Book Trailer #59: The Field
If you're looking for a fun way to introduce idioms to your students, pick up a copy of this book and check out the discussion guide. We do a similar activity on Valentine's Day with heart idioms and it's tons of fun.
Activity Name: Soccer Ball Idioms
Activity Description: Inside the discussion guide below, there is a list of idioms. Have students cut out a soccer ball from construction paper. On the front of the soccer ball, each student can write one of the idioms listed in the discussion guide. On the back side of the soccer ball, each student can use the idiom correctly in a sentence.
If you have students who are into sports, but not science, this might be the book that hooks them into STEM forever. When Leland Melvin was a kid and he wanted a new skateboard, his dad told him to build one. In the activity below, he tells kids how to build their own rocket racer. Then, he challenges kids to improve on his design by substituting his suggested materials with other materials. Be sure to check out the website link for other suggested activities.
Activity Name: Build a Rocket Racer
Activity Description: "When Leland wanted to buy a new skateboard, his father challenged him to build one. He soon learned how different aspects of design – the length and shape of the board or the size of the wheels – could change how fast the skateboard would go. Follow the directions below to construct your own rocket-propelled vehicle. You can experiment with ways to increase the distance your racer travels or its speed by modifying your design – just like Leland experimented with ways to make his skateboard go faster! If you build your racer with friends you can hold drag races for speed or compete for distance.
In this activity you will investigate basic forces that impact motion - position, velocity, and acceleration. All of these are related to Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion that govern our world and provide the foundation for rocket science. The three Laws of Motion deal with position, velocity and acceleration:
• Position is an explanation of where something is, based on a certain origin (or starting place).
• Velocity is the speed and direction something is moving.
• Acceleration is how velocity changes with time."
Looking for a fun way to incorporate biography writing into your classroom? Check out Sarah Albee's pet biography activity below.
Activity Name: Pet Biographies
Activity Description: Write a biography of a President's pet. First, read pages 58 and 59 in Dog Days of History. You can download the spread below. Then, visit the website below to pick a presidential pet and write his/her biography. Make sure to use Ms. Albee's biographies as a guide.
Author Website: www.sarahalbeebooks.com/
Book Trailer #56: The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin (Amazing Scientists)
Here's another book that made the 2018 NSTA list. The free comprehension foldable would be a great follow-up activity for a literacy center.
Activity Name: The Girl Who Thought in Pictures Temple Grandin Autism Comprehension Foldable
Activity Description: This one page Temple Grandin foldable is the perfect print and go activity to pair with learning about diversity, students with special needs, and Autism. It teaches students that everyone is unique, and includes comprehension questions along with a student reflection piece to encourage students to find what makes them special Click here.
This instructor certainly knows how to get his class in tip-top shape! Primary teachers looking to cover the life cycle, can start here. There is a link to a great free resouce, a life cycle flip book, that could stand alone in a center after reading this book. Be sure to check out the other activities as well.
Activity Name: Life Cycle Flip Book
Activity Description: Students can make their own life cycle flip book. Click here to be taken to the free
More Activities: Life Cycle activities, reflection journals, companion activities, and more! More than 12 free classroom resources to go along with How to Survive as a Firefly (all created by teachers!) Click here.
Book Trailer #54: Like Vanessa
So excited that this novel will soon be in my classroom, and I absolutely love the activity that Tami Charles has designed. If you're looking for a way to move up the SAMR model this would be a fantastic way to start. Even more important than technology, this activity encourages kids to identify positive attributes in themselves and celebrate their successes. Tami Charles has asked that if you do the activity below, that you let her know through Twitter @TamiWritesStuff.
Activity Name: How Are You Like Vanessa?
Activity Description: Vanessa overcomes obstacles such as bullying and racism to reach her goal. Ask students to identify how they, like Vanessa, have overcome challenges to pursue their dreams. Watch some sample videos below for inspiration. These are a ton of fun.
Book Trailer #53: The Nian Monster
The kindergarten teachers at our school often host a Chinese New Year parade at our school. The kindergartners parade through the hallways decked out in dragon masks and we cheer them on. If creating dragon masks from scratch sounds daunting, there is a mask template in the event kit. This would be a fun read aloud to add to that celebration, and the origami activity is one kids are sure to love. Plus, The Asian Pacific American Library Association named The Nian Monster a 2017-2018 honor book.
Activity Name: Interactive Storytime Kit and Origami Bookmark
Activity Description: Make a mask of the Nian monster to "feed" during story time, then make an origami bookmark of the monster that "chomps" on the page of your book!
Author's Website: andreaywang.com/
Illustrator's Website: alinachau.com/
Book Trailer #52: Sarah's Song
Each spring the fourth grade at The Center School participates in Bridges Together which is an outstanding intergenerational curriculum that combats ageism. Sarah's Song is a good introduction to the discussion of why people of all ages are such an important part of our lives.
Activity Name: Grandparent Interview
Activity Description: Interview a grandparent, or an older friend, to learn more about that person, the world and yourself. Here are a couple of questions to get kids started.
1. What was school like for you?
2. What was your favorite thing to do when you were my age?
3. What was my mother/father like when she/he was my age?
4. What's something your mother/father told you that you'll always remember?
5. What was your favorite song when you were my age?
It's February break in Massachusetts. If you didn't get a chance to escape to Hawaii or another tropical place, watch this book trailer and be whisked away.
Then, when you return to school and need to cover parts of speech, be sure to read Honey Girl and check out Shennen Bersani's Silly Sentence activity. It'll be a fun way to ease back into school. Plus, Honey Girl is a 2018 NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book. Check out the complete list of 2018 Outstanding Science Trade Books below.
Activity Name: Silly Sentence Structure Activity
Activity Description: This “game” develops both an understanding of sentence structure and the science subject. Use words from the “word wall” to fill in the blanks. After completing silly sentences for fun, have children try to fill in the proper words by looking for the correct information in the book. Think Mad Libs, then evidence from the text to properly fill in the worksheet. Fun!
Brian Lies' books are a ton of fun, and this Friday the Boston Red Sox play the Minnesota Twins in their first spring training game. Spring training means it's time for me to start preparing for the fantasy baseball league I run in my classroom each year. I've laid out the steps below as well as attached various materials I use. Please feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions
Activity Name: Fantasy Baseball League
Activity Description: Every year I run a fantasy baseball league in my classroom. In March, I put a call out for volunteers who can come in on Friday mornings from 9-10 AM. This is a great way to get fathers into the classroom. This is something many of them are interested in, and if you run your league first thing in the morning, many of them can pop in before heading into work. After you have a solid core of four volunteers, which means each volunteer only has to commit to coming into the classroom once a month, you're ready to go.
Your next step is to divide your class into six teams. I make sure I have at least one strong math student on each team.
Then, you need to have a draft day in your classroom. You do not need volunteers for the draft day. This is something you can do on your own. Before you begin dafting, you need to explain the concept of a batting average and an era. It's easier for the kids to understand the concept of a batting average, because the higher, the better. The pitching era is the oppositte of the batting average, the lower the number, the better. After you have explained those concepts to your students, you're ready to hand out the sheet below. Please note that these are the 2017 statistics to help students draft for the 2018 fantasy baseball league. If you are doing this activity yourself after this year, you'll need to go to www.mlb.com/ to download the previous seasons' stats. The sheets below showcase the top fifty batters and the top fifty pitchers. So, even students who have never watched a baseball game in their lives know who the top players are. You'll also need the Fantasy Baseball Team Roster. Make sure students note the name of the MLB team the player is on so that the students can locate their stats during the fantasy games.
Now that your students have drafted their teams, they'll be ready to go on opening day. The fantasy league will work best if every player has a Chromebook or another electronic device where they can access www.mlb.com/ If everyone can't have access to a Chromebook, then at the least, each team will need a Chromebook. Each of your students needs a year-to-date statistic packet. This packet has a sheet for each batter on their team. Every time you play a fantasy baseball game, students need to record the statistics for all five batters even though they will only use four of the player's statistics to calculate their score for the day. There are step-by-step directions for calculating the statistics below. At the beginning of each game, I scan in the scoresheets to my SMARTboard. Then, I calculate one player's statistics for each team. That way students have a model. After students have calculated the statistics for each player, they fill out the game scorecard sheet. Students love this activity and it makes our classroom a fun place to be. Contact me if you have any questions, and I'd be happy to walk you through it.
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