anchor charts

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences in 5th Grade

During my junior year as an undergrad I took a class on brain based learning.  I loved it!  We worked in cooperative groups, found hands-on ways to make concepts stick, and learned how to adapt instruction to meet different learning styles.  But, what really stuck with me was how the professor helped us to learn more about ourselves as learners.  My professor helped me to discover “HOW I am smart.”

Flash forward to ten years into my teaching career, and today my students and I walked down that path of self-discovery as we looked at Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.  I teach advanced learners most of the day, and like most middle-grade kids, they have already decided who is smart.  To them, smart is something you are born with.  Smart means you make perfect grades and know all the right answers.  I wanted to give them a new idea about ‘smart’ and help them see that there are different ways to be smart.  I wanted my students walk away knowing more about themselves, their interests and gifts, so we took a survey on Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.

Students worked independently to check the questions that applied to them, then tallied their results.  Of course, a few of them checked almost all 80 questions (despite my encouragement to focus ONLY on statements that truly described them).  We then took some time to debrief.  I wanted this to be a personal journey and didn’t make kiddos share, but many of them wanted to.  We discussed what the different intelligences meant and what each might look like.  We made an anchor chart…see!

Multiple Intelligences Anchor Chart 5th Grade @thepensivesloth

Anchor chart illustrating Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences for intermediate and middle grade students.

Then we reflected and discussed a few questions:

  • Did your survey results match what you thought about yourself?
  • What do you consider your strongest talents?
  • Was there anything that surprised you?
  • Can people be smart in different ways?
  • What if we were all strong in the same areas?
  • Can you still be smart if you don’t know all the answers in school?  If you don’t make straight As?
  • What subject areas do the different intelligences lend themselves to?

Most of my kids were shocked, and super excited, to learn that body-kinesthetic gifts are considered a way to be smart, too.  Or that being interested in rocks, animals, and the weather  is just as important as knowing the meanings of words or how to solve math problems.  There were some eye-opening moments during our discussion.  When I mentioned inter and intra personal smarts, the more introverted kids sat up a little straighter.  There’s a tendency for those quiet ones to get overlooked by their peers.  But, intrapersonal skills are very valuable!  For me, that is a big strength.  I explained how I talk to myself, and it doesn’t mean I’m crazy!  It’s called procedural self talk, and it is very helpful.  My musically and spatially gifted kids also left with a little more pep in their step!

Why now, at this time in the year, did I do this?  Well, it is career week and I thought it just fit.  Also, my students are going off to middle school in a few weeks and I want them to celebrate who they are and start thinking about their future.   Tomorrow we take a career cluster survey and our path of self-discovery continues!  They are very excited, and so am I.

If you are interested in some of the ‘getting to know me’ and career day activities we are doing in the classroom, check out some links:

Advertisements

5th Grade Life Science: Physical and Behavioral Adaptations

We are in full life science mode right now and spent the last few days learning about adaptations.  Students made vocabulary foldables for new words and we sorted adaptations into physical (structural) and behavioral categories using a tree map.

To show what they have learned, students are inventing an animal!  I’m super excited about this ‘Invent an Animal’ project and so are they.  I’ve given them each the description of an imaginary habitat and they have to invent an animal with specific adaptations for surviving in this environment.  I’ll come back and let you know how it all worked out!

Glad you stopped in!

–The Pensive Sloth

@thepensivesloth 5th grade life science adaptations anchor chart

Tree map sorting adaptations into two categories.

@thepensivesloth 5th Grade Animal Adaptations Vocabulary

Our adaptations word wall– I’m trying something new with my word walls so that they are portable and content specific rather than alphabetical. Students made foldables of these words by defining them in their own words and drawing a picture. We will add the foldables to our science notebooks.

My Many Anchor Charts Monday

Here’s a quick photo post about what has been happening in my classroom the last few weeks!

We read a book about the Lewis and Clark expedition then made a diagram to show Thomas Jefferson's goals for the expedition.  As a class, we did a shared writing exercise turning our diagram into a letter to TJ!  As we read, we kept a record of the animals, plants, land, water, and Indian tribes we encountered.  AND we drew pictures!  I hope you like my bison and grizzly bear.  Have I mentioned that I was not blessed with artistic talents???

We read a book about the Lewis and Clark expedition then made a diagram to show Thomas Jefferson’s goals for the expedition. As a class, we did a shared writing exercise turning our diagram into a letter to TJ! As we read, we kept a record of the animals, plants, land, water, and Indian tribes we encountered. AND we drew pictures! I hope you like my bison and grizzly bear. Have I mentioned that I was not blessed with artistic talents??? Want you kids to LOVE learning about Lewis and Clark, click the picture for a rockin’ rap about Lewis and Clark.

Students researched different territories acquired by the US in the 19th century and presented their reports to the class while I recorded their findings.  Fun!  We learned about the Oregon Country, Mexican Cession, Gadsden Purchase, Florida Acquisition, Louisiana Purchase, Texas Annexation, and what the US was like in 1783.

Students researched different territories acquired by the US in the 19th century and presented their reports to the class while I recorded their findings. Fun! We learned about the Oregon Country, Mexican Cession, Gadsden Purchase, Florida Acquisition, Louisiana Purchase, Texas Annexation, and what the US was like in 1783.

Text structure/organization anchor chart to help students understand how authors communicate relationships between ideas.

Text structure/organization anchor chart to help students understand how authors communicate relationships between ideas.

I wrote about Fraction Boot Camp in another post if you want to learn more.  As a class we set goals for common assessments and chart our progress.  When we do really well we have a picnic lunch outside.  I used smiley faces to cover up class averages.  Great activity as you prepare for state testing (STAAR).  It certainly helps with motivation!

I wrote about Fraction Boot Camp in another post. Click the picture if you want to learn more.  As a class we set goals for common assessments and chart our progress. When we do really well we have a picnic lunch outside. I used smiley faces to cover up class averages. Great activity as you prepare for state testing (STAAR). It certainly helps with motivation!

Anchor chart showing incomplete and complete metamorphosis.  Want to see our metamorphosis lab in action?  Check out the post on our Insect Zoo.

Anchor chart showing incomplete and complete metamorphosis. Want to see our metamorphosis lab in action? Click this picture to read a post on our Insect Zoo!

We had a great time launching the interdependency lesson.  Students brainstormed living and non-living things in a park environment and illustrated and wrote about how everything was connected, or interdependent on each other for survival.  Once again, feel free to giggle at my artwork!  I certainly do...but I have fun drawing!

We had a great time launching the interdependency lesson. Students brainstormed living and non-living things in a park environment and illustrated and wrote about how everything was connected, or interdependent on each other for survival. Once again, feel free to giggle at my artwork! I certainly do…but I have fun drawing!

Use MUSIC to Teach Your 5th Graders About the Bill of Rights

I love teaching social studies, especially American history.  I think it is important that children learn about America’s past and what makes this such an exceptional country!  And learning history should be FUN!  Around the middle of the year we begin studying the Constitution and US government.  My kiddos usually get a pretty good grasp on the 3 branches, but the Bill of Rights can be a challenge to teach.  Here’s some fun resources for making the Bill of Rights come alive for your students.

  • The Bill of Your Rights Rap on YouTube–A quick, summarized version of the first 10 amendments set to a catchy tune.

  • Bill of Rights Word Wall/Anchor Chart–I often make what I call focused word walls.  I’ve never been able to get the alphabetical ones to work for me, plus with teaching all subjects I run out of room quickly.  When I make word walls for science and social studies they are topic specific, so as we learned about the Bill of Rights we added our own definitions to the chart.
Our Bill of Rights word wall/anchor chart.  Very helpful to understand the language of the Bill of Rights.

Our Bill of Rights word wall/anchor chart. Very helpful to understand the language of the Bill of Rights.

  • “We Shall Be Free” Song by Garth Brooks–I love Garth Brooks and there are a few of his songs that I use in history class.  One of my favorites is “We Shall Be Free.”  I usually use this as an integrated LA/SS lesson where students make connections between a printed copy of the actual Bill of Rights and the lyrics of the song.  We listen to the song a few times and then kiddos work in small groups to make text to text connections to specific amendments.  You can find the lyrics HERE and a printable copy of the Bill of Rights HERE.
Visit the iTunes to download a copy of "We Shall Be Free" and use it to help teach your students about the Bill of Rights.

Visit the iTunes store to download the song “We Shall Be Free” and use it to help teach your students about the Bill of Rights. Or, just look through your old CD collection like I did!

  • Bill of Rights For Kids Mini-Unit–Here’s a mini-unit I put together to help teach the Bill of Rights in kid-friendly language.  It stars James Madison and includes guided notes and a test!
You can find this resource, The Bill of Rights for Kids, in my TPT store.

You can find this resource, The Bill of Rights for Kids, in my TPT store.

Thanks for stopping by!

–The Pensive Sloth

Thinking Maps and Anchor Charts–The Brace Map

I love Thinking Maps! If you haven’t heard of them, a quick search will help you find lots of information. In a nutshell, Thinking Maps are a set of 8 specific graphic organizers based on 8 cognitive skills. They are meant to help students visually represent content based on relationships. The focus of this post will be on The Brace Map.

Brace Maps are used to analyze the structure of whole/part relationships. The Brace Map is quite popular in my classroom.  Here are two ways we have used it this past year!

At the beginning of the year while setting up reading workshop we always discuss genres.  This is a great opportunity for a Brace Map.  You can see we started with genre and categorized it into fiction and non-fiction.  We then took it one step further and broke each of those into parts.

A Brace Map we created at the beginning of the year when learning about different genres.

A Brace Map we created at the beginning of the year when learning about different genres.

Ok, this next one is a little funny.  I have to say that my anchor charts don’t always turn out like those glorious ones you see on Pinterest with all of the color and professional illustrations.  Someday I fully expect to see them on a FAIL meme.  I was not blessed with artistic talents.  Nope.  But this does not stop me in adding illustrations to my anchor charts!  It is important for students to have illustrations to accompany new vocabulary.   ELL students really need these and the brain loves color and novelty, so illustrations are a must!  I don’t pre-make my anchor charts.  We gather together to record our thinking and I’m usually in a hurry to keep up the momentum, so I quickly sketch!  My students and I get a chuckle sometimes (OK, often) at the drawings, it gives them something to look forward to when we meet on the rug, and it lets them know that it is OK to take risks and laugh at your mistakes.  Oh, and we label things a lot so that it is obvious what was drawn there.  Here it is folks…a Brace Map of human body systems that we created during our health unit.

A hilarious anchor chart on human body systems.  We used a Brace Map to sort the whole into parts.

A hilarious anchor chart on human body systems. We used a Brace Map to sort the whole into parts.

I hope you got a chuckle, and perhaps learned a little about how to use Brace Maps in your classroom!

–The Pensive Sloth

#thepensivesloth #teacherproblems meme #teacherhumor ecard covering walls staar

Anchor Chart Attack

OK, so if you live in Texas or another state with a big test…basically anywhere in the US…you know the challenge that anchor charts present.  I love anchor charts!  My students use them.  I don’t spend a ton of time making them pretty, but rather focus on making them meaningful for my kiddos because we create them together.  My challenge is where to put them?  I am self-contained, so I have anchor charts everywhere about everything.  Other than anchor chart overload and running out of space, when the big test comes it all has to come down or be covered.

I am trying something new this year.  I bought a few command hooks, some colorful dollar store clips, and grabbed a few plastic hangers and voila!  My anchor charts are now removable.  I could only get back far enough to see part of the wall where they are hanging, so I’m sorry about the picture.  I’ll work on getting a better one up soon.  Actually, they are hanging on cabinets above student lockers. It’s not perfect, but it should help significantly with hiding all of the learning and help before the big test!

See for yourself:

A new system for hanging anchor charts in my room.  They are easy to put up, take down, and turn around or remove for testing!

A new system for hanging anchor charts in my room. They are easy to put up, take down, and turn around or remove for testing!

Math anchor chart for landmarks--mean, median, mode, range

Anchor Chart Thursday–Mean, Median, Mode, Range

I found this really nifty song on Pinterest, though I don’t remember where so that I can give credit!  But, I thought I would share it.  It has helped my kiddos a lot with remembering what the ‘landmarks’ represent.

Hey diddle diddle

The median is the middle

You add and divide for the mean

The mode is the one that appears the most

And the range is the difference between

Math anchor chart for landmarks--mean, median, mode, range

Math anchor chart for landmarks–mean, median, mode, range

Also, I discovered the greatest site for math practice worksheets.  If you are looking for basic problems, like those not all dressed up in word problems, so that you can know your kiddos have mastered a skill, you’ve got to try THIS SITE.  I’m a Texas teacher and do not use Common Core, so if you are in Texas, don’t search by standard or grade level.  Just look at the skill because it is taught in different grades.  I used the Mean, Median, Mode, Range set with my 5th graders even though it is listed as a 6th grade set.  The great part about this site is that all of the sheets are organized the same way, they come with answer keys, and there are 10 versions for each skill!   This is perfect for small groups because if the student didn’t understand whole group, you can re-teach in small group and have something for them to practice.  Love it!  It must have been created or organized by a teacher because it is super classroom friendly.  Happy teaching!