I {Heart} Recess Celebration...Win One of My Products

Hey y'all, just a quick post to let you know that my real life BFF, Jess, over at I {Heart} Recess is celebrating her one year blogging anniversary and is giving away 15 AMAZING products!
One of the fun products that you can win my multiplication and division activity pack!

Go check out her giveaway here!  Good luck!

Five for Friday-Lots of ELA Stuff

I haven't been blogging much lately because I haven't felt like I've had enough to share for a full post.  It's been hectic in the classroom and I haven't taken as many pictures as I'd hoped.  So that's why I love Kacey's Five for Friday.  I can share lots of random stuff...without feeling totally random, lol!

Have you read this book?  It's a great Chinese folktale and I used it to help teach Common Core Standard RL.3.3.  Now I feel like I've always done a pretty good of teaching character traits but last year I don't think I did enough to help students see how characters' traits and motivations impact the sequence of events. Well, this folktale is a perfect way to introduce this skill in a basic way.  Each of the brothers has a strength that later in the story allows him to help save another brother from being killed by the Emperor's men.  We used this graphic organizer to list the brothers' strengths and how those strengths were used as an advantage later in the story.
We also pulled out those highlighters (our BFFs in 3rd grade) and verified our chart's information in the text.

The students really enjoyed the folktale; in fact, they were literally on the edge of their seats as we read it. And I think it was a great text to use to help learn this standard!

We've been working on L.3.1a (so many parts of speech to address there!) and so we made these pronoun trees.  Students wrote a pronoun on the tree and then wrote nouns that the pronoun could replace on the leaves.  Super simple activity but it got them engaged and helped them demonstrate understanding of pronouns. 
To go along with our character trait study, we also create a "slinky character."  I found this idea from Ms. Jocelyn and knew my kiddos would love it!  They had to first read the Chinese Cinderella story, about Yeh-Shen.  Then they listed four character traits on the slinky character and had to highlight evidence from the text that proved each trait.

I just set up an account with Class Dojo and let my kiddos pick their avatars.  We are going to start using this management tool on Monday, mostly during centers and other independent work time. I am hoping that it helps improve time on task and motivates my kiddos to make better choices during centers.  Do you use Class Dojo?  I'd love to hear your success stories and any tips that you might have for me!
I ran into the public library the other day to get some books to use with Ashleigh's amazing Personal Narrative Unit and I couldn't believe it when I saw this on the front display.  I've been wanting to read this book but for whatever reason, I never bought it or checked it out.  I haven't gotten too much read yet but I'm hoping to get some major reading done this weekend!  Have you read it?  Is it as good as everyone says?

Have a blessed weekend!

Five for Friday

TGIF y'all!  I am sooo glad that it's the weekend!  Life has been super busy here between regular school and family responsibilities, plus I've been shuttling my oldest to soccer practices and church activities.  I don't think I've made it to bed before 11 this week and that is late for this gal!  In fact, my bed is calling my name so I'm gonna do a quick Five for Friday link up with Kacey.

A lot of my week consisted of administering Reading 3D assessments.  I've completed all of my DORFs, WRCs, and have started my TRCs but man, the TRCs are moving sloooooowly!  This is the first year I'm required to complete Reading 3D on all of my students (the end of last year was a practice run and we only had to complete it on a few).  So I would LOVE to hear any suggestions or ideas that you have to better manage administering the TRCs!
In ELA, we've been hitting RI.3.2 hard...working on identifying main idea and supporting details of informational text.  Since we finished up reading some African folktales, we moved on to reading informational text about countries in Africa.  I gave each group of students a section of text to read, discuss, and determine the topic, main idea, and details.  Then I handed them some bulletin board paper and markers (love how excited they get about "posters" and markers, lol) and let them go to town creating graphic organizers to show the main idea.  They really did amazing with this skill so we'll be looking at some more complex selections next where the main idea isn't directly stated.
In math, we started to tackle 3.NBT.2 and looked at properties of addition.  One of my fab team members shared this idea to help the kiddos grasp the concept of the identity property of addition.  We related the identity property to the kids' personal identities and explained that the zero is kind of like a mirror.  The kids created "mirrors" out of card stock and foil and outlined the edge of the mirror with examples of addition equations that show the identity property.  They turned out super cute and the kids seem to really get this property.  We also created some adorable flip flops for the commutative property but I forgot to take pics of those. =(  (I still have some up in the room though so maybe I can snap some next week.)

In science we are focused on force and motion and what better way to explore this concept than to make marshmallow launchers!!!  I found the idea from The Techy Teacher and knew right away that my kiddos would love it.  So I made a few at home and let my boys play around with them (who am I kidding?? hubby and I played too)!  My students had a great time using them (wish I could show you those excited faces) and really learned a lot about push, pull, force, speed, and direction.  I would highly recommend this activity if you have to teach force and motion!
This one's really not from this week but I haven't blogged recently so I wanted to share now.  I was looking for a fun craft to do for my parents and in-laws for Grandparent's Day. I just had my hubby cut these 2 x 4 and then I painted them white.  I modgepodged cute scrapbook paper to the front of the 2 x 4 and to some clothespins.  Then I added some cute letters and threw two pics of my cuties inside the clothespins.  I think they turned out great and the grands loved them!

Well I'm off to bed!  Enjoy your weekend friends!!!


Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters-{Must Read Mentor Text}

I am FINALLY finding the time to link up with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text linky.  I have to admit that I am a huge stalker of this linky.  I read the posts and file the names of all these fabulous books in my head but I have never linked up myself.  Since I am diving right into the curriculum on Tuesday though, I thought I'd share a text that is perfect for third grade ELA!

The text that I am going to share is Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe:
This wonderful African tale is about Mufaro's two beautiful daughters, Nyasha and Manyara.  Nyasha is the kind and considerate sister while in contrast Manyara is selfish and mean.  One day the king of the land decided that he needed a wife and Manyara set out early to ensure that she was the chosen one; however, in the end because of her good deeds, Nyasha is called "The Most Worth and Beautiful Daughter in the Land" and becomes the Queen.

This book is an excellent source to teach the characteristics of a folktale and for recounting folktales; and I will touch on those with my kiddos; however, we are going to use this book to really focus on Common Core Standards RL.3.3-Describe characters in a story and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events and RL 3.7-Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in the story.  The illustrations in this book are simply amazing!  And they can really help support the teaching of RL.3.7 and connect it to RL.3.3.  Just look at how the details in this illustration can help the students to understand how humble and mild Nyasha is and how angry and spoiled Manyara is.
And this illustration can further exemplify the gentle spirit of Nyasha:
I love this illustration too because it shows how proud Mufaro is of both of his daughters while further emphasizing the personality traits of both girls.
So if you haven't read this text before, you simply must!  
I hope that you all have a blessed night and enjoy your extra day off tomorrow! =O)


Five for Friday {Back to School Edition}

TGIF, y'all!  We made it!!!  The first week of school with kiddos was a great success!  So I'm linking up with Kacey to show you a little of what we've been up to:
One of the things that's improved my teaching the most is being a mom to my two sweet boys.  I look at things from a different perspective as a teacher now and I really try to form a positive relationship with my students and their families right away.  So on the first day of school, I had each kiddo hold a little sign while I took a first day picture.   Then that night I emailed each parent a little note and attached the picture to the email.  It was such a great way to open the lines of communication from the start!

To try and help to get to know one another, we did several activities from my Back to School Blacklines pack.  They really loved this clipboard craft, especially because with the help of a binder clip, you can really open and close the top of the clipboard.  I picked this one to show you because you have to check out the lips on that bus driver, haha!

We read this book and talked in depth about how our mouths can sometimes be like volcanoes and "erupt" (super cute book if you've never read it!)  Then we made these little volcanoes and the students wrote one strategy that they could use when they feel like they want to "erupt" or interrupt.  This is a great lesson for kids of all ages!

We also spent quite a bit of time getting our Interactive Notebooks together.  I am planning to try to do Interactive Notebooks for all subjects so I requested that my kiddos bring in five subject notebooks.  We tore out two of the dividers to make a large section for ELA, a large section for Math, and then a section for Science and Social Studies together (I do alot of projects in these subjects so I don't think we'll need as much space).  I let the students decorate the front of their notebooks with stickers.  (And heard from many while they were decorating that I was the best teacher ever.  Who knew it just took some stickers?).  Then we added some Post-it tabs to the dividers to help them easily find each section.  Later we will use Post-it flags to hold our spots in each section.  Then we numbered the pages in each section and got to work.  We started by gluing some mini posters of the Math Practice Standards that my county provided into our notebooks and we talked about each standard and what it looks like.
Finally, it wouldn't be the first week without a funny story!  After going over several routines and procedures, I had my students do Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up to find a partner.  Then they were given directions to tell their partners one thing that they have learned about our classroom's rules/procedures so far.  When all partners were finished talking, I asked a few kids to share with the class.  One little girl looked right at me and simply said, "I learned that Mrs. Smith don't play!"  She went on to explain that when I was talking no one else better talk.  Well, I think that pretty much sums up my week friends, LOL! 

I hope you all have a restful weekend!  


Five for Friday

Oh my, y'all, I am worn out and just exhausted!  This was my first week back to school and it was a whirlwind of meetings, decorating my classroom, meetings, greeting my new kiddos and their parents, and more meetings.  (Anyone else start out the same way???)  But I am happy to say that I was all ready for Open House last night and had a terrific turn out.  All of my kiddos seemed so excited and I just know it's going to be an awesome year!

So even though I about to drag myself to bed soon, I wanted to link up with Kacey and show some of what I've been up to this week:


Bulletin boards...I kinda have a love/hate relationship with them.  I love looking at cute boards but I hate putting them up.  Well now that we have no Teacher Assistants at our school (and my former one was fabulous at handling my boards for me), I guess I'm gonna have to start enjoying them again.  Here is my welcome board, which is just outside my classroom door:

Then there is another board between my room and my neighbor's (our TA used to always put this up for us too).  I wanted to put something up that the kids would enjoy.  I saw the cutest board on Pinterest (there was no source at I can't credit it) and it inspired me to do a Despicable Me themed board.  I love how the minions turned out and the kids thought it was cool (my own sons wanted to put the minions up in their bedrooms)!

My classroom set are a few pics of my room.  My room gets a lot of sunlight so there seems to be a glare in lots of pictures...gotta figure out how to fix that!  I have a Hollywood theme but have really toned it down to more of a red/white/black scheme with some Hollywood stuff thrown in there.  Here is where I post my standards, vocabulary, and my literacy focus wall stuff (it's not complete yet).

Here's my computer area, math practice standards posters, and pocket chart for homework turn in (wow, my computer cords are sloppy, lol):

Now for the guided reading area, Bloom's Taxonomy posters, and my board to track AR and Accelerated Math:
This shows part of my classroom library:

My fancy wreath...Wow!  That's all I can say about this wreath.  One of my sweetie's mom made (that's right, I said MADE) this beautiful wreath in our school colors for me to hang on my door.  It looks amazing and I absolutely love it!  I also had two super sweet girls make gifts for me and give them to me at Open House (forgot to get a picture though).  One cutie made me a pen with a Duck tape flower and a bracelet and the other made me a Duck tape bag and wrote a precious little note.  Melt. my. heart!  
So I don't think I've talked much about this but a former student's mom asked if she could train me in Crossfit.  I have worked with her all summer and have done things that I never thought I'd be able to do. Crossfit makes me feel strong and has definitely boosted my energy level.  Oh yeah, and it doesn't hurt that I've lost weight! I'm going to try hard to keep working with her throughout the school year.  I worked out with her four times this week even though I've been working like a crazy lady to get my room ready so there's hope.
Laundry...please tell me I'm not the only one!  This was my first week back to work and already the laundry's been sitting piled up for a few days.  I just haven't had a second to sit and get it folded.  And it's surely not going to happen tonight.  I'm headed to bed soon...have a great night friends!
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