"PQ3R" Non-fiction Reading Strategy (Freebie included)

I'm linking up with Holly from "Fourth Grade Flipper" to share an idea that I've tried::


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In Reading class, we've been focusing on non-fiction.

I teach my kids that reading comprehension for non-fiction takes "juice" from a different part of the brain than fiction stories. You have to come at it from a different angle, attack it with different strategies.

Here is one strategy that we tried this yesterday:

It's a basic reading comprehension strategy that has students take note of important non-fiction text features and use them to increase their comprehension and retention:


I used this strategy to introduce our author for the week, John Bunyan.

We read "John Bunyan: Prisoner with a Pen" using our PQ3R strategy: 

While I model ed my thinking on the board,
the students filled in this note sheet in their binders:



We previewed and questioned together and then read the non-fiction passage. Then, they went back and jotted down the answers to their questions. Then we buddy-shared a summary of the passage and practiced working in pairs to create a concise summary of main ideas.

I have each strategy listed on a bulletin board for easy reference:

You can download these non-fiction strategy posters and two student note-sheets for FREE!

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Goals for May

Happy Monday, everyone!
I made it through my first day back after Spring Break - phew! 
And my coworker Rose shared the fabulous news that we only have 6 more Mondays! 
Where did the time go?

As May is quickly approaching, my heart is racing and mind is scrambling to think about all that needs to get done before the end of the school year.
Jessica from "I {heart} Recess" is having a very timely linky - "May Goals"
I {Heart} Recess

Here are my goals for the month:
Personal: I really want to start planning out our dinner menus more effectively. This will help me grocery shop more economically and won't leave me scrambling to find something or stressing because I didn't defrost something after I've left the house. I also need to peruse my Pintrest boards and flag recipes I want to try. I have pinned about 1 million, but have tried like 15 :)

Health: After-Easter sales are killing me! I LOVE LOVE LOVE jelly beans and bought a BUNCH of bags after Easter. Then my husband bought me a couple of bags. Then a coworker gave me a bag. Then my mom...you get the picture. But now they're in my house, calling out to me! And I too often heed their call :)

Blogging: I am so close to 200 followers and I can't wait to host a giveaway! If you don't currently follow me, please do :) It will increase my joy!

School: I really want my students to become better writers. I am determining now to have a valuable writing assignment each week that I can meet with my students to conference about. This way I can help them see the errors and take ownership of their writing so that they understand what is wrong and how to fix it for the next time.

Fun: When I was in high school, I would come down to Manhattan to go to a doctor about once a month. My mom would make the day special by letting me take the rest of the day off and we'd trek around New York City! One of our favorite things to do was tour different exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We haven't been in several years now and are making plans to go in May. I am moving after the school year, so this might be our last opportunity for an easy visit.

And in keeping with the theme of May,
I have a FREEBIE for you... 
Mother's Day is May 12th this year and this packet includes 4 cute and creative writing activities that can be adapted for a variety of grades.
Click HERE to grab your FREEBIE:
"Mother's Day Poetry Activities"
ENJOY!
Oh - and if you download it, please leave feedback :)
Click here to grab lots of other freebies:
ALSO...don't forget that I'm launching a brand new linky on Thursday:

Our first edition will be this THURSDAY:

Please LIKE my new Facebook page:

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All Aboard the Unsinkable Titanic

In April 1912, the RMS Titanic set off on her maiden voyage from England to New York City. The third day at sea, she struck an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic Ocean. In early April my students and I did an in-depth unit on the Titanic - and it was a hit! My students LOVED learning about all aspects of the incident - building and furnishing the ship, the passengers, what life was like on board the ship, the crash, and the subsequent sinking.

You can read more about all of the FUN and ENGAGING activities HERE.


I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their weekly
"Must-Read Mentor Texts" linky party:
The theme this week is Social Studies - one of my absolute favorite subjects to teach!

Here's one of the best books I used in my Titanic unit:

I LOVE the Eyewitness Books - they are chocked-full of valuable and age-appropriate information on a myriad of subjects. Topics covered in this book include:
*The building of the Titanic
*Captain and Crew
*First, Second, and Third Class Travel
*A deadly collision
*Sinking

Here are some sample pages:
You can see how well-laid out the pages are.
They are chocked-full of interesting information, diagrams, and pictures.
I read different sections to my students each day -
and they hung on my every word and clamored to see the pages.


If you're interested in doing a Titanic Unit with your students, click on the picture below to preview:

And, as a special treat, I have a FREEBIE for you :)
A little tasting.
A sampling.

Here's a Fact and Opinion activity to supplement a study of the Titanic:
  

ENJOY!
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BlogLovin'

Have you heard of bloglovin' ?

It's an easy way to follow the blogs you love :) 
It's a one-stop spot to catch up on all of the
recent posts from the bloggers that you follow.

Click the link to "Follow My Blog"

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Class Compliments Whole-Class Motivation

Happy Saturday, Friends!
I am off on a fun-filled girly adventure day to New York City to shop, explore, and see the new Broadway show, Cinderella!
But before I head out, I want to say that I am LOVING
Head Over Heels for Teaching's linky party:
I LOVE reading and perusing all of the fun ways that teachers spark and motivate their students in the classroom. I have pinned about 90439 ideas already! :)

Today I want to share about my whole-class incentive plan:
To earn "Class Compliments," students have work together as a class to earn "stars" from me, from specials' teachers, or from other adults in the building. 
They earn them for: 
  • going ABOVE AND BEYOND in their participation, their diligence, their kindness to one another, their self-control (that's a big one!)
  • walking absolutely silently in the hallway (especially if we have a traffic jam at lunch causing the kids to have to wait for a long time)
  • showing role-model-worthy behavior to younger students
The kids LOVE earning stars...and they hate losing them. 
If the entire class is not demonstrating exemplary behavior (i.e. excessive chatting, noisiness in the hallway, horsing around in the classroom, etc.) then a star "falls" from the board.

Once they earn 10 stars, they've earned a PARTY!
We've had 4 parties so far. Each time they reach 10, the students vote on one of three different options and vote on the way they wish to celebrate their success:

1. An "In-Tents Reading Party:" the students bring books, blankets, and flashlights, and build tents to read in for the morning. A big hit - anything to get kids excited about reading :) (get it? Intense...in TENTS) 

2. Movie & Popcorn Party: 
The most recent movie we watched was The Incredibles - the students LOVED it!

3. Game-board Party: The students are all allowed to bring in a game - non-electronic! That's a tough concept for them :). We empty out my game drawer and they go to town playing and chatting with their friends. It's an awesome time to sneak in some educational learning (Apples to Apples, Jr. anyone?!) and to give them valuable, hands-on practice in compromising, negotiating, and pleasing others. Plus, it's FUN!

*For our next party, we're going to be heading outside, now that the weather is beau-ti-ful!*

 Here's a sample of the note I send home to the parents once we've earned 10 stars:



The parents know about the system and are frequently checking in: "How many stars do we have?" or "Have many more stars til I need to bake cupcakes again?" :)
I'm blessed to have such generous parents.

What do you do to motivate your students as a whole class?
Link up your idea (or any motivational idea!) with Joanne at "Head over Heels for Teaching"

But BEFORE you head over...
I want to announce that there will be a...

NEW LINKY PARTY starting Thursday!
I am teaming up with my dear bud, Becky from Compassionate Teacher, to bring you a brand-new, exciting, inspiring, motivating linky party...
"Tricks of the Trade Thursdays"
Each Thursday there will be a theme (such as homework collection and management, manipulative storage, transition motivators, incentive systems, desk organization, filing systems, etc.) and you are invited to link up your tricks of the trade, or any ideas, systems, Pinspirations, strategies, etc. that keep your classroom running smoothly.

Next Thursday, May 2nd, will be our first edition. 
The theme will be...
Questions to consider:
What tools do you use to create bulletin boards? 
How often do you change them? 
Do you have boards that stay up all year?
What types of materials do you put on them?

*PLEASE JOIN US!*

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My Productive and Relaxing Spring Break!

Well today is bittersweet as it's the final weekday of my Spring Break! I am soon saying good-bye to my life of luxury and jumping back into the classroom. I do miss my kiddos, but I have certainly enjoyed my time off. 

Here's a re-cap of my wonderful, glorious, Spring Break week:
fiveforfriday

1. Surpassed 100 products on TpT
TeachersPayTeachers  - Lesson Plans,Teaching Materials and Other Teacher-Created Resources
This week I was a product publishing machine :)
I have surpassed 100 products in my store - almost half of them are FREE!

Here's my latest packet to accompany my lovely IDIOMS unit:
Did you realize how many idioms derive from sports?
Here are a few examples: across the board, ball is in his court, a ballpark estimate, dive in headfirst, down to the wire, drop the ball...the list goes on and on!
Your students (especially those rough and tumble boys!) will LOVE playing this game- and they'll learn valuable vocabulary skills while they're at it!

Note: If you missed the FREE Weather Idioms Packet from last week, click HERE!
 2. Great couponing site:

Are you a couponer? 
I am not. 
I would like to be. 
But I clip coupons. And then I lose them. Or I forgot to use them.
"Couponing to Disney" is an awesome site that delivers coupons to your inbox!  I have used so many of them already.
My favorite part: she highlights 49 FREE Kindle books each day! 
My Kindle library has grown exponentially :)

3. Crafty Creations: I had a lot of fun CRAFTING this week!
Here are a few of cards that I made:
 
 


You can read more about my crafting creations and Cuttlebug tutorial HERE.

4. Book Studies
I have been working diligently on several book study products.
This week I made:


One COOL Friend is the 2013 Caldecott Honor Book and it deserves the honor! 
I LOVE Penguins, so when I heard about this book, I knew that I needed to have it for my library! It is so fun and surprising that the kids will love it. It lends itself to a study of penguins, the arctic, and explorers.
I have created a 12-page packet that you can grab FOR FREE!
If you download it, please leave feedback!

Book Study Projects I am currently working on:
*Hatchet
*Island of the Blue Dolphins
*Because of Winn-Dixie
*Mrs. Smith's Incredible Storybook

Speaking of FREEBIES - have you been taking advantage of my frequent FLASH FREEBIES on my Facebook page? If you've missed them, please "LIKE" me!


5. NEW LINKY PARTY starting Thursday!
I am teaming up with my dear bud, Becky from Compassionate Teacher, to bring you a brand-new, exciting, inspiring, motivating linky party...
"Tricks of the Trade Thursdays"

Each Thursday there will be a theme (such as homework collection and management, manipulative storage, transition motivators, incentive systems, desk organization, filing systems, etc.) and you are invited to link up your tricks of the trade, or any ideas, systems, Pinspirations, strategies, etc. that keep your classroom running smoothly.

Next Thursday, May 2nd, will be our first edition. 
The theme will be...

Questions to consider:
What tools do you use to create bulletin boards? 
How often do you change them? 
Do you have boards that stay up all year?
What types of materials do you put on them?

*PLEASE JOIN US!*
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