Tuesday, August 21, 2018

First Week of Third Grade

Whoa! Our first full week of school is finished. I wanted to share with you a few little things I did and do each year to start my kiddos off with their routines! We started school on a Friday, so I started this routine Monday morning. 

We start our reading block off with a read aloud every single day.

Here are three of my FAVORITE read alouds to use in the first week of school.

In the book SORRY! , the author does a great job of showcasing a character that doesn't really understand the meaning of an apology. It's perfect for the first week of school because it gets students thinking about their behavior and how it's important to follow the rules. If you make a mistake, we should make a sincere apology. The kids really relate to this story and I think it helps set the tone for a great year of school.

Another favorite is Parachute by Danny Parker. This book is about trying new things and facing your fears. I tie it to school by mentioning how we might all be scared at the beginning of the school year about our new class, teacher and friends. This is seriously a student favorite. They reread this story on their own EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!

I also like to read Word Collector to teach my students to think about using different words than the normal words they use. We also discuss how students should choose their words carefully. 

You can find writing  and readers response activities  for these books  HERE.

For centers, I start by letting my students stay in their groups they already sit in. We start with four centers: Library Center, Word Work Center, Puzzle Center and Skill Based Center.
 I want my students to work for about ten minutes the first day. I teach them to use their words in a sentence and work the entire time until the timer goes off.  I let them sit in their normal seats (my class is set up into four tables). I rotate the baskets and not the students for the first week. 

For the Word Work center, I start with just ten words to arrange in ABC Order. I want to see if they take the entire ten minutes. This helps me gauge the abilities of my students. I also use vocabulary words that are back to school themed to the kids are familiar with the words. I make sure to give students ideas for what to do if they finish before the timer goes off and I hold them to those expectations even the first day we do this. I print three copies of this center so the kids can work in partners.

Each day, I add in more words and add a little more time for the centers. We move from back to school themed words to sight words. Next, we practice parts of speech and syllable counting. These activities build so each day you can expect your students to work a little longer.

For the library center, I pick about 6-8 books for my kids to read. I put them in the center basket. I just want them to practice reading to themselves as I have modeled. I review the expectations for this center and how we treat our books. 

For the puzzles, I am just using the Lakeshore Match Up puzzles. I pick skills that line up to the stories I am reading or are review skills. I just want them to practice working together. I teach my students that when we do puzzles, we read the words and discuss what they mean with our partner. Every puzzle I give them ALWAYS has a word. 

For the skill based center, I am using activities from my reading intervention binder from the grade above. I discussed theme a lot, so we used activities from my Fourth Grade Binder. I have a higher group of kids this year, so it worked out well. 

I hope this helps you with your first week of school! 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Classroom Makeover

Hey friends!

I'm not sure if you saw on my FB Page, but this school year, I've returned to a third grade teaching position. I'm super excited about this transition and wanted to share with you my classroom make over!

Classroom Makeover

This is what my room looked like when I walked in. 

Then we had this chair. 

My husband said that in order to paint the room, we had to "prep" the walls. In my mind, I thought just get the rollers out and paint. That was NOT the case. We had remove all of the tape and staples from the wall. Next, we could begin to sand the walls. This was probably the most difficult job.

For the record, I did sand SOME of the walls, but the spouse did MOST of it :) 

Next, we were able to paint the trim of the walls and all of the little groves. I am not sure that's what they are called!

Once we started to use the rollers, the painting went MUCH faster!

 My husband decided he didn't like the brown doors, so we removed them, sanded and painted them. This was such a chore because the doors were so heavy!

I looked at the furniture that was available and decided which pieces I could repurpose. At first glance,  I thought I was going to trash this table. After further investigation, we decided to cover it with contact paper. The biggest tip is that we covered it with two layers to make it more durable.

 He measures everything before he does ANYTHING. It's a great quality to have, I do not have it.

Final product of our table make over

We repainted this book shelf  for my math manipulatives.

Mr. Mike now hangs my bulletin boards for me. This project would not have happened without him!

I found the most darling storage bins from Kirklands on CLEARANCE!

Just when he thought he was finished hanging stuff, I needed my wall organizer hung!

We assembled this little dresser in about five minutes! It's PERFECT for the classroom. Mike wanted to get an IG account, so this was his welcome picture!

We found this little wash table at a local antique store. It's the perfect little side table! 

Curtains-- HERE

Part of my library (mid makeover)

This is the area in the back of my library. I have the reading strategies posters displayed for now. 


The library labels and reading strategies posters are all available right here

Here's another Kirkland's find. I purchased two of these shelves when they were on sale this summer. They are perfect for my  guided reading area!

The local news did a story on this classroom makeover. You can watch it HERE.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Five Must Have Picture Books

As we prepare to go back to school, I wanted to share five must have picture books that you need to add to your classroom library TODAY! These books are not only great for teaching rules and procedures, but creating a classroom community. Creating a group of students that willingly turn into a family. You see, that's the big picture in education that we NEED to have happen. Our classroom culture is shifting. Now more than ever, we need that sense of community. Students need to feel safe, loved and wanted. 

Five Must Have Picture Books

This story is perfect for the beginning of school when we are learning how to trust each other and lean on each other. In the story, Brave Enough For Two, the characters learn how to trust and help each other through difficult times. I 

In this book, The Jelly Donut Difference, the author Maria Dismondy does an excellent job telling a story about kindness and how we should treat each other. This is a great book to use the first week of school to model for children how we should treat each other. The book is rich in vocabulary and life lessons. The author even includes question examples for teachers or parents.

In this story, Designed to Be Different, the author tells a story of a child who is bullied. The children have a talent show and they create lyrics to a song. This part will just pull at your heart strings that we actually have children that feel the same way this character feels. The story does reference how "God made us different".  No matter what type of school you have, it's a story that should be told. I love the backstory to it as well. See, not all books are written by famous authors. This story was written by my former custodian. He is one of the hardest workers I've ever met and ALWAYS helped me out. He works several jobs and put himself through film school. I don't know what else you could need to buy, a book that is diverse and supports the little man. 

The Recess Queen is another back to school MUST READ.  This is a great book about teaching rules and procedures for recess. I love how the story is so easy for students to make connections to. Even the first week, I discuss how good readers make connections to the story they read. These read alouds are not just for helping children learn how to act, they are also great ways to start introducing students to the reading standards you will address throughout the school year. 

The story is not just for going over recess rules though. We can talk about kindness, how to treat one another and how we should look for people to invite to hang out with us. 

I love to read Enemy Pie at the beginning of the school year and then again throughout the year. It's a great story about friendship, judgement and how to become friends with someone that you might not normally be friends with. The best part is, the story has SO many reading skills embedded into it! 

Please let me know how these books work for your students! You can follow along on my IG page for more recommendations on picture books!

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Using Picture Books to Inspire Writing

It's no secret that picture books are really my life. If you follow me on instagram, you know that I love the hunt for an amazing book. I use picture books to teach just about everything, but in the last two years, I've really focused on picture books that teach certain writing traits. In this post, I'm going to give a few books that I like to use to inspire my students to create their own story.  I want my students to hear a story that they can relate to and create a spark for them to build upon.

Picture Books to To Teach Writing

To inspire my students, I  like to start with some favorite books. One of my favorites is Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe. This book is about those special times that may only last a few seconds. It has a clear theme and lesson to the story. When I read this story, I have my students think about a time they've spent with their family or friends that was special to them. 

Another great story to use to inspire students and spark ideas is A Bad Case of Stripes. This is a classic story that is a student favorite. In this story, the character explores things she likes and dislikes. While reading this story, I ask my students to think about specific items they like or don't like as we come across them in the story. At the end of the story, students are encouraged to make a list of things they like and dislike. Once they've created a list,  they can start brainstorming on a writing piece. I encourage students to describe a time when they came across something they liked or didn't like. What was their reaction? How did it make them feel? I always tell my students writers answer questions readers ask. So just like good readers ask questions, good writers ask questions to provide an answer in the text. We use this free planning sheet after reading the story. 

This next book is one of my favorites to use at the beginning of the school year. In the story How I Spent My Summer Vacation,  the character takes a different journey during his summer than most. This is a great story for students to also practice visualizing. Students often feen like they are on this journey with the little boy! Throughout this story, I remind my students to think about an extreme vacation they would like to go on. We discuss how the story is very extravagant. When we begin to plan, we start with a map. The students identify a fancy or place to visit that they might not have an opportunity to, but have dreamed about visiting. Next, we discuss how they would get to that dream location. Then, we move on to questions such as who would be on the trip with them? What would they need to bring? What type of clothing would the trip require?  I use this free planning map with this story. 

Most of you know that I've taught 1st through 4th grades.I've used each story with all grade levels.  In first grade, we may just be focusing on creating a sentence or two. By fourth grade, I'd want an elaborate and detailed story. I just adjust the support I provide depending on their levels. 

I hope this helps your writers develop ideas of their own.  I'll work on read alouds I use for voice and organization next! 

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*This post contains affiliate links that I make a small percentage back on*

Friday, June 8, 2018

End of The Year Camp Out

Hey friends! Every year, I spend the last few weeks doing a camp out. Since I didn't have a class of my own this year, I did the same theme with my tutoring students. They LOVED it! It was so easy and cheap to transform our library into a CAMP OUT! 

These little activity mats were a huge hit. I was able to see who really understood what they are reading!

For this activity, I just used the die cut machine to make stars. I wrote sight words on the stars and placed them around the room. Since I had K-2nd grade, I  kept each grade level of words in the same area. The kids had to "write the room" and then use the words in a sentence. The recording sheet is in my free camping center packet

 For this part of the transformation, we just covered the book shelves with butcher paper. After day one, I put up the kids "Happy Campers" cover from Cara's Unit. We used SEVERAL literacy activities from Cara Carroll's  Camping Unit. I  was so busy, I didn't take that many pictures! 

For the tables, I just used picnic table cloths, campfire center pieces and tea lights from the dollar tree. The table cloths and tea lights were originally purchased for my book tasting. I need to share that with you! 

 The jumbo cut out signs came from Oriental Trading. They were only a few dollars, but really gave that "camp site" appearance. 

For literacy centers, we used Cara's unit and this unit

Click the picture to get your FREE Literacy Centers

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