Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Old School = Cloze Activities

A funny thing about education is how people come up with new words for old practices...  For grades 1-3, I use Harcourt Trophies and the corresponding workbooks for the base of my children's literature curriculum.  In the workbooks, there are many pages that require students to fill in the appropriate word from a word bank at the top in a blank within a sentence so that the sentence makes sense.  These are called "cloze" activities.

I've been noticing the use of the word "cloze" on many teaching resources over the past year, including many print books, and have puzzled about this word that I didn't use 15 years ago when I was getting my master's degree.  I just didn't bother to look it up.  Yesterday, I was looking at a book from fifteen years ago--that used that word and I asked my friend about it.  She explained that it's a practice that helps a child develop the skill of learning what sounds right together in a sentence.  Ah, that totally makes sense.

My reply?

Oh, so they're Mad Libs that make sense.

Yep, she chuckled.  They're Mad Libs that make sense.

The funny thing to me is that my kids have been doing this type of exercise all along, but I didn't have a technical name for it.  It's also funny to me how catch phrases get popular.  The book I was looking at yesterday was in print 15 years ago, it just wasn't a book I was aware of.  Somehow, the word "cloze" started getting attention.

The lesson I learned?  Solid reading instruction from fifteen years ago is still solid reading instruction today.  What seems new isn't really all that new!

If you want to work on this skill with your children and aren't using a general language workbook like Harcourt's, there are many worksheets online.  I found some great free ones HERE.  Just scroll down the page to get to them...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Super Fun Doodling Pages!!

Last night, I came across a coloring book, but then discovered that the author had a website with tons of fun stuff on it!!

The author is Samantha Snyder.  Here's a link to her main page: http://www.doodle-art-alley.com/
She has tons of free coloring pages on it--for the older child (like me) who loves to color!  She also has a classroom doodles page  www.classroomdoodles.com where she has a page for each subject and some really cool ones for noise levels!  I'm going to use these with the writing class I'm going to teach this year.  I love the idea of "spy mode" and "ninja mode"!

Oh, and if you have a child who likes Harry Potter, there are a bunch of pages on the main page that she did for Harry Potter Quotes!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Music History Notebooking Plans

A few days ago, I posted two links to some music history composer pages.  I spent part of this week putting together my plans for studying music history/appreciation for the next... however long.  We usually study this together as a family once a week for 30-45 minutes.  I realized after I put all of this together that this is my way of notebooking.  I know many moms collect resources through the year as they move from one topic to another, but I am not able to stay on top of that amidst my school year, so I have to have everything assembled before the year begins.  That's one reason I like textbooks--everything's all together!

I read another post by a homeschooling mom that wrote a notebooking curriculum and labeled it as a high school curriculum.  The difference was that she required students to write a report on 2-3 composers from each music period.  I think the way I've set up my notebook, it can easily be adjusted to any grade (3-12).  For elementary, listening and learning how to take 2 column notes would be enough.  I am going to require my 4th/5th grader to pick one composer from each period when we finish and write a paragraph about that composer.  For my middle schooler, I am going to ask her to write a more detailed biography report for one composer.  I'm going to use this worksheet from Better Lesson: http://betterlesson.com/lesson/resource/2539310/biography-report-outline-worksheet-pdf for her outline and then follow the writing process.  (If the link doesn't work, go to better lesson and create an account (free) then search for biography report outline worksheet.)  For high school, I would require a longer report for 2-3 composers plus add the music appreciation log sheet from practical pages https://practicalpages.wordpress.com/free-pages/famous-musicians-pages/  (scroll down).  This is what the other notebooking post I read recommended doing for high schoolers.   The amount of work from the high schooler and the time spent should be logged in an hourly sheet.  On youtube, ClassicFM had some great clips on specific pieces and specific composers that aren't listed below.

In any case, my notebook looks like this:

Music History Resources

Notebooking pages:  I assembled these pages in order:
Written History of Classical Music:
Composer Pages:

When we start with a new period, we are going to watch these videos on youtube and then study the composers for each period.  We will listen to the shows on classics for kids for composers that are there and for others we will listen to samples of their music on www.dsokids.com.  I'm going to use this opportunity to teach my kids about how to take notes.  We'll mainly take two-column notes (at different levels since my kids are going into 7th, 4th/5th, and 2nd.     Autumn is going to be completing a study skills curriculum that I put together this year this will an opportunity to practice the different note taking approaches from that curriculum.  

Early Music History
Video: https://youtu.be/Niw9Kv6_kkM

Baroque Period
1. Simple: https://youtu.be/fiwdeiyRCYE
  1. Complicated Talk: https://youtu.be/yGmjTIamHB8

Classical Period
  1. Simple: https://youtu.be/YUDQurQ42VI
  2. More Complicated: https://youtu.be/rpiAA8zenUY

Romantic Period
  1. Simple: https://youtu.be/5gWWDxek0Qw
  2. More Complicated: https://youtu.be/XQxJDVJwhfU

Modern Period
  1. Simple: https://youtu.be/YUDQurQ42VI
  2. More Complicated: Impressionist: https://youtu.be/YU6-GQP8Flk


For all Composers:
Listen on Classics for Kids to shows for composers with a * in the corner.  I went through and drew a * on the composers that had shows on classics for kids so I would know which ones were there.  
For all other composers, listen to:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Helpful Graphic Organizers

Yesterday, I finished writing my daughter's study skills curriculum for this year.  I needed a VENN Diagram.  I have a binder for each subject that I stick resources in, but I couldn't easily find one, so I just opened up Open Office and made my own.  

Just now I found a simple file online that has 10 graphic organizers in one place.  YIPPEE!  Here's a LINK.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

This Year's Music Study

Last school year, I posted HERE about my music study plan since my oldest daughter stopped taking piano lessons.  I was excited to find some free notebooking pages to use along with our studies this year as we go through the historical periods of music.  Classics for Kids allows you to go through the composers by period to get a sense of what the music during that time was like.

Here is a link to the great and FREE :) notebooking pages that I found: HERE.  The site is practicalpages.wordpress.com

I like the composer pages as well as the music appreciation pages.  I suspect I will use a combination of the two over the next two years in our music studies!  I am going to have my kids listen to the talks on Classics For Kids and take notes.  There is also a short printable biography for each composer on that site that you could print instead.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Updated Kids' Reading Lists

My kids read a lot.  A lot.  I can't read everything they read.  It's impossible.  I do have a few sources, but aside from those I keep looking and looking... I am constantly searching for good books for them to read.  I try to find good series I can trust.  But, I've also found some great novels along the way.

Here's a few sources I go to:
1.  Honey for a Teen's Heart, great discussion of reading and gives both maturity and reading level for books, as well as world views of authors
2.  Heart of Dakota, Sonlight
3.  My book review opportunities (which are mostly done now)
4.  Books from when I taught middle school--I have to go back and review these though, because I am finding that I no longer subscribe to the idea that it doesn't matter what kids are reading as long as they're reading.  Instead, I want good stuff to go in their heads and junk food isn't always beneficial.  A lot of books have the potential to plant dangerous ideas that I feel I have to be careful about when they are introduced to my kids. 

I also keep running lists of the chapter books I find for kids of different ages on one of my other blogs here: 

If you have any suggestions that I can add to my lists, please let me know!