Monday, July 8, 2013

Literacy Ideas for the real world

I love literacy ideas that actually will be useful.  Sometimes I see beautifully decorated classrooms, but if the teacher is working way harder then the students...something is wrong.  Way way wrong.

I don't know what it is about word walls, but I am awful at keeping them up to date.  Our school does "power words" of the week to improve our students' vocabulary, but around November, I get overwhelmed (shocker) and forget to staple up any new words.  

However, I stumbled upon this idea on Pinterest:

Using paint chips from Home Depot or Walmart, students work with you to create the word wall.  Students can also make their own mini-thesaurus by using the longer, skinny paint chips, a three hole punch and binder rings.  The binder rings are to clip all the paint chips together to a desk so the pages don't go missing :)

Alternative Ideas:

1. Using these paint chips for "shades of meaning" for vocabulary

2. Using these paint chips for synonyms & antonyms, as shown below

3. Using these paint chips for affixes or Greek/Latin roots

4. Using these paint chips for operation strategies (math)

5. Using these paint chips for test-taking strategies

6. Using these paint chips as a monthly book challenge where students must read one book per color (can be modified by using paint strips with less colors), as shown below

7. Using these paint chips for word families (for younger grades), as shown below

8. KWL (what I know, what I want to know, what I learned) charts, as shown below

Second issue: editing and revising

I'm constantly looking for real world examples beyond my students' notebooks.  Then I stumbled upon this gem:

Students here are shown with tweets from NFL stars, but this could be changed to celebrities or other sports depending on students' interests.  I love how it hooks them by using technology references (Twitter, tweets) and by incorporating their interests.  Students can work in groups to be the stars' "publicists" and edit the tweets.  These can also be used as mini-lessons to address specific skills that are seen in students' writing.  Plus, students can see the real world implications of poor grammar :)

Idea #3:
Dollar Store picture frames = instructions for centers, stations or computers.

I would probably use this to display website links, user names and passwords for computer sites because the picture frame can be easily stored on top of the computer.  Obviously I'd use a larger font, but this helps students become self-sufficient at stations.  You can list the do's and don'ts of each station, thus eliminating (or at least reducing) the number of interruptions you receive while with small groups.  Plus, you can easily switch out the pages and the cost is relatively cheap :)

Idea #4: The Class Journal

Now, these composition notebooks aren't cheap and I certainly wouldn't devote an entire notebook to a single prompt, but I like the idea.  You could put in post-its or tabs to differentiate the prompts or have the journals for table teams.  This would be a great back-up plan for when technology chooses not to work (since many of my lessons are on the smart board) or for students who finish standardized tests early :)

Idea #5: Peer Reviews and Book Recommendations

I found this image on pinterest and while it is a bit juvenile for fifth grade, I like the idea of students recommending books to one another.  I mean, we do this all the time as adults, so why not have the students do the same?  (Ok, I may not do it as an adult, but Oprah does and I like her book recommendations!)

This makes me want to have a mini-book fair between the classes and have students do a book share :)

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