The Genre's Court! (a People's Court rendition)

Do you ever find books in your classroom library that were placed into the wrong book bin??  If you said YES, keep reading for a very interactive, innovative, and creative way to engage students in genres WHILE also keeping your books in the right places!!  Sounds like a WIN WIN  to me! :)

Check it out here.

So, who's watched the show, People's Court???  Well, as I played the theme song, surprisingly, a ton of my 2nd graders started raising their hands in excitement that they knew where it came from!!  I had NO idea that they would actually know it!

Well, anyway, I wanted to find a fun way to review genres and expanding it to make them prove it with evidence.  Enter, "The Genre's Court!"  I actually brought in my college graduation gown to wear as the "Publisher" or judge during the trials!  We play the theme song from you tube as I walk into the room and when the "authors" (defendants) and "critics" (plaintiffs) walk in and out of the "courtroom" (classroom).

Throughout the week during book club centers, my students have the chance to fill out a clipboard

sheet on a specific book that they found placed in the wrong book bin!  I don't know about you all, but I can't stand it when the books are misplaced after repeatedly going over the book system!! :)  Do they not realize how many hours it took to get that book system organized?!? haha :)  Luckily, I always have some great helpers that help me out!  However, this makes it FUN to find a book in the wrong place!  (Or at least they THINK it's in the wrong book bin)  This leads to holding The Genre's Court!  There are "Editors" (jurors), "Illustrators" (sketch artists drawing the scene in the room), "readers" (spectators), "News Reporters" (video tapes and interviews readers on the trial which in turn they create an iMovie on the iPads!! side note...I got a grant for 3 ipad minis for next year so I can't wait to use those for this part, too!!), and "Copywriter" (bailiff).  I even have my own gavel with my name "Judge Swisher" on it along with "The Genre's Court!!!" (My awesome co-teacher for reading bought it for me for Christmas!!!)
We move the desks around to make it look like my courtroom map, and we have several trials.  If after the "authors" give their evidence from the clipboard sheet (graphic organizer), the "editors" (whom also fill out a similar organizer taking notes to the evidence the authors state) find that the "authors" DID NOT defend their genre, the book is sent to jail until the next person brings it to court.  I put the book in a separate bin in which it does not return to the labeled book bins until it is defended in court.  If the "editors" find that the "authors" DID defend the genre, the book can return to the correct book bin! :)

I LOVE THIS ACTIVITY!!!  MY STUDENTS LOVE IT EVEN MORE (MAYBE :)!  They beg me to have genre court!  I usually try 1 time a month.  I occasionally move books in the wrong bins to make sure there are a variety of genres being used. Sneaky, I know! :)

My whole "The Genre's Court" is in my TPT store if you'd like to check it out!!

Court is dismissed! :)

Teach Junkie Creative Ideas

Kids Teaching Kids!! An End of the Year Reading Skills Review!

Welcome to my very 1st link-up party!!!  I'm so excited to be a part of it and share my end of the year activity!!!  Thanks so much for reading!! 

At the bottom, you can see the activity, timeline and directions in a list.  :) 

So, as a way to review all of the reading skills we have learned and practiced throughout the year, I have my students become the teachers!  They pair up and pick a skill to teach.  Since we do 20 minute reading rotations all year, the kids are used to moving around a lot.  After my students pick the skill that they want to teach, they start brainstorming together how they want to review that skill with the other kids.  Many times, they used the same graphic organizers and structure as my co-teacher and I do during reading which definitely puts a smile on my face!  I got chills last year when I heard them teaching!  They sounded like us, and they knew what they were talking about!  They all pretty much made a poster to use as an anchor chart like ours in the room.  :)

Getting back to it, we do go around as they are planning to help the groups.  When we see one that needs a little more help, we will sit with them and plan it out together.  They can use books from the class library, graphic organizers, games, etc. to review the skill.  We let them plan for the first 3 days of the week during reading.  Then on the 4th-7th days (depending on how long you extend it), they teach the other kids in a rotation style just as we do in class.  We have the rotations go on for about 10 minutes so it's pretty quick and keeps them on task.  We give about a 2 minute clean up and transition time.  Half the groups go on the 4th day and half on the 5th.  They spread out around the room and set up their classroom!  Sometimes, we do have to add a day or two to finish.  It just depends on our schedule.  The kids absolutely love it!!! Take a look at the pictures from last year!!  We are just getting ready to start them this year in a couple of weeks.  It's a great way to wrap up the year in reading as well as to see how well the kids know their skills and can apply them.

The skills that they teach are:  main idea and details, cause/effect, compare/contrast, drawing conclusions, sequencing, plot, fact and opinion, theme, author's purpose, characters/setting, making connections, character traits.  We also used homophones, antonyms, and synonyms.

Activity: Kids Teaching Kids!  An End of the Year Reading Skills Review!
Duration: 1-2 weeks depending on your schedule
1. Decide which skills you want the kids to review and teach.

2. Let kids pick partners or you can select partners (I selected them last year to allow a mix of levels in a group, but it can be done either way.)

3. Let the kids brainstorm, plan, and create how they are going to review with their classmates.  Many students make posters like my anchor charts for the skill they are teaching and then use an organizer or activity we've done throughout the year with that skill.

4. Set up a rotation and schedule for the groups to teach- if you have 45 minutes, you can have 3 or 4 rotations that day.  I have 60 minutes that I can use so I can get around 4-5 in a day.

5. Have a folder for the kids to collect their materials from the reviews.  You can use a long sheet of construction paper, fold it, and use it as a file folder.  I like using this so they can have a 2nd grade review folder. :)

6. Set a timer as they do the rotations to keep you on track.

7. I have kids sitting on the floor, in desks, at tables to teach.

8. Once finished, we reflect on how they felt as the teachers, their challenges and likes, etc.

9. This finally leads up to our "End of Year Final" covering all of the skills.  I will try to see if I can get that uploaded on here in the next couple weeks if you'd like to see it. :)

10. Finally, just enjoy watching your students!!  It's soooo rewarding to see them teach since that really shows comprehension!  It's a great way to end the year for the teacher and the students!!

If you try this, I would LOVE to hear how it goes or if you added or changed anything!! :)

Class Dojo UPDATE!

What can I say...I LOVE Class Dojo!! :)  I have been so tired of using so many different behavior systems at once that it just becomes so much work.  I've found with Class Dojo, majority of that work is eliminated.  I haven't figured out how to use it as a grade, though.  If anyone has ideas for this, I would love to hear them!  It's amazing how my students see me with my iphone or ipad in the hallway, and immediately, they put up the quiet sign! haha  On top of that, who doesn't love the little avatars?!? They are adorable!!  My students love going in and changing them!  I'm still trying to figure out if I want to let their Dojo points add up throughout the week or reset them daily so we're trying both ways to see!  Process of elimination usually works!  Well, I will let you know how Week 2 goes!  Like I said, if you have any suggestions or ways it's worked for you, I would be all ears!  

Class DOJO!!!

I am sooooo excited to start the Class DOJO tomorrow to finish out the school year!!!  I have been researching and testing everything out so that it's ready to go, and I can't wait!  I, too, am always trying new ways to help increase positive behavior without always rewarding students for things they should be doing already.  Sometimes, I have conflicts with the whole immediate gratification because, let's face it, that's not how it always is in real life when you have to work long and hard for things and to see the success at the end.  I've been using the Clip Chart behavior system this year for the first time, and I have really liked the fact that every student has the chance to improve their behavior the whole day instead of being stuck on Red right away in the morning.  However, I have still found that it is sometimes hard to keep up with because of the school wide jewel incentive or the bucket fillers we use, and I tend to forget to tell students to clip up when they're doing something great.  With this, I will be able to have my iphone or ipad with me all the time while checking in on students.  I won't have to worry about moving their clips back for the next day, recording where they were each day or even filling out their behavior charts that they record on daily to have parents sign.  Everything will be done for me!! :)  I love that I can send reports to parents that are more detailed for me as well as the students and parents telling specifically what they were doing that was positive and negative.  Ohhhh, I can't wait!! :)  We, as teachers, have soooo many tasks on our plates, that I am really hoping that the Class Dojo helps alleviate one of those tasks in a fun, rewarding way with my students!!  I really think they are going to love it!!  I will let you all know how it goes this week!! :)