Tag Archives: thesaurus

“Never” Poems, Second Grade and National Poetry Month

We celebrated National Poetry Month with all grade levels. Second grade students wrote a “Never” poem which features repetition and alliteration.   We used a template I found on WriteShop.com (https://writeshop.com/writing-a-never-poem).  The students used dictionaries & thesauri to find words if they got stuck for ideas.

 

Recorded Poems on Flipgrid

I used Flipgrid so the students could record themselves reading their poem. This gives them an authentic audience and practice reading aloud.  I also shared this on the school’s Facebook page to further widen the audience and let parents see what their children are doing.

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Check us out!  https://flipgrid.com/876d05

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Third Grade-My Teacher Is a Monster

I really like Peter Brown’s book, My Teacher Is a Monster and one night in the early hours I woke up and was mulling over how could I come up with an activity that would go along with the book.  All of a sudden I thought “What is the opposite of a monster teacher?”  Answer: a perfect teacher!  I wanted to combine several concepts: the IB’s Approaches to Learning-Social Skills (formerly known as Transdisciplinary Skills), IB-PYP Profiles, writing practice and art work.

I read the book to the classes and it was very popular with the third grade students.  Some students noticed that the teacher gradually changed from a monster to a more human form.  This gave us the opportunity to make a connection with a IB concept-perspective.  They decided that she didn’t really physically change, but Robert’s view of her did change.

I told the students that they would work in groups to create a “perfect” teacher.

Graphic Organizer: Brainstorming Individually

I created a graphic organizer which combined the IB-PYP Profiles and Attitudes, adjectives, verbs and activities.  Each student received a copy of the graphic organizer and were instructed to brainstorm independently.  I also placed thesauri on the tables and reminded them that if they needed a more interesting word they could find a synonym in these books. This is as far as we got the first week.

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Good review of thesaurus!

IB’s Approaches to Learning: Social Skills

I downloaded a PYP Transdisciplinary Skills Toolkit from Mary’s Store on Teachers Pay Teachers (free) as it had each group of skills contained on one page with student-friendly font and text.  I made copies of the Social Skills and laminated them.

The second week we started by reading the Social Skills of the IB’s Approaches to Learning.  I filled up my tables (which seat six) and each student had a copy of the Social Skills in front of them. They did a round robin reading of the skills and had an opportunity to discuss and ask questions.

I divided each class into small groups of three groups, adjusting for personality conflicts or behavior.  After reading the Social Skills I moved the students so they were seated with their group and they began comparing the attributes of a perfect teacher.  This gave them the opportunity to practice those Social Skills!

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Social Skills

From Mary’s Store on Teachers Pay Teachers

Creating “My Perfect Teacher” Begins

In week three the students finally got to what they called “fun.”  I gave each group a length (about 36″) of white butcher paper and a container of crayons. I drew a head, two hands and two feet on each sheet to give them a starting point for their drawing.  They were reminded of the Social Skills that were reviewed the week before to encourage a positive group experience.  I told them that all of the words on their graphic organizer had to appear on their creation.

Several students said after this session that it was so “fun.”  Judging by the conversation and energy in the room, it was a positive beginning.

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Week Four: Completion!

I gave the students about 20-25 more minutes on their fourth visit to complete their drawings.  They were having such a good time and for the most part working well in groups.  IMG_4437v2IMG_4451v2jpgIMG_4452v2IMG_4434

 

 

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Second Grade Writes “Never” Poems

Second grade students created poems for National Poetry Month using a template (https://writeshop.com/writing-a-never-poem)  for a “Never Poem” which emphasizes repetition and alliteration.  We discussed what poetry was and some of the characteristics of poems.  I modelled the writing using a white board and let the students help me think up words (all starting with the same consonant). Then we talked about adjectives and added adjectives to describe the nouns we had chosen.

Photos of never poems

Dictionary and Thesaurus Available

I had dictionaries and thesauri at the tables to help them find words if they were drawing a blank; this also served as a review for these reference sources.

Flipgrid for an Audience

One class had the chance to record themselves reading their poems on Flipgrid, but due to time restraints (state test prep, etc.) the others might not get to record.  I think it is important to give the students opportunities to record themselves.  It is a good learning experience and they love to see and hear themselves! flipgrid.com/3a42d1

screen capture of Flipgrid

 

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Tricking the Tallyman, Government & Reference Tools

 

 

I enjoy reading Jacqueline Davies’ Tricking the Tallyman: The Great Census Shenanigans of 1790 to 3rd grade students. It’s illustrated by S.D. Schindler.  Hey, how often do you get to use words like shenanigans, scoundrel and phrases like “cheese and chowder”?  Our 3rd graders have a unit on government and its functions, so it’s a fun way to dive into those ideas.

Georgia Performance Standards SS3CG1 The student will explain the importance of the basic principles that provide the foundation of a republican form of government

c. State an example of the responsibilities of each level and branch of government.

This is how we tie in the book, because it covers the census, taxes, representation, government services, and conscription.  img_0093

Practice Using Reference Tools

By this time in the school year, we have already used a dictionary, thesaurus, an atlas and an encyclopedia (both print and online), so I decided we would practice again.  There are some unfamiliar words and concepts in Davies’ book, so I thought we would become more familiar with them before we read the book.

I divided them up amongst the different reference tools. They looked up tricky words in the dictionary and thesaurus (tally, census, scoundrel, heartsick, shenanigans, conscription, tax, etc).  For the atlas activity the students found Montpelier, Vermont (Tunbridge is so small that it wasn’t in our road atlases) and noted what they could learn from looking at the map.  Using our online World Book Encyclopedia, the students answered questions about the census.

Students recorded their findings.

Students recorded their findings.

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The following visit we shared what we learned and then we read the book.  I think the students understood the book more fully having familiarity with the new words and concepts.

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Thesaurus Follow Up

I have been teaching our 3rd grade students about reference tools, using props of real tools (hammer, screw driver, saw, pliers) to reinforce the concept of tools.  After a week’s break when we celebrated Dot Day, I’m resuming reference tools.

Thesaurus

So, to get us back on track I read the book, Boris Ate a Thesaurus by Neil Steven Klayman (illustrated by Barry Chung, Super Senses Production, 2014).  Boris eats a thesaurus and as a result he starts speaking in synonyms!  It was good review of what synonyms are and that the “tool” you use to find them is the thesaurus.  Fun text with bright illustrations.img_9719

Several students made a connection with another book I always manage to read to several classes each year.  The story reminded them of Oliver Jeffers’ The Incredible Book Eating Boy.

Next week we move onto atlases.

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3rd Grades Thesaurus & Synonym Rolls

A repeat activity and instruction from last year, but it was so successful it was worth a repeat.  I give the students a word to look up in a traditional thesaurus and ask them to write down three synonyms on their “synonym roll.”  I bookmark  an online thesaurus and ask them to add to their list.

They cut out their rolls after they have written down plenty of synonyms.  I did add one twist this year.  After the students filled in their synonym roll with synonyms, the placed their cut out roll on a baking sheet!  They got a kick out of that.  It was just a place for them to drop their rolls as they moved on to checking out their books.  They all finished at different times and they usually ask over and over, “What do I do with…?” even after clear instructions, but this time they all rmembered to place their roll on the cookie sheet!

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Students used an online thesaurus after starting out with the traditional version.  Used either Merriam Webster or Thesaurus.Com.

We collected the rolls as students finished on a baking sheet.

We collected the rolls as students finished on a baking sheet.

Synonym Rolls displayed in the hallway.

Synonym Rolls displayed in the hallway.

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April is National Poetry Month-“Never” Poems

All week we have been reading and writing poetry in the library!  The second grade students had a chance to write a poem involving alliteration.  I found a pin on Pinterest that led me to an entry on WriteShop.com called ” ‘Never’ Poems: Write a Silly Poem” by Kim Kautzer.  It is silly and the children had a ton of fun writing and reading their poems.

Coming Up with Words: Word Bank, Dictionary and Thesaurus

We have 4 second grade classes at my school, so I had the opportunity to modify and adapt my instruction as the week went on.  Of course, the last class went the smoothest and was probably the most successful.  I like to think of this as perfecting the process for next year!  First we discussed what the students knew about poetry and I mentioned that repetition is common in poetry and alliteration is also found in poems.  I found that the students had an easier time writing if they chose a consonant and just brainstormed words that began with that letter first and wrote them down.  They then worked from the list they wrote.  After working with two classes I decided we needed to have dictionary and thesaurus on each table for those that got stuck or couldn’t think of enough words.

Format for the Poem

Here is the format:

I would never eat

I would never wear

I would never buy

I would never read

I would never go

I would always like to think about

And I promise I will neverNever Poem by 2nd grade students using template

Flipgrid and Facebook

The students had a good time writing these poems.  They would tickle themselves when reading them and just laugh out loud!  How fun to hear laughter in the library.  I chose the best poems and had those students record themselves using Flipgrid.  We pay for a subscription to Flipgrid and it is worth it!  Flipgrid provides the students with an opportunity to videotape themselves and quickly see the results.  It also gives the students an authentic audience.  After I finished recording each class, I emailed the link to the teacher so that all the students could see the videos of the poems.

Our school now has a Facebook page (run by yours truly!), which gives us the chance to showcase our students’ work to an even wider audience.  It’s also an incentive.  When I tell the students that I will be choosing the best work to video tape, some will ask, “Are you going to put it on Facebook?”

Watch our students reading their “Never Poem”.  http://flipgrid.com/#2cb48680

Flipgrid screenshot

 

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