Thursday, October 23, 2014

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?
Certainly!


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. :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

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 my library on Edmodo, so my kids can sing it to their little heart's content! After all, they do need to understand that "scientists classify rocks by using observations", so . . . we'll keep singing.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Why I like Kidblog

He scores!
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 select their first name from the class list.  Once they've done that they just have to enter their "secret" password.

2.  Have students record their username and password in a safe place.  I use their agendas and have them write the information on their birth date, so they can find it.  Just in case they forget.  And they will forget.

3.  Make it easy to find the programs from home.  I link each program we use on our class website and on Edmodo.  When we're at school, we use the apps.

4.  Encourage parents to set up parent accounts for each program.  This keeps them in the loop and they always have access to their child's work.

5.  Start slow.

We first learned about writing quality comments by watching Mrs. Yollis' Class video. Then together we read comments and decided whether or not they should be published.  Next they commented on a post I had written.  I was able to give individual feedback to each student before they started writing their own blog posts.

I check all comments and posts before I approve them to be published.  As I said, this is the perfect way to reinforce writing and grammar skills.  And Yes, the kids love it!

What tips do you have for integrating technology in classroom?

Monday, October 6, 2014

UNWRAP


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!