Friday, February 6, 2015

Presidents' Day Fun!

The question of the hour is... Are you all ready for Presidents' Day?  Yes?  Wow!  Heck, I'm not even ready for Valentine's Day!  Some of you are uber-efficient planners, and I do aspire to your efficiency, and skills of forethought.  However, I find myself severely challenged in this area.

Lucky for you, I've made an extra special effort, and have been looking ahead to February 16th, Presidents' Day - Hey, that is a whole 12 days from now!  Woohoo! I present...

Mrs. Rios Teaches: Presidents Day Flip Book - writing  and reading activities, vocabulary ideas.

So, one of the things I have been making lately are tabbed flip books.  My students love these!  So, I figured why not continue on, and make one for Presidents' Day? Oila! Click on the picture below to learn more.

Mrs. Rios Teaches: Presidents Day Flip Book - writing  and reading activities, vocabulary ideas.

This book is geared at 2nd/3rd grade, and contains 4 informational passages with text dependent questions.  It also has compare & contrast, persuasive/opinion writing, and a presidential research graphic organizer option.

This flip book is a wonderful opportunity to teach some important Tier 2 (basically, that means high-utility words worth teaching) vocabulary words. So obviously, I can't just leave without sharing some ideas for vocabulary instruction.

Several years ago, I purchased Isabel Beck's vocabulary instruction series (Don't bother searching for it - I believe it has been discontinued. Although, you may be able to find it "used" on Amazon). It is pretty awesome! What I love about vocabulary instruction, "a la Isabel Beck," is that she encourages the creation of multiple connections to new words, and that the majority of the practice is accomplished orally. This results in students having a much deeper and flexible understanding of the word, and its possible meanings.  Here are some ideas that you can use with any vocabulary word.

1. Choose new vocabulary words (Tier 2) from your read-alouds.

2. Keep a class poster with columns for the vocabulary words, a short, student-friendly definition, and tally marks for each time someone in the class uses one of the words correctly. (We call this "Our Word Collection" poster.)

NOTE: I will be using the word "collaborative," to demonstrate each activity below. But, as mentioned above, you can do these activities with any word.

A. Hold up a picture of people collaborating. (I search Google Images.) Ask, "How can you tell these people are working collaboratively?" (Notice that I am using a different form of the target word. This develops flexibility, and is important!)

B. Link vocabulary words to gestures. Tell students that you will name some situations, and if they are "collaborative," they should say "collaborative," and link their two hands together. If the situation does not demonstrate the word "collaborative," they should do nothing. (Notice below that the target word is used in different contexts, one familiar, and another outside of school. This little trick also supports a more flexible understanding of the target word.)

  • Two students are studying together for the math test.
  • Tom and Jan argue over who gets to be first in line.
  • Four people carrying a heavy box out to the moving truck.

C. Have students talk to a partner about a time they had to collaborate with someone. How did it feel? What did it look like?

D. Find an image of two or more people arguing. Ask, "Are these people being collaborative? How do you know?" (Having students discuss both images that are representative, AND non-examples of the target word, creates a deeper understanding of the target word.)

E. Have students pantomime working both collaboratively and non-collaboratively. Have the rest of the students comment on the differences. 

For all of the above activities, make sure students are held accountable for using the target word in their discussions!

If you want to have your students keep track of your daily/weekly words, I have a Powerpoint with a form that I have used in the past. (Now, in the interest of time, I just keep the classroom chart mentioned above.) The first page shows how I used to scaffold for my students by providing some of the information for them. This saved us so much time! The second page has been left blank, and is completely editable. I hope some of you will find it useful. Click below to download a copy.

Mrs. Rios Teaches: Presidents Day Flip Book - writing and reading activities, vocabulary ideas.

If you want to learn about other vocabulary activities I do with my students, head over to the post by clicking on the image below.

Mrs. Rios Teaches: Presidents Day Flip Book - writing and reading activities, vocabulary ideas.

Thank you for stopping by,


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