Monday, February 25, 2013

Cheesecake and a Huge Giveaway!

This was such a great weekend in Houston!  I got to join in on a teacher/blogger meetup at the Cheesecake Factory (I just skipped the meal and went straight to the lemon raspberry cream cheesecake!) and met some people whose blogs I have been following for awhile.  I got to sit right next to Donna from Math Coach's Corner (this was quite the thrill for me since I always read her blog) and Jessica at Welcome to Room 36.  We had lots of interesting chats about our schools, Daily 5, Math Workshop, and other teachery things.  I also got to meet Diane from Teaching With Moxie, and she was so energetic and sweet, and then Megan from I Teach, What's Your Superpower? stopped by our booth to say hi, which made my day complete :) My lovely coworker Barbara from Mrs. Balius's First Grade was also able to make it! Thank you to Lindsay over at My Life as a Third Grade Teacher for arranging the meeting.  Here is everyone who was there:

I hope we all meet up again soon so we have another chance to chat more with some of the people we weren't sitting with!  Go to Lindsay's blog for a complete list of everyone who was there :)

Now I want to tell you about a huge giveaway going on over at Teaching and Tapas.  Alyssha has divided the giveaway into categories by exact grade level, so there is a prize pack for each grade K-5, which I love!  If you win, you will be getting exactly what you need for yourself!  I donated my Bake Sale Literacy Unit, which has literacy activities with a baking theme.  It is a fun way to review some important skills like punctuation.  Go check out the giveaway when you get a chance; you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Five Things I Accomplished Yesterday

Yesterday, my school was a Professional Development day, but they gave us the whole day to work in our classrooms.  At first, I thought I wouldn't be able to fill my time up with things to do, but I ended up still not finishing everything on my list!  Teaching is truly a never ending job!  So I am linking up with Doodle Bugs's Five For Friday linky to share five of the things I accomplished yesterday.

1. I got these Abraham Lincoln projects graded, so they are ready to be passed back and sent home Monday.  They turned out so cute, but they took a lot of time!  The kids really enjoyed making them and learning about our 16th president.  It was a real lesson for them in following directions to get these little guys made!  I bought this craftivity from the Glyph Girls.

2. I got a new bulletin board put up in the hallway.  The kids made shape monsters using various 2-D shapes and then had to write about them.  It makes for a super-bright and inviting board!  Some of them got so creative with pop-ups and adding things like purses or lollipops to their monsters.  I got this project from Amy Lemons's shape unit.  

3. I printed out Reading A-Z books and worksheets for my small groups and got most of the books put together.  This is the last thing I was working on, so I didn't quite get it all finished.  I love using Reading A-Z for my small groups because the worksheets that go with the books are so great for covering comprehension, phonics, and grammar!  I'm focusing on nonfiction for the next couple weeks because that is what the kids need the most practice with.

4. I got all of my students' graded papers filed for the week.  I file all their graded papers every week, then staple them into packets and send them home Tuesdays for parents to sign.  This way, I am constantly communicating with parents about their child's grades.  I found this idea in The Mailbox magazine a couple of years ago, and I love it.  It really doesn't take too much extra time either.

5. I put some new papers up on the bulletin board in my classroom that shows good student work.  These were some Symme-"trees" the students made, also from Amy Lemons's shape unit (highly recommended product)!  The kids had to draw a tree and then sort shapes either on the tree (if they were symmetrical) or off the tree (if they were not symmetrical).  They had a lot of fun with this one!

I sure got a lot done yesterday, and this isn't even all of it!  It makes me wish we had a whole day to work in our classrooms more like once a month than once a year!  Happy weekend everyone - I get to meet my fellow Houston bloggers tomorrow at the Cheesecake Factory AND it's Oscars night tomorrow!! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My First Teacher/Blogger Meet Up!

I am really excited that some Houston area teacher/bloggers will be meeting up this Sunday!  I have seen other people in different states meeting up with each other and have been kind of jealous.  When you follow other people's blogs and read them every day, it's almost like meeting celebrities to actually see them face to face :)  I am eager to make some new teacher friends who are just as excited about blogging and connecting as I am.

Click on the picture to go to Lindsay's blog for more details and to RSVP.  Thank you to Lindsay for setting this up!  See you Sunday! 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

One Way I Teach Vocabulary

To share your ideas with this linky, please use the above image in your blog post and link it back to this specific post so that others can find their way here to see all the ideas.  Thank you so much to Deniece over at This Little Piggy Reads for making this graphic for me!  She even made that adorable ladybug!  And credit for the background goes to Megan at I Teach, What's Your Superpower? and the frame was made by Mercedes Hutchens at Surfing to Success.

I do Daily 5 in my classroom, so we are always working on vocabulary that is embedded in our text in small groups.  I know you need to teach vocabulary in a meaningful way, like in the books the children are reading.  I have also found a way to teach vocabulary for my 3rd graders during a daily context clue minilesson.  I use this book for my word every day:

The book suggests telling students what the word means, but I write the provided sentence on the board and have students figure out the definition of the word themselves with context clues.  I also have them tell me what part of speech they think the word is, and they are really improving with daily practice of that skill.  The book is also great for student participation, because it has some questions to go with every word.  For example, for the word "fragile," it says, "Which of the following is fragile?  A pillow?  A mirror?" (Not word for word, but you get the point).  I have students give me a thumbs up or thumbs down for this type of activity.  Then, the book connects the word to students' lives.  (Tell about something in your house that is fragile).  I make my students answer in complete sentences using the word. (Something fragile in my house is....).  

Every day, we review all the words we've learned so far that week.  We also have one review word from a previous week.  On Fridays, we have a quiz.  My students are doing great on their quizzes.  And the best part is when I hear students using their words in their day-to-day speech.  I had one little girl tell me, "She is not my friend anymore.  Permanently!"  Don't worry - they were friends again the next day.  3rd grade drama this year!

And now for a little funny from our week of vocabulary.  On Friday, we were reviewing our words for the week.  When I asked the students to tell me what our words were, one sweet little girl raised her hand and said, "Constipated?"  I waited for the class to break into laughter, but I guess they don't know what that word means.  I kept a straight face and gently said, "Noooo...hmm can a friend help her out with one of our words?"  I guess she's been hearing that word at home a lot recently or something?  :)

I'd love to hear some of your ideas about how you incorporate vocabulary into your day.  Please Note: The purpose of this linky is to link to your blog post about teaching vocabulary, not to put a direct link to a product.  If you link to your blog post, please include the above image with a link back to this post so your blog followers can be linked back to other people's ideas.  Thank you :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lessons from the Middle Giveaway

                                    "Lessons From The Middle First Blog Birthday Giveaway"

I am really excited to be participating in an amazing giveaway! Krystal Mills of Lessons From The Middle is celebrating her FIRST Blog Birthday in a big way. There are close to 100 teachers who have donated their fabulous products/gift certificates for her giveaway. There are prize packages for grades K-3, 4-6 and 7-9 - so there's something for almost everyone! Be sure to make your way over to Lessons From The Middle Feb. 8th - 11th to enter.

Celebrating my first Blog Birthday - Lessons From The Middle

Friday, February 1, 2013

Five for Friday

I am linking up again with Doodle Bug's Five for Friday.  It's a good way to catch up on things I've been meaning to post about, but haven't had time :)

1.  We celebrated the 100th day of school today.  I teach 3rd grade, and this is the first time I've celebrated the 100th day.  The only other class that did it was one of the kindergarten classes.  But I have to say, my kids absolutely loved it, and it was a great way to reflect on our year so far.  It was also just a great way to relax a little and have some fun together.  We made crowns, and  I loved this one because he added the "sparkling of the jewels" on top:

I found it at Julie Lee's TPT store.  Click on the picture to get it for your 100th day next year!

2.  It seems like we are winding up the year already in Math because we are moving on to the last few things the kids need to know before we just start reviewing for state testing.  This week, we worked on perimeter and area with Amy Lemon's unit.   Their favorite activity was probably finding the perimeter and area of Cheez-it shapes they made!

3. I started a new system for posting our daily schedule and objectives on the board every day.  Previously, I was just putting the objectives up.  But I found these free schedule cards by Cara Carroll on TPT, and so now I post our daily schedule and write the objectives next to Math, Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and Science.  The cards are really cute and brighten up the board.  The kids like seeing our schedule (even though we pretty much do the same routine every day)!

4. I have a child who has serious behavior issues when he's upset.  We're working on a reward system to help him control his emotions.  When asked what rewards he might like, included on his list was for me to make him dinner!  That cracked me up - he sure has high expectations for his rewards!

5. When meeting with our new principal today, I noticed several professional development books on his bookshelf.  While browsing, I asked if they were his.  He said no, and I could feel free to take what I want.  Score!  I chose 2 books, including this one by Debbie Diller:

I love the progress my kids make during small group time, and I'm sure I'll find lots of great ideas in here!  Can't wait to start reading it!