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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Inferring with 'The Climb'

I love the song 'The Climb' by Miley Cyrus and it was perfect for a lesson on making inferences with my 3rd graders! I played the song for them and just had them close their eyes and think about the words. Afterward, I passed out the lyrics and I modeled from the first stanza how I made meaning / inferred what Miley is singing about. My model was super short because my students caught on quick and they were highly engaged with turn and talks about the song - it was inferring heaven! My students got a good hold of what it is to infer and had fun doing it! Later on walking to lunch they were all singing the climb quietly - too cute!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Hello ALL - long time no blog!!!

 I have to share a graphic organizer that my students have had great success with. In 3rd grade in our district we are teaching multiplication and division at the same time - for example one day we teach multiply by 7 and the next is divide by 7. This is new for us, in the past we would teach all multiplication and then all division. And of course when they get the test they knew they must multiply because it is a multiplication test without really knowing why they are multiplying. So now are test is a combination of multiplication and division word problems. So how do they know if they need to multiply or divide??????

My students us a GET chart - it is actually a part-part-whole chart. In the top whole box they write a T for total. The bottom box is split in 2 and on the left they write G for groups and on the right they write E for how many in each group.

My students are very good at reading a word problem and filling in the chart, they know if the total is there they must divide and if it is not there they must multiply to find the total. It is amazing how much this chart helps them figure out if they need to multiply or divide - they love it (and so do I!!!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Questioning to Author's Purpose with the Orphan Trains

I had a brainstorm last night and it all started when I read, 'A Train to Somewhere' by Eve Bunting. I was planning on reading that and 'The Stranger' by Chris Van Allsburg to decide which I would use to launch a mini-unit on questioning - not many teachers on my grade level are into strategy instruction and are ready to start teaching the reading skills that are tested on our state test (FCAT 2.0) since I strongly believe in the importance of strategy instruction I have decided to spend Monday and Tuesday on a strategy and the rest of the week on a skill - my goal is to blend them together seamlessly!  Well, I never made it to reading 'The Stranger' because I became obsessed with the topic of the orphan trains.

Thank goodness for the internet, because my curiosity turned into a Saturday night of research (yes, I do realize how sad it sounds after I type this, but I had fun!) I read stories about actual orphans, saw pictures, and even read newspaper articles, and saw a want add (yep, a want add for coming to see the children, much like an add for a shoe sale). And then the light bulb rang out in my head!!!!

I could use all this text to teach author's purpose!!! What a way to blend questioning and author's purpose by starting with a topic that sparks our interest as we ask questions and learn about it by researching the topic through different points of view / different genres too and discuss their purpose.

As soon as the public library opens today, I will be at the door, there are so many more books on this topic that I hope will get my students reading something different - real history vs. The Wimpy Kid??? I'll let you know what happens!!!!!!!

Here was my favorite website about the orphan trains:

One orphan's story that caught my attention on the website above was Lee Nailing - his story is an emotional one and I can't wait to share it with my students!!!!!!

I will post more about my lessons and how it went next weekend! Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Amazon gift card giveaway!!!!!!!

One of my favorite blogs is having a Giveaway! Hop on over to Ashleigh's Education Journey to see how you can join in on the giveaway fun! What's the prize you ask???
$25.00 to spend at my favorite online store:
I already have some books in my shopping cart - just hoping that I win ;-)

Good Luck!!!!

Ashleigh's Education Journey

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Get your $5 book coupon from Scholastic

Get your $5 book coupon from Scholastic

I love Scholastic Book Orders - it is a great way to build your classroom library!
Now, families can get a $5.00 coupon for book clubs! Follow the link for more information you can share with your students.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pinterest Linky Party!!!

I LOVE PINTEREST!!!!!!! But I know I am not the only one :-)
Michelle's Math in the Middle is have a Pinterest Linky Party - head on over I know I will!
 I love to see everyone's pictures - I get so many great teaching ideas and anchor chart examples that really enrich my classroom and teaching!
I would add a link of my board but I have NO IDEA HOW??? If anyone knows how leave me a comment so I can add a link :-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mission Impossible!!!

Sadly, math is at the end of our day and motivation for 3rd graders at the end of the day is not as easy after lunch :-(

Recently, I cam across a novel way to get them going when their motivation was low - I was just about to assign their independent work when I remembered I had the complete "Mission Impossible" track on my IPOD, before it goes into what we hear on the movie there is a little military band music and that was what they heard while I gave them their directions, quickly they sat up tall, and instead of telling them to get started - I ask them if they accept this mission - of course they shout 'YES!' and get right to work - it was beautiful!!!

Today, I tried it again to refocus them as we lined up (they were a bit chatty). Their mission was to get to lunch in a straight and quiet line - they did a great job and even pretended to be spies, ducking under windows along the way. I know it will not work if used too much so I am going to keep that trick up my sleeve for those days when they need that extra little boost to keep going!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Spelling Homework - OH MY!!!

Nothing new here, just what I have been working on this weekend. I wanted to give student's choice when practicing their spelling, I also wanted to leave the door open to differentiating spelling lists and not using lots of copies on worksheets! So I created this 'Spelling Choices' sheet where students choose how they want to practice their words. At school, we sort our words different ways (think WORDS THEIR WAY). However, for homework I just wanted  them to practice writing their words :-)

Spelling Choice Activities

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Problem Solving Toolkit

Here is my problem solving toolkit - when we learn a new strategy like draw a picture or make a list etc. we will be adding it to this anchor chart. School has not started yet so it is still empty. We will also be using KFC as a guide for problem solving. K stands for know (what we know in a problem) F stands for find out (what do we need to find out), C stands for clues (what clues are in the problem) and then there is an S for solve because of course we have to solve the problem! I am making a chart in the morning and will add the picture of it Monday, but basically you draw or fold a sheet of paper into fourths and place one letter in each box. Can't wait to use this to help my kiddos with those pesky word problems this year!

Finally Finished my room!!!!!!

 The king and queen of the day are my daily helpers- I add index cards with student names and we rotate them daily. My king and queen do any jobs needed for the day - so simple!

 I found these great magnets at Lakeshore Learning - perfect for our daily objectives!

 My vocabulary words will go here and once we have used them and really know them they will graduate to the next cabinet door leaving space for lots of new words!

 Thank you Beth Newingham!!! Teachers everywhere are so thankful to all your resources! Every time we read a book we will be adding the title to the cabinet with the matching genre. I plan on doing this through December and then in January changing over to themes.

 Our mailboxes, turn in tray, clipboards, and some book boxes

 Here is my little teaching area

 Now I am thinking I should have made my 'RULES' expectations instead... Looks like something else to add to my list...

 Ready for meet the teacher night!

 Once our large star fills up with tiny stars (that match of course!) they earn a crazy sock day! They get to take off their shoes and I bring in a little treat - kids love sock days - such a great reward that does not cost a thing. I am ready for my first sock day- I found some socks that look like a pencil!

 My variation on the clip chart - I probably should have role model on top of you rock - oh well... too much to do than to worry about that :-)

 I am going to try and start CHAMPS this year - not sure how consistent I will be with this one but I will give it a try - I figure at the very least I will use it a lot the first few weeks and then fade it out (to be brought back later as needed).

 Love this! I got this from a friend and have used it ever since - all I have to say is "show me HALL" and they know what to do!

 I just made this on Friday - every time we learn a new problem solving strategy we will list it here - now that I think about it I should make one for reading too!

 My guided reading table

 I am going to try team bins for manipulatives this year - each team has their own bin with various manipulatives that they can choose from for problem solving!

WOW! Preplanning is such a LONG week - but I love it (most of it anyway). So the first day of school is Tuesday with meet the teacher on Monday night, now I have a few hours to relax and then check and double check everything is ready to go for week one!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dry Erase Fun!!!

Have you tried Crayola's new dry erase crayons??? I have and I love them!! I especially love them on laminated materials. School starts next week so while I have only tried them out at home, I will have to see how they work in action, but the price is worth giving them a try. I met another teacher that told me that their washable crayons work just as well so instead of buying dry erase markers for student dry erase boards this year I am gonna try the washable crayons, not sure how that will work yet but I'll keep you all posted!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

KEEP OUT! Miss Viola Swamp!

Each year I start off my first day of school with a reading of Miss Nelson is Missing. Afterwards we talk about what caused Miss Nelson to leave, then they agree that they don't want Miss Viola Swamp to come to our classroom, but I let them know that if they are not their best behavior Miss Viola Swamp would come to their room... To keep that from happening we make an anchor chart titled: Keep Out! Miss Viola Swamp! and the kids brainstorm how they should act to make sure Miss Viola Swamp stays away. This is lots of fun and a lesson that the kids remember well into the school year - I have heard kids say, "watch out you don't want Miss Viola Swamp to come to our room!"

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Give Me 5! With A Twist!

How do you get your kiddos attention when they are working with teams or just need to stop and listen? I always start out teaching the procedure for 'Give Me 5' and we practice, but as the year goes on it is not as effective (hands go up- but where are those eyes on me?)

A friend of mine shared this twist on 'Give Me Five' - I LOVE IT and my Kids loved it too!!!

So the teacher can say something like:
 "Give me 12" at the same time you hold up say 6 fingers and students need to put up 6 fingers because 6+6= 12. This could easily changed to multiplication by saying "Give me 30" and hold up 10 fingers and students need to show you 3 fingers because 10X3=30.

Why do I love it? Kids have to stop what they are doing, look at you, and practice some math at the same time! And now they are ready to listen!

Last week I went to some professional development and learned some other ways that are kinda novel:

Teacher says: Mac and
Students say: CHEESE!

Teacher says: MARCO!
Students say: Polo!

Teacher says: Rockin'
Students say: ROLL!

Teacher says: Spaghetti and
Students say: Meatballs

Please share any ways you get your student's attention - I love new ideas!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just found the BIGGEST giveaway EVER!!!!!!!!!

Hop on over to:

Erica's Elementary Excitement Erica's Elementary Excitement
When you link over go down to her post from Monday.

So what can you win???
A $50.00 gift card to Lakeshore (that's right I said $50.00)
AND a Target gift card for $25.00

WHAT FUN!!!!!!!! I am sure you are already making out your shopping list!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yearn To Learn has a Giveaway!

Check out this awesome blog to see how you can enter to win a $25.00 gift card to Lakeshore - I love shopping at Lakeshore - especially during their back to school sale which starts in July!!!!!

Link over on the button I placed on my blog roll on the left :-)

Wiggins World: Last Chance to Enter Lakeshore Giveaway!

Wiggins World: Last Chance to Enter Lakeshore Giveaway!: "Hurry over to Yearn to Learn for the last chance to enter the Lakeshore gift card giveaway. One person will win a $25 gift card to Lakesh..."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Planning for Guided Reading

How do you plan for guided reading??? Sometimes I don't and I always end up disappointed.  This year I am making an effort to have planned groups and I am attaching a planning guide that a friend of mine created for a district training on guided reading(I helped a little too!). This plan is based on information from the book Teaching for Comprehension and fluency by Fountas and Pinnell. I have to say that once I started using this form my groups were very focused and ran very smooth! If you scroll all the way through you will see the back side of the form and going even further you will see an explanation for what goes where. If anyone wants a better copy of the planning form, let me know and I can send you a PDF copy of the file that will print out much nicer than this :-)
I would love to read about how some of you do your planning for guided reading!

Reading Planning Form 2

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fun for the Last Day of School!!! Yippee!!!!!!!!

So, as I try to figure out something fun for my kiddos to do on our last day of school  it hit me -
Minute to Win It games!!! I went to game show's website and found some easy games that can be done in the classroom and require very little prep time and easy to find materials. I am including my list which does not include all the details/rules but they are listed in alphabetical order on their website - this is gonna be fun! Now on to the final week of school!!!!!!

Minute to Win It Games

A Bit Dicey
This is a game challenge where the contestant has to stack 6 dice on a Popsicle stick that is held in his mouth.

Baby Blockin'
The contestant is supposed to stack 5 children's building blocks on a plate. This plate is kept on the contestant's head. The building blocks as well as the plate need to be balanced on the contestant's head for at least 3 seconds.

Hoop De Loop
A contestant has to roll a hula hoop in such a way that it rolls and rests around a group of 2 liter soda bottles.

Breakfast Scramble
Assemble the front of a cereal box that has been cut into 16 even pieces.

Face to Cookie
Using only the face, move cookies from the forehead to the mouth.

Nervous Nelly
Score  a total of 500 clicks using 4 pedometers attached to the arms and legs

Noodling Around
Pick up six penne noodles placed around the perimeter of a table using only a piece of uncooked spaghetti in your mouth.

Rapid Fire
Player must shoot rubber bands to knock a triangle stack of 6 cans completely off a platform.

Separation Anxiety
Player must separate a pile of 50 multicolored chocolate covered candies into 5 separate containers in a set color order

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Third Grade Meanderings has reached 100 followers and she is having a giveaway!!! Better yet it is a Barns and Noble gift card and her favorite book:


We teachers love books and Barns and Noble so head over to her fantastic blog and sign-up to win!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

This little kid makes me smile!

Check out this young child's motivational speech - can't wait to show my students next week!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blog giveaway at Education Journey

I was checking out everyone's blog posts as I sit and watch General Hospital -the one hour of the day when NO ONE is allowed to disturb me :-) When I saw that the following blog just reached 50 followers and they are giving away a 10.00 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers - check it out :-)

Education Journey

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flips, Turns, and Slides OH MY!!!

Transformation Translation Rotation Game

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Problem Solving Resource for Florida's Next Generation Sunshine State Standards

I just came across this wonderful resource for problem solving that meets current Florida Standards! I can't wait to use these problems with my kiddos as the school year comes to an end. I will make the questions game like to keep the kids actively engaged. I usually give one question at a time to each team, they all solve it and I call on a team to answer (I go from team to team) if they get the question correct they get a point (one point for each smiley face the question is worth). If the answer is incorrect I open the question to any of the other teams. It is simple and the kids really enjoy it.

Check out the link - there is problem solving questions for grades k-5!!!

 ONLY 3 WEEKS LEFT!!! I LOVE teaching, but I am ready for a little break :-)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Reciprocal Teaching

So I know I only have 5 weeks left for the school year, but I am working on trying Reciprocal Teaching as a strategy to improve their comprehension. I would love to hear how some of you use this strategy. Right now I am introducing it whole group with lots of modeling and letting the kids give it a try. This week I will to take them deeper into questioning with thick and thin questions. Once they have that I will work on clarifying (this will be a tough one) any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Looking for reading lessons grades 3 - 5? Assessments too???

My district has complied a data bank of lessons. You can search under grade level and the lessons pop up. They are based on Florida's Sunshine State Standards, but are basically focused on all those 'tested' skills like main idea, author's purpose, compare, plot etc.

To see these lessons click on the link below.

 Username: Reading
 Password: Lessons

Much of the text that is referred to comes from Florida Treasures and Time For Kids (Treasures Edition)

But even if you don't use the text you can take something useful from the lessons that ALL follow the gradual release of responsibility - Each lesson has a 5 question assessment attached too!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Very First BLOG!

Welcome SPRING BREAK 2011! I am looking forward for the chance to relax with my family. I am not sure how to use this blog and I am pretty sure I am talking to myself right now, but hopefully I will figure this out by the next school year :-)