Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bringing Vocabulary Practice into the 21st Century

Here's a quick post to share something that was a huge hit today with my kiddos. Building vocabulary is a large part of our reading instruction. We talk about the words, make sentences with them, have collaborative conversations about them them, write about get the picture. We do a lot with our vocabulary, but today I wanted to shake things up a bit.

If you haven't used this awesome website, you have to go check it out. It is really easy. Just type in a conversation, hit create, and your text conversation opens in a new web window. You can save the picture using your right click or copy the web link to post onto Edmodo, email, or wherever.

We have a class set of Kindles, so my students used them to create their fake text conversation. The only stipulation was that it had to make sense and include at least three vocabulary words. Once finished, they copied the URL of the fake text and posted it to Edmodo. Success! This activity was just the change we needed right now, and it provided the practice they needed.

It also gave me some very good feedback as to who was using the words correctly and who was not. Here are a few of our creations:

I can think of so many uses for this website, but I really loved using it for vocabulary practice today. Maybe next week we'll incorporate it in some other subjects. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Digestive System

A few weeks ago we wrapped up our study of the digestive and urinary systems and thought I'd share some of the activities we did. Since I'm in a new grade level this year, just about everything is brand new and I'm having to do lots of research and learning. It's been hard, but really rewarding. I absolutely LOVE to teach science, and had a blast doing these activities with the kiddos.

First up: Digestion in a bag: What happens to food as it enters your mouth and travels through your body? We modeled the process using a crackers, water, orange juice, paper towels, zip-lock bags, and our hands. Stephanie over at Teaching in Room 6 posted this awesome activity, and as soon as I read it, I knew I had to do it. What a blast! The kiddos were a little grossed out, but that's part of the fun, right?

The next day (amid cries of, "Mrs. Kilgo, please tell me this isn't going to be gross!"), I pulled out the Play Dough. Who knew the level of excitement a bunch of fifth graders would have at just the sight of Play Dough?! I put together four learning stations.

  1. Promethean flipchart on the board
  2. Build a model of the digestive system with Play Dough
  3. Links with videos and games to explore
  4. No Saliva, No Taste? experiment

Each child received a lab sheet (which you can snag for free here). We worked in groups at each station, with me guiding the last station. What a blast!

Do you have a favorite activity to do during this unit? 


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