Life Cycle of a Butterfly: A free one cut book activity

31 Mar

Spring is here along with new life. In past years, several of my schools, ordered caterpillar eggs in order to watch the life cycle of a butterfly as a science project. Students watched them grow into caterpillars and then magically change into butterflies. They would release the butterflies the last week of May. I found it helpful to review this classroom experience with some of my speech students. I made a one cut book template to commemorate the event. I thought you may also like to use it as a review with students. It is a free download at the bottom of the post. Read on for the directions.

All you need to get started is paper, a printer, or drawing tools. There is are two templates provided in the free download. One is blank for students to draw their own picture sequence. The second template has pictures already provided. For your own version, you can make a template in Power Point using a 3×2 table without a border, inserted into a 8.5 x 11 inch page in landscape mode. Students can draw or paste their own pictures in the template.

Remember when adding pictures to the template, the picture needs to be flipped upside down on the top section. The printer needs to be set to print the full 8.5 x 11 inch page, without a border. This will allow each page to be the same size when folded. You may need to go to custom settings on your printer to select “without border”. You need to print in landscape mode as well.

  1. After printing your template, fold it in half on the dot and dash line. This makes it easier for you to cut the red line. Cut just the red line.

2. Fold on the dash lines so it looks like the first picture

3. Push the section on the right half behind the other. The pages will be double sided.

Finished one cut book

Click on the star for a free download of the templates.

free download
click on the star for a free pdf download of templates and directions.

I am participating in the Spring Sale April 6th & 7th at Teachers Pay Teachers. Click on the banner for a direct link and make sure you use the code for a discount.

Sentences with Semantic Errors can Promote Meta Linguistic Skills

1 Jan
Cover for Semantic Errors Product

Using sentences containing semantic errors is a great strategy for enhancing vocabulary and comprehension skills. A few posts back I reported that  reading comprehension and meta linguistic skills are strongly linked (Achugar, Schleppegrell, & Oteíza, 2007). Tasks that require a student to read and think critically enhances their ability to remember and integrate what they have learned and not just read words. Students enjoy the challenge of finding and correcting errors and learn at the same time. In the process they will use critical thinking and draw from their knowledge of the world to correct the errors in the sentences.

With our current pandemic, many teachers and speech and language pathologists (SLP) have had to embrace digital teaching and learning. I decided to help out by upgrading “Silly Sentences” that can be used in a digital form. There is a text only version currently located under the Vocabulary heading. I took some of the sentences, added a few new ones, and added visual cues to make a Teachers Pay Teachers product called Sentences with Semantic Errors.

The Sentences with Semantic Errors can be presented a number of ways. They can be printed out, cut, and used as flashcards. They can be given out as worksheets. They can also be assigned digitally. They are available as a Digital Download on the Teachers Pay Teachers site. With this program they can be assigned to students using Google Classroom. Students complete pages digitally and return them digitally to a teacher for feedback.

The vocabulary is appropriate for 3rd through 6th grade levels. Picture cues help to convey meaning as well as make the cards more appealing if they are displayed on a screen. Using the TPT overlay, students can fill text boxes using the tools provided. Students can provide written or typed answers.

I am linking a free sample of the first two pages pictured. Click on the button below. I am not working directly with students at this time, so I do not have a trial group. I would appreciate any recommendations or comments you may have. This free download will not include the digital overlay which is offered with purchase through TPT and is on their platform. Comments can be made by clicking on the comment cloud located in the post heading.

Click on the button above for the free 2 page sample. Click on the cover below for a direct link to TPT and the full product.

Cover for Semantic Errors Product
Direct Link to TPT Product

The Importance of Developing Meta Linguistic Awareness

2 Jul
Climb to the top

Vocabulary instruction has gone through some significant changes over the years.  Some of you may recall when students  were assigned a list of words, often the spelling list, and then required to write the definitions.   A lot of students detested the tedious task of looking  up words and copying definitions.  Often the words in the definition were hard to relate too, so it became a copying task with little benefit to learning the definitions.  Education theory has moved on to promoting meta linguistic awareness. Developing meta linguistic awareness can be especially beneficial when developing vocabulary. Research has revealed that promoting  higher level thinking skills increases retention of information and allows students to integrate what they have learned.  

    For those of you who may need a refresher; Meta linguistic language  skills are strategies that are applied, either consciously or automatically, to an oral or written linguistic interaction to allow one to think about language.  It is our ability to think about language and manipulate it beyond it’s written structure.  Remember the knock knock jokes and riddles  young  children attempt to tell around  6 yrs. of age.  They often lack  the punch line because they don’t grasp the idea of double meaning words.  This is the age when children are just starting to figure out that words and phrases  can be manipulated.  When they acquire this thinking ability, they are demonstrating meta linguistic awareness.

  Studies have found that  reading comprehension and meta linguistic skills are strongly linked (Achugar, Schleppegrell, & Oteíza, 2007).  If we want to get the most value from our teaching, we want students to develop thinking skills that  can be adapted to various situations.  You may have known a student or two who was an early  reader with above average reading skills in the early grades.  Although they were great sight readers in the early grades , they often faltered in the later elementary years.   They could  read the words individually but had difficulty comprehending within the text.  As the paragraphs and sentence structure became more complex there were often hidden meanings.  Things like double meaning words, satire, and unusual phrasing tripped them up.  Students exhibited difficulties with meta linguistic development could not adapt to the word meaning changes that occurred within context.

          So what does this mean when we are working with our students?  It means we want to encourage our students to think about language, be flexible, and think about if it makes sense within the context.  It is more than reading  a string of words.   The word meaning they memorized may not always work in every context.   They need to think about a variety of possible  meanings to get the best fit.  It means we want them to question, make associations, compare descriptive features, and contrast meanings.  We encourages students to be active thinkers and  in the process the information stays with them.

      For examples of speech activities using meta linguistics tasks, go to the top navigation heading and click on the section labeled Vocabulary.   Making word association is a great task for encouraging meta linguist skills. There is a good sampling of cards for download in that section.    There are free previews so that you can try some of them out with your students. You can get a pretty good tool box by just downloading all the previews and free cards.  Click on the star for a free preview and download of the Word Association Bundle. Click on the blue print for a direct link to TPT. The cards on TPT are available with the digital down load overlays and self checking with bar codes that work with the task cards or digitally.

Finding what is wrong with Silly Sentences is another activity that forces students to think about facts and how words relate to each other. It provides opportunities for students to recognized when the meaning doesn’t fit and not take it at face value. This is an important skill for today when we are bombarded constantly with false facts in social media. There are several sets of those for free downloads in the vocabulary section. I hope the activities in vocabulary section help you to explore and enhance the way you work on vocabulary development with your students.

One Cut Books are Great for A Home School Activity

26 Mar
One cut book
Make Your Own Book

Are you looking for learning activities for your home schooled children during the extended school closures? One Cut Books are simple projects that can be used for multiple ages and grade levels.   They can be adapted well to any subject. They can be used for creative writing, vocabulary, listing facts, and articulation drill. You can use them to review information later on.

All you need to get started is paper and drawing or writing utensils.  There is a free template provided below. A computer and printer are needed to print the template, but you could get by with a ruler and measure out a template. You can also set the template up in Power Point using a 3×2 table without a border, inserted into a 8.5 x 11 inch page in landscape mode. You can then insert your own clip art. Remember that the clip art needs to be flipped upside down on the top section. When printing it out, make sure the printer is set to print the full 8.5 x 11 inch page, without a border. This will allow each page to be the same size when folded. You may need to go to custom settings on your printer to select “without border”. You need to print in landscape mode as well.

I have included a free download of the Penguin Preposition book to get you started. There is also a site that has already made books. A group of them have been made for you thanks to Judy Kuster and 22 graduate students at Minnesota State University.  Just go to this site   Thank you grad students.

Now let me show you how easy it is to make a book. Lets start with the template and directions. Students can write or draw their own images. I made the template in Power Point to make the Preposition Penguins book. You can download pdf version of this by clicking on the picture of the template below.

Click above for Penguin Preposition book
  1. After printing your template, fold it in half on the dot and dash line. This makes it easier for you to cut the red line. Cut the red line.
  2. Fold on the dash lines so it looks like this.

3. Fold the top section to the back along the light blue lines. You should be able to open up the red line that you cut at the beginning.

4. Flatten the diamond center by pushing the two ends inward. The pages will be double sided. It should look like this.

Please respect my efforts. You may use my free down loads with parents, and students on your caseloads and in your classrooms. Do not copy, post, or distribute them on other sites. Please do not use for commercial purposes. You may refer people to this blog to obtain their own personal copy.

Stay healthy everyone and practice social distancing. We will get through this by working together.

Descriptive Bingo and Barrier Game with Egg Shapes

12 Apr

This is a descriptive barrier and bingo game I made a few years ago. In February of 2013 to be eggs act. Sorry I couldn’t resist that. It was so long ago that quite a few of you probably haven’t seen or found that post. I thought it would be a good time to bring this activity back up for review for Spring and give you a free activity. I will put a sample download toward the bottom of the post that you can print and use.

This is one was one of my favorite activities because it covered so many goals in a mixed group. I used it with students from upper elementary all the way to high school. I found that my high school students sometimes needed a break from all that drill and pencil/pad pushing work. The vocabulary used is often found in math and science materials.

The cards can be used in a variety of ways to include bingo, matching games, go fish, following multiple directions, comparisons, and finding a mystery card that is described. You can use a pack of colored pencils and have students draw what another student describes. I sometimes used an app called Educreations which turns an iPad into a drawing surface.

The following vocabulary can be elicited: inside, parallel, diagonal, end, striped, spotted, across, center, corner, intersect, above, below, vertical, horizontal, half, between, left, right, perpendicular, heart, square, diamond, triangle, rectangle, and star.
The cards range from eliciting two step directions (make a green star in a red triangle) to more complex directions that require 5 or more steps. For example: (draw red lines that intersect to form right angles to each other in the center, draw a red triangle in the upper left corner, a yellow circle in the upper right corner, a green heart in the lower left corner and a blue star in the lower right corner).
They can also be use for articulation practice for multiple syllable words containing /l,r,s/ and blends. It provides opportunity for spontaneous speech during a structured activity.

This is a picture of one of the Bingo cards.

Click on the star below for a one page copy of cards you can print out. There is a full set of cards and bingo boards on my store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click for a direct link to Teachers Pay Teachers