Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We usually have off for halloween because it is around parent/teacher conference time. So, this year we  actually have school! I'm super excited to get to hang out with my kiddos tomorrow and do some fun activities. I am going to bust out my halloween wig from my costume. Does anyone remember Jem and the Holograms? Just saying the name makes me break out in the Jem song! I have actually had that song in my head all weekend. We don't dress up at our school :( but I am going to bring the wig anyway. I thought I would surprise my students with it in the afternoon. I can't wait to see the look on their cute little faces!

One of the activities we have planned is to make creepy crawly spiders! The spider legs are tens frames. So students count the spiders on the legs and match them to the numbers on the spider's body. Click the picture below to download a free copy of the spider activity!

We are also going to read using glow sticks! I bought them in the dollar bin at Target!
To go along with our spider theme, we are reading "The Itsy Bitsy Spider". I love this poem because it highlights the tricky sight word "the". I made the poem and put blank lines in place of the word "the". This way students will write "the" in the blanks and then practice reading "The Itsy Bitsy Spider". Then, we make a picture with a house and a water spout made from a pipe cleaner. I poke a hole next to the bottom of the house and another at the top to make the spout. Then, take spider rings and move the spider along as you read. Check out the pic and click on "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" poem to download.

The last thing we are going to do is carve a pumpkin. During interactive writing, we have been writing about how to make a jack-o-lantern. We will follow our directions to carve our own jack-o-lantern. Do you carve pumpkins in your classroom? I would love to hear about activities you do in your room for halloween!

Have a spooky great day tomorrow:)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Haunted Earth Oceans and Continents and MO

Hello darlings!  Hope your week is fantastic!  I am going to make this short and sweet.  My kiddos LOVED painting our pumpkins globes this week!  See this post here.

Another fun activity we did to review continents and oceans was the Haunted Earth.  Check out this freebie, but don't get too frightened!

Do you teach in Missouri?  Third graders have to know the states that border MO.  Check out this awesome FREE little resource pack to teach MO Border states!  Is that too many adjectives?

Have a fantastic week my lovelies!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Five Little Pumpkins Craft and Center Ideas

One of my favorite crafts is the Five Little Pumpkins craft. I have the book and you can also play it for your students on youtube. 

 To make this craft, you will need the following for each student:
1/2 sheet of brown construction paper
1 square of yellow construction paper
5 squares of orange construction paper
1 piece of black construction paper
*Start with the brown paper and have students cut into strips. Glue three strips horizontally and two vertically. Keep extra brown for pumpkin stems. Then, cut the five squares into circles for the pumpkins. Cut the yellow square into a circle for the moon. Make faces onto pumpkins! We glued the poem onto the back. Click on the poem to download.

We have been working on number sense and one-to-one correspondence. To practice this, I bought little jack-o-lantern baskets from the dollar store and wrote numbers 0-10. You can use candy corn or popsicle sticks to add the corresponding number into each basket. I have my students put the pumpkins in numerical order too!

I use spider webs with spider rings to practice one-to-one and number sense too! I love the spider rings because you can use them for patterning as well. Click on the spider web next to the picture to download this center. The webs have numbers 0-10 and the last page can be used in place of the spider rings if you do not have them. 

How do you teach number sense and one-to-one? 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Author's Purpose

I had my observation this past Monday. I did a lesson on author's purpose. I began with a piece of chart paper:

I put seasonal books, weekly readers, and letter books out as a visual for all the different types of books.   I wanted to see what my students would come up with on their own before I guided them toward other ideas. This is what they came up with.

Do I have smart kiddos or what????? I was so excited! We have spent the rest of the week reading books and talking about the Author's purpose. I explained the three examples of purpose as:
If the book is repetitive with words that are easy to sound out,  it is a book intended to help you read or sound out words. 
If the book is fiction, then it is intended to be read for fun or to teach a moral lesson.
If the book is nonfiction, then it is intended to teach you something.
One books I used to go along with my lesson is "The Dot" by Peter H. Reynolds. We watched it on Tumble Books but it is also on youtube. When it was over we discussed the Author's purpose and I was really impressed with their answers. One student said, "The Author was telling us that if you keep practicing something, you will get better!" If I had been sitting, I would have fallen out of my chair. Kindergarteners never cease to amaze me!

I also wanted to share a new way I am  doing independent and buddy reading in my room. I just started it this week but my students LOVE it! I have five tables or groups set up by color. I took pictures of the five different spots they will go to get books for reading time.

The blue folder is our poem folder. The poems are letter poems and we focus on two letters a week. The book stand houses my seasonal books. I put class books, emergent storybooks, and seasonal books I have read. 
My students put their just-right books in a ziploc bag. I give them these books and they also get to "shop" for books that they want to read.

The baskets of books are leveled books that are easy readers.

This is my classroom library. 

I think this works so well for my class because they were getting bored reading the same poem folder and bag of books everyday. Now, they get books from each spot only once a week. This also gives them more choices! We all know that kids love to make their own choices:) 

How do you do independent and buddy reading in your class?


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Multiplication Strategy and Free Game

      Hello darlings!  Are you a little worried about Common Core?  I know in math, the rigor went up in third grade.  Our district, thank goodness, has been using Singapore Math for the past few years and that program already bumped up the rigor considerably.  So, we are feeling ok about it.  One of the things my third graders have to do, is to multiply two digit by two digit numbers.  We have to teach them the reasoning behind the algorithm, not just how to memorize the steps.

One strategy we use is the Area Model.

I have created a mini unit of resources to teach your kiddos about this strategy. Click on the picture below to download a Spinner Game FREEBIE! (Once there, click download preview file) While you are there, check out the resources!


Here is a preview of the resources.

Check back for more multiplication resources!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Your Choice Unit Giveaway!

Hello again darlings!  Tonight is the season premier of The Walking Dead on AMC!  I am sooo excited!  In honor of this fantastic show's third season, I am giving away 3 Units from my Teachers Pay Teacher Store to 3 lucky winners!!!!!! If you win, you get to choose the unit!  What must you do to be a lucky winner?

1. You must be a fan of the show. (sorry if you don't watch! I'll have other giveaways soon!)
2. Comment below with the name of your favorite character from the show.
3. Tell me why.
4. Give me the name of the unit you would want and your email so I can send it to you if you win.

I will choose three random people!  Good luck!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fire Truck Craft

This week is fire safety. I talked about it this week but I am carrying it over through next week as well. One of the fabulous kindergarten teachers at my school found this cute craft! I made templates on the computer and copied it onto construction paper. Click on the fire truck to copy the templates! What do you do for fire safety week? I would love to hear your cute ideas!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Plant Unit Resources

Hello darlings!  In our lovely little third grade class, we just finished our Plant Unit.  I love physical science because there is so much you can do!

After we decide what a plant needs to survive, we plant lima beans.  Do this a few days before your seed lesson so that kiddos can start to see what happens to the seed.

1. Give each student a small zipped locked baggie, 2 lima bean seeds (at local grocery store), and a wet (but not dripping) folded paper towel.

2. Kiddos place the seeds against the wet paper towel and then zip up the baggie.

3. After they put their name on the bag, we tape them to the window with the seeds facing us so we can see each stage of growth.

4.  As a class, we predict what part of the plant will come out first. We also record our observations in our science journals.

This is a great project to refer back to throughout the unit.  After the seeds start to grow leaves, we transport them into clear plastic cups with soil.  Kids always want to know how the seed grows if it is not in soil.  The seed doesn't need the soil until the leaves start to grow because it gets all of its food from the food source surrounding the embryo.  Once that food source is gone, the roots have to start bringing in water and minerals from the soil.  The baggie is also a good way to refer to the water cycle and how plants "breathe" in oxygen (from the evaporating water) and "breathe" out carbon dioxide.

 When I introduce roots to my kiddos, I first take them outside with our science journals and we go rip up plants from our playground field.  Don't worry, I talk to them about only pulling weeds, grass, and wildflowers, not anything that may have been planted for our school.

We then form a circle outside and each kiddo shares what he/she found.  We discussed why we think the plants have roots.  Lots of them notice it was kind of hard to pull the plant out with the roots attached.  This leads into a discussion about how plants use the roots to stay in the ground so they don't get blown away.

We also draw a quick sketch of our roots so we can refer back to them later. You may want to have parents donate (or you donate) some roots from the store. (carrots, rhubarbs, potatoes, radish, etc.)

Want some more resources and ideas?  Check out this detailed unit!  The pics below don't even cover all the resources provided!

What are some fun things you do with plants?

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Little Scarecrow Boy Activity

I love to read “The Little Scarecrow Boy” by Margaret Wise Brown. I love to have my students act out the story as I read it. My students make their six fierce faces and we talk about saving his or her fiercest face for last as we act it out. After reading this story throughout the week, I took a picture of each student making his or her fiercest face. Then, we made scarecrows and put our face on the scarecrow. I always incorporate writing into my crafts, so we had to write about what we scared away! 

So, the straw coming out of the hat and hands look a little  Freddy Krueger-ish but I just love them!

Look at the fierce faces!

Here are a couple examples of our writing!
Cheyenne can scare away a koala bear.

Emery can scare away a cardinal.

I would love to hear ideas that you do to go along with this book! Click on the pictures below to download a copy of the activity!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Keeping Up with Workshop Records

Hello darlings!  I wish I had some awesome advice for you like Shelley did in her last post!  What did you think about her cupcake eating skills?  My only "weird" eating habit is eating my pizza upside down.  Not me, the pizza, people!  I think you get more flavor that way because all the toppings come in contact with your taste-buds and you don't get stuff stuck in your upper teeth.  It's a win win!

Back to school stuff...  How do you organize all of your running records and conference notes for Reading Workshop?  There are so many ways!  To all the newbies out there, it is just a trial and error kind of deal until you find something that works for you.  Here is what is CURRENTLY working for me...

My Conferring Binder:
Here is where I store all of my notes.  Notice the tabs.  The binder decor is just from a scrapbook page that I cut to fit the binder.  It makes it easy for me to see it at a glance since I have so many binders!

Here is the inside of the binder.  I have each kiddos' name labeled and then I place their conference sticky under their name.  Right now you can see I placed their goal for the quarter that they wrote themselves.  I can use all of this at conferences because I can just take off the stack of stickies to use with the parents. (PS. if you know how to rotate a pic in blogger, please let me know!  My pic was not portrait!)

Again- I'm sorry the pics are weird.  They are landscape in my files...
Here is what I take around with me.  It is a mini clipboard with a pen attached to the back so I never have to search for one.  (and I have a special pen that I like)   I use the chart to keep notes at a glance.  I explained this in one of my previous posts that you can check out here.  You can also download the chart.


 This is my own little Assessment Wall to keep track of kiddos' reading levels.  I wrote their names on mini sticky notes so I can move them easily.  I drew a line to separate on level and below level.  Yes, my friends, we have a lot of work to do this year!!  I blurred out the names to protect the innocent. =)

So what works for you?  I really would love to know!!

5-Star Blogger