Sunday, October 23, 2016

How do you teach children to visualize while reading?

Do you ever think about the thinking your brain is doing while reading? When you are a good reader you do all of the 'thinking': the questioning, connecting, interring, and visualizing without even thinking about it. I asked my students today to raise their hand if they saw the movie in their brain when they were reading and some hands went up, but not as many has I had hoped. Today I did a lesson with my class where I read a story called 'Tell Me a Dragon" by Jackie Morris. 

Before I read the story I taped paper over the front and back cover of the book and had students play a quick game to try and guess what the story was about. Students were allowed to ask me yes or no questions about the subject of the story until they guessed what the story was about. After the students knew the story was about dragons I began to read the story. Every once and awhile I stopped and asked the students to choose on of the dragons on their sheet (I copied and pasted 3 dragon outlines from google onto one page for this lesson) and students were asked to make one of the dragons on their sheet look like how they would visualize the dragon the story was describing. If the story described a dragon that lives in the ocean and spends the day racing dolphins students need to make one of the dragons look like it might live in the ocean. 

Once we had finished the story and all three dragons had been coloured I then asked students to get their creative thinking going and invent a new dragon write a new page for the book 'Tell Me a Dragon'. First we did a quick brain storm with potential dragon themes and we talked about how the dragon's teeth, tail, wings could all be made unique by the chosen them of the dragon. With these directions my students did a terrific job in creating some unique dragons below is a sample of the writing produced by my students. 

Visualization is an important reading skill and this type of whole class exercise can be done with any story, so get creative, play on your student's interests, and make learning fun! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kindness Flower

I always start the beginning of the school year in a positive way with lots of friendship, anti-bullying, and social emotional activities. These types of activities not only set the tone for a great year by helping to build a family like atmosphere these lessons also include team building elements and they are perfect for reinforcing classroom expectations in terms of how we treat one another inside and outside the classroom. 

The last friendship lesson I did with my group went awesome! I set up the lesson by giving each student an envelope with their name on it that contained 5 flower petals. We then went outside and all of the students sat in a circle on the field.  Each student passed their envelope to the student to the left, that student then opened the envelope, took out one petal, and wrote one compliment to the original owner of the envelope. After everyone had written one compliment students then passed the envelope to the left again and everyone then removed one petal from the new envelope and write a positive comment to that student too. Students need to continue passing the envelopes to the left until all 5 petals in each envelope has a compliment. (The envelopes need to be passed to the left around the circle 5 times). 

Afterwards, we went back to the classroom and students got to ensemble their flowers. Students used construction paper to make clouds, grass, leaves and a flower stem to decorate around their flower. 

This is the third group that I have done this activity with and it is always exciting to see the student's faces light up when they read all of the anonymous compliments. I would recommend this activity for any class even high school kids would benefit from this activity! Check out my Friendship Unit and my Social Emotional Unit for more creative lessons on the topic of kindness, friendship, and self esteem.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Autumn Art

This week my class learned about warm and cool colours and worked with pastels by creating this bright and vibrant Autumn art project. 

We started off this three day art project by tracing a variety of different leaves on a large piece of white paper. All of the trees around my school are pine and fur trees, so instead I found leaf templates online by just doing a quick Google search. After each student had 4-6 leaves traced on their paper, students used rulers to draw lines going horizontal and vertical (on an angle) across their papers. I made sure to point out that these lines should not go through their leaves. I told students that they wanted the illusion that the lines were going behind the leaves. 

On day two students began using pastels. I explained to the students that they needed to have cool colours for their background, (purple, blue, green) and warm colours for the leaves (red, orange, yellow). I used a colour wheel to help explain the warm and cool colours. Students were then let loose to uses pastels to colour in their art work. I did not give any directions about how to use pastels as I wanted them to use them like crayons and colour in the whole space, but some students still used some smudging techniques that looked pretty neat. 

For more art teaching ideas check out my Elements of Art unit. This extensive art unit includes a lesson, poster, task cards, and project each perfect for teaching each element of art! 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Enter to Win My 'Spooky Halloween' Giveaway!

I can come up with so many reasons to have a giveaway! It's October, It's Autumn! Halloween is coming up! I have over 100 blog posts! 

For these reasons and more, let's celebrate with a giveaway! You have from now and until October 15th to enter to win a set of all of my Halloween resources from my Teachers Pay Teachers store and a $10 TPT gift card. There are many ways to enter! You can 'like' The Third Grade Zoo on TPT, Facebook, or you can make a comment on this blog post with your favourite teacher Halloween costume. 

Scroll Down to find the Rafflecopter app to enter.  

Good Luck Everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner was Kali T! Congratulations Kali I'll send your prize via email. Thank you for entering my giveaway!

Check Out this Fun Halloween Number Activity!

It is now October, and Halloween is right around the corner! I thought it might be a good time to share a cross curricular math/art lesson idea. For this lesson I told the class that they each needed to choose a number between 0 and 20, and the number needed to be written as big as they can make it on their page (I found bright green paper at my school which I thought was a good fit for this activity). I then showed the class how to turn their number into a bubble number. Next, I told the class that they needed to turn their 'bubble number' into a monster, and lastly their number monster had to have a minimum of 10 number facts that equal their number somewhere on their page. My students really liked this activity and I thought they did a fabulous job turning their numbers into monsters and coming up with their number facts!