Friday, March 15, 2013

It's All About Weather

 It's spring break!!! I've made it!!!!!

     I love, love teaching our weather unit. It's not the fanciest thing in the world, but I love seeing my students get so involved with each lesson. There is always the black-hole of never ending questions. No way can they all be answered. Every once in a while, I am able to get the kiddos to find out the answers on their own. This is a rarity, but it does happen.

       Like any good teacher try to keep her students entertained, we have a couple of songs that we use to help our lovelies remember the water cycle and the types of clouds. The water cycle song is something one of my team members remembers from when she was in 3rd grade, and the cloud song was composed by an old 3rd grade team member.

Water Cycle Song
(To the tune of "She's Comin' Around the Mountain", and there are hand motions for each part)
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does
Water goes up as evaporation (hands rise)
It forms clouds as condensation (Hands clap without touching)
Falls down as precipitation (Hands make come down like rain)
Yes it does.
Water Cycle! (Fist pump in the air)

Cloud Song
('s more like a rap)
Clouds, clouds, amazing clouds
Cumulus clouds are fluffy and white
Could mean good weather
It might! It might!
Clouds, clouds, amazing clouds.
Stratus cloud are low and grey
It might mean that rain is coming today
Clouds, clouds, amazing clouds
Cirrus clouds are wispy and high
This means it's nice and we'll play outside
Clouds, clouds, amazing clouds
Watch out for cumulonimbus clouds
Their thunder and lightening make a big
Clouds, clouds, amazing clouds

If you would like to have the PowerPoint presentations for these, you can visit my TPT store. Just click on the picture below.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's About That Time...

     I can't believe that it's that time of year....time to get down and dirty preparing for the ARMT+ (Alabama Reading and Math Test)! Where has the year gone??? I know that I couldn't tell you.

    I have put my students into those boring, dreaded, hated "military rows" trying to get my students into the right frame of mind.

      Oh how I hate this set up! It drives me CRAZY!!! I don't know how teachers did it years ago putting students in rows. There is no where to move and it makes it harder for group work!

    Today is nothing but mock ARMT+ tests. After our students take these tests, we analyze them to see where their strengths and weaknesses are. From there we are able to group them according to like weaknesses and target those areas in small group interventions. In the past it really helped our students. So, hopefully it will do the same this year.

      Math is our biggest concern since the change to the Common Core Standards or College and Career Readiness Standards here is Alabama and a change in our math curriculum. I don't understand how a state can change the state test and our county adopts a math program that doesn't cover the needed standards.

Is your school getting ready for testing yet???

Friday, March 8, 2013

From Teacher to Pilgrim

I believe that I have told y'all before about my trip, more like pilgrimage, to take on the Camino de Santiago. Well, I have decided to start a blog about my adventures. Just in case you all want to follow along with me. I was told be my one of my friends that I needed to start a blog about me getting ready and the actual trip, so I caved in and did it. Just click on the picture for the link ;)

Just in case you all don't know what this trip is all about--it's an OLD pilgrimage starting in Saint Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago, Spain. Saint James was said to have gone on this pilgrimage. People will travel this for many reasons, but a majority of the time the reasons are religious. The trip will take about 35 days which means I will have to walk/hike about 15 to 20 miles a day.

Here are some links for more information:

The Chocolate Touch with Download

      Spring break is almost upon us. I just can't believe that it's almost the end of the school year! Where has the time gone? The 4th quarter has just started, so it won't be long before we are testing, take up text books, and have field day. In the mist of all this excitement, I am in the middle of planning a trip of a life time! I am sure that you all are wondering what we have been doing these past few weeks. Let me tell you.

We have been slaving away at our book Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling.
It's a story about a boy, John Midas, who is greedy and selfish. He desires chocolate more than any thing else. John finds a mysterious coin and buys a box of chocolate. This is where the trouble  begins. Everything that he touches turns into chocolate. This could spell trouble or it could be the "touch" of a lifetime.

Week 1: 

We looked at the copy write date and compared 1952 to 2013.
They LOVE seeing how things were different, especially when they get to see how much things cost back then compared to now. My lovelies scramble to find the food that they like and see how much they could have bought it for in 1952. I always hate having to stop them to move on, but if I don't then we'll get nothing else done.

"What is greed?"--This was the question that I had them ask themselves. 
They wrote their answer on a sticky note and placed it one the chart paper. They had some pretty good ideas about it too.

In order to get ready for our book, I read them the story of King Midas and his "golden touch". They LOVED this story! This did give me hope that they would love Chocolate Touch, but I was wrong. Some of my kiddos didn't like it surprisingly. All well, you can't win them all I guess.
We read half of our book doing character analysis along the way and trying to find out what was going to happen. In order to help my students with comprehension I allowed them to name each chapter keeping the main idea of each chapter in mind, and I had them create 4 visualizations about their favorite parts. We have talked a lot about visualizations and how they help us understand what we are reading. When we can see it in our minds, we have better idea what is going on in the story and it makes the story more real. 

Week 2:
      We finished the other half of our book in our second week. Many of my students talked about things that they would love to be able to eat all the time until we got to the end of the story. Ha ha ha. By the time we got to the end, my students created many text-to-text connections on their own. Here are a few:
  • The Dr. Cranium was just like the doctor from Charlotte's Web. Whenever the parents are worried about their kids then takes them to the doctor, nothing happens. The doctors never seemed to help the kids ever!
  • The shopkeeper was just like Mr. Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Both of them worked in a place with chocolate and were trying to teach children a lesson about greed and selfishness. 
  • John Midas was just like King Midas. The kids made this connection before I was able to start our comparison with these two stories. They saw that both characters had a greed problem even though they looked a little different.
Dr. Cranium give John Midas an Elixir to help try to help him eat better, so I had my students create their own Elixirs. 

Once we were done reading our book, I had the kiddos compare King Midas to Chocolate Touch (a little more deeply than their previous connections) with their tables. After a few minutes, we came back together and made a Venn Diagram to display our thinking.

Since we discussed the theme of "wants and needs", "greed", and "selfishness", I thought that it was a good idea for us to make a chart paper that made us think about things that we need and want. There were different types of people wishing for different things and we had to determine if it was a "want" or a "need". Everything was going okay until it got to a 3rd grader wishing for a vacation, LOL. of course they felt that it was a NEED even though we discussed that one a length. All well, ha ha ha. 

It was a fun book, and I can't wait to do it again next year. If you have the book and are looking for some tests to go with it, you can look on my TPT, just click on the picture below to get your copy!