Archives for September 2013

Researching the 50 State Quarters

I like to use the states to research with different types of resources because there are fifty states, and I have never had more than fifty students at once, (48 once!) so every student can be working on a different state at the same time.  Besides reading for information, I like students to practice writing bibliography citations for different kinds of resources. I wanted them to research using the computers, but I don’t have enough computers for everyone to work on at once, so I decided to print out information from the internet for them to use. Information about the state quarters is not information readily available in books, encyclopedias or almanacs, so it is a good subject for internet research.  Plus, nearly every class has a least one student whose family collects state quarters, so I was hoping it would be a high-interest subject too. I printed out information for each state quarter from World Book Online, which my school has a subscription to, but I found a really nice print out from the U.S. Mint, which you can get here. I made sure the bibliography citation was on every sheet, and I laminated each one. I introduce this lesson with a PowerPoint presentation that describes the program and how to write a bibliography citation from the Internet.  Then I give them the booklet to record their research. This is a full page booklet, folded in half and placed on two boxes in the lapbook. The book takes three pages of paper and provides space to research ten quarters. You certainly can put more or less pages in the book. Students randomly select a laminated copy of the state quarter print outs and take it back to their seats to start researching. They draw a picture of the quarter in the box, find three facts about the quarter to write and copy down the bibliography citation. The facts about the quarter should talk about the symbols on the quarter and why they were chosen to include in the design.  When they finish, they exchange their print … [Read more...]

Main Idea Glove and Book

I went to a seminar, years ago, and I can't remember the gentleman who shared this idea, but I've been using it ever since. And I have to say, administrators really like this lesson when they come in to observe, which is always a good thing. First you need a gardening glove, preferably white or light colored, and canvas. It's hard to write on the ones with plastic nubbies. With a sharpie, write the words in order starting at the thumb: who, what, when, where, why.   I use this with the nominees for the Nevada Young Reader Award, which is an award chosen by the citizens of Nevada. Anyone who reads all eight of the picture books, can vote for the one they like the best. I read all of them to my students, every year. When I start out, I read a book that was a previous winner, called Hoodwinked, by Arthur Howard. It's a very cute book about a young witch who wants a creepy pet but finally finds happiness with a cute and cuddly pet. It's an easy story to figure out the main idea. I put the glove on and I hold up my thumb and say, "Who is the main character?" Students will answer, "The girl!" For some reason they never pay attention to the names of the characters, so I will ask again or we can refer to the book. Then I hold up my index finger and say, "what did she finally do?" This is important, because the main idea covers the whole story, not just one event, so we have to figure out what she accomplished. Then I hold my middle finger (still holding up thumb and index finger, don't want to offend anyone ;)) and ask "When did she do it?" When is a tricky one, because many stories don't have a clear time frame. Sometimes we determine it's "one day", or "in the summer". Sometimes, it's very specific, like when we read One Giant Leap, which was nominated last year, and took place July 20, 1969. Then I hold up my ring finger, and ask, "Where did she do it?" Some stories have more than one setting, but we try to narrow it down by linking it to … [Read more...]