Great Task Card Find

I am fortunate enough to be participating in another great product swap. This time, I swapped products with Teacher Times Two. The store is amazing, so I was VERY excited to pick out an item to blog about. I found the cutest main idea task cards. Getting the main idea can be tough for some of my second graders, so I knew this set of task cards would be great reinforcement.

I like a lot of things about this lesson. My favorite things are that the task cards themselves are at an appropriate level for my students.  Each card has a short story and then three choices for students to choose from.  I had my students work with the task cards in small groups.  They picked the choices together, and then filled out the answer card which I laminated.  When they were done, I let the groups see the answers.  The activity challenged my second graders just enough.  While students got most of the answers correct, several were also wrong.  I had my students go back to the details in the text of each task card, and reminded them that it's the details that point to the main idea.  This helped them better understand why the correct answer was correct.

After working in small groups with the task cards, I had my students complete the cut and paste main idea worksheets.  These worksheets are a bonus activity that come with the Main Idea task cards.  My students LOVE all activities that involve cutting and pasting so they were happy with the activity.  More importantly, however, they got more of these problems correct because of their work with the task cards.

Teacher Times Two has a ton of awesome task cards for other reading skills as well, so be sure and check them out.  You can view their blog and product swap by clicking on their logo to your left.  In the meantime, however, they are letting me raffle off a set of their Main Idea task cards.  Enter below for your chance to win here! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Primary on the Prowl chose a lesson from my store to use and blog about. To see it, and for a chance to win it click here.   The rest of the blog hop can also be seen below.


Five Tips To Use BEFORE You Begin Your Black History Unit

1.     Cover one era at a time - As you teach your unit, make sure that you separate the slavery and abolitionist period from the segregation and civil rights era.  These two distinct periods of time are difficult enough for students to differentiate, don't confuse them anymore by switching between the two periods.

2.     Be aware of common misconceptions - Remember that when covering topics like the underground railroad, students need to understand that underground meant secret, and that there was not a real railroad.  By taking the time to address what will confuse students early and often, they are less likely to be confused.

3.     Remember those who were on the right side of history - People of all races participated in both the abolitionist movement to end slavery, as well as the Civil Rights movement to end segregation. 
By studying people of all races who made tough choices and did the right thing, it helps all students feel included as they study this topic.

4.     Include the whole family - When assigning research papers, or projects try to open the assignment and encourage family participation.  History is lived everyday, and there are many grandparents, neighbors, etc. who lived through the civil rights movement and still have vivid memories of it.  Encourage students to interview someone about their memories of the march on Washington, etc.  Allow students to write about living African Americans who may not be famous, but are admirable for their contributions to society.

5.     History is still being made - Remind students that African American history, just like all history, is still being created.  People fight for civil rights throughout the world.  It's good for students to realize that injustices have happened to people of all genders, races, and religions throughout the history of the world.  Even today, we can be a part of making life better for others.

For a complete unit on African American history, try my  Following The North Star unit.
Looking for something more hands on?  Check out my Black History Month Lessons and Pop Up Books Bundle.  I am including images from both units below.  All of the artifacts, and art work photographed in this post are on display in Chicago, IL at the Dusable Museum of African American History.  If you are in the Chicagoland area, this museum is another fantastic resource.

Tech Talk: January

For this month's tech talk I wanted to write about Moby Max, another one of my favorite websites for my students.  The best part of Moby Max is that some of it's best features are FREE!  This website is another great way to differentiate student learning.  You can place students where they are academically, and then Moby Max gives students the lessons they need.  Moby Max is for math, reading, writing and standardized test prep.

If you do purchase a license, students take a placement test and Moby Max places them directly where they need to be for each subject.  Then Moby Max tailors their lessons based on gaps that may be missing.  The best part of the website, is that once students master any deficiencies for their current grade level, Moby Max will continue teaching them in the next grade level.  With Moby Max I am able to help students who are above, at, and below grade level at the same time.  If you decide not to pay for the license, you can still tailor the curriculum on your own while using their free platform.  I truly love this website.  

I have used Moby Max for a few years now.  Their math curriculum is my favorite.  Probably because that is the curriculum I began using with them first. Their Fact Master feature is an added bonus (also free) that helps those students who struggle with their math facts. 

For more technology ideas, click here to explore our January Tech Talk blog hop.  Enjoy!

How To Beat "The Back From Winter Break Blues"

When students (and sometimes even teachers) return from winter break it can be both exciting, and a bit anti-climatic. For many students the last two weeks have had little routine, and little academic work. Coming back to school means getting up early, following rules, and a full day of learning. Here are a few ways to get students back on track, with little stress.

1. Return to your morning routine - It may be tempting to switch things up, since it is the first week back at school. Unless there were major problems with your morning routine before the break, now is not the time to implement a change. While having to get up early to go to school may not be what certain students want to do, the reality is we are in fact back at school. Students need to understand that the same rules which were in effect in the fall, are still in place in January. In fact, January is the perfect time to review the rules your class created last fall. Going back to your morning routine will help students settle back into school mode. 

2. Begin a new unit
- Now is the perfect time to introduce a fun new Social Studies or Science unit.
Give students something to be excited about. January is a perfect time to get a jump on your African American history unit, or begin a study of the weather. Whatever that fun curricular unit is, now is a great time to begin it. If you don't have a fun curricular unit planned, now is the time to plan it. My class will begin our African American history unit.  I like to make it hands on and truly engaging.  My students will learn about black history, and make pop up books of many famous leaders.  They will also research an African American of their choice and then we will create a beautiful freedom quilt.  Here is a link to my free freedom quilt activity, and my black history month lessons and pop up books bundle.

3. Reassess your students - January is also a great time to make changes to reading groups and seating arrangements. If a classroom layout was not working for you in December, January is the time to make those changes.

4. Make resolutions with your students - A new year is full of hope, and the perfect time to turn over a new leaf. As a class discuss that January is the start of a brand new year. Students may not always express it, but many times they want to adjust certain behaviors, and patterns in their lives too. A great writing activity for the first week back can revolve around simple changes students can make to improve their school life. Encourage students to think about their behaviors, and things they would like to improve.

5. Make personal resolutions regarding your teaching
- January is a time of rejuvenation for teachers as well. We've had time off to rest, and clear our heads. I find that I'm usually open to new ideas this time of year. January is also a great time to begin thinking long term about the rest of the school year.  Even though it's January, I am beginning to think about my spring insects unit.  We will all be releasing our students as little butterflies into the world soon enough. Now is the time to make sure they will have what they need to be ready.

What projects, or field trips would you like to do with your students? What is something new you're excited to try this year with your class? I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below. 


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