Monday, March 20, 2017

Set the Stage to Engage... with a Louisiana Flair - Part 2

Last time, I shared with you pics of my room for my first room transformation for Mardi Gras.  Be sure to check out that original post, and don't forget to follow Hope King on Instagram and at Elementary Shenanigans to see the inspiration for these lessons in my room.

Now that you have seen the decoration side of the flip, let's look at the Rigorous Content Tasks.  All of these decorations and immersion into the Mardi Gras culture are sure to grab your students' attention for the long haul - BUT they will NOT teach the content.  That part is still on me!  In order to capitalize on my students' interest in the room, I chose to set up our lessons as a series of group tasks, beat the clock style, instead of the "I do, we do, you do" lesson format intended by the curriculum we are currently using.

Our district is currently using the LearnZillion Guidebook 2.0 unit The Louisiana Purchase (which just happens to be written by yours truly! - within certain perameters outside of my control).  My kiddos are currently starting Lesson 9.  Lessons 9 and 10 use the same texts, but build with each additional close read.

Task 1 - Vocabulary.  The original lesson 9 has students select one of three vocabulary words and complete a graphic organizer that examines the definition of the word, sentence context, context clues, synonyms, antonyms, linguistic structure, and similar words - words that look or sound like the vocabulary word.  Students must also apply their learning of the word with an illustration and new sentence using the word.  To create the group task, I instead printed one vocabualry poster for each group, by enlarging the organizer to 11x17 paper and setting up this problem:

Here are some of the groups at work:

And then we presented some of the posters to the class:

Task 2a - Text Annotation.  Next, the students were given the texts from this lesson, a copy of our "Mark Up the Text" mini-poster, and a graphic organizer.  Students were given these instructions:

And immediately, the groups got to work!

Task 2b - Compare and Contrast Napoleon and Jefferson.  Once groups finished their text annotations, they had to show their work to me.  Everyone needed to have complete, correct (and neat) graphic organizers with LOTS of text annotations.  Most groups were sent back to their tables to correct, revise, or add to their annotations or their organizers.  Once their work was satisfactory to meet the goals of the lesson, students were given Task 2b.  Inside, I gave them a poster of Napoleon and Jefferson, and facts about each leader, and both of them.  I also provided the students with blank cards.  Students were to sort the facts onto the charts in preparation for comosing a compare and contrast essay in future lessons.

Even some of my most reluctant students were all in this day!
Come back again tomorrow to see Part 3!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Set the Stage to Engage... with a Louisiana Flair - Part 1

I've been following Hope King over at Elementary Shenanigans for quite sometime.  If you aren't following her on Instagram and her blog, you have got to catch up!  She is BEYOND AMAZING!! Her room transformations are the stuff legends are made of!  She was even recently featured on Bored Teachers.

I have wanted to do a room transformation for some time, but never could decide what to do, when to do it, or how I would actually implement the flip.  The flip is so much more than just a bunch of fancy decorations.  There is a tremendous amount of rigorous content woven into the flip that really activates learning across the content areas and creates meaningful experiences for Hope's students.  I wanted to replicate that in my classroom, but with having a new reading curriculum EVERY SINGLE YEAR for the last 4 (or is it 5?) years... I haven't figured out the flow.

Then it hit me, like a TON of bricks... every year one thing is ALWAYS the same here in Louisiana - we teach our kiddos about MARDI GRAS!  It is only the absolute coolest, wildest, most historically and culturually interesting thing about our state, and in third grade we focus on state social studies in third grade.  Our school uses the departmentalization model for grades 3-5 so I teach 3rd grade readinga and language arts - so technically not social studies.  But there is such a strong social studies component in many of the texts we are using this year, and with Mardi Gras, the whole unit screams social studies integration!

How did I do it?  (Well, to get a true tutorial, go check out Hope King!  I even have the TPT guide she is selling to answer LOTS of questions as you get ready to plan the flip!)

First - set the stage!

I decided to make each "table" (3 tables are really just a group of 6 desks together) it's own krewe.  Krewe is a Mardi Gras term to describe a group of people who work together to make the floats for a parade.  Most krewes have some Greek mythology component, and historically the members of the krewes were secret - hence the wearing of masks.  So we have Krewe 1, Krewe 2, Krewe 3, and Krewe 4.  I didn't spend a lot of time naming the krewes before the flip, because the students are going to build some community and name themseleves, among other activities in our Mardi Gras tasks.

A look across all the tables from the front door of my classroom.

In addition to the tables being decorated, I put bead necklaces on the tables.  Crowns signified team captains, green saxophones signified noise patrol, and several other jobs were decided on by the students.  All team materials were housed inside the bins on the tables - crayons, glue, markers, pens, pencils, highlighters, scissors, erasers, glue sticks, post-it notes...  And the outside of my room was decorated to look like a kid-friendly version of Bourbon Street - basically it was a New Orleans building, a sign for Bourbon Street, and silhouette's of jazz musicians.  I'll post a pic of that once I remember to take it!  (It was dark when I finished building this flip and left the school, so I forgot the pic.)

I hope you enjoyed seeing our classroom flip for Mardi Gras!  Remember to come back for Set the Stage to Engage part 2 - Rigorous Content Tasks!

Monday, February 20, 2017

7 months and 2 days later...

Happy Presidents' Day!  This year has been C-RRRRR-AAA-ZY (as evident by the fact that I haven't posted anything in 7 months)!!!   I hope that I am back on top of things and will be seeing you around the blog a couple times a week for the rest of the year!