Saturday, February 27, 2016

Point of View and Wordless Picture Books

While studying Point of View, my small enrichment reading group worked on creating stories for wordless picture books. I had previously checked out all of the wordless books we had in the library. It was fun to watch their misconceptions change through the activity. 
A) Most of them hadn't read the books, being higher readers, at least not in years.
B) They initially felt that the activity was babyish because of the "books" and though I was crazy. 
C) They teased me when I said they were to "read" them, considering the books did not have any words. 

After each reading one, we discussed the early elementary skill of "reading pictures" and how much thinking one actually has to do when reading a wordless book. We agreed there is a lot of drawing conclusions happening, prediction, processing what they author means by certain drawings and events etc. They grew a new appreciation for picture books, which was fun to experience. 

The skill we applied was Point of View. While our standard states they must "identify" author's point of view, I had them practice the skill by applying it in writing. 

Each of them chose a book, read it, then wrote the story in either first, third omniscient, third limited.

Once they completed the book, they then read another book and wrote in a new point of view. In total, each student ended up reading three wordless books and writing a first person, third limited, and third omniscient story. 
They were really proud of these at the end. Our librarian shared that she would love to read some so we took them down to here and displayed them in the library next to the books. 
Overall, it was good skill practice for the kids, but it also gave them a new appreciation for a genre they rarely read as higher readers. 


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Educational Fantasy Football Draft

Our group this is very boy heavy which has challenged me to think outside of the box concerning engagement. This particular group of boys is VERY into sports, so that has been a constant theme for many activities throughout the year. 
This fun football inspired activity that will really engage BOYS and could be used year round for test review or as a fun Super Bowl/homecoming activity! 
I found THIS awesome post by Hands On Math a few years ago. I had been brewing this idea for a while and put it into action for our Fall Football Homecoming Celebration.
I will admit, this activity took QUITE a bit of preparation, however, it was totally Worth. It. and how I have it for future groups :)
Using ESPN fantasy rankings, I created cards with a players picture, his ranking #, name, and team. I chose 24 players for each position needed on a fantasy football team. Normally, you would pick more than one of certain positions, but for this activity, students will need only one of each position, with a total of six. 
For each position, we assigned a subject. 
Quarterback - social studies
Running Back - math 
Wide Receiver - reading  
Tight End - science
Kicker - ELA
Defensive Team - math 
My partner teacher came up with the questions for math and science and I did the others. For each position, we created one or two questions for students to answer. These we printed on envelop labels and placed them upside down on the back of each player. 
We created a fantasy draft order with our table groups. Students were dismissed in increments of 30 seconds to roam independently between the two classrooms choosing players. 
In order to keep their player, they needed to remove the player from the wall, find a desk, and answer the question. Only after answering, were they allowed to continue "drafting". 
 They had SO. MUCH. FUN. reviewing different standards in each subject. I honestly do not think I have ever seen a group of boys more excited about answering questions on their learning. It was an excellent activity for our football homecoming celebration! This idea could also be used for test prep review or as a testing celebration. 
Some fun shots from homecoming earlier this year!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Aztec vs. Spanish Points of View

In reading, we have been focusing heavily on Point of View (first person, second person, third person-objective, limited, omniscient). I am always trying to integrate social studies into every subject and this particular standard blends perfectly! 

ELA: RL. 5.6 Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Social Studies (MI): 5: 4.1 Describes the convergence of Europeans and American Indians in the Americas after 1492 from the perspective of each group. 
After learning about the reading skill through our reading program, we read two different accounts on the early interactions of Cortez and the Aztec empire. Using the pronouns, students identified whether the accounts were first, second, third (objective, limited, omniscient). 

We than did a CLOSE reading on an article that shared the misconceptions and cultural differences between the two groups. Students shared their thinking notes that they had jotted down with their table groups. 
Next, they worked on creating three different points of view from either an Aztec or a Spaniard. I required them to write a minimum of two sentences per point of view. Since fifth grade really only needs to know first and third person, I added a bonus where they could practice second person and third person limited - some did! 
Finally, they added their sentences to our class chart depending on who's POV they chose. 
 First Person POV - Spaniards
 Third Person limited POV - Spaniard
 Third Person Omniscient POV - Aztec and Spaniard perspective
In the end, it was really good for them to actually write in the different points of view and it really helped them be able to articulate "How a narrators point of view change how events are described." 

Hero or Villain: Perspectives on Columbus

Our reading program focuses on author's purpose and how that can changed the tone of a story. I like to take it a bit further and talk to the kiddos about Perspective. We also touch on biased text vs. unbiased text. This can also really help kids pick out facts vs. opinions as well as Point of View (first, second, third person). 
SO MANY BIRDS WITH ONE STONE! 
Right now, we are studying early european exploration, beginning in 1492 with Christopher Columbus (obviously he wasn't the first... Vikings and all...) There are SO many opinions and perspectives on Columbus that this works well with analyzing perspectives.
Using our reading program to catalyst the skill, we than watched three short videos sharing different perspectives on Columbus. 

Students acted as movie critics and analyzed whether they were biased or unbiased toward the topic.
Below are the clips I used:

Biased - negative opinion toward Columbus 

Unbiased facts - History Channel

Biased - positive opinions toward Columbus

It is interesting when discussing perspectives and biases how often people (kids and adults) want to call something they agree with unbiased. Even if something is true, the way in which an author shares the information can still be biased either positively or negatively. 
Many people in 2016 agree with the portrayal provided by video one, however, the verbiage utilized causes the video to be biased negatively because they are trying to convince you that he was not the hero we thought he was ("Here is what really happened", "unleashed terror", "he was no hero"
The second film shares facts and details but removes adjectives and phrases that show us how the narrator feels about the subject. We talk a lot about why a text book writer (which unfortunately can sometimes can have biases) or the history channel would want to share only the facts and not opinions (because they want us to create our own opinions on the subject).
The third film always shocks the kiddos due to its stereotypes, strange focus on skin color, exaggerations on Columbus, and of course, its complete removal of any issues between Columbus and the Natives. 
What I also really like about this lesson is that it helps students see the difference between hard facts and opinions which can totally change one's perspective. 

Finally, we applied our skill to literature by reading three different accounts of Columbus's journey. At this point I added the Point of View skill to our literature critic sheet. 
We did a CLOSE reading on a non-fiction article from our History Alive text book. We agreed that this was unbiased. It shared some shocking information but did not share the author's opinions or use adjectives that tried to persuade the reader to think one way or another. 
We then read the children's poetry book 1492. In this there are many positive adjectives and no reference to any native mistreatment. 

Last, we read Jane Yolan's Encounter - such a powerful book from the 1st person perspective of a Taino Boy biased against Columbus. Such incredible description and voice in this book! 
At the end, students respond to the guiding question "How can the Point of View that the author chooses change the tone of a story?




Friday, February 19, 2016

In 1492, Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue ...

BUT.....
Which OCEAN?? Continents and oceans are not particularly fifth grade standards, however, every year I discover that a large portion of my class still struggles to name and identify the 5 oceans and 7 continents. Hence our mini unit during Exploration. Here are some of my favorite activities for review:
After learning about longitude and latitude (a fifth grade standard), I separate the kiddos onto pairs to create a balloon globe. They really have to use good logical thinking skills, as well as maps and globes, to place the continents in their correct place between the Equator and the Prime Meridian. 

This activity really helps them visual the globe better. If you are interested in purchasing the globe set it is available on TPT HERE. 
During our centers, I have a small maps and globes booklet that is one of my CAN DO stations for the week. This booklet is a FREEBIE that you can get HERE!
HERE are some awesome FREE geography map and globe word wall words as well. 
Another great activity to do for review around the holidays is THIS  FREEBIE where students use map skills to track Santa. 

Hopefully you can use some of these activities to help your students review or teach vital geography knowledge :) 

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