Friday, February 28, 2014

Lovin it & Over it

Hello, Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Ali from Teaching Powered by Caffeine for her new linky, Lovin' It and Over It.

Brain Breaks!


With the weather as bad as it's been this winter, recess has been indoors just about every single day for months.  Although indoor recess has been necessary, it definitely limits the students' physical activity.  More than ever, I feel that it essential to provide movement in the classroom as much as possible.  These brain breaks from Third Grade Thoughts have been a huge help in doing  this.  (I blogged about how I integrate brain breaks here.)

 Indoor Recess

Students need to be outside running around.  I can't wait until the temperatures and playground area are safe enough for the students to get outside!  We are at the point now where the snow is finally almost gone.  However, I've heard some horror stories about Sunday night's forecast.  I am refusing to look at it.

Thank you, Ali for hosting this great linky.  I absolutely love this idea!  I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else is loving & over. 

Spring is less that a month away! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

3 Million Sale

This has been a busy week with report cards due, being out for literacy committee meeting, sub plans and parent/teacher conferences.  I wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know that I am participating in the 3 Million Members TPT Sale.  
(Promo Code TPT 3)

Thank you!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Explaining Figurative Language

Hello, Everyone!  Today I'd like to share some activities I used in my class recently to help them explain and use figurative language.   

I made some cards with 12 common similes as well as their definitions.

I handed out a card to everyone in the class.  They had to find the card that matched theirs.  The tricky part was that they had to find their match without saying a word.

The next day, we reviewed what a metaphor was and completed the same activity.  The new twist was that I also incorporated a few of the trickier simile cards from the day before.  As students found a match, they had to state whether it was a simile or a metaphor.  I gave them a new card, and they had to find a new match.

 On the third day, I added idioms to the mix.  Students had a lot of fun with these.

After completing these activities, I made them available as centers for students to use during word work, for writing inspiration, or when they have all their work completed. 

Next, I typed out some paragraphs to see if students could determine the meaning of the figurative language based on the context.

Finally, I gave students some suggested pieces of figurative language for their writing.  They didn't have to use these.  They could choose their own if they wished.

This entire file (including recording sheets and answer keys) is available at my TPT store.  Just click here.

Thank you!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Beginning Economics Freebies

Hello, Everybody!  Today I'd like to share a couple of things that I use at the beginning of our economics unit.

United Streaming has a video that I like to use at the beginning of the unit.

I usually start with needs and wants, as well as goods and services.  There are some great resources on SMART Exchange.  Here is part of one that I like (by Paulwijaya).

I made this foldable for students to write definitions for needs, wants, goods, and services.

After going over definitions, my students can brainstorm examples and record them here.  ( I have them do this with a partner or in a small group.)

If you would like a copy of these three economics organizers, you can get them for free here.

I am looking forward to sharing more resources with you as we progress through this unit.

Thank you!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tried it Tuesday - Kindle on the SMART Board

Hello, Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her awesome linky, Tried it Tuesday.

First of all, let me say that I love books, and I don't see myself ever giving them up!  However, I also like to try new twists on my favorite activities, so I thought I would try sharing an electronic book with my class on the SMART Board.  We have been working with figurative language, and  I have have been eying the book, Why the Banana Split for a while now.


I saw that it was available on the Kindle.  I thought this was great because I could show students the idioms as I read.  (I don't own a Kindle.  I was just hoping this would work!)  What I liked about this presentation mode was the whole class could easily view the text. Students could come up to the SMART Board and point out the idioms.

We could also highlight the idioms as we read.

Of course, I have to show you the page with the banana idioms.

Reading off the SMART Board felt a little different because it is the first time I shared a book this way.  I had some trouble highlighting the pages with pictures, so I will need to play around with this a little.   I would use this method again, depending on the purpose of the book.  When looking for something specific, it worked out great.  However, my obsession for tangible books has not lessened one bit!

After sharing the book, I asked my students to hold up three fingers if they preferred the electronic book presentation, two fingers if they would like me to use a combination, and one finger if they preferred me to share paper books.  Just about everyone held up two fingers.  A few held up either one or three fingers.  The biggest reason students preferred electronic books is so they could follow along as I read.  The biggest reason for preferring a paper book is because they like to read the books I share on their own and the computers are usually taken.  (This made me VERY happy!)

I'm off to work check out what everyone else has tried and spend a LOT of time on report cards today.  (I am off for a conference comp day.)

Thank you, Holly for hosting this awesome linky!  I really enjoy seeing the new ideas everyone is trying out!

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Peek at my Week - Reading Projects

Hello Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her fun linky, A Peek at my Week.

We have off this Tuesday for our conference comp day.  However, I will spend a good chunk of the day working on conference prep and report cards.  I am thankful to have the time to get these things done.

We have been working hard in guided reading groups to reach a variety of comprehension goals.  I met with each group and we talked about our goals as well as what they knew about their books so far.  (Each group has read the first 3-5 chapters.)  I decided to try to "begin with the end in mind" and talk about the final project as we are reading the books.  After our discussions, here is what we came up with.

Goal - Main ideas/summary
Project - Power Point

Goal - Understanding/Evaluating Characters
Project - Create a game using events from the story.

everything for a dog

Goal - Asking and answering deep questions
Project - Create a talk show interviewing the characters.
See this post for a great app and free SMART board activity for generating questions.

Goal - Expand Vocabulary
Project - Make a graffiti wall with words & illustrations that show understanding of vocabulary (along with important items/events from the story)

Goal - Make inferences about characters and events
Project - Make a scrapbook of Louis' life

Because we are working on these projects as we read, we will spend quite a bit of time on this set of books.  This is the first time I assigned the end projects as we are reading the book.  So far, I really like doing it this way.  The kids are super excited about their projects and they are reading carefully to get the information they need.

I am off to check out what everyone else will be up to this week.  

Thank you, Jennifer for hosting this linky.  I always enjoy seeing what everyone has planned.

Have a great week!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturday - Estimate to Motivate

Hello Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for her awesome linky, Spark Student Motivation Saturday.

I would like to share an idea that was inspired by this post from Joanne's blog.  I adapted it to fit some of the goals in my classroom.

I love that I have so many avid readers in my class.  However, I do have a few that need a push.  I also have a few who tend to abandon books as soon as the "latest and greatest" book becomes available.  I am using Joanne's estimation jar idea to help encourage all of my readers.  So far, it is working out great!

First, I headed over to Target and bought this jar and some candy to fill it.

(Start can contains empty slips.  Completed slips go in the polka dot can.)

Now that the jar is full, students try to earn guesses at the amount of candy by reading books.  Every time a student fiishes a book, they are allowed to make one guess on the amount of candy in the jar.  The student who guesses closest to the exact amount wins all the candy.  I will run this through the month of February.  After I announce the winner, I will refill the jar and run the contest again for the month of March.  I am planning on doing this every month until the end of the school year.

The students were super excited when I announced this contest.  Even my reluctant readers set goals so they could earn several guesses. 

Here are the forms I am using for students to fill out their books and guesses.  You can get them here, if you are interested in trying this out in your classroom.

Thank you, Joanne for inspiring this idea that has truly helped motivate my students to read and for hosting this awesome linky party every week!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.