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Hi Friends.  This is the time of the year where we are slowing down and moving towards summer thinking.  However, it's a perfect opportunity to engage students with all things hands on. 

It was this time last year that I purchased praying mantis for the first time. WOW, it was one of the most engaging few weeks.  The kids were on egg watch, looking forward to seeing the nymphs emerge. 








Last year I created this wonderful unit but with it being so late in the year, I didn't package it and load it to TpT.  This past week I ordered two new egg cases on Amazon for $8 and look forward to making magic again this year.  You can click the image below to access the unit!


So here's what's included...








 


Here's a few additional images from last year...




And a video...



If you love what this file has to offer, I have two additional units made with the same formatting for butterflies and plants. Just click the cover images below to link to each unit.  I will be adding a few new insects in the coming weeks.  Enjoy!





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Primary Graffiti by Mrs. Saoud - 4M ago
Hi Friends!  I'm looking forward to returning from Spring Break with my Compound Construction Crew.  To prepare for this mini flip, I have purchased a few goodies, but the materials needed for this themed activity can be simply printed from my newest unit. Click the graphic below to link to my file.



For added excitement, I ordered a few props to enhance the flip.  Each year, I buy props for one new flip.  I often times use the materials for multiple lessons in a year. This helps me build a collection of materials that can be recycled for different activities.

This year I bought orange construction vests from Consumer Crafts. I also purchased another of the Antsy Pants collection tents.  I already have a train, fire truck, bus, pirate ship, and market shop in their collection.  There are several ways to purchase the collection.  You can buy the poles separately and then purchased the slip covers or you can buy the kit.  For mine, I have a few kits and the poles where I can buy the slip covers, saving money. Ansty Pants is sold at Target, Amazon, or their direct website.



Working in a title one setting, many of my kids have very little previous knowledge.  For morning work, I will have my kids come into the classroom and investigate tools and vehicles used in construction.  This is simply explore time for less than 15 minutes.  I have the materials set up on rotation for four days to accommodate my four groups.  I will update the post with images after we complete the lessons!

I like to start new skills by introducing them with a BrainpopJr Video.  They're usually between 4-5 minutes and helps give a little background on Compound Words.  I pay less than $10 a month for one home subscription to share the videos in class during my mini lessons.  


Following the video, the kids will use their prior knowledge for individual words to help predict the meaning of a compound word.  I have four examples to chart.  Before revealing the sentence, I want to allow time for the kids to turn and talk about the words and their meanings. You can record a sentence the kids develop or glue the one provided.  Repeat with each compound given. To follow up, students can work in pairs or groups to explain four additional compound words as a work time activity. This can be glued to the chart or independently recorded on their own reproducible page.


The following day, I will begin my mini lesson having the kids explain to me what they know about compound words.  This is a time where I generate misconceptions and understandings.  During my lesson, we will construct a second anchor chart with word parts written versus the visuals in yesterday's chart.  The word parts are separated on different sides of a tool belt to help identify each word separately.  The kids will determine the compound word and hunt for the matching saw that has the image of the compound word.


For a follow up activity, I prepare puzzles for the kids to work on.  Depending on the level of the child, this activity can be completed in different ways.  First, the kids can play as a game of concentration or simply matching puzzle parts.  I've provided a two page reference pages with the images of the compound words students are looking for.  For more of a challenge, the kids can be given the charts after they found the words.  If students are struggling to read the frameparts, lay the charts out for additional assistance.


If you wish, you can also cut out the chart and scatter all the puzzle pieces and image. Have the kids find all three parts for a match.  



Since I don't have a closing, I provided several journal pages for the kids to record the compound word for independent practice.  



After my class has had a few solid days of lessons practicing the skill of compound words, I will do a mini flip of my room.  I use the above mentioned props and a few from my unit for our compound construction day.  Each child will receive a hard hat and tool belt.


In their tool belt, I have prepped pipe parts for the kids to build a compound word.  I have given each child several matches and a few pieces that will not create a compound word.  They have a Compound Construction Manual with three drafts of the Blueprint Designs. Students will construct their compound parts and glue to the pipe template. Then they will record the compound word and engineer a sentence using the word.  I provided two different versions depending on the level of your student.



For more of a challenge, I took away the visual and provided tools for a plus sign.  This forces the kids to determine the compound word parts by constructing words based of their previous knowledge.



While the construction is taking place in classroom, I will set the mood with construction noises.  I linked the hour long video in my unit. 


Teachers, I hope you have a magnificent time with constructing compound words.  If you love this unit, you may wish to check out contraction surgery.  It will generate as much excitement as the construction theme.  Click the image below to link over and read my post!



Here's a video of the action live from our OR!

May 1, 2017 - YouTube


Happy Teaching!
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Primary Graffiti by Mrs. Saoud - 4M ago
Coming back from winter break is always one of my favorite times of the school year.  I typically transition into informational writing with a focus on text features!  Although we've had nonfiction lessons previously, I dissect the standards and give my students a full, holistic approach to the topic.

Over the past month, my students have meandered through various lessons that led up to a collaborative research project, with a partner this week.  I couldn't be more excited by the outcome.  So, let me rewind the clock a bit and take you through my lessons from the beginning.


In mid January, I updated a set of lessons for Non Fiction Text Features that I originally created back in 2011. You can click the graphic below to snag the freebie unit.  Please consider leaving feedback!

My first lesson started with guiding the students to an understanding of fiction and nonfiction. Although the unit is broken into different lessons, a lesson could take more than one day to complete, especially with the extension lessons provided.


We started with fiction using Bear Snores On.  The kids helped me chart what they noticed during the read aloud.  I didn't think to take a picture of the chart but a sample of ideas is provided in the file.  Afterward we took a book walk through nonfiction using National Geographic Bears. Again, the kids helped me chart what they noticed.

We spent a few days on the Bears Information Reader because there was so much content that the kids identified. In fact, I went off my plans at this point and started to share some of the text feature posters when they identified them in the text.


We read a few chapters over several days, specifically out of order to understand that we certainly can read informational texts in any order unlike the fictional text, Bear Snores On.  To prove the point, I checked out the sequel, Bear Wants More and tried to read it starting in the middle.  The kids determined the book had a beginning, middle, and end to sequence the events.


To ensure my students had an understanding, I gave my kids a book sort.  I started with Velma Gratch and The Way Cool Butterfly AND National Geographic's Caterpillar to Butterfly.  With an obvious cover that gave clues, my kids easily identified which was fiction and nonfiction; and sorted the books in a reproducible activity.  Then I asked the kids to sort Wonderful Worms and Diary of a Worm.  This took a little more inferencing and schema to determine which might be the fiction.  The covers were less obvious.  The kids and I determined we needed to read the text to further determine how to sort.  I had one kid that could intelligently tell me based on his understanding that worms won't write a diary.  Most of the kids were hung up on an illustration and photograph.





Now that the kids had a better understanding of fiction and non fiction, we moved into facts and opinions. To better understand the topic, I decided to use dandelions to help create opinions.


If you're interested in the posters featured in the photographs, I have a file for comprehension skills and strategies available here.  I also have one for reading genres here.



Okay, back to my lessons... I used two books to assist in the next few lessons; one for opinions and the other for facts.


Dandelions: Stars in the Grass gave a few good places where we could stop and discuss opinions.  Following our reading and discussion, the kids were given both forms of a dandelion. But before we could investigate, we needed to dress the part.








This investigation helped us develop an opinion of our favorite form of dandelion: white fluff or yellow star shape.






This one melted my heart.  If you knew the kid and his family then you'd know they're a Disney Family, going often.  So I knew the moment he wrote this opinion, it must have been a true connection and solid opinion.


Once I was certain my students had an understanding of opinions, we transitioned the following day to facts.  I read the Scholastic Information Reader, From Seed to Dandelion.  The kids used four sticky notes on the carpet while I read to record four ideas for sentences.  Afterward, they were given four star shaped papers that were die cut for their facts.  We created the dandelion habitat on a sentence strip.  The Fact Mobile turned out adorable!!!



At this point, my kids had a solid understanding of facts and opinions and were ready for text features.  If you recall, we had previewed many the week before when we went off our sequence of lesson during the reading of National Geographic Bears. So, to expand on our previous lessons, I saved some of the Scholastic Magazines my grade level receives.  I also emailed my staff and asked if anyone had any Scholastic Magazines that they hadn't used over the past year.  Each grade level receives them monthly with four different weeks in the month.  The good thing about the magazines are there are plenty of examples, but trouble is that each magazine only features a few. We cut and categorized each of the text features found in the hunt to put on display in class.

Since I found it difficult to track down enough magazines for the kids to complete the activity as mentioned in my lessons, I modified and used all my different National Geographic Readers I've collected over the years.  Scholastic bundles them often and many can be purchased separately at Barnes and Nobles or Amazon. I gave each partner a different color sticky note pad and allowed them to hunt for as many different text features as they could find.












My favorite thing about these readers are the differentiated levels provided. They have a Ready to Read series, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.


Here's a glimpse at a video of two of my boys who partnered for the book hunt.  They're explaining the features they found.  Keep in mind, these boys are in first grade.  One is six and one is seven years old and only had three lessons on text features by the time this video was filmed.

IMG 5701 - YouTube

During the time of the hunt, my class and I played several rounds of text feature Bingo together.  With the help of a title one teacher, we played for several days during our reading block and then the following days during dismissal.


Here's a glimpse of my class playing the BINGO game.  I play several rounds with them.  One of the rounds I called out the text feature and the second round I called out the definition.  The kids developed a better understanding of the features!

out 2019 03 01 17 59 46 - YouTube

Following a few days of playing text feature BINGO, the kids pulled out their leveled National Geographic Reader that they used for their book hunt and were given my Text Feature Journal to explain the features they found in their book.



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Primary Graffiti by Mrs. Saoud - 5M ago
Hi Friends!  Hope your new year has started off with a bang.  I'm popping in to share a little about my charts and how I display them in my classroom.  Over the past few years I've shared my display on Instagram and often receive questions about the display.

SO, let me start by reintroducing myself for those that might be new!  I'm Cheryl Saoud.  I started Primary Graffiti as Mrs. Saoud's Blog in 2009.  I was a looping teacher from K-2 and communicated with my parents through my blog.  By 2011, I merged to Primary Graffiti.  Why Primary Graffiti? I was looping K-2, as mentioned above, and that's the primary years.  I also had my students writing blog posts at the start, and as many of you know, reading primary students' writing is like reading GRAFFITI.


So why are we here today?  I've had teachers asking about my method of hanging charts in my classroom.  Over the past four years, I've shared many posts of my classroom on Instagram.  Many times, the charts on display were in the background of the post.  Off topic from why the post was created, teachers would ask about my charts and how they were hung.  So here it is...


I display four hangers.  What I mean by hangers are the hanging system.  It's simply a laundry hanging system made by Spectrum and sold on Amazon.  I'm not here to sell you anything.  This post DOES NOT contain links that I make money from.  It's simply a system that works for me.  If you click on the word Spectrum, I have linked the product.


As you can see, I display the four main content areas in my classroom.  I have charts for language arts, math, writing and science. I create charted posters to display a summary of what we are learning.  My teacher created chart is created and hung after the lessons with my class. Behind my charted posters, I hang the class created charts on the same topic.  I do believe the kids need to be a participant in the chart creating process.  However, many of my lessons are charted over several days and several charts.  I like to come back and provide a beautiful visual that, as said above, is a summary of the weekly focus.  I clip all charts that go with the focus on the same hanger.

Example:  If we are working on addition, I have an addition charted poster with all the strategies we focused on as a summary.  Each lesson, such as communatitve property, associative property, additive, fact families, etc are all clipped to the back of my summarized charted poster.  If I need to pull a specific lesson, I unclip the lesson and move it to the front.


I find using the specific kind of hangers on the hanging system works best.  When I used cheap laundry hangers with laundry clips on them, The clips would get tangled and charts would easily fall.  This style of hanger allows for a stronger hold on the charts and are smaller given the space between each loop is close together.

Each hanger has a different domain.  I spoke of addition previously.  The hanger in front is subtraction.  I also have a hanger for number sense, measurement, etc.


So as you can see, this is my way of saving all charts for the year.  Being able to recycle them when a specific standard is being readdressed.  I can also spread out multiple charts on each clip during a specific lesson.

Example: I have many different charts that can serve a purpose when independently writing.  I want my kids to feel like all the resources are available at once. One chart is about capital letters.  Another chart is about writing topics.  In addition, I have a chart about adding dialogue.  And, don't forget the importance of displaying the chart about the writing process.  If we are in our writing workshop. I can move each of the four charts out on the language arts, math, and science hanging system to display all at once before moving them back after the lessons.


I'm aware I have a nice space that provides enough room for this display. Keep in mind, one hanging system can be powerful tool as well.  Each hanger on the system could be a different content area, just rotating the actual hanger on the system.  Be creative!

PS.  If you're looking for chart inspiration, I have a pinterest board devoted to it.  Link here.

Happy Teaching Friends!!!!
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Hi Friends,

Popping in to share a new file.  I'm out early next week to attend GYTO in Washington DC.  Super excited to be visiting one of the most beautiful cities during blossom season!  In preparation for my absence, I created a new low prep file for my sub.  

Here's what is included...

Click graphic above! 








If you're interested in the resources shown above, click the cover graphic to snag a copy in my store.

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After several weeks off from school and I unexpectedly needed a sub for a few days.  BOOOO!  I've been so excited to come back and be with my little learners.  I have multiple low prep resources but not one that helped prepare myself for multiple days off from school so I decided to create one.

Here's a preview of all that is included in this file...

















I have several other low prep resources for Elmer and The Case of Stripes.  Each image below has a link to a blog post sharing all the resources available in each low prep file.




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