Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spaghetti and Meatball Spacing for Writing

So... I love food and I love teaching! If you can combine the two then I am a very happy teacher. If you're like me, I thought you might enjoy reading about my favorite food themed lesson! This is something I've seen around Pinterest and in lots of classrooms! It's a great way to teach spacing to your little learners!

Giving your kiddos clear visuals and referencing things they are familiar with is a great way to help students learn. Not only are lessons with themes tons of fun for your little ones, but they help students to make connections!  When students can make connections, it makes their learning meaningful and much more memorable.

Click the picture to get this anchor chart!

When I start the lesson, I show students the anchor chart above. I tell students when they write, little spaces go between their letters, like spaghetti noodles. Larger spaces, like meatballs, go between words. I even let students come up to the anchor chart to glue uncooked noodles or pieces of yellow yarn between the letters in the sentences at the bottom.

Practicing our spacing on the SmartBoard
After students understand the concept, I show them an example of spacing on the SmartBoard. Then I add in the "spaghetti and meatballs." I let students come up and do the same!

Click here to get this!
After we've practiced together, I give my students some independent practice! They get their own spaghetti and meatball writing paper, seen above. Students also get a separate paper with meatballs printed on it. They cut out and glue those meatballs between their words as they write. Then, they can draw in their spaghetti spaces between their letters with a yellow marker. 

Well I hope you got some new ideas for teaching spacing to your students! If you would like to purchase the writing paper and printables to make your own anchor chart, you can purchase it at my TPT by shop by clicking here!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Teaching Main Idea to Elementary Students

Main idea can be a tricky skill to teach, especially to young learners! Although it is a difficult concept to master, it is a crucial skill your students need to comprehend what they read. Before you begin teaching main idea in reading passages, help your students to master this skill with images and real items. My favorite way is with a mystery!

It's helpful to have students think of main idea like a puzzle, all of the details come together to make "the big picture." I tell my students that putting together details to solve puzzles is like solving a mystery. They love the idea of getting to be detectives!

To teach main idea, I use "Main Idea Mystery Bags." In each bag, I include 5 different pictures that are all related. Students will take out each picture or "clue" to see what they have in common. For example, in the mystery above, I have included pictures of socks, a coat, a sweater, a hat, and a shirt. The main idea of this would be clothes. You can find pictures of the items you want to use or include real items.

I give my students magnifying glasses in case they need to take a "closer look" at our clues! It's a small detail but they love it! Once students have looked at their clues and they know what the main idea is, they can write it on the recording sheet.

In the mystery above, the bag is labeled as "Main Idea Mystery #1." Students will write the main idea next to the appropriate number. Students will do this with each mystery.

Finally, when students are finished, they can check their answers. I put my answer key in a small envelope, like the one above. To keep with the mystery theme, I added "top secret" and "confidential" to it. I found the words by doing a simple Google search. 

Checking answers in the "top secret" envelope.

There you have it! Fun, engaging, and a concrete way to teach main idea to your little ones! Want more fun and less prep? You can get the main idea mystery bags seen above along with bags that includes sentences by clicking here or on the picture below!

Ready for your freebie? You can get a one of the recording sheets from my main idea mystery bags by clicking here! Use these with your own mystery bags to check students understand!

If you have used main idea mystery bags, what have you put in yours? What are somethings you would put in yours? Leave me a comment below!!

Happy Teaching!,