Friday, November 29, 2013

It's a Merry Little Sale!

Hope you are enjoying your holiday. I know I sure have and  have some great news.  Teachers Pay Teachers is gearing up for their annual Cyber Sale on Monday, December 2 and Tuesday, December 3 and my store will be participating!

Just enter promo code CYBER at check out and you will get 28% off the regular price of any of my products.  Lots of other stores will be participating as well.  It's a great time to stock up on those products you have been wanting to purchase.  The site can get really busy on those two days, so start loading up your wish list now to make it easy on the day of.  =)

Enjoy and happy shopping!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Online Research

Some of my favorite information literacy skills lessons to teach are about online research.  It's an important skill to develop and it's never too early to start.  I cover online research with third, fourth and fifth graders beginning in October because October is Cyber Safety month and it fits nicely in that arena. This year, I broke it up into three different lessons:  1) Surfing the 'Net for Information 2) Evaluating and Citing Your Sources and 3) Note Taking.

 Here are some of the PowerPoints I used for those lessons:

You can get a copy of these PowerPoints by clicking here or on the picture above.

I also handout an information sheet that contains website address and information on evaluating websites to go along with our lessons.  I encourage students to keep these at home near their computer to refer to.  This is included in the research pack above with the PowerPoints.  You can get a copy of the pack by clicking here.  If you just want a copy of the handout, click here or on the picture above.

To help students practice evaluating websites, we take a look at a couple of different hoax websites and go through the process of evaluating the AUTHOR, AUDIENCE, CONTENT, and CURRENCY.  There are tons of hoax websites out there; some are really hilarious and some are very realistic.  Here are some of my favorites:

All About Explorers
Help Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie
Dihydrogen Monoxide

To review what we've learned, I made a quick puzzle game that students could work on in teams. The team that completed putting their puzzles together first won a prize.  Another variation would be to give each team only the answer side of each puzzle and call out the question.  Have teams race to be the first to match it with the question puzzle piece...maybe project that piece on an interactive whiteboard.  You can get a copy of that review puzzle game here or by clicking on the picture above. The game is also included in the research pack with the 2 PowerPoints and the research handout.  You can get that pack by clicking here.

I am working on creating a note taking lesson to use during the first week of December. I've found some good stuff out there, but nothing that fits my needs exactly, so I will be putting something together over the next few days.  I hope to have it finished before the break so that I can actually enjoy the break.

Do you have any fun ideas for teaching online research to elementary students?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful for Thanksgiving

I don't know about you, but I am soooooo ready for a long break.  I love my job, but I do find I need time to refresh so that I can be lively and ready for all the smiling faces that walk through the Media Center doors.  That's why I am so thankful for our week long Thanksgiving break.

And because I am in a thankful mood, I thought I'd share some of my Thanksgiving freebies with you.

This week, I've been reading 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey. This is one of my favorites.  I read it every year. This year I decided to use it to reinforce the story elements of characters and setting.

I made up this fun little worksheet for the kiddos to complete while they wait their turn for checkout. You can get a copy of it here or by clicking on the picture above.

Kindergarten kiddos love this fun Turkey Trot alphabet practice sheet, too.  You can get HERE free in my TpT store or by clicking on the picture above.

If you are doing any creative writing with your students, you might enjoy these freebies.  One is a story starter about Thanksgiving.  You can get it here on my TpT store or by clicking on the picture above.

And this one a fun writing paper to use to write a persuasive essay about why you shouldn't eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  You can get it here in my TpT store or by clicking on the picture above.

And of course, you know I have made some Thanksgiving bookmarks.  You can get a set of 4 free bookmarks (2 color, 2 b/w) from my TpT store by clicking HERE or on the picture above.

If you prefer a larger set, you can get a set of 16 for $2.00 in my TpT store by clicking HERE or on the picture above.

I also have a fun Happy Thanksgiving banner in my TpT for $2.00.  You can get it by clicking HERE or on the picture above.

I hope you have a wonderful, restful holiday. Happy Turkey Day!

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Encyclopedia Skills for 3rd-5th

Back in October, I did some encyclopedia lessons with 3rd-5th grades, but because I was busy with Book Fair planning I didn't get a chance to post about it.'s what I did... 

I used part of my reference PowerPoint to cover how to use an encyclopedia.  You can find a copy of that PowerPoint here and on my freebies page.

This is a research sheet that I send home as we are talking about searching for information in various places, like in book and on the Internet.  You can download a copy of it here or click on the picture above. It is also on my freebies page.

Then I sent groups of 4-6 students on a hunt to find specific information.  They could work together in the group to find the answer, but each person in the group had to answer at least one question and write their name next to the question they answered so that I could see that everyone participated.

I did not have access to enough computers and mobile devices for everyone, so we used good old fashioned bound encyclopedias.  Chances are they will be asked on state tests how to look up information in a print encyclopedia as well as an online encyclopedia, so it was good for them to practice this way.  You can get a copy of those practice sheets here or by clicking on the picture above.  I will also put a link on my freebies page.

So far this year I've covered dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias and online searching.  Next up is note taking skills and then after Christmas we move into atlas and almanac skills. What information literacy skills are you teaching right now?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Fair Time!

The Book Fair arrived last week and I spent most of the day and evening last Thursday (yes, on Halloween) setting up so that we could have preview day on Friday.  Here's what the students saw when they came through...

These are the doors on the outside of the Media Center.

These are the doors on the inside of the Media Center.

Here are some close ups of those door signs:

The students love the Hump Day camel.  =)

Since our Book Tweet board is so popular, I decided to make a Book Fair Tweet board.  The kids quickly filled it up with all the things they love about the Book Fair.

This is the  "Doodad" board I make to display the little junky items.  I number everything and keep it behind the cashier table so it doesn't disappear.  Customers tell the cashier what the item number is when they get ready to purchase.  It takes a while to put together, but it is very worth the time.  I got the idea from Mrs. Readerpants.  You can read more of her Book Fair tips here.

Here's the cashier table.

This is the Teacher Wish List board.

This are doors inside of the Media Center leading to outside.

And this is a door leading to a conference room.  I always like to decorate it because it is behind the cashier table and can be seen.

I purchased the Book Fair decorating kit with Scholastic Dollars through the resource catalog.  Some of the decorations can be seen in the pictures above, but most the posters of the Egyptians and mummies I made myself.

I also made these signs to put on the front of each bookcase.  It really helped parents as well as students locate books that were age appropriate.  So many times first and second graders want to head to the 4th-6th grade books that aren't ideal for their age or reading level.  These signs helped curb some of that.

There is still one more day to go and tonight is our special family night event. We are doing a STEM night to highlight our Robotics team and some of our teachers are also going to have some Science experiments that families can do.  I am so tired, but so very grateful to all the families who have participated and volunteered to help make our fall Book Fair a success.

Are you having or have you had your fall Boo Fair yet? Any tips or tricks to share?