Saturday, January 31, 2015

Lovin' Those Multisyllable Words FREEBIE

New intervention groups are starting up in a week, and I volunteered to plan the multisyllable words group.  The students in the group just need practice and are lacking a bit of confidence, so I didn't go into great depth with syllable types for this short term intervention.  I created materials and gathered activities and games from several sources.

To keep things engaging, I decided to create some Valentine's Day materials for the group to use. There is a word list. There are syllable sorting cards.  And... There are RIDDLES!  I found a collection of corny riddles on the internet and modified them so that they would have more multisyllable words.  The kids will lightly color over the multisyllabic words before reading the riddles aloud to each other. My daughter gave the riddles a test run for me.  She read them to her brother, her dad, and even the cat. Apparently, the cat doesn't have much of a sense of humor.

If you would like to grab the materials I created,  just click here or on the image below.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Five for Friday

Each week, I look forward to linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

There wasn't a whole lot of school this week.  Monday was a professional development day, and we were released early because Blizzard Colbie was on the way.  Tuesday and Wednesday we had no school because of all the snow.  On Thursday and Friday we had 2-hour delays.  Spring needs to arrive soon! The top photo is from late Monday evening when the snow was starting.  The bottom photo is the view from my classroom window this morning. You can't tell, but it was snowing lightly.

While we were snowed in, my daughter brought me this invitation to a tea party.  I planned to attend in my jammies, but my daughter politely suggested that I get dressed.

When we FINALLY got to school on Thursday, I tried to get as much accomplished as possible. Here the kids are researching turtles and tortoises with partners and in small groups.  To read more about our turtle research projects [and to grab a freebie] click here

Some of my students have finished the main events of their snow monster stories.  They are peer editing using a checklist. My co-teacher and I will be teaching techniques for a strong, extended ending next. You can read more about how I teach writing by going to the Empowering Writers website.

The cafeteria staff requested some hearts for the one bulletin board in our school's kitchen. The children walk by it as they wait in line for their lunches. Since we've been cooped up so much due to bad weather, we spent a few minutes creating these hearts last week.  Today, during indoor recess, the kids had the option of gluing on some sequins.  

Well, that's it!  I'm amazed at how much we got done in two days.  My students were wonderful.  

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to visit Doodle Bugs Teaching to read more Five for Friday posts. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wordless SNOWday

It's Wednesday, so it's time to link up again with Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice for her weekly Wordless Wednesday party! 

We're having a snow day.  Yesterday, we had a gigantic snowstorm.  Blizzard Colbie came through. Where I live, we never actually got blizzard conditions, but we did get 20-something inches of snow. Usually it takes some time for towns and schools to completely clear everything.  So, it's our second day off in a row.  That makes 3 snow days so far.  I love being home, but I'm bummed that I probably won't have much time to use all of the fun groundhog activities I had planned! [Click here to read more about them.]

How may snow days have you had this year? For those of you who don't get snow, what kinds of inclement weather days do you have?  Is school cancelled often?

Have a great Wednesday! Head over to Sugar and Spice to see more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hunkering Down

Our family enjoys a little snow now and then.  Playing in it is fun.  Building snow people is something we look forward to.  In fact, there are three miniature snow people in our yard right now.

Now, blizzards are another story!  We could do without those.  We're under a blizzard warning here in Connecticut.  We're ready for it and are prepared to hunker down!  In a way, I guess it's kind of fun.  I'm thankful for our cozy house. [And for our generator in case we lose power.]

What's your favorite kind of weather? What weather do you hate the most?  Leave me some comments. I'll have plenty of time to read and respond while I'm hunkered down!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snowy Sunday Scoop

We had some snow yesterday! It was the first significant snowstorm we've had, so the kids and I went out to make snow people.  My husband and I did some shoveling and salting so I won't have to drive across an ice rink in the morning to get to work.  Playing in the snow was fun, but I'm not thrilled about the snowstorm predicted for Tuesday.  Currently, the forecast says 5-8 inches.  That's down from 8-12 inches, so I guess I can't complain!

I'm linking up with Kristen, Juliet, and Cassie at The Teaching Trio for their weekly linky, Sunday Scoop.

Most of my grading is up-to-date, but I've brought home a few sets of assignments that I haven't looked at since Friday afternoon when I stuck them in my bag. I'll pull everything out after I finish this blog post and start digging in. 

Tomorrow is all day professional development.  We'll be examining new social studies standards and doing another half day of training for the NWEA test.  Do any of you use NWEA Map testing?

My daughter has requested a bath with toys.  I'm thinking shower, because it's quicker.  We'll see!

Snow is supposed to start tomorrow evening, but the forecast says "snow showers" from 2-6 p.m.  I'm hoping it's not slippery when I drive home.  I'm kind of a big baby about driving in the snow.

My sticker stash is getting BORING.  I don't know if the kids are bored with the same old stickers, but I am!  

It's nice that my driveway is cleared, and we have the rest of the afternoon to spend time together. That's my favorite thing to do on a weekend.

Head over to The Teaching Trio to read everyone's "scoops".  Have a great week!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Encroaching Piles of Papers

Encroaching:  To advance beyond the usual or proper limits!
I stayed late last night at work.  The piles were taking over! I found this photo on Pinterest that almost captures it!


If you read my blog regularly, you know that my daughter had a horrendous ear infection for a week. Twice, I called in to stay home with her and once I had to leave early to take her to the doctor. During that same week, we had a snow day. There was also a lockdown drill during my planning period. To top it all off, there was an emergency with my Dad so I left early one day this week.  (I'm glad to report that my Dad is doing much better.)

Those few days of missing my planning time and after-school-prep time made my classroom a disaster!  This entire week, I felt out of sorts and behind.  Staying late was helpful, because I do have a pretty good system for organizing things. Spending a little extra time at work got me back on track.

The most useful system I have is my filing system.  There are weeks of dated file folders in a crate. When I prep something, it can go right into the correct file. I can always find things.  If I have to type up sub plans from home to send in, I can easily explain to the substitute where to find everything. My file crate looks a lot more raggedy and used than it did in August.  Here are the before and after pictures!

My paras, my volunteers, and the special education teacher who team-teaches with me all know about the crate! This is great, because I can write directions for copying on sticky notes and include a direction about where to put the copies. If I'm out for a meeting or a sick day, someone usually knows where to find my stuff! 

Another thing I do at least weekly is go through my plan book and make notes on dated post-its about what I need to prep for each day.  This helps me prioritize what I need to do.  When tasks pile up, I can get scatterbrained and overwhelmed. This helps a lot!

Hopefully, this gives you some helpful tips for dealing with encroaching piles of papers! Have a great week!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five for Friday

Happy Friday, everyone!  Last week I missed this linky, so I'm going to cheat a little and share things from the past TWO weeks.  Thanks once again to Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting Five for Friday.

We are continuing to read about turtles.  We started with Turtle Bay and One Tiny Turtle.  Now, we've moved onto expository text.  The students read Turtle Talk with partners yesterday. It's a leveled book that came as part of the reading series our district purchased 11 years ago. It's actually quite good!  Today, students met in small groups to begin researching a turtle or tortoise.  There are four groups:  the snapping turtle group, the leatherback sea turtle group, the painted turtle group, and the Galapagos tortoise group.  It was kind of crazy and loud today, but everyone was engaged and interested. We'll be using the laptops next week to further our studies.

We've been practicing and practicing and practicing our multiplication and division skills!  I want my students to really be fluent with their facts and to understand the relationship between multiplication and division.  One of the activities we did was a "Solve the Room" activity to practice multiplication and division fact families.  They love anything that gets them moving!  You can find the task cards and related practice sheets here.  

I shared previously that the students were beginning a narrative story about a snow monster adventure. Last week, we focused on writing entertaining beginnings. (More about that here.)  We also focused on techniques for adding descriptive detail and suspense.  This week, students have been working on their "main event".  We modeled how to use the techniques. The students have been busy drafting their stories.  One of my favorite times in the classroom is when soft music is playing and every child is busily writing.  It's the best.

My kids and I have been doing devotions most nights.  Gabrielle reminds me faithfully. She LOVES her devotional book and has already told me that she wants another when we finish it. 

It's a little harder to be consistent with Seth.  He is often busy doing things up until it's time for him to shower.  I need to be more diligent about setting that time aside with him. Seth and I have been reading The Hiding Place together. It's an autobiographical account of Corrie ten Boom's life.  She and her family hid Jewish people in their home during the Nazi occupation of Holland and were sent to a concentration camp.  It sounds depressing, but it isn't.  Truly.  She was an amazing lady.

I came home to homemade pizza and peanut butter dream bars!  They were, well......dreamy.  My husband spoils me rotten, and I truly appreciate it!  

Don't forget to head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to read other bloggers' weekly happenings.  Have a great weekend!  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Groundhoggy Goodness

Groundhogs are cute, even if they can't predict the weather.  For several years, there was a groundhog that visited my yard every spring.  His name was George, and I always looked forward to seeing him.

Since I like groundhogs--and because I'm a celebrator--I am planning to incorporate some groundhoggy fun into my lessons and centers next week! There's a Groundhog Day freebie for you at the end.  Here's what we'll be doing:

I'll use one of my writing blocks to show a brief informative video about groundhogs and Groundhog Day.  Then, we'll spend time writing opinion pieces. Do we want 6 more weeks of winter?  Do we want spring to arrive soon? This will be a quick and fun way to review writing opinion pieces.   I found a great freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers created by Jennifer Findley. You can download it from her store by clicking here or on the image below.

Here's the video I will definitely use. It's short, sweet, and informative!

Lisa at Second Grade Stories has created an excellent nonfiction mini-unit about groundhogs.  It's very versatile and includes several activities.  I plan to use it for literacy centers. I'm still deciding whether to project the full-sized pages onto my Smartboard or whether to print out the half pages for students to share.  You can see the unit in her store by clicking here or on the image below. 

Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts has created Groundhog Day Word Work centers. They're really perfect for grade 3, because the vocabulary is challenging but attainable. Last year, my students were elbow-deep in dictionaries and having a BLAST doing the activities in small groups.  You can see the product in Stephanie's store by clicking here or on the image below. 

I've discovered an extremely well-done, kid-friendly, free, engaging website called 
Groundhogs at Hoghaven. The site debuted in January 1998.  Here's a screenshot:

There are groundhogs photos, sounds, videos, and a quiz!  I'll be using this website to model for students how to use website features such as key words, sidebars, and hyperlinks (Common Core State Standard RI.3.5).  

Finally, the FREEBIE!  We've been working on division along with multiplication/division fact families. Students always need lots of practice with this.  I created some task cards with Groundhog Day clip art to provide additional practice with multiplication & division fact families.  They'll be included in one of my math centers the week before Groundhog Day.  

These task cards were intended to be used for fact families, but they could easily be used for basic multiplication facts, related multiplication facts, or even repeated addition.  You can grab these free task cards by clicking here or on the image below. 

I have another product that can be used anytime in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  It includes a set of task cards very similar to the freebie plus nine related worksheets for practice, homework, or formative assessment. You can find the materials in my store by clicking here or on the product cover below.  

I also have a similar product for addition and subtraction fact families.  It also comes with task cards and nine additional practice sheets. Click here or on the product cover to see it in my store. 

Happy Groundhog Day!

The cute groundhog numbers were created with clip art 
designed by Ashley Hughes and Melonheadz.