Favorite Quotes:

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” Clay P. Bedford

“A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

WMES, Mrs. Casey's fourth grade students, and Mrs. Roberts' first grade students: I will miss you!

I have so enjoyed my time with you all! It is because of you all that I will be able to be a better teacher in my own classroom someday! Thank you for being great listeners, learners, and students! See you May 19th for fourth grade GRADUATION!

Update: About Me!

Morgan County Schools are closed today due to severe weather. As I heard the news of our closing this morning, I quickly started a list of things in my head that I could accomplish today because graduation is just around the corner... this Saturday! I have lots of household chores to get done as well as finish writing some thank you cards and pack the student's goodies. With that being said, I only have one day of my internship left at West Morgan Elementary school. Saturday I will be officially finished at Athens State University and then looking for a job as an elementary school teacher. I am so excited as I begin this new journey! I am also going to miss all the students and faculty at WMES! I have always felt so driven to impact the lives of my students, and during my internship, I have discovered that they will make a bigger impact on my life! This brings me to my updated "About Me" section. You can also find this along the right side of my blog.

About Me: My name is Meagan Thompson, and I am 27 years old. My dream has always been to become an elementary school teacher. My parents have always told me that was my gift, and I definitely feel it is too. I took my basics and graduated from Calhoun Community College and then transferred to Athens State University. Since my time at Athens State University, I have learned so much! I am so truly blessed to have an amazing husband and family who supports me. I grow more excited every day as I think about the journey ahead including having my own classroom one day! I cannot wait to be able to apply the knowledge I have gained as well make an impact in students lives, yet internship has taught me that they will make an even bigger impact on mine!

"You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way!" Dr. Suess

Friendly Folders: A Second Grade takeaway

I am in my last weeks of internship right now. I have finished my fulltime teaching in Mrs. Casey's class, so she is allowing me to visit grades I haven't got the opportunity to observe in other field experiences. First on the list was second grade. I visited Mrs. Stephens' class, and I observed several lessons, activities, and ideas that I would certainly incorporate in my future classroom.  Mrs. Stephens' students write friendly letters every week to someone in their family. Their letters are all kept in their friendly folders, and it is just a great way to practice writing friendly letters correctly, pay attention to capitalization, and punctuation. I think this is a great thing to incorporate into any classroom and any grade. I really like that students get weekly practice, and it also provides parents and other family members with examples of their student's work. I think it is also a great way for teachers' to look back at students previous work to see their growth or areas for improvement.


Book of idioms: A Second Grade Takeaway

Mrs. Stephens' class also made a book of idioms. Here are just a few pictures. I thought adding illustration to the study of idioms was a great way to ensure students' made personal connections. Not to mention, it makes a great addition and visual to the classroom library!

Arthur: A Second Grade TakeAway

Number one on my takeaway list is Arthur! I LOVED this idea, and it is definitely something I will use in my future classroom! The students' rotate taking Arthur home every night. They get to take Arthur everywhere! Arthur eats supper with them, goes to practices or games, and he even tucks them in. Then the students' write a letter to the class about something they did with Arthur that night. Some even include pictures of their happenings with Arthur. Just this year in Mrs. Stephens' second grade class, Arthur has went to a Braves game, rode on a motorcycle, went to little league games and practices, ate at tones of local restaurants, read several bedtime stories, and the list goes on!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"I hate history, but when you teach it, I love it!" My 4th grade Birthday celebration!

Mrs. Casey's fabulous fourth grade students made this birthday the best yet! I love their sweet cards! One of my favorite cards read, "I hate history, but when you teach it, I love it!"

Takeaways: Charts I made for my future classroom.

 I absolutely LOVE Mrs. Casey's use of text coding with almost every lesson. She has a chart similar to this one, and she uses it usually with informational texts like TIME for Kids. The students' first read the story and put their own text codes beside the passages as they read. Mrs. Casey also projects the copy of the text on the board, and she puts a few text codes as she reads as well. Then she calls on different students' to go put a code on the board where they put one on their paper. They then read the text together. They pause throughout to discuss the codes that are beside a particular passage. I love this because readers are thinkers! This really encourages students to think about the text as they read it!
Another takeaway I will use in my future classroom is think, pair, and share. I was already familiar with this strategy, but I really liked Mrs. Casey's anchor chart and reference to it throughout her lessons. I made this anchor chart to use! I even added think, pair, and share strategy to all my lessons taught in Mrs. Casey's class.

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Expository Writing Anchor Chart

I also made this Expository writing anchor chart for Mrs. Casey's class. I love that it color codes each section! This will definitely be useful for students' to go back and ensure they have included each element in their expository writing.

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Sequencing Chart

I created this sequencing chart to use with an expository writing lesson and hang in Mrs. Casey's classroom for future reference.  Students' need to be comfortable with the word sequence, and know that it can apply to their writing (not just math!) as well. 

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Continuing our study of tall tales: Comic Strip Tall Tales

We have been talking about tall tales for a few weeks now.  Tall tales are definitely a favorite genre for all students', and we have been reading some unfamiliar tales in our study.  I love Swamp Angel by Anne Isaacs because it has easily identifiable tall tale elements and even problem and solutions or cause and effects throughout the story. First we read the text and discussed the elements that made it a tall tale. We would pause throughout to discuss some of the problems and solutions as well. Then students' got to write their own tall tale. I decided to have them write a tall tale comic strip of sorts, so they would have clear instruction and not stray from including the key elements that all tall tales have.
We folded our 11x9 papers together to create our template or sections, and then we discussed what each section would include. The students' went right at it, and their tales were really impressive! They were also able to illustrate in the spaces throughout their comic strip tall tale.


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Testing Vehicles

After building the new vehicles by following the technical design, the students' got to test the amount of weight needed to put their vehicles in motion! We used bookend, string, two paperclips, our vehicles, and washers. Students started with one washer, and then they gradually added more. I walked around to gather predictions and observations. They recorded their findings in their science journals. After they recorded their findings, they were able to experiment with adding more weight. Some students' even thought about Newton's second law when they tried adding weight to their vehicle because that resulted them in needing more weight to move it!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cause and Effect

Today we read Apples to Oregon. This story is a tall tale, and the students really enjoyed it! I liked it because it wasn't a tall tale they were familiar with, so they went into it tons of new predictions and ideas. After we read the story, the students responded to the text in their reading notebooks. We have been working on cause and effect for a couple weeks now. Today I gave them half of the answer. They either knew the cause or effect. Then, they had to look back to see what caused the effect or what was effected by the cause. After the students finished, we discussed the answers. I loved seeing that some students went ahead and wrote "so" at the end of their cause statement because we have talked about words like so, because, then, and next that usually point right to the effect.
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Motion and Design

I have never seen the students' more excited about science because this week we are building vehicles! Last week we learned about Sir Isaac Newton and his three laws of motion. We went outside and took turns being unbalanced forces and putting beach balls in motion. This week we are covering motion and design. First, the students' got to freely explore the different parts in their buckets. Each group got to design their own vehicle without a technical design guide. Today, they got to draw the design of the vehicle they actually built. Then we timed our vehicles to see which ones were the fastest. We made predictions based on mass and weight. Students' even connected it to Newton's first law because they had to used their force to put the vehicles in motion. Tomorrow we will be building new vehicles by following a technical design blueprint. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Picture Prompt

After talking all about problem and solutions all week, reading different examples, and comparing and contrasting, I wanted to give the students an opportunity to write their own story. I decided to give a picture prompt to help ease writers' block and ensure a little creativity! I chose not to set the picture up at all because I really wanted to see where students would go with it. I did make sure boys knew that there could be a boy in the jar and no girls, I just used that picture to show the idea. My instructions were:

1. Make sure you identify how this problem came to be.
2. What are the characters names?
3. What is the setting?
4. How does he, she, or they arrive at a solution?
5. What is the solution?
6. Give your story a title!

I was so impressed with their creativity! Their stories were also quite entertaining! After we finished our stories, those who wanted to share got the opportunity to. Then I would pose questions to ensure problems and solutions were evident to the listening audience.

A closer look... Planet Posters

Comparing and Contrasting: Problems and Solutions

We have been reading a lot of literature that involves cause and effect, problem and solutions, and compare and contrast. We most recently read Mama, I'll Give You the World by Ronnie Schotter and a story called "What if it Happened to You?" from our text. Both of these stories had problems and solutions. The students at first, felt that a problem had to be a concrete, obvious, problem. For example, the picture tore, so we taped it back together. These stories helped them to realize that problems can be emotions, lack of interest, and etcetera.

After reading and talking about the text on two separate days, I wanted to see if students could compare the two selections. I divided the class into three groups, and each group worked on comparing a specific relationship. This helped students focus on the problems and solutions with just that small relationship. It also helped them see the specific text evidence that proved that particular problem or solution. Then we started feeling in out Venn Diagram by groups. Students were surprised to see all the similarities of the stories!

I feel this activity really helped the students in answering the writing prompt portion on their literature tests. They were all able to identify problems and solutions within two passage selections!

Ending Our Study of the Planets

Mrs. Casey's class has been studying all about the planets, sun, meteors, asteroids, and comets. We ended their study with a little election of the class's favorite planet. Mrs. Casey teaches two science classes, so that's why their are two posters featured. First, I read Meet the Planets by John McGranaghan. The students really enjoyed this book because of it's silly humor in presenting each planet along with it's facts. Then I divided the students into groups. Each group was assigned a planet to research. The groups used classroom books, library books, and the internet to gather their facts first. Then, they had to make a poster with an illustration, at least 10 facts, and one favorite fact. They also had to come up with a neat way to present their poster like Pluto did in the book.

The students absolutely loved this project. I like that it involved reading, researching, art, science, and even a little drama with their presenting. They really got into the theatrics of presenting their planet! Some groups even shared facts to the beat of popular songs. When it came time to vote on the class favorite planet, we first covered the facts that made the planets so interesting. Then we had a anonymous voting. After the results were in, I awarded the class favorite with it's winner ribbon. We talked about which planets we voted for and why. Then I added the class posters to our hallway display!