Monday, November 24, 2014

I Spy Division and a Thankful Heart

Now, don't be jealous, but I am one of those lucky teachers that gets to teach for two days this week! ;)
 Oh and did I mention one of those is an early release day? So, today we were BUSY! BUSY! BUSY! Down time is a dangerous thing in crazy times like these.

To help keep us engaged, I reworked a few of my lesson and converted them to lots of group work with sprigs of fun thrown in!

In math, we've been working on simple division. As a review for this concept, I whipped up a fun, "I Spy" game for my kiddos to complete with a buddy. 

division game
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The First Thanksgiving and Turkey Writing

Do you have the whole week of Thanksgiving off, or do you have to teach for a few days? I've got  this week and one and a half days next week to get through before Thanksgiving break, so I've been jam packin' my days with everything and ANYTHING Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving lesson plan ideas for 3rd grade

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Small Moments for BIG Impact in Writings

In writing this past week, I wanted to focus on "small moments" for our writing. 

small moment writing writing ideas

Although, I thought my kids were heading in the right direction with their pieces, I just felt like their stories were missing something...

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cynthia Rylant- Author Study

Can you believe it is November already?! Where has the time gone? 

I thought I'd pop in today and share our little author study with you this week.

Cynthia Rylant author study

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Finding Your Teacher Voice on Nov. 4th

Unless you live under a rock (ok... or stay away from the internet), you've seen, read, heard about all the bad publicity teachers and the overall educational realm are receiving these days...

Whether's it an influential and well established magazine or a state's governor, it seems people are on an educational witch hunt and teachers are being burned at the stake!

Well... I'm here to tell you... I think it's time for us teachers to find and use our "Teacher Voice"

You know its power..  One little change in your voice and it can...
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Happy Tuesday! I just had to pop in today to share a few details of my AMAZING
 trip to THE BIG CITY with you!

Now this little getaway was part girl's trip, part work trip, and partly just a fun excused to get to New York City. Either way, I had a blast with my partners in crime, Tamara from Mrs. Russel's Room and Tammy from The Resourceful Apple.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beezus and Ramona and Finding a Buddy

Whew folks! Is is really only one week until Halloween, cuz I could SWEAR my kiddos are chowing down on candy everyday before they come to school. 
They are keeping me on my toes, that's for sure! 

I thought I'd pop in and share a quick little close reading lesson I did with my kiddos using  a timeless classic!  

It all started one afternoon when I was digging around in my team's resource pod looking for a new chapter book to read with my thirds. I am blessed to be at a school that has put so much money into books as my pod is literally ceiling to floor shelves of chapter books. I wanted something that the kiddos could relate too, have a good story line, and have *just* enough humor to keep 'em interested.

That's when I found a whole class set of this gem!
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tips and Resources for The Leader in Me

A few weeks ago I shared how I broke up with my beloved clip chart, started using "Class Dojo" AND began implementing the program, "The Leader in Me". 

You can read all about that fun here...

It's now almost 3 weeks later, we're still going strong with "Class Dojo" and "The Leader in Me".

 I thought I'd share how I'm using "The Leader in Me" program to help shape my thirds into proactive and collaboratively minded students.

The Leader in Me resources, ideas, posters, FREEBIES

Now, I don't have access to the book (yet!)

I just ordered it! 2 Day Shipping with Amazon Prime! SCORE!

 So most of my information is really more like bits and pieces that I was able to scour from various blog posts, websites, and just plain ol' intuition! But, those bits are working really starting to show progress, so I thought I'd share a few ideas and resources with you. 

First up, a Pin board... 

Check out this pinboard and follow LOTS of others by clicking here...

Like all great ideas in the 21st century, I decided to dedicate a whole pin board to this program. All those bits and scraps I have collected are now organized for safe keeping. 

Videos, printables, other Leader Stuff all in one place! 

Next up... the 7 Habits. 

The heart of "The Leader in Me" program is the 7 habits.  If you've ever read, "The 7th Habits of Highly Effective People" then you'll be very familiar with the habits in this program. They are pretty much the same, just reworked to be kid friendly. 

I went ahead and made some reference posters for my classroom. 

The Leader in Me Posters- Be Proactive

The Leader in Me Begin with the End in Mind

The Leader in Me Put First Things First

The Leader in Me Think Win Win

The Leader in Me Seek first to Understand, then be understood

The Leader in Me Syngergize

You can download these for FREE here

As we learn about each habit, I keep it posted on the chalkboard and refer to it during our "Leader in Me" lessons. Then, I move them up to the space above the chalkboard. Well...  that's the plan. We are still working on being "Proactive". I figured we'd be working on that one for at least another month... 

Each day, we watch a quick video and discuss it's over all message. The kiddos talk at their table, then we discuss it as a class. In the afternoon, I do a mini lesson with a focus on the habit we discussed in the am. 

I've been using this Prezi to help guide my instruction as well!

If you're not familiar with Prezi, it's a really cool interactive presentation system. I like to think of it as a glorified PowerPoint. It's FREE to use as well! No program to download. Just click and go!  

Since we've been working on "Proactive" behavior, we've done bubble maps of things we can/can't control. We also made a "Best of Me" brain map that the kiddos keep in their folders. 

Our latest lesson focused on what it means to be a good classmate.

Yeah... it's not pretty, but it's REAL life, people! We made this literally in the last 7 minutes of class. I was surprised we were able to get as much on there as we did!

I can't wait to move on to our other habits and grow into the Leaders I know we can be! Stay tuned for more on this journey!

****DISCLAIMER**** I am not in any way affiliated with "The Leader in Me" program. All information here is written with the intent of helping the readers and by no means should be used as a guide for beginning the program. All items are offered as free resources and will remain that way. Please be sure to check out the book and other "Leader" links for more information**********

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Learning Multiplication with Arrays!

Do you teach multiplication using arrays? Multiplication has always been a weakness of mine (something my family LOVES to tease me about) but I am bound and determined to make sure my thirds have a SOLID foundation of multiplication! 

One way we are building that foundation is by using arrays! 

building an array using manipulative

Today, we spent the day building and re-building arrays using manipulatives. Tomorrow, we'll move to stickers and then eventually to just drawing the array.  But, for today, we were all about the concrete! 

To begin the lesson, I presented a word problem to my students. Then, we discussed the expression we could use to solve the problem. I showed them how to write the equation and place it into the "array frame". We discussed how the array can help show the ratio between the two factors as well as an easy way to find a product. 

model of an array
 Yeah... those are STUCK to my board!

Want to make modeling using manipulatives a breeze? Here's a genius tip!

tip for math manipulatives
Seriously folks... END.LESS! 

Anywho, after modeling a few different arrays, it was time to get our hands (or desks) dirty and try them for ourselves. As a class we worked through several problems right on our desk using dry erase markers...

Here's a few snap shots of how the kiddos used an array to find the product for 
the expression, 3 x 4...

I loved how they showed their thinking! 

manipulative for teaching arrays
 Add up each row...

example of using array to teach multiplication
Skip counting...

As an "exit ticket", I gave them an empty array for 3 x 3, and had the kiddos draw out the array and the expression...
array frame

 Here's a few different ways we found the product for 3 x 3... 

strategy for using an array to solve multiplication
 repeated addition...

example of an array within an array
Grouping (or finding arrays within an array) 

Once students got my stamp of approval, they were free to "exit" the guided portion of my lesson and move on to creating arrays with their shoulder partners using these multi-sided dice...

(You can check those out here!)

Those multi-sided dice made differentiated our partner practice a breeze! My kiddos that were still working on using arrays were given dice with only 7 or 8 sides. The kiddos that were already starting to see arrays with in arrays and had a strong handle on multiplication were given up to 12 sided die.

Here's a shot of an array one of my mathmaticians made using the 12 sided dice.
Look at that math on the side there!

Here's a pair of students TRYING to use an array to solve 9 x 9...

Look at that addition over there! Don't worry! Eventually they found that they could split their array into 5 x 9 and 4 x 9 to get 81!

I can't wait to continue our array practice tomorrow with stickers!

I'd love to hear your favorite way to teach multiplication! Comment below!

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Let's Rocket into Space!

What a week! I meant to finish this post last night, but then I ended up falling asleep at like 8 o'clock on the couch! Oooppps! 

We rocketed into Space this week and had a blast learning all about the Sun, stars, and planets! 

I loved teaching about Space with my seconds ( you can read about that here!) , so I knew my Space Pack would be a perfect supplement to our week. 

Space unit

To help "grow up" this pack a bit, I updated every activity and added over 30 new pages! 

space unit

space unit
You can check this pack out here in my TpT store. 
Here's a peek at what we did!

For our close read this week, we read, "Our Planets in the Solar System".

Solar System book
You can check this out on Amazon here

Such a great informational book! On Monday, I read the entire book and we discussed some important space related terms (like orbit and rotate AND the difference!) 

We used these vocab sheets to better understand those terms.

space vocabulary practice

space vocabulary pracitce
(You can grab these here!) 

Teacher tip! These terms are so tricky to learn because they are so closely related in their meanings. I found the best way to teach them was to actually "act it out" and physically orbit a desk and rotate in place. 

Then, through out the week, we would re-read a section of the book and discuss some of the facts presented or the way the author wrote a sentence. 

After re-reading the planets section, we used the information we gathered to create a classroom sized diagram of the solar system.

Solar System Diagram

We also made these mini-step books. 

Solar System mini-step books

On the inside we illustrated each planet and wrote two facts about them from the book. 

Solar System Mini step books

We pulled in some creative writing using, "Arthur's First Sleep Over" (you can check the video here!) as a launching point. 

After watching the video, we discussed how D.W. didn't really get to meet a UFO, but wondered how cool it would be to actually have an alien friend! 

We used the brainstorm from my, 

Space writing activity

"It Came from Outer Space" activity to organize our thoughts 

and then used that to create a short creative expository writing on an alien! 

space writing activity

Here's a few close-ups! 

space writing activity

I love this XL one from my self proclaimed non-writer! 
space responding to literature writing activity
After looking over his writing I called him an "author" (It actually has chapters!) He just beamed from ear-to-ear! Non-writer... hmph!

In science, we explored the stars and the Sun. After reading and learning about stars, We created these cute little star crafts to show case our learning. 

star writing craftivity

I NEEDED a little crafting in my week! You can take the girl out of a primary classroom but you can't take the primary out of the girl! ;)

We also read a little bit about constellations, so in centers we made our own constellations and wrote a story about it. 

constellation writing craftivity

It was such a fun and fact filled week! But the best part happened at the end...

We got a...
Ipads in the classroom

Say what?! 
At my old school having this kind of technology was a thing of dreams! Although we have to share the cart with the rest of the 3rd grade team, I can't wait to start integrating more
 technology into my lessons!  Any suggestions on apps?
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