The Book vs.The Movie

In Language Arts, my 5th graders recently completed a novel unit using Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.  I used the 5th grade novel unit from and it was fantastic!  The unit is broken down into 22 days with lessons on genre, predictions, plot conflicts, theme, relationships, gender roles textual analysis  and a ton of vocabulary resources.  It was jam-packed with great lessons and student pages and best of all, it was FREE.  I use quite frequently as a source for close reading passages but have never tried their novel units.  I highly recommend that you try it out!  They also have a nice collection of paired texts and poetry!  It's an amazing resource!

My students LOVED "Bridge to Terabithia" and I thoroughly enjoyed rereading it again!  To celebrate the end of the unit, we watched the film.  I had my students compare and contrast the book versus the movie by completing a Venn diagram.

After the movie, my students had to write about the differences and similarities and then explain which version they preferred. 

It was a lot of fun!  The 2007 version of the movie is quite different from the book, so my students had quite a lot to write about.  I'm happy to report that even though they all enjoyed the movie, they ALL thought that the book was better!

You can grab a FREE copy of this organizer and writing prompt from my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking on the image below!



Mystery Science

pssst!  Have you heard about Mystery Science? If you teach elementary science, you need to check out this site! It's a new site that currently has lessons for grades 2-5 (lessons for K-1 are being piloted) and it's a fantastic resource!

Today, I led my students through the lesson "Why do the stars change with the seasons?"  I printed the activity materials needed beforehand - the Constellation Guide, a Universe in a Box template and a Circle sheet.  Once your class is ready, you press the "Start Mystery" button and off you go.  Doug narrates an engaging video about space and the constellations.  The students then get to discuss what constellations  shown on the screen (Doug even prompts, you, the teacher, to hand out the Constellation Guide!), what season it is, and leads the class through several discussion questions. Next, there is another brief video about how the Earth revolves around the sun.  Finally, the students get to make their own Universe in a Box.  Doug shows them how to cut it out and put it together and the video pauses automatically and plays the demo in a loop until you're ready to move on to the next step.  My students absolutely loved the lesson today and LOVED their Universe in a Box!  In the box, you spin the wheel to any month in the year and you can see what constellations are in the sky. Their homework was to go outside tonight and see what constellations they could find!  They know to be looking for Orion!
Universe in a Box

There are only several units available right now but more are being added all the time.  It is a resource that I am planning to use when possible.  We've also completed "Why does the sun rise and set", "What makes bridges so strong", and "What can magnets do?"  They were all great and my students still talk about them (especially the magnet "tricks" they learned).  Check it out here!


Low Tech = Better Tech

I had a revelation last month.  I've ALWAYS created station rotation charts on the computer, either in SMART notebook or Google slides, and project the chart on the SMARTboard during math and reading (and sometimes science).  Using my computer just to project a chart looked super cool but wasn't practical.  This was a valuable computer that a student could be using!   I had to be out and was planning for a sub. When I have a sub, I don't know how comfortable they are with finding my chart on the computer.  Even more importantly,  I don't really like giving out my log-in information.  I looked over at my chart stand after school as I was writing my sub plans and thought, hey, why not?  I pulled out my pack of Mr. Sketch from their secret hiding place (oh, yes, I'm obsessed with my Mr. Sketch markers!) and got busy.  It's not a work of art, but it is so functional!  I assume it worked well for the sub since she had a good day but it's working even better for me every day.  I love it! Each morning, I change out the sticky notes that tells the students what they'll be working on at each station.  The student group names are on sticky notes too so I can change them frequently. I even color-coded the group sticky notes to make it easier for students to find their group.  I made one for my reading stations too! I don't know why it's easier to write quickly on a sticky note than to edit a computer document, but it is!  Sometimes low tech is better tech.

How do you organize your station rotations?
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