Five for Friday: Our Study of the Civil Rights Movement

Boy was I counting down to 3pm this afternoon!
Today was zany, plain and simple.

Dress-down-day + bomb evacuation drill + May birthday celebrations+Spring concert rehearsal = CHAOS
This week was a good one - only 13 days to go!
Yesterday's Tricks of the Trade topic was
poster storage/organization:

Got a great trick for storing/organizing posters?
It's not too late to link up!

Our Social Studies curriculum goes chronologically from 1900 to the present. We spend a lot of time on World War 1, the Great Depression, and World War 2 and then zoom forward.
This week our theme was the
Civil Rights Movement
We had done a huge Martin Luther King Jr. Unit in January:

So this week we focused on other champions for Civil Rights:
1. Ruby Bridges
Ruby Bridges was a 6-year-old African American girl who was sent to a white school in 1960. She faced incredible prejudice and hatred, yet held her head up high and stayed true to her faith.
You can read the entire story here: Ruby Bridges Biography
To start our unit, we read this great book:

And by "we," I mean my bud, Becky, from Compassionate Teacher, had the day off of school and came to meet the students I talk about constantly. As soon as she walked in, I put her to work :)

We discussed the story and the character traits that Ruby exhibited. Then we wrote letters to Ruby, applauding her for her bravery, maturity, and faith:
You can download the entire mini-unit for FREE:

2. Rosa Parks
Our next civil rights hero we studied was Rosa Parks
I read my kiddos the book Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
It's definitely a winner - if you don't have it in your
classroom library, it's a must-buy!
3. Back of the Bus
Journal Entries
Then we put ourselves in Rosa's shoes and wrote journal entries from her perspective
One of my boys writes, "When the bus driver told me to move, I stood up and punched him in the nose. Then I said "No!" and sat back down." When I asked him about that fictionalization, he said that's what he would have done. I guess I need to re-emphasize the nonviolent action approach

4. Montgomery Bus Boycott Play
Then, to make the Rosa Parks story come alive,
we acted out a play of the Montgomery Bus Boycott:
This book of short plays was the first thing I purchased from a teacher store after I was hired to teach fifth grade. It is AWESOME! I have used more than half of them - the skits are full of good information, but are written in such a way that the characters come to life and the students enjoy them.
They supplement any study splendidly.
 5. Civil Rights Booklet
I found a couple of awesome civil rights resources on TpT
I combined two separate packets into one activity
We read short biographies from the Freedom Fighters packet 
and then filled in...
The Civil Rights Leader Book template from 
And voila...
a Class Book was made

Aren't they cute? My kids love pouring over their classmates' work in the classroom library. I have a special section for all of our whole class books.

Well I'm off. Time for a quiet evening in my pajamas-
just what the doctor ordered! :)

Tricks of the Trade Thursdays: Poster Organization

Welcome to
Tricks of the Trade Thursdays!
This week's topic is...
How do you keep posters, anchor charts, and bulletin board supplies organized?
I am so excited to hear your ideas because I am really hoping to re-organize my posters this summer. I'll share some of my "tricks" but I am definitely on the look-out for new, better ideas.
Poster Box/Large Poster Bags
I store my large posters in three areas:
My Reading posters/bulletin board supplies are help in this poster box (given to me by the wonderful Rose from Rosie's Rambles) I have pieces of cardboard to divide the posters by topic for easy reference.
I also have some poster bags that I use. I have different bags for each subject and they are (basically) in chronological order for when I use them throughout the year :)
Here's my history bag:
Now I keep my seasonal posters and bulletin board supplies
in a very high-tech, expensive bag:
Or not :)
It's not fancy, but it works -
I have one for the fall, one for Christmas, and one for the Spring
Labeling rolled posters:
To save space, I roll certain posters and anchor charts. 
Then, I place a sticky note on the outside to quickly see at a glance which poster it is:
Organizing Poster/BB Ideas:
I sort my resources in binders and behind each tab
I have a plastic sheet protector with bulletin board pieces and posters:
I also list each poster and/or bulletin board projects on a sticky note in my binder so I can remind myself of what I have created and planned:
If I have multiple pieces for one poster/BB,
I use a binder clip to attach the ziploc of letters to other poster elements:
Enlarging Worksheets
to create Posters:
One thing I do for graphic organizers that we use frequently throughout the year is blow it up to poster-size, so the kids can follow along as I complete it on the board. This way, my writing looks exactly their worksheet, and it helps them (especially my distracted or slow writers) stay with me.
I have it laminated and just write on it with dry erase marker
(or Sharpie - and then get it off with nail polish remover)
Bulletin board border storage:
To keep my borders organized, I use an idea I got from Pintrest.
I store them in icing containers:
Frosting containers as storage for borders. SO much better than the long cardboard boxes! hmm... I don't really eat frosting but maybe I can find some other food container that will work the same way because I am definitely tired of how much space my adorable bulletin board borders take up

*Check out Becky's post for more great ideas!*

Now it's your turn!

Wednesday Workshop: Persuasive Letter Writing

My fifth graders are avid persuaders.
They have opinions about everything!
And they are often more than willing to share said opinion :)

Today I'm linking up with Jivey for her "Wednesday Workshop"

This week's theme is persuasive writing

Earlier in the year, we read these two great books:

and did a fun persuasive writing unit. 
You can read all about it HERE.

Today, however, we took a different spin on persuasive writing. 
We read the book Earrings by Judith Viorst
The story is about a young girl who wants pierced ears so badly.
She tries several tactics to persuade her mom
to let her have them.

We discussed the narrator's arguments and
the support she provided for each one.

Then I told the kiddos that it was their turn! 
The prompt: write me a letter to persuade me of...
anything you want :)

First we talked about the proper outline format for persuasive writing:
1. Argument #1
a. Support
2. Argument #2
a. Support
3. Argument #3
a. Support

We brainstormed a list of possible persuasive topics:
1. No homework for the day
2. Sit by anyone you want for the day
3. Mrs. Lawler should bring in cupcakes for the class
4. Mrs. Lawler should take the class to Six Flags
5. Mrs. Lawler should move to 6th grade with us
(so not happening!)

I chose one to model:
Mrs. Lawler should bring in cupcakes

And we worked as a class to craft a persuasive essay:
1. Argument #1
The class has worked hard this year
a. Support
They've completed 5 book reports, 7 essays,
and 32 spelling tests

2. Argument #2
Mrs. Lawler owes us
a. Support
For an April Fools joke, Mrs. Lawler promised us brownies -
but she only brought in brown "E"s

3. Argument #3
We need to celebrate summer birthdays
a. Support
We haven't had the chance to celebrate summer birthdays, so we should throw a party and Mrs. Lawler can bring in cupcakes to let them know that they are special
Because the students worked diligently, were tricked by Mrs. Lawler on April Fools Day, and still need to celebrate birthdays in July and August, Mrs. Lawler should bring in cupcakes for the class to enjoy!

Then I let my kids loose to woo me with their persuasive writing.
They could choose any topic, but had to follow our outline format. To help them visualize their outline, I gave each student three index cards
Index Card #1: Argument #1 & Support
Index Card #2: Argument #2 & Support
Index Card #3: Argument #3 & Supports

Once their index cards were filled out, they had a partner check that their arguments and supporting reasons. Then they went to work writing their letters:

We also touch on dishonest persuasion and how prevalent that is, especially in the media.
I've created a vocabulary flip book that you can download for 

Well I'm off to plan my Tricks of the Trade post for tomorrow:
How do you store your posters/bulletin board materials?
Link up tomorrow to share your Tricks of the Trade! :)
15 days left to go for this chica! WOOHOO!
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