Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, friends!
I am headed off for a fun night at our church's Trunk N Treat,
but before I do I wanted to share a fun sale h
appening in the TPT world...

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Jessica-Lawler
My ENTIRE store is 20% off!
And here's my costume for the night...
A pig in a blanket! :)
Sitting with me is the wonderful Becky
from
"Compassionate Teacher"
 
I hope you have a wonderful evening, filled with massive amounts of candy consumption and collecting some goodies on TPT!

World War 1 Unit

Happy Wednesday, friends!
Today was a wonderful day in my little corner
of the 5th grade world :)
My students were on-task, diligent, and so much fun!
For the past two weeks we've been working on an interesting history unit focusing on World War 1 
Soldier Saluting
(interesting tidbit: it was actually called "The Great War", that is, until World War 2 came around!)
The students literally CHEER when I tell them
to pull out their History books. 
They are so fascinated by the whole concept - and it's not something that they have previously studied. The first day of the unit, I did a big introduction of our chapter and the students were so curious to see "who won the war!" Unlike the more familiar details of World War 2, they really had no frame of reference for World War 1.
To start the unit, we watched this
great video from the History Channel:
Finding childrens books written about World War 1 has proven to be a challenge. I'm slowly building my collection in my classroom library. 
But, I did find two winners that I shared with my class.
In our unit, we discussed Flounder's Field, the poem written to honor the soliders who died.
We read this book:
The lines of the celebrated poem are interwoven with fascinating information about the First World War, details of daily life in the trenches, accounts of McCrae's experience in his field hospital, and the circumstances that led to the writing of "In Flanders Fields."

Then, expanding on the story, we read this INCREDIBLE book about a schoolteacher who makes a difference during World War 1. 
When American soldiers entered World War I, Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, knew she had to act. Some of the soldiers were her students and friends. Almost single-handedly, Moina worked to establish the red poppy as the symbol to honor and remember soldiers. And she devoted the rest of her life to making sure the symbol would last forever. Thanks to her hard work, that symbol remains strong today. Author Barbara Elizabeth Walsh and artist Layne Johnson worked with experts, primary documents, and Moina's great-nieces to better understand Moina's determination to honor the war veterans.
The illustrations are some of the most beautiful
I've ever seen in a book:
It's a perfect book to read for Veteran's Day
(coming up on November 11th)
I'm working on a packet to accompany the book - stay tuned! :)
I'm loving this book so much, I'm linking it up with 
One thing we really emphasize is the emotions that are raging during a war - the emotions of the countries involved, the officers, the enlisted soldiers, and the people left at home. One place where emotions run high are during recruitment campaigns to get men to join the armed forces. To further our discussion of recruitment posters and persuasive techniques, I have the students a special assignment. They had to choose a country to represent, come up with a persuasive slogan, and then design and decorate a recruitment poster. 
They did a phenomenal job!
 
On the back of the poster, the students needed to write two sentences explaining the persuasive tactic used in their poster and why it would be effective in motivating people to join the war effort.
 
You can snag the project (with options for the American Revolution, the Civil War, WW1, and WW2) by visiting my TPT store HERE!
I'm so glad I TRIED the idea this week :)
Link up ideas you've shared with
Holly from "Fourth Grade Flipper"
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This week's Jivey's topic for "Workshop Wednesday" 
is incorporating content areas into writing
Lastly, we wrote letters to soldiers in World War 1. The students did such a phenomenal job - they wrote such heartfelt notes of appreciation for the sacrifices these soldiers made.
Link up your ideas for incorporating the content areas into writing with Jivey!

Sparking Student Motivation: I Have, Who Has

I love Saturday mornings.
I always wake up early.
Not it's-time-for-school-super-early,
but early enough for the night chill to still be lingering in the air.
Early enough to need my polka dot slippers and fuzzy bathrobe.
Early enough to appreciate the silence.
And the peace of knowing I don't need to rush.

This morning has consisted of a wonderful quiet time exploring the book of Galatians.
Here's the thought from God's Word that I'm pondering today:
Galatians 1:10
and then I spent some lovely time putzing on Pinterest :)
Click HERE to see what I've been pinning!

Now I want to share something that has been
motivating my students this week:
This week I introduced the game
"I have...Who has?" to my students.
{if you're unfamiliar with the game, click HERE to read about how it works.}
Do you ever play this game in your classroom? It is motivating, engaging, and provides your students with valuable practice of important concepts.
We played it as a math review game on Friday - I chose a FREE packet of basic multiplication facts from
"All Things Teachery" on TPT  
It has 40 game cards, so I passed out one to each student and then went around giving a second card to my strongest students.
Once they understood the concept of the game, we reshuffled the cards and played again. This time I timed the class - we finished the set in 4 minutes and 16 seconds. We discussed what strategies we could use to improve our time: listen carefully, speak loudly, stay focused on your card, and stay silent (even after your card has been called)
We played the game once more and brought our time down
to 3 minutes and 9 seconds! 
The students cheered and clamored the play again. Now that they understand how the game works, we can play endless versions - teachers have created "I have...Who has" cards for almost every subject and topic. Don't believe me? Do a search on TpT and see for yourself :)

Here are a couple versions I have created:
  
This game is included in my States & Capitals MEGA Packet

Do you ever use "I Have...Who Has?" games in the classroom? If you've tried one that your students enjoyed, share the link in a comment below! :)

Five for Friday: Fun with the Three Little Pigs!

fiveforfriday2_thumb3

This week I jazzed up our Reading class with a fun study of 
The Three Little Pigs
I wanted to branch out from our textbook a little and give the students some valuable and much-needed practice with reading comprehension, summarizing, identifying story elements, comparing/contrasting, and writing.

On Monday we discussed the original story and watched this cute (albeit very kiddy!) video:
Then we discussed different ways we can summarize a story. 
We used the S-W-B-S model:
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Then on Tuesday and Wednesday, we read four different versions of the classic folktale:
 
 
and filled out graphic organizers with important story details:
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On Thursday we looked at all five stories
(the original plus the four "twisted" versions) 
Each student chose two to compare and contrast:
 
We took a vote on our favorite version.
I threw in a little math as we recorded our votes on a tally chart and a bar graph. We then took each book's total and wrote it as a fraction (in simplest form, of course!)
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On Friday, the kiddos tried their hands
at writing their own versions!
We planned our stories:
And then wrote our masterpieces...
 
 
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On a non-teachery note, I had a FABULOUS week with my mom:
We spent the weekend in the beautiful Olympic National Park
And the week ended with a wonderful shopping spree at the Outlet Mall:
Gotta love the LOFT! :)

Well I'm off for a relaxing evening - tomorrow holds the promise of a reunion with a high school friend and a fancy gala for my hubby's work! I love any reason to get all gussied up! :)