Paraphrase It (with a giveaway)

paraphrasing student samples

There are many reasons paraphrasing is important for school aged children. It enhances vocabulary. It forces students to change ideas into their own words, which confirms understanding. It builds a stronger memory when words have been changed into your own personal version. My students practiced paraphrasing this fall, so we would have a foundation for notetaking when we start the big research project in January.

3 Rules for Paraphrasing:

  1. Paraphrased words must be correct and make sense.
  2. Paraphrased words must be your own version (in your voice).
  3. Paraphrased words must say the same thing as the original phrase.

If your child is having trouble with paraphrasing and notetaking, start by paraphrasing single words. Look at key words in a paragraph or reading passage and replace the “important” word with a synonym or group of words that will mean the same thing as the original. This activity has the added bonus of building a student’s vocabulary bank.

Next, try replacing chunks of words. Work with short phrases. Instead of “under the sofa,” you could say, “beneath the couch.”

Finally, break a paragraph into the main idea and 3-4 key details. Make a list of the main idea and details (this will look similar to an outline). Now, ask the student to convert the list into sentences using their own words.

Other Tips:

  • Not every word can be changed. Proper names will stay the same when you paraphrase. Susan can stay Susan. Empire State Building can stay Empire State Building.
  • Little words like a, an, and the might not change either.
  • You will not always replace one word with one word. Paraphrasing larger groups of words and sentences do not require that you have a new sentence with the exact same amount of words as the original, nor do the ideas have to be in the same order. Susan’s backpack was crammed with books and weighed a lot can become Susan’s heavy school bag held many books.

paraphrasing sample 2

After my class went through the steps of paraphrasing words, phrases, and whole paragraphs, we reviewed by playing a written version of the telephone game. I pre-wrote detailed sentences in the first row of about 8 Paraphrasing Sentences Charts and made enough copies for a class set. I gave each student this Paraphrasing Sentences Chart with the starter sentence. The student paraphrased the sentence that appeared in the first row of the chart and then folded the paper, so only the newly written sentence appeared (row 2). The students traded papers and repeated the procedure. We traded papers 4 times, and at the end, unfolded the papers to read each version of the sentence to see if the message from the first sentence stayed the same as the words written in the final sentence.

paraphrasing gameSometimes the message from the original sentence stayed the same; sometimes it didn’t– just like the real telephone game. We had fun reviewing the changes in the sentences from one line to the next, and handwriting played a big factor in whether the sentence stayed on track!

Jumpstart January Blog Hop Promo

I am working with some other educator bloggers on a blog hop and giveaway to get the year kicked off with some fresh ideas and new teaching materials. CLICK HERE to enter to win a $20 gift card to Amazon.com courtesy of TheRoomMom.

Jumpstart January Next Stop

Click the Next Stop button above to get more fresh teaching ideas for January from Teaching Ideas 4 U. If you keep hopping through the blogs there are chances for many individual prizes as well as a $50 Target gift card from our giveaway host, The Lesson Deli.

Instead of Junie B. Jones

just graceMiss Priss is a good little independent reader, but she is still at a stage where she needs 8-year old content, shorter chapter books, and simple plot lines. An obvious choice is Junie B. Jones, but the character bothers me. I want Miss Priss wants spunky book characters that are in the same vein as Junie B., but she also wants I want the character to use decent grammar.

Here are a few book suggestions that meet the decent grammar and spunky girl character criteria. Miss Priss reads them on her own, but we also spend time reading together several nights a week. I read a page aloud, and then my daughter takes a turn. It helps build her reading fluency without slowing the reading down so much that she loses momentum. It is also just a fun activity for the two of us.

no dogs allowed

1st grade+

  • No Dogs Allowed by Stephanie Calmenson and Joanna Cole
  • Just Grace series by Cherise Mericle Harper
  • Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler
  • Heidi Heckelbeck series by Wanda Coven
  • Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary
  • The Never Girls series by Kiki Thorpe
  • Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows
  • Gooney Bird Greene series by Lois Lowry
  • My America: Meg’s Prairie Diary series by Kate McMullan
  • Hailey Twitch series by Lauren Barnholdt

cornelia

4th grade+

  • Wide Awake Princess series by E.D. Baker
  • Ten Good and Bad Things About My Life (So Far) by Ann M. Martin
  • Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
  • The Magic Half by Annie Barrows
  • Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M. M. Blume
  • The Tail of Emily Windsnap series by Liz Kessler
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
  • Maggie Malone and the Mostly Magical Boots by Jenna McCarthy and Carolyn Evans
  • The Bread Winner by Arvella Whitmore
  • The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  • A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry

Holiday Party Dip

spicy spinach dipIt’s been a food-a-thon around here. It started with the various holiday treats my students gave me last week, which we have been happily eating. I baked two batches of Christmas cookies over the weekend, and then my in-laws arrived yesterday, and we headed out for a fancy dinner. Cut to this morning when I baked a sour cream coffee cake, turkey chili, spicy spinach dip, and pita toasts. I don’t cook often, but when I do, I mean business.

I served the spicy spinach dip with the pita toasts as an afternoon snack. I would qualify the dip as Super Bowl worthy. I also like the fact that it has a festive feel due to the red tomatoes and green spinach. So, readers, Merry Christmas and happy snacking this holiday season!

spicy spinach dip ingredientsIngredients

  • 2-3 T. chopped jalapenos (I used canned and drained)
  • 3/4 c. chopped green onions
  • 1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 c. seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 8-oz cream cheese,  softened
  • 2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 c. half and half

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients together. Make sure the cream cheese is blended well.

spicy spinach dip ingredients mixed

  • Pour into buttered ovenproof dish.

spicy spinach dip pre baked

  • Bake at 400 degrees until browned and bubbly (about 20 minutes).

Pita Toast Ingredients

  • 1 package pita bread pockets
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 2 t. lemon pepper
  • 2 t. cumin

pita chipsPita Toast Directions

  • Cut pita pockets into 8 triangles. Separate the triangles into halves.
  • Blend butter, lemon pepper, and cumin.
  • With a pastry brush, spread each piece of pita with butter mixture.
  • Bate at 350 degrees until browned and crisp (about 10 minutes).

pita chips bakedNotes

  • You can use different herbs in the butter mixture for the pita toasts and serve them any time. Italian seasoning is a great replacement for the lemon pepper and cumin. Serve the Italian seasoning pita toasts with soup.
  • The dip can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. Bake about 10 minutes longer if the dip has been in the refrigerator before it goes in the oven.

spicy spinach bite

Holiday Teacher Gift 2014

herb dip mix set

Tis the season when I start obsessing about holiday teacher gifts for my children’s teachers. Let’s recap. I teach at the school my children attend. I like to give a sirsee to each teacher who works with my children, so I need close to twenty little gifts at a low cost. Since I am a teacher too, I (over) analyze the practicality of the gift and whether I think the teachers and administrators receiving these holiday treats will need them and use them– and like them.

After much consideration, I chose to make herb mixes in little jars. Over the holidays, people often have guests or extended family at their house and need group food or dips on hand. These herb mixes are easy to mix by adding sour cream or mayonnaise (or both). They look pretty in the jars, are easy to assemble in large quantities, and will keep if they are not used right away.

herb dip mix ingredients

I found the recipe for the herb mixes at Bubbly Nature Creations. I tested the Fiesta Dip Mix, Italian Dip Mix, and Ranch Herb Dip Mix. The original recipes fit perfectly into the smaller jars with cork stoppers that I had. I ended up doubling the Fiesta Dip Mix and using 65 mL jars with a flip lid. The jars held roughly 1/4 c. of dry mix. I purchased the jars at Hobby Lobby.

Fiesta Dip Mix w Label

I made Fiesta Dip Mix Labels to tie around the jars. I printed the labels on green cardstock and used my paper cutter to make sure the labels were cut evenly with straight edges. We glued each label onto a piece of red cardstock that was a little larger than the green label, punched a hole in the top, and tied to the jar with curly ribbon. The red paper border really isn’t necessary and made the label a little too long for the height of the jar. I will skip that detail next time.

herb dip mix gifts

Notes:

  • The Fiesta Dip Mix would work really well as the sour cream layer in a Classic 7 Layer Dip.
  • I made extra jars to give to neighbors and take with us to holiday parties to give to the hosts as a thank you.
  • The directions at Bubbly Nature Creations tell you to use a funnel to pour your herb mix from the mixing bowl into the gift container. I rolled up paper and used that as a funnel.

herb dip mix paper funnel