Posts filed under ‘Lessons’

Reader’s Theater

by: Jennifer Perez

Readers Theater…what is it?

Readers Theater involves students in reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities. It involves children in….

  • sharing literature,
  • reading aloud,
  • writing scripts,
  • performing with a purpose, and
  • working collaboratively

The benefits of Reader’s Theater are immense when used with fidelity. When Reader’s Theater was first introduced into my classroom, what I observed were my students showing excitement and pure enjoyment toward their particular piece. They were arriving to school early to rehearse with their groups (fluency), planning which person would create which props (collaborating) and some groups extended themselves by creating AND typing out their own Reader’s Theater scripts.

After rehearsing their Reader’s Theater plays for about two weeks, the students performed in full costume, props and microphones for other 3rd grade classes. Their peers graded them on such items as: fluency, pronunciation, clarity and working collaboratively. The feedback was very positive and I was thrilled to see my little worker bees take the feedback and immediately begin making changes to improve their next performance!

Here are a few of the Reader’s Theater resources I use in my classroom. They are amusing, entertaining and downright whimsical! Give them a try….Im’ sure you and your students will love them too!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 6/30/11

July 13, 2011 at 12:42 PM Leave a comment

Math Bingo

by: Jennifer Perez

 

Math Bingo??  Yes, that is right!  I am sure some of you have heard of Math Bingo before…some of may have not.  I decided to bring “back” the Math Bingo game for one of my newest clients….5 year old R.  Little R is now tutoring with me, Ms. Jenny, and we began working on all sorts of math goodies: numerics 1-100+, recognizing numbers in word form, using manipulatives to represent numbers, addition, subtraction and more! Before meeting my newest little client, I had prepared a Math Bingo game  as the culminating activity.  I prepared the bingo card with the numbers 1-9 in their individual boxes. I then showed R a flash card with a number spelled out in number form, which he then located the matching number on the card and covered it with a foam manipulative. We continued in this fashion until he has three in a row and shouted “BINGO!” We had such a great time that R requested that we play Blackout!  ( Apparently, this is where you play until all of the squares on the bingo board have been covered!  Of course….I said yes!)

For Example ~ I showed R the flash card which read- “FIVE.”  R read the number five and then located the matching number in numerics on his Math Bingo card.

This is an excellent, easy way to make math fun in your home!! You can use the Math Bingo game to review  ANY operation: Addition, subtraction, Multiplication or Division.  Whichever you choose, just create the correct flash cards. For example, if you want to work on addition- then your flash cards would contain addition problems such as 5 +2 which your child would then locate the sum of  7 on their Math Bingo card and cover it with what ever you choose.   I am sure that you have the materials in your kitchen junk draw as we speak!

Materials needed:

  • blank computer paper OR any solid color paper
  • index cards
  • dried pasta OR beans
  • markers OR colored pencils OR crayons

What to do:

1. First, decide how many numbers you want to use for your child’s Math Bingo card.  Create the bingo card, using the blank computer paper or colored paper, with just a few less boxes than numbers chosen.

2. Create an appropriate set of flash cards using your index cards and markers.  If you are working on addition then create addition cards.  If you care choosing to work on multiplication, then create multiplication flash cards, etc…

3. Review the rules of the game with your child and discuss prize, if you choose, once the have “BINGO.”

4. Set out Math Bingo chips for your child to use to cover their numbers.  You can use dry pasta, beans or small cereal pieces.

Playing the Math Bingo is a sure way to get your child excited about math, which-let’s be honest, is sometimes difficult to do.  Continue to challenge your child by adding a few more flash cards to their stack each week or maybe even inviting them to create their own!!

Happy Bingo playing!!

© Jennifer Perez 1/14/11

January 14, 2011 at 10:06 PM 2 comments

The Benefits of Keeping a Journal

by: Jennifer Perez

I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember.  My first recollection of writing was in my very own hard-back leather  journal.  The kind that came with two tiny gold keys attached to one another through a single silver hoop.  I remember feeling so important as I jingled those tiny golden keys to unlock my very own journal….a place I wrote my feelings, thoughts, dreams, fears and so much more.  I didn’t realize it then, but journal writing was very therapeutic.  I was always a quiet child- not one to verbalize much, but when I wrote…..I did so with such detail and emotion, it was as if I were actually speaking to someone, instead of just writing in a journal.  Or was I ” just writing in a journal?”

It wasn’t until I was an adult when I re-read my childhood journals that I was able to appreciate the importance of journal writing.  While reading those journals, I noticed several important things worth mentioning:

1. My spelling, at times, was horrendous!  Yes, I am admitting it…my spelling wasn’t always perfect, but in my journal I was able to take chances without anyone telling me that I needed to “look at that again.”  A part of growing up is learning from your mistakes, and let’s just say…I’ve learned from my spelling mistakes!

2. Every journal entry was different: some days it was obvious that I had  GREAT day, other days not so much.  Whatever the day brought it was visible through the writing on the pages of my journal.  As an adult, this made me wonder…..If everyone always spoke what they thought, would there be less “miscommunication in today’s society?”  Interesting thought to ponder as there can be miscommunication in anything and everything we do!

3. While reading these journal entries, I noticed that the entries were not ones that were written in 10 minutes.  It seemed as though I had plenty of time to myself to think about what I wanted to write….to truly choose the right words to express myself.  This made me think, “Just like adults, children also need some time to themselves.”  Why?  Everyone needs time to reflect, wind down from the day and just be in the presence of the now.  It may not be easy for a young child to ‘reflect’ on the day, but this would be a wonderful skill to teach your child as it will be something they will constantly do throughout their lives!

There are many benefits in keeping a journal ~ for both children and adults.  I have listed a few benefits from my own personal journaling experiences, but everyone is different.  If journaling is something you’d like for your child to take advantage of then explain to them what it is. Maybe even go to the local bookstore and encourage your child to choose their favorite journal.  Let them know that their journal is theirs, for their eyes only and they can write about anything and everything.  Share with them my experience if you’d like!

Happy Journaling!

© Jennifer Perez 12/27/10

December 27, 2010 at 10:27 PM 1 comment

ELL Ayuda (Help!)

by: Jennifer Perez

I don’t know about you all, but each year, I have at least 3 students each year who enter my classroom not speaking any English whatsoever. At our school, the main second language is Spanish.  Luckily for me, I consider myself to be pretty fluent in Spanish so communicating with my spanish speaking students and their parents isn’t a challenge.   (Thank goodness for my grandparents being persistent and teaching me Spanish when I was younger!)  I try my best to have frequent conversations with my ELL (English Language Learner) students, in Spanish, to see how they are feeling about things: the classroom, their learning, what they are doing at home to help their learning come along and anything else they need to talk about.  I have found that these conversations help my students stay ‘connected’ with me and their peers.

I try very hard to put myself in their shoes: new country, new school, ALL new people, new customs, traditions, new language, new procedures, etc….

To sum it up-EVERYTHING is new and they are expected to perform just as the other students do!  I sat down one day and brainstormed a list of things/ways I can help my ELL students transition into their new community and also become successful learners as well.

Here is the list I have come up with thus far:

1.  Daily mini-meetings to see how the students are progressing and answer questions

2. I read daily with my ELL students with books that are on their level.  This helps them to build confidence-the confidence they need to continue trying new things even if in another language!

3. Personal Vocabulary Files ~ I have my students use a personal index file and they add at least 5 words per week to their file.  I have them draw the picture  and write the word in English AND their native language.  My students then use these words in their reading, writing and Literacy Centers.

4. I keep constant communication with parents via email, telephone and notes in the student planners.  I notify parents of upcoming projects, assignments and opportunities to volunteer in the classroom.

5. I strategically seat my ELL students with peers that speak English and their native language.  This helps a lot with building confidence, friendships and the idea of the ‘gradual’ release model.

This is a list that I am sure will need to be revised even as the school year continues to unfold.  The important things to keep in mind is that our ELL students are working at a disadvantage as soon as they step foot into our classroom.  What is that disadvantage?  Not speaking English in a classroom where the primary instruction is given IN English and tested IN English.  As professional teachers, it is our responsibility to  help each of our students reach their maximum potential ….. even if they don’t speak English!

 

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 10/11/10

 

October 11, 2010 at 8:56 PM Leave a comment

Which suffix(es) should I teach?

by: Jennifer Perez

The school year is underway, and many of us teachers have had an opportunity to dig into our state’s standards.   Why do we do this?  We do this to determine what our students need to learn this year and then we plan accordingly.   One such item on the Grade 3 Florida Reading/Language Arts Standards are Suffixes.

Benchmark Number ~ LA.3.1.4.1

Benchmark Description ~ The student will use knowledge of the pronunciation of root words and other morphemes (e.g., prefixes, suffixes, derivational endings) to decode words.

What is a suffix exactly?

According to The University of Alabama, “A group of letters with a special meaning appearing at the end of a word is called a suffix.”

Where do I go from here?

Great question!  This is where/when your State Standards come into the picture.  Before planning, it would be a wonderful idea to take a look at your State Standards and see if there are specific ones listed.  In Florida’s case, there are no suffixes listed.  However, I did attend a training over the summer where a Professional Development book was provided.  In this book, it was stated that the following suffixes would be the most beneficial for children in Grades 3-6.  The suffixes are:

  1. ER
  2. EST
  3. FUL
  4. LESS
  5. ABLE
  6. IBLE

Since this information was provided to me at a District Training, I am going to begin with these six suffixes.  From here, I will determine the rest based on my student’s needs.

How Mrs. Perez will teach and use prefixes:

During Morning Work once per week

Guided Reading

Center activities weekly

Homework Assignments

Writing Assignments

Journaling/Reflective writing!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 9/6/10

September 8, 2010 at 5:49 PM Leave a comment

Math Journals

by: Jennifer Perez

If you are a teacher who teaches Math, READ THIS!   In our county, we have a Math Instructional calendar which helps to guide teachers with how much time they can/should spend on lessons.  This calendar may vary depending on our students, of course.  On the current calendar, it was suggested that we cover procedural type things during the 1st week of school such as:

  1. How to handle manipulatives
  2. The First 20 days of Math
  3. Different Kagan Structures
  4. Math Journals
  5. And more….

Math Journals?  Yes, that is right….Math Journals.  I quickly learned the purpose of these journals and I must say…the idea is absolutely brilliant.

Remember your “journal” when you were young?

As a child, I remember having y very own journal.  It was a place where I wrote my thoughts, reflections, aspirations and more.  This journal was so very important to me because it held many personal accounts of my life.  Did you also have a journal?  Can you relate to this?

What is a Math Journal?


In essence, a Math Journal is similar.  As a teacher, you can ask your students to include anything YOU choose in their Math Journals, but please give this some thought.

~What can be included in their notes that will be of value?

-Example questions completed as a class

-Vocabulary words to be learned in the chapter you are covering

-Diagrams to serve as a visual for those students who are visual learners.

-A page glued from the student’s math book showing work on certain problems

-Summary/Reflection of the lesson

If the Math Journals are completed properly, they can serve as a powerful study tool for your students!  Now that I have had an opportunity to work for with students for about a week with their Math Journals, I’d like to offer some advice.

Don’t stress if you find that the Math Journals must be tweaked for your students!  It is ok.  Just remember the purpose of the Math Journal; it is meant to serve as a resource for your students.  A place where they can turn to when they need a refresher and/or need to study!

Happy Math Journaling!

© Jennifer Perez 9/4/10

September 6, 2010 at 2:16 PM 1 comment

Pasta Pictures

by: Jennifer Perez

I had my students create their very own Pasta Pictures on the 1st day of school. I chose to have my students create addition sentences, but you can easily have them do subtraction, division or multiplication.It was really simple and only required a few materials!

What you will need:

Pasta-I used small elbow pasta

Construction paper-any color

Elmer’s glue

1 sharpened pencil

What to do:

The first thing you will need to do is decide the purpose for this activity? Are you trying to:

  1. Just let the kiddos explore numbers by using pasta
  2. Make this more of a learning activity-asking the children to show you what they know OR
  3. How about a combination?

In my class, I did more of a combination.  After handing out all of the supplies, I went around to each student and assigned him or her each a different number.  Each student then brainstormed the possible ways to come up with that sum when adding the numbers together.  For example- I assigned the number 16 to a student.  On the back of their construction paper, they brainstormed the possibilities of creating the sum:

  1. 8+8=16
  2. 10+6=16
  3. 13 + 3=16
  4. 12 + 4= 16

The student then chose one of the addition sentences, wrote it on the front of their construction paper and represented it with pasta! Take a look!

This student was assigned the number 20.  They chose the addition sentence 11+9=20 and then represented that number sentence with their pasta.

This was an ELL (English Language Learner) student.  He was assigned the number 10 and chose the addition sentence 3+7= 10.  The pasta was a wonderful way for me to show this particular student “addition” without there being a language barrier.

Get as creative/challenging with this activity as you’d like!  Remember, learning in the form of “play” is never a wrong way to go!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/28/10

September 1, 2010 at 6:11 AM 4 comments

Commonly used Prefixes

by: Jennifer Perez

As teachers, we all use our State Standards to teach our students the curriculum for each subject area.  The Standards not only help keep us teachers on track, but it also makes sure we cover all information necessary.  One such item on the Grade 3 Florida Reading/Language Arts Standards are Prefixes.

Benchmark Number ~ LA.3.1.4.1

Benchmark Description ~ The student will use knowledge of the pronunciation of root words and other morphemes (e.g., prefixes, suffixes, derivational endings ) to decode words.

According to Scholastic, “A prefix is a group of letters that appears at the front of a word. A prefix affects the meaning of the root (base) word to which it is attached.

To determine whether or not a group of letters is a prefix, remove them

from the word. The letters are a prefix if a known word remains. For example,

remove the letters un from the following words: unhappy, untie, uncle,

uninterested. In which word are the letters un not a prefix? Yes, these letters

are not a prefix in the word uncle.”

After reviewing the latest Standards, I began researching the Prefixes in which I wanted to teach my students this school year.  While I was conducting my research, I quickly learned there were several hundred to choose from.  If we had more time in the school year, I would figure out a way to teach them ALL to my students; however, this is not the case!  I turned to a Professional Development training I attended this summer where I received an extremely helpful book  Here is where I learned the FOUR most important prefixes to teach students through 6th grade:

Un ~not, the opposite of  Ex. Unkind, unable

Re ~again, back  Ex. Repeat, regress

In ~not  Ex. Indiscreet, invisible

Dis ~apart, not  Ex. Disengage, discomfort

By learning these FOUR prefixes, students will/would be able to decode a total of 1,500 words!  To me, this was amazing to find out!  If I can successfully teach my students to learn AND use these prefixes then I am setting them up for success!

How Mrs. Perez will teach and use prefixes:

  1. During Morning Work once per week
  2. Guided Reading
  3. Center activities weekly
  4. Homework Assignments
  5. Writing Assignments
  6. Journaling/Reflective writing!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/21/10

August 24, 2010 at 5:57 PM Leave a comment

Share the Genre

by: Jennifer Perez

Each year, I spend the 1st 20 days of school teaching my students how our reading community works.  I use the First 20 Days by Fountas and Pinnel to pin point areas in which I want to address with my students such as:

  • How reading creates meaning
  • How to create a reading community
  • How to choose the correct books for them ~ Easy, Just Right or Challenging.

Afterwards, I spend some time teaching my students about all of the different types of reading ‘groups’ available for them to read.  These reading groups can be/are classified by genres.  According to Dictionary.com a genre is:

1: a kind of literary or artistic work

2: a style of expressing yourself in writing [syn: writing style, literary genre]

3: a class of artistic endeavor having a characteristic form or technique

The genres in which I explicitly teach my students are the following: Realistic Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Informational, Biography, Fairy Tales, Mystery and Poetry.  (There are more genres than the ones listed-I have chosen these according to my student’s needs.)

Here are some teacher-friendly definitions that will be sure to help your children learn their genres quickly!  Thank You Book Nuts Reading Club for the information!

  1. Realistic Fiction ~ Stories that take place in modern times.  The characters in these stories are involved in events that could really happen.
  2. Fantasy ~ This is fiction based around ‘make-believe.’  What happens in these stories is not realistic and CANNOT happen such as talking animals and magic.
  3. Historical Fiction ~ These stories take place during a specific time period in the past.  Usually, the characters are fictional, but the setting is real.
  4. Informational ~ Informational texts give you information about a specific topic.
  5. Biography ~ These are true stories about someone written or told by another person.
  6. Fairy Tales ~ These are narratives that are believed to not be true.  The characters are one-dimensional, the setting is timeless (once upon a time) and in unidentified places.  (the woods).
  7. Mystery ~ Fictional stories, usually realistic, about a mysterious event which is not explained or a crime that is not solved until the end of the story to keep the reader in suspense.
  8. Poetry ~ Poetry is verse written to create a response of thought and feeling from the reader.  It often uses rhythm and rhyme to help convey its meaning.

Depending on my student’s ability to grasp these genres, I may/may not spend an equal amount of time on each genre.  If I observe my students grasping a specific genre well, then I may choose to move on to the next one.  I will also make it a point to make sure my students are still reviewing past genres that were learned in class by:

  • Incorporating genres into morning work
  • During center work activities
  • Assigning homework with specific genres
  • Planning projects
  • And more!

The really important factors here are your students!  You will know them best so just take it a few days or weeks at a time!  They will let you know what they need and then you can take it from there!!

Happy Genre Sharing!

© Jennifer Perez 8/9/10

August 10, 2010 at 11:31 AM Leave a comment

Math Manipulatives

by: Jennifer Perez

What exactly are Math Manipulatives?  According to Wikipedia, a Math Manipulative is “an object which is designed so that a student can learn some mathematical concept by manipulating it. The use of manipulatives provides a way for children to learn concepts in developmentally appropriate, hands-on ways.”

With that being said, lets look at a few different math manipulatives and how they may be used in our classrooms.

Tangram

1.Tangram ~ A geometric tangram contains seven pieces.  These seven pieces can be re-arranged into a plethora of different images such as: people, birds, animals and objects.  Allowing students to the opportunity to use Tangrams is instrumental!  Not only will they be sharpening their geometry skills, but they will also be working on: shape identification, understand basic geometry concepts and build their spatial awareness.

Pattern Blocks

2. Pattern Blocks ~ A set of Pattern Blocks will typically include: squares, triangles, trapezoids, hexagons, rhombuses (rhombi) and smaller rhombi.  Using pattern blocks with your students will create another opportunity for them to continue their geometry and spatial awareness skills by:

  • Using attributes to describe, analyze and draw different geometric figures.
  • Being able to identify and describe plane figures.

Encourage ‘explore’ time with your kiddos by asking them to create images with certain objects. For example: Ask your students to create a house only using a square and two triangles.   Part of the learning process will be locating those figures and manipulating them to create the appropriate image.

Fraction Stax

3. Fraction Stax ~ I just learned about Fraction Stax this summer from a Professional Development Training I attended.  The concept is simple, yet extremely beneficial- Fractions that can be stacked!  The Fraction Stax help students (and adults) make and see: equivalent fractions, adding fractions, subtracting fractions and finding like fractions.  The benefits from the manipulative will continue as long as it is being used!   All Fraction Stax module fractions using : halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eights, tenths, twelfths, and one whole. The Fraction Stax includes 51 fraction pieces, a 9-peg base, and an activity guide.

Chances are, your school may already have these manipulatives available for you to use in your classrooms.  If not, I suggest locating whatever manipulatives are available and researching effective ways to integrate them into your classroom!!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/6/10

August 9, 2010 at 7:17 AM Leave a comment

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