Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sunday's Words for the Week

I want to first thank those who emailed or commented on last Sunday's words. I love hearing from you about anything I post but treasure those comments from the words for the week posts. Many of you have left me with ideas to think and grow from. Thank you for that.
Here are words in honor of Read Across America and Dr. Seuss.

Yikes, anyone at this stop sign? Are you feeling stuck? Stuck in a bad situation, stuck in a negative place, maybe just stuck in a bad mood?

Then you must read the genius that was Theodor Seuss Geisel.

This is one of my favorite quotes:

What an empowering quote this is. For me it reinforces the idea that every day, every hour, every minute, every moment I can make a choice as to how I want to live my life. Every morning when I rise I can choose what kind of person I want to be, what kind of day I want to have and how I'm going to deal with my world and everything that comes into it. As a teacher there is so much beyond my control and through the years I have gotten better about accepting that. The power comes in choosing my reaction to what is happening. That part (the most important part) is entirely up to me. Do I always react in a positive, uplifting way? I wish I could say yes, but the truth is there are many times I fall short. Yet, the good news is that another opportunity to try again is coming, sometimes in the very next moment.

How about you? What direction are you choosing for the week that lies ahead?

Have a great one,


Check back and I'll show you how I use this quote with my students!

Powerful Prefixes: Part Two

I'm so glad others want to use these! It makes it so much more worth the effort of creating things when many are able to benefit. Here are some more prefixes. If you scroll below you can find and download, prefixes: pre, non and re. Check the last post for part one which includes how I use these little prefix posters on a bridge map. I am also including the recording sheet that I use. This one can be used for any prefix. We call them "Powerful Prefixes" because they have the power to change the meaning of a word.

Here my students are sorting base words under the prefix that can be use with it. They are checking the dictionary to determine if they were right. I snuck some tricky ones in the mix like: "able" and "like". They could fit under both.

This makes for a great literacy station or partner activity. I heard much discussion as students were defending their answer and telling each other how they have heard the words used.

Here is the prefix recording sheet:

Prefix Recording Sheet

More prefix posters:

Visit again to check out more powerful prefixes and then the strong suffixes set!
Prefix Pre

Prefix Re

Prefix Non

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Breaking Big Words: Prefixes

Yes, well we do work with some mighty long words in third grade! My kids are learning that they are not all that scary if you can learn how to break them down. So we spend a lot of time working with prefixes and suffixes.

Here is a great book that I've used to introduce this word part to my kids. They have all sorts of books from this series....If You Were A Noun, If You Were A Verb...etc. etc.

You must check them out if you have not discovered this series already! I read it as a read aloud and "hook" into the lesson. Then it will go into a literacy station with some prefix activities for students to reread.

Here is the bridge map we have in the room to use when studying prefixes. It has been laminated and I use big paperclips to attach the prefix and meaning cards. This allows my students to manipulate and sort the cards. They sort the prefix with what it means and how it changes the baseword. We brainstorm examples which they write on post it notes and stick under each.

Here are the prefix cards and meaning cards for the prefixes: un and dis. I have others that I can post if people are interested. Send an email or post a comment and let me know


Prefix Dis

Oh, these cute fonts are from Lettering Delights! They give free fonts for signing up with you email!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday's Words for the Week

Yep, this is pretty accurate! The paper piles, tests, meetings, not to mention the teaching can get way overwhelming! How is everyone dealing with it all? Some days/moments are better than others for me. When I get overwhelmed I tie my running shoes on and leave my stress on the pavement or I drop to my knees and lay my burdens down. "So leave it all behind and come to the well." Both usually work for me. But one thing is certain, the attitude I choose to maintain makes a world of difference.

I love Charles Swindoll's words on the topic:

Yes, I agree totally. We are in charge of our attitudes. It's a wonderful thing.

Turn the light on. Have a great week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Make And Take Explorer Study Guide

I've gotten so many amazing resources from my blogger contacts out there. Now it is my turn to share one with you. I know many of my Virginia friends are or will be working on a European Explorer Unit. I wanted to share a great idea I got from a class I took a few years back. In it we worked on creating different types of study guides or lap books. Here is an example of one using pockets and cards. Here is the front cover glued to a simple folder

Inside we glued down four pockets. These pockets are made from legal sized envelopes cut in half and glued down. We glued the pictures of the four explorers we study in Virginia. As we learned about each explorer, we wrote down essential information on four cards which are then stored in their pockets.

We glued down a map that we use to show where they came from and where they went. Students are given a wikki stick that they use to match the four routes. They can do this again and again as they study the information. You could give them a pipe cleaner too, it would work just as well.

Here are the close ups of the cards. We include the most important points of each explorer.
The cards make it an interactive study guide because to study the students mix up all the cards in one big pile and then practice sorting them into the right pockets. We mark it with the explorers initials on the back of the card so students can self check at home when they study.

Glued to the back is the song sheet that includes songs for all four explorers. The songs also contain the important information that students need to know. One of my students was saying that the song was stuck in their head.....exactly what I wanted!

Those who know me know I love thinking maps. Here is one my kids made for a reference poster. It is a bridge map of the four explorers. The relating factors include where they came from and where they explored.

Here the kids took their cards out of their study guide and used them to play a version of Go Fish. The first student to collect all four cards from one explorer was the winner.

I could see how this type of study guide could be used for many other topics too. How about Famous Americans or Indians? Please comment if you are going to try it out! I love to hear your ideas on making it work for you!

Check out my TPT page to get a copy of this file on European Explorers!European Explorers: A Make and Take Study Guide

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Math Stations and Multiplication

Ha! I've got math on my brain tonight. I got to take a whole day to visit other schools in our county to observe Math Stations and Guided Math! I LOVE seeing other teachers' classrooms. Such an inspiration! On top of that, I get to go to a conference on Math Stations. I'm stuck on which one to go to. I can go see Debbie Diller present Math Stations next month. I've seen her at her Reading Conferences and love her! I'm not sure if her math conference will lean too much on the young side though. I really want to get into how to make it work for my third graders. I found another conference called "Guided Math and it is geared for 3-6 grade. Which one do I do? Has anyone seen the Debbie Diller one? Would love your help in making my decision!!
Here are the two books I base my math stations/guided math on:
I think they are both really good.

So with math on my mind, I thought I'd share a multiplication station I've been running. Do you have JUNK BAGS? This idea is way old...I'm going back to the days of Math Their Way. Talk about a good workshop! Do they still run those? Anyway, some of my junk bags are seriously old. I've been replenishing with some new bags. I've found the best place to go is to Michaels or AC Moore or other craft stores.

As part of my whole group mini lesson on the set model of multiplication, I read this gem:

This is a Marilyn Burns book and you just can't go wrong with her stuff! Here is the super simple, yet effective practice that I did as the follow up to the reading and for a math station.

It uses the game board shown, a bag of "JUNK", dice and a recording sheet.

Oh, we also used a calculator in this station to check answers after we were all done.

The student rolls the dice and that number represents the number of groups. The second roll of the dice represents the number to put into each group. The player shows those equal sets with their "junk" on their game board and then records the number equation on the recording sheet.

Then player two goes and follows the same procedure. After the rounds the players add up all the products to see who got the highest score.

This game comes from a book on math games so I didn't copy it for you. I'm not entirely sure on the rules and regulations for stuff like that. I'm guessing it's copy righted and I may end up in jail if I post it???? Take a look at the board game. I'm thinking you could whip up something similar!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Card Holder and Homework Pass

I had many questions about how to make the card holder so here you go....

Here is the finished example. It creates a pocket to put lots of cards into. Materials needed:
9x12 inch sheet of red and white construction paper (or V. Day colored paper) Scissors, stapler,
decorating supplies.
**Did not have red/white paper for this tutorial so I used light pink and hot pink.
1. Fold the red paper (here I used light pink) in half to a 6x9 inch size.
2. Cut the top to round as shown below. Unfold the paper.

3. Fold the white paper (here I used hot pink) in half to a 6x9 inch size. Unfold it.
Place the two papers on top of each other with the cut paper underneath. Align the fold lines.
4. Fold up the bottom corners to the center. (As shown below)

5. Fold down the top sheet (hot pink in this picture) Fold it over to make the top of the pocket.
6. Staple the pocket at both ends and in the middle.
7. Kids wrote their names on the pocket and decorated.

Also here is the Homework Pass I am giving. The poem is not my own original idea. I have used it for YEARS and do not remember who I originally got it from. Anyone out there know?

I hole punched two holes to slide a lollipop in and taped to secure. The link for the Homework Pass is on the Valentine's Day post. I think I fixed the proble with Scribd. Let me know if you need me to send it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday's Words for the Week

Wishing you much love this Valentine's Week.


Check back tomorrow if you would like directions on the V. Day card holder posted this weekend. You only need two full sheets of construction paper per students (one red, one white) and scissors to make it. Very easy. (:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Simple Machines

We flew through our Simple Machines Unit but here are some highlights. I know some who are getting ready to start on this now. This post is heavy on photos which is one reason I like blogging. Maybe I'll remember what I did for next year!
Here we are working with the models we made of the simple machines. We kept them in our tool bags and reviewed with them before the big test.

We recorded our information in our Simple Machines flip book and took these home as part of our make and take study guide packet. Kids were assigned to teach someone using their books and models after we made each one.

After we learned about all of them, we used Thinking Maps to make connections between the functions of each of them machines. Here is a double bubble.

Students used the Brace Map to show what makes up different compound machines.

The Bridge Map helped them to make analogies using the machines

We made a Big Book of Simple Machines. It included a page on each of the machines and pictures and labels that the kids made.

Here is a song we learned about simple machines. We added a copy of this to our Big Book and students sang this to someone at home as a way to review the material.

Simple Machines

The model materials and flipbook are now available on TPT....check here if interested:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Possessive Nouns Lesson and Song

Recently we tackled the possessive noun. I try to connect my skills lessons to actual reading or writing activities whenever I can. For our lesson on possessives I introduced the word "possess" and "possession" and we added these words to the "Words to know" section of our reading journal. Then I read aloud this super cute book:

If you are not familiar with Wodney you MUST seek these books out. Third graders love this character! Looking at the title we talked about why the author used the apostrophe in writing the title and I introduced the possessive noun.

Following the introduction lesson, we learned the possessive noun song. We sing a lot in our class. I find it to be a great way to get information to stick in students' brains. We glued this into our note section of our writing journals and brainstormed examples to write. Then we did the zip around which was like SCOOT. I set an object at each station and students rotated through. They named each one and turned it into a possessive noun. An example would be to set a book there. Students could write the noun "book" and make it possessive by writing: "book's chapters". This gave them practice using the apostrophe.

Possessive Nouns Song
A day or so later I read this ABC book. Also cute read aloud and good review of proper nouns.

We then made our own Possessive Noun ABC book. Each student took a page. We will keep this in our classroom library as a way to review this part of speech.