Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Color Coded Classroom Mangagement

I don't know about you, but I like to make things as easy as possible. More importantly, I like pretty colors.
These bracelets, which you can find here, are a great tool that can be used in so many ways. So, I wanted to share how they can be used in the classroom.

Grouping for Instruction
After teaching a lesson, you can get an idea of which students understood and which did not. Use the bracelets for small groups. While students are working independently, walk around the room and begin handing out bracelets. For example, if you see students struggling to complete the task, hand them the yellow bracelets. Students that need a challenge, hand them a blue bracelet. Once you've handed out bracelets based on your students' needs, call over the yellow bracelets and work with them. Then call over the blue bracelets and have a more challenging activity ready for them.

Rotating through Activities
Give each student a bracelet. Use the bracelets to group the kids during rotating activities. This way if one student loses his group, he can look for students with the same color bracelet.

Partnering Up
Hand out one bracelet to each student. After each student has on their bracelet, ask them to find a partner. For example, ask the students with green bracelets to find a partner with a pink bracelet. 

Taking Turns
If your students are sitting in groups, this strategy will help with taking turns. Hand out one bracelet to each student in the group. If you have four students in a group, you will need four colors. If you have five students in a group, you will need five colors. Use the color only once in each group. For whatever activity you choose, have students take turns by telling them which color goes first, second, third, and so on.

 Job Assignments
I like this idea for assignments being completed in groups. After handing out the bracelets and after students have chosen their colors, assign jobs. For example, the student with an orange bracelet is the captain. The student with the purple bracelet is the recorder.

Retelling a Story
This idea can be used in small groups. Hand out a bracelet to each child. After reading a story, have each child retell a part of the story.
Red=characters and setting
Orange=problem and solution

Check out this post to read about an activity using the bracelets. You can also find a freebie using the bracelets here.

How would you use these bracelets? The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Room to Write #2: Ideas & Details

I hope you caught my last post--Room to Write #1: Sequence of Events! If not, you can find it here.

In this post I will let you in on my little secret for teaching ideas and details.
How many times have your students said, "I don't know what to write about."? I used to hear that all the time, but now I hear it very little. I don't do anything spectacular. I have just found a way to keep it from happening :)

Students use this worksheet and I draw one on the board.
brainstorming, writing, narrative writing
I tell the students they will be writing a narrative. I ask for some ideas of things they can write about. While they think, I give some of my own ideas and I write them in the big circle. Before I finish writing, hands begin to shoot up. I call on students. I write their ideas.

I like to give kids ideas that anybody could experience. . . going to the park, going to Grandma's house, a party, the first day of school. . . I want kids to know that they can write about something other than going to Disneyland.

Once kids begin to hear the ideas of other students, they get their own ideas.

And that, my friends, is how I get each of my students to have an idea!

In Room to Write #2: Ideas and Details, you can find more ideas for helping students with finding ideas or topics.

These cards give children ideas for writing. They get their imaginations going. 
topic ideas

My Writing Ideas envelopes help students keep their ideas organized. They can add ideas as they come up, but they can be used for future writing.

room to write ideas envelope
In the past, I used to sit down with students, read their writing, and after reading ask them to add more details. I used to say this over and over again. Then one day it occurred to me that I have never explicitly taught the meaning of details. Am I embarrassed for telling the world this, yes.

So I thought about how to teach the meaning of details. I made an entire freebie, which you can download here.
Or you can use this. . .
adding details, writing, primary writing, narrative
Before handing out the worksheet, ask kids to imagine a birthday party. What would you do to make your birthday party amazing? Would you have balloons? Would you have a birthday cake? How about some streamers?

These things that make our parties more exciting are details. The words we add to our writing to make it more interesting are also called details.

Hand out the worksheet and tell the students that they will be adding details to this birthday party.

I find students have a much better understanding of reading and writing concepts once they understand the meaning of details. If there is one word I spend time explicitly teaching, it is details. I think it is such a valuable word. . . until I think of a new one :)

Here are some activities included in Room to Write #2: Ideas and Details. . .

These activities help students develop ideas and give students a conceptual understanding of the term. 
These activities teach students the meaning of details. Once they have developed an understanding, they practice adding details to writing.
Once students develop an understanding ideas and details, it is time to write!

Before having children write a narrative with a focus on ideas and details, these samples help students see how to add ideas and details. Children read both samples and discuss the similarities, differences, and what makes one better than the other.
And finally, students choose a graphic organizer and write a narrative with a focus on ideas and details.
To continue reminding students about writing vocabulary, these writing vocabulary posters are a great addition to the classroom.
If you would like to use some of these activities in your classroom, click here.

For more lessons, which include PowerPoint presentations and more activities, click here.

I hope you found this helpful! And I hope you can use these ideas to write with your students.
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