Tuesday, April 15, 2014

 Reading Response Journal Gallery

I love reading what kids have to share about their reading!  Every week, students have to turn in their journals.  Five students each day, so I don't end up with 29 all at once to get back to them!  Recently, I went to an amazing conference with Mary Ehrenworth...so great!  She inspired me to add creativity to our Reading Response Journals.  I showed my students some examples.  They searched for ideas and we brainstormed them.  Here is the awesome-ness that was found-

Problem and Solutions
Character Descriptions...Look closely...he made new words from each of the two descriptive words.
Pictures and descriptions of bad guys or memorable characters
Coded post it notes
A story map
She made a symbol for combining the parts of the book.
This guy drew a picture and then bottom sketches are symbols he made up that would represent each of the characters.
Comparing two books in a series
Comparing two books with similar ideas.
Then we had a gallery showing and shared our work with our friends.
So fun and hopefully it puts some more life into writing about reading!

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, April 14, 2014

 Expert Groups...from Science/Social Studies to Math

Originally this post started out a State Testing Bashing Rant...however, I "Pollyanna'd" it and am, instead going to share the good that came out of preparing for the test.

To trying and at least get some practice with the stuff we haven't learned yet, we have been using expert groups.  They are not my own creation, it is a modified version of something from GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design).  I have never used expert groups with math before.  Usually a small group studies something then shares out.  For example, during science we are studying birds.  Groups worked together to learn about different bird habitats, then shared with rest of class.
I thought why couldn't something like this happen with math.

Here is what we have been doing-
Friday-Students are chosen to be expert group leaders.  (Before Monday I figure out what I want them to do.)
Monday-we have a "working lunch meeting."  I go over the three or four concepts I want the class to work on.  They choose the one they feel most comfortable teaching. 
Monday-Share their lesson with two groups of studnets
Tuesday-Share their lesson with two groups of students.

Then we repeat the process with new groups on Wednesday and Thursday. 
So far we have gone through the process twice. 
Round 1-Three Expert Groups
Shapes with lines/no lines of symmetry
Names of different polygons
 Balanced equations-apparently the class photographer missed this group:-)

Round 2-Four Expert Groups
Exploring 3-D shapes
3 dimensional shape organizer
Different kinds of lines
Different kinds of angles

I am amazed at how well it has been going.  I don't think it is something I could keep up with all year long, but it has been far more smooth than I thought it would be and everyone is learning something better than if I tried to do giant whole class lessons about all these different topics.

Happy Monday,

Friday, February 14, 2014

 Five for ValenFriday

This week flew by!  Monday was a snow day, yesterday was our Valentine's Shenanigans, and today is a teacher work day.  So how bout a 5 for Friday Review?

1-Heart Art
Sharpie, Markers, and a Rule.  Two colors for the heart and two different colors for background.  Color checkerboard style.
2-Valentine Party Shirley Temple Floats
Easy Peasy:  Cherry 7Up, Ice Cream, Cherries, and Whip Cream
3-Fraction BINGO Valentine Book Swap
Instead of exchanging cards, students wrapped up a book and we played BINGO for books!  About half the class still did bring and exchange cards:-)
4-M & M Sorting
We began fractions...hoping candy tricks students into believing they are fun!
New Read Aloud
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane....best.book.ever!  I did not get to read this last year, because I looped with half the class.  So happy to be sharing it with a new group of Chickadees!

How was your week?  Have you survived the Snowpocalpyse....Full Moon/Valentine Combo???
And just a reminder...you have 11 more days to enter a custom made canvas giveaway.  Can I enter my own giveaway???
Happy Friday,

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

 It's Wednesday....How Bout a Giveaway!

It snowed here...finally!  We ended up with a four day weekend because of the weather.  I watched all of Downton Abby season 4, some Friday Night Lights, and got a small stack of books read.
My puppy loved it too--
Anyway to celebrate the snow and share some Valentine's love, I have a giveaway!  A very talented friend of mine makes words into really cool canvas art. 
Her facebook page:
Her etsy page:
She will make a canvas customizable for whatever events are in your future....a baby shower, teacher appreciation, friend/family birthday...you think it she can create it.  You pick the background, the words, etc. and she will masterfully put it together on a 10x10 sized canvas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck and Happy Wednesday,

Sunday, January 19, 2014

 Rollin Some More

One of my favorite things about teaching 1st grade was all the really fun units that drove the year.  Then I moved to second and while we still had units it just didn't have the same feel as first grade.  This year is my first year teaching a straight 3rd grade (the past couple have been blends).  I was determined to find units that would be new, fun, and include the academic stuff too.  We started with Bears....I have a bunch of pics that I need to get into a post.  We have now moved onto Forces and Motion.  Last year we did this unit in mini-form.  It is one of my favorites!  Thought I would share some of the work we have done so far.  

Some anchor charts-
A place to keep our work.
Inside our file, we keep two books.  The journal is for any writing, thinking, and ahas we have during our experiments.  The data log is for recording our experiment information.
Before we could begin our experiments, we had to set some standards so that everyone tested their ramp with the same experiments.  That way each outcome had a "fair" chance to win.
Then we did some pre-planning
And finally began our tests
For further reading on forces and motion click here or here or here.

Happy Sunday,