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!!