Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tried it Tuesday: Frosting Color Wheel

A few years ago, I had a good friend of mine volunteer to teach art to my kiddos every Friday...yep, EVERY Friday :) She planned everything and got her own materials.

I loved everything she did so much that I've done many of them in the two years since. I always text her a picture of our re-creations in appreciation - starting with this one. I'm using it for Tried It Tuesday, and definitely think you should try it if you teach your own art.

I like to start off the year by doing more simple line drawings, learning about shades and tints, and this week's lesson...the color wheel. Art is something you can really go crazy with, and with this lesson, your students will have fun creating and get to eat their art afterward.

So here it is...the frosting color wheel!

This idea didn't come from me, or even my friend originally. After some browsing, I think this is the original. Check it out for more detailed directions.

I wanted to teach students about primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, and this is a fun way to do it.

Start with 12 Ritz crackers (you can also use vanilla wafers if you want everything to be sweet). The picture above is from before I forgot that we needed 12 and gave the students 9 instead. Oops :).

I asked the students if they knew what the primary colors were. They knew this already, so that was great. I had bought 3 containers of vanilla frosting to use one for each primary color. You could also buy them already colored if you can find them. I mixed up the primary colors in front of them. We talked about how the colors were not as vivid as the food coloring does not get the frosting as bright.

I gave each student a good size blog of all three primary colors on their plate and they added them to their Ritz crackers. This is a good time to talk about fractions (or patterns) and they can figure out how to break their color wheel in three parts so they know how far apart to space their primary colors.

We then talked about secondary colors and how to make them. They took a small blog from their blue and red to mix up some purple, and then did the other secondary colors. Be sure to tell them to take a decent amount of frosting to mix up their secondary colors, otherwise they won't have enough to mix up the tertiary colors and will have to make more of the secondaries.

After we had done the secondaries, we talked about the tertiary colors. By this point the students were pretty confident in what they were doing and were able to mix and finish on their own.

They stayed really engaged in the task the whole time. We do art at the end of the day, so I made them take theirs home before eating them so as to avoid hyper children (sorry Parents).

I even heard some, "This is the best art project EVER" comments :)

Of course they have to test what happens when it's all mixed...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Interactive Landforms Activity

Drumroll please...

Last week I tried my first interactive notebook piece. I've seen these everywhere on blogs and TpT and felt like I had to give them a try. I tend to have a hard time coming up with great fun ideas for Social Studies, so I decided this was the place to start.

Using Lovin Lit's Interactive Notebook Templates and the posters from Landforms Posters and Bingo Game for the definitions and pictures, this is what I came up with.

Very simple, but still managed to take us two class periods to complete. How do you folks do this on a daily basis and still fit everything in? I think it took us longer cause I had to explain everything in detail as it was our first time, but still...is there a trick to speeding up?

They did pretty well on the quiz the next day, and many of them said they used their interactive notebook page to study, so that was positive :)

Have a great week!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dyslexia Dialogue

After four long summers, I'm finally finishing up my Master's in Literacy Instruction this year. However, I still have to complete my large professional project before I'm done.

My project is going to be a booklet (and a bucket-load of research and one very long paper) about dyslexia. It's a subject I've been interested since my first year of teaching when a student a student with dyslexia (and just about every year since). It's a topic that most teachers unfortunately do not know much about because the little training we received was from research done a while ago.

A lot has changed in the area of dyslexia research in the last few years...so much that the amount of research is very overwhelming. My project will mostly focus on the background research of dyslexia (genetics, brain info, possible causes) and how classroom teachers can look for signs of dyslexia at the early grade levels K-2, so they don't have to get behind in school before they are noticed.

So, just in case some of you want to learn more about dyslexia, I'll be posting a few highlights from my weekly research visits to the library (hopefully each week :)). Here's a bit not only from this week, but from my whole summer-long research.

Thanks to  I Teach. What's Your Super Power for the pretty papers.

- The function MRI can show that there are differences in the brain when a person with dyslexia reads compared to a person without. This dispels the old belief that there really is no such thing as dyslexia and it's just simply when students don't read well.

- Dyslexia is largely genetic. While some of the genetics are not known for sure yet, we can show that around 60% of students with dyslexia also have a parent with dyslexia (unfortunately this is not always helpful yet as many of the parents don't know they have dyslexia...).

- Dyslexia and ADHD have some of the same genetic makeup and are often comorbid disorders (two medical diagnoses at the same time). Many students that have dyslexia also have ADHD and vise versa. Some studies have shown that as much as 40% - 60% have dyslexia and ADHD together, though usually are not as hyperactive as a student with just ADHD (especially girls).

- Early detection is key, because there are still studies showing that while we can teach students to read accurately at any age, fluency is hard to teach past a certain age, and some students may never learn to be fluent readers.

- One of the early factors that can be detected in students at risk for dyslexia is that they were late talkers. While children can start talking late and catch up, students at risk for dyslexia have a hard time acquiring new verbs at the same rate as other children around ages 2 - 3.

That's all for tonight. Please send me a comment below if you have any questions (or comments) about dyslexia. Anything you're curious about will help me be able to guide my research and have a particular area to focus on in the upcoming weeks.

Resources (all summarizing is in my own words...if you want the real things, here are some sources to check out):

Germanò, E., Gagliano, A., & Curatolo, P. (2010). Comorbidity of ADHD and Dyslexia. Developmental neuropsychology35(5), 475–493. doi:10.1080/875656412010494748

Koster, C., Been, P. H., & Diepstra, H. D. (2005). Differences at 17 Months : Productive Familial Risk for Dyslexia and, 48(April), 426–439.

Lyytinen, H., Ahonen, T., Eklund, K., Guttorm, T., Kulju, P., Laakso, M. L., … Viholainen, H. (2004). Early development of children at familial risk for dyslexia--follow-up from birth to school age. Dyslexia (Chichester, England)10(3), 146–78. doi:10.1002/dys.274

Shaywitz, S. E., & Shaywitz, B. a. (2008). Paying attention to reading: the neurobiology of reading and dyslexia. Development and psychopathology20(4), 1329–49. doi:10.1017/S0954579408000631

Van Alphen, P., de Bree, E., Gerrits, E., de Jong, J., Wilsenach, C., & Wijnen, F. (2004). Early language development in children with a genetic risk of dyslexia. Dyslexia (Chichester, England)10(4), 265–88. doi:10.1002/dys.272

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Reveal!

I survived my first day of my sixth year of teaching. Last week was crazy...12 hours+ at school trying to wait until the renovations were done, painting, and then putting my room together. I'm still missing my tv, clock, and haven't found the cord to plug my phone in, but otherwise am thrilled with the results. Take a look :)

This is the view from my classroom door. It's hard to get the whole thing in the picture.

Right inside my front door. Did I mention that I love IKEA? I bought all new furniture for my room for less than $500. Those pink boxes I just had to have, but they don't really have anything in them yet :)

I have a lot of very involved parents in my classroom this year, so I decided to create a little basket of things for them to do if they have time to volunteer. This way they can just walk in and have something to do without worrying about interrupting our class. We'll see if I remember to keep it filled.

I took my cue from many of you this year and got rid of my teacher's desk. This corner serves to house all the things that my desk usually would. The boxes (from The Container Store) hold all of my math and reading task cards, math centers, Reading A-Z books, student records, copies, etc. I also have my teacher toolbox (which I haven't finished), and a place for students to turn in their work. Right next to this area is my table for group work which I forgot to take a picture of.

Here's my effort to make parent/teacher/student communication better. This is my tiny version of Schoolgirl Style's organization station. I'll stick extra notes for parents here, weekly newsletters, a place for students to pick up their work if they were absent, book orders, calendars, etc. Hopefully it works. I'll keep you updated...

This is the huge bulletin board right inside my front door. The black paper is where I'll post student work to display. I wish you could see the ribbon holding them up. It's turquoise rick rack and the papers are held on with tiny bright pink clothespins. I'll have to take a closer picture, cause it looks so cute. Thanks to my helper for three weeks (a college student doing her elementary school exploratory) for putting both of the boards together :)

Love my new reading corner. So bright and clean looking

All chevron decor from the pictures is from here:

I have two white boards this year. My main one is blank - my side one is for my reading center. Here I have space for my anchor charts for reading and writing workshop, and a place for me to write what we're doing each day for my students to copy in their planners.

Here's what the whole thing looked like before I filled the book boxes and finished the board. $20 IKEA rugs anyone? :)

My book boxes hold notebooks/journals and binder for reading/writing workshop, reading books, and individual whiteboards for each student.

Anyone done the bucket filling? I bought this neat unit that has everything I need to get started.

That's it for now. After being at school for 12 hours, folding laundry, and making this post, I'm ready for bed :) Hope you have a great week!