Daily 5

Since I will only be teaching language arts and social studies next year, I have been doing a lot of reading on best practices.  Many teachers are blogging about using the Daily 5 successfully, and I think I may give it a try next year.  When I read the book, my biggest question was what do use for Word Work in the intermediate grades.

Word Work Ideas

Games

There are many board games that can be used, including Scrabble and BOGGLE.  However, this means that kids always need a partner.

BOGGLE Bulletin Board

I plan to teach Greek & Latin Roots this year instead of traditional spelling, so I created a BOGGLE bulletin board to accompany my units of study.  I have worksheets for each week, plus I will have the board up on the wall, so students could work on this alone throughout the week.
Daily 5

Individual Work Stations

I have decided to have a "Make Your Masterpiece" theme this year, so I wanted to find a way to tie in an art theme to word work - without having to spend a lot of money.

I have been visiting my parents and trying to help my mom clean up purge stuff that is stockpiled everywhere.  My dad had a few empty paint cans and paint sticks.  Lowe's had a sale on paint samples, so I went and bought a few colors and a can of chalkboard paint.  I also picked up a few paint color strips.  Finally I asked for paint sticks.

       I plan to use the cans as individual stations.  I painted the paint sticks with the chalkboard paint and laminated the paint color strips.  Now students can use colored chalk and Expo markers to write their words, and tissues to wipe them off.  Easy peasy - and it only cost a few bucks.

     Since it is reusable, it can be easily adapted to the level of the student.  For example, students could work on spelling by listing the words down the strip.  Students that need a harder activity could use the strips to write down the definition, type of word, meaning, etc.

What are your "go to" word work activities?

©Arpad Nagy-Bagely/Dollar Photo Club

Inspiration comes in the strangest places.  Mine came in Vegas while shopping for a gift for my son.  After looking at a lot of $30 t-shirts that I was NOT about to buy for a kid that ends up wearing every meal, I was desperate.  Desperate!  I began asking everyone for ideas, and finally on the last evening someone suggested Houdini's Magic Shop in the Venetian.  As I was in need of something fast, I  asked the store clerk for help.  He brought out a whole bunch of magic tricks, and BAM!  I forgot I was buying for my son. (Seriously.)

I remembered my class's favorite read aloud last year was  Dorko the Magnificent by Andrea Beaty Amulet.  (If you haven't read it, get a copy right away!)  My class LOVED it - and I planned to read it again this year.  As I was watching the magician do these tricks (Levitating pencils!  Pulling lights out of your ear!), I just thought, "This is the bling that was missing from my room last year!"  My room was just missing the FUN.  I don't mean "fun", because we did a lot of crafts and kids loved interactive notebooks, but FUN - that joy and excitement from school.  I am determined to make my class a place where kids are thrilled to be there - where they never know when something cool will happen!  (I read Teach Like a Pirate this summer, and I think it got to me a bit.)

©Arpad Nagy-Bagely/Dollar Photo Club
Now, the magician promised me the tricks are super easy, because coordination is not high in the Mezni household.  (I bought my son a trick card deck and he has been working on it for days.)  I plan to start the year off with Dorko the Magnificent and wow them by levitating their pencils (and the book, of course.)  Dorko will captivate students in 4th and 5th grade.  I know many people start with Wonder or Ivan, but give Dorko a shot.

Robbie Dorko wants to be a famous magician, but he is terrible - and infamous around his town for his performances at the school's annual talent show.  His grandma ends up moving in with them and taking over his room.  His grandma is a real character - personality plus!  The kids love her because she is so cranky.  Eventually Robbie realizes that his grandma was a traveling magician, and the reader has to infer a lot about her because she doesn't talk about her past - ever.  I won't do spoilers, but the end is a real tear jerker.  This is the book for you if you are looking for a high interest book with great literary devices.  And a few magic tricks won't hurt.

How do you plan to make this year magical?

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