Sunday, February 2, 2014

busy, busy, busy......

Yikes, this year has been soooooo much busier than I thought.  I had an intern from August-December and thought I'd have time to get so far ahead but there are so many new things this year with SLOs, (student learning objective), piloting new NGSS units for Science, Common Core everything, CogAt testing for GT, teaching a new spelling program, and having five teachers on my team who are either new to the school or new to third grade.  Ahhhhh!!!

Well, hopefully, I'm back to blogging and making teaching goodies.  Starting with some word cards for our spelling program!   My team is using WordWorks and Real Spelling to teach spelling.  It's an inquiry-based program that teaches that English spelling is based on meaning, not pronunciation. Students start with a base word and add affixes to create a sum.  Then based on the spelling laws and flowcharts for checking, rewrite the sum as a word.  For example, sign + ate + ure = signature.  So far we have learned the flowcharts or suffix checkers that give the "reasons/rules" for dropping a single, silent e, doubling final consonants, and when to keep a y at the end of a base word.

Once you  see it in action and get the hang of it, it's an AMAZING program!  We are the first in the state to be using it and our goal is for our school to use it next year and then maybe more in the county, until it starts catching on.  It makes so much more sense once you are able to stop thinking phonetically (that took me a while).    I'll be adding more goodies I'm creating for the program soon.  But to start here are two freebies:

This practices using a suffix checker to decide whether to drop the single, silent e at the end of the base word or suffix (when adding another suffix).

I will be adding more soon!  If you have any questions, please comment!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's Been A While...

Yikes, time certainly flies by when you are busy with the beginning of the year.  I made up for all the lost time this weekend with three, yep three, new products.  I finally finished two products that I had started and made a new math game to practice missing number in multiplication sentences.

ARRGH!! Multiplication and Division Fact Game is similar to the game crash.  The cards can be used for multiple games and purposes (flashcards, concentration).
HOW TO PLAY: (2 or more players, best with 4-6)
Laminate the cards, cut out, and place in a can or basket. I use a clean coffee can.  Students sit in a circle.  Without looking in the can )or basket), player one pulls 1 card out. He/she must say the fact with the product within 5 seconds. He/She must say the complete equation (2 x 4 =8). If he/she is correct, he/she holds onto the card. If he/she is unable to say the correct equation, the card goes back into the can. The can is passed to the next player.
If a player pulls an ARRGH! Card, he/she must put ALL his/her cards back into the can and his/her turn is over. (I tell the students they must say ARRGH! like a pirate would. The player with the most cards at the end is the “winner.”

It is organized in the order my district has us teach the facts. The order is 2, 10, 5, 0, 1, 3, 4, 8, 6, 9, 7. It is color-coded by the quarter we teach it in. Both division facts are included. eg., 10/2 and 10/5.

Want it?  Get it at my TPT or TN store!

I also finally finished CCSS RI1-RI0 Key Ideas and Details Mustache Questions.  It includes 60 questions for Informational Text based on Common Core State Standards!
24 question cards for RI1, RI2, and RI3; 20 question cards for RI4, RI5, and RI6; 16 question cards for RI7, RI8, and RI9

My kiddos love all things with mustaches on them so this is quite a hit!  Makes answering text-dependent questions much more interesting. :)

Like 'em?  Get it at my TPT or TN store!

Lastly, I made a math game to practice missing number in multiplication equations. What's Your Number? is  a partner game to practice multiplication facts and missing number. (3.OA.4 and 3.OA.7)
The kiddos always love sticking things to their forehead so why not let them!
Without looking, player 1 picks a card and holds the card up on his/her forehead. Player 2 spins the spinner, multiples the player 1’s number by the number the spinner lands on, and says the product. Player 1 must tell Player 2 what number is on his/her card based on the product and what was spun.  9 spinners with different factors. digit cards color-coded for each board are included as well as black and white versions for those wishing to save ink. :)

Want it?  Get it at my TPT or TN store!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Writing Workshop

I LOVE teaching Writing Workshop.  A few years ago, I was lucky enough to have a fabulous special ed teacher co-teaching in my room.  I was teaching first grade that year and she mentioned that she wanted to do Writing Workshop in my room.  My reaction was sure, sounds great but I was thinking that it would be hard to do in September with first graders.  Getting them to write complete sentences could be a struggle and she was talking about having them write stories.  And going through the entire writing process.

Thankfully, I was wrong.  It was fabulous.  We started with teaching the kids all about apples for two weeks.  Every read aloud had something to do with apples.  We learned about different varieties, where they grew, the life cycle, etc.  Then we started the writing process.  Since we were able to co-teach we modeled prewriting by making a web of apple facts.  Then the kids had to do a pre-write.  They could write an apple fact book, write about their favorite apple foods,  or make up a story about something to do with apples.

Next we modeled using the pre-write to write a draft.  It worked really well since one of us could write and one could do the think aloud, talking about what the other was doing.  We went through the whole process, including conferencing, revising, and editing, each time having the kiddos work on their own story.
Our Writing Process: Pre-writing, drafting, conference with the teacher (discuss revising only), revise, quick conference with teacher (editing), edit, peer edit, proofread (with teacher), publish, share.

After the apple story, we allowed the kiddos to write about whatever topics they wanted.  By December, the kids would complain on days Writing Workshop wasn't on the schedule.  It was wonderful to have a class full of first graders who loved to write.

Every year since, I have done writing workshop.  It hasn't always been easy since I have not had co-teachers each year, but I have had some wonderful parent volunteers who I have "trained".  I make sure no adult is changing the kiddos work.  We simply ask guiding questions and try to give them ideas to make the writing piece better.  We do not fix spelling, the kids use the dictionary.  It's amazing to see.

I usually do a mini-lesson every two weeks based on what I see in the kids work.  I usually do "sparkle" words early on to help them add descriptive words.  Other mini-lessons include stretching sentences, combining sentences, topic sentences, concluding sentences, sentence order, sentence fluency, and peer editing.

We also make sure to share our writing.  The books do not go home.  We have a special bin in the class so we can read each others' books.  Every couple of weeks we have sharing time.  2-3 kids get to sit in the rocking chair and read their books.  Then they get to call on 4 students for compliments.  Then a few kids can share ideas on what they could work on (in positive ways).  Usually it is ideas for another book or other details that could have been added.

I updated all of the papers I use and it's available at my TpT store!  I also have a conference form that I copy back to back with the rubric so when I conference with each student we can look at the rubric to see what can be added. However, that is not in the pack. (Someone else created it).

What is included:

  • 5 different pre-write papers 
  • 2 versions of draft paper
    • I have the students skip lines when they are revising they have space to write more details above what already is written. (nothing can be erased)
    • one version has pencils on every other line
    • the other has blank spaces between the handwriting lines for revisions
  • Rubric for grading; 9 expectations are on the rubric 
  • Variety of final copy paper (some have different size lines and placement of illustration box)
  • About the Author Page
  • Title Page
I cut manila file folders in half to use as book covers.

If you have any questions, please ask!  also, if you do Writing Workshop, I'd love to hear how it works in your classroom.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bucket Fillers

Yikes, it's been a loonng time since I posted anything.  I was busy with some summer jobs and didn't get all that I wanted to do done this summer.  Isn't that always the case?  Summer is never long enough.

So the kiddos first day is tomorrow.  I'm as ready as I can be and this year is a group of kids I taught as first graders, so it will be nice to see how much they have changed and get to teach some of the kids I don't know very well.

The first week, I spend a lot of time building the classroom community and setting the tone for the year.  I love reading, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.  It is a great story about how everyone has an invisible bucket and how our actions can fill someone's bucket or take away from someone's bucket.  I just made a follow-up  for it.  Students will draw and label three ways to fill someone else's bucket and three ways someone can fill their bucket.  Hope you can use it!   You can grab it (for FREE) at my TpT store!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

New Product :) and Going to the Ocean!

I have been super busy doing curriculum writing this summer.  I had such high hopes of making tons of products and decorations for my room and it just hasn't happened yet.  Not that summer is over, but the start of the new year is creeping closer and closer.

Tomorrow I am heading to the ocean for a few days.  It's my first Monday not having to set an alarm since July 1st.  I am soooo excited!  I can't wait to sit in the sand, reading a book and listening to the sounds of the waves crashing.

Onto my latest product....ARRGHH! An Addition and Subtraction Fact Game.  I had a request for it after someone saw my ARRGHH! Multiply and Dividing by 2, 5, 10 and 1 game on my TPT store.  It is very cute!   I printed it out to make for the beginning of the year since my third graders will still need to practice.  It is organized the way my county suggests teaching the facts.
Each set is color-coded.

  •  +/-0, +/-1 together, 
  • +/-2, 
  • +/-10
  • doubles
  • make ten
  • near doubles
  • 10 and some more (+/-9 & +/-8)
  • helping facts (all the rest)

Hope you can use it!  It is available at my TpT and TN stores.  The complete set of facts for multiplication and division should be finished this week.  

Hope you are have a wonderful summer!

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's hot....

Wow, it's been hot and humid here.  It's 93 but feels like 100.  Based on the Today Show, it sounds like it's probably hot where you are too.  When it's this hot, I get lazy.  Good days to catch up on reading and tv. So I haven't being keeping up with all the things I want to make before I head back to work next month.  That is creeping up wayyy to quickly!

Anyways, here is my latest product.  And it's free!  My team will be piloting NGSS units this school year.  For one of the units, the students need to plan and conduct an investigation.  So I created some posters to help them remember all the things they need to consider.  I have materials and data collection on the same page because I think they need to consider what they will observe and what the variables at the same step.  I plan on breaking it into 4 steps:  ask a question and make a hypothesis, materials and data collection, write the procedure, and finally, results and conclusion.   Check it out at my TpT store or TN store!

Hope you are staying cool!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Liebster Award Nomination

I am soo excited that Sara of Dare to Be Different- Teach nominated me for a Liebster Award!  So much fun!

To accept the nomination there are a few things I have to do:
1.  Link back to the blog that nominated me
2.  Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted by my nominator
4.  Share 11 random facts about myself
5.  Create 11 questions for my nominees
6.  Contact my nominees to let them know I nominated them

I am choosing to nominate the following blogs that I have recently started following:

Mrs. Johnson's Little Prowlers
Down the Hall in Third
Thinking in Third
Life, Love, Literacy
Write in the Middle
Third Grade And Lovin It

Questions I was asked:
1.  What is your favorite subject to teach?
Reading!  I love teaching math but reading my favorite!  I love when it clicks and you can see the excitement and love of reading.  The book talks and conversations are so much fun and I feel that is when I get to know my kids the most.  And you can integrate so many things into reading.

2.  Do you collect anything & what?
I don't collect anything on purpose but a few years ago when I had an intern (students teacher), we realized that I have a ridiculous amount of scissors.  Like over 5 pairs.  And I have no idea where/how I got them.

3.  Do/Have you played am instrument?
I played the clarinet in middle school.  I wasn't very good.

4.  What is the last book you read?
It's sad how long it took me to think about this.  Last year I started a lot of books that I didn't finish because they didn't "hook" me.  The last book I finished reading was Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green.   I'm about to start Gone Girl,  I've heard it is a great book.

5.  What is your favorite genre of music?
Top 40/Pop.  Love Dave Matthews Band, Maroon 5, Coldplay, Justin Timberlake.  Current favorite song is Blurred Lines.  I love music that makes me want to sing and/or dance.

6.  Why did you become a teacher?
In high school I got an after school job working at a daycare center.  I enjoyed it and decided I wanted to be a teacher.  My grandmother was a teacher and principal. :)

7.  What do you think about year-round school?
Mixed feelings.  I can see pros and cons.  I usually work over the summer to keep somewhat busy and to earn a little extra.  It 's also much easier to take classes over the summer than during the school year when we are already so busy.  And I love having a summer.  But I do wonder if it would be better to do year-round since so many kids don't read, write, and practice math over the summer.

8.  Do you consider yourself organized?
Yes and No.  I am very organized when it comes to planning and doing work.  My files and desk are a mess.  And it drives me crazy but I never have them time to go through them and organize.  It would take weeks.

9.  Are you a sweet or salty snacker?
Salty.  I like a crunch when I snack.

10.  What is your favorite season of the year?
Fall.  MD can be so hot & humid that I love when the humidity is gone and there is a chill in the air.  The newness of the school year.   I love the smells, crunching leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking.  And the excitement for the Holidays.  And I like my fall/winter clothes better.   Spring is a close second since it starts warming up after the cold of winter and it means the end of the school year is nearing.

11.  What is your favorite candle scent?
Yankee-Candle Gingerbread.

Random Facts All about ME!

  • I want to live in Hawaii or Ireland.
  • I rescued a dog who is afraid of most people, has horrible allergies and just started prozac.  He is truly a mess but I love him.
  • I am a gluten-free pesctarian...a "vegetarian" who eats seafood.
  • I have not taught the same thing for more than 3 years in a row.  I like to change things up, helps me grow as a teacher.
  • I love Thanksgiving because it means Black Friday Shopping!  I could care less about the food.
  • I don't read as much as I should.  I used to read all the time and now I hardly ever pick up a book during the school year.
  • I am the only one in my family who was not born in the MD/DC area.
  • I would love to spend summers at the beach.
  • I am a huge Ravens fan.  The superbowl was a big deal in my classroom this year. :) 
  • I ran the Baltimore Half-Marathon twice.  I do not particularly like running but I did it.
  • I watch way too many reality shows...after a long day, I like watching shows that you don't need to focus too much.

Now my questions for my nominees:

  1.  What is the best thing about being a teacher?
  2. If you could choose to any two consecutive months as "summer" break, which months would you choose?
  3. What is your favorite vacation spot?
  4. What is your favorite beverage?
  5. What was the last song you listened to?
  6. What is your favorite tv show?
  7. Mac or PC?
  8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
  9. What is your favorite meal to eat?
  10. What is your favorite grade to teach?
  11. What are you reading this summer?