Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Fall Themed Book Report: I'm Nuts About This Book!

 Fall is my favorite time of the year and so I always look for ways to bring it into my classroom. 

                         We have been working on learning all about the elements of a story. 

This prop and visual is my go to for reviewing these important elements before reading a fictional story.  I used one of those clapper hands to hot glue the pieces onto.  After summarizing using these elements we can clap for ourselves and the story!  Fun!

My kids have been getting so good at this skill!  After lots of discussion, we have now started writing simple book reports.  Students report on who the characters were, what the setting was, the conflict and the resolution.  There we go...a super simple summary!  I created this fall acorn template to add a bit of fall fun to it all!

It makes a great display and way for kids to share the books they are reading!

Our first one was a response to the super cute book: 
Squirrel's Busy Day. 

I liked this one because it has a very clear cut conflict and resolution.

You can find this "I'm Nuts About This Book Template" in my TPT store. 

Nuts About This Book Response

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Look into My Hybrid Classroom

Wow, a lot of time has passed since I last wrote on this blog! 
Covid has definitely forced all of us to pivot and adapt to a new way of teaching and learning.  
Like most, I had to figure out a way to teach kids virtually.
Now we are back in the classroom in the hybrid model and it's back to the drawing board as we try to figure out the best way to instruct kids who are at home AND at school. Those who are not educators  can not fully grasp just how overwhelming this year has been.  
Nonetheless, I am so grateful that I get to teach some of my students face to face each day. 
It has inspired me and has renewed my spirit. 
I want to document this transition and so here I am blogging once again after a long while. 
I hope you will join me as I try to make the most of the time I have left with my kids. 
They have been through a lot and we are all SO excited to be back!

There have been many changes to be made in the actual physical environment of my classroom. 
Come take a look: 

Desks are no longer grouped in table teams, instead we are spacing desks 6 feet apart.
This allows kids space next to, and behind their desk to get up and take a physical break or sit on the floor if they want to get out of their chair.  
Students are expected to spend the majority of the day in their "learning zone". 
They are doing remarkably well with this!
A laundry basket beside their desk gives them a place to put their bookbag, lunchbox and coat. 

Instead of using the coat hooks for coats, they now hold math manipulatives for each child. 
Base ten blocks, dice, counting chips, etc. have been placed in gallon sized bags labeled with each child's name. 

We have not been able to use math manipulatives as I would have liked to when teaching virtually.  
I will be sure to give kids lots of time with these as we move into our last grading period. 

Because my kids are sharing a desk with another child, they keep materials in these green trays. 
I found these at the dollar store and they fit exactly into their desks. 
Kids keep them in their desks for the two days they are in school and then place them back in their cubby.  Desks are deep cleaned in between groups. 

I am streaming in kids virtually for part of the day. 
I use this computer on top of a rolling cart so I can stay mobile as I teach both face to face and virtual kids at the same time. 
This is a challenge but we are figuring out how to make this work. 

Another addition has been these rubber mats that my kids use to get out of their chairs. 
Kids can sit or lay on these during some work times and for independent reading time. 

Kids all have their own, put we also can easily sanitize them down with spray and wipes between uses. 

These little rockers from Walmart are also a big hit with my kids. 
They can earn the right to use one once in awhile. 
I am on the look out for seating that can be easily sanitized.
These are perfect for another kind of book nook!

     Finally, my kids are all masked through most of the day.  
Again, they have adapted beautifully to this and are doing a great job.

Although it has taken time and effort to figure out how to transition back into the class, 
I am so grateful to be back again. 

Are you back in the classroom? 
How have you adapted?  I'd love to hear how it is going for you!
email me @youndor8@gmail.com



Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Remote Teaching with Video Tutorials and Practice Pages: Math Problem Solving with CUBES

Hello Friends!
It's been a while since I have posted anything and what a different world we live in!
How are you managing?
Have you jumped enthusiastically into your role as a remote teacher or are you dragging yourself through it each day? 
I will say this has been a learning experience for me!  

We are closed down for the rest of the year so the challenge is how to teach and review important concepts before I send these kiddos to the next grade level. 
One focus for me must be those power standards. Those real life skills that are necessary but sometimes challenging to teach and to learn. 

We are sending home a weekly learning slide show.  
It includes daily lessons in each subject area. 

For math, we are also sending home review problems to keep already taught skills sharp. 

Problem solving is one of those power standards. 
This year we used the CUBES strategy with good success. 
Before using this strategy, my students would read a problem and immediately announce, "I don't get it!"  Now I'll reply with, "Did you use CUBES?"
The CUBES strategy helps students break down a math story problem. 
The letters in the word CUBES remind students of what good problem solvers focus on when solving story problems. 
It goes like this: 

I created a video tutorial for my students to watch to review what we learned in the classroom. 

I can send this link through a Google Classroom or even through Class DoJo. 
Being able to see and hear the strategy in action was so helpful to my students and parents! 
Then, I can send them the problem solving pages to work on and they can practice using CUBES themselves. 

Here is the video tutorial:

Are you trying to review good math problem solving strategies? 
You can find this set in my Teacher Pay Teacher Store: 

Problem Solving With the CUBES Strategy - Great for Remote Learning

You can find the video tutorial along with some others here: 

I'd love to hear how you are adjusting to your new teaching role during this challenging period of time! Wishing you the best!

Comment or email me @ youngdor8@gmail.com

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Word Study Woes? A Solution and New Resource by Jan Richardson

The English language is hard, tricky, complicated. 
Letters can make multiple sounds and there are always exceptions to the rules. 
No wonder why spelling is such a struggle for our little learners. 
No wonder why teachers have often felt at a loss as to how to teach spelling effectively. 

I have tried it all. 
I have used whole class spelling lists during the days of the old reading basals. 
I've tried all different configurations of Words Their Way. 
Lists and lists of words.
Whole group, small group, individual. 

I still have not figured it out.  
Currently, my students have word study journals and work with words that follow grade level spelling patterns. 

Is this the best method? 
I can't say with confidence that it is. 
That's why I was so thrilled when Scholastic informed me that Jan Richardson had just published a new book focused on the teaching of word study and phonics and that they were sending me two copies...one to use and one to gift to a lucky blog reader. 
I am a huge fan of Jan and her work in the area of literacy and in particular guided reading. 

I have read and reread her book The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading

I channel my inner Jan each day as I meet with my small groups. 
I've seen the impact it has made in my reading instruction. 

So I'm super excited and ready to dig into the companion to this resource: 
The Next Step Forward in Word Study and Phonics
by Jan Richardson and Michele Dufresne!

Are you a Jan fan?
I'd love to send you a free copy of this brand new teacher resource book.
Just enter the giveaway by commenting on this blog or visit me on Instagram.
Then enter the contest using the Rafflecopter below.
I will send the lucky winner the book next week!
Then come back and visit my blog.
I will be trying out the ideas and strategies outlined in this book and
will be posting about it along the way!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Our Five Writing Responsibilities: Editing Rules

My kids absolutely love writing! 
We organized a spot in the room for our writing supplies and offices. 

We decorated our writing folders with photographs, pictures and words to inspire our writing. 

My kids are filling up pages.
Sometimes they write to a prompt that I give them.
Other times they get to choose their own writing topics.
Writing in their journals is always a wise choice if they are a fast finisher and complete assignments early.  So many of them WANT to write!
That makes my teacher heart so happy!

I loved that they were writing up a storm, but I wanted to be able to read and understand their writing. The whole purpose of putting pencil to paper, right?
Although I knew my kids got instruction in using capitals, punctuation, sight words, handwriting, and sentence writing in earlier grades, they weren't always using what they had learned.

I decided to spend one week reviewing their "Writing Responsibilities".
I took one responsibility a day.  I taught it explicitly using a visual slide show and then we practiced together using a practice page.  After we posted the responsibility.

After the week our poster was complete and kids had a chance to review each important writing skill with me. Now I feel like it is fair to hold student writers responsible for using complete sentences, capitals, punctuation, correct spelling and neat handwriting.

Now when we edit our drafts, kids know what to look for.

In case you are feeling the same writing struggle, I decided to share.
I have added this set to my TPT store.
You can check it out here:

Teaching 5 Writing Responsibilities: Teaching Slides and Practice Pages

My Five Writing Responsibilities Teaching Slide Show

Happy Teaching and Happy Writing!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

First Day Fun with Modeling Me!

It's the first day of school.
What are your goals for the day? 

For me, building relationships and establishing a classroom community is key to my lesson planning. 

I like to spend time getting to know my new students on a personal level. 
Plus, I want kids to make connections with kids.
We will be spending the next 10+ months together and will become a family of learners. 
What we do these first weeks together will help form a foundation of respect and acceptance. 

One way we can find out more about each others' likes and interests is through a first day activity called "Modeling Me".  

Play-Doh, Play Dough, Creative

In this activity, students are given a bit of playdoh and get to model it into different shapes that tell something about themselves. 

Many kids feel anxious and worried on their first day in a new classroom. 
The act of manipulating the clay is also relaxing and calming...kind of like using a stress ball. 

I will "model" what to do with the clay first. 
I usually model it into the faces of my own two children and tell them a little about my family. 
Or I will model it into an airplane and tell students about my love of travel. 
Kids are really interested in their teachers!

Then I give them theirs and let them have at it. 

In the past, some kids modeled the clay into foods they like.....this student loves pizza.

Others use the playdoh and model it into their pet.

You could stop the activity right there and just have kids walk about viewing each others' creations. Or have them form a sharing circle to show and tell what they created. 

I often take it a step further and have them draw what they made and write a sentence or two about it. 

This student loves elephants and is drawing and writing about it.

We found out that this student loves football and plays for a team.

We have a gymnast in our classroom family!

I love this first week activity because it is both engaging and enlightening. 

I am sharing this "Modeling Me!" page in my TPT store. 
I'm making it a FREE resource because we all know that by this time in the summer teachers have spent their last dime on setting up their classrooms.
Just click the link below to grab a copy of this and other first day activities. 
First Day of Third Grade Printables

I'll be back to share more ideas and would love to have you join this community of teachers helping teachers!  Follow me on this blog, instagram and TPT!
Have a great first day with your new family!!