Thursday, September 25, 2014

Interactive Notebook Lesson for Comparing and Contrasting Paleo Indians and Archaic People

As promised, I'm back with an Interactive Notebook template for comparing and contrasting early North American peoples. I've also included an anchor chart and a sample summary for the lesson.

Here's the INB template I designed for this lesson. I would have students cut this out during morning announcements, then store it in the envelopes in the back of their notebooks until time for the writing lesson. Since this is a cross-curricular skill lesson, I would take time during both the writing block and social studies as needed to finish.

Paleo vs. Archaic People Front Sample

The copy I give to students would actually be blank where I currently have clipart showing people of the time. I want them to use their own illustrations, but this is an accommodation you could use for absent or struggling students. I designed this starting with a completely blank template I downloaded from Tangstar Science here.

Paleo vs. Archaic People Blank Front

I would have my own copy of the blank template projected on the Interactive Whiteboard, so that we could complete this as a class. This is what the inside would look like.

Paleo Vs. Archaic People Blank Inside
As a class, we would come up with descriptive items to fill out the chart. Differences go under the specific people, while similarities go under "Both." For instance, Paleo Indians lived when the Earth was much colder, while Archaic people enjoyed a climate and environment much like today's. However, both were hunter-gatherers. However, the Paleo Indians used sticks and spears to hunt large animals, while the Archaic people developed the atlatl to enable them to hunt smaller animals with greater accuracy. Here's a video from PBS showing the design and use of the atlatl.

PBS Atlatl Video

By the time we finished filling out our chart, I would expect it to look something like this:

Paleo Vs. Archaic People Sample Inside
This foldable chart would be glued into the Interactive Notebook, but we wouldn't stop there.

Next, I would project this blank anchor chart, which I would fill in front student suggestions, while students worked on their own copies.

Blank Compare Contrast Anchor Chart
We would talk about the use of signal words to show when we are comparing two like items, or contrasting two items which are not alike. I would encourage students to come up with these signal words to fill the chart. (If students had difficulty with this, I would have them pull out a previous comparison/contrast article from a different assignment and have them search for the transition words.) This is what I would expect the chart to look like by the time we finished creating it as a class.

Once the anchor chart and Paleo vs. Archaic People foldable graphic organizer were complete, we could proceed to the compare/contrast summary paragraphs. Of course, your own curriculum probably differs from mine, but here is a sample of what I would be working on with my students.

Compare/Contrast Paleo vs. Archaic People

I love typing this sort of thing on the computer while students watch, because it shows the ease of editing from a computer program. Fourth graders need encouragement to type on the computer, and this is one way I try to encourage them. I also think it's a good idea to go back as a class and highlight the comparison/contrast transition words. It's an effective way to remind students to look for these words in their own writing later.

Completed Sample with Highlighted
Compare/Contrast Transition words
Once students have completed these steps together as a class, I would have them complete similar activities for later Native American groups. My struggling students would probably continue to need small group support to be successful at this, while my high groups would be able to fly on their own. By far the largest group of students would need modest support, and we would continue to complete more of these types of assignments as the weeks progress.

As a quick response, I would ask students to compare and contrast two items of their own, such as two types of animals, or two sports teams, and write a brief paragraph about it in their journals.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about using Interactive Notebooks for comparison/contrast lessons. If you are interested in purchasing this lesson, check out my store here. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave some feedback below!

"See" you next time!

post signature

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pourquoi Stories and the Interactive Notebook

I'm home with a sick child (and a sick me) the last few days. It's amazing how dull my brain is when I'm sick. I've been wanting to get this post finished for almost a week. I finally decided that it was never going to be "perfect" and I needed to just let it go, so here it is.

Getting an Interactive Notebook lesson ready for new curriculum is kinda scary, so I wanted to be prepared. One of the literature links in our new social studies curriculum involves the use of pourquoi stories. Some of the suggested readings were familiar to me, while others were not.

Pourquoi Stories Explain the Natural World

I decided to start with the definition of pourquoi stories, as well as some background vocabulary for the students. Pourquoi means "why" in French, which helps explain the meaning of pourquoi. These stories attempt to explain why certain things are the way they are in the natural world.

This pocket would be glued in the Interactive Notebook, with each unit vocabulary word and definition as an item to be placed inside. (That way students could pull them out to study.)

Fortunately, I found this cool video reading of one of the stories, Grandmother Spider Brings (Steals) the Sun. It's read by a member of the Navajo nation, (although my teacher's guide says it is a Cherokee story) and I love that when it comes time for grandmother spider to sing a song, this reader is able to lend her distinctive voice to the task.

The video is ten minutes long, so I decided I would show this right after lunch, then have students fill out the first part of the foldable for their Interactive Notebooks using this story. Here's what the blank page would look like before starting the process.

Pourquoi tales use animal characters to explain why something occurs in the natural world, as well as give the listener guides for correct behavior. We needed to find out what the story was trying to explain. After some class discussion, here's the result I was hoping for: where did the sun, light, and fire come from? Why do opossums have "rat tails?" Why do buzzards have bare heads? and How did the people learn to make pottery?

Next, we needed to find out what lessons for correct behavior the story was trying to teach. Each of the animals who tries to get a piece of the sun has special gifts or abilities. Even after repeated failure the animals do not give up. Even the smallest or most frail among us has the power to do good. If we all work together, we can achieve what may seem impossible at first.

I figured this would be plenty for one day's instruction. I resolved to make finishing the foldable part of centers for the week.

The next pourquoi tale would be one of my all-time favorites. (Since this story does not originate among the tribes of the Southeast, I would not use it in my graphic organizer, but I do want to expose students to various native cultures. Those of you who teach in other states might find this book meets the standards there.)

Raven: a Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest tells the story of the Raven, who feels sorry for the people who must live in darkness, so he travels to the house of the Sky Chief, where he steals the sun. He places the sun in the sky, so that the people may have warmth and light.

This book is beautifully illustrated, showing the foggy coast, mountains, and native dress and housing of the people of the Pacific Northwest. It also makes a terrific read aloud for the whole class. Here's my  favorite illustration, which shows the Raven stealing the sun from the house of the Sky Chief:

In addition to explaining how the sun and light came to light the world, this story also explains why the Raven says, "Caw! Caw!" It tells why the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest always feed the bird (which I did not know before I first read the story), because they are thanking him for delivering light to the world.

The story teaches that through perseverance even a small creature can accomplish mighty acts. Helping others is noble.

The next pourquoi tale for this lesson would be How the Rabbit Stole the Fire. This story is associated with the Creek tribe of the Southeast.

Just as the title suggests, this story explains how the people received warmth and light. It explains why some animals look the way they do. It also explains why the sun rises in the sky every day.

I like how all three of these stories tell the same basic tale, but in different ways. This is evidence that the tribes had contact with each other over time. However, since the raven story does not meet the standards for my state, I needed one more Native American trickster tale. This one is from the Choctaw tribe, also from the Southeast. According to the book's description, all the clothing worn by the animals in the story is based on authentic, traditional clothing of the Choctaw people, so this book was especially interesting to me.

"Chukfi Rabbit is lay-zeee!" is the idea behind the story. The other animals want to build a house, which sounds like far too much work for lazy Chukfi. However, when Chukfi finds out that the animals plan to share a feast including some delicious butter when they have finished their labors, the lazy rabbit devises a plan to skip the work, yet still get the reward of the yummy butter. Of course, he ends up with a huge bellyache!

This story teaches that working together helps the community. Together, we can accomplish great things. Beware of laziness and greed.

Here are examples for each page. I used different colored ink for each story. I also think it's important for students to sketch out a visual for each story. This becomes important as an example for when they design their own stories. Simple thumbnails are fine for this. I've included clipart on my example just to give you an idea of what it can look like.

Example for Front Page

Example for Inside Left Page

Example for Inside Right

Of course, you may need to use different stories in order to meet the standards in your state. There are pourquoi stories from around the world, with many different tales to match your needs.

Finally, students will need to write their own pourquoi stories. To help them get started, I've designed a brainstorming graphic organizer. On it, students will need to write down some ideas of things from the natural world which they could explain in a pourquoi story.

Since many pourquoi stories are also trickster tales, I would encourage students to think of ways the animals could be tricked, or trick others, to accomplish their goals. These graphic organizers will be used to plan students' own pourquoi stories during the writing block. Students will be asked to come up with about six different ideas for natural world items to explain, along with the animals they would use and how the items would be explained. For their final stories they would choose from these to get started.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about pourquoi stories and the Interactive Notebook!  If you are interested in purchasing this lesson, you can find it in my TpT shop here. 

If you're not following me yet, just click on the Bloglovin icon at the upper right of the screen, or on Google Connect, in order to make sure you get all my posts on implementing Interactive Notebooks for social studies. Please leave a comment if this post has been at all interesting or helpful to you! Thanks! Have a wonderful week!

"See" you next time!

post signature

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bill of Rights and the Interactive Notebook for Constitution Day and 9/11

Okay, so I am wayyy behind where I wanted to be with Interactive Notebooks for our new social studies curriculum. I forgot about the fundraising assembly last week, which put a total crimp in my lesson plans, and I am scrambling to make up for lost time. With Constitution Day coming up on September 17th, and the awkwardness of September 11th (exactly how much detail are we supposed to go into with our kiddos about what happened on that horrible day before they were even born but which adults remember all too well?), I decided to combine both events into one social studies lesson for our Interactive Notebooks.

I've been trying to read up on the process, and find out just what it is supposed to look like in a classroom. There is a group of teacher-seller-bloggers led by Jennifer of 4mula Fun, and they are hosting a blog hop explaining how each of them implement the process in their classrooms. Their posts include information on math and science classrooms, plus general set-up information. This last part is what was helpful for me, as I will be using Interactive Notebooks for social studies lessons.

Last time, I created sample covers, rubric, and a table of contents. You can find that post here, or listed for free in my store here.

I think my greatest challenge will be keeping the notebooks truly interactive. I will need to constantly remind myself that I want students to think and respond, not just copy what I create. Since I'm so nervous about this new (for me, anyway) teaching technique, I decided to start with a lesson I have taught in the past, but adapt it for Interactive Notebooks.

First, I created a "window fold" template in PowerPoint. (Someday I need to learn how to use my Adobe Illustrator program so that I can create crisper images for my templates, but that will have to wait for another day! :) I knew I would need a total of ten flaps for each of the ten rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. I also wanted there to be room for a student-friendly definition of the right, as well as some type of visual.

Blank Front

Blank Inside of Window Fold

Once I had the template designed I printed out a sample (double-sided) copy and played around with it. I wanted to see what the finished product would look like before I used it with students. Each flap would have the name of the right on the front, with a definition and visual behind the flap. I planned to fill the information out together as a class, using a document camera for the sample.

We would discuss the concerns the Founders had about having a strong central government (as organized by the Constitution) and the perceived need for a "Bill of Rights" to be added after ratification of the new Constitution had taken place. I also planned to briefly mention the fact that not all countries considered human rights to be rights at all, and some people wanted to force others to believe and act as they do. (I do not want to delve too deeply into the issues surrounding September 11, but students need to understand why we need the Bill of Rights.)

Once I had messed up several samples, I went back to the computer and sketched out the changes I planned to make with the class. I'm not very good with drawing, so I added some clipart to give you an idea of what this could look like if you decide to use it in your own classroom. Of course, I would have the students do something much simpler.

I also wanted to plan the "interactive" part, and leave room for students to respond to the Bill of Rights in a personal way that would be meaningful to them. So, I decided to give students a choice of possible responses. Students would need to choose one of the ten rights (at first I was thinking at least three, but since this is the beginning of our Interactive Notebook journey, I decided this would probably be too much.) For this right, students would need to choose a response based on one of the following prompts.

1. What does this right mean to you, personally?
2. How would your life or the lives of your family members be different without this right?
3. Give an example of a country where this right does not exist. How is it different than the United States?
4. Do you agree that this should be a right guaranteed to everyone in the United States? Why or why not?

Since I didn't want students to spend all their time copying the response questions, I decided to type them up, make copies, cut them out, and have them available for students to glue into their notebooks. That way, they would have more time for the important part, which would be their actual response. I made them with both boy and girl copies.

Meaning for You?

Lives Different?

How Different?

Rights for All?

Finally, I found a Bill of Rights Rap to explain the amendments in a student-friendly way. It's kind of cute. Check it out!

You can download all the pages I created for this lesson by clicking here, or on their images on this post. These pages will not be available in my store at this time, but might be at some later date. Please follow my blog for more posts about my journey with Interactive Notebooks.

Update: Please leave some feedback. So far, 423 people have read and downloaded, but no feedback. It's disheartening. :( 

Thanks for stopping by! "See" you next time!

post signature

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently With Carol's Garden

I love linking up with Farley for September's Currently!

Oh Boy Fourth Grade with Farley!
This month she has another adorable linky party going on, and who doesn't love a good linky? Here's my contribution to the party!

Carol's Currently!
Listening to Brad Paisley’s “Southern Comfort Zone.” This song always puts a smile on my face, and it’s gotten me through the most difficult times in my life. Whenever I hear it, I have to turn up the sound and feel the music coursing through my soul. It’s a very spiritually healing song for me.

Loving that we have a three-day weekend because of Labor Day. It's given us all a chance to catch up on sleep. Plus, I’ll have no excuse for not getting that lesson planned. ;)

Thinking about Christmas already! I know, I know! I’m crazy, but it’s my favorite holiday. As soon as the mornings start to cool off this time of year, my thoughts turn to winter, and Christmas, and all the fun with family and friends!

Wanting to go to the local organic health food store to pick up some more feta and goat cheese, as well as some locally produced wildflower honey. I’ve been trying to eat  more healthy foods, and I’ve been out of these ingredients for about two weeks. My salads and Greek yogurt just aren’t the same without them. (Plus, I really don't eat those things without those ingredients, so I really need to pick up some more of them.)

Needing to organize my next Interactive Notebook lesson for next week’s social studies lesson. We have a new curriculum, so this is the perfect opportunity to introduce a new (for me) teaching method. I’m really nervous, because I’ve never done this before, but without some risk there can be nothing gained or changed.

Three places I've never been, where I'd love to go on vacation? The first one is easy: Ireland! We're Scotch-Irish-German, and I've always longed to visit the Emerald Isle! Of course we would have to tour Scotland and England while we were there, so I'm thinking we would need to spend at least three weeks there.

Beautiful Ireland

Secondly, I would love to go camping in the Smoky Mountains, which are fairly close to where I live in Tennessee. The major problem with this is that it's too hot and humid in the summer, but when it's cooler, we're all in school! 

Third, I would love to travel the whole United States! It's a big, beautiful country, and I would love the chance to explore all of it!

What about you? Where would you go if you had the chance? I encourage you to join the link-up and tell us about it!

Until next time! 

post signature
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...