Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thursday Throwdown and a Freebie!

We are linking up with Erin from I'm Lovin Lit for a Thursday Throwdown!  Yeehaw!  Today's post asks us to describe how we make learning more interactive.  Link up and share what you do.  :)

The first idea we want to share is quick, easy, and super fun. This technique comes from the book How To Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov.

 Celebrations (or props or shout-outs) are public praise for students that do something great.  Who doesn't love praise????  When you teach these cheers, you engage the class quickly and provide powerful reinforcement.  It can be a simple, "Uh-Huh, Uh-Huh" or 2 Snaps and a Clap or Two Snaps, Two Stomps.  Whatever it is, you are sure to grab everyone's attention!  You may say something like, "Wow!  That answer deserves a Hot Pepper."  Then the class will hold up an imaginary hot pepper, dangle it above their mouths, take a pretend bite, and say "Tssssss."  It's a ton of fun and a great way to build classroom community.  The best thing is....your kiddos will come up with their own celebrations.  Talk about taking ownership!!

We also wanted to share an INCREDIBLE read aloud for narrative writing.  Today we read the book, The Memory String by Eve Bunting.  It's a wonderful book about character, values, and accepting new situations. 

 We used it to teach the concept of "show, not tell."  If you are familiar with Lucy Caulkins' Writing Workshop you know the lesson on news reporter vs. story tellers.  This book is PERFECT!  Afterwards, we made story boards (like a movie reel) to demonstrate how to picture your story like a movie in your mind.  Our kiddos were so into the lesson and really did a fantastic job.  

If you want a copy of the movie reel click {HERE}.  We thought we'd share it in case you're teaching narratives now, too!

Have a great evening, everyone. TGIF (tomorrow!)!!!  :)


  1. I LOVE the chants and encouragement. I do some call/response in class, but this takes it to a whole new level!

    Shenanigans in 6th Grade Math

  2. We have SO much in common. All the teachers in my district had to read Teach Like a Champ and I really enjoyed that book. I got a ton of ideas out of it. I also LOVE Eve Bunting and The Memory String makes me tear up every time I read it. I also love that two of you take care of the blog, just like us :)

    Pinkadots Elementary

    1. Aw, love to read this!! Thank you!!! It certainly helps to have 2 of us! I'm sure you agree. :)

  3. I bought "Teach Like a Champion" on my Kindle this summer - but didn't get to it yet. I guess I should. Thanks so much for the movie reel. :)
    Grade 4 Buzz

  4. I found your blog through the Thursday Throwdown link-up, and I'm so glad I did! I do love football...and school, of course! I'm really interested in Teach Like a Champion; I'll definitely have to head over to Amazon for that one! And as for the encouragement shout outs, I remember one of my professors telling us about how she used to do whole-class "clam claps" (basically, think gator chomp arm movements, but you only do it once). We got a kick out of it, and we were all at least 20 or 21! I had forgotten about those. I'm looking forward to using them to build up my class as a whole!

    - Miss White's Classroom

    1. Gator Chomp! I'm going to add that one. It's so easy and fun, the kids are thrilled by it. :)))

  5. Wow!! I considered reading Teach like a Champion over the summer but ran out of time. Now I've got it in my Amazon cart because all of the chants and praises sound like so much fun! Thanks for the reminder.
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

    1. Yes, such a great book! Good luck, I hope you like it!

  6. What a great way to share celebrations! I'm definitely going to check out that book.

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings