Friday, February 12, 2016

Weekly Notes for February 12, 2016

Happy Friday!  I hope you had a great week.  I am currently watching the snow fall out the window. I am loving it because I get to see the pretty snow, but it won't stick to the roads, so I can still get out and about. I am so ready for those warm days and longer daylight hours (only 30 days to go, but who's counting)! So here we go with another week of "notes" from the portable.

Book of the Week
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
I have fallen in love twice this year already.  The first time with Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan and the second time with the Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  If you teach boys... If you teach kids who like basketball... If you teach kids who don't like poetry... If you teach kids who like kids... Basically, if you teach 3-8th grade, then you HAVE to put this book in your kids hands.  A wonderful combination of basketball, poetry, family, friends, and growing up.  This book has it all and your students will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of his new book coming out this year.  These poems are perfect for fluency.  Have kids rehearse them and read them aloud to the class.  This one simple strategy will cover fluency standards, speaking and listening standards, and comprehension standards. This is one I will read again and again!

Lessons of the Week
I love teaching area.  I think it is a skill that so many students can master quickly and it helps them build confidence.  By starting with counting squares and building to applying multiplication skills, students get to show understanding at their own pace.  The other thing I love about area is I can tell students numerous ways in which I use area in my day to day life (and I'm not an architect).  I use area when plotting my garden.  I use my understanding of area when moving and placing my furniture (at home and in the classroom). There are many different (and fun) ways to have students practice area understanding.  This area blog post provides more information on area, a performance assessment, and you can download a FREE practice page to assess your students understanding of area.

This week I am also featuring a February Poetry Literacy Center.  I love using poems in my literacy centers.  Most of the ELA standards can be taught using poetry and I don't have students complaining that they didn't have time to read everything during the literacy center time.

Fabulous Freebie
Want some great social studies prompts to assess your students' understanding of important topics? This post has topics that you can use.  Students have to explain how things would be different if certain events in history had a different outcome.

Recipe of the Week
I have been on a making bread kick lately and this Rosemary Bread has been my treat this week. Paired with an evening drink, I feel a little like I can have restaurant quality in my own home. No babysitter needed or high chairs with two toddlers at a restaurant.

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