Monday, February 25, 2013

“Scribble Press” Friendship Books

Last year, I posted my Animal Friendship unit, and it was so successful that I used it again this year with my second graders.  For my last lesson in my friendship unit, I decided to integrate technology using our IPads.  I am always looking for ways to enhance my lessons with technology because it helps to capture my students’ interest.  For this lesson, we reviewed characteristics of a good friend, positive qualities to look for when meeting new friends, and our friendship rules of how to treat each other.  

Then, using the “Scribble Press” app on the IPad, each student created and illustrated a friendship book!  Scribble Press is an app that contains numerous templates of books covering a variety of topics.  To get to the one we used, you simply click on “New Book,” “Family,” and then select the book titled “My Best Friend.”  Once you select the book, the app’s pre-scripted text appears with spaces for the student to fill in words to personalize it.  They fill in their best friend’s name, why they are best friends, their favorite things to do together, and their favorite memory together.  I encouraged my students to take this seriously and think about what good qualities make their best friend a good fit for them.  

Once they have filled in the blanks, the app “creates” their book and they are now able to illustrate their entire book with hundreds of different makers, highlighters, text, pictures, stamps, etc.  When the student has finished their story, I have them save it within the app, and I am going to let students share their books during my next guidance class using the same IPadthey created it on.  So far, this is the quickest way I found for saving. However, I may see if I can email them to myself and print them so they can take their story home.  If you have any suggestions for this please comment and let me know!!

Helpful Hints for this lesson:
1. It takes the students 2 (30-40 minute) classes to finish their books, and a third to share them.  However, I believe the time is worth it, considering they are working hands on and creating the entire time!

2. The books are about a “best friend.”  It is every important to reiterate to the students how important it is for everyone to have more than one best friend and they are supposed to just pick one of their friends to write about.  I explain to students that the purpose of the activity is to review what we have learned about friendship, and we want to be careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings by leaving others out.

3. Our students don’t have a lot of experience using IPads in second grade. It helped a lot for me to have the app pulled up to the screen they needed, before they came to class. 

4. It is important to model to the students how to draw and create the book before they begin because there are many art options to use.  Also, review IPad rules before they begin.

5. OuIpads are numbered, so it was very important for me to write down the number each student was using so I knew which Ipad to give back to them in order to finish their book.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Peer Pressure Lesson Using Super Bowl Commercials

My classroom guidance lessons are so much more effective when I take the time to create engaging lessons that are meaningful to the grade level I’m teaching.  So, this week with my 5th graders we talked about peer pressure using the Super Bowl Commercials!  As an added bonus, I introduced the students to the concept of media literacy which is a 5th grade SOL topic in Virginia this year! 

I started the lesson by reviewing the concept of peer pressure and discussing HOW students pressure you into doing things you may not want to do.  Some responses were: saying you’re a chicken, using humor, pressuring you by asking over and over, telling you that everyone is doing, etc.  Then we talked about how you have to be smarter than the person peer pressuring you and recognize that they are actually using strategies to get you to do something you know is not right. 

Then, I told the students that peer pressure is very similar to what advertising companies do to pressure you into buying certain products.  Big companies use strategies like humor, repetition, telling stories, making you feel like everyone is doing it, and using famous people to pressure you into buying their stuff.  One way you can be smart about peer pressure and watching commercials is to answer questions like, “Who wants you to do it?” “Why are they targeting you?” and “What strategies are they using to pressure you?”

So, then, we watched 5 Super Bowl commercials that I had “pre-screened,” and we discussed each of these questions in relation to each commercial.  The ones we watched were: Tide Joe Montana Stain, Hyundai Team, Oreo Whisper Fight, Got Milk, and VW Get Happy.   They can all be found on this website.  Here is the handout I used.  The handout is only made for 4 commercials  We did the first one as a whole class.  This lesson was a huge success, and it really helped students understand peer pressure from a different perspective.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Classroom Lesson Organization

I have posted many of the lesson ideas that I use for classroom counseling, so today I thought it would be helpful for me to share my organizational system.  As we all know, organization is a luxury that we are always striving for during the overall craziness of the school environment!  After 4 years of planning and creating classroom lessons, I have found that my life runs so much smoother if I am prepared and organized!  So here is the system that I have put together that works best for me...

First, is my lesson plan bible. I have 40 minute classroom guidance lessons with every classroom every other week.  The schedule can get pretty crazy, so it really helps me to open up my lesson plan book for the week and know what classes I have.  For each class, I jot down the lesson title and anything else I need to change or add to the lesson.

For my lessons, I store them in file folders that are hole punched to fit in binders.  I store all the worksheets/game pieces/books that I need for the lesson in sheet protectors that fit inside the file folders. I also find it really helpful to have the lesson plan written on the inside of the folder.  This helps keep everything I need in one spot. I am not running around at the last minute trying to find the book I need or rushing to make copies.

I store all the lessons I will be using for the 9 weeks in a file folder box that sits on my desk.  Again, this keeps everything close at hand and easy to find!  They are separated by tabs per grade level.

Finally, when the 9 weeks is over, I simply store all my lessons in 3 ring binders labeled by grade level.  This is where they are kept until I need them again next year!  I also think it is important to say that I believe in teaching lessons that directly affect the needs of my students, so I also have a file cabinet full of ideas to pull and use, if my planned lesson is not what they need at the time.  I believe it is important to continuously update my lessons and not grow stagnate by reusing the same ole thing, so these binders are updated constantly. 

How do you organize your classroom lessons?