Thursday, March 8, 2007

I am starting a Poetry unit with younger students!!!

Every few weeks I choose one theme and then use this theme to teach different things in my classroom. The best thing, for me, is that one theme can be tailored to each level. I would like to re-state that I teach primary aged students, but these units may be tweaked even more to include older students.

I started this unit this week with rhyming with my 1-3rd graders. I have a box of Rhyme Flash Cards. Included in this box is a three word puzzle of rhymes. {CAT HAT MAT--makes a puzzle picture of a cat wearing a hat and standing on a mat}. I found this really helpful for my younger students who did not understand what "sounds like" means. They would use the pictures and soon enough they would figure out what I was talking about.

I held up one card CAT, I would hold up a second card and say out loud "CAT, GOAL, does that sound alike"? Then continue until they had a set of three. I did this until the students seemed bored with the activity.

I then pulled out The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I read only 5 to 10 pages of each book. After each page or paragraph I would ask my students, "which one sounds alike, SHINE/PLAY or CAT/HAT, and the students would respond.

When we were finished, and since my students love coloring sheets I pulled out my Mickey Mouse coloring book. "If your name rhymes with Mickey stand up please". I have a lot of Miki, Niki, and Viki's so this worked wonderful. All those whose names did not rhyme I would call on them and ask them what rhymes with [gave a word]. When they did it they also received a coloring sheet.

I will continue this with reading more of the books I started and adding each week to their Rhyme knowledge and introduce poetry.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Here are Two activities to go along with World Records (sort of)

My students are mad about video games, as am I. So tell them that:
The highest score ever on the
video game Pac-Man was 3, 155, 320;
Ms. Pac-Man 874,530;
and Super Pac-Man 855,940.
Give the students blank white paper, and some lined paper. Have the students design their own video game complete with pictures and rules. Be as detailed as possible. Some students lack vocabulary for this activity so drawing becomes a key. Have your lower level classes draw the games characters and things. While they are doing this take the time to go around to each group or student and give them simple words to describe the game and its rules.
Another activity is one dealing with dating which can always bring a laugh and interesting conversation.
The tallest human ever was 8 foot 11.1 inch(272.04 cm),
the shortest human ever was a woman who was 23.2 inches(59cm) tall.
Have the students write an imaginary love story between these two adults. What special problems would they face?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A Warm Winter

We have had a unbelievably warm winter here in Hungary. In the United States it is a bit of a different story. I have been talking about this with my students the past few months. When is it going to snow? Is the winter in Hungary always this warm? Do you like this weather?

I brought in some pictures from Winter in Wisconsin, since that is where I am from it worked well. I had my family send me some winter photos. Some were of shoveling, snowman making, and just playing in the snow. We took some minutes to describe and discuss the photos. Since many of them contained my family members the discussion took several turns, but was fairly successful.

I then broke the students into several small groups of two to three. I made a poster that says

In 1917, Death Valley, California, reported temperatures over 120 degrees F, and 49 degrees C for forty-three consecutive days.
Here I included photos of Death Valley, California, and left space for my winter photos. As we discussed both we put them on the poster and compared and contrasted the differences.
List all of the things you would do to keep cool were you living in Death Valley.(Have students discuss together for about 5 to 10 minutes)
Again we discussed and groups took turns telling what they would do until we reached 15 ideas.
In another column, I had:
List all of the things you would do to keep warm in Wisconsin. (Again have students discuss in their groups)
**If you have a fast group you can further compare and contrast. As I have primary students this took the whole lesson, plus we got super side tracked as we talked about the snow in Wisconsin. My students all had to tell me stories of a snow adventure which they once encountered, but that is half the fun of teaching!!!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Broken and World Records Lately????

If your students are anything like mine, they are constantly competing. Who is the best? Who is the fastest? Why not give them a little lesson on World Records? I was interested in them too, when I was in primary school.

Prior to doing any part of the lesson set it up with simple questions, this can help work on good, better, best and other comparatives. Have you ever competed in an event? Do you do sports? Have you been to a competition? Show pictures of world records and describe them, the guy who eats hot dogs, Kobayashi, if you have access to video clips show events like pie eating contests and other such record beating things.

Here are some examples of world record topics I found in a Theme of the Week book.

There German solar probe, Helios B, launched in 1976 has been recorded at 149,125 mph or 240,091.25 km/h. Imagine they had a rocket that could move that fast and they could go anywhere they wanted. Have students discuss this, if that is not at the level your students are at, they can make a map showing where they would go and you can give them prep questions for them to answer, but discussions work better.

The English language contains about 490,000 words, but it is unlikely that any one person uses more than 60,000. Ask students to look up ten new words and have them find different ways of teaching them to each other. See if they can stump you with words that even the English teacher may not know!

The greatest amount of money ever found and returned was $500,000 dollars or 100,000,000 forints(about). Discuss what you would do if you found that money, would you give it back, what would you buy?

A 100-ton (90t) snowman was built in Schaumburg, Illinois, in 1986. Look up where this is. Ask students if they could do that this year and why or why not? List other uses for this much snow.

Tell students that the smallest independent country in the world is the state of the Vatican City in Rome. They have been given a country of their own. Give the country a name, location, imports and exports, national anthem, flag, population, size, culture, customs, cities, and short history.

CETP Blog Version 2.0

Welcome to the new and soon-to-be-improved CETP Blog / Newsletter!

Long story short:
1) Blogger demanded we upgrade the old blog;
2) Laura and I are not computer geniuses;
3) The old blog is, shall we say, uncooperative to the idea of further posting.

But no problem, semmi baj, you can still view the old blog and all of the wonderful lessons, recipes, and stories:

In the meantine, prepare yourselves for frequent postings on this new blog. Feel free to send your lesson plans, recipes, reviews, tips, observations, or anything else of interest to Laura ( or Emily (