April 2013 Archive
Re-focus.
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I am taking a little breather.  To spend time with my family.  To spend time at the beach.  And to focus on what matters most.  Follow along on Instagram @CJayneTeach.

I encourage you to use this time, after days full of anxious state-testing stress, to take a deep breath, relax, and imagine yourself in a place that fires you up.  Whether it’s the beach, the mountains, or even just at home with your family.  Take this time to re-center and re-energize.

I’ll be back the week of May 6th with a full week’s worth of lessons, including my original mystery unit that is a really great year end genre study.

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The Etsy Store Soft Opening
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The C. Jayne Teach Etsy store launched this morning for our “soft opening”.  Since some teachers don’t have a TpT account, I wanted to make the lesson plans I’ve written available on Etsy as well.  If you have an Etsy account, you can buy the lessons and download them directly to your computer just like you do on TpT.  Everything is included (the scripted units, book lists, resources and the printables).  Also our TeachersPayTeachers store is still up and running, but now there is just one more place to find C. Jayne Teach.  For now it’s just digital downloads with more to be added over the next month (and a mystery unit is coming next week – yay!).  Our full store with products and all kinds of other fun stuff will launch in July with pre-orders beginning towards the end of June.  Sign up for our newsletter here to be the first to know all about it!

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Flat Stouie

*This post is adapted from the blog Sassy School Counselor.  My friend Laura authors the blog and submitted this lesson to be featured on C. Jayne Teach.  I’ve modified her original post here.

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This project is a new take on the Flat Stanley units that most teachers do in their elementary classrooms.  After Stouie, a READing Paws therapy dog, visited Laura’s school, she developed this lesson for teachers to use with their students over the summer.  She also is donating half of the proceeds from her TeachersPayTeachers shop to the NashvillePitties association, a cause that is very near to her heart.

Here’s how the unit works: At the end of this school year, students get a flat version of our pup Stouie that they can take with them on trips, introduce to their own furry friends, etc.  They can also mail their Flat Stouie around the world.  When someone receives him they will take a picture with him and then write back to the student sharing Flat Stouie’s adventures.  This encourages to the student’s to learn more about where they live, etc.

All students in 4th grade will get a Flat Stouie packet to have this summer. The packet includes the Flat Stouie, letters, and a fun state fact sheet, and more to fill out.  Laura picked 4th grade because it was one of the 4th grade students that designed the official “Summer Flat Stouie.”  She will also give the parents, that attended her last two parent workshops on encouraging summer reading and writing, a free packet.  The students that mail their Stouie, blog about it, write about it, etc. will get to attend a special party in August with the real Stouie.

This project is great for encouraging reading, writing, critical thinking, math, geography, and more.  I helped Laura develop the CCS that would match with her project and they are listed below.

Common Core Anchor Standards – ELA

Reading (of the research only)

Craft and Structure

· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Writing

Text Types and Purposes

· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Production and Distribution of Writing

· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Range of Writing

· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

If you are interested in having Stouie visit your school just email: stouie@nashvillepittie.org and if you want to start your own project at school you can buy the entire 20 page packet that includes letters, research links, and CCSS connections over on Laura’s Teachers Pay Teachers page here.  Below is how Laura will be able to touch base with her students over the summer:

When you are done with your project tell us what fun Flat Stouie had in the enclosed letter.  Don’t forget to take a picture!

You can share Flat Stouie’s progress by uploading a photo to his Facebook Page (facebook.com/FlatStouie)

Instagram a picture or post on Twitter, using the hashtag #FlatStouie

Email stouie@nashvillepittie.org

**Half of the proceeds will go to NashvillePITTIE and help us fund Stouie’s trips to your school.

Thanks Laura for submitting such a great lesson that also encourages students and teachers to help give back!

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AmeriCAN project
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American history is a big part of the curriculum in elementary schools, especially in grades 4-6.  Teaching it in a creative way that attaches itself to the students memory can be tricky.  This creative research project was sent to me by Mrs. Cook, an amazing teacher and also a dear friend.  She had previously done this project with her third graders during a study of African countries.  When she recently realized that her fourth graders were lacking a little American history knowledge, she decided to rename the project and present it to her fourth grade students.

Project Outline

Students are to choose one aspect of American history to research.  This can be anything from a famous American citizen to a President or even a US Landmark (think outside Washington DC though, like Mt. Rushmore).  The students are to research their piece of history and find artifacts that creatively tell about the research.  All of their artifacts must go into a large can.  Mrs. Cook realized that people don’t have coffee cans in their homes anymore, since the invention of the Keurig brewer, so she asked the cafeteria to save her some large food cans for the students to use.  Each artifact needs to be unique and creative.  For example, if the student was studying Andrew Johnson, they may put a peach in their can because he was the first president to be impeached.  Or if you studied the Statue of Liberty, you may put a mini-Eiffel tower inside to symbolize the gift from France and also the collaboration of the engineers who designed both the tower and the statue.  When she did this with her third graders, they wrote a notecard or two about each artifact, but this time around Mrs. Cook is having the students author a book to go along with their can.  The book will include facts and information the students found in their research.  On the outside of the can, students can decorate it how they choose.  This could be with a map, photographs, or even a diorama!  Each student will present their piece of American history in class to their peers.

Common Core Standards

Mrs. Cook is doing this lesson in preparation for the upcoming state standardized tests at the end of this month.  This project hits a number of ELA CCSS for 4th grade and I listed some of them below.  The social studies standards don’t begin until 6th grade, so only Math and ELA are available at the elementary level.  But you can refer to your state social studies standards to review project guidelines and research requirements.

Reading: Informational Text – Grade 4

Key Ideas and Details

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

Writing – Grade 4

Text Types and Purposes

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

Production and Distribution of Writing

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9 Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.10 By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.9a Apply grade 4 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions].”).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.9b Apply grade 4 Reading standards to informational texts (e.g., “Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text”).
Range of Writing

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Speaking and Listening – Grade 4

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

AfriCAN-Project-by-CJayneTeach

Thanks to Mrs. Cook for sharing this really creative lesson.  I think modifications of this idea can be done for multiple grade levels and subject areas.  I know my first graders could have done a similar study on Tennessee history or even a simple version of American history.  And I know they would’ve had a blast finding fun artifacts to stick inside their can.

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Happy Earth Day!
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Happy Earth Day (or Happy TCAP day if you’re in Tennessee!)  There are plenty of Earth Day units on TpT and also Pinterest, so I encourage you to do some searching there today.  But in my classroom, I always began my “planting seeds” unit on Earth Day with my first graders.  I’m going to share that unit here today.  It’s a basic lesson that includes life cycles and the development of seeds into plant (and also really just indulged my hope of having a green thumb one day).  I’ve even included a free printable in my TpT shop to celebrate Earth Day!

Plant Unit

I would introduce the plant unit to my first grades by reviewing the life cycle of a seed.  There are some great books out there that I would have in my classroom library for us to refer to.  Some favorite titles include:

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

The Plant Part Series by Vijaya Bodach

How a Seed Grows by Helene Jordan

From Seed to Plant by Allen Fowler

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston

The students in my school had had a thorough review of plants in kindergarten, so I didn’t have to spend too long reviewing the life cycle.  If your students, however, have not had enough of an introduction to plants, take time to do a day’s lesson on the life cycle of a plant.  I love this video from NeoK12 that shows the time lapse of the life cycle of a plant (and it’s free!)

Next I’d bring in the gardening supplies.  Our school had a science lab that gave me access to dirt, seeds, and cups (I like these cups best), however, if you don’t have a lab, you can use some local businesses to donate supplies to you.  For example, a local McDonalds donated 100 of their clear Parfait cups to a teacher for her students to plant seeds in.  Also a local gardening center was able to offer her some vegetable seeds and she just used dirt from right outside her classroom!  People are so kind to teachers.

Anyway, the students would come up to the bag of dirt and scoop their cup in to fill it about halfway with dirt.  Then they’d choose their seed.  I had bought peas, radishes, sunflowers, beans, and pumpkin seeds for the students to choose from.  I tried to get a variety of growing times for the seeds because I wanted to educate the students later in the unit about growing times.  Once their seeds were planted, they would set them on the windowsill and write their first entry in their plant journal.  I included the plant journal page for you to download for free from my TeachersPayTeachers site.  I used this every year and it was an easy way for the students to record their observations with words and a illustration.  I’d photocopy about 10 copies for each student and have a parent staple them in journal booklets.  A cover design is optional.

I also planted a few extra seeds and put them into the dark closet.  We would observe these and see what would happen to plants if they weren’t given sunlight.

The plants remained on the windowsill and I’d water them after school.  Every 2-3 days, I’d have the students collect their seeds off of the windowsill and journal about their plants progress.  I’d usually do this for morning work.  Then during science time, we’d discuss what we noticed about their plant growth.  Which seeds were growing faster than others?  What do plants need to survive?  Why might your seed not be growing at all?  How are the plants in the dark closet growing compared to the plants in the sunlight?  How does sunlight affect plants?

Depending on the class, we would go into detail about photosynthesis and chlorophyll.  I even had one class interested in the make-up of a seed.  So we dissected them and discussed plant cells.  There are so many different directions you can take a plant unit and it is fun to see the students get so excited about plant progress.  When the seeds had been growing for a few weeks, we would plant them outside our classroom.  The last week of May, I’d pick radishes, clean them and slice them, and we’d eat (or taste) them in class.  Then over the summer, the students would visit the school and pick the veggies that had continued to grow.  One year that we planted pumpkins, we were able to watch the pumpkin grow through the fall.  We picked it when it was a small orange pumpkin and discussed the life cycle while comparing it to this book, Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie.

Make sure to check out my TpT store for the free journal printable and also my complete non-fiction and economics units.  I’m currently authoring a mystery unit that will be posted on there next week, so stay tuned.  Happy Earth Day everyone!

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[Like the above quote?  Purchase it from this Etsy store, here]

 

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