Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So Many Tests and So Tired of Study Guides

Are you tired of end of the year tests?  I am burned out.  Our last social studies test is very vocabulary heavy and I knew the kids wouldn't be responsible taking their Social Studies Journals home sooo we made a vocabulary study guide foldable!  I love a good foldable and so do the kids so its win win!

All during the unit the kids took notes on their social studies words.  We use 3 column notes, which are a progression towards Cornell Notes that our middle school and high schoolers use.  First I teach how to read the word and give the kids the definition.  Then once we have talked about the concept and read about it the kids go back and draw a picture or write an example.

Like this
I love his example for limited resources!


So in a perfect world the kids kept up on all their work and have all their vocabulary done.  I listed the words on the board and told them if they didn't have them in their notebook they could look them up or borrow a friends notebook.

Then I cut paper in half the "hot dog" way and note cards in half.  The kids wrote the term on the bottom of each card so only the word showed.  Then they wrote a picture or example on the front of the card, but this part would be covered up.  The challenge was to know what the word meant wihtout the example but they had it there as an aid to help them study.  The definition of the term is on the back.

After I graded it I sent it home as their study guide for the test.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Going to the Chapel ...

It's a wedding!!  Not mine, my teaching partners.  So yesterday we made cards for him.  I was going to cover them in glitter since he HATES it and always yells at me when his kids use it on my side and then track it over to his, but I don't know his fiance all that well and didn't want to do that to her.  However, even without the glitter they were hilarious!

First, we brainstormed and did that stir up some interesting conversation.  Like "if Mr. G met Mrs. G in college why are they just now getting married?" lol  gota love them.

Can you tell he teaches math?

Here are some pictures of my favorites/most funny.....minus one that said "every time you are together an angel is born."  I forgot to take a picture of that one and it was beautiful

This is his first marriage by the way.

In case you can't read it the bottom corner says "conclusion: You two are love birds"

There is no baby.  I don't know where that came from. I do love how he asked for cake.

And my favorite!!!  I have no words for this.

Well as the kids would say HAPPY WEDDING to my teaching partner!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Making the Most of Boring Curriculum

Hello Everyone!  We are only 15 days away from paradise :)  Can you smell the children about to loose it?  3 of my  best behaved, most helpful students decided throwing food at lunch was a good idea today.  Then they were shocked that they got in trouble for it :/

UMMM? What classroom have you been in for the past 2 years?  However, when I asked them if we should ask their parents what they thought about it all 3 decided they would just take the punishment......dun, dun, dun, an evil clip down.  We have a behavior chart where they can clip up for good behavior and down for bad.  I love it because I can be mean and then nice when they turn it around; it lets me be more strict without having the whole class on phone call home at the end of the day.  I also can turn students behavior around by rewarding the good ones and not constantly being a meanie.

On to the main point of my post.  Does your school have a reading book that you use as part of your curriculum?  We use Literacy Place and for the most part I like it.  However, in 3rd grade there is a story that I dread teaching usually I would skip it but my kids were having trouble with sequencing events and it is actually a good story for that.  So my goal was to make it interesting for the most important person in the class.....ME:)

The story is Up Goes the Skyscraper

First, we do our vocabulary for the lesson by looking at the context clues, making predictions and then looking up the real meanings.  I give the kids a sentence that the word is in and then they have to write down what clues helped them make their prediction. I started this because my kiddos kept bombing the context clues section of their district assessments and EdVision placement tests.  I use a modified Fryer diagram for our vocabulary format.  I can change what I want the squares to say and keep the format consistent.   It gets the kids used to it by the time they need to use it.

Since we don't live in an area with skyscrapers we then watched a movie about them.  I love the website Howstuffworks.com and it had one that was perfect!  You can check it out here!

Once we were done the real fun began.  We build our own skyscrapers!  I cut black construction paper in half the "hotdog" way.  Then I cut note cards into squares for windows.  On each window starting at the ground students needed to write a step in the process of building a skyscraper.  Then we decorated them!  The kids had a lot of fun and I think its the first time any class actually remembered what happened in the story.

Some of them turned out larger than others because they broke down the steps instead of combining ones that went together, I think a contest over who had the tallest skyscraper broke out.  Next time I do this I am going to give them a set number of steps they must have.

What things do you do to make the curriculum more interesting and engaging for your kids and your self.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Summer Bucket List Link Party

Teri, at A Cupcake for Teacher is having a Summer Bucket List Link party.  Since I love her blog so, so, so much I just had to join.

1.  This one is kind of for my husband but it's to take him snorkeling.  We are going on a 2nd honeymoon and due to a tropical storm on our first one he never got to go!

2.  Get some decorating done.  I have had a few picture projects that I have wanted to get done since we moved into our house in October and they will finally get accomplished over the summer!!

3.  READ, READ, READ!!  I've had a gift card for my Kindle burning a hole in my pocket since Christmas and I can't wait to spend it and read.

4.  I guess I should list some teacher stuff huh!?  I really want to work on organization of my classroom this summer.  I had issues all year with keeping two sets of classes organized.

Via Beth Newingham
5.  I also really want to incorporate readers notebooks into my teaching for my 2nd and 3rd graders as well as butter utilize my current writing notebooks.  So this will be my summer project :)

6.  Finally, I want to COOK all the yummy stuff I have been pinning on Pinterest.
Grilled Eggplant

Head on over the A Cupcake for Teacher and join the fun!!

Friday, May 18, 2012


WAAAAHOOOOO its Friday!  My room is trashed and I'm exhausted.  Today was smack down Friday, as in you had a sub two days, did nothing, and now you will pay for all that unfinished work you have.  Many said they learned their lesson :)  With 18 days of school left I guess it's better late than never, right?

The next section in our Grammar review was Adverbs.  Am I the only one who has a class that doesn't get this?

As always we read a book first!

I picked this one:

However, the kids are having trouble so I think I am going to go order this one for next year so I have two.

We did some practice sentences on the board.  Then the kids created this little flip book.  They took a piece of lined paper folded it like a hotdog and glued it onto a piece of white paper.  Then they drew a picture.  They had to write a sentence describing the picture using each different kind of adverb.

Can you tell who just got back from a Disney Cruise?  Lucky Girl!

Well I'm tired from the smack down today so I hope you all have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Don't Forget YOU Make a Difference

I know I broke a rule and this is my second in one day but sometimes we all need a reminder that what we do makes a difference and its not just in test scores.....especially when analyzing end of the year growth data.

Not for children :)


Hear that sound?  Its the sound of 28 silent students while they take their end of the year computerized grade level test.  I Hate getting set up for this test but the day I give it to the 3rd graders is so peaceful...the same does not go for the 2nd.

Anyways,  I'm going to share another grammar review project we did!  PRONOUNS!!!
First,  because I'm the reading teacher for our team and I love a good book we read this book about pronouns

I love this series and the kids think they are funny.
Another book I found that would be good for this lesson is 

Then we made a pronoun bubble map, which I forgot to take a picture of.
Then I found this really cute pronoun pizza project from Christy at Teaching In Flip Flops.  She has the templet for sale in her store.  It is so worth it.
Here are some pictures of the finished project.

My favorite is the onion pizza to the right of the sign.  He is a vegetarian.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summer Reading Link Party

When I saw that Jessica at Mrs. Stanford's class was having a Reading Link Party I just had to join...and it's my first!!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read.  I'm also a big re-reader.  Imagine the gasps when I tell my students: "Yes, I have read the Harry Potter book and all at least 4 times!"  They love it and it give them the challenge to try and keep up with me :)

So here we go!
Teacher Resources

I've just started reading this book.  I'm trying to better utilize my reading response notebooks with my higher readers.  I will let you know how this one goes.

I don't know how i did Daily 5 without these two books.  They have lots of good ideas for reading task cards that really push kids to think about what they are reading.

I LOVE DAILY 5!!  This is my first year doing CAFE and I want to revamp a lot over the summer but I love the freedom it gives my kids!

Spaces and Places was a book I read as part of a professional development project my school did and I LOVE IT!

I couldn't find un-blurry pictures of these books :( but I love Dina Zike!!  Her ideas make boring note taking fun for students.  Visit her website to check out all of her amazing books by clicking on the books.

Read A Loud

It was hard to pick my favorite read-a-louds so here are just a few that have inspired lots of writing projects and reading projects. 

Just for Me

Taylor Mali!!  If you are a teacher and don't know his poetry you need to You Tube him right now.  He is what gets me through those days when you want to run out of the classroom screaming and never come back.

So I jumped on The Hunger Games Bandwagon and I am now obsessed.  The Uglies is a series that also looks at how government tries to control people in the future.  Its not as good as The Hunger Games but still an easy and entertaining read.

Ok, so I have a historical fiction/biography obsession Allison Weir is my favorite at both

Link up and share what you are reading by going to Mrs. Stanford's Page!!