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.