Friday, November 22, 2013

Food Chains and Poetry

This week has been a ball of fun for the kiddos! YAY! I love weeks were I am able to plan fun, creative things for my lovelies to do in order to express their learning. That is really a weakness for me....creativity.

This week we have been learning how animals get energy, this includes food chains. We created our own food chains from an ecosystem of our choice on styrofoam cups. Most of my students chose the forest or savannah. We used the cups to make a mobile.

First, I poked holes at the top of the cup. I gave everyone 4 cups to create their mobile.

The students wrote the names of their animals and plants with a pen. I tried using a crayon and marker, but neither one of them would write on the cup. The students then drew their animals on a piece of paper. Then they cut them out in order to glue them onto the cups.

I strung the cups together with string.

Here is our finished product. A couple of my students said that it looks like snow falling from the ceiling. Ha ha ha.

We are starting our poetry week in our reading series. There were some difficult words for them to understand without a little help. So, we talked about the words "alliteration" and "personification" through examples.

After that I had the students create their own alliterations and personifications. They had a blast! Their favorite part was creating personification examples.

 To quote my favorite TV show..."I love it when a plan comes together".

Oh...I almost forgot....I got a dog! It's a sweet little thing. Here name is Pete Sake. She hasn't left my side since she's been at home!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Monday Truth on a Wednesday

I know that it's not Monday, but I just found Sunny in 2nd Grade's "My Truth" linky. So here is my truth about becoming a teacher....

It's amazing how the direction of the Lord can change your life. Growing up in a home that wasn't the best, I was led to help those students that have similar situations from my childhood. So many teachers are tired of all the paper work, nagging parents, and unsupportive principals; but I can't think of anything else to do with my life. I know that I am not a miracle worker, and there are days when I get irrigated by parents and principals; however, I remember that I am here for my students, giving them things that they might not get at home. There are years when parents thank me for the things that I have done for their children, and there are years that are from "you know where", but the God has given me a mission that I cannot abandon. My mission is to show my students the love of Christ even when they don't get the love they desire at home. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Currently

This year has just flown by! November is such a great time of's not too cold (in Alabama), the fall colors a beautiful, and the holidays are just around the corner. Since it's the beginning of the month, I've linked up with Oh' Boy Fourth Grade of the November Currently

It's just not cold out yet. I mean it's cool, but it's not cold enough to have the heat on or warm enough for the A/C. This means that I turn on my gas heater just to help knock off the chill in the room. It's such a lovely thing to have!

I bought new running shoes to help prepare me for my Spartan Race in March, and they are WONDERFUL! My feet don't hurt and there is a lot of support. 

Now that Day Light Savings Time is here, my body has to adjust to the time change. It just seems so late!! My body is trying to tell me that it's time to get into bed, ha ha.

I taught a good friend of mine how to make REAL Italian cannolis this weekend. They are one of my favorite desserts. Well, since the shells contain gluten I can't have any. So sad!! I was going to set some filling aside for myself, but she used a wooden spoon that had gluten on it.....rats!!! Now I am on a mission to make gluten free cannoli shells.

I just need to be on my big vacation. I haven't been on a vacation in YEARS! It's time to get out of the country for a while. Come on May 25th!!!!

Yummy Pin

I love taco salads, but this one is on the lighter side. It doesn't have meat! What?? Then how can it be good?? Well, the beans are seasoned with the taco seasoning and is a GREAT meat replacer. You can eat a whole bunch and not feel guilty. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

France and Spain Here I Come

I know...I know....I am breaking the "one post a day" rule, but I have some exciting news!!!!!

I booked my plane tickets for my trip to Europe! I'm just so excited about this trip even if I am walking 500 miles while I'm gone. I am even taking off the last week of school in order to go! Crazy, I know!

Here is a link to my blog about the El Camino/The Way (you may have seen the movie with Martin Sheen):

If you decide to follow my "traveling" blog then you just might get a "play by play" about the trip when I am gone.

Find the Perimeter

It's been a world wind kind of nine weeks. I can't believe that it's the 2nd nine weeks already!! Before I know it, I will be driving back to Michigan to see my family for Christmas. My kids are pretty shocked too. We were getting ready to do an assignment and I told them that they are about 1/2 way done with 3rd grade--I almost had to pick up their jaws off the floor they were so surprised.

We just started our geometry unit in Math Investigations this week, and I am very pleased in how well everyone is doing. Who doesn't like to use a ruler to measure things?? Ha ha.

While on Pinterest, I found this cute song to help my students remember what a perimeter is, and not to confuse it with area. The "Perimeter Song" is to the tune of "Farmer and the Dell". In addition, we created an anchor chart together to show how to find the perimeter of shapes.

One of the lessons was an assessment on perimeter. They were to measure large shapes on the floor that were created out of tape. Since I really didn't want to put tape on my floor in order to create various shapes for the kiddos to measure, I put the shapes on chart paper. I was a perfect solution!! Also, the kids only had to give their group members a "check mark" on a rubric. I didn't like that either. I mean, if this is going to be an assessment (even an informal one) then I want to know that they are able to do the work in order to find the perimeter. I created another solution. Instead of use that stupid rubric, I made their chart paper a consensus map. The shape was in the middle and there was workspace marked off for each group member. Once they found the perimeter and agreed then they would write the perimeter in the middle of the shape. It worked out great!!

Once everyone was in a group, we talked out the rules:
1-EVERYONE had to measure each side. This is a way to double check out work.
2-Use the edge of the ruler to measure the edges of each side.
3-Write down each measurement.
4-EVERYONE is to find the perimeter in their own space.
5-Write the perimeter in the middle of the shape once everyone agrees.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Main Idea Activity and Analytical Writing

Ever since starting the new Wonders program, we have been trying to get a good schedule/routine down. Our principal had us go to a 6 day rotation instead of a 5 day rotation. This had prooven to be helpful beyond measure. It gave us time to dig deep into stories and skills. Oh yeah, an to do stations! Whoot! Whoot!

The last six days were all about main idea. Most of our stories were nonfiction (50% of our text has to be nonfiction according to the Common Core) which was great for main idea. With the last story before testing,  my students were completed a consensus map for main idea.

I grouped everyone into groups of 4 and gave them a piece of chart paper with the main idea that the class agreed upon in the middle. The chart paper was then divided into 4 sections. Each person had to give details (we call it evidence) supporting the main idea. After everyone was finished, they had to come to a consensus about the details written on the chart paper. Once everyone agreed, they would each sign the paper in the middle.

This went better than I could have imagined! They were truly digging. This helped them on their reading test too!

Here are some pictures of our little project:
Look at those busy bees working away on their main idea and evidences.

This was the nonfiction text that the students used.

This brings me to our analytical writing ….

In the Common Core, students have to construction analytical writing pieces (answering questions using text evidence) to prove they read. This the first year to write this deeply; therefore, I had to do a lot of modeling on using text evidence.

I found it helpful to create a “show your evidence” wall with sentence stems for showing text evidence.
Here is the guidelines that we set for our writing.

This is the piece I modeled.

This is the piece we wrote together.


They wrote a piece on their own too, and took it home to show their parents about text evidence.

 Here is an example of a student using analytical writing for a test question.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Lost Art of Writing

As many of you know, I am a TOTAL bookworm. Reading is just a way for me to escape the real world even if it's for a little while. There are many favorites tucked away on my book shelves, but my all time favorite genre is classic literature. No one writes stories like Pride and Prejudice, Tale of Two Cities, or Great Expectations (just to name a few) anymore. There are so many layers to these stories which make them timeless pieces.

Right now I am reading Moby Dick.

This is a fantastic book! I may only be about 1/4 way into it, but I can already tell that I am getting lost in the story of Capitan Ahab! The way Melville uses the English language to form his story is just amazing. Why doesn't anyone speak or right like this anymore?!?!?! It's so beautiful.

This world is full of people that want everything handed to them. They don't want to think and discover.  The plainer the speak and writing the better.

Okay...enough of my soap box.....

What are you reading right now?

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Show Your Evidence and Morning Stations

With the new Common Core, third grade has to show text evidence in their responses to questions. This difficult for the little guys right now since they are not used to having use text evidence. With the help of a team member, we created a "show your evidence" board in our rooms. I was going to just make a poster to put it in their binders, but then I saw her board and fell in love with it. Please ignore my happens ALL the time, ha ha.

They can use this board to help them to put text evidence in their writing. Of course I am going to show them how first;) You can see where the kids and I have started using evidence to answer questions. Hopefully, they will be able to do it on their own soon.

Next is using quotations to help support answers! I found a really neat "whole brain teaching" video of some 3rd graders finding quotations and stating them for the class. I can't wait to try this in my room!!!

Okay...RTI morning stations....This has been bothering me for a little while now. I believe I told y'all in my last post that a team member and I was trying to come up with a schedule. Well, we did! Yay!!!! It's super easy and self explanatory.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wonders Anyone????

Well, we've been in school for 3 weeks now, and I do have to say that this year has been going wonderfully!! I am so greatful for a good class that tries so hard ;)

These past few weeks have been so busy, I have not had time or even thought about taking pictures of what we have been doing. I could tell you all about it, but I won't bore you with the details without the pictures :)

Thursday night was our first time to have "Teacher Talks" instead of a traditional Open House. It gave us a chance to talk to the parents about expectations and issues in the classroom. Also, parents were able to voice their opinions and ask questions. I loved it! I hope that the parents enjoyed it too. I think that this should be an annual thing.

I was thinking that the parents would ask questions about our new reading program McGraw-Hill's Wonders, but I was wrong. There is SO MUCH stuff to teach whole group, I have YET to get to small groups!! Another team member and I were talking after school about how we could use our RTI time for reading stations and leveled readers. Then if we go to a 6 day reading rotation, it would give us time to pull small groups to discuss their leveled reader.

Any of you use Wonders???? How do you all make it work with whole group and small group in your reading block?? I have 90 minutes, but it isn't enough most days....

The program is big on showing evidence. I think that I am going to "steal" an idea from a team member and make a "show your evidence" bulletin board as an aid. Once I get it together I will post pictures to show y'all.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently September

It's already September??? This is just too hard to believe. We are working on our 3rd week of school and fall is quickly approaching. Goodness!!

Since it's the beginning of the month, I figured that I would link up with Oh Boy Fourth Grade's Currently.

Listening: I love having the time to stay in my PJs all day and do nothing! Listening to the birds outside is just so relaxing! 

Loving: At the beginning of the year, I clean out my room and wanted to make my room a little bit more cheerful. Well, I came across this idea on Pinterest to use paper plates on my bulletin board. This was a great idea for my daily data. It gives it a nice finish that really brightened up my room, not to mention moving it to my daily data to the bulletin board helped too. Even my co-workers had to copy the idea! That is a huge deal since I am NOT a artsy-fartsy type person, ha ha ha. 

Here's the Pinterest picture

Here's my board

Thinking: As season begin to change, I want to try new recipes that reflect the change of seasons (weird, I know). I found two different gluten free/paleo recipe books that have some pretty good things in them. 
One of the books that I bought. Love it!

Wanting: I want to be able to wear my sweaters! Plain and simple! 

Needing: Yes, I did mention needing to do Christmas shopping. My family lives in Michigan and I am actually going to visit "home" this year. This means that I can't wait until the last minute to ship their presents from Amazon this year (horrible, I know). What to get, what to get......

Love Your Self: This was really hard to come up with some things..I don't know why. I really need to try and start hiking every weekend in order to be ready for my Spain trip that is coming up in eight months. I have a pile of books that I haven't gotten to yet. They need to get read before I can buy any more. Since I have finished grad school, I have more time to focus on work. However, there is a problem...I have been staying after school until about 5 each night! Why?!?!? I get there about 5:15 in the morning as it is...I don't need to stay after school. I just can't convince myself to leave. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

First week is over!

We have been in school for a week now, and my class is wonderful!! They are so sweet. My boys are ALL boy, but that's okay with me...I can handle that.

Over the week we have been doing various activities to get to know one another. Here are a few things that we did.....

We designed T-shirts to represent our interests.

We completed a graphic organizer to tell about ourselves.

We wrote numbers that told something about ourselves then drew pictures. It was so cute watching them explain their numbers to the class.
(Confession: This picture is from another 3rd grade room, I let my kiddos take their home, ha ha)

They had a chance to answer some questions about school. After those questions, they were able to ask me any two questions. Well, that was interesting. One of my favorites was asking me if I knew how to sing the "Star Spangled Banner". They tried to get me to sing it.

On Thursday, I decided to have my students participate in a team building activity with spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. Thank you Pinterest for this great idea! The goal was to build the biggest tower as a group. In order to create a tall structure, they had to work as a team. It really should me who is a team player and who wasn't. They had a blast! They learned that working with as a team is very important to get things done. Lets just say there were groups that worked more as a team cleaning up than building their tower.



Saturday, August 17, 2013

My classroom...Finally

I have been so behind on the "back to school" linky. I have been diligently trying to get my classroom together and plans together for the kiddos. They come trampling in on Monday, and I am NOT ready. I haven't gone to the school on a Saturday in a long time, but I had to go in order to be totally ready. It only took about 4 hours for me to have everything putting together. Other teachers came to work too, so I wasn't the only "loser" going to work on a "non-work" day :)

I did remember to take pictures for ya'll

                      Here are pictures from a couple of different angels

My library

My daily data board.

Homeworkopoly board (my kids LOVE playing) and our morning rountine

Lunch choice board
I know that the cabinet is a little dirty, but I have tried EVERYTHING trying to get it clean.

My door