I can write a page of dialogue by including: quotation marks, correct sentence punctuation, cause and effect transition words and commas.

This was our Purpose statement this week in writing.

The last three weeks we have been discussing fairytales, fables and folktalkes and comaparing and contrasting texts across cultures. To wrap up our Unit, I used a writing activity from the basal which I haven't used all year to get students to rewrite the fable "The Ant and the Grasshopper."After re-reading the fable students were to rewrite the fable with the grasshopper taking the ant's advice this time. We looked at the example in the basal and discussed the dialogue between the characters and the use of the transition words to show cause and effect on Monday. Tuesday students wrote their title and began writing their beginnings and one sentence of dialogue. I had them stop with only two sentences on Tuesday because I wanted to make sure students understood how to properly use quotation marks and commas in their writing. On Wednesday, they finished their fables and on Thursday they posted them on their blogs. I tweeted them out using the hastag #comments4kids today! We are still awaiting comments. You can check them out here.
My fourth grade class were true "Shining Stars" this morning as they performed our first play, "Goldilocks and the Christmas Elves." Thanks to Natalie at What the Teacher Wants for posting and sharing the script, that she found from a Google search.

When I first gave the script to my students, my thoughts were just to use the script to practice fluency and increase our vocabulary. However, the students were so excited about the scripts and their parts that they begged for the opportunity to perform it on our stage at school for the other 4th grade classes.

I hesitated at first, considering I've never directed a play, but after two weeks of practicing each day for 20 minutes during our PE or my planning time they were ready to perform. So, today at 9:45 we performed the play for 6 of our 4th grade classes, two administrators and parents.

They students were awesome!!! Let me say that again, AWESOME!! They knew their lines, made eye contact, used expression and best of all had fun!

The narrators

The stage directors

The sign holders

The Elves

Mr. and Mrs. Claus (Mr. Claus was our ELL teacher who stepped in for the original Santa who came to school sick today.)

The reindeer

Sleeping Beauty and Goldilocks

Our PlaY!

A Group Picture

Monday thru Thursday my students complete a daily edit. Their purpose is to correct a sentence by identifying the errors, and parts of speech. They have the most difficulty with identifying the verbs in the sentence.

Well, while blog surfing I found an awesome activity at http://pvroom121.blogspot.com/2011/12/verb-snowmen.html

So, to help reinforce verb identification, my students created three verb wordles. They created one on action verbs, helping verbs, and linking verbs. However, we did have a bit of trouble with the wordle site. When we would type in more than 12 words or so it would only show 3. So instead of tying in all 23 helping verbs we only have 12 to show.

Anyway, in the end our verb snowmen look great. All the students worked really well together.

Another creative student- driven activity, with high student motivation and engagement.

Today my fourth graders and I participated in our first Mystery Skype. I placed my students in 5 collaborative groups.

Here's a picture of the group who used the iPads. They used the search engine Google and typed in the clues that were given by the Mystery Class.

 These two ladies wrote down the clues for the class on the chart paper.

This group used the netbooks. They dicsused the questions through Edmodo. 
These two guys used maps to eliminate the choices.

Here are the clues we were given by the other class:

  1. Our state was once called "The Great American Desert"
  2. Our state sits above the largest underground lake called Lake Ogallala Aquifer
  3. We are home to Offut Air Force Base.
  4. Our state is divided into 2 time zones: central & mountain.
  5. Our state has 4 district seasons with definite changes in the weather.
  6. Our famous landmarks are Devil's Gourge, Badlands, Chimney Rock.
  7. Our state borders CO, WY, IA,  MO, and KS
Bonus: Our state is known as the Cornhusker State

Can you guess?

That's right it is Nebraska!

Here is a video that was created by one of my students using our flipcamera.

My fourth graders and I had a wonderful experience today and I can't wait to do it again. Any interested 3-4th grade classes out there leave me a post, if you want to set up a Mystery Skype.

This week we are exploring Theme in a variety of passages. Today I introduced the word theme and used a short poem to model how to think aloud to identify the theme in a passage. The poem's theme was the Early bird gets the worm.

 I then introduced students to a new app I discovered for the iPad called "MeeGenius." It has over 200 books for kids that can be read aloud. Some of the free books the app offers were perfect for my lesson this week. I shared with students the story of "The Three Little Pigs " using the iPad through the Promethean board. Although, I had to narrate since I can't connect the sound to the board. The students enjoyed the version of the story and were shocked at the ending. We then discussed the book and noted the characters, some traits to describe them based on their actions, discussed the plot and then identified the theme. We decided there were two themes for this story! Then students did independent practice with a passage I found on Read Works. This is a great site, with lesson for grades K-6.

Tomorrow the plan is to share another book, maybe "The Little Red Hen", or "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" have them fill in their charts and then release them for some Independent practice. Tomorrow my plan is to have 2 groups of 5 at listening centers listening to a leveled reader "The Land of the Giants", 10 students on iPads using the Mee Genius App, and 5 on laptops listening to the story from the basal "The Country Mouse and the City Mouse" and a few working with me in a small guided group.

My plan to culminate this activity is to have students create their own fairy tale with a theme using the Puppet Pals app on Friday.
Tonight the cheerleaders, whom I help coach along with two other teachers, and the choir performed at our annual performance at Celebration in the Oaks.

Here the Cheerleaders just finished performing and are watching the choir members performance.

The Cheerleaders showing spirit!
The Choir singing........
A picture before the performance
Check me out! I'm the shorty in the front.
This past week my students identified the main idea and details in a nonfiction text. On Monday, I began the lesson by stating the objective and sharing with students a chapter from the nonfiction selection Extreme Weather from our Treasure Series. We discussed the chapter and I did some think-alouds to model for students how to find the main idea and at least two supporting details. Then students collaborated with a buddy by reading a chapter of their leveled reader, which was either on Hurricanes or Tornadoes. They noted the main idea and supporting details creating a circle map in their notebooks, and then took their notes and typed them into sentences into blog post using Kidblog. I modeled a chapter each day from the book Extreme Weather, and students worked on one chapter a day in their book with their buddy. Finally, to culminate the week's lesson students collaborated again with their weekly buddy to create a 4 slide presentation using keynote on the iPads. Students were highly engaged motivated and the lesson was student driven.
Here is my PLEP student from Holy Cross College working with a pair of students and a picture of a few othersstudents hard at work on their blog post.

Mrs. Difulco, the Special Education teacher here working with a group of students.

Here you can barely see but the anchor chart, which is on the easel holds the "I can" statement for students. You can also see on the board the two sentence starters I gave students to guide them with their blog posts.
Another day of students hard at work!

Here's a shot of the anchor chart a little closer.Take a look at our Interval Scores in the background, you can see the student's growth. We are getting closer to our goal of 80% as a class!
Here is an example of one of the slideshows created.

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