Lesson Plans/Teaching Tools

Constructing Classy Introductory Sentences to tap Memories

I find myself preparing to teach informational paragraph structure. Having already done some work with my third graders, I am finding their writing lacking introductory sentences, or they could use some work. Wait, didn’t I write a blog about that? Yes, I did. And, as it turns out, when I go back and read it, it’s pretty impressive. Complete, with a video of me teaching the lesson during the spring of 2019, this blog has lots of valuable information about why the introductory sentence is so important as well as how to compose a really good one.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 7.06.59 AMMission Impossible: The Engineering Process with SpheroEDU

One of the several hooks that Dave Burgess provides in his landmark practical pedagogical book Teach Like a Pirate (2012) has to do with giving students a challenge solve. Rather than having students take notes from a boring lecture, I equipped teams with maps and SpheroEDU robots. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it… And, you are definitely going to want to accept it… is to learn the Engineering Design Process”.

Screen Shot 2019-11-02 at 7.35.08 AMMonsters Inc SpheroEDU Lesson

It took me forever to get on board with teaching my students coding. Nothing was hooking me. I already had lots of things to teach; Yeah, coding is probably important, but if I’m not excited about it, I’m definitely going to ignite anything like passion in my students!

Even after attending a few workshops on coding AND getting to play with these cool robots, I wasn’t sold. Then it hit me: a story. I came up with a narrative. It was Halloween (Literally, this actually happened on Halloween!), and I dreamed up having students turn their SpheroEDU robots into monsters. We would use the popular Monsters Inc. movie storyline to provide a purpose for coding. Kids had to get their monsters from a door to a sleeping kid. Check out the blog to see how it worked.

IMG_2371Assessment With Purpose

I had taught the students the rules for making singular nouns plural. Boring! Now it was time to assess their understanding. Super boring!! It just so happened that I was in the midst of taking a course from PD Campus designed & taught by Ken Ehrman in which I

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was learning how to create video games using BloxelsEDU at this time. Needless to say, rather than photocopying a paper quiz or even making a techy version of the same thing (substitution), I decided to try something new: I made a video game maze that students would have to use noun-pluralization rules to navigate through! Check out the blog to see what I did and how it worked.

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Are you scared, yet? I fear you may love learning perimeter, area, capacity, and problem-solving with zome zombie help;)

IMG_0156Active Math

I love incorporating real-world business practices in my teaching. In this lesson, I had students buying building blocks to construct towers. It was one of the most fun and productive (struggle) learning experiences of the year, thus far!

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This student is reading and listening to a story about a kid being blamed for making a mess. Solving an elapsed time riddle could exonerate the accused.

“The Mysterious Mess” –An Elapsed Time Adventure

I am constantly blurring the line between assessment and teaching. I feel like the best learning is when you are being “tested”. Here is a blog explaining the many steps that went into making a lesson/assessment for the concept of elapsed time. I came up with a story that was really a riddle. This was to teach a math concept, and I didn’t want reading comprehension to hinder students understanding the narrative, so I made a movie of me reading it. The video not only has audio of me reading it, though, I screencasted my use of a prompter so that students could read the text along with me. It was involved, but highly effective.

Planning a Party, Pirate-Style

How long would it take to plan the perfect party? What goes into a perfect party? How long should each activity take at a party for maximum fun? Who doesn’t want to have a party? Well, it takes some planning! Students learned time, fractions, & graphing, all within the overarching concept of time-management, through planning a party.

“Are we actually going to have this party?” students asked over and over throughout the lesson. Apply yourself, and we will see. I ended up bringing in ice cream sandwiches as a reward for their effort.

featureSeamless Simple iMovie Integration

Some tips on teaching iMovie, as well as some ideas on how to use it.

Competition is Classy

This is a blog about the #ReadingSuperBowl that I have done for many years, now. Students keep track of the minutes that they read outside of school. Each third of an hour (20 minutes of reading) is represented by one paper football. Students tape them to a poster football field on the wall. It is fun to see it fill up with reading icons. The contest coincides with the NFL playoffs and ends with the actual football Super Bowl.

firstBuilding Bridges–Classy Connections

This was a fun and creative tool for teaching the classiness of focusing on similarities between people, rather than allowing differences to alienate. I had my students participate in an activity of constructing bridges out of blocks. We have much more in common with each other than the differences that some like to focus on. Let’s work together to be and share class.

IMG_0684“Sympathy for Creativity” A GarageBand Project

This was one of the most ingenious experiences of my teaching career. I took the song “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones, and I changed the lyrics to fit the message of #ThePolitePirates. The plan was to record my students singing the new lyrics using GarageBand.

I had Dylan Peters visit my classroom several times to teach me and my class how to use GarageBand on our iPads. Not only did we record the singing, but we recreated the music of the classic rock anthem. It was fun and memorable. Here is a video showing some of the process along with the final version of the song. You can actually view the song’s structure within GarageBand, because I provided a screencast of it as picture-in-picture.

5 Classy Listening Lessons