Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wolf Themed Story Problems

Several students in grade 3 needed some additional practice with solving two-step story problems.  I spent LOTS of time last year creating materials for an intervention group.

Circling clue words is one of the strategies I teach. However, I emphasize explicitly and repeatedly that not every story problem will have clue words to rely on.  It's far more important to understand what is happening in the problem. I explain that understanding math problems requires us to use reading strategies such as visualizing and rereading. I laminated the "strategy" sheets so that students could check off each strategy as it was used.

In any small group working on problem solving, there will always be students working at different paces. To avoid students just sitting there with nothing to do, I created several sets of two-step story problem task cards and a generic sheet to go with them.

We have chocolate-themed task cards and children-themed task cards.  (Click here to see them in my store.)

I also created a set of eight wolf-themed story problem task cards which I am offering as a freebie on my blog. Click here or on the image below to to get them.  At some point in the future, these task cards will be part of a set that I'll sell in my store.

A bit of research was in order before I started writing, so I visited a great website called The site is a treasure trove of wolf information! There are articles, fun facts, and printables.  I'm thinking about printing out some of the articles in color, laminating them, and using them in a center. Just click here to head to the site.  Another informative and engaging site was on the San Diego Zoo Animals site. Click here to visit!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Five for Friday

Lately I can barely find time to read blogs or write blog posts, but I try to always make time for Five for Friday!  I'm late again but happy to be linking up. Thanks again to Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting this weekly linky.

Geometry!  It's a fun unit.  So far, we've focused on lines, line segments, angles, and triangles. Here are a few photos of the kids using sticky notes to find right, obtuse, and acute angles around the classroom.

During our writing block, we've been reading articles about how to best go about getting a new dog for your family.  Should you adopt or should you shop?  The students worked with partners to make pro/con lists.  They'll be writing opinion pieces next week. 

Highlighting similes and metaphors...

We spent some time during reading focusing on figurative language.  LinguiSystems has some amazing materials.  LinguiSystems products are designed as speech and language therapy products, but they are fantastic for introducing many language arts topics.  

We've also revisited theme.  You can read about my theme wall here.  Have you discovered the completely free site  It has a huge selection of fiction and nonfiction passages for every standard. There are also detailed, thorough lesson plans with related materials for teaching the standards.  I found several passages for theme.  The Tricky Monkey is quite similar to The Boy Who Cried Wolf (one of my favorites).  

Yes, that is a chocolate fountain!  The paras in our school threw a huge breakfast for us Friday morning and this was sitting in a place of honor.  My husband and I have been counting calories and focusing on our health, so I only indulged a teeny, tiny bit.  I had a strawberry and three slices of banana with just a little drizzle of chocolate. I avoided all of the casseroles and pastries and hash browns!

Our art teacher fills the bulletin boards in our halls with beautiful artwork.  She works so hard, and it makes our building such a cheery place.  

Have a great week!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

First Day of Spring Five for Friday

Happy Friday! Head over to visit Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Five for Friday posts. 

It's the first day of spring, and it's snowing!  I'm not too upset about it, because I'm determined that this will be the last snow until 2016!  If only my determination could make it so. 

My friend/team-teaching partner discovered this book. Her daughter had borrowed it from the library. It was so great that we both immediately ordered it from Amazon. Five children cried when we read it. We had a deep classroom discussion that involved lots of tissues and nose-blowing.  A brief dance party followed so we could all recover.  

This idea came from the Envisions math curriculum that our school is using. It really helped my students make the jump from fraction bars to using a single number line to show equivalent fractions. Our geometry unit is up next.  I'd welcome any fabulous ideas you would like to share. Leave me a comment!

My daughter Gabrielle spent at least two hours last night writing her own cookbook in an old composition book. I felt slightly guilty for not correcting her backward j and for not insisting that she write a bit more neatly. She was so excited that I decided to just let her enjoy herself.  The top photo is of the "blurb" on the back. She wrote it and adhered it with a gluestick. Blurb was the exact word she used!  

As I was looking for the photos of Gabrielle's cookbook, I accidentally clicked on the wrong folder and opened these photos from 2010.  My kids look so little!  Gabrielle was not even 2.  Seth was 6.  I haven't looked at these pictures in years, and they made me smile.

Have a restful weekend. I plan to tackle my bag of word tomorrow. Tonight I'm just hanging out! Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching if you'd like to find more Five for Friday posts. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Five for Friday-Two Weeks Worth!

I've been busy lately, so my blog has taken a backseat. This week's Five for Friday post includes happenings from the past TWO weeks, since I've been occupied lately.  Thank you to Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for hosting Five for Friday every week. I always look forward to reading everyone's posts. 

We've started comparing fractions and finding equivalent fractions using fraction strips and number lines. The kids love to explore with the fraction strips. They're such a great tool. 

For the past week, we've been working on dream room descriptions.  My colleague created a great discussion guide with questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy.  Each question corresponded to a number.  Question one was a "remembering" level question, question two was an "understanding" level question, and so on.  In small groups, the students used these discussion guides and explained their ideas for their "dream room" using details and complete sentences. Next, we shared and charted some ideas in a whole group.  Students sketched their dream rooms. To add to the fun, each child was able to choose a paint sample card to staple to his or her sketch.  Planning and writing came next. The kids focused on adding specific details and starting their sentences differently.  

The kids were SO excited when I put up the fancy words wall. My favorite part are the black feather boas!  I got them at Walmart for about $7 each.   I found the idea for the board and the boas on Pinterest. Click here to go to the link. All of the fancy words on my wall came from students' writing and conversation.  The board has sparked a desire for choosing interesting vocabulary.  

It seems that delays and snow days are finally behind us. At least, I fervently hope they are!  It was so nice to finally have a normal week.  I created materials for St. Patrick's Day literacy and math centers, and the children rotated through the activities throughout the week. Another activity I created was a St. Patrick's Day themed there-their-they're scoot.  A little movement is always a good thing!  One child actually said she liked it better than recess.  

On March 2nd, our school hosted a family read-in in the evening.  The theme was "Oh, The Places You'll Go When You Read!"   We had several rooms set up with literacy activities based on different locations: Australia, Africa, the Arctic, and Mexico.  My room became an Africa room, so the students helped me to decorate. We were stuck inside for recess the week before the read-in because it was so cold. Several students volunteered to draw African animals. The photographs on the board were taken by my husband. (At the zoo. NOT in Africa.)  The clip art was created by Maps of the World/Dancing Crayon Designs and can be found here

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!