Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sentence Activity- Sentence RX

Teach Like a Pirate

This summer I read Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and let me tell you it's amazing! It gave me great ideas that I could use this year in my classroom to make learning exciting and fun. I would love to go to one of his workshops one day because his enthusiasm is contagious! This was an easy read and perfect for summer reading to get you fired up for the new year.

Student Engagement

Sentence RX

This past year I made an effort to create more engaging lessons and Teach Like a Pirate just made me more excited to teach them again and create new ones. One lesson we did this past year was Sentence RX. This lesson was for review and completed after we had done some work with editing sentences. This is a struggle all year for 3rd graders let me tell you! 

Editing Sentences Activity

I had the kids wait outside while I got everything set up. Luckily during this time one of my former students who is now in junior high came for a visit and helped. I bought the gloves and masks on Amazon and it came with so many that I'll have enough for this year too. I got 2 plastic table covers from Dollar Tree and split them in halves and covered the desks. I prepped the tables with everything they would need for the activity: glue sticks, scissors, pencils, gloves, masks, Rx pad, paper bandaids and small buckets to collect scraps. I also put lanyards with their "official" doctor information that they would wear. 

I greeted them at the door with my mask and stethoscope (from the Dollar Tree) and they knew right away they were in for some fun. They began working right away to save their patient: Sentence Sam. Every once in a while I played an ambulance sound that I found on Youtube. During that time they had to stop what they were doing and save another sentence "patient" by correcting the sentence that I was projecting on the screen. They had to rewrite the sentence correctly on a sheet of paper and then return to their main patient. If you'd like the powerpoint slideshow I used just click the picture.

It was fun to watch them because they took it so seriously and wanted to save all the patients. Ha! This was a really great activity and I heard lots of positive feedback from the kids. I did change some things that weren't working so that it will work out better this year. I created a file called Sentence Rx that includes everything we used for this activity. If you'd like to check it out just click on it. Have you read Teach Like a Pirate or tried out any of the actitivies? I'd love to hear about it!

Editing Sentences

Monday, July 18, 2016

Library Book Bin Labels

Do you switch your library book bin labels often? I seem to do that every year because my library changes so often with new books. I found these clear adhesive pockets in the Target dollar spot. 

So of course I needed new labels to fit the pockets. I created these simple labels for all of the series books in my library. I wanted a very neutral color so that it would go with my bright bins which are bright colors. I plan on adding number labels to the bins when the library is all set up so that students can put the books back easily. (The bins in this picture are actually individual student book bins.)

For the rest of the books that aren't in a series, I plan on organizing them like you would find in the bookstore or library. I'm thinking these spine labels by Molly Malloy would be perfect for that!

If you'd like these labels that fit the Target clear pockets, I made them editable to share and you can get them by clicking the picture. The fonts I used are KG Second Chances Solid and KG Alphabet Regurgitation. I'd love to hear how you set up your library. I'm always looking for new ideas.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Flexible Seating- Brainstorming

Now that the 4th of July is over, it's getting a little closer to back to school for me. At the end of the year we have to put all of our movable furniture in the middle of the room. So I went in today to start the process of making my room flexible seating friendly.

This is the first year I will be doing flexible seating and am ready for the challenge. Thankfully I have a couple of people at my school that are also trying it out so we'll learn together! 

My goal today was to move furniture. First I set up my small group table with these stools from 5 Below. They seem sturdy but I will be enforcing strict rules on how to use them. This table will also be an option for students to work at throughout the day. (I just need to figure out an easy way of taking off those darn stickers on the top of the stools.)

Then I set up this round table that the custodian so nicely put in my room after I inquired about it. I also got the canvas chairs from 5 Below. 

I had my computers on top of a big rectangular table so I moved the computers onto student desks. The table is quite large but for now will be my floor table after I remove the legs. I set up 3 desks to create a space for kids that just want a regular student desk and chair. I'm thinking of making it a group of 4 but that will take up more space. I am planning on raising the desks in the front of the this picture to create a standing table. However I'm hoping to find another smaller rectangular table. 

So that's where I'm at in my flexible seating brainstorming. I am also planning on having kids choose to work on the floor and all that is needed is a clipboard or some type of lap desk. I hope I gave you some ideas for your classroom! I'd love to hear what you're doing if you're doing flexible seating.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


I wanted to stop by and talk about some things we did this week in 3rd grade to learn about fractions. Now this is the first year that I've had quite the struggle teaching this topic because they no longer teach fractions in 2nd grade. So they come with very little knowledge about what a fraction even is.  I used ALOT of manipulatives: fraction circles, counters, and bars just to name a few.

Fractions on a Number Line

One area the kids struggled with was fractions on a number line. We used fraction bars and sentence strips to practice creating a number line and identifying missing fractions on a number line. I modeled how to create a number line on the sentence strip using the whole fraction bar. Then we used the fraction pieces to divide each number line. Here are a couple of my kiddos in action:

Number Line- Fractions


Fractions Using a Number Line

After they had gotten some practice with that, I created a number line on my sentence strip and they had to copy it and identify where a given fraction was located. Three whole number lines fit on each side of the sentence strip. The kids loved this so much that they wanted to wear their sentence strips as hats. Ha!

To do a final review of number lines, I took string and hung a 0 and 1 index card on each side. Then I had kids come up to the string and place their fraction where they thought it belonged. This led to some great discussions about placement and equal parts.

Fractions Number Line Activity

Fractions Review

To review all the main fraction concepts they rotated through different fraction games. Most of them were from Lakeshore but I added my own game too. It's called Fraction Fortune. When I was explaining the directions and telling them that each team needed a banker, they were hooked. I had to settle them down to finish explaining the games because they were busy trying to figure out who the banker would be. They had a blast playing. 

Fraction Game for Review

We ended our fractions unit on Valentine's Day Eve and I found the perfect activity! Nicole from All Things Apple in 2nd has a great fraction activity where the kids figure out fractions of a group using Hershey kisses and it's a freebie in her store! I placed a group of kisses in the bags and taped Nicole's labels inside. They had to turn over the bags and figure out the fraction of red, pink, and silver kisses. They recorded them on the sheet that comes with the activity which I printed on pink paper since it IS Valentine's and all. They were completely engaged and I gave them kisses to eat later because what fun would it be to work with chocolate and not eat it?!

Valentines Fractions Activity

This won't be the end of learning about fractions. We didn't spend as long as we should have on it. Our state test is only 17% fractions so my team decided to cover it but then return to it later in the year. We can go more in depth later on and not have the pressure of the test. 

Thanks for reading! If you are interested in Fraction Fortune, just click on the picture below. Happy 3 Day Weekend!

Review Game for Fractions

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Student Gifts

Stopping by during this fun but crazy week to share the student gift I am giving my kiddos for Christmas. And no wrapping is required! I put mine together this morning and they are ready to be opened on Wednesday which is party day.

Buying for 14 kids can get expensive, especially on a teacher budget. I went to the Dollar Tree and picked up bubbles which come 3 in a pack. Then I put together some Frosty the S'more-Man treats. Now the Frosty treats are not my idea. I orignally found it on the Dixie Delights blog. Aren't they so cute?! 

I put the bubbles and S'more-Man treats in treat sacks I got from Hobby Lobby. (They are 50% off right now!) I just trimmed the top of the sacks a bit so they were smaller and wrapping was a breeze! 

I made the bag toppers to fit snack size baggies but they would fit regular sized sandwich bags as well. (The original one I found was a bit small for them.) You can download it here if you'd like to hand out some S'more-Man treats too. Enjoy these days of fun and crazy with your kiddos!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Practice Cards for Classroom Management

I can't believe it's already November! It's that time of year where the kids have learned the routines and procedures and KNOW the rules really well and what is expected from them. I have been using Whole Brain Teaching's classroom management system and have loved it. You can read all about WBT in this book Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids. Chris Bifle also has a website with tons of free resources.

I started off the year with happy face/sad face for the whole class. I then added the Super Improvers Wall which you can read in my post here. Now it's time to add some more individual accountability for breaking the rules. That's where the practice cards come in. I took my rule posters and saved them as pictures so I could re-size them in PowerPoint. Then I printed them on card stock and glued them onto popsicle sticks. 

I made this very unfancy pocket chart that is numbered with the students' numbers. (I'm not happy with the way the title came out but it will have to do for now.) I placed the practice cards nearby on my library shelf. If a student breaks a rule after a warning they get a practice card placed in their pocket. During recess or free time, anyone with a practice card in their pocket needs to practice that rule by doing the hand motions that go with it and saying it quietly to themselves. 

The practice card is removed after the student practices the rule and they get to start all over. If a student continues to have trouble with that same rule, they get a note home asking the parent to help them practice. They need to get it signed for the practice card to be removed from their pocket. Unfortunately I left that file on my flash drive at school but will upload it soon. Check back later this week if you want it. Here's a pic of what it looks like.

I would love to hear how you incorporate Whole Brain Teaching methods in your classroom. Do you have any tips?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Update and a Freebie!

It's been a while since I last blogged. I had some health issues that are now taken care of and I am recovered. I have been posting pics here and there on Instagram so at least I haven't completely gotten away from sharing what's been going on in my classroom. This week will be a crazy week. First up is a field trip to the IMAX to see a 3D movie called Under The Sea. The kids of course are pumped about it and it should be a fun time tomorrow.

Friday is Halloween and this is the first year we've had a full day for it. Since we have a school parade in the morning, I've pretty much settled on the idea that there won't be any new learning going on that day. I planned a big chunk of time for the kids to play October themed math games. I've rounded up a few I found online and created one of my own. It's called Candy Corn Wipeout. The object of the game is to be the first to wipe out all the candy corn from the board while adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. It's a freebie if you'd like to play it too! Just click on the picture.

We've been working hard on understanding multiplication so I just updated my More and More Multiplication Fun Pack so we can play the games to practice. I will be doing a blog post on that soon but if you already own it, make sure to download it again. Click on the picture to get to the file in my store.

I always love to hear new ideas for teaching on a holiday like Halloween. What do you do at your school to keep your sanity?