Friday, October 27, 2017

Red Ribbon Week - You're the Key to the Future

I have amazingly creative hallmates who came up with the best idea for our Red Ribbon Week hall decorating contest. The paper door opens to reveal career options, and the keys reveal career goals the kids want to pursue...instead of wasting time on drugs, of course. Way to go Ms. Kapura and Ms. Hendren! And our kids did a great job with their keys, too!!







Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Going Places

I may or may not have used this bulletin board theme last year (and maybe the year before). BUT, in my defense, I really love it! Even my Pinterest search didn't result in any ideas I liked better...at least not enough to spend more time cutting letters. So here it is...again!


And my bookshelf is full of books that will help me bring geography alive in my classroom! Don't get me started on the importance of using literature in the social studies classroom. That's a whole other set of blog posts for another day.


Then there's this little gem hanging over my desk. I tore out full-page maps from an old atlas, printed and glued giant, grey letters to spell EXPLORE, punched holes in the corners, and hung them on rick rack. VOILA! Super cheap, easy craft - my kind of classroom d├ęcor.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Find a Geographer - AWESOME "Getting to Know You" Activity

I don't know about you, but I can't believe August got here so quickly! And not just the beginning of August - the MIDDLE of AUGUST. School starts in four days, and I just opened my classroom door today to dust of the tables and dig out all the things I threw in a closet the last day of school. I told myself all year long that I would take the whole summer for myself and my family...and I DID!

So, summer was amazingly fantastic, but I have to admit I had a moment of minor panic when I got to school today and remembered all the things I needed to do to get ready. And there are also professional development meetings to consider. SO I'm officially in last minute hurrying mode, which is (I hope) when I do my best work.

Luckily, I've been creating items for my brand new Teachers Pay Teachers store:


So I do have a few things ready to go for the first week. One of my favorites - and the one I plan to use the first day - is a people hunt called Find a Geographer Who... 

It's FREE on my TpT store! Follow this link and download it for FREE today. I would be ever so grateful if you could also leave four stars and a vote. I'm a TpT newbie and need all the stars and votes I can get! Follow my store if you'd like to see my new products as I add them throughout the year.




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Social Studies the Write Way

I started teaching 7th Grade World Geography two years ago, and I absolutely love it! After several years of ELA, teaching social studies has been a refreshing change. I haven't completely abandoned my roots, though. Social studies is best taught through books and stories, so I'm on a mission to effectively combine the two for the good of my students.

This summer I'm working on opening a Teachers Pay Teachers store called Social Studies the Write Way. There's a lot to learn about how to prepare my products and put them in the store...and I mean a LOT to learn! It's an empty store at the moment, but I think I'll be ready of offer my first few products tomorrow. It's been an adventure so far, and I can't wait to see where this leads in the future. Hopefully it'll lead to more consistent blogging...but we'll see how that goes once school starts again!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Word Web

This is the first year I've felt like my class has really learned to use Greek and Latin roots and affixes...thanks to the Word Web idea that I stole from a colleague.



My students add a new entry in their Morphology Dictionaries (can be purchased on TPT from Ladybug Teacher Files) every day. Then we choose one or two words from the examples list to put on the web. My Word Web is a long dry-erase board with words written on construction paper and held up by homemade magnets (Dollar Tree adhesive photo magnet sheets covered with colorful card stock - cut into squares on a cutting board).




The kids got really excited about choosing words to add and drawing the connections with other words on the web, so I let them pretty much take over the operation. It wasn't until a class visitor took a picture of the web and put it on Twitter that I realized it had become more of a word jungle. I fixed the connections and added labels to some of them.


Each word is connected with a colored line according to the key in the corner of the board.

The best thing about this wall is the discussions the kids end up having about words. They see words in their self-selected books and come up to ask me if the word fits with the root we studied. One girl asked me the other day why we have this wall. Before I could answer, three of her friends jumped in and explained it perfectly. "If you know these word pieces," one friend said, "then you can figure out what big words mean and use them in your writing."

Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Fun" With Note-Taking

Taking notes is a necessary evil in school, but recording facts and ideas doesn't have to be all THAT bad. I tell my students that it can be "fun"...and then I define it as "school fun," which isn't the same as "Disney World fun." Here's how we do our Cornell notes:

Left Side - Record central idea, essential question, etc. Our focus statement is called SWBAT (Students Will Be Able To...). The rest of the space can be used for the thoughts and questions students have as they take notes.

Middle - Bulleted notes from the teacher or information source

Bottom - Summarize main point at the end

Friday, September 6, 2013

Internal and External Conflict

Whole class lesson and group practice:
I drew a stick figure on the whiteboard and started with an explanation of internal conflict. I had the kids meet with a group for 2 minutes to write internal conflicts on Post It notes and put them on the board. I read them out loud and wrote the ones that were correct INSIDE the t-shirt I drew for my stick figure. We repeated the process for external conflict, and I wrote the conflicts OUTSIDE the stick figure with arrows pointing to him. Students took notes on copies of stick figures (with clothes so we could show internal conflict).
There was a boy stick figure, too, but I didn't get a picture.
Independent practice:
We just finished a story about a girl with a several internal and external conflicts. I had the kids draw a stick representation of her and then use the story to record conflicts.