5th grade

Christmas Memes for Teachers

Thanksgiving break has been delightful!  A whole week to…do laundry, cook, catch up on housework, clean out closets, fix the dishwasher, replace a door, and of course sleep in, Netflix, spend time with the family and eat yummy food.  But on Monday, it all begins again.  Are you ready?

Teacher Humor from The Pensive Sloth Teacher Meme Brace Yourself Christmas is Coming

Teacher Humor from The Pensive Sloth Teacher Meme Christmas Crafts Glitter Scrap Paper Glue Everywhere

Teacher Humor from The Pensive Sloth Teacher Meme I'm Going to Need You To Line Up Again

Good luck.  May the force be with you.  Stay strong.  We’re all depending on you.  You can do it!

–The Pensive Sloth

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Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway: Do This, Not That Tips for Teachers

5th Grade Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway August 2015DO THIS:  Assign your students numbers.

NOT THAT: Label everything (cubbies, mailboxes, lockers, etc.) with student names.

My big tip for heading back to school is to assign your students numbers at the beginning of the year.  Here’s why:

FIRST:  You can easily number your student mailboxes, cubbies, folders, and more and not have to re-label everything each year.  It saves a lot of time!  Plus, you don’t have to wait for your class list to label stuff.  If you teach upper elementary, consider using roman numerals.  Then students HAVE to learn what those mean!  Imagine NOT having to peel name stickers off of everything at the end of the year and instead just putting up those circle dot stickers they sell at Walmart once every few years.

Colored Dot Stickers for Teachers

You can get these guys at Walmart for about $4.00. There’s tons of them in a pack and they are a lot cheaper than individual name tags.

SECOND:  Finding out who is missing an assignment is so much easier.  One of my classroom jobs is “paper manager.”  Their job is to collect all papers and put them in number order.  I teach students to write their number very large in the top left hand corner of every paper at the beginning of the year.  The paper managers can quickly find who is missing an assignment and gather it from the student.  If the assignment isn’t done, or a student is absent, the paper manager writes a list on a sticky note and puts it on the stack before paper clipping the bundle of assignments together.

Teacher Humor Teacher Meme Lost Assignments

THIRD:  By about week three I have my numbered list memorized.  It helps a ton during emergency drills and field trips.  I can call my class list out from memory to see if anyone is missing.  Yes, most of the time I have my gradebook and can look at my list, but if I’m ever without it, I’m fine!

You might be saying, “But I want my classroom to be personal.  Students should have their names on cubbies!”  I have used this system with success for over a decade.  Even with first graders!  A veteran teacher shared this tip with me and I’m quite grateful!  Some students truly want their name on stuff and here is my suggestion:  Let them!  Students can decorate an index card with their name and use a piece of painter’s tape to affix the name to the cubby/locker/desk.

Now for the giveaway stuff… you’ve worked hard setting up that classroom!  Would you like to win a $25 Amazon gift card from The Pensive Sloth to spoil yourself (or buy something for your classroom)?  Of course you would!  Click the link below to be taken to Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway.

My giveaway terms:  To be eligible to win, you must be a teacher or homeschooling parent in the US or Canada.  Verification may be required.  Once a winner is chosen and contacted, he/she has 24 hours to respond by email.  If a response isn’t received in the time frame, a new winner will be selected and contacted.  If something seems fishy, I reserve the right to use Rafflecopter to select a new winner.  Only one $25 Amazon gift card will be given away.

 

More great giveaway stuff…Click the NEXT STOP image below to see what Miss Stefany has to share and giveaway!  There are nine teacher bloggers in this hop, each giving away something fantastic, so don’t stop here.  Keep going!  You can do it!  After you hop through, you’ll land at the Lesson Deli page where you can enter to win a $100 gift card to TPT.

5th Grade Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway August 2015

Click the NEXT STOP button to head over to Interactive Learning with Miss Stefany!

September vs. May

It’s May and we’re out of…

–Markers that work, except yellow.  We have lots of yellow.

–Pencils, but this isn’t new.  We’ve been out of pencils since March.

–Pages in our science notebooks.  Now we just tape pages in at the back as we go.

–Toner in our classroom printer.  All the pages print with faded gray fonts and words too faint to see in some places.  It’s kind of fun guessing what we think the author wrote, isn’t it?

–Construction paper, except yellow and brown.

–Staplers that work like they should.  The green one is missing the bottom and only works on walls and the black one jams more often than it staples.

–And…

5th Grade Teacher Humor #teacherproblems from The Pensive Sloth

That’s right.  We’re completely out of tissues (and it’s allergy season in Texas).  This is my low-cost solution.

Luckily, we’ve still got plenty of books to read.  I’m kind of a book-a-holic.

–The Pensive Sloth

Test Prep Blog Hop–11 Top Reading Test Prep Tips

Test Prep Blog Hop for 4th 5th and 6th Grade

Welcome to the Test Prep Blog Hop from the ladies at The Lesson Deli!  Here is how it works.  You will hop through a few blogs, pick up some freebies and maybe learn some test-prep tips, plus enter Rafflecopter drawings for some great prizes… Such as a Starbucks gift card to perk you up during testing season or an Amazon gift card to buy a few books for your classroom (or something for yourself!).  The Rafflecopter contest runs from Thursday, August 26 through Sunday, March 1, 2015.  Get to hoppin’ and have some fun!

Oh, and if you’ve got a great test-prep tip, comment below!

–The Pensive Sloth

5th Grade Reading Test Prep Tips for STAAR, FCAT, COMMON CORE, PARCC from The Pensive Sloth

Here’s my close reading FREEBIE to help with test prep…  Are you teaching students to analyze persuasive texts, identify examples of persuasive language and the effect that language has on the reader?  Want to give students concrete examples of comparison, causality, parallelism, misleading statements, exaggerated statements, and contradictory statements using a high-interest text?  Look no further!  Here’s a new lesson, “A Baby Boa?,” with embedded test prep.  The close reading passage is FREE below.  Just click the image to download.  You can find the foldable, skill activity, poster, vocabulary activity, and standardized test-prep reading comprehension questions that go with the passage in my TPT store.

5th Grade Persuasive Text Study Baby Boa Passage from The Pensive Sloth

Click the image to download this FREEBIE close reading passage.  For the foldable, skill activity, poster, vocabulary activity, and reading comprehension test prep that go with this passage, visit my TPT store.  This passage can be used to teach persuasive techniques such as comparison, causality, parallelism, exaggerated statements, misleading statements, and contradictory statements.

Ready to WIN a treat for your classroom?  You can order books or spoil yourself with this Amazon gift card! You’re a teacher.  You work HARD.  You deserve it!

Rafflecopter Test Prep Blog Hop for Amazon Gift Card from The Pensive Sloth Feb. 26 to March 1, 2015

CLICK a Rafflecopter giveaway to go to Rafflecopter’s site for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. It’s easy and fun!

 Then go to the next stop in the hop, Simone’s Math Resources Blog, to see some MATH test prep ideas!

Test Prep Blog Hop for 4th 5th and 6th Grade Next Stop Image

Supporting ELL Students–Turn and Talk/Partner Wheel

I’m trying something new this year to give more structure to the old ‘Turn and Talk.’  Even though I teach upper elementary, we still come to the rug for lessons and read-alouds.  I love my easel and I like having my students nearby when we’re trying something new.  The problem was that when I asked them to turn and talk about something, some students opted to sit silent because they didn’t know who to turn and talk to, while other students spent a few minutes scooting closer to their BFFs or trying to find someone to turn and talk to.  At their assigned seats, they talked with their shoulder partner, but on the rug they were lost.  This was wasted time.  There had to be a better way!

Turn and Talk  or Partner Wheel for 5th Grade ELL Students

Enter the ‘Turn and Talk’ or partner wheel!  Here’s how it works:

1–Post the wheel in the classroom and turn the inner circle once a week.  This will be a student’s ‘turn and talk’ partner when they come to the rug.  You can spin more often if you like.

2–Teach students that when it is time to meet on the rug (yes, I still say that to my 5th graders), they need to sit beside their partner.

That’s it.  It was very easy to make and only required some poster board, brads, scissors, and markers PLUS something to trace the inner and outer circles.  I traced the lid to a bucket for the larger circle and a paper plate for the inner circle.   In hindsight, I think I would have laminated before adding numbers so that I could use a dry erase marker and switch things up from time to time.

NOTE–Turn and talk is part of “Structured Conversations,” from the book “Seven Steps to a Language Rich Classroom” by John Seidlitz.  It’s a strategy for building language with ELL students, but I’ve found it really benefits ALL students.  It’s a must read if you work with English language learners.

Best Book for Building Language With ELL Students--Seven Steps to a Language Rich Classroom

Jumpstart January Linky and Giveaway 2015–Tips for Keeping Vocabulary Instruction Fresh

Jumpstart January Blog Hop and Giveaway Lesson Deli

Learning new words can be tough and things have changed a lot since I was in 5th grade over 20 years ago.  I remember getting a list of words from my teacher and using the dictionary or textbook glossary to copy the definitions verbatim from the book.  Sometimes we would write the definition a few times or use the new terms to fill in the blanks.  If we were lucky, we got to write a sentence with all 20 words for homework on Tuesday night.  Now, those activities still have their place.  There are times when using words in sentences and locating definitions is necessary and important, but I’ve learned after several years of teaching that those activities alone aren’t sticky, meaning that they don’t help students get to know and use new words.

My goal when teaching vocabulary is to give my students as many real experiences as I can with new words.  Here are my top 4 things to do when teaching vocabulary:

1.  Maximum Exposure–If they can see it, use it, touch it, etc. they are more likely to understand it.  You and I know that a delta is a landform built up when sediment is dropped off at the mouth of a river, right?  But what does that look like?  How does the sediment get there?  Will I ever get to see a delta if I live in west Texas?  Simply showing a satellite photo of a few major deltas in the world can make this term come alive for students.    Pull up an image of the Lena Delta from the Nasa Earth Observatory and talk about it.  But, don’t just show them one delta.  Then pull up an image of a different delta and observe, discuss, and sketch a diagram in science notebooks.  Perhaps the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana.  That second photo will help the new word stick.  Why?  Because now they have enough background to really analyze the Mississippi Delta and start asking some questions.  They’ve seen one and can now make connections between the two pictures.

2.  Variety is the Spice of Life–And also the spice of vocabulary instruction.  If you use the same strategies for every word, every time, students get bored.  Mix things up.  The human brain perks up when something novel is happening.  Use actions to represent words like predator (show claws and fangs) and prey (hands together like saying a prayer “Please don’t let me get eaten.”).  Take student outside with hand lenses to look at the sediments in the sidewalk when talking about cementation.  Hold a debate about whether their are more magnetic things in the room or more non-magnetic things.

3.  Real-World Meanings–Sometimes giving an example or describing a word is more helpful than defining it.  When learning new words, I like to get students to record what they think will help them remember what the word means, and that isn’t always just the definition.  Model different ways to get to know new words and encourage students to write meanings that make sense to them, not just definitions.

4.  YouTube–If you’ve read some of my other posts you know that I love using YouTube in the classroom.  There are some things that can only be experienced live, and YouTube is the closest to live that we’ve got to observe such things as the tides coming in and out or a glacier moving over time.   Give it a try!  A 30 second clip can make a word of difference.

Looking to make vocabulary instruction come alive in your science classroom?  How about a freebie for teaching properties of light that includes a foldable, cut and paste activity, quiz,  AND teaching points for bringing vocabulary alive in the classroom!

Proprerties of Light Vocabulary Freebie

Click the image to download a vocabulary unit for teaching Properties of Light.

FREEBIE–Properties of Light Vocabulary Unit

Physical Science Vocabulary From The Pensive Sloth

Plus, from NOW until January 4th, 2015.  my science vocabulary units are on sale for only a dollar!

Physical Science     Earth Science     Life Science

Jumpstart January Next Stop Blog Hop and Giveaway

Next stop…Misty Miller of Little Room Under the Stairs!When you make it through the whole hop, you will land at The Lesson Deli page where you can enter to win a $50 Target gift card!  Best of luck and happy new year!