Monday, June 27, 2016

6 Things To Do with Paint Chips

I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.
I can't help it.  There is something about those multi-hue swatches that is so appealing.  I used them when I taught a scrapbook class on colors.  AND I love the commercials from Sherman-Williams using animated paint chips.   



I can't help it.  There is something about those multi-hues that is so appealing.  I used them when I taught a scrapbook class on colors.  AND I love the commercials from Sherman-Williams using animated paint chips.   Here are a few ideas for using them in your classroom.
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

1. Vocabulary Gradients

I love this idea.  It's a play on "Said is dead!"  If you want your students to stop using "generic" adjectives like cold, hot, small, and big, give them other ideas.  True text gradients, show words on a scale...icy is colder than cold, but arctic is colder than icy.  However, using smaller or shortened paint chips, even kindergarten can use it to describe "small" as tiny, little, or itty-bitty.  Vocabulary gradients can be alternative adjectives.  Students can also be given a mentor text to hunt for words on the gradient.  In the book "Shiver Me Letters:  A Pirate ABC," students can work in pairs in a word hunt to find words for said and write them on the paint chips.  They can find roared, cried, yelled, questioned, and moaned.) Later, when they are writing you can encourage them to make their writing "colorful."
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

2. Word Family Fluency Flips

As a word family is introduced, this is fun way to practice changing the onset.  Write several words from a single family on a colored strip and secure them with a ring.  Providing the students with word family words on a ring can create a fluency activity for independent reading.  
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

3. Fill in the Blanks

I would suggest laminating these cards and allowing students to use a dry erase marker, but make sure they know they can't erase until someone checks their work.  You can even tell them to write it with dry erase first, then copy the strips to a piece of paper.  This could also be adapted for several math activities, including filling in the missing addend, counting by 2, 5, or 10's, multiplication facts, and patterns.
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

4. Compound Words

This is a "newfangled" (it's a word) paint chip is great for anything that needs to be constructed or deconstructed.  Again, laminate and use dry erase.  They set above is for compound words, but it could be used for prefixes, suffixes, contractions, and...who knows what else.  Again, this can be used for math with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts (to name a few).
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

5. Summary Bookmarks

This activity combines three of my favorite things:  The Magic Tree House, SWBSA, and paint chips. Providing students with a bookmark for their summary is the perfect way to create a reading response activity.  If you'd like a full description of the summary strategy Somebody, Wanted, But, So, And, CLICK HERE. These can also be laminated for extended use.
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

6. Classroom Fun

Finally, this is just a fun one.  I loved making these ornaments at our Winter Party.  

Want more?

Check out my Pinterest Board for Paint Chips.


Be Fair

Don't clean out any paint supply section.  Get what you need here and there...and laminate when you can.  For those of you who don't have access to paint chips, I made a sample pack of things to do. If you'd like a copy, CLICK HERE or click the picture below.


SO this is my mini-obsession.  Do you use these differently?

Although I posted this originally on my blog, Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl, I thought iwas definitely worth the re-post.  I hope you agree.





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Six Summer Reading Tips

Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called KindergartenBy the end of the school year Kindergarteners have started to figure out how to read for themselves. They are voracious learners that are thinking of themselves as readers. How can you keep them reading when they go from this reading environment...
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
to this summer environment...
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Children who read during the summer gain reading skills. Create a summer full of reading with these 
six summer reading tips. 
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Go on Book Trips
Visit your local library or book store often during the summer. Make sure that young readers have their own library card and consider getting them a special book bag. Investigate summer reading programs at your local library and book stores. Sign up for a summer reading program. 
Scholastic Summer Reading Program
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program
Half Price Books Summer Reading Program
Be a Reader
If kids see adults reading they will understand the importance of reading. My  8th grade son and I still love to read side by side, especially during the summer. This summer I have been reading in these fun pajama pants.
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Schedule Time to Read
Swimming, camps, sports events, vacations and many other activities are fun things to do during the summer. It is important to help young readers fit reading into their busy summer schedule.  
Environment Full of Books
Make sure that early readers have a variety of reading materials on hand. They need their own copies of stories that they love along with a combination of informational text and storybooks or early chapter books. Subscribe to a children's magazine to give little readers something to look forward 
to reading every month. 
Read Together
Summer is a great time to read a chapter book to your little reader or practice your storytelling skills. Improvise with different character voices to 
make stories come alive. 
Be a Rainy Day Reader
The best thing to do on a rainy day is to read a book. Make a list of rainy day books so that you are ready when the clouds roll in. 
Happy Summer Reading!




                        

Friday, June 17, 2016

Bookopolis: An Online Reading Community



I love stumbling onto random websites that turn out to be super cool!  Does that ever happen to you?

Today, I came across a fun online reading community called Bookopolis, where kid readers (mainly ages 7-12 years) can explore new books, create a bookshelf, share book reviews with friends, and earn points for rating, reviewing, and book reporting.  The mission of Bookopolis is to ignite a love for reading and to connect kids with other young readers about books and reading.  Teachers and librarians can use this website (for free) to build a community of life-long readers in the classroom.  Students can connect with friends to share book reviews and also swap book recommendations.

Bookopolis is a free website (which is the best kind of website!) where educators can sign up, create classes and add students by giving them a username and password.  Educators and students can log onto Bookopolis from a computer or a tablet.  Once classes are created and students added, educators can monitor and view their students' Bookopolis reading activity (the reading activity information is below).  Plus, if a student had an account the previous year, the website will prompt you on how to merge their accounts so students can always have access to the books that have been read.

Let's dive into this website together to see what it has to offer.  I created some fake student accounts onto my educator profile to walk you through all that this website has for your students.



1.  Student Profile Page
Each student has a profile where they can do a multiple of things.  Students can create a "world name" (which is what their home page will be called), add their gender, birthday, genre preferences, and choose from a large variety of pictures for their avatar character.


2.  "My World" Page
Each student has a homepage which is called "My World" (or whatever name they change it to on their profile page).  "My World" is where students can see their reading activity progress.  It will show their total minutes read (if recorded...definitely an optional feature), total number of friends that they can share books ideas with, book ratings, number of books on his/her bookshelf, number of book reviews and book reports written, and their total points earned (students earn points for everything they do in Bookopolis).  Students will also have access to the books that have been recommended by friends.

3.  "My Books" Page
"My Books" is where students can search (by using an online search engine) for books to add to their bookshelf.  Once a student searches for a book, a summary of the book will pop-up, along with the genre, grade level, interest grade level, Lexile level, guided reading level, and a large number of  student reviews of the book.  Students can add the book to their account bookshelf and categorize it by "Reading It Now", "I Read It", or "I Want To Read It".  If the book is read, students can include the finish date, the number of times read, a 5-star rating, and a written review.

Students can also write a Book Buzz (which is a new feature that was added last fall) and a Book Report.  A Book Buzz is where students share a short book summary, a description of their favorite part, the reason why they read it, and why other kids HAVE to read it.  Book Buzz is basically a way to SELL the book to others. A Book Report is more in depth about the story elements of the text.  Students can also go into the class roster and recommend books to certain friends and give a short reason why they think their friend will like the book.  The recommendation message is then directly sent to the friend's account.

4.  "My Badges" Page
Students can earn points for everything they do in Bookopolis.  Then, those points will turn into badges.  Students can get 5 points for adding a book, 5 points for rating a book, 10 points for reviewing a book, 20 points for writing a book report, 10 points for inviting a friend to join Bookopolis, and 5 points for sharing a book suggestion with a friend.  Once a students reaches a certain point level, a treasure of badges can be unlocked and put on the student's Bookopolis page.  Students can collect as many badges as they can by adding, rating and reviewing books, doing book reports, and inviting and sharing book ideas with friends.

5.  "My Friends" Page
"My Friends" page is a way for students to view their friend's Bookopolis activity ("friends" basically means everyone in their class).  Students can view their friend's Book Buzzes, Book Reviews, Bookshelf, and Awards/Badges.

6.  "Recommended to Me" Page 
This page will show the reader the books that have been recommended to them by other classmates (or friends).  Students can click on the book that have been recommended and read a book summary and multiple reviews.  Students will have a chance to add the book to their bookshelf and categorize the book by "Reading It Now", "I Read It", or "I Want To Read It".
There is so much more to explore and I recommend you go check it out.  Unfortunately, I just came across this website and have not been able to use in my classroom with students yet.  But-I'd LOVE to hear what you think or if you have used it before.  Do you think this would be worth using in your classroom?

Here is a quick, 3-minute video on the introduction of Bookopolis.






Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Authentic Writing at Home

Check out these 9 ideas for encouraging your children (or students) to write at home.  Fun, easy, and authentic writing formats included.  Perfect for summer!
With summer vacation here for many and just around the corner for others, we hear a lot about summer reading and making sure kids read at home while not in school.  But what about writing?  Reading and writing go hand in hand.  So, whether you are finishing up the school year or at home with your kids on summer vacation, don't forget to encourage them to write!  Here are some simple, fun, and authentic ways to incorporate writing at home this summer (and all year round)!
If you are a teacher, consider providing your students with your address or an email address so that they can write to you about their summer adventures.  As a parent, encourage your kids to write letters to relatives whom they may not see as often or friends that have moved away.  Or find them a pen pal...even if it's a kid just a street over, it would still be a blast for younger kids to write back and forth.  It's also usually possible to find an address for celebrities your child may be interested in online...can't guarantee a response though!
Post cards are so cheap to buy!  Purchase them when you go out of town and have your children write about their experiences and send them to a friend or family member.  Super easy and quick writing practice.
The year is so hectic we often run out of time for handmade cards when school is in session.  Have your kids get ahead by making birthday cards for relatives in advance.  They could even make cards for upcoming holidays or decorate thank you cards to use in the future (just leave the inside blank).
Have your kids write reviews about movies they see, books they read, restaurants they eat at, and places they visit throughout the summer.   They can rate the places using stars and then describe why they gave the rating they did.  You could even compare their ratings to those found online.
Do your kids have friends over throughout the summer?  Any family barbecues or birthday parties?  Have your children make invitations for these events complete with the date, time, place, and events.
Get some neat note pads and use them for lists.  Your children can write lists of what they need at the grocery store, things they need to get done on a particular day, books they'd like to read this summer, etc. 
Visit the dollar store and stock up on post its.  Encourage your kids to use them for reminders and messages for family members.  Maybe a message to mom to get some more popsicles at the grocery store, a note to dad wishing him a good day at work, or a reminder to clean up the play room tomorrow.
Have your kids keep a journal of their daily activities.  If you have a little girl, she'd probably love a diary with a "lock" on it and it would probably encourage her to write about her summer days.  Or bring a journal along on vacation so that your kids can write about their trip, the places they visited, and the observations they made.
Before playing a game, have your child write down the step by step directions.  Follow them and see how accurate they were.  You could do the same with recipes before making lunch or even how to get somewhere in the community.


Do you have any other ideas?  Leave a comment and share them with me!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Engage Your Readers with Flashlight Fridays



Turn out the lights and turn on reading engagement with Flashlight Fridays!

Our literacy team took a new direction this year with our school-wide reading incentive program. We wanted to establish a literacy-rich environment where all students were given the opportunity to participate in literacy celebrations.

We did away with required nightly reading minutes, signed reading logs, and rewards given only to students who completed the reading challenge. Alternatively, we focused on creating opportunities for students to enjoy authentic reading, writing, and discussions.

We planned several school-wide activities throughout the year to promote literacy: graffiti walls, book swaps, mystery readers, and Flashlight Fridays.

For today's post, let's take a look at Flashlight Fridays.

Once each month we held a school-wide Flashlight Friday event where students were invited to bring their flashlights to school and use them to read their books during a "lights-out" read-to-self time.

A note was sent home to parents in advance to let them know when Flashlight Friday would be held. Students were asked to keep the flashlights tucked away in their backpacks until it was time to read.

Turn out the lights and turn on reading engagement with Flashlight Fridays!
Graphics: DJ Inkers, Font: Oh {Photo} Shoot

The flashlights students brought to school were as unique as the children. We saw everything from finger-flashlights to headlamps.  Student excitement was undeniable.

Children often doubled up to share flashlights with those who forgot. In addition, many teachers kept a few spares in their desk drawers.

We invited all the members of our school community to participate in the fun by bringing their own flashlights and joining a classroom to read.

Our December Flashlight Friday was my favorite.  Teachers plugged in Christmas lights and stretched them across the floors, and students read by holiday lights.
Turn out the lights and turn on reading engagement with Flashlight Fridays!

Have you held a Flashlight Friday?  How do you keep your students engaged in the task of reading? Please share your ideas in the comment section below.