Sunday, February 22, 2015

Boosting Student Writing Using the Five Senses

Hi, it's Sebrina from Burke's Special Kids dropping in to share a fun writing tip to use when writing poetry with your students.

Getting students to use their five senses when writing poetry boosts their word choice, creativity, and is so much fun!
Choose any popular activity or upcoming holiday and try this with your students.  Here are some samples my students completed.

The students completed a planning page/graphic organizer prior to writing their poems. They discussed with their partners descriptive words that best reflected their five senses when writing about their chosen topic. This really got the students thinking, talking, and collaborating together.  Of course their engagement skyrocketed!


These templates are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I will set them free for the next week (until 3/2/15) so that you have time to grab them!  Click for the direct link {HERE}.


Happy writing!




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bug Hunting + Free Printables!

Ahhh…… creepy crawlies!  For a topic that never fails to captivate children of all ages, you can't go past BUGS!

I have a fascination and interest in all things creepy and crawly... but I most definitely would not like to look down and find one crawling up my leg!!  It doesn't matter if you love them or hate them, they normally produce some sort of response in people (especially children) which is excellent motivation for learning.

Do you live near national parks, beaches or beautiful woodland areas?  No?  Well that’s not a problem, because insects are everywhere…. inside and out!  Even inner city schools will have no problem finding insects and other wildlife.  I love the unexpected ‘teachable moments’ that arise from a creepy crawly popping up in an unexpected place………. and so do the kids! 

The whole topic of bugs is a fantastic spring board for delving further into other areas of the curriculum. Apart from the obvious connections to science, they also inspire amazing artwork; They’re a great prompt for both descriptive and factual based writing; They can provide an unusual starting point for discussing social issues e.g. bullying, empathy & compassion (is it ok to hurt things smaller than yourself?);  They are integral to discussions about environmental issues (honey bees are responsible for much of what we eat, worms are used in recycling etc.)

Looking closely at a special snail shell find!

Here are a couple of points to keep in mind and possibly share with your class next time you all bump into a bug:

  • Many insects are helpful (worms, bees, spiders etc.)
  • We don’t need to harm or make a fuss about things that aren't bothering us
  • We can respect things smaller than ourselves 

Even if you're feeling a bit squeamish....attempt to model curiosity and respect - the kids will be watching your reactions!

You're never to young to have a healthy curiosity in the living world!  My little toddler was excited to find the bug that had been making "the loud clicking noise" (a cicada).

Ensure your classroom nature table has copies of informative insect books handy - if a child spots an insect, you can quickly grab a book, identify it and share some cool facts with the class!  You could compile a class book of the bugs you see.  Another handy thing to keep on you nature table is magnifying glasses (you can get low cost plastic ones at your local dollar store - see my post on 'Magnifying Glass Silliness' here for more information!)
Getting comfortable around bugs includes becoming more familiar with them.  Specifically teach the children how to behave in their presence (as we already do with dogs etc.)
If you encounter a bug where it shouldn’t be, pop a drinking glass over it, and gently slide a thin piece of cardboard under the cup.  Carry the cup outside and release the creature by removing the cardboard.

Click here to find these ~FREE PRINTABLES~ in my TpT store

If you really can’t handle the sight of that humongous cockroach in your classroom, send a child to get a teacher who you know can model curiosity and respect!  “Wow!  What an amazing creature!  Someone grab a magnifying glass and the camera—  who has a good suggestion about how best to capture this bronzed beauty?”

Happy bug hunting,

Grubbily yours,