Friday, January 31, 2014

Creation Station: Silly Words Context Clues

Well, I'm on snow day #3 and I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't going a wee bit stir crazy. That doesn't mean I'm not appreciating the time and that I couldn't find something to do around the house, like clean, it just means that I'm opting out of the less than fun activities available to choose from. I ventured out to the gym today and the hubby and I just had an amazing dinner at a newer restaurant in our area, so I was able to get out of the house for a bit. The roads are still pretty bad considering we got the snow on Tuesday, and so I will just look forward to warmer temperatures this weekend and a return to a normal week of school (hopefully) next week.

The good news is that I've had a chance to do some creating. I will be starting context clues with my students next week and I wanted a way to engage them in some fun practice. Once upon a time I found a passage called The Happy Hookiespookie. It was a Halloween story that replaced some of the words with nonsensical silly words and surrounded them with context clues so that students could easily find their meaning. Since I can't seem to find anything else like this, creating passages with silly words has been on my to-do list for ages and what better time to create than an unexpected snow day? I've been busy at work and I've got two passages completed so far. Each passage has silly words in it, and it comes with pages to record the meaning of each word and a graphic organizer to guide students to think about the word, the sentence it appears in, the sentence before it, the sentence after it, and then its meaning. I always feel like we jump right in to the "meat and potatoes" of context clues with challenging vocabulary. I'm hoping this practice will provide a fun and engaging warm-up before we try the vocabulary in context. My plan is to create at least three more passages and then make it a week-long pack, but for now I've got these two available:

The story of a boy whose father is getting ready to return home from a deployment, just in time for his 12th birthday. This one has a tie-in to Valentine's Day too since the main character's birthday is February 14th! 

In this passage, Hannah is sad because her best friend is moving away, but her spirits are lifted when Kate moves in next door. 

I've got big plans on the weekend agenda, which mostly involves doing all the things that I could've been doing on these last three unexpected days off! :-) Enjoy your weekend! 


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Three Snow Days in a Row and a Dustpan…Yes, a Dustpan

Here in Virginia we are snowed in! Now, I'm from upstate NY in the Adirondacks, so when I say that, I don't mean 2 feet of snow, but we got 8 inches here on Wednesday and since we are in the south, 8 inches can be crippling to the area. Needless to say, I haven't been at school since Tuesday and they just called to cancel tomorrow too. It's like a second winter break. Though I know we will have to make at least one day up, I've been enjoying it. Yesterday, I was totally lazy. Today I was a bit more productive. Tomorrow it's going to be time to get out of the house and at least head to the gym. Not that I mind being stuck in the house now and then, I mean look at how beautiful my backyard was this morning:
I'm certainly not in a rush to get away from that view, but I'm feeling a bit disconnected from the world after being home for 2 days. 


Today, faced with the realization that we no longer own a shovel and the fact that our cars were plowed in, I did what any person would do. I shoveled our two parking spaces with a dustpan. That's not a typo. See my snow weapon of choice below:


 Hope that brought a smile to your face!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

What Peace Means to Me - My January Bulletin Board

The New Year is here, and it's been a busy start! I can't believe I'm looking at the calendar and that it's already mid-January! We're coming up on the end of our second quarter, which means that we are just about half way through the school year. The time is flying. My group is so fantastic that I wish I could just hit the pause button, though don't let me fool you in to thinking that I'm not also looking forward to summer break. For now, I'll look forward to enjoying an extra day of sleeping in this week. I love 3-day weekends. Whenever I hear that a district is considering a 4-day school week, I think of how fantastic it would be if every weekend was 3-day weekend!

Anyway, I digress. When we returned to school, my classroom had a great discussion about peace. We tied it in with a discussion about Martin Luther King, Jr. I was so impressed at the conversation that we had, that I decided to use it for my January bulletin board. Each student was asked to explain what peace means to them. They wrote down their answers and then we shared our different ideas of peace. We are in an area with a number of military bases, so there was a lot of great discussion about keeping our military safe, which of course teared me up, since my hubby is military. Beyond that, I was so impressed that they really tackled bullying in their ideas of peace. I thought it was really important for them to hear each other talk about that. I wanted to share my board and some of the ideas that my students shared. It really gives me a lot of hope that these students are so aware and concerned with having peace in our world.







You can download this for free at google docs here:

Peace Is Printable

Wishing you all a 2014 filled with peace and harmony!