Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Decimal Task Card Centers

This week I have been working on comparing, ordering, and rounding decimals with my class, so I would like to give them some additional practice next week as we head into adding and subtracting decimals.  I'm finally starting to get in the Halloween spirit, so I decided to make some themed task cards for decimal practice in my classroom.  You can get this entire pack {HERE}.

On Thursday, I gave my students a Halloween activity for ordering decimals that I created.  They are given a page with 2 grave stones (with decimals 1.0 and 2.0) and 10 pumpkins, all with decimals on them.  They place the graves on either end of a sentence strip, and have to order the pumpkins from least to greatest between the values of the two graves.  (This activity is also included in the Halloween task card pack).
coloring the graves and pumpkins
ordering the decimals from least to greatest
Below is a preview of some of the task cards that are included in the pack.  I plan to spread out the different sets over a couple of days leading up to Halloween on Thursday.   The task cards are placed on desks around the room, and students are given a recording sheet to write their answers.
I am so excited to celebrate Halloween in math next week and have an opportunity to observe and assess my students' mastery of decimals.

Happy Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Trick-or-Treat Freebie Blog Hop!!!

Trick or treat! This is Jennifer Findley from Teaching to Inspire in 5th taking over this blog today as my trick, but keep reading to get your treat!

Several bloggers at {The Teaching Tribune} have joined together for this Trick or Treat Blog Hop. You will find more tricks as well as plenty of treats as you hop from door to door.

I have TWO treats for you today!

First up is a fun Halloween Math Center with friendly ghosts that reviews decimal place value. Click on the picture to snag your freebie.
I have a fun Fall Themed Freebie for you also! This is a no prep printable that also reviews place value. Click on the picture to grab your copy!
Now it's time to go "next door" to discover the next trickster and collect another treat. Click on the picture below to take you there!
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Flash Sale!!! Ends tonight at midnight (Hawaii Time)!!

Congratulations to TeachersPayTeachers for hitting 100,000 likes on Facebook this weekend!  To celebrate this huge milestone, they are having a 10% off sale on their website.  Just enter the promo code FB100K when you check out.  To make things a little more exciting, I have decided to put MY STORE on sale for 10% off as well.

The sale ends at midnight tonight (Hawaii time), which is 5 a.m. EST on Monday morning, October 14.  Enjoy the rest of the long weekend and happy shopping!

P.S. - Don't forget to enter the promo code!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Writing Activity Using "The Chronicles of Harris Burdick"

October is one of my favorite months for teaching narrative writing.  For the past two years, I have had my students create an exciting narrative writing piece using the photos from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg, award-winning author and illustrator of Jumanji and many others.

I got the idea for this assignment from a fantastic website that provides lessons and questions for teachers to use with Chris Van Allsburg's photos from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.  You can find it here.  There are also several other websites that have great tips and lesson ideas for using the illustrations from this book as writing lessons.  I'm going to share with you exactly how I use it in my classroom.


To get my students engaged and excited about the writing activity, I read some of the short stories from Allsburg's The Chronicles of Harris Burdick where famous authors, such as Lemony Snicket and Stephen King have created their own stories based on Allsburg's illustrations.   My students really enjoy seeing how the author manages to tie the photo and caption into the story.  I have purchased the book on Amazon and here is what it looks like:
I print out the photos from this story (along with the titles and captions) and display them in my room for my students.  Each photo is a unique black and white, charcoal drawing.  My students chooses one of the iconic photos from the famous collection and must create a narrative around it using the writing techniques I have taught them through our Empowering Writers program.  Within the story, the caption that goes with the photo must be used and make sense within the context of the story they create.  The sentence can come anywhere in the story that they would like (it could be the first sentence, the last, or somewhere in the middle).  We usually work on this story for the entire month of October.  Since the photos and captions are somewhat mysterious, I tie it into Halloween by having them make their story somewhat spooky and mysterious as well.

Here are just a few of the photos included:
When my kids publish their stories, I have them write it on special final draft paper, and also create a cover page with an illustration to go with their narrative.  On Halloween, the stories are due and we have a special celebration for sharing them.  I have parents send in the ingredients to make s'mores (except for fire) and we sit around with the lights low, eat our s'mores, and share our stories.  Since we can't have an actual campfire in school, I project one from Youtube on my Promethean board to give it an extra special effect.  Here are some of the ones I like for the best campfire experience:   a long-lasting outdoor campfire and an indoor fireplace video.

You don't need to use this resource just for writing.  You can also incorporate the stories from The Chronicles of Harris Burdick into Reading by using discussion questions from Chris Van Allsburg's book,  here.  It's a fantastic way to expose your students to several well-known authors and compare how different authors can create a completely different story using the same exact photo that they are using.

I hope you like this idea and can maybe even use it in your own classroom.  If you also use some of Chris Van Allsburg's stories and illustrations for reading or writing with your students, please comment and let me know how.  I'd love to get even more fantastic ideas for incorporating great literature into my classroom.