Thursday, January 30, 2014

Like a Little Kid at Christmas!

Santa came early or late depending on how you look at it!  I GOT A PROMETHEAN BOARD!

I know...  I should contain my excitement, but I can't!  I have wanted one FOREVER and finally lucky me!  I have the best principal in the WORLD and I LOVE MY NEW SCHOOL!

I have spent the last two days learning how to use it and feeling so silly when I couldn't get it to work.  Then, I felt really silly when I asked someone to help me only to learn that I hadn't plugged it in.

We have been using it for everything.  I made a flip chart to replace my morning math board.  We have used it to compare fractions and put fractions on a number line.

Here is a picture of us trying to compare parts of a candy bar.  The kids love writing on it and are so engaged waiting for their turn.   

Now I am searching for the best materials to use with my board.  If you have a favorite, please share! 

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fun with Polygons and Comparing Fractions!

We took a little break from fractions to revisit polygons last week.  First, we created an anchor chart about polygons to revisit the concept.  Then, I gave the kids pieces of yarn and they used Elmer's glue to draw a shape and cover it with yarn.  When I came up with the idea it seemed really easy, but it took us a bit of trial and error to get the yarn stuck to the paper.  This was a case where more glue was something I encouraged!  Didn't think I would ever tell them that!  We didn't do really well with spelling, but sometimes it happens.   Try this out for a quick review of polygons!  The kids loved it!

We are back working on comparing fractions next week.  We love to play SCOOT in my class.  If you haven't ever played before, you have to try it out!  Before class, you post cards with questions around the classroom.  Each card has a number on it and the kids read it and come up with an answer.  They write the answer on their answer sheet.  When it looks like most of the kids have finished, you say SCOOT!  Then, they move to the next card.  They keep moving until they have answered all of the questions.

I like to have 20 cards for a game.  I pair the kids up with a partner and have them all pick a place to start.  I encourage the kids to talk through the problem before they write down their answer.  My kids love it!  It gets them up and moving and they usually do great on the problems!

Here is my latest SCOOT game!  Click on the picture to see a sample of the game.  Once you start playing SCOOT with your kids, they will beg you to play it all the time!

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What was the title of that book?

How many times a day do your kids ask you about the title of a book you read to them so they can take the AR test?  Last year my kids drove me NUTS!!!!!!!  I knew I had to find a better way and easier way to make sure they knew the title without me writing it down 100 times!

This year problem solved!  As a read a book to the kids, I put it in a plastic sleeve.

Then I use push pins to stick it to the bulletin board above the laptops.  

Problem SOLVED!  No more writing the titles down and they seem to be taking a lot more tests on the books I read to them.

Speaking of these two books, they are some of my favorites.  The kids thought that Snowman at Night was just so funny!  It really got them thinking about what could snowman really do when no one was looking.  I don't think they had ever thought of that possibility before.  Of course one of them had to bust up their creativity by reminding us that snowman aren't real!  We wrote acrostic poems to show all of the crazy things that snowman did in the book.  

I love to buy stuff after Christmas when it is 50% and 90% off!  I've bought next years stockings, decorations, and enough ribbon to last for ages.  I bought a bunch of cute border paper so I gave them each a piece of "special" paper.  I don't know what it is about it, but they get so serious when they use it.  Here are some of the funny poems they wrote. 

If you haven't ever read Green Wilma.....  it is a MUST!  It's a really funny book about a girl that wakes up as a frog!  Cute as can be and so easy to ask text dependent questions about it.  So if you haven't read it yet, take a peek!  You won't be disappointed.

Enjoy every single minute with your kids!

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Making Fossils!

My student teacher knocks it out of the ballpark AGAIN!  He is just wonderful and I can't wait until he has the chance to have his own classroom.  I can't tell you how much fun I have had teaching alongside him these past few weeks.

I told him to come up with something easy to review why/how a fossil is formed.  I figured he might find a book or a video clip to show.  We only set aside 15 minutes for the review....  and yes my class did this in 15 minutes!

He did a real quick review of how a fossil was made and why fossils are important.  I was stunned by how well the kids explained it and they used lots of text evidence terms in their descriptions.  He gave each of the kids a ball of clay that he had already rolled, a paper plate, toothpick, and a wooden leaf.  The kids rolled and stretched their clay until they had it thick enough and large enough to make an imprint of the leaf.  They used toothpicks to add veins to their leaves and he even thought to throw in a quick review of what purpose the veins have in a leaf!  Here are some pictures from this quick activity.

We let them dry for a few days and they turned out stunning!  The kids can't wait to take them home.  We used one tub of Crayola Model Clay - about $7.  You can buy it at Michaels - one of my MOST favorite stores.  FYI - my store gives a 15% off your purchase with your school ID.  

So if you have a few minutes and need a fun activity to review fossils this one was a HUGE HIT!

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Fun with Fractions!

What an amazing and happy Tuesday we had!  We started our morning out by working some more on fractions.  Some of us are working on comparing fractional sets.  While we are great at drawing circles and comparing the shaded fractions, we aren't as good at comparing fractional sets.  My lesson was going down in flames when I got that idea.  You all know what I mean....  the lesson is a disaster and your drowning....  all of the sudden this lightbulb goes off and you think of something else to try.  It was one of those moments....  we broke out the old colored tiles to try and get a grasp of the concept.  Next thing I knew we were creating fractional sets with the colored tiles .  The kids used their turn and talk partners and played teacher.  They love to give their partner a problem to solve.  Here are some pictures as they created their own fractional sets to compare.

Here is 1/6 red, 2/6 blue, and 3/6 yellow.

Here is the start of 2/10 blue, 3/10 red, 1/10 yellow and 4/10 green.

Of course we had to make a flipbook to show that we understood fractional sets.  I gave them the first two flaps, but on the third and fourth I only gave them part.  This way I could see if they could create the rest of the fractional set on their own.

Here is the inside of one of the books.  I stressed to the kids that fractional sets don't always look like the colored tiles we used to practice.  I told them to be creative and to not draw tiles.  I love to see smiley faces....  means they are having fun!

Of course I had to make a display to show off all the kids that have mastered fractional sets.  

I had a few kids that really struggled with fractions last week.  They just didn't have the skills on understanding fractional shading to get a firm grasp of this lesson.  Since I knew they needed a little extra help I pulled them before this lesson and used a lesson I had last year in second grade to fresh their memories.   It covers Common Core 2.G.2 and 3.G.2. 

You can click on the picture to see some activities that you can use with second graders or third graders that need to revisit fractional parts.  It has anchor charts, memory games, an adorable book about the fraction family, printables to practice, and math tasks.   Once I used this with my strugglers, they had it down pat and were ready to jump into comparing fractions. 

You can click on any of the pictures to see the full package in my TPT store. 

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Types of Sentences!

Well it's about time to start sticking in a little bit of review for state testing!  I made a list over the holiday of all of things that I think we needed to hit again in January.  One of them is types of sentences.  It seems so easy for us adults, but it is something my kids really needed to review.  I made this little packet to have some fun while we review this skill next week.  It has anchor charts, flipbooks, games, cut and pastes. and even a printable to use for an assessment.  Click on the picture to see it in my TPT store.

Noticings and Wonderings!

Something new for me this year is my "Noticings and Wonderings" board.  "Noticings and Wonderings" is something I learned about in my Common Core training this year.  It is very much like an exit slip to wrap up your lessons.  At the end of some of my lessons I wrap it up with "Noticings and Wonderings."  The kids grab a sticky note and write something about the lesson.  They don't have to put their names if they don't want to.  Here is a picture of my board.  It is nothing fancy, (guess that will go on my to do list)  but my kids love when we use it!
I used a dry erase board that is in the corner of my room.  I give the kids some options for their sticky each time.  They can ask me a question, tell me what we learned, or answer my question from the lesson.  I put a question directly tied to lesson that most of the kids should be able to have mastered.  This was a lesson on comparing fractions.  Here is one of the sticky notes from the board today.

I had to include this one!  It has to be one of my most favorite ones I have ever read!

It is hard to read but it says,

Can we work more on this?  Please!!!!

What more can I say......

Make each day count with your kids!

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chocolate Cookie Digs!

We had the BEST time in science!  I have a wonderful student teacher this semester and his lesson yesterday ROCKED!  We have been working on identifying evidence that something living had been
there before.  So he came up with a fun fossil lesson.  He filled a plastic tub with sand and chocolate chip cookies.  The kids dug into the tub to "excavate" their rock cookie. 

Once they had their cookies, the had to dig out the chocolate chip "fossils" like real archaeologists do.  They used toothpicks and slow but surely found that getting the chocolate chips out without any cookie or sand on it was harder than they thought.

The activity took about 20 minutes and was so much fun!  We warned them not to eat the cookie and rewarded them all with a new cookie to munch on after we finished.  The student that found the most fossils got an extra cookie!  If you try this make sure that you use soft cookies, not the hard ones. 

All in all it was a great lesson and the kids LOVED IT!

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Writing, Writing, and MORE Writing!

Well a big focus for my class is working on our writing this month.  I really like to do "think alouds" before they write.  This gives me a chance to read/create my own writing before they try.  When they write I see little traces of the things I did in mine, so I know that it is sticking with them.  The other day I typed my story out ahead of time and projected it on my screen.  We read through it together and when they wrote it seemed like their topic and closing sentences mirrored mine.  While I had hoped they would use their own thoughts, at least they transferred what I said into their work.

We have also been working on citing evidence in our writing.  We have been using this anchor chart to give us some stems to get started. After I made this, I noticed that it says on page ----- twice....  thank goodness for scissors!  We have written our thoughts and responses to our text using these stems....  after just three days I am really seeing improvement.  This is a great addition to your classroom!

Yes....  we are writing, writing, writing to become wonderful!

Here is a bundle of three different packets that I created to teach:

W.2.1, W.2.2, W.2.3
W.3.1, W.3.2., W.3.3

It has everything you need from flipbooks, anchor charts, writing tasks, a transitional word wall and even fancy paper to publish your writing on.  Here are some of my favorite activities from this bundle.  This helped me kids truly become better writers in a just a few lessons.  Click on the pictures to go to my TPT store.  This bundle is currently on sale!

Monday, January 13, 2014

We've got it! Look out area and perimeter!

By George We Got It!

We worked on area and perimeter during December and reviewed it using these fun task cards.  Before Christmas we made presents out of paper and measured the area and perimeter of our presents.  My pictures turned out terrible, but it is one activity that I want to do next Christmas.  This time I just need to check the pictures before I take them down.  I am working a creating an Easter bunny that they will create and find the area and perimeter of him!  Something fun to review!  More to come on that one.

We used these task cards to revisit the concept and everyone seems to have it!  Can I say WOO HOO!  I know that doing an area or perimeter question everyday during our early bird in December helped us a lot also!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Covering Lots of Topics!

We might have only had school three days this past week, but boy were we BUSY!  Since it was a really short week I decided to hit the ground running and work extremely hard on writing.  We haven't moved past writing one paragraph until this week and I was so pleased with how well the kids did with it.  It took us two days to work through the packet, but it was well worth it. We started off by working through the first picture and discussing what we would put in a 5 paragraph story.  Then I showed them another slide that I had written my own 5 paragraph story about winter.  They really enjoyed naming which part from the slide below went with my story.
 Then we all worked on using this graphic organizer to get our ideas down on paper.  My student teacher and I edited them with the kids to make sure their ideas were on track.
 Finally we all wrote rough drafts using our graphic organizers and published them on this cute paper.  I was really pleased with how well the kids did. Click on any of the pictures to see more!
We are getting ready to jump into fractions!  I love to play BINGO with the kids, so I made this today to include for some fun in our unit.  It has several things that I am going to use as centers or with the whole group.  You can click on the picture to see it in my TPT store.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Time to start the new year....

I made two goals for my class this semester.  Of course one of them is to knock our state testing out the window!  Isn't that every teachers?  The other is to work really hard on writing two to three solid paragraphs at a time.  Tomorrow we begin!  Here are the generic rubrics that I made to help me evaluate their writing this month.  Click on them to download them from Google Docs.
 My idea is that if we can write and publish at least one piece a week, then I can use the weekend to grade them.  We have only been writing one paragraph so I think this is a big goal for us, but I know they can do it.  We will be working on some anchor charts tomorrow in class, so I will post some pictures of what we come up with. 

Tomorrow our topic is to write about a snow storm.  I thought this would be an easy topic for them to generate different ideas for multiple paragraphs.  Keep your fingers crossed and I will let you know how it goes.

We also going to slowly start to get ready for state testing.  I know no one wants to think about it, but it will be here before you know it.  Over break, I took a really good look at my students' data on Discovery and what is on the state test.  I made a list of things that I know we need to try again and of course the stuff we haven't even covered yet.  Each week I picked one ELA skill that we need to revisit.  It won't be anything other than a quick review.  I also purchased a test prep file on ELA from my favorite place....  TPT!  For S.S. and Science I have picked one skill/standard for each week and my student teacher is going to make sure we cover it with a few quick mini-lessons during the week.  Since math is my favorite, I spent my break writing a test prep packet for 3rd grade that follows the same format as the ones I have already done for 1st and 2nd.  I think it turned out great and I know my kids love to "flash" the card to show me what the right answer is.  It has 150 multiple choice problems, number "flash" cards, and an answer key.  You can take a look at it and download a preview by clicking on the picture.

Happy Teaching!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Text Dependent Questions!

Today was our first day back from break.  It always amazes me how fast that two weeks at Christmas goes by.  This morning I did another inservice for seven of our area schools on text dependent questions.  I started off by showing this funny little video clip.  My kids crack up at these and I wasn't surprised that the teachers did as well.  Take a minute to look at it:

So now you completely understand what and where to find text dependent questions and NO they can't watch a movie!  : )

As I've posted before I LOVE ANCHOR CHARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Here are some of the charts that I made for the inservice so that the teachers could copy them for their classrooms.

So now that we all had a better understanding of what digging deeper into the text was, it was time to look at my plan to make this happen in my classroom.  Here is how my kids and I will tackle some texts this month.  
Then we talked about what type of questions are really text dependent.  Having the kids site the evidence from the story to "prove" their answers is a really big shift for us with Common Core.  I use a ring of cards to make sure that they are text dependent.  Click on the picture to see more of the packet in my TPT store.

Don't forget to download my latest freebie to get your week started off with some writing about 2014! Click on the picture to download it.

Well they have already called school off for tomorrow since it is so so so so COLD, but the teachers still have to go. 

Please check back over the weekend for a new freebie!  A teacher at the inservice had a great idea and asked if I could put it together for an anchor chart!  You won't be disappointed!

Happy Teaching!