Thursday, November 10, 2016

Grammar Scavenger Hunt With QR Codes

A few weeks ago, we did a school-wide scavenger hunt to reinforce the grammar skills we have been learning. Our classmate Caitlyn shares her thoughts about the activity below, followed by a fun video with highlights, but first I'll give an overview of what it entailed.

The students were in teams of four and were given an iPad, a chromebook, and one clue. The clue would lead them to a location in the building where they would find a QR code. Here's an example of one of the clues:
Once the students found the QR code, they had to scan it using an app on the iPad. The code would then give them a message with a passcode to join a Google Classroom group.
A sample QR code. Give it a try!
In the Google Classroom group, the students found a slideshow with certain grammar questions that they had to solve. Once they completed the task, they had to share the slideshow with me on Google Drive and wait for my feedback through a comment on the slideshow.
Here's an example of a slide from the "Compound Sentence" task
If they still needed to make corrections to the slideshow, I would comment back with some tips. Once everything was correct, I'd reply with the clue to the next location.

There were four clues to four different locations and four grammar tasks to complete. The first team to successfully complete all of the tasks got to unlock a small steel box back in the room with a prize inside...

Here is Caitlyn's review of the activity:

We did a grammar scavenger hunt all around the school and it was outstanding! 

We did the activity to help us learn the different grammar details that, we as a class, need to watch out for when we are writing. It is important that we did this, so that we can learn how to write correctly.  

We learned how to: 
  • Use commas in a list 
  • How to use their, there, and they’re in a sentence 
  • How to use commas with introductory words
  • How to make a compound sentence
  • How to change a run-on sentence into a non run-on sentence.  

This activity was super fun and I hope to do something like this again! Maybe for social studies, using what we've learned about the Native Americans and the Pilgrims.

Here is a video with highlights from the scavenger hunt. (Special thanks to Luke, Meg, and Mrs. Slocum for filming!)

What did you think of the activity?
What did you think of the video?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Personalized Spelling Lists

In an effort to make spelling activities meaningful for each student, every student has their own personal spelling words to work on.

We start by having a weekly pretest based on certain spelling patterns and phonics rules. Any words the student gets incorrect goes into their word list of ten words for that week. If students get more than ten words incorrect, they pick the ten words they would like to focus on. If students only get three words incorrect, they fill in the rest of their list with words from their daily writing, daily reading, or from a list of commonly misspelled 5th grade appropriate words.

That way, every student has a list of ten words that fit their needs as readers and writers.

During the week, students work with a clock buddy to practice their words in any way that works for them. They have a menu of options, but can also come up with alternative ways to study. (Partners stay with the same clock buddy for each list, so they can get a sense of which words their partner has down cold, and which ones are a bit of a challenge.)

"Weak hand" spelling is a favorite word work activity. First you spell the words with your dominant hand, and then you spell them with your non-dominant hand. The results can be pretty funny!
After five or so days of word work, the clock buddy partners assess each other to see which words have been mastered and which still need some attention. Any words that are missed go right into the next list of words until they are mastered.

Below is a slideshow of the word work and peer-assessment in action:

So far, this has been a fun, effective way for students to work on words that fit their needs.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Student Blogs and Commenting Skills

Every student now has their own blog! You can visit the blogs of Mr. Salsich's homeroom here, and Mrs. McGowan's homeroom here. (Links to both classes are also in the sidebar on the right.)
Two weeks ago, to get us started on blogging and commenting, we did a "Paper Blog" activity. Each student wrote, typed, and printed a rough draft of our first blog post and then decorated it with a border.

Then everyone walked around and left comments on the blogs using sticky notes. 

We talked a lot about how to leave a quality comment.

comment should keep the conversation and the learning going. We don't want to write "dead-end" comments that just say things like "Cool! I like The Red Sox too!" These are dead-end comments because they are hard to respond to and they don't open the conversation up.
Instead, we want to write "highway" comments that keep the conversation going and maybe take the post in new directions. Highway comments may have questions, connections, or suggestions in them. And they definitely have specific details and clear, correct writing.
Below are slide shows of some of the paper blogs and the students commenting on them:
Mr. Salsich's Class:

Mrs. McGowan's Class:
Please check out the student blogs and leave one of the bloggers a "highway" comment! We will be sure to reply back!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Welcome to Mr. Salsich's class blog for the year 2016-2017! This site will be devoted to highlighting my Language Arts and Social Studies students' learning, ideas, and activities throughout the year. I will be posting class videos, pictures, and projects that the students have completed.

In addition, students will also have their own personal blogs to share their unique ideas and interests. Links to the student blogs can (soon!) be found on the sidebar.

Thanks for checking out our blog, and feel free to leave comments if something grabs your attention or gets you thinking!