Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Grade 4 Common Core Standards Posters

I recently created a poster kit for the fourth grade Common Core Standards. A co-worker needed something that was colorful and kid-friendly, but that wouldn't require a lot of color ink (ink jet printer ink is expensive!) We came up with the idea of making the poster "modular." The kit is made of several parts. The parts that have color are used over and over. The standards themselves, which require the most printing, are black and white. All the parts can be printed on letter size paper.

The art in the poster kit comes in two different styles. Both styles have a "school time" theme, with lots of pictures of kids writing, drawing, answering questions, and presenting, along with even more art of backpacks, books, markers, pens, and all that other fun stuff that make school such a rich and creative place to be!

If you you would like a poster kit like this one for your grade, I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below. In the comment, let me know what grade and what theme you would like to have. Or you can contact me through my store on TPT. Happy teaching!

You can download the grade 4 Common Core Standards posters at this link.

Copyright 2011 Steve Gipson

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Illustrating the Common Core Standards for Grade 5

Update, November 20. The math and ELA standards for Grade 5 are finished! Whew! Thanks to all the fifth grade teachers who provided feedback and inspiration.

Finding products on TPT can be a little confusing, so I made a list here to make it easier.

Feedback on these posters is welcome and appreciated! Email me or comment here.

Grade 5 Illustrated Common Core Standards Posters - ELA and Math
Grade 5 Illustrated Common Core Standards Posters - ELA
Grade 5 Illustrated Common Core Standards Posters - Math

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A while back, a colleague of mine asked me to make some posters for the fifth grade Common Core Standards. She wanted something that would be kid-friendly and look nice hanging on the walls. Even though I teach high school - or "the big ones," as they are called - the project was a good fit for me because I teach both English and Digital Art.

I completed the posters in about a week and they are currently hanging on my colleague's wall. But I wanted to do more. The posters I had created were lacking one thing that bugged me throughout the project. They didn't show what each standard was about. They were simplified, in a nice typeface, and framed attractively, but they were not illustrated.

As a teacher, I live by the mantra, "show me don't tell me." I try to never just tell the kids something. I always show it in as many ways as possible.

So I set out to try to illustrate each standard, to show what it was about. It took more blood, sweat, and tears than the previous Common Core Standards posters project, but the results are, I think, quite nice.

(As of this date, the Illustrated Common Core Standards Posters for ELA are complete. The posters for the Fifth Grade Common Core Math Standards are in progress and will be finished early November.)

I would love any and all feedback regarding this project. If there is any particular standard you would like to have illustrated, leave a comment to let me know. If you have any requests or insight regarding size, orientation (portrait or landscape) clipart, colors, or illustrative style, I'd love to hear about that, too.

When I finish the grade five Common Core Standards posters, I plan to take on the Grade Four standards. The process should go a little faster since I will have the routines down.

Simplifying the verbiage of the math standards was a challenge, to say the least. Kudos to all math teachers who teach those challenging topics on a daily basis. And double-kudos to all elementary teachers who teach both the English and the math standards!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Carlos Santana Raises the Roof at my High School!

Talk about your intersection of entertainment and education! Carlos Santana paid a gracious visit to his alma mater, where I teach. He was accompanied by his wife, uber-talented drummer Cindy Blackman, along with Edward James Olmos and director Peter Bratt, brother of Benjamin Bratt. Together, they participated in a roundtable talk with students and the media, played five rippin' songs in the auditorium, and made a very generous donation of thirty guitars and two drum sets to our music department.

Santana's visit was an overwhelmingly positive event for our school. Teachers, admin and students were all excited and honored. The glow lasted for days. The power of celebrity, and the good it can bring to our schools is something that should, in my opinion, happen more often. It little celebrity attention could work wonders for the image and outlook of public schools in this country.

It would be great to hear about celebrity involvement in K12 schools. If anyone has had such an experience, feel free to comment!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Microsoft Office Tips for the Tech Savvy Teacher

These tips for Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will dazzle your students and save you time in the classroom and beyond.


Automatic Transitions on PowerPoint Slides

The show must go on! Ever been pulled into the hallway during classtime by a persistent parent or administrator? Automatic transitions on your PowerPoint slides can keep the show going even when you are out of the room. I have used automatic transitions during note-taking lectures, quizzes, and PowerPoint flashcard sessions. I get a kick out of standing in the hallway and watching students complete the work without my presence. Its no substite for spontaneous teacher input, but it keeps things rolling along when interruptions arise. For detailed instructions on automatic slide advances in PowerPoint, see this article at PowerPoint Hints

Move Anything Up or Down With a Simple Shortcut

This one might be my favorite. It works in Word and Powerpoint. You use it to move a list-item, bullet point, or paragraph up or down. It's perfect for mixing up the order of questions on a quiz or test. Items in numbered lists will re-number automatically. You don't even have to highlight the item. To move an item up, just put the cursor anywhere within the item and then press Shift - Alt - Up Arrow. To move it down, use Shift - Alt - Down Arrow. See this article at How-to Geek for complete details.

Copy, Copy, Copy

Office Extended Clipboard - many teachers might not be aware that Office can store more than one thing on the clipboard. In fact, you can store up to twenty-four. You don't have to go back and forth between documents. It works for text and graphics. You can copy up to twenty-four items and paste one or all of them into any other Microsoft application. Works in PowerPoint, Word and Excel. To activate the Extended Clipboard, select anything then hit CTRL-C three times in a row. For detailed instructions, see this article in the Microsoft Help Center.

Animated Animations

Most of us know how to use PowerPoint's built in custom animation like Fade, Fly In, and Grow. But did you know you can create custom motion paths that any object will follow? Just go to Add Effect > Motion Paths > Draw Custom Path > and choose from the four types of path. Then you can draw a path on the slide that the selected object will follow. You can even control repetition, speed, and easing. See custom motion paths in action on this PowerPoint slide I created to illustrate the meaning of the Latin root migr, which means "wander or move." For more illustrated Greek and Latin roots, check out my line of visual flashcards in he sidebar.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's in a Name?

The name Gabriella means
"strong person of God."
Did you know that the name Theodore means "gift from god?" Or that Ashley means "ash tree clearing?" How 'bout this one: Jessica, which means "to behold," was first used in 1596 in Shakespeare's play 'The Merchant of Venice'.

Maybe we are all a little bit narcissistic (the name Narcy derives from the mythological figure Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection). Whatever the reason, my students love to learn about the origin of their names. Which makes the website Behind the Name my all time favorite way to introduce topics like etymology, roots, stems, and word origins. Behind the Name "is a website for learning about all aspects of given names from all cultures and periods. Names from mythology and fiction are also eligible. There are currently 17825 names in the database."

Students love it because it draws on their innate interest in their own origins. I love it because it focuses their attention and draws on their prior knowledge and piques their interest in the upcoming topic; in lesson planning this is called the Anticipatory Set.) I like to use the website before an introductory lesson on etymology or a mnemonic unit on Greek or Latin stems. It can also be used to fill up small pockets of time when a lesson ends a little sooner than anticipated.

Materials Required
A computer connected to the internet and projected to the screen in front of the class.

How to do it:
Just browse to the Behind the Name web site. Ask the students, "Have you ever wondered what your name means? Ashley, do you know what your name means? Eric, what about you? Well you're about to find out." Then type in one of their names in the field provided, and click SEARCH.

The Behind the Name site. The Search field is circled in red.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Root Word of the Month - October

Will Law and Order prevail sans-Meloni?
Premiere season 2011 is upon us. Wednesday prime time saw the season opener of ABC's Emmy award-winning Modern Family. At the same time, NBC premiered Law and Order, sans the good detective Elliot Stadler (Christopher Meloni). Thursday will bring on a slew of other premieres, including Community, Parks and Recreation, and The Office, and debut of the new show Whitney. Showtime, HBO and other premium networks are rolling out premieres of their hit shows, too.

So it seems like a fitting time to take a closer look at a word near and dear to us all: "entertainment." 

Enter comes from the French entre-, which itself derives from the Latin inter, meaning "among or within." The root tain is also Latin, and shows up in a lot of common words like contain, retain, maintain, and obtain. It means "hold." So, taken together, the two roots that make up the word entertain mean "hold within" or "hold among." Seems kind of obtuse at first, but it actually gives some insight into the nature of entertainment. Entertainment consists of all the things that we humans hold to be true, or funny, or sad, or suspenseful, or romantic. There is a communal, universal aspect to entertainment. No one ever wrote a play to appeal to one or two people. Plays and movies and sitcoms and one-liners are all written to appeal to us all, to the collective truths that we "hold among" ourselves. When we are entertained, our attentions are "held among" the universal dramas that ring true to us all.

Vote! What was the best premiere of the week?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Root of the Month - September

pod, ped
foot or child

Most of the time, roots make sense. Knowledge of roots helps student decode unfamiliar words. However, sometimes they don't make sense, or they have multiple meanings that cause confusion. Ped or pod is just such a root. Its origins are both Latin and Greek. Sometimes it means "foot" as in pedal or podiatrist. Sometimes it means "child," as in pediatrician. Confusing, right?

How can the same root mean two totally different things? The answer may tell us something about ancient Greeks' attitude toward children. In Greek, child is paidos. Paidos derived from podos. Apparently, they didn't think very highly of children because the word they chose for them derived from their word for "foot." A child was thought of as someone who was merely "at the foot" of someone else.

Words in which ped or pod means "foot"
pedal, bipedal, podiatrist, pedestrian, tripod, impede, podium, pedestal, peddler, pedicure, macropod, pedigree, pedometer

Words in which ped means "child"
pediatrics, pedagogy, pedophile, pediatrician, Pedialyte, pedagogue, pedagogy, pediatrician