Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Yuck! It's STILL winter! Some Upper Elementary Resources and a FREEBIE to make it through!

I am linking up with my friend, Carla at Comprehension Connection for her Thematic Thursday Link-Up.  The focus for this week is WINTER!

I enjoy winter in Ohio as much as I enjoy getting hit in the face with a snowy iceball!

Here is a favorite meme that my spinning instructor shared with me that makes me question the fact that I reside in Cincinnati...

I will tell you that despite my above rant-I don't complain a whole lot about it.  I know that by April or May, I will be loving life again and enjoying the fact that I get to spend 90% of my time outside.

I find this time to be tough on my own children and students as well.  They often are stuck inside for recess due to temperature restrictions and are antsy to get some fresh air and exercise. Watching videos, playing board games, and coloring are all great time-fillers for recess, but kids really just want to be outside.

While there is always an instructional calendar in place, my reading passages and novel unit selections vary each year during these winter months.  Some years I am perfectly fine with the colder weather, and other years all I can do to stay sane is dream of places like sunny Florida or dry and temperature-perfect, Arizona, while I am bundling up and racing around to stay warm.


If you are looking for a novel to share with your upper elementary students to help them escape the cold, check out Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  The setting of the novel is sunny Arizona.  While you navigate through this mystical, realistic fiction novel, it will feel like a mini-escape from the cold temps, at least for a little while. This novel is about a girl that after being home-schooled, enters high school at Mica Area High School where her uniqueness is not welcomed.  Her non-conformity irks all the wrong people and she battles with the idea of staying true to herself or changing in order for people to like her.  It is the perfect novel to share with students that are at this impressionable stage and heading to middle school.

When I am really over all of the student complaints about cold, I love to share Woodsong by Gary Paulsen with my students.  This is the ideal text to share with my students in the bitter cold January and Feburary winter months because while we complain about the cold here in Cincinnati, it certainly isn't as cold here as it is in Minnesota or Alaska, for goodness sake!  The novel is a memoir of what led Gary to train and run the Iditarod in Alaska.  Your students will not even think about complaining of the cold when they read about Gary's experiences running a trapline through the Minnesota woods and the different stages of the unforgettable dogsled race.  Here is the novel and unit to assist your instruction...

And when you realize that you can't beat winter, so you just need to join it, there is this fun reader's theater for fluency, word work, comprehension, and writing fun.  Your students will love reading this high interest realistic fiction passage about a snowy recess in which the assistant principal's silly action leads to a student getting carried away and injuring another. The lesson students will take away is that "Rules are made for a reason" and we as adults need to be reminded of that sometimes.

And finally, a FREEBIE...

Stay warm!

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At Wednesday, 14 January, 2015 , Blogger Carla @ Comprehension Connection said...

Oh Erin! What an awesome post! I am so so glad you linked up with me this week, and I want you to know we've been studying MLK this week with your reader's theater. The kids have loved it. I'm using it with my higher fourth grade group (near grade level). It's been a little push with some of the vocab, but such a great resource! I'm heading over to check out your freebie and The Snowball Toss. I think we are two peas in a pod. I, too, am enjoying writing up my own scripts and material for the kids, and they LOVE it!! Hang in there through the winter. My husband's in Cleveland at the moment...probably feeling about like your cartoon!


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