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?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

3 Teacher Chicks Bloglovin' Giveaway (and freebie!!!)

Want a chance to win an awesome giveaway from 3 Teacher Chicks?
You can win a $10 Target gift card and any product from Amy's story.  Trust me, her products/units are fantastic! I bought her Multiplication Boot Camp and the kids loved the games!  They were so engaged and loved the boot camp theme.  I didn't have time to do the drills and have the kids practice how she did, but I am using those this year.

Here's her pic of her units so you can see some of your options. Click the link below to go to 3 Teacher Chicks' to read how to enter!  And you can download a great freebie too!  :)

~Colleen ❤

"Mustache" Questions

I have a love hate relationship with my newest product, "Mustache" Questions: Reading Literature Key Ideas and Details.  I love it because I'm excited to use it next year and it has mustaches, which my kids found hysterical last year.  I hate it because I have changed it multiple times and ending up putting two versions together because I couldn't decide how I wanted it.  And I still want to make it for Craft and Structure and Integration of Knowledge.

For those of you not familiar with the ELA CCSS, the Standards for Reading are broken into 3 clusters:

  • Key Ideas and Details (RL1, RL2, RL3)
  • Craft & Structure (RL4, RL5, RL6)
  • Integration of Knowledge (RL7, RL8, RL9)
*RL10 (Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity) is part of all the clusters.

Soooo, my goal was to make a product to add some fun to text dependent questions.  Being new to third last year and it being the first year 3rd taught the CC Reading Standards, I did not have "fun" ways to teach answering the deeper level questions.  The kiddos were kinda scared of them.  I think so many had heard about BCRs and MSA that they immediately thought the questions were too hard.  I wanted to make them easier and not so scary.

I started with teaching about evidence and finding evidence in the text.  We used small  magnifying glasses when we "hunted" for clues and evidence in the text.  We also played with legos and talked about how the evidence has to connect to the question and explain our answer.  We did most of this in small groups and I modeled how to write the answers.  Then I had the kids begin to write.  Our first goal was to answer the question correctly and tell orally me the evidence/text support.  Once they were doing pretty well, I had them begin to write the support in their answers.

Much of it became all the vocabulary to make sure the kids knew what the questions were asking and what was expected (meaning: when to include details from the text). We learned there are two types of questions.
1.  skinny/thin questions that ask what, who, when, and where questions.
2.  fat/thick question are two-part questions, ask how or why, ask for evidence/details, or ask you to explain or support your answer.
I did not always add the statement telling them to support your answer with details from the text because I noticed they only did it if that was part of the question.  They need to learn to just do it.

All year I wanted to make cards of questions.  There are so many different ways to word questions and unfortunately that alone could trick some of my kiddos.  So first I thought it would be fun to put all the questions on mini-mustaches, glue them to sticks or straws and have them in a cup in group.  I was thinking that whoever was helping to answer the question would get to hold the mustache and "wear it" as they share.  Once we learn how to answer each question, I  would put it in the reader's response corner that I'm planning for this year.  That way the students could answer those questions about their independent reading. But as I made it, I changed my mind.  I wanted the questions on cards that I could easily file them but still have them handy for reading.  But then I'd lose the question on the mustache.  Well, I made both.  Not sure exactly  how I'll use this.  I think I'll teach the questions using both but then put the mustaches in the reading response area and keep the cards for reading group and whole group lessons.

Here it is...."Mustache Questions": 3rd Grade Common Core State Standards, Key Ideas and Details.
It has 30 questions in all, 5 are RL1 and/or general reader response questions, 13 questions for RL2, 12 questions for RL3 and blank pages to write more.  It also has 3 pages of the questions on mustaches that can be cut out, laminated, and glued to craft sticks or straws.

click here to get it at my new TN Store or  my TpT store

I'd love to hear ideas on how you could use these in your classroom and how you teach deep-thinking comprehension questions.
~Colleen  ❤ 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pirate Math Games

Ahoy Mateys! I'm in the middle of making some pirate themed math games.  The kids love pirates and they're allowed to talk like a pirate whilst they play this game.

When I taught first grade I would play sight words CRASH with my students. We'd start with the first 25 words, printed on cardstock and placed in a big, clean coffee can.  Also in the can were  a few "CRASH" cards.  We would sit in a circle or around the table and one at a time, each student would pick a card out of the can.  He/she would have 3-5 seconds to read the card.  If he/she read the word correctly, the card was his/hers to hold onto; if he/she was unable to read the word, it went back into the can.  If a student pulled a "CRASH" card, all his/her cards went back into the can and his/her turn was over. The kids loved the game and other reading groups always wanted to play when they saw another group playing.

Well, in thinking about ways to spice up games for 3.OA.7 (Fluently multiply and divide within 100), I thought of CRASH.  But cars were not appealing as a theme for a cute new game.  And then the lightbulb turned on.....ARRGH!  I didn't have time to make nice ARRGH cards last year, I quickly printed fact cards, wrote ARRGH on blank cards, and put them in my trusty CRASH coffee can.   I started with 2. 5, and 10 since those are easier strategies if the kiddos can skip-count.  Then I added 1 and 0. (I was surprised that a handful of kids struggled with the concept of x1 and x0)

How to Play ARRGH!:
At least 2 kids need to play.  It's best with 4-6 but it depends on how many cards you put in the can.  I started with 2, 5, and 10.  Then I added 1 and 0.  
Players sit in a circle. Without looking in the can (or basket), one student pulls 1 card out.  He/she must say the fact with the product within 5 seconds. I have them say the complete equation (2 x5 = 10.) If he/she is correct, he/she holds onto the card. If he/she is unable to give the correct equation, the card goes back into the can.
The can is passed to the next person. If a player pulls the 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).
The player with the most cards at the end is the “winner”.

My first new product is  ARRGH!! Multiplying & Dividing by 2, 5, 10 and 1 (CCSS 3.OA.7).  I am in the process of making 0, 3, 9, 6, 4, 8, 7, but I am so excited about how cute it turned out that I had to post it!

And I posted a freebie: ARRGH!! Multiplying & Dividing by 2.  You can grab it here!

Enjoy!  I <3 comments and feedback!
~Colleen ❤

Loving Bloglovin'

I  used Google Reader for years. I loved that I could log into one place and see new posts from blogs and other websites I followed.  Once I started following so many teacher/education blogs, it was so nice to be able to go to one place to see all the new posts.

But one day I logged in and saw the dreadful news.....Google Reader was going away on July 1st.  Oh no!  What is a blog-addicted teacher to do?!?!  How would I follow all my blogs?  I would miss so many great teaching and organizing ideas.   I was so sad :(  It would take FOREVER to check each and every blog. I follow over 200 blogs! (I know that is a lot, I need to go through and see which ones are no longer kept up or have moved.).  I started bookmarking blogs as I visited them so I at least wouldn't lose them but I knew that was not a long-term solution.  I also started a board on pinterest of my favorite blogs but it was taking a lot of time since I often got distracted reading the blogs :) And pinterest didn't tell me when there was a new blog post.

I have no clue where I first saw bloglovin' but sometime in May I clicked a link and I made an account. Upon logging in I saw the wonderful import from google reader option. Yay!! I wouldn't need to hunt down all my favorite blogs!

As soon as I started on bloglovin' I realized it was so much better than google reader!  I was able to follow all the blogs I have liked in blogger and it was quick and easy to import all my google reader feeds.  But the best part is the daily email I get.  I am able to see new posts right in my email!!!  I ended up saying so long, bye, bye to google reader within a week on being on bloglovin'.

Ready to join bloglovin'?  If you want to follow Tales From 3rd Grade click below.  I'm a new to the blogwriting world  but I am posting lots of ideas, new products,  and freebies!

Follow on Bloglovin

Then find more blogs to follow on the Blog Hunt!  Click on the image below!