Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Eat Fried Worms

My class is currently reading the book, "How to Eat Fried Worms" by Thomas Rockwell.  This is such a fun book that captures the students' interest and imagination.  My students are really connecting to the interactions the four main characters have throughout the book.  Tomorrow, we will be wrapping up our lessons focusing on the book.

I've decided that I and the children who choose to, will get a chance to eat a "fried worm."  While I could probably be convinced to try most anything; and I have eaten snails and haggis, I don't think I could be convinced to eat a real fried worm.  We will be dining on hot dogs with ketchup and mustard!

I took a package of hot dogs and sliced each hot dog in sixths.  I found it easiest to cut them in half first and then cut each half into three parts.  Then I put them in a non-stick skillet for a few minutes to fry them up.  Tomorrow I will heat them up in the microwave I have in the classroom.  My husband and I were laughing tonight at the pile on the cutting board.  I think it really does look like a pile of worms!  :-)

This will be a choice activity.  I have some students who absolutely will not want to eat one of our "fried worms."  However, I suspect those kids will be groaning, giggling and laughing right along with the others who do.  I plan on bringing in some paper plates, ketchup and mustard to serve with our "fried worms."   One of the main characters, Tom, chants a poem to his friend Billy as he eats the worms.  I am going to post that poem on our ActiveBoard.  We can chant it and throw in a little bit of fluency reading work while we are having fun.

As always, whenever we do a choice activity like this, we will vote about whether or not we liked the worms.  I still like to vote with post-it notes (even though I have older students now).  It keeps the students actively engaged and it ensures that they only vote once.  Since we have also had ongoing lessons about graphs and data collection, we will also create a graph of our results.

I have a few more sites and lesson resources that we have done that correlate with this book.  Look for them in a future post!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Place Value Games

My class continues to need lots of practice with place value.  We're trying to hit it in small bits and pieces several times a week.  Here are a few free interactive games we are using to keep them motivated to practice the same skill!

Tank Game:

Haunted House:

Base Ten Blocks:

Seashell Rounding:

Catch Ten:

(You can find all of these games and a few more at  I've separated out the ones that my class is using just so my students can find them easier!)

Football Place Value:

Interactive Worm Sites

Last week and this week we are reading the chapter book "How to Eat Fried Worms" by Thomas Rockwell.

Here are two interactive sites that students can navigate through independently for more information about worms.

Vermi the Worm

Herman the Worm

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sight Word Strategy

I love strategies that are "quick and dirty" and cheap!  This is a simple strategy to have children practice one or two sight words that are giving them trouble.

Simply get a washable marker and write the word on the child's hand.  Make sure to write it so that the word faces the child when the child looks down at her hand. Now remind the child that every time she looks at her hand, she needs to read the word. 

This simple strategy gives the child numerous opportunities to target that word throughout the day.  She can practice it on her own.  She can read it in line to specials, she can read it in line from specials, she can read it in line to lunch, etc., etc., etc.  The beauty of it is that it not only prompts the child to remember her sight word, but it also quickly prompts staff to ask her to read the word.   It offers lots and lots of repetition within just one day!

And I have to tell you, it works.  For the life of me, I could not remember my PIN to check out books from the library and our school librarian forever had to look up my number.  The little girl whose hands are pictured here heard us go through it one day and she told me "If you can't remember it, you need to write it on your hand!"  Since I do it for my students, I figured, I'd better be willing to do it for myself, especially since she called me out and it was a situation that mirrored when I use the strategy for them!  Do you know, since then, I have remembered that crazy PIN?

If you are going to use this strategy, you will want to check with parents first to make sure they are okay with you writing on their child's hand.  You also want to make sure to ask the child's permission.  After all, you are writing on THEIR body and it IS pretty blatant. I would never want to use a  strategy that embarrasses a child.  Most of my students this year are okay with it, however, I have 2 students who tell me "no" they don't want me to write on their hands and I respect that.  For those students we don't use this strategy.