Video Message from Mrs. Wilson / Sochi 2014

Sochi 2014It is so hard to believe that Tallapoosa County got so much beautiful snow! I have a video message for you and a challenge too!

What do you know about the Sochi Winter Olympics? What are some of the winter sports that will be involved in this event? How can we use our informational text standards to learn about Sochi 2014?

Check out the video and challenge below:


This Week’s HW / Katy Perry & Maroon 5 Teach Figurative Language?!?!

download (1)Alabama standards state that 5th graders should be able to use affixes and root words to help understand new words. Check out this great information and the quick practice game link below.

Learn how to add letters to the beginning or end of a word to modify its meaning. This excellent practice exercise activity will help students understand how prefixes and suffixes are used in the English language while they enjoy the fun challenges. Add prefixes and suffixes to words and see if the result is a real word. As the challenges become more difficult try adding both a prefix and a suffix to make words. How many challenges can you complete? Give it a go and find out!

cos-01-adam-levine-deStandards also state the 5th graders should be able to understand figurative language. Would you like to learn a little bit about figurative language from Katy Perry or Maroon 5? Check out the video below!

HW This Week:

M – Writing / Work on Sloppy Copy of Narrative

T – Writing / Finish Sloppy Copy of Narrative

W – Read for AR Points / Begin FINAL Copy

T – Read for AR Points / Finish FINAL Copy

F – Read for AR Points


Grammar Gaming / Alabama CCRS

escanear0005I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would begin to post links to learning games and videos that can help students master the new standards.

Today’s link will lead you to some homophone games.

Homophones are words that sound the same, but have different meanings. Usually they are spelled differently, but they can also be spelled the same. An easy way to remember this is to remember that you listen and speak when you are on a phone. When you hear the word “phone” in homophone, remember that it means that the words sound the same or are pronounced the same. Here are some examples of homophones that are spelled differently and have different meanings:

paws/pause         flee/flea         pole/poll          ate/eight           one/won

Follow this link to play some fun grammar games.

How about a jammin’ video!



Critical Thinking?

quote-the-function-of-education-is-to-teach-one-to-think-intensively-and-to-think-critically-martin-luther-king-jr-102515This has always been one of my favorite quotes. We all know what character is, but what is critical thinking? If you are an educator or a parent you have most likely heard this buzz term floated around the school. We seldom stop and discuss what this really means.

I heard an interesting statement recently. The gentleman said, “The one thing I did learn in school is how to think.” That statement made me think. Are we teaching kids to “think”? Can they take what they know and pair that with new information to solve a problem or determine an answer? Can they make connections between people, events, or ideas?

You might be surprised at how many of today’s students lack critical thinking skills. This is a major goal of Alabama’s new CCR Standards.

What critical thinking is:
The purpose of critical thinking is ‘to achieve understanding, evaluate view points, and solve problems’. Since ‘all three areas involve the asking of questions, we can say that critical thinking is the questioning or inquiry we engage in when we seek to understand, evaluate, or resolve’ (Maiorana, 1992).

In other words: Use what you know to figure out what you don’t know. . .think. Well, it is not quite that simple. That does give you a “general” 5th grade idea of critical thinking.

More information:


Tuesday – Learning Log Page

Wednesday – Read for AR Points

Thursday – Writing Plan and Sloppy Copy

Friday – Read for AR Points


Maiorana, V. (1992). Critical thinking across the curriculum: building the analytical classroom. Blommington, Ind: ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills: EDINFO Press.

Teaching Acts of Kindness and Down Syndrome Awareness

awareness_ribbonToday I taught one of the most important lessons I will ever teach. Today I taught about giving acts of kindess. . .just because we can.

I am blessed to have a student whose family lives and works at Camp ASCCA on our beautiful Lake Martin. The mother of this student sent me a link about a young man with Down Syndrome who loves to get mail. In fact, getting mail is the highlight of his day.

I shared his story with all of my classes today. I choked back tears every single time. We discussed some issues associated with Down Syndrome and the fact that we have students with Down Syndrome in our own school. I gave my class a mission. The mission was to fill up this young man’s mailbox with letters. They were ready!

These 5th graders were truly touched by this story. Students wrote things like:

“Your story inspired me!”

“Your story touched my heart!”

“I hope this letter brightens your day!”

“We are different in ways, but we are a lot alike. I like music and video games just like you.”

They get it! Sometimes it is hard for adults to see how this small act of kindness could actually be a BIG deal. I promise, it is a BIG deal to the young man who will receive these letters. It is a BIG deal for these 5th graders who learned that sometimes we give away simple acts of kindness. . .just because we can.

ca-design-square-small(1)Wondering about Camp ASCCA? Click here!

Grammar Gaming!

downloadI know that we all love to play online games as well as games on our iPods or iPads. I believe that gaming is a fun and effective way to learn. The following sites can help students master Alabama’s new CCRS Standards.

Check out these links:

The following link is my favorite. I use this one in my class. They also have an app you can purchase from iTunes.

Happy Grammar Gaming!

Informational Text. . .The iPod Takeover!

nano-groupAlabama’s new standards state that at least 50% of what students read in elementary should be informational text. As elementary educators, we should create learning environments where students access the world – science, social studies, the arts, and literature – through text. I try to seek out “high interest” text passages for my students. The students get much more out of the text when they are interested in the topic.

How much more “high interest” can you get than Apple and its amazing products?

I started the class by having groups discuss this question: What one tech company and which one of its products has revolutionized the music industry and the way we purchase/listen to music?

After groups shared their responses/ideas, we watched a mini-bio of Steve Jobs. It was great for students to see the humble beginnings of the mega-giant Apple. We connected that to last week’s close read about Martin Luther King Jr. We discussed the fact that both Martin Luther King Jr. and Steve Jobs had BIG dreams!

Students completed a close read text explaining how Apple’s iPod has impacted our lives, revolutionized the music industry, and taken over the world. . .LOL! It truly has. The iPod’s sales went from 125,000 to over 350 million in 13 years. That is the result of BIG dreams!20140113_151551


Stormalong. . .This Week’s HW Information

Stormalong 4-Octopus-smThis week we will wrap up our reading of “Stormalong” by Mary Pope Osborne. The test for this lesson will be Friday.

During this unit of study, we have been writing our very own narratives inspired by “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. The narratives are due Thursday, The 16th.

This week’s homework:

Monday – Read Lesson 13 Story and Review Story Notes

Tuesday –  Finish Grammar Page / Start Final Copy of Narrative

Wednesday – Review Grammar / FINISH Final Copy of Narrative

Thursday – Study for Lesson 13 Test

Friday – Read for AR Points

Meet the Author

You probably recognize the author Mary Pope Osborne from her famous Magic Tree House Series. Check out this interview with the author!



ACT. . .ASPIRE to greatness!

logoAlabama will implement a new end of the year assessment program this year. The test is the ACT Aspire. This is a little bit of information about the new assessment from their site:

“ACT AspireTM is a, longitudinal assessment system that connects growth and progress from elementary grades through high school in the context of college and career readiness. Assessing students’ knowledge and skills is critical to ensuring all students receive the support and services necessary to help them succeed in school and life. The essential, actionable information and insights gained from ACT Aspire Assessment System® help educators understand a student’s past, capture the present, and impact the future.”

To learn more about the test and to see sample test questions, visit this site:

I will begin a new series of blog posts aimed at helping students get ready for testing. I will post fun video or game links once or twice each week. These links will lead to information that can help students prepare for end of the year testing. These posts will be categorized under “CCRS Standards / Alabama 5th”. You will be able to access these links by looking under that category on this blog.

Te first video is a cute way to learn about prepositions. The Alabama College and Career Ready Standards state that 5th graders should be able to explain the use of prepositions (L.5.1). Enjoy this video!

Dream Big. . .Just Like King!

130823150654-01-color-march-on-washington-restricted-horizontal-galleryEvery teacher has days when they reflect on a lesson and think, “Wow, that did not work out like I expected.” Then there are the days when everything clicks. The students respond in amazing ways and you know that you hit a “sweet” spot. Today was one of those “sweet” spot days!

In honor of the upcoming Martin Luther King Holiday, we conducted a close read text about his life and his most famous speech. We started the class by dreaming. Yes, we were dreaming. I asked students to think about what their BIG dream would be for our country or even our world. I was amazed at their answers!

After discussing their dreams, I introduced someone else who had BIG dreams, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The students watched this mini-bio about Dr. King.

The class conducted their close read and responded to the text through a series of standards based questions. They also shared a little bit about their own BIG dream. I have posted a few below for you to enjoy (click on image to enlarge).