Tuesday, July 31, 2012

People Bingo!

On the very first day of school I like to get the kids acquainted  quickly. The first thing they did last year was a scavenger hunt to find qualities in their classmates that were on the sheet. When they found someone who had gone swimming over the summer, they would put that student's name in the box. This year, I found an activity that has the same concept but with a twist. It's from one of my Kagan books from a training this summer. It's called People Bingo! 

Students find others in the class that they have things in common with such as a favorite movie. When they find a classmate that has the same favorite move, they put that student's name in the corresponding box. Once they get a whole row filled up on their sheet, they can yell bingo! I'm still trying to figure out how to go about it once someone gets bingo. Have them continue getting boxes filled until at least five people have bingo? End the game and sit for our morning meeting? I would love suggestions! If you'd like a free copy click here. I think it will be a lot of fun and a great way to break that first day ice.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reading Boot Camp

One week left of my summer vacay! Time sure is flying by. I am organizing my ideas and plans for the first weeks. At the beginning of the year I hold a Reading Boot Camp with my 3rd graders. I start on day one with Read to Self and begin our stamina practice. We add on other areas like Writing and Word Study once their stamina is at least 10 minutes for independent reading. We keep track on charts daily and the kids love seeing how they improve every day. This year I am adding some fun things in like dog tags that they will wear during boot camp and completion of boot camp certificates. If you are interested in my Reading Boot Camp Pack you can get it at my TPT store.

This year I am also going to have the kids color their own nameplates. I thought it would be fun to create black and white nameplates with different themes that can be colored. If you are interested, I have a sports theme here and a Hollywood theme here. I plan to create more but if you have a theme that you'd like for me to create and add to my store, leave me a comment on this post.

My giveaway ends in 2 days so if you'd like to enter make sure to do it soon! 


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reading Binder -Conference Section

Previously I wrote about revamping my Reading binder here. The next section I worked on is my Reading Conferences section. I try to have at least 3 conferences daily while my kids are reading independently. Ever since I started doing reading conferences I have really gotten to know my students as readers and it has helped me transform the way I teach. The first thing I do before a conference is check my Conference Tracking Record sheet. It simply lists all the student names and the dates I have met with each one. At a glance I can see who I have met with frequently or who I need to meet with because it's been a while since our last conference. I tend to meet more often with my struggling readers so this helps me make sure I am meeting with everyone on a regular basis.

I then look at the Conference Notes sheet for that student to check my notes from the previous conference. Once I listen to them read, I write down my observations and then what the next step or instruction  is for that student. 

In this section of my binder, I also have Status of the Class- Compliment Notes. I got this idea after reading Conferring with Readers by Jennifer Serravallo. I already do status of the class by having two or three students tell the rest of the class what they are currently reading. This year I am changing it up a bit by adding compliments for positive reading behaviors I observe. This sheet will help me keep track so that everyone gets complimented on a regular basis. I will write the student's name in a box and the compliment I gave them. I assign only one box per student so once all the assigned boxes are filled, I know everyone has received a compliment and I start a new one. 

If you are interested in any of the pages for this section of my binder I'm sharing them! Click on the link to download a copy.

Don't forget to enter my 100 follower giveaway here! It ends in 4 days!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Freebie Friday!

Freebie Fridays

It's Freebie Friday! I can’t believe there are only two Fridays left before I have to go back to school. I have to say I am a little excited to start back. Sure I will miss the days of getting up and staying in my jammies or being on my own schedule. But I love the back to school shopping and all the new possibilities a new year brings.

Today I’m sharing a couple of things I do on Meet the Teacher Night. We don’t have a formal meeting because all the parents come and go at different times. Many also have more than one classroom to visit. This year I plan for the kids to pick out some books from the classroom library and put them in their seat sack. That way they will be ready to go when we start practicing independent reading on the very first day. I also have a desk set up by the door with mini bags of popcorn that are labeled “Thanks for popping in!”. The families can take a bag on their way out and my hope is they will pop it that night and discuss their new class. I print out these labels, cut them out and use tape to stick them to the bags. Click on the link to grab your free copy!

And then be sure to click on over to the giveaway I'm having for reaching 100 followers!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Target Finds

Made a Target stop today and of course had to go to the dollar spot. I found these Wipe-Clean Math Cards that will be great in my math tubs. The kids can write their answers on one side and check their answers on the other. I only got a set of multiplication and division because I wasn’t sure how easy they would be to clean since they are only a $1. After trying them out, I wish I had gotten more. They wipe off easily and with training I know they can last if I place them in my math tubs. 

I’ll have to go back so I can get one for each of my tubs. They also had addition and subtraction. I also found these yellow buckets. I have TONS of baskets. More than I really need. Well ever since Target started putting these buckets out in different colors I’ve had an obsession with them too. I know I am going to use one of them for my brain breaks popsicle sticks but have no idea what I’m doing with the other two. I love the yellow color and it matches my room color scheme so I couldn’t pass them up!

Don't forget that I am having a 100 follower giveaway! Click here to enter.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

100 Followers, A Giveaway, and a Classroom Update

I have reached 100 followers on this little blog of mine! I am so thankful for everyone that follows my blog and comments. To celebrate I am giving away a $15 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers! Click on the Rafflecopter link to enter to win.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

On another note, today was the last day of summer school. Since we only had 5 kiddos, they helped me clean out my black cabinet. It was not pretty. I can’t believe all the junk stuff I had stored there. So now I have to organize it all and put everything back in. All the stuff on the desks were in that top shelf! I am definitely going in next week and organizing all of it. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Classroom Progress Pictures

I've been doing summer school in my room and had the opportunity to work on organizing and setting up today. I've been hobbling around because I have an injured knee so two of my sweet former students helped me today. Here are some pics of the progress:

My meeting and desk area. Oops! I forgot to move one of my crutches.

The love notes that last year’s students left me, are still on the board. I can’t bear to erase them! And please excuse the mess from summer school. I can't wait for all that clutter to go.

We didn't have success in moving that computer table around so that’s how it stayed. Hopefully our wonderful custodian will move it for me.

 Earlier that table was full of boxes that held textbooks. I can’t wait to tackle my small group area.

This is the only corner that looks organized but it’s still not finished. My writing area has to be set up in that teeny tiny corner.

I can’t wait to have it all done before we go back for teacher planning. That I will have time for more important things like having lunch out with my team planning lessons. Have you started setting up your room? Or would you rather not think about it until the very last minute? 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Read Alouds

I heart reading aloud to my class. I do it every day for at least 15 minutes. I don't teach strategies or ask questions during this time. I just read and let the kids enjoy the story. Of course many will have questions or make connections which I do stop for. Those are teachable moments and I love when they use what they learn during reading lessons. I found a couple of great chapter books last year that I plan on reading again. I would love to find some new ones for this year. I plan to start the year by reading Horrible Harry Moves up to Third Grade.

It's a funny light read to start the year. I have never read this particular one to the class before, but third graders love the Horrible Harry series so I know they will enjoy it. Following that I plan to read a great book I discovered last year: The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney.

The World According to Humphrey [WORLD ACCORDING TO HUMP]

It's about a substitute teacher that brings a hamster in as a class pet but when their regular teacher returns, she is less than thrilled about it. The book is written in the view point of the hamster which made it even more fun. My class adored this book last year and I plan to read other books from the series. What read alouds do you like to read to your class? I'd love to add to my chapter book read aloud list this year.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

500 Follower Giveaway from Teaching Maddeness!

I know, I know. I am breaking the bloggy rule of having more than one post in a day. But I have an injured knee and am discovering some new blogs tonight, as I sit resting it. So I found out that Amanda from Teaching Maddeness is having a 500 follower giveaway! The prize is.... a $50 Giftcard to Amazon! Oh what I could do with those $50. I am envisioning all the books I would get with it. Hop on over to Teaching Maddeness and you could enter too!


Blog Hopping!

This was started Wednesday but better late than never right? Found this through Buntings, Books and Bainbridge. I’m kind of a new blogger and kind of not. I started my blog last summer but abandoned it for quite some time during the school year. So here’s to meeting new friends!

1.     What state are you in?   Florida
2.    What is your current teaching position? I teach 3rd grade- all subjects
3.    What is your teaching experience?  I will be starting my 10th year teaching 3rd grade. I can’t believe it’ll be a decade of teaching already!
4.    When did you start blogging? Summer 2011 but left my blog for quite some time during a crazy school year.
5.    Share some blogging tips or a resource-   I think keeping up with your blog is really important. I didn’t do a great job of it this year and really feel I missed out on some great stuff.

Looking forward to checking out some other new blogs!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Reader's Toolkit Labels

I missed the beginning of a book study that was going on around blog land for Lori Jamison's book Guiding Readers: Making the Most of the 18- Minute GuidedReading Lesson.  Glad I discovered this book! I haven't done guided reading the last couple of years because I usually focus on a skill/strategy with a group that is reading on different levels. Reading Lori's book really changed my thinking on small reading groups. The lessons and activities she uses in her book can be modified to be used the way I teach small groups. I've also come to realize that doing guided reading with certain kids is actually more beneficial for them. Especially since every class does have a group of kids that are all on the same reading level and also need help with the same skills/strategies. I love her idea of the reader’s toolkit and decided to create labels for the ones I’m going to make. I made larger ones with a graphic and smaller ones without. I hope someone can use them! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Studying North America- Travel Journal Activity

We finally got a new Social Studies series which I am really excited about. The outdated one we had was so boring, that I haven't even taught from it for the last 3 years. Instead I had to come up with activities to go along with our standards. Well even though we now have a great new series I'm still creating activities. Go figure! The first unit is all about geography, specifically North America and the Caribbean. So to go along with our studies I created a travel journal where students can write down new words and facts at each place we "visit". Each student will also have their own passport and we'll glue in our visa stamps before each stop on our journey. The kids will have a great collection of information to show their family when we finish the unit. You can download the file at my TPT store. The 20 page file is on sale right now for $3! I'm giving away a free copy to the first 3 people that comment below! In return I would love it if you could please rate it at my TPT store once I send you a copy. Please leave an email address with your comment. I hope you like it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Logical Consequences

For the past two years I have been loosely following the Responsive Classroom approach for classroom management. Reading Teaching Children to Care really changed the way I thought about managing my classroom. I have seen how the children learn to become more responsible for their actions and treat each other with more respect and kindness. Of course it's not all perfect. We still have those days where it seems as if the whole class needs a break from each other (and from me!). But for the most part, it has really transformed the environment of my classroom and plan to use the approach again this year. I made signs for logical consequences last year and decided to change them up a bit for this year.  There are 3 main consequences with an explanation of each. I plan to put each sign on black construction paper. If you'd like a copy, click the link below! Do you use the Responsive Classroom approach?


Friday, July 13, 2012

Freebie Friday Linky with TBA!

I am linking up with TBA for Freebie Friday! This is the math game I posted about yesterday. It's called Batter Up! and the kids loved playing it during summer camp this week. It reinforces place value up to the thousands but you can differentiate it to play with larger numbers. Enjoy!

Freebie Fridays


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Multiple Choice Foam Sticks

It's Wednesday but I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It! Better late than never right? I really loved her Multiple Choice Sticks from last summer. But I am not as handy with hardware. So I had to come up with a different way to make them so that they would still be sturdy enough so they would last. I bought foam sheets in different colors at Walmart and I already had the brass fasteners.  I cut up the foam sheets into rectangles. With a Sharpie I wrote ABCD at the top on one side and FGHI on the other. I put them together with a fastener and voila!

  I used them last year during reading groups and loved it. They held up and still look new so the foam worked out great! And of course the kids loved using something other than pencils to answer multiple choice questions.

This is the container I keep them in on my reading table.

Thank you Tara for such a great idea!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Keeping Track of Classroom Library Books

I love having soooo many books for my kiddos to check out in my classroom. But I needed to find a way to track them so I wouldn't keep buying books I already had. Anyone else have this problem? At a workshop this summer I discovered a great website that's FREE! It's Booksource's Classroom Organizer. I already signed up my class and can't wait to start using it. You can scan all of your books in and keep a log of what's in your library. You can also register your students so they can check out and return books.

You don't have a scanner? Well you can use your smartphone to scan them in! How cool is that? You can also run reports on what books your students are checking out. It will be nice to keep a log of what the kids are reading and use them for both student and parent conferences. If you check it out let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Monthly Theme Writing Papers

I really like for my kids to write as much as they can. We do a writing workshop and work on writing in our Daily 5 rotations. Next year I plan to have my students write a reflection on their work on a monthly basis. I am going to bind together these themed papers and at the end of each month they will write about what they have learned, things that were both easy and challenging for them. I might even start them off with a prompt but haven't decided that part yet. Then they can draw a picture to go with it. That will motivate them to come up with a thoughtful reflection before getting permission to draw. At the end of the year, they will have a nice collection of all their learning. Click on the link to get my themed papers for free! I would love to hear your thoughts and some ways you have students reflect on their work or how you can use the theme papers.

I'm linking up for International Blog Hopping Day! So hop on over to some other blogs for more freebies!

Follow for Freebies

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th Freebie to Celebrate!

Happy 4th of July! To celebrate, my School Monthly Calendar at TPT is free for the day! The only thing I ask is that you PLEASE rate my calendar at the TPT site if you download it. I would really appreciate that. Enjoy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Made It Link Up

I am linking up to Monday Made It with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics! I have enjoyed looking at everyone's summer creations.

I am revamping my reading binder for next year.  So I decided to start with making a calendar for it. I use one to keep track of individual conferences and one to keep track of groups I meet with. I thought it was going to be an easy task but boy did it take me FOREVER to make. I wanted the margins just right so that I can fit them in the binder and not have the holes interfere with the text. But I love the end result and can't wait to make copies and put them in my binder. Would you like a copy? I will send the first 3 people to leave a comment, a copy of the calendar for free!