Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thanksgiving Happenings

And once again, it has been almost a month since I blogged last. But hey, I think I already know what my New Years' Resolution is going to be:-) A lot has been going on since I last updated all of ya. Thanksgiving came and past! I would love to share some of the great activities that I did with my kiddos the week before Thanksgiving and as well as Thanksgiving week.

I absolutely LOVE holiday stories, so I chose to do a book study on the fabulous "Twas the night before Thanksgiving" by Dav Pilkey. I chose this book because I wanted to work on character traits as well as problem/solution as our reading strategies. I also found this great read aloud on youtube. Check it out!
The kids always love watching videos, and even better when it's a read aloud!

After sequencing and doing a close reading of the text, we discussed the different characters in the story. We made character charts discussing the three components of each character: personality traits, motivation, and emotions/feelings. I really enjoyed this activity because it required my students to go back to the text for EVIDENCE! Evidence seems to be the new buzz word in our classroom. I am always pushing my students to go back to the text for evidence to support our assertions ( they also love when I use this fancy word for our opinions/claims).

And then, we were ready for our delightful Thanksgiving themed rotations! Since these we were different than our typical Daily 5 rotations, I simply had the students work in table groups, and I rotated the activity.

These were our rotations... 

 The students filled out graphic organizers analyzing the traits of the turkeys from our story!
 Then, the sweeties filled out Venn diagrams comparing/contrasting the kids and Farmer MackNugget.

And finally, the students read Thanksgiving themed stories to a partner. They absolutely loved reading about pilgrims, thankful mice, and Thanksgiving traditions! You can grab these activities here!

Oh, and I can't forget this adorable persuasive writing activity that the kiddos absolutely loved.
We read a few persusasive books to introduce this genre of writing to students, and then the students were set off to write persuasive letters to Farmer MackNugget trying to convince him to save the turkeys! They turned out adorable!

And last but not least, here is snapshot of our cutie pie turkey filled with our family traditions for Thanksgiving! The kids really enjoyed seeing how their family was similar and different from their friends. And I can't forget to add that I did make pumpkin pie cups for my students to devour while discussing our family traditions:-) I sure do love my job!

Happy December friends! 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Penguin Fun and a Freebie!

Ahh I'm back! I have been very overwhelmed with parent teacher conferences, after school meetings, and my first formal observation! So yes, it has been crazy. But the good news is.... I made it!! I sure do believe God had a purpose for placing me where I am, and I am very thankful to be working with my third graders despite huge obstacles.

In the classroom, we have been having LOTS of fun researching, reading, and writing about penguins. I was so excited when I find out that our next Reading Street story was an informational text about penguins. My kids absolutely LOVE learning about animals. So, I figured I would turn this story into a bigger, informational unit that would really expand and deepen the knowledge that my students have about penguins. We started out by activating and making known our prior knowledge with this cute little KWL chart. You can grab it here!

After documenting our prior knowledge individually and whole group, we moved into thoroughly researching and understanding the nature of nonfiction texts. My students have not had much exposure with nonfiction. So, I found it very necessary to teach the differences between nonfiction and fiction to my sweeties. I also really wanted my students to learn how to find the "main idea" of a nonfiction text. My students arevery familiar with finding the main idea of fiction, but not with nonfiction. I presented them with an anchor chart that gave them CLUES as to how to find the main idea of a short or longer  nonfiction text. I then gave my students the opportunity to practice finding the main idea of nonfiction pieces about animals.... but most of my kiddos chose to read about penguins:-) 
We used this amazing packet

My students absolutely loved reading about the different animals, and I saw them growing in their ability to find the main idea from a nonfiction text. However, I didn't want to stop there! I wanted to continue giving my students the opportunity to dig deeper into penguins. So, I decided to go to the library...... and I came home with about 26 different nonfiction books about penguins for my students! 

They were so EXCITED!!!

We ended our week finishing our KWL charts, and let me tell you.... my kiddos were so excited because they had learned so much! And most of their questions had been answered! We also ended by writing about penguins...... oh a little bit of Happy Feet:-) 
This Reading Street Story, along with all these supplemental penguin activities sure were a hit with my third graders! I can't wait to do more nonfiction with my students because they sure do love it! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sugar, Cinnamon, Chef Hats, and Applesauce Fun!

I am really excited to share our past week's shenanigans! This week, we launched our " how to " writing unit. Since most of my students had never written a " how to", I really wanted to bring the experience alive. So, my students started crafting an essay on how to make applesauce:-) I started by reading a quick read aloud about making applesauce on a stove top to activate prior knowledge.

Now, we have been working really hard to work our way through the different steps of the writing process. So first, we began brainstorming the different ideas/ steps that we thought we would need to take to make applesauce.

After brainstorming, we got back together the next day as a group and reviewed the exact steps that we would need to take to make tasty, sweet applesauce. I even gave them the exact amounts of sugar, water, and cinnamon that would need to be added to the mixture. It was then the students' job to begin writing their own how to's. Since my students work at different paces, I had many students brainstorming and writing out the steps in logical order while others were already revising and editing their pieces. After they revised and edited, the kiddos were ready to publish and draft their final copy! After they did this,  they were able to make this fun applesauce craftivity! 


They absolutely loved making their applesauce bowls! Find these cute activities at Tangled Up In Teaching.

Finally, we were ready on Friday to do the fun part! We got to make our own Apple Sauce.
I squeezed in this cute anchor chart to review our specific steps that we needed to follow. 
And then, the fun began!!


And finally after the applesauce cooked in the crockpot for about 3.5 hours on high, we got to enjoy it. 


     THEY LOVED IT!!! 


It was delicious!!!

And just one more of my kiddos with his adorable chef hat on!

 Next week, my students will begin crafting their own how to's on topics of their own choice. Stay tuned for more third grade fun!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Science Fun and a Freebie!

Hey Everyone!
I have a really cute activity to share with you!

In our third grade classroom, we have been working on the Scientific Method. My students have really enjoyed doing different experiments while practicing how to go through the steps of the Scientific Method. They also absolutely love being called scientists! I really enjoy the look on their faces when I call them writers, mathematicians, readers, scientists, historians. I really feel it motivates and engages many of my learners. ANYWAYS, we have been at work with the scientific method. I started this unit by reading a cute little story about being a scientist, and I used this awesome video that my kids love to reveal the different steps of the scientific method.

I then had the kids use the scientific method to write about something they would love to learn more about as a scientist!!  The kids were able to use these adorable posters to guide their thinking. 

After a few days of practice with the Scientific Method and fun little experiments, I was ready to have the kids test it out themselves with this fun activity!  I found this from Smart Chick!
The kids were given three paper clips, a lifesaver, a gummy worm, and a plastic cup. And, they had to save Fred from drowning because his lifesaver was stuck under his boat ( the plastic cup). However, they could not touch the cup, lifesaver, or gummy worm with their hands. They could only touch the paper clips with their hands. They were given these rules, and then they were set off to predict and hypothesize how they would be able to save Fred and get his life preserver back on his body! The kids loved this activity, and I really found that this activity pushed them to work with a partner cooperatively while also thinking deeply through problem solving. Here are the sweeties at work and smiling! 

After the kiddos observed, hypothesized, planned, and experimented, they were given a recording sheet where they recorded their solution so that they could communicate their findings! 
You can grab this activity here for free! Can you Save Fred?

I'm excited for tomorrow because we are starting our Daily 5 math rotations! Stay tuned:-) 

Happy Blogging! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Daily 5 in Full Swing!

     I am so excited about this post because I am so proud of my kiddos! Last week, our third and fourth graders had to take standardized tests on Tuesday and Wednesday. But, we were finally able to start our Daily 5 rotations, and I was so excited and impressed.
     Now, it is important to keep in mind that we have been building our stamina for almost 5 weeks now. I started by introducing Read to Self, and then I gradually introduced the other 4 rotations with T charts laying out the teacher and student expectations. My students especially loved our interactive modelings. The students loved to model the inappropriate behaviors. I actually also really enjoyed watching my kiddos model these inappropriate behaviors since they were having such a good time with it! More importantly, having the students model these appropriate and inappropriate behaviors gave the students a concrete image of what it should and should not look like during each daily five rotation. I also have these adorable signs! Thanks to 4thgradefrolics.

A bulletin board picture will be uploaded very soon with our rotations:-) 
Here are a a few pictures of my kiddos fully engaged during our reading block! 
We started with a mini lesson about writing strong sentences. My kids loved this because they did not want to be called weak! 
Here are a few sweeties engaged in " Reading to Someone." 
                                               My kids absolutely love " listening to reading."
And of course, a student favorite, scrabble spelling! 

Working on Writing! 

Even just looking at these pictures again makes me so happy as a teacher because I see my 36 buddies fully engaged in reading and writing, while I am giving the much needed one-on-one or small group support at my guided reading table. I am so thankful for this management system because it gives us teachers the time to give that support, the support that our kids justly deserve from us! And before I'm off to bed, just a few snippets of my Michigan weekend! 

 Have a great week!


Sunday, September 29, 2013


How is it that Sunday nights come so fast? It feels like one minute, we are all so excited it's Friday, and then it's Sunday night.... just like that! Well anyways, I had a great weekend spending time with family and friends. But as always, it went by too fast. Here are some snippets of my weekend!
But, I figured an update on my classroom and our shenanigans seemed fitting. I cannot believe that I have had my very own classroom for a month now. I love my 36 kiddos, and I am extremely pleased with the community that we have built in our classroom. Our third grade family:-) We have been working really hard on building our stamina for Daily five in our class. Check out these sweeties
My kids are just loving word work! I introduced four different options for word work this past week. My kids will get to choose from addition spelling, scrabble spelling, magnetic words, and secret code spelling.
I also found some great word work over at the amazing classroom
And finally, I was looking for a fun way to use my old scrabble tiles for word work. I knew I wanted the kids to use the tiles to practice their spelling words/word work, but I was looking for a recording sheet. Hop over to 3rdgradethoughts for some great resources! 

And that's a little tid bit into our little third grade family, one month in, building our stamina. 

And hey, I can officially say that I have survived a full month of teaching in my VERY OWN classroom!!!

Happy Sunday!