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conquistadors Debate/Mock Trial Webquest

Sooooo, I used to feel as if webquests were an outdated format for students' exploration on the internet. How wrong I was! I created another one to help teach my students about the conquistadors: Hernan Cortes, Francisco Pizarro, and Christopher Columbus. They are going to stage a debate (trial) in front of the class on Friday. I'm hoping it goes well! You'll need to print a packet for the defense and a packet for the prosecution and then down the webquest. Let me know if you decide to use it! I'd love to know how it turned out.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Visual Learner Resources


In order to help out our visual learners with their writing project at the end of Module 1, Unit 2 for CC ELA on engageny, I worked on creating a comparing and contrasting web of the changes that Esperanza experiences during the novel. Also, because we're working on memoirs in our writer's workshop, I'll also share the story mountain we've been using to help the kids map out their seed ideas. We had them write the seed idea at the top of the mountain and then work backwards to see where they might begin their story and then finish up with the solution and conclusion. So far, this has helped a lot as many of our writers end up beginning with waking up in the morning EVERY SINGLE TIME they start a story and, thus far, this has cut this down to only about a quarter of the students starting that way. Thus far, they've been getting a lot better working in some descriptive writing. I'll post the rubric that I adapted to go along with the project some time soon!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Science Labs

This year we've been told we have 40 minutes in our schedule for science every day (this same schedule also builds in no time for transitions, dismissal preparations, or breakfast clean-up). I found an incredible resource for science labs, Inquiry in Action to teach chemistry that includes background readings and lab write-ups and the materials are totally reasonable for a teacher with a limited science budget and/or resource closet. I also created a rubric for lab behaviors since some of our 5th graders thought it was a good idea to eat some of the materials and we had to ban science labs for a couple days ("But, miss! It was salt and sugar!" It was also EPSOM salts, my dear, misguided student).

Map Skills and Mexican Review Game

I created a game to make the review process more fun for the students after having studied the following topics: the Rich and Poor of Mexico, the Mexican-American War, and the Mexican Revolution (these are all in Spanish). We also just finished up our study of geography including the continents and oceans, latitude and longitude, hemispheres, cardinal directions, and where to find the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and explanation of Alaska and Hawaii. This game is meant to be played in guided reading groups and is in English so that students can apply the knowledge they learned in Spanish to something in English to develop a bilingual vocabulary for the material.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Esperanza Rising Webquest

I just finished working on a webquest for Module 1, Unit 3 (http://www.engageny.org/resource/grade-5-ela-module-1-unit-3) that asks students to connect the UDHR's articles to the novel, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. I plan to continue to work on it and tweak it to make sure that it is adapted to student needs. It is bilingual, student-centered and provides for intrapersonal, interpersonal, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Let me know if you find any typos or have any ideas to add on!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Skip Counting to Multiply and Divide

While we teach 5th grade and most students should have already learned their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts, we're lucky if they know their additions facts by heart. Also, with our curriculum, it leaves little time to spend in class memorizing and, while we send home flashcards, there is no guarantee that students will practice their facts. To help with this, we teach skip counting songs for each number. We haven't made videos of them yet (maybe soon!) but if you youtube skip counting by __ with the song title, you'll find some of the videos I used for the source of our songs. Here's a printable so that students can practice on their own once you teach them how to sing them.

When introducing a new one, we usually follow this practicing routine:

Teacher sings and points to visual of numbers while students listen
Teacher sings a part, students repeat back, until song is finished
Teacher and students sing together
Teacher gives a multiplication problem, models how to sing to find the answer
Teacher gives a multiplication problem, students sing to find the answer
Teacher gives a division problem, models how to sing to find the answer
Teacher gives a division problem, students sing to find the answer

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Memoir Pre-Writing

For our first writing piece, students are currently at the pre-writing stage of Memoirs. They've come up with some seed ideas and, after learning about great beginnings and fleshing out some beginnings for a few of their seed ideas in their Spy Notebooks (Writer's Notebooks), we'll complete some interactive notes together on showing, not telling. I'm posting both of the resources we'll be using. Happy writing!

Short vs. Long A Game

This year, we're using two word study approaches during a 20 minute block of our morning: word patterns (Words Their Way) and vocabulary study (Flocabulary) Because we have three teachers, we have three groups of words study based off of the elementary spelling inventory from words their way. We are also using Flocabulary to make sure our ELLs are learning the much needed tier two vocabulary. We switch off each day from Words Their Way and Flocab every two weeks with assessments on the Thursday and Friday during the second week. For my Within Word Pattern Spellers, I created a "Space Race" game to review their long a vs. short a (sort 7) words. I created the file in PowerPoint because it's much easier to align and organize images than Word (as I've just recently learned about). I plan on adding more games as I create more for the students every new sorting cycle--you can buy the file now for a major discount by the end of the year!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Scientific Method Book

For science this year, we plan on doing science lab centers. In order to introduce the scientific method, I created a book for students to read at home to review the steps. It's very simple and it's bilingual, so I realize it won't be useful for everyone but it will give our students a quick review some night this week. I created this on a PC and set it to "book fold" under Page Setup and it needs to be printed front to back on the short edge. Also, make sure you download the file instead of just printing from Google Docs! The formatting needs to be in word for everything to line up correctly.

Room Set-Up for the First Day

I'm hard at work this weekend, planning, reflecting and creating items! Thus far, the school year has gotten off to a good, if stressful and jam-packed, start. Our room was organized(ish) for the first day:

Our "I can..." statements on my homemade whiteboard! At some point, I'll blog
about how I made this but suffice it to say that it cost me, in total, about $25.

The "front" of our room. Our "CAFE" (Reading strategies) and
"VOICES" (writing strategies) were free printables from Ladybug'sTeacher Files.
She is amazing! We use a bunch of her adorable printables in our room for labeling
and organization.

We use these sentence frames to promote high order thinking
(Bloom's Taxonomy). As we teach them, we also encourage
the students to use the questions with each other.

Underneath our sentence frames, we post the vocabulary for
each unit under each subject so that the students can use them
for easy reference. Old words will be written into a dictionary
for each table group to keep on hand. We plan to continue
"Vocabulary Maniacs," a vocab using incentive chart, again,
this year.

More front of the room!

Student mailboxes as students enter. My co-teacher
found the idea for movable name labels (binder clips) on Pinterest
and it linked to this blog.

I'm sure this has been done before but, while
my co-teacher and I were shopping last year, we
found this lime green shoe holder at Five
Below and, though we didn't have a use for
it, it was only $5 so we bought it to go with
our room. We took the kids photos, velcroed
them onto the colored squares and attached
these to cardboard sticks we had. Then, the
kids can move themselves through the
writing process as they go. It's a great way
to formatively assess where students are. It
allows us to group students based on need
so that we can have guided writing groups.
Another cozy reading spot! Big lots had bean bags for $17!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Room Set-Up and Bulletin Board 2013-2014

My co-teacher and I have been working hard on our classroom, as evidenced by my inability to remember to wear deodorant and having to go downstairs and steal some from a colleague (de nada, Work Wife). We had to pack up and move in June to our "swing space" (another school building where we'll be while they update our old building--alguien puede decir aire acondicionado?!?) and just got into our room on August 19th to unpack. Talk about time crunch... I need a solid month to settle in. Which I have never gotten. 

Anyway, here are some pics of our room set-up thus far, though it's still lookin' like a hot mess. 

Would you believe we actually purged a ton of our stuff, already?

Just look at the potential for greatness!

The yellow, black, white, and lime green theme we had last year is back and better than ever. I have yet to take updated pictures but I'll throw it out there now that we have two new black bean bag chairs and zebra print caddies on wheels. Livin' large!

iRead... very cool
Outdated and too much rainbow

Oh, also, I totes stole this idea off of pinterest for our bulletin board
But I had to update to the iPhone... obviously.

Took me cumulatively 3 hours to do, ugh. But isn't it glorious?!

Once students arrive, we'll be taking photos of them reading in the classroom. I'm hoping we can use the iPhones as a border for different types of student work, eventually, as well. Maybe a texting conversation of themselves with the main character of a book... Who knows? I'm obviously getting ahead of myself as I haven't even met them yet... However, I'm getting excited for this year!

Schedule Printables

I created some new bilingual printables for our schedule this year so that it looks cuter and less horrendously 2002. Kelly green, royal blue, and yellow--are we serious about this, Really Good Stuff? No thanks.

I plan on cutting, laminating, and magnetizing these little babies. And, as with a lot of the printables already in our room, they're black and white and go with any color scheme! I'll post some pics once our room is kid-ready.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Welcome to My Blog!

With the start of my final semester of grad school and the beginning of my fourth year of teaching, I'm starting a blog. I plan on posting new activities, printables and designs that I create for the classroom and some pictures, too! Here's hoping I keep it going!