Friday, November 22, 2013

'Twas the Friday Before Thanksgiving

I cannot believe it's Friday!!!! This weekend will consist of me, some hot tea, and a comfy bed. I've been battling a nasty cold for the past few days.  Hopefully it's gone before Parent/Teacher conferences on Monday & Tuesday AND the glorious holiday weekend! So here is a small peek at what's been going on with me this week aside from pill popping Mucinex and hacking daintily coughing.

Last Saturday I headed to a local craft show with a buddy of mine and her mamma and I picked up this precious necklace! Now, I'm not usually one for the cheesy teacher jewelry...BUT I really couldn't resist. I mean, how much more Ms. Frizzle can you get, right!? Plus my inner desire to be a kindergarten teacher was thinking 'Ooooo...perfect for Rainbow Day!' 

Ice-Cream for dinner? Duh! This is from one of my favorite homemade ice-cream parlors in the Chicagoland area...folks that is one scoop. For real. It's ridiculous.  Since I'm horrible at decision making, they let me get a half scoop of two flavors, Egg Nog and Cinnamon. Yum! It totally put me in the holiday spirit!

(Please ignore the thumb that is in desperate need of a buddy Alison at Rokin' and Lovin' Learnin' is probably shuddering.  Sorry Alsion!!!

One of the reasons why I love third grade is teaching students how to become more independent learners and developing those problem-solving skills.  My students have been busy editing and revising their expository pieces this week.  Here is a student practicing being independent by checking his spelling using Pages on the iPads.

On Friday I had the opportunity to share one of my favorite read aloud stories during the month of November, Thank You Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I was first introduced to this book in my children's literature class during my time at Monmouth College and fell in LOVE with it.  If you're not familiar, the story introduces the reader to a woman named Sarah Hale whose perseverance resulted in Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday.  

Afterwards, I took the time to read aloud these little notes as to why I was thankful for each and every one of my students.  They blushed when their name was called, patted one another on the back, and even shared a few hugs.  I then slipped the notes in their mailboxes to take home over their holiday vacation.  

At the beginning of the week my students created these feasts to decorate our room during those few spare moments.  Students loved using the hole-puncher to create their green peas, fluffing up cotton balls to make creamy mashed potatoes, and drizzling their brown paint gravy.  

To those of you who are already enjoying your holiday, Happy Thanksgiving! My booty will be back at school on Monday and Tuesday....only two more days! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Five for Friday...kind of!

Time for me to try another Five for Friday...although I may be a tad late! 

We've been multiplying like mad in my classroom lately, students loved creating these multiplication strategy foldables.  I was so excited to see my kiddies show-off each of their strategies (equal groups, array, repeated addition, skip counting, and number lines)!  Division here we come! Eek!

I just love having a set of iPads in my classroom! One of the perks, is no AR Test line! 

I don't know about you...but sometimes we just need a little break.  Including my third graders! This year my class loves to play around the world in small groups with their math facts or watch a School House Rock 3 minute music video.  Love it!

My kids always look forward to Friday's Trade-In at the Sweet Shoppe! Here are some of my goodies I've picked up from dollar stores as well as the coupons from Mel D! They are my kiddies favorites! I only put a few types of coupons at a time and then slowly add to the collection throughout the year.

Just a little snap shot that makes me squeal with excitement.  I picked up all of these microfiber cloths for $5 at my local grocery store! Seriously...of all places. These sit on top of the iPad cart ready to spruce up any of those grimy iPad screens.  

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mentor Math Text: Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares

Hey there! I'm linking up with the lovely ladies at Collaboration Cuties for their weekly mentor text link!  This week I shared one of my favorite social studies picture books, however the text also has a great tie into our math curriculum!  Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares has been a favorite read aloud for both myself and my third grade students while learning about my favorite founding father...Ben Franklin!

Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares not only highlights interesting information about Ben Franklin, it also connects to Ben's love of problem-solving and mathematical puzzles.  The story tells how Ben Franklin generated the idea of a magic square, which consists of nine boxes with a digit inside each box.  The numbers in rows, columns, and diagonally each added up to 15. 

At the back of the book are directions from Ben on how to create your own magic square.  My kiddies were so excited to get started on creating their own magic squares, just like Ben.

On Monday we were stuck inside for recess due to rainy weather, so a crew of third graders decided to work on creating magic squares during their inside recess!! Aren't they precious!!!

On a not so unrelated kiddies have been working hard on learning their multiplication facts, strategies, and properties! Here are some of my favorite texts I've been able to pull in:
The Best of Times by Greg Tang
Too Many Cooks! by Andrea Buckless
Too Many Kangaroo Things to Do! by Stuart Murphy
Each Orange Has 8 Slices by Paul Giganti
Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong
Hershey's Chocolate Math: From Addition to Multipication by Jerry Pallotta
Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Mitsumasa Anno

Two more days left for this week! Am I the only one or has this week taken FOREVER?!?

As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Monday Made It: Understanding Types of Sentences

I made it for Monday!!! Woo-hoo! (enter image of me doing a touchdown dance) It's been forever since I've attempted to make a new product (or anything for that matter) for my classroom.  It's been an overwhelming start to a new year. However, I've finally gotten my footing in time to prep for the holidays and parent/teacher conferences! 

Last Friday, I gave you a little sneak peek at an activity my kiddies and I did to practice identifying the four different types of sentences.  First, I read aloud Frog. Frog? Frog! which came in a Language on the Loose pack from Scholastic Books.  

The story is cute, simple, entertaining, and gets the message across of what each sentence type sounds like.  Winning!

Afterwards, my students were divided into partners and given four different color sticky-notes.  They were instructed to find an example of each type of sentence in the novel we've been reading as a class.  Just look at these two cuties working so diligently!

Then, students put their sticky-notes onto our class chart.  My class loves collaborating together to create and some even asked for extra sticky-notes!  Why certainly children, of course you can continue to identify types of sentences in your free time. :) 

I suppose I should apologize for the horrendous looking anchor chart...I have no idea how all of you get yours so cute and perfect looking.  I guess I have more of a 'git-r-done' attitude when it comes to that!

SO, you might be wondering what it is that I made (aside from the embarrassing chart)...I've created two sets of posters featuring the four types of sentences with examples. There are two sets, polka-dot or my current favorite, chevron.  

Just click on the images below to find my TPT store!

Thanks for reading! I'm excited to check out all of the other amazing Monday Made-its! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Five for Friday!

In my attempt to stay on track with my blog, I've decided to take the plunge and join in Doodle Bug's weekly link party! I've enjoyed reading so many of your weekly updates that I thought I'd join in on the fun!

Yay for November! One of my favorite times of year!!! I love these cardboard letters I painted from JoAnn's last year that serve as a great reminder for what this season is all about.

On Monday my little mathletes and I reviewed arrays AND gained practice reading a multiplication chart.  I downloaded this amazing hundred chart and Array Reader Tool from I am such a fan! 

 On Tuesday I took a deep breath and introduced the Distributive Property of Multiplication to my third graders.  It went...wait for it.....AMAZINGLY! I'm so pleased how well they are grasping onto the concept.  This was with the help of Melissa's amazing TPT product Distributive Doctors!  You can read her post of how she used it in her classroom HERE

On Wednesday we reviewed the 4 types of sentences, Statement (Declarative), Command (Imperative),  Question (Interrogative), and Exclamatory.  I'll share more on Monday with what text I used..but here is a picture of a chart students were filling out with colored sticky-notes writing examples of each type of sentence.

On Thursday we celebrated the 50th day of school by dressing 50s style.  Here is my brief attempt at participating..giant daisy clip-on earrings from my gram, a gorgeous vintage pin from my collection, and a silk scarf.  I'll admit right now..those earrings did not last long. Cheese -n- rice, those things HURT!

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's Your Schedule Linky

There's a new link party out there that caught my eye by Susan at Thank God It's First Grade and I couldn't help joining in on the fun! I must admit that I can be a bit nosy curious as to how everyone fits everything into their schooldays. SO...with out further ado, this is a peek at my week!

As you can see, my classroom has a really HEAVY morning with our math and ELA.

Morning Routine- This is pretty standard, in my school buses begin arriving at 7:50am, so until 8:20 the third grade students sit in lines outside of their classrooms after hanging up their backpacks & coats on hooks. I have my students turn their homework in early to me, so that I can get a head start on checking their work. Once in the classroom, students sign-up for hot lunch, complete their morning work, book shop, and read-to-self, until morning announcements done over the intercom by our school principal.  

Math-This year I share a common math time with 3 other third grade classes.  Between the four of us and our Math Enrichment teacher we are leveling our students based on pre-tests for each of our math units.  This allows our top 15 students to receive math enrichment instruction as well as the bottom 15-20 to work in a smaller classroom environment with aide support.  

E.L.A.- My district has adopted the Wonders program for our English/Language Arts instruction this year.  It's been wonderful having my phonics, grammar, vocabulary, fluency, writing, & reading instruction to come from the same resource and helps make for a more cohesive learning environment.  

Prime Time- In my building each grade level has a half-hour block each day set a side as a 'sacred' time so to speak.  During this half-hour many students are pulled for their services.  Resource, Enrichment (Discovery), and Title 1 Reading, meet with groups for instructional lessons. In my classroom, I am not permitted to instruct any new material during this time.  This year I only have 2 students who leave my room during Prime Time, so I typically use this half-hour for my time with my guided reading groups.

Recess & Spelling- These are shared timed with the same 3 teachers I share math with.  We each take turns having days off & on for recess duty (LOVE IT!).  My team uses Words Their Way spelling curriculum, which levels students into ability groups.  With the help of our ELL teacher, Resource teacher, and Resource aide we are able to have 7 ability groups.

Science/S.S.-  My team teaches either a science or social studies chapter.  For example, we finished learning about weather and then shifted gears to our S.S. topic of immigration.

Library & Computers- In my district the school library & computer lab are monitored by aides.  This means that I stay in both of these rooms during this time.  I'm responsible for planning computer lab projects and directing my class with the help of the aide.  During library, we have 'Library Parents' who volunteer time to help kiddies find and check-out their books.  It's SUCH a big help!

P.E., Art, Music, Reading Intervention: These are my plan times throughout the week...let me tell you..I wish I had more time! The Reading Intervention is led by one of our building's Reading Teachers.  She comes to my classroom and works on reading strategies through a read aloud to the class.  

Phew! I'm exhausted by looking at that week! 
Thank you again as always for reading! Two more days until the weekend!!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text: Little Red Writing

I have a confession to make...I am a bookaholic.  As soon as I enter any book store I head straight for the children's section and that's where I stay until it's time to leave. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there...right!? was on one of these visits to Barnes and Noble that I came upon Little Red Writing by Joan Holub and fell in love! I'm excited to link up for the first time EVER with Collaboration Cuties for their mentor text linky party..I have a feeling all of the great books I'm being introduced to out there could end in a disaster for my bank account. Ha!

Little Red Writing is a parody of sorts to Little Red Riding Hood and could be used in a fractured fairy tale or parody lesson...however, in my classroom this read aloud jumpstarted our conversation on the importance of word choice in our writing.  

My students were in awe of Melissa Sweet's detailed illustrations and hidden WOW words.  Our favorite part was of course the villain in the story was not a wolf..but a terribly hungry pencil sharpener.  So cute! 

My third graders enjoyed this story immensely and I'm sure yours will too!
Check out Collaboration Cuties for other amazing mentor text Amazon cart is filling up fast with new books! 

As always thanks for reading!!!