Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday Motivation - Morning Routine

This week's topic for Monday Motivation hosted by Jen at Teacher at the Beach is morning routines.

Our first bell rings at 8:21, and my third graders come in from their outside line-up spot at about 8:25. I do greet them at my classroom door - I believe having a happy face meeting them in the morning can set the tone for the day.

Once they are in the room, they mark their lunch choice for the day, note any reminders I have posted on the Smart Board and.........................read.

That's it.
  I don't plan any morning work. The students just pull out a favorite book and read for about 20 minutes. They don't have to log the time, they don't have to use a post-it for a reflection, they don't have to record a response in a journal, 
they - just - read.

Students can also work on a writing project if they'd like to do that, too.

I love it, and I think they do too.
During this time I am taking attendance, checking assignment notebooks, and if needed, pulling students aside to review something from the previous day. 

In the photo below you can see the assignment notebooks that we use.
Students bring a 3-ring binder at the beginning of the year, and we put their school-issued assignment notebook inside.  Parents initial it each night (well, most of them do), and I check and initial each morning.
Also, I create a weekly update of events and learning for students to slide into the clear pocket on the cover of their 3-ring binders.
Usually one day of the week I ask students to review multiplication and division facts with flashcards or sheets.  
We switch classes for science and social studies at 8:45, so these options work well for the short time we have before switching.

Also, students do get more reading time during our workshop session later in the day.

What do you think about students having read-to-self time to start their day?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Motivation Monday - Classroom Schedule for Third Grade

This week I'm joining Jen at Teacher by the Beach to share my daily schedule.

This is my schedule from last school year as it was listed on my classroom website.
The website was very easy to create on Google Sites.  You can check it our here.
Here is a zoomed in view of just the schedule!
The specials are highlighted.  We do not have any recess duties.
I had to teach my own computer lab classes, but the rest were led by specialists.
On Thursdays during specials my teaching partners and I had PLC planning time.

I loved having science and social studies the first hour of the day. 
We switch students during that time to help out the grade 2/3 split teacher.  She does not teach any of the SS/Sci to her students but does math during the time those grade levels come to us for SS/Sci. 
So, because I took on her students, I had 30 during the first hour of the day.

Students switch back for math, and I had my homeroom of 24 for the rest of the day.
Here is a picture of my math wall from two years ago.
 We use Math Expressions, and start with multiplication.  I cover the facts until we get to them.
See that chart in the lower center? That is a daily warm-up activity we do to start our math lessons.

There is a new chart for each month, and it serves as a review, or front-load of math content. Here's a sample:
I laminate the charts, and then each day I write a number on the chart in the top space with a Vis-a-vis marker. Students complete the rest of the info about that number in their math notebooks as we discuss the  answers.You can find these charts on sale in my TpT store here!
Also, we use the Seesaw Learning app, so I can save the math charts to the app for students to write on, and save to their feed. 
This is a sample one student saved to her feed last year.
The entire afternoon is for ELA (English/Language Arts) instruction.
We ended the day with small group intervention time.
Students did review activities in small groups while I worked on guided reading/strategy groups.

More on my strategy groups in another post!
How does your schedule work? What do you like best? 
I would love to hear about other options!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Monday Motivation - Content Word Walls

For the first time this summer I am happy to join the wonderful Jen at Teacher by the Beach for Monday Motivation.
I know - it's hard to be motivated when the summer is in full swing. But, hopefully you'll tuck this idea away for when you really need it. 

I teach third grade, and I've found that I prefer to use a word wall for content words that relate to our units  in science and social studies.
I begin when we study non-fiction text features. We use the text features to discover definitions of words - for instance the meaning of a word may be listed in a sidebar, or as a caption to a picture, or 
(of course) in the glossary.

Students choose a word that they want to become an "expert" on that relates to the unit we are doing.
Students neatly print their word on a word card, and then write the definition on the back.
I like to do interactive games with the word cards, so the students have a chance to teach others their word.

Next I attach each student's picture to their word card, and post them on a bulletin board.
The students really take ownership of their word, and notice it as we work through the related unit of study.
In the first Word Experts board we did last year, I wrote the student words on the cards after they had done the word and definition on a sloppy copy.

As an extension of this activity, I asked my students to find word in online books on the Epic app!
They worked in pairs to find a word related to our unit on Simple Machines.
They cropped took a photo of the word and definition, cropped it, and saved it to our class Padlet.
We were able to print this, and add it to our science notebooks.

Also, I've found it easy to use nameplate word walls from Steps to Literacy.
An added bonus is that the dog under D looks just like my own dog!
They have four different versions of desktop word walls to choose from, depending on your grade level.  
And, they are on sale right now!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Green Screen in the Classroom - Five Easy Steps!

Are you looking for a simple way to use green screen technology in your elementary classroom?
Well, recently I took on this task, and I found it to be very easy!
1. For this method, you need an iPad or iPhone.

2. Download the app called Green Screen by Do Ink.  It is $2.99, but well worth the three dollars.
For more information about how to use this app, check out the short video clip from Greg at Kindergarten Smorgasboard.  I credit him with my inspiration for this project!

3. Purchase green tablecloths from any dollar store.  I bought 5, but really needed only 3. I layered the three tablecloths over each other, and used push pins to attach them to the wall in our filming area.  The whole wall in my classroom is made of bulletin board material (lucky me) so this was an easy set up.

4. We started this project because my students chose to do a television news show to share their persuasive writing projects on a social issue.

 Last year we did a classroom newspaper from a template I found in Google Drive,
 but that's for another post.

So, I asked the students to choose a background idea that connected to their persuasive writing piece, and went to work searching for their backgrounds.
I would highly recommend this site - pixabay for free images and videos!  I found many of the background images I wanted on this site.

5. I saved the images and videos to the iPad I was using for filming the students, and it was easy to layer these two videos together because the of the simplicity of the app.

Here are a couple samples of the videos that were created:

After I collected the videos from 20 of my students (4 chose not to be videotaped), I compiled them together into a class news show with iMovie.
Our news program was shared with parents at an end-of-the-year program.

We also shared the video on our class Seesaw feed.
Questions?  Feel free to message me below!

I hope you'll try out green screen technology with your students.
We got a lot of "WOWs" after sharing our class news video!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Five For Friday - Easter and Earth Day

Hi All!
Happy Easter Weekend!
I'm happy to be joining Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's Five For Friday.
I found some cute Easter decor this year, and will be sad to put it away come Monday.

 The lower right bunny is from Pier 1.
The lower left egg and candle is from Steins.
The upper pieces are from Gordmans.  Sadly our Gordmans is going out of business.
We've been working on synonyms, so I found an Easter egg template online that was a simple stripe pattern.
I put different words in the line under the name, and students chose which word they wanted.
We used the website www.thesaurus.com to find a variety of synonyms.
I have an online thesaurus investigation available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
These made for a cute bulletin board display!
Have you ever received recipes in the mail and wondered what to do with them?
I used to receive lots, and decided to take them to school. I noticed on a standardized test once that students were required to read and analyze a recipe.
This station activity is always a BIG hit with my third graders.
 They are required to answer questions about the order of the directions, and I run a copy of recipes that students are really interested in.
My Spring Break was two weeks ago, and I went to Los Angeles to the NSTA conference.
I was lucky to meet two fantastic authors, and get their autographs on classroom books.
Ashley Spires was giving away her book!

Andrea Beaty's books were only $5.00!  Many of us teachers in line bonded over our love of these books!

I was also lucky to attend the premiere of this movie with a group of teacher friends while in LA.
 The producer of the movie spoke to us about the making of the movie.
The visuals in this film were beautiful, and it had a cute story, too!
I would highly recommend it.

If you are looking for a pack of fun and engaging activities for Earth Day, check out this pack, which is available in my TpT store!

 Hope you had a great week!
Happy Easter!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Five For Friday - Digital Resources for Fables and Myths

I'm back for a look at my week through Doodle Bugs' Five for Friday!
We've been working on reading traditional literature.
A few years ago I came across this great app that features many popular fables, and they are told through animation.  My students love them.

The app is called Animated Aesops Fables and is $1.99.  You can find it at this link.
I created a reflection booklet for our unit on Fables, and it covers many of the Common Core skills.
You can check it out in my TpT store here.  It is a great deal at $2.50!
These are some the books we use for our Fables unit. 
You can find the suggested titles in my TpT product.

We also read myths as a part of our unit on traditional literature.
I used the easy myths from Starfall, but was surprised to find that the website is no longer free.
Luckily, they do offer a free app, so my students were able to access the myths through that.

Our current social studies unit is on Russia.
Our city has a sister city in Russia, Kurgan, so we research what life is like in this large country.
I created a class Google Slide presentation, and groups of three each worked on a specific topic.
So, each group was responsible for preparing one slide of the class presentation.
It was a jigsaw-like activity where students then presented their research to others in the class.

We had President's Day off which is a rare occurrence in my district.
My college friends and I took advantage, and drove to St. Louis to see BON JOVI!
The concert was awesome, and we got a great deal on a hotel room on Hotwire.
Our hotel was right next to the Arch.
Unfortunately we missed the photo shoot of the band that apparently took place the day after the concert.

How was your week??