December 12, 2011

Our Reading Christmas Tree

To say that our principal loves reading and wants all of our children to love reading is a MAJOR understatement!!!  She is doing wonderful things to encourage everyone in the school to read and to love reading.  For our Christmas PTO meeting, she decorated this Christmas tree with all of our favorite book characters.  I thought it was just precious!!!

Isn't she great!!!  I have a lot of trees in my house at Christmas and one day I want to have a tree like this - doubt it will happen, but, hey!  Here's hoping!!!

December 1, 2011

12 Days of Christmas GIVEAWAYS!!!

What a great Christmas present!!! Check it out and join in on the fun!!! I can't wait!  Check out Oh Boy 4th Grade for all the details!

November 28, 2011

SNOW (yes, not a typo) in November

What a surprise!!! Anytime we get snow in West Tennessee we are excited because it just does not happen a lot! However, when the weather forecast calls for 3-5 inches of snow on NOVEMBER 28 - that causes a lot of excitement.   We were not sure when (or if) it would come, but about 1:45 it came!!!! These pictures don't show a whole lot but by the time I left school - the ground was COVERED!!!

The kids LOVED being out in the snow for a little bit.  We took black construction paper to see if we could catch snowflakes to see the different patterns.

Even Ms. Jill and I LOVED being out in the snow!!!!  Who are the coolest (ha ha) teachers?
We shall see if we have school tomorrow . . . .

Veteran's Day Activities

Our principal is AWESOME to say the least.  She found this idea on Pinterest and all the classes participated after talking about Veteran's Day this year.  What a great way to honor the men and women who have served our country.

For our class activities, we watched the changing of the guards at Arlington Cemetery and President Obama leaving the wreath.  I had had the class bring in names and addresses of people in their family who had served our country.  In conjunction with letter writing that week, each child wrote at least one letter to a veteran thanking them for their service to our country.  We mailed the letters that next week.  I love teaching our children to love their country!!!

November 26, 2011

Flat Stanley

At the beginning of the year, the third grade classes read Flat Stanley. After we read the book, each child got their own Flat Stanley to color and send off to someone.  They also included a letter telling what we were doing. We have had a wonderful turn out from our Flat Stanley adventures.  In the third grade hall, we have a world map and a US map to show where all Stanley has been.  The kids look forward to seeing where Stanley has been and what he learned while he was there.  
Some college students took Stanley with them while they were in Europe for the semester.  Stanley got to visit all kinds of neat places while he was there.  He was even on ESPN at the Belgium/USA soccer match.  One child sent her Flat Stanley to Afghanistan with her uncle who is a soldier there.  Stanley even got to go to Antarctica!! 

We can't wait to see all the other places Stanley is going to go this year.

Celebrate Good Work

I love celebrating when a child does something wonderful!  We have this poster in our room with all the different kinds of cheers we do for them.  Sometimes we let them choose - sometimes we just decide on one for them.  Here are a few:

Hi 5 - Hold one had up and the other hand waves to it
Roller Coaster - with your hands, go up the big hill (saying "ch, ch, ch") 
and then go over hills (saying "whoo, hoo")
Elvis - play your guitar as you say "Thank you, thank you, thank you very much!"
Grate - hold a grater to your arm and say "great, great, great"
Micro-wave - wave your pinkie fingers
Lookin' Good - draw a mirror and fix your hair as you say 
"Lookin' good, lookin' good!"

Colonial Times Food

A few weeks ago, we read the book William's House in our reading series.  I love this story for many reasons, but I really enjoy it because of the history it teaches.  There were many vocabulary words in the story that we just are not familiar with because of the time period.  So, I brought a bit of it home  . . .

We made butter that morning as the children came in to the room.  I put whipping cream in some clean jars with marbles.  The children passed the jars around shaking them turning the cream into butter.  They LOVED this.  After the butter was made, we placed it in the refrigerator until it was time to eat it with our cornbread muffins (thank you, Jiffy!).  I had placed tomatoes, corn and lima beans in the crockpot to cook during the day for our succotash.  That day PTO gave us all a popcorn party, so we had a colonial meal anyone would be proud of!!!!  We washed it all down with a noggin' of apple cider just like William.

I was really surprised how much the children enjoyed their snacks.  More than one came back for seconds (and thirds) on the succotash!!!

YAY for food in the classroom to make things come alive!!!!

Morning Greetings

My aunt teaches third grade next door to me and she made these for all the third grade teachers.  It is a mat we put outside our door each morning.  As the students come in, the step on one of the pictures to let us know how they want to be greeted.  

If they step on the smiley face, they want a smile.
If they step on the hand that is sideways, they want a handshake.
If they step on the hand going up, they want a high five.
If they step on the heart, they want a hug.

I think this is a wonderful way to greet each child individually in the morning! They look forward to it as much as I do!

Where are We with Our Writing?

We are doing a lot of writing this year in third grade to help us prepare for our constructive response test in December.  I found this idea on pinterest and this blog (love it!) and knew I had to make it!!!!  I adapted it a bit and made this one in a hurry.  I am working on another one where I have used my cricut to make the letters.  

I have really enjoyed this already because it helps me to know where each student is and it also encourages those students who tend to take their own time to see how far behind the rest of the class they are - even telling them how much they have to do until the writing project is done.  I would HIGHLY recommend this to any teacher!!

October 16, 2011

Tic-Tac-Know - Author's Purpose Edition

To help review author's purpose with my kids, I created this game.  I called it Tic-Tac-Know because I figure we can play it with any subject at any time!!!

I used a cube Kleenex box (I love those things!) to make my die.  I covered it with wrapping paper (or you could use bulletin board paper as well) and labeled each side - 1 side - persuade, 1 side - inform, 1 side - share feelings, 1 side - free and 2 sides - entertain (since most books we read in third grade are to entertain).  Then cover it with clear contact paper to help maintain wear and tear!

Using a small piece of poster board, I created a tic-tac-toe board and labeled each square with a book we had read in class so far that year. I actually made more than one game board to use in different lessons on author's purpose as well as for backup!!!

I divided the class into two teams and they took turns rolling the die.  Depending on what side of the die came up, they would tell me a book that was written with that purpose.  If the die landed on the free side, they could choose any book on the board that was not already taken as long as they could prove to me what the purpose of the book was.

They loved this game and it really encouraged the higher level thinking skills we were trying to get out of the students.  It got a little heated at times, but that is ok.  I really loved hearing the groups talking trying to figure out what the purpose was and why!!!

Give Me Some PIES!!!!

Our class was reading the book Tops and Bottoms and the skill we were focusing on was Author's Purpose.  To help us get a grip on author's purpose, I had a fellow teacher's husband draw me this HUGE pie on poster board. I thought he did a great job!  I divided the pie into 4 sections and labeled each section with a purpose for writing.

P - persuade
I - inform
E - entertain
S - show/share feelings

To help us give examples of the different purposes for writing, I pulled books we had already read this year and put the titles on sticky notes.  As we would pull a sticky note out, we would decide which purpose fit that book and then placed the sticky note on that section of the pie.  Towards the end of this activity, I pulled out books we had not read and they had to decide based on the title and the cover of the book what the purpose might be.

They really enjoyed this activity and it is one I can leave up in the room, or pull out later to review!

Out of the Loop for 9 years

I have been so blessed to be able to stay at home with my kiddos for the last 9 years!!! The last two years I have been a reading interventionist at their school working part/full time and have loved it.  I thought that was going to be the plan this year as well . . . however, an inflow of third graders came to the school and the numbers in the classrooms had to be lower, so . . .

I have been a third grade teacher for the past 9 weeks.  Not only am I a third grade teacher - I am team teaching.  Our school is so crowded that there was not another room for me!!! So, I have been partnered up with Mrs. Jill and 28 lovely third graders!!! We also have Mrs. Carol who is our paraprofessional and every day is an interesting day!!!!