Showing posts from 2014

Holiday Wishes!


Life Lessons

The Internet is down at our house (we're switching plans) so I decided to go to our local coffee shop to work on lesson plans for the week and enjoy a Passion Tea Lemonade with a Peppermint Bliss Bar (compliments of my sweet class).  As I was sitting in one of the comfy chairs a young lady walked up to me and asked "Do you mind if I sit here?"  and I replied "Of course not!  Please, have a seat!"

This immediately made me think of what I am trying to teach my students on a daily basis - lessons they can use throughout life.  Instead of having a designated door holder, I teach my students how to hold the door for the person coming behind them and to say "thank you" and "you're welcome"  as they take hold of the door before going through.

Another life lesson we work on is choosing our seats.  I have a couch and ottomans that students can sit on during our whole group lesson. Needless to say, these are popular seats in my class. While stud…

Multiplication Madness

I found these free Multiplication Multiples on Judy Hopf's Teacher Pay Teacher Store. I knew I wanted to use them in my class but wasn't sure exactly how.  Then it hit me!

I inherited a Multiplication Race Track display when I moved to my new room this year. I loved it and didn't want to take it down.  So I paired the two together for a perfect math center. I added the Multiplication Multiples to the track and the kids now have a great way to practice their facts.  Here's how.

Have you ever used number ladders for students to learn their facts?   The students bounce a tennis ball as they say the multiples for the digit they are working on.  Brain research says that the bouncing and repetition of the multiples makes the learning stick for the kids.

They also build arrays, use Cuisenaire rods and lots of other multiplication partner games from K-5 Math Teaching Resources to help them learn their facts. Then it's time to assess.

I must say up front that I am not a …

Writing and Edward Tulane

Our Class is reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane as part of The Global Read Aloud. You can read about the GRA here.  So what does Edward Tulane, scary funny creatures, and descriptive writing have in common?  I'm glad you asked.
First, let me back up a bit.  Each week we read a different poem to practice fluency and look at elements of grammar.  This week Jack Prelutsky's, The Creature in the Classroom, was our poem of the week.  We noticed the different synonyms he used for the verb "ate" and we also talked about adverbs.  The poem describes all the different things the creature ate, but it never tells you what the creature looks like, so we made our own. 

 I pulled out several different colors of construction paper,  googly eyes, yarn, pom-poms, scissors, and glue. 

 They could use anything they wanted to create their creatures.   Anything EXCEPT markers, crayons, or colored pencils!
Well, we couldn't just create creatures, even if it was Halloween…

A Poem About Reading: Today Was a Good Day!

I looked around my room today and what do you suppose I saw?

Children deeply engaged in reading. I was totally in awe!

Is it always like this, you might ask?

No, they're children, at times they get off task!

So exactly what do I do?

It's simple, I give them the freedom to choose

which books they want to read 

and where they want to sit.

Do I have to redirect them?

But on days when I look around and this is what I see,

I smile to myself and then I say . . .
Today was a good day!

Trust them to choose!

Don't judge my poetry skills. :-)

Third Grade Rocks!

It's 3:00 in the morning and I am still singing the lyrics to 3 Types of Rocks:  "There are 3 types of rocks in geology..."  I love this song! It has a catchy tune, but more importantly it teaches an important concept - or so I thought.  I often use music to teach concepts to my students.  Well, after singing this song over and over, I realized the third grade standards (in Georgia anyway) does not mention anything about learning the different types of rocks nor the rock cycle for that matter! Hummm . . . .

It does say, however, that "Students will investigate the physical attributes of rocks and soils ... using observation, measurement, and simple tests..."  Well, what do you know about that? So I created a Rock Journal for my students to record their observations and tests.  You can see it here on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  But if you follow my blog and leave a comment below, I will send you a copy... for free!  I still love that song and I added it to…

Why I like Kidblog

I started using Kidblog with my fifth grade students and I loved it!  It gave my students an authentic audience for their writing and I was able to make suggestions to help them improve their writing through private comments.  I could even use my cell phone to review their posts while sitting at the soccer field watching my nephew score a goal!
I must admit, I was a little hesitant to begin yet another online program with my third grade class. But I couldn't wait any longer.  We had already connected with our Book Buddies for the Global Read Aloud and it was time to begin blogging about what we were reading.  I had to introduce my third graders to Kidblog.  So, I bit the bullet!

Here are some helpful things to remember with any online program:

1.  If you are going to be using multiple accounts, whenever possible have students use the same username and password for each account they have.   Kidblog doesn't require a username to log in.  The students join our class and then sel…


I am linking up with Deb at Crafting Connections to share this Reading Comprehension Anchor Chart.  When I saw this acronym on our County's resource page, I knew I had to make an anchor chart to illustrate it.  If you have ever used Larry Bell's UNRAAVEL strategy, then you will recognize this as a simplified version.  
To prove their answers, students simply write the corresponding paragraph # beside the question where they found text evidence that supports their answer choice.  I also have them underline or highlight the text evidence in the paragraph that helped them answer the questions.
If you love anchor charts like I love anchor charts, you will want to head on over to Crafting Connections. Deb hosts an Anchor Chart Linky party every Monday.  I just saw one on a previous linky about prefixes and suffixes that I need to make for my kiddos!

In Search of the Perfect Room Arrangement

When I moved to my new room, I also inherited a teacher desk, a nice new teacher desk by the way. . . with nice drawers.  I haven't used a traditional desk for years, but it was nice to have the drawer space.  So I kept it. . .  and felt guilt about the enormous amount of space it took up.

Then one day it hit me!  So I swapped the desk with one of the computer tables.  I put the student desktop computer on top of the teacher desk and it became a shared space.  The sign-out sheet is there and students use the desktop computer when they need to.  I have a little space on the left side plus I get to keep those drawers! Problem solved.

Now what to do with that extra computer table?  I couldn't just toss it. So I moved it to the front of the room (where I had my trapezoid table). Now I have enough space for both my laptop and my document camera.  I also gained extra space to work one-on-one with students at this table. Sweet!

I have 2 couches. I love the comfy feeling they give my…

Celebrating Dot Day

We celebrated Dot Day last Friday.  This was a perfect way to introduce ourselves to our Global Read Aloud buddies. After reading The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds, we made postcards. On the back we introduced ourselves and shared a little about ourselves, without revealing any personal information of course!  Then we decorated the front using tiny dot stickers.

I will mail these to the class we have connected with in California and they will send us their postcards.  Once we receive their postcards, we will use them to help us pick our book buddies for the Global Read Aloud which begins in October. The kids are so excited!

The Dot helped us learn about theme.  The students discussed Vashti's character at the beginning of the story and then again at the end.  Some of the themes we came up with were perseverance and compassion.

We also used the ColAR app to make our dots come alive.  Students took screen shots and posted them on Edmodo to share with their classmates.  In the words of …

Arrays in the Real World

We are just beginning our multiplication unit.  The students needed to be able to relate repeated addition to multiplication.  We began by watching a great video I found on YouTube, "Real Life Arrays" By Miss DuBose.  Then the students were ready to find their own.  They went on an array hunt (in small groups) all around the school. I had a parent volunteer help with this part of the activity. Armed with their iPads, they took photos of all the different arrays they found.  And they found tons of them!

The next day, they picked their favorite photos for their project.  They used Pic Collage to show how repeated addition and multiplication are related.  They also had to include a title and of course their name.  I was able to assess some language standards ("capitalize appropriate words in a title" and "forms and uses possessives") as well as their math standard ("represents multiplication as multiple groups of the same number").  I am going to …

What I Know About Flipping 3rd Grade . . . TODAY

This is Week 6 in Third Grade and I have quickly learned that flipping does NOT look like in did in my fifth grade class!  Here's what I know about flipping 3rd grade . . . TODAY:

1.  My videos have to be short,  real short.  I mean 3-5 minutes short.  Closer to 3 minutes.

2.  My videos must be straight to the point.  I am almost taking notes for them.  I actually say "Step 1...., Step 2...." and "write this down"( Now that I think about it, I probably should have said that all along).

3.  I remind them to write the date, title, and important info. during the video a lot.

4.  I also went back to using a graphic organizer and having them glue it into their math notebooks.  and finally . . .

5.  Crystal, I revised your W-S-Q.  "S"  now stands for "list the STEPS" instead of summarize.  So they W-watch the video (write the title ), S- list the steps, and Q-write 1 question they have.

Here is an example of 1 of my student's notes from a vid…

Living Above the Line

Several years ago (and I do mean several) our school embraced "Quantum Teaching".   Does anyone remember this?  We attended training and had to incorporate the ideals in our lesson plans and ultimately change our way of teaching.  I believe this may have been the catalysts for whole brain teaching.

Anyway . . . today I actually called upon a particular aspect of Quantum Teaching known as "Living Above the Line". After having had a discussion ( for the ump-teenth time) about accepting responsibility and being kind to others, I pulled out a sheet of paper and we had a discussion about what it meant to live "Above the Line".  The students gave several suggestions of what that meant and looked like.  Then we talked about living "Below the Line". They gave more suggestions of what this would look like.  This also gave me an opportunity to talk about some common prefixes and root words.  Had to throw a little content in there.

But the real magic happe…