September 9, 2014

Mr. Bob's Physics of Flight Show

Each year we LOVE Mr. Bob coming to our school.
He has the BEST animals to show us - even if there is a snake at times!
This year was NO exception (and it was even better because there was no snake!).
Here are some of the animals he brought to show us.

Flying or house gecko

Straw-colored fruit bat

Yellow-naped green African parrot

Harris hawk

Eurasian Eagle owl

My kids had a lot to say about the assembly here.
We are ready for Mr. Bob to come back!

FREEBIE: Junkyard Wonders

As part of our first few weeks of school, we put aside math and reading to concentrate on character education.  Each third grade teacher (there are 6 of us) chooses a book to read and do an activity that correlates with the book.  Then, each third grade class rotates over 6 days to each class to hear their story and do their activity.  This is wonderful in a lot of ways and we really enjoy getting to know all the third graders in the school.  The books that were chosen this year were;

The Giving Tree
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
How to Fill a Bucket
You are Special
Owen and Mzee
The Junkyard Wonders

I read The Junkyard Wonders and love reading it for so many reasons.  The kids are amazed it is a true story and have a ton of questions after reading it.  However, I love the lesson it teaches.  Many of my students feel like they are junk for different reasons.  As I read this to them, I see the light come on in their eyes as if they have never seen themselves as a wonder before.  It also teaches them to FIND the wonder in each person they meet in their lives.  I made this quick little activity for us to do after we had read the book.  It was very sad to see that most of them could not come up with a reason as to why they were wonderful. However, once we got started and friends shared with them why they were wonderful, some filled up every line and would have done more! Now my kids have been introduced to a fabulous author and know what makes them the great kid they are! I can't ask for anything better!  Next year, I want to have a whole unit made for this book because there are so many wonderful things about it! What do you do to instill character and self-worth in your students?

We Are Going to SOAR This Year

For the past 4 years, our school has held a SOAR assembly after we have been in school for 2 weeks.
This assembly is a motivation for the students to SOAR in academics as well as being good citizens in the new year.
It has become a favorite of the teachers because we do it for the kids.
We get to dress all crazy (I have been a cowboy, a rock star and a vampire) and the kids love it.
Since we ALL have been studying the book The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, our SOAR assembly again this year was centered around that theme.

Palmer led our class in our bus to the assembly.

The whole school was there and a TON of parents and grandparents.
 The assembly starts off with The Harlem Shake and all the teachers break it down as they go to the risers.
Our assistant principal, Mrs. Spring, and Mrs. Norma (the stand-in for Mrs. Kim who was called to a meeting) start the Shake off for us.

Joy is the driver of the Energy Bus and she made a special appearance at our assembly as she talked to us about the 5 rules we must have if we ride the Energy Bus.

Since the third graders are the leaders at our school, they played a very important part in the assembly. They talked about rules.

Led the school in different songs we had learned...

The third grade teachers (with the exception of Mrs. Belinda who played Joy) get the great honor of being the energy vampires.

Yes... we have actually scared little kids.
Yes... kindergartners ask us all year long why we were vampires.

It is exhausting but a wonderful start to the new year!
I love it, but am so glad we only do it once a year!
How do you get your students motivated to SOAR at the beginning of the year?

August 9, 2014

Welcome to the Cafe!!!

Our school theme for the past few years has been The Energy Bus and each classroom takes on a 
bus stop.  As I was planning what I would do, I was knee deep in studying The Daily 5 and Cafe books, so I decided to do a cafe theme.
There is not a lot out there!
I had fun planning it and getting it all together.
Each year I have added a little bit more to the room and just love being in my room!
I think that is important!
Here's a look at my room.

The reading area... I wanted it to be a place that was open and inviting to all who came in the room.
I made the big sign at the top of the wall with my cricut.
My mom made the cute pillows and one of the quilts.
Last year's partner teacher had her mother make me the other quilt.  The kids love spreading the quilts and pillows out to read.

Standing in the library, you see my desk area. I got rid of my desk a few years ago and
This is where I have my reading groups and writing conferences.  The white board immediately behind my chair is HORRIBLE! It is not magnetic nor can you write on it very well.
So, I hot glued clothespins to hang my anchor charts!  I will also have a focus poster for each reading group because each group will be focusing on different skills and vocabulary.  Those will also hang there.
Above my alphabet is our AR word countdown.  We started focusing on word count instead of tests taken or points earned.  The kids loved it and were so excited that we read 7 million words!! (Not bad for only having 14 kids!)
Those cupcakes will help us keep up with how many words we have read.
I also have my job chart (which is an apron and proof that I cannot draw!) on the PVC piping chart.
My data boards are below my white boards.  Each child will have a secret number or letter on a cupcake to show their growth throughout the year.

Another view from my library is our Great Work board.  This is one of my favorite parts of the room.
Each pie or cookie pan has a clothespin attached to it with a student's name on a chef's hat.  We hang work they are proud of or something we need to keep up with on this board.

Here's another look at my fat apron job chart.  On the yellow table (that my friend keeps trying to convince me to paint with chalkboard paint), I have supply drawers as well as my reading group tubs.  You see in the picture my great helper - my daughter, LB!  The older she gets the more help she becomes in my room!  Our social studies standards have changed and we are focusing on continents this first semester.  My continent is Australia. I can't wait to take the kids DOWN UNDER!

As soon as you walk in the room I have this huge cabinet to my right.  It winds up being the perfect spot for our behavior charts. I have the rainbow chart for individuals and the brownie point chart for the class.  I love both of them!

That is the majority of my room.  My desks were not picture ready when I took the rest of these. When I have them like I want them, I will take pictures of them!  I am excited about my new third graders coming to the Cafe! I hope we cook up a lot of success this year!

July 25, 2014

Get on the Energy Bus!

Last year our school took on the theme of
Get on the Energy Bus!
This was taken from Jon Gordon's book, The Energy Bus.
There is an adult version as well as a kid version.
As a faculty, we read the adult version over the summer.
Then, as a school we spent the first 2 weeks of school reading the kid version
and talking about character education.
It. Was. Fabulous!
As we went on last year, we learned some things to do and not to do, so
 we decided to do it again this year.

We had a day of professional development this week and Joy (the driver of the Energy Bus)
dropped by to give us a little pep talk.
As we were waiting for everyone to arrive, we took "selfies" with Joy.
Let me just say how blessed I am to be able to work with these

Part of our INCREDIBLE Sped Team

Mrs. Spring, our assistant principal

Part of the Kindergarten team
Third Grade and Second Grade unite!

Joy, one of our newest bus riders, meets Joy, the driver of the bus.

Best Picture of the Day! Our Kindergarten Readiness teacher, Mrs. Michelle and Joy

Joy and Me!!!!

Mrs. Kim, our principal, and Joy
We are ready for the year to begin as we all are on board!
Let's Enjoy the Ride!

June 19, 2014

Summer Book Club: Reading in the Wild Chapter 1

I really am working on doing better about my blogging on here and one way I am doing that is by joining The Brown Bag Teacher as she and others host a summer book club.  We are reading Donalyn Miller's book Reading in the Wild.  I read her book The Book Whisperer this spring and have GRAND plans of implementing it into my classroom this fall, so when I saw this opportunity pop up, I had to go with it.

The point of the book is growing wild readers.  I will admit it - I AM A WILD READER!  I can't help it!  I read whenever I get the chance.  I will read to myself.  I will read to my two children at home.  I am the teacher that will read aloud to my children in my classroom for 2 hours when they are suckered into a book as well!  Guilty!  I want my children - all of my children - to leave my room with a love of books and reading.  I had never had the thought though of what I am doing in my classroom is developing them into lifelong readers and that hit home.

So, I have been wondering.... what can I do to instill that in my classroom this year?  I love the idea of teaching them to take moments to read.  It can be 5 minutes here or there.  It doesn't have to be for a solid 20-30 minutes.  Third Grade Bookworm has a great mini-lesson that I will be using for sure showing kids the times they can take to read.  I want this for my room.  I want to see kids pulling books out when they have just a second or two to sneak in a few pages or even paragraphs.  What has been the best way to monitor what your kids are reading (and to make sure they are actually reading)?

My question is how... We have DEAR time in our school.  The first 15 minutes of the day is set aside for everyone to read.  I have 2 90 minute reading blocks.  Each 90 minute block is divided into 3 30 minute sessions where the kids rotate from me to independent work to a third block of time.  During that time close to 35 kids will come in and out of my room.  I teach a structured reading series that is practically scripted for me.  However, my principal trusts me and is allowing me to use one of those 30 minutes blocks as a chance to sneak in some more independent reading time.  However, is that enough?  Will it work?

Help me... What has worked in your room?  I am eager to learn.  I am eager to try.  I am eager to develop wild readers in my room this coming year and every year.

I am just trying to cook up some success...

May 28, 2014

Let's Try This Again . . . .

I have really wanted this to go well the past few years, but as you can tell - 
has been done! I really hope to remedy that this year!

I have all kinds of things going on in my head.  We have been out of school for a week now - that's plenty of time to have off and to start thinking about things again, right?  So, as I sit here at my dining room table and think to myself what needs to be done next year, this is what is going on in my head . . .

Welcome slide on smartboard for each morning...

Goal setting...

What do I want from my students in reading?

What do I want from my students in writing?

What do I want to do differently in my room?

How am I going to incorporate vocabulary on a regular basis?

How can I be a better teacher?

How can I use notebooking in my room?

How can I use Daily 5 in my reading that is structured for me?

How to better use reciprocal teaching?

How am I going to incorporate project based learning?

And I am sure that this is just part of what is going through my mind.  So, if any of you are still out there that check my blog (I would have stopped a long time ago), what do you have to say on any of these subjects?  Help a sister out!

Just trying to cook up some success . . . 
Mrs. Becky