It's fall y'all! A little #throwback

No! No. It's not Thursday, but I wanted to do a little throwback post to some of my favorite fall activities. I am telling you...fall {mainly October} is my absolute favorite month in the classroom. I have a TON of brand new lessons in store for this month so stay tuned. Until then, here are a few things from the past. You can click on any of the links to read the original post for more details! 

The Dead Word Zone 
{MY FAVE!!!}

Just picture it: Your students arrive to school wearing all black. They are laying these "dead words" to rest one final time. After this, your students' writing will be filled with a variety of vivid vocabulary! I am telling you, the kids have an absolute blast with this activity. You can read more about it right {HERE}. All of the resources for this lesson is included in my Trick or Treat Halloween Writing Unit {HERE}
Pumpkin Book Reports

I think the pictures do all of the talking here! :) This is such a great project to engage your students and motivate them to read some really great books. I have done two different versions of pumpkins in my classroom: 1) Fiction - pumpkin BOOK reports 2) Nonfiction - pumpkin BIOGRAPHIES. They both were perfect opportunities to tie literature and nonfiction texts into the month of October. Here is a look. 

Pumpkin Book Reports: 
Original post {HERE}.
You can purchase the resources for this unit {HERE}.

Pumpkin Biographies:
Original Post {HERE}
Resources {HERE} 

The Wizard of Oz
October is the absolute perfect time for one of my favorite books, The Wizard of Oz! 

That's right...The Wizard of Oz! 

That October morning when they walked in, our classroom was decorated with witch everything... paired with a nice, bright...Yellow Brick Road! At the end of the road waiting patiently, was their new guided reading book for the next two weeks! I couldn't decide if I wanted to read the story whole group, or in guided reading groups. Then, I found the perfect version at Kohls! It was challenging for my low group, perfect for my middle, and a little easy for my high group. So, I simply modified the reading skills to make it perfect for all! AND...they couldn't have been more excited about our new book study! You can check out the original post {HERE}.

Halloween Riddle Review

When the sugar high sets in, keep them busy, busy, busy! I love this activity. Original post {HERE}

Halloween Homophones
Which or witch?!? Come on! Perfection. Original post {HERE}.

On Wednesday I will be back to share a fun lesson that I am doing with my 5th graders. I will give you one little hint. On Friday when they left school, I handed them this ticket. {Our kids are out on Monday and Tuesday}. As they left, I wished them luck on the adventure that they will encounter on Wednesday when they return! I. Can't. Wait! 

The Reading Bucket List: The Big Reveal!

If you would like to join us for a live Periscope reveal, it will all go down at 8:00 PM EST tonight! You can follow me @HopeKing on Periscope to join the conversation. 

Do you struggle to motivate your readers? Are you over reading logs, reading incentive programs, and having your students count minutes per night? Even though we know they aren't actually completing them! I can just see it's Sunday night before school on Monday and little Johnny sits down to write out his "reading" for the week. Momma or daddy signs away not even knowing whether or not he actually spent five minutes reading the entire week. Well, we have a solution for you!  Adam Dovico, my very dear {and brilliant} friend, and I are beyond ecstatic to introduce the Reading Bucket List. Here is a little insight to the method behind the madness of the bucket list.

As adults, we read what we enjoy. Why then are we forcing kids to all read the same text, at the same time, with the same assessments? That’s why Adam and I came up with the Reading Bucket List—an innovative approach to self-selected texts, engaging projects, and meaningful discussions.

First and foremost, we wanted students to have choice in what they are reading! But we know as teachers that there needs to be some guidance in what we do, so that is why we created a list of 60 genres, both traditional and out-of-the-box, that students can select from. From historical fiction and autobiography to primary documents written before 1800 and comic books, there is a wide-range of texts that students can thumb through to reach their goal of 40 texts by the end of the year.

In addition to the reading, we wanted students to have the opportunity to creatively express what they have in their heads. As one fifth-grade student from North Carolina said, “I like reading, but I like being creative even more.” That is why students will create projects based on their reading from a “Project Menu.” The projects feature a wide-range of visual arts, music, performance, and writing.

In the end, we want students to love what they are reading and have a chance to talk and demonstrate what they are investing their time in. We are encouraging teachers to conference with the students once a week to talk about what they are reading. This also gives a chance for students to make text recommendations!  

The Reading Bucket List unit contains everything you need to introduce, establish, and perfect the bucket list in your room. Here is a look a few of the additional components of the unit. 

I have been holding daily groups with my students where we chat about their readings and share some of their favorite things about our text. We have also piloted this program in other schools, and the teachers have been raving about their students' level of motivation to read. Here is a picture of Adam holding a reading conference with a group in NC. 

And here is another snapshot of a student strategizing over which text she will read next. 

We've also created book suggestion cards to use when recommending texts for students. But this is just a starter! ;) 

The students will also be writing quotes from their favorite books in this journal. As other students are searching for the perfect titles, this journal might just serve as the inspiration they need. 

As students complete a text, they have recommendation cards in their hands and ready to go as they share their new found love of a book with their friends. 

Everything that you need to set-up and maintain student tracking and records is also included. 

I couldn't be any more pleased with how the bucket list has been working in my classroom. Many of my students have already completed 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9 texts. My parents are also a little in love with it as well. This text message the other night just made my teacher heart all kinds of happy. :) 

The Reviews Are In: 

Mrs. Nolan, "I love the reading genre list. Katy and I are both loving picking out different books to fit the genres."

Cindy Resendes: "I love being able to have real conversations about books with my students. They are bowing me away with the titles they are choosing. I thought it would be hard to get them to read and share their thoughts, but they are excited about the books they are choosing and diving into multiple genres that I know they would not have even known about, let alone actually read!! This is a great way to get my students reading and having conversations about their books."

If you are interested in purchasing the RBL for your classroom, you can grab it by clicking the picture below. It will be on sale for the next 24 hours! 

Get Your Teach On: March 7, 2016

Oh my goodness, y'all! I am giddy with excitement! Have y'all heard the news? On March 7, 2016, Deanna Jump has invited me to join her in Orlando for a brand new conference called Get Your Teach On! 

This is sure to be unlike any early childhood/elementary conference you've attended. Deanna and I will be spending the day sharing our ideas, techniques, and teacher secrets that have led to a successful classroom in grades K-3. We have tons of surprises in store along with some great breakout sessions. Here is everything you need to know: 

Classroom snapshots & a little about what you will learn: 

Need a teacher pick-me-up? Looking for some of the most current research based strategies that will light your classroom on fire? Join us in 2016 for Get Your Teach On – a one-of-a-kind experience for K-3 teachers.  You will spend a day with Deanna Jump and Hope King as they share their passion and enthusiasm for education and give you their tips, tricks, best practices, and teacher secrets to building a successful and engaging classroom. You will leave feeling empowered, motivated, and prepared to create dynamic lessons that will challenge your students and leave them hungry for more. Get Your Teach On is sure to be unlike any other educators’ conference that you will attend. Pack your favorite teacher bag, get ready for some educational magic, and join us in Orlando as you prepare to Get Your Teach On!

Ready to register? Please read the information below to ensure that you reserve a spot at this year's conference. 

If you are ready to complete your registration and payment, click the link below and follow these easy steps:

So mark your calendars and get ready for a weekend filled with excitement, inspiration, and motivation to get your classroom moving and grooving like never before. We can't wait to see you all! 


Mad Science: Teaching the Scientific Method

Did the first week just really come and go? My goodness! I feel like I sat down to do the pre-game shows at RCA (did y'all watch them on Ron's Periscope?) months ago, yet it also feel like it never even happened.

Although we had a lot of fun going on in that first hour on our first day, you better believe that we hit that content hot and heavy as soon as the back to school party ended. Here is what went down in science this week. I will have to post what we did in reading later on. 

If you want to check out what we learned live on Periscope, I will be on around 8:00 PM EST tonight! 

This year, my students will be working in lab groups as they complete a variety of science experiments. Each group will have four students with different roles. I wanted the students to determine which student would be in charge of what role. In order to help them get to know one another's strengths and figure out which student would best fill each role, I had them complete a little activity that I am sure you all know called Saving Sam. 

Only, I made one slight change. As they were trying to find a way to get Sam into the safety raft and back onto the boat, they must remain completely silent. Here is a look at the kids working in collaborative groups. 

That moment when you've tried 10,000 other strategies and in the final seconds, you manage to make it happen! 

That little silent curve ball made it quite challenging. 

I am happy to report that all 10 groups were able to effectively save Sam! This was a great conversation starter to what you noticed from your teammates. What happened when things got a little frustrating? How did your lab group react? Did you notice that someone only wanted things to go there way or only wanted you to follow their possible strategies? 

This really made the kids begin to think about their lab group and which student would fit best in each role. After the activity, I gave the students about three minutes to determine their roles for the quarter {leader, manager, note taker, communicator}. 

This lab group idea came from my mad science partner, Daniel Thompson. Daniel and I will be doing a Periscope tomorrow to explain this in further detail. You will thank him later. It is pretty genius! 

The following day my students walked into this...

They will now sit in specific seats for the remainder of the quarter that are specific to their roles. 

I taught them the six steps to the scientific method using a song that I wrote to Hit the Quan. I am not trying to sing that for y'all {LOL!} so I will share that later on in the week. I might have to make some kids stay after school and sing it for y'all. 

After I taught the six steps in detail, and I showed them how they truly use the method all day er' day, we had a little rewind to step four. I began walking them through what their lab reports would be expected to look like this year. They have some pretty extensive lab reports, and step four is all about the experiment which must include the procedure for completing the experiment. 

On the tables, I had everything set up for the students to make s'morewiches. We don't have a microwave in the room, so we just used crackers, chocolate spread, and marshmallow spread. 

The students were each given a 3x5 card and asked to write the steps to making a s'morewich. They all were commenting about how easy this assignment was and how they had nailed the procedure. I said...hmmm...okay...let me have one of your cards. I quickly went to work following the steps they had written out. This is what I ended up with: 

The student's directions: 

1) Get the Graham crackers out of the box and put them on your plate. 
2) Use a knife to spread the chocolate on the crackers. 
3) Use a knife to spread the marshmallow on the crackers.  
4) Place a Graham cracker on top. 

Ummm...they failed to mention many things here. :) It was a disaster. 

The students quickly realized they've got a lot of work ahead of them. When they are working as a scientist, they must be extremely specific. I had them trade cards with a partner and get to work. Here is what we ended up with: 

It was messy and a complete disaster {not one student had correct procedures}...but let me tell you something....these scientists now get it! They GET it! Tons of lightbulbs going off. 

We had a quick discussion about what went wrong and how we can improve. 

I mean, am I really going to be able to eat this?!? 

Unfortunately, they were not able to eat the s'morewiches because they were a mess and didn't nail the procedures. Better luck next time! :) In fact, better luck Tuesday. They must bring back proper instructions for breaking down how to make a s'morewich. We will see how it all turns out and if they finally get to eat those delish treats. 

This week, we will be diving right into lab reports while reviewing the steps for the scientific method. We will also be covering lab safety and tools. I have several labs and activities planned, so I will be sure and come back to share some updates.

Hope y'all are having a nice long weekend. This mad scientist is signing off for now! :)