Sunday, August 30, 2015

Story Elements and Theme

We are departmentalized beginning in fourth grade, so each of us teaches our own homeroom reading - except in the beginning of the year. Because I am the fourth grade language arts teacher, I cover the summer reading in this class, and when we're done, the other homeroom teacher will take over for her kiddos. So, today I wanted to share what we've covered the first two weeks of school.

I had my incoming fourth graders read Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo as one of their required books over the summer. I don't require specific books or even genres throughout the year, but by having everyone read the same book, this allows me to teach story elements easily because we can use the events and characters of one book that everyone already knows.

We began by discussing characters in the story. My kiddos named the characters and gave descriptions which included both internal and external traits.

After discussing the characters in the story, we defined internal vs external conflict. We then went through each character and gave examples of each type of conflict for our main characters.

We discussed setting, defined it and then the kiddos gave their ideas of setting from the story.

From there we focused on plot - looking at the events that take place in the story and creating a plot diagram. This was new for them and they really caught on quickly.

Following the plot discussion, we focused topics the author develops in the story. A few that the students came up with were loneliness, friendship, family and love.

During our second week of school, we defined and discussed what a theme is in a story and how the students can use events in the story to show support for these themes in the story. I wanted the students to move from a general topic they think is in the story to develop the idea into a theme. We focused on the topic of friendship.

My read aloud for the second week was You and Me by Susan Verde.  After reading the book, the students took the topic of friendship and generated a theme statement: You can find friendship in unexpected places and at unexpected times.

We then discussed what it means to have a friend, how do you make friends, how do you keep friends, and what makes a good friend. Finally, students created "Friend Wanted" ads where they stated reasons to support the statement: I make a good friend because...

Here are a few:

How do you teach your students about topics and theme in reading?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Made It! - August 10th

It's that time again. I'm a little late to the party today because I had to go back to school today for inservice all day. I'm tired...but I wanted to participate in Tara's 4th Grade Frolics fun Monday Made It. Today my Made It is my classroom.
My door...

My Room..

This is my YA bookshelf.

It's hard to see, but there are books all along the right side of the picture and along one shelf under the cabinets at the far end.

Homework board straight ahead, bulletin board on the right is for students to post their goals. The blue and green baskets are book baskets for my students. Underneath the book baskets are cubbies for the other 4th grade homeroom. To the left is a blank are where I'm going to post our read aloud books as we complete them. Finally, the pink and white stripe table has writing supplies.

This has a test calendar on the left window and birthday displays on the right window. Along the counter are class journals, shake-it-up vocabulary, book cards, and story starters.

I'm off to bed now:) What did you make this week?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Made It! - August 3rd

It's that time again! I'm linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. First I have to give a shout out to Tara because she is definitely the reason I've been somewhat productive this summer! Yay!

On to the Made Its...

My first Monday Made It! is from looking at Alison's Made It from Rockin' and Lovin' Learning last week. Click here to see her Monday Made It from last week in case you missed. Click here to go to Polka Dots and Pal and get your own Pal. After reading Alison's post, I just knew I had to head over and make my own pal. Here she is...

My second Monday Made It was also followed from last weeks' Monday Made It. I saw this fabulous tutorial from Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris to make a desktop calendar for the computer. So FABULOUS! She has a great tutorial that makes this super easy to do. I purchased the calendar from the 3 AM Teacher, but you could make your own. I decided hers was too cute, and so I was able to make this lickity split! Now I can see everything I need to at a glance when I'm on my computer. Yay!

My third Monday Made It is a quick book trailer for Circus Mirandus to use next year. I try and do lots and lots of book talks to get my kiddos excited about reading and book trailers are one way to do that. 

What did you make this week?