Monday, September 25, 2017

Fifteen Free Lessons for Fall

Fall Classroom Engagement

Fall is here with its crisp air, crimson, orange and bronze leaves and restless students who've left the honeymoon period of the new year behind and are settling into their
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fabulous not-so-new anymore teachers.  Our job now - ensure forward progress towards grade level mastery of the current standards and engage students with interactive lessons and innovative pedagogy. 

As stated in Instructional Strategies: Tips and Tricks - active participation and cognitive engagement are essential elements of instruction and more important as the novelty of the new year wanes into the dog days before the holidays. This sometimes means supplementing your classroom curriculum with lessons that allow your students to be creative and engaged - while learning what they need to know to progress to the next level. It also means taking out that bag of tricks to keeps students alert and involved in the process of learning.

Below are several Fall Freebies that will engage your students, but first...

Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti

Three Ways to Keep Students Engaged

Way to Keep Students Engage Number 1:

Madeline Hunter was a master of teaching teachers why actively engaging students is imperative to learning; likewise, she was emphatic in the notion that students who achieve success are more apt to try and, thus, more apt to be engaged in any lesson. That said - an essential way to engage students is to teach to the correct level of difficulty. 

In Madeline Hunter's Mastery Teaching (Hunter, 2004) - she puts forth that appropriate instruction is where students are correct in their responses about 75% of the time. Unfortunately, our students do not come to us in neat packages of like-leveled youth, but rather vary widely in their aptitude, backgrounds and ability -- one word addresses this - differentiation. One way to differentiate in classrooms is to group students and rotate your time. This is practiced consistently in elementary, but not as frequently in high school classrooms.

If you group homogeneously - assign different tasks to each group and spend your time working with the lower groups - with spot formative assessment on students who are approaching mastery.  For great ideas about differentiating, look to ACSD's What is a Differentiated Classroom.

Way to Keep Students Engage Number 2:

Create individual "engagement folders" (EFs) and use them daily - no matter what level you teach.  What are EFs? EFs are folders to use during lectures or question and answer sessions. You know -- the times in your classroom where four hands go up -- usually the
Involve and Engage your students
same four. Take this as a red flag and using EFs requires the participation of all students. Prepping your EFs with students will be time well spent. Using a folder or manila envelope and put in the following:
  • a laminated piece of cardstock - to use as a small whiteboard
  • a dry-erase pen
  • an index card with true on one side and false on the other
  • laminated content related charts (as applicable) - a hundreds chart, a period table of elements, a map - anything you need. These can be added on a need-be basis
  • A small envelope with index cards, or scraps of paper (for quick draws or quick writes)
  • Guided note-taking template
  • Multiple-Choice hold up cards - I like an index card with A,B,C,D,E and a paperclip slider
  • If you have other items to add - please leave them in the comments section.
When using the folders and like techniques - don't forget that learning should be fun and give students the opportunity to Play!

Way to Keep Students Engage Number 3:

Involve movement! Just like getting up during a long, or short, session of professional development helps you stay focused - so does the same for you students. Why is it that we think and expect students to do what we cannot?  Incorporating physical activities into lessons has been determined to positively influence academic achievement and student learning.(Beaudoin & Johnston, 2011).

In 2000, Jensen wrote that tradition seat work uses less of the brain than getting students up and moving, playing - participating in discussions, debates, games - even stretching. Jensen explains that "physical activity has been known to release norepinephrine (adrenaline) enabling students to become more alert and ready to learn. Jensen's website on Brain-Based Jensne Learning has amazing information on movement and engagement and "How to Boost Engagement" in three simple steps.

Fall Freebies

That said, I've vetted several fall freebies:

STEM for 5-7 Grades: Adding and Subtracting Fall Freebie by Leaf and STEM Learning: "Fall" into fraction operations with this FREE math center activity that has students interpret fall themed word problems to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators. Students read fraction and mixed number word problems and use model cards and least common denominators to calculate their answer. 

Elizabeth Chapin-PinottiFiction CCSS Book Unit for Grades 2-4: The Halloween Without Pumpkins Book Unit: Freebie! Book Unit and link for free "The Halloween Without Pumpkins." Common Core State Standards aligned - complete with interactive notebook pages. Includes standards printables and interactive workbook pages for 2.RL.1 through 2.RL.7 and 3.RL.1 through RL.7. The e-reader a link to both a PowerPoint of the book to project and popcorn read as well as a passed youtube book - also on teachertube. Try this with older students too - who says picture books are just for elementary school?

Fall Poem by Free Fall in SCD - writing a fall poem has never been so easy.

Spooky Sentence Center  for grades 1-3: Students are provided with the subject of each spooky sentence and must add their own predicate to complete it. Two directions sheet options are included, one using the terms subject and predicate, and the other using the terms naming part and action part.

Halloween Story Maps: Grades K-7 - great printable to use with any story - more writing templates than maps and can be used in Interactive Notebooks.

Halloween Version of "Would You Rather..." Grades 1-12. I know, I know - I am also usually skeptical of any resource that says it is appropriate for grades 1-12 - but this one really is.

Halloween 3-digit Math Game.

Parts of Speech Autumn Sorts: Grades K-5 - a little difficult for K-1.

Fall Harvest Science Lab: Grades 2-4 students investigate and assess the effects of light vs. darkness and water vs. non-watered conditions in relation to plant growth.

Awesome Autumn - Tons of free lessons on Education World's website - including:

Fall Similes: Grades 3-6

A Broom's Story: Grades 3-6 Students learn about point of view in this lesson. They write a story about a witch's adventures from the point of view of the witch's broom. Older students - clear through grade 12 have fun with this one as well.

Happy Teaching,
Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti

Friday, September 15, 2017

FREEBIE! Harvest Science Lab - 2-4 Grades

2-LS2-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plans need sunlight and water to grow.

Goal: Students will investigate and assess the effects of light vs. darkness and water vs. non-watered conditions in relation to plant growth.
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Five cups for each pair of students four for planting seeds and one for watering.
Enough pumpkin seeds for each cup plus extras for “crop failure.”
One cereal box per pair of students.
Construction paper
“Harvest Science Lab” 1 per student  - Science Lab Resources
Potting soil

Each pair of students will plant four pumpkin seeds in plastic cups. You should plant extra in case of “crop failure” The seeds will germinate in about a week. After seeds germinate change the conditions have students put two plants inside their cereal box  and keep two plants out. They will water one of the plants inside the box and one of the plants outside the box.

Student “I Can” objective:
“I can describe how an experience is conducted.”
“I can determine whether if plants need water and/or light to grow.”
”I can keep track of my data.”
“I can make a bar graph comparing conditions.”
“I can state my conclusions from my bar graphs.”

Science and Engineering Practices: Plan and conduct an investigation to
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produce data that serves as the basis for the evidence needed to answer a question.  Students are actively engaged in the planning and conducting of this investigation. They will collaborate and share their ideas regarding how the investigation should be set up, how the plants are placed. They will also measure with standard measurement tools.

Procedure: Students will plants seeds. Once these seeds begin to germinate (grow) students will begin their investigations for the different conditions that exist: light with moist soil, light with dry soil, dark with moist soil, and dark with dry soil.

Engineering Connection: As students determine the best environment for growing crops and other plants used to produce produces they are practicing agricultural engineering.

Extension for Advanced Students: Students will learn that plants carry nutrients and investigate other ways, besides water, to transfer nutrients to the roots of the plants.

NGSS: The pieces of this investigation work as a whole to help students discover that plants need water and light to survive. As students work through the investigation they are exposed to elements of the science and engineering practices, core ideas and the CCSS. The CCSS embedded in this investigation include: measurement, written observations, data analysis and non-fiction reading.
Teaching Points:
Discuss how animals and humans need food, water and air.  (PowerPoint teaching presentation is available at: Resources at Lucky Jenny Publishing.
Next, ask students to think about what plants need to live and grow. Have a few plants around to use as examples. Help them make the connection between light and plant growth and water and plant growth.
Tell students they are going to plant some seeds and then see if their plants will grow better in the light and darkness. Tell them they are also going to determine if plants grow better with water or without.
Explain how they are  going to monitor the progress of their own plants to make their own determination.

Please check out more of my resources at Elizabeth's Resources.

Other Fall Lessons:

Not Your Usual November Print and Go Lessons - Resource book with templates, Daily Warm-Ups, projects, Native American Studies and more
Pumpkin Bingo - Fun way to learn and reinforce multiplication fasts - print and go!

Fall Freebies

The Halloween Without Pumpkins - PowerPoint Book to project and read to your class

Webb's DOKs in your Classroom!

Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti

Thursday, September 14, 2017

FREEBIE! States of Matter and the Next Generation Science Standards

Next Generation Science Standard

Disciplinary Core Ideas: Heating or cooling a substance may cause changes that can be
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observed. Sometimes these changes are reversible and sometimes they are not (2-PS1-4).

2.PS1.4: Construct an argument with evidence that some changes caused by heating or cooling can be reversed and some cannot.

Background information: 

  • Matter can exist in three forms: solid, liquid and gas.
  • All matter is composed of small particles.
  • A solid has shape.
Solid: In a solid, molecules are close together and can move in place, but they can't move away from the other molecules within the solid.

Liquid: In a liquid, the molecules move more freely than in a solid. They can flow over one another - like sand in a jar. A liquid doesn't have a shape of its own, but rather takes the shape of its container.

No matter what state matter is in - it vibrates. In a solid, the molecules vibrate in place.  Since, both liquid and gasses are classified as fluids - their molecules vibrate as they move. When heat is added to matter in any state - the molecules vibrate faster. When molecules cool - the vibrations slow down. 
  • When heat is taken away from a liquid and the molecules get cold enough - the liquid may turn into the solid state. A great example is putting water into a container and then putting it into a freezer - the water turns to ice. 
  • Changing from one state to another is called a phase change. Riebe guiltyThe A

The activity that follows - demonstrates different types of phase changes - specifically from ice to water.

  • Materials
    • One glass jar per group of four or five students - or a clear plastic cup
    • Food coloring
    • Ice
Have students pour water and add ice to their containers - wait until condensation forms.

Ask:  When water and ice are put in a glass - forms on the glass condensation forms on the outside of the glass. Where do you think the condensation comes from.

A common answer is - the water on the inside of the glass. This is a common mistake.

Respond: Let find out. Let's wipe the water, add some food coloring and more ice to the water on the glass.

Wait - 

Ask: What color is the condensation? Then where is the condensation coming from?

Move onto Student Experiment

Student Experiment: 2-PS1 - 5 Matter and Its Interactions - NGSS

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Instructional Video PowerPoints for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Two instructional Video's for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The first is an interactive paragraph writing template, aligned with the Common Core State Standards and perfect for Chapter 4.

The second is for teaching the themes, motifs, symbols and figurative language for Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Interactive Reader

Need more Alice resources? Download my "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Interactive Reader and More" or purchase a hard copy from Amazon.  This interactive reader contains the novel and chapter-by-chapter quizzes, assessments, lessons, activities, interactive notebook pages and more. If you would like to use the interactive reader as a workbook whereby your students can work directly from the book - email for multi-unit discount - $5.00 per book plus shipping and handling.

This interactive reader is full of fiction and non-fiction alike, is Common Core State Standards aligned and engaging.

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Interactive Reader" was designed specifically with 21st Century Learning and the tenants of higher order thinking in mind. The activity infused unit study offers built-in differentiation, is jam-packed with black-line masters that foster student engagement and higher order thinking and is easily adjustable to remedial, gifted and every student in between.

Carroll's beloved novel is laid out, chapter-by-chapter, with questions, literary study, writing activities, source document analysis, links to other resources, Socratic Seminar templates, vocabulary activities, games, interactive notebook pages and a whole lot more! There are also end of book questions and activities as well as in-depth character explanations and information on themes and other literature nuances.

A must-have for any teacher embarking on an "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" unit study.

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” Plot Diagram PowerPoint and Template: A perfect companion to any Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland book study is this Plot Diagram Teaching PowerPoint and student template.

This plot diagram is an organizational tool focusing on a pyramid or triangular shape, used to map the events of a story. This mapping of the plot structure of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland helps students visualize the key features of the story and serves as an engaging, interactive tool.

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” Guided Paragraph Teaching PowerPoint and Student Template: Perfect for student differentiation and intervention – this PowerPoint helps you walk students through writing a paragraph – that transitions into an essay.

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” Themes and Motifs Guided Instructional PowerPoint

Perfect for student differentiation and intervention – this PowerPoint helps you walk students the themes and motifs of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” Formative Assessment based on Tenniel’s Pictures

An engaging formative assessment has students demonstrating comprehension based on Tenniel’s pictures from the original book!

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

How to Find Engaging Non-Fiction Books and Assignments

Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti

Look to Child High Interest Topics

Google what you are looking for: "Disneyland Non-Fiction Reader" and be specific. Learn your students' interests - survey them, ask them, observe them - know what they like - this also helps with classroom management, but that is another post.

The Common Core State Standards demand more non-fiction - and while that most definitely means social studies and science are in the mix - we can't forget about other topics students may enjoy - particularly if they are science or social studies themed already.

Look to Lists of the Best Non-Fiction for Children

Booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Nobel both calculate best selling non-fiction for children, youth and young adults. 

Googling prestigious awards - like the Caldecott  or browsing the American Library Association's sites for top non-fiction picks for children provide list upon list of great reads for students. The websites are easy to get lost in as they offer book lovers and non-fiction seeking teachers minutes  - or hours - of dreaming about all of the amazing books published in any given year. 

The National Counsel of Teacher's of English is another valuable site for non-fiction finding - including this year's winner: Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. This is also an American Library Association notable book. Honorable mention books include:

  •  Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins
    (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
  • The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial written by Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by E. B. Lewis (Bloomsbury)
  • Giant Squid by Candace Fleming; illustrated by Eric Rohmann (Roaring Brook Press)
  • I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!: Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Olinguito, from A to Z: Unveiling the Cloud Forest by Lulu Delacre (Children’s Book Press)

The National Council of Teachers of English breaks lists down by elementary, middle, high school and college as well.

Look for Downloadable ebooks and Interactive Readers 

Below are great, quick readers for whole class study, groups, literacy centers, homework, early finishers anytime and can be had with the click of a button.

Disneyland: California Screamin' Print-and-Go Reader – Grade 5 – one in is a series of English Language Arts mini-readers that allows students to incorporate engaging and essential ELA themes and standards while learning about fun places to visit. Perfect for centers, early finishers, ESL, intervention, whole class instruction, SPaG and more. These non-fiction readers are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and help students build a knowledge of the social world and prepare them for real-life reading

Disney’s California Adventures: California Screamin’ – contain 12-print and go pages of activities that include: fluency practice, comprehension, word play, informational text , grammar, study and more.

Perfect for whole class, groups, pairs, intervention, centers and more. Use with the entire Journey series for a comprehensive fifth grade program. Works for summer school as well.

• Twelve pages in color and also in black and white for printing ease
• Great for students learning English
• Great for early finishers
• Work in pairs for intervention 

Students practice reading, writing, grammar, critical thinking and 21st century skills
• Access their creativity 
• Learn new words
• Learn about new places

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Other Disney Lessons for Teachers and Homeschoolers

Print-n-Go Reader - Adventureland Disneyland - Elementary: Common Core State Standards Aligned Disneyland: Adventureland: – contains 9-print and go pages of activities that include: fluency practice, comprehension, word play, informational text study and more.

Perfect for whole class, groups, pairs, intervention, centers and more. Use with the entire Journey series for a comprehensive fifth grade program. Works for summer school as well.

• Nine pages in color and also in black and white for printing ease
• Great for students learning English
• Great for early finishers
• Work in pairs for intervention 

Students practice reading, writing and speaking skills
• Access their creativity 
• Learn new words
• Learn about new places

For Further Reading:

Why Non-Fiction is Important to Learning
Formative Assessment - Fiction and Non-Fiction Readings - or any assignment
The Great Panda Rescue - Non-Fiction reading through literature!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox Novel Unit: Standards Aligned Plus 3 Teaching PowerPoints

Fantastic Mr. Fox Novel Unit 

Elizabeth Chapin-PinottiOver 150 pages of activities, lessons, templates, interactive notebook pages, formative assessments, fluency, comprehension and more.

Differentiated for grades 3-6 – with Common Core State Standards alignment pages for quick reference. 

Plus three teaching PowerPoints: Literary Elements, Plot Diagram and From Sentence Sorting to Essay Writing –a template-based, differentiated guide to writing.

This is an all-inclusive – must have – engaging lesson for all levels. This is a comprehensive novel unit that is research-based and offers high-order reading, writing and thinking activities
Table of Contents

A Quick and Dirty Guide to Fantastic Mr. Fox


A Quick and Dirty Guide to Literary Elements

Fluency and Comprehension
         Fluency – Chapter Summaries 1-2
         Constructed Response Comprehension Quiz Chapters 1-2
         Multiple Choice Comprehension Quiz Chapters 1-2
         Fluency – Chapter Summaries 3-4
         Constructed Response Comprehension Quiz Chapters 3-4
         Multiple Choice Comprehension Quiz Chapters 3-4
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         Fluency – Chapter Summaries 5, 6, 7 and 8
         Constructed Response Comprehension Chapters 5, 6, 7 & 8
         Multiple Choice Comprehension Quiz
         Fluency – Chapter Summaries 9-13
         Constructed Response Comprehension Quiz Chapters 9-13
         Multiple Choice Comprehension Quiz Chapters 9-13
         Fluency – Chapter Summaries 14-18
         Constructed Response Comprehension Quiz Chapters 14-18
         Multiple Choice Comprehension Quiz Chapters 14-18

Part I: Differentiated Lessons/Activities

         How the Character Drives the Plot Forward RL.2
         Character Analysis Comparison RL.3
         Plot Development – Character Actions RL.3
         Literary Elements Part 1 RL.3
         Dialogue Dissection RL.3
         Word Choices: Meaning Over the Span of the Text RL.4        
         Structure: Foreshadowing and Feedback RL.5
         Book vs. Movie RL.7
         Performance Task: Fantastic Mr. Fox “Animals Who Burrow”
Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti

Part 2: Differentiated Interactive Notebook Pages

         FMF Interactive Notebook Pages Student Table of Contents
         Teacher Page CCSS RL.1
         Differentiated Interactive Notebook Pages RL1
         Differentiated Interactive Notebook Pages RL.2 and W.1
         Differentiated Interactive Notebook Pages RL.3
         Differentiated Interactive Notebook Pages RL.4
         Differentiated Interactive Notebook Pages RL.5
         Differentiated Interactive Notebook Pages RL. 6 and RL.7
Daily Reading and Writing Warm-Ups
Rubrics, Answers and Interactive Notebook Page Samples

Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti

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To Kill a Mockingbird Novel Unit -- Differentiated and Common Core Aligned

A  134-page no-prep novel unit  for Harper Lee's classic -- "To Kill a Mockingbird".   This novel unit contains quizzes, com...