Monday, March 25, 2013

One week until Spring Break!

Tomorrow starts our last week before we are out for Spring Break. Yahoo! As much as my kiddos, need that break, and I definitely need that only leaves me one week when we return to review for our state assessment, the CRCT. Yikes!!! We have a plan in place, but I still always want MORE time to refresh their little memories from the content taught way back in August and September.

One math skill that keeps cropping up in our units has to do with line plots. We just revisited that again last week. In the spirit of sharing, you can click HERE to get your free copy of an Easter line plot activity. Remember when creating line plots, first you must ask a group of people a survey question. Then, for each person's response, place an X above that person's answer.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tips for Taming the Wild Indoor Recess!

With all of the bad weather recently many teachers all over have had no choice but to have recess INDOORS - Yikes! It can definitely be something to dread!

I hope these tips will alleviate some of the stress you feel the next time you are forced to let all those wild and crazy kiddos loose for a "free-for-all" time indoors.

For some of my sweeties, they are content with an entertaining movie, so I download some Magic School Bus and Berenstein Bear videos from United Streaming. If you don't have access to that, try You Tube or Teacher Tube, but you may need to save them to a flash drive then upload them to your desktop. Our system blocks You Tube for instance. One note, if you plan to just "stream" them whenever you find yourself indoors, you may be in for a disappointment. Streaming can be affected by weather, so save yourself some heartache and download them to a file on your computer. I keep mine on my desktop.

A few of my students also like to spend their time drawing on their whiteboards so, but I do have a rule. Since I provide many replacement whiteboard markers until the parents realize their child need more, I don’t allow my students to use the same sort of marker that I give out in class, just in case they are our classroom markers.

Next, invest in some DECENT games. We all have those worn-out games that have missing pieces, or the free puzzles we were given from a retiring teacher (which also is missing pieces).

I found a multi-pack of game pieces that look like the ones included in most board games. They came in the four primary colors, so that saved a few of my games (like Sorry).

Here are a few popular games that are inexpensive and a staple for an indoor recess shelf.  One note,  although Monopoly is one of my favorites, we never have enough time to finish a game.  I don't want my kiddos to feel cheated, so I don't bring that one out anymore. 


In addition to my games, I offer 3 computers that can be used for play.  Puzzles are a great addition, if, and only if they can be completed in the time alloted and have all the pieces.
The last suggestion, and what I think makes it all WORK, it the "system".  I found this idea on a teacher blog a long time ago.  I wish I knew where the idea generated because I'd love to give credit and express my thanks because this system has made indoor recess a BREEZE!  I am not kidding. 
You'll need an index card for each activity, as well as a craft stick for each student.  At the top, write the name of the each game and puzzle on an index card.  If you are including computers, use one index card to write "computers".  Then underneath the name, draw circles or dots for the number of people that can play or participate with that activity.  I have 3 computers, so I have 3 dots on the card with the word "Computers" written at the top.  If you have assigned each student a class number, this next step will be much quicker.  I generally have no more than 21 students, so I already have craft sticks made with the numbers 1 - 21 written on them.  Write each student name or number on a craft stick.  You are set.  Just call out the names of the activities on the cards to everyone.  Then one at a time, draw the craft sticks and call out that student's name or number and ask what activity they'd like to do during today's indoor recess.  Place that child's craft stick on the dot shown on the activity card.  Continue until all the dots are full on an activity card, then call out that that certain activity is full.  For example, "Checkers are full" means that no one else can choose it.  This "calling out" may take a bit longer the first time, but once they get familiar with the activities available, tell them to have their choice in their head and be ready to say it as soon as their name or number is called.  Now, I even have my helper of the week call recess activities.  They love this!  Here is a picture of my set of cards.
I store is all in this small baggie on our indoor recess shelf, along with all the games and puzzles.  When it is time for the next inside break, I hope you will find it goes much smoother!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekly Freebie

I am sooooo excited that I just finished my newest grammar activity!  We have started out Testing as a Genre unit, where we have begun to seriously review for The Test. I have noticed my kiddos need a lot of practice identifying simple subjects, compound predicates and more.  The problem is that I didn't have a whole lot of resources for this.  At least nothing with it all presented together.   I  have material to practice  each skill in isolation, but that is really not challenging.  Once my students figure out the pattern of the assignment, they get the rest all correct.  I knew I needed something that provided a mixture of review, to really test their skill. 

Here is finally is...

"Grammar Review 1:  Subjects, Predicates, Sentences and more Task Cards" 
Click on the picture to check it out in my TPT store.
I am making game that will accompany these Task Cards.  It will be available soon, I promise (within the week)! I will announce it on my facebook page as soon as it is ready.  The game will include these same problems, but each card will be smaller and will have the answer on the back, along with directions for moving, just like many of my other games.  A great game board will also be included. 
For today's FREEBIE, click on the picture below... I have a great helpful tip posting comeing out later this week, so be watching for it!  If you want to make sure you don't miss it, click the "follow me" button to get notifications of updates and click on the link to go to my facebook page, and after you "Like" it, select "get notifications" and you won't miss a single post.  I have this cool new Iphone and the facebook app keeps me up-to-date all day long.  What a cool feature!!!
This week's FREEBIE
Just click on the picture.
If you teach about Ancient Greece, you'll want to check out my complete unit, full with lesson plans, great hand-on activities, slides for smartboard viewing, and so much more. Click on the picture below to take a look.
I hope you have a great week.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fraction Game, Task Cards and Manic Monday FREEBIE

The common core expectations for fractions have several differences from the way we were teaching fractions before. For example one word we now need to teach our students is the word "partitioning", which means breaking a whole into parts or fractions.

Understanding fractions on a number line is also a new concept. Showing models of what later will be called improper fractions is also new for us. I've included examples of all these at different levels of difficulty in two new products. Each product contains the same problems.

The first product is called Fraction Action Task Cards.

I use them in three different ways. The first, I show them on the smart board for instructional practice whole group. A second way I use them is to post them around the room for students to circulate and work with a partner or independently to answer. You can vary this by printing 3 or 4 sets and handing out a set per table group. They can work independently or again with pairs to complete. The third way in which I use these, occurs toward the end of the unit when I pull small groups for review. These task cards are large enough for all in the group to see.

The other product is in a game format.

 It is called Fraction Action Board Game and includes a colorful board game and 24 fraction game cards with answers on the back of each.  I use these toward the end of the unit for students to play in partner sets as I work with my small groups.  I use both products at the same time.  While I review with my struggling students, others review as they play with partners. 
Click on one of the pictures to go to these products at my TPT store.

Keep reading for your Manic Monday FREEBIE

In addition to using these in my math class this past week, in Social Studies we used a song titled "The Government Branches" to teach the responsibilities of each Branch of our government. Here you can see my kiddos standing around our smart board singing the words to this song. 

If you teach these responsibilities, then grab a copy of this song for your class.
Just click on the picture below.

There is so much material to teach regarding government at third grade that I divided it up into two separate units.  The first is called Government Responsibilities:  Local, State and National.  The second unit is called Government Responsibilities 2:  Legislative, Executive, Judicial.  I've included lesson plans, activities, games, assessments... everything you need to teach these concepts.  Click on either of the images below and read the comments made by other teachers who have used them.  If you are new to teaching 3rd grade social studies or if you just want to spruce up what you have, these  units will do the trick.  My kiddos loved learning about government!  In fact, all year long, they'd ask if we could get the government games out during indoor recess.  Can you believe it??? recess?  And of course I said, "Yes!"

I hope you have a great week!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Freebie - Government Branches

Here is my unit called Government Responsibilities 2:
The Branches -
 Judicial, Executive, Legislative
Here is my first unit which details the responsibiltities of the LEVELS of government; local, state and national.


Freebie Fridays

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day Subject Freebie

Can you believe state testing is only 4 weeks away for some? My kiddos need more practice with sentences, specifically determining the difference between simple subjects and compound subjects. I have already taught this skill using a smart board lesson, but if I put this game out, they'll review and not even know they are working!
As a "thank you" to my Facebook and Blog followers, and those of you visiting, you can download this FREEBIE here only.  You can't get it anywhere else.  I hope you have a great Saint Patrick's Day coming up, and that your kiddos will learn as they play. 
Here is what it looks like inside...

Remember I love comments, so tell me your thoughts.     I hope you enjoy it. 


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

The Organized Classroom Magazine...Have you seen it yet?

My friend, Charity Preston at The Organized Classroom Blog, has a new endevor...She has just published her first copy of The Organized Classroom Magazine!

If you have not seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go check it out. Click here for the link, or click on one of the photos to go to Charity's blog where you can learn more. This is an online magazine which includes content on many interesting topics that all teachers are concerned with on a daily basis.

The first issue features the question most of us all face... "How do we organize all of these PAPERS everywhere?"  There are  regular features to read and even some participation is possible, along with a special feature of the month.

One of the regular features I like most it the Book Nook section.  I was excited when I turned to it and found that Charity had done my research/planning for me.  Each month I try to make a list of books I want to be sure to bring out for my class, some I plan as read-alouds, others I put out for student reading, but I like to keep in mind the holidays or specific events of the month.  Well the Book Nook section already has that for me.  I love seeing the actual covers of the books.  It makes for a quick glance. 

Another unique section is the Pinterest section titled, Pinspiration for Educators.  With Pinterest growing by leaps and bounds this is bound to be a popular spot in her magazine as well.  There is a featured educator of the month, a monthly organizational challenge listed in a calendar format, a recipe of the month, a list of Internet Resources and so much more.   It even has the look and sound of real pages turning as you click through to the next location of interest. 

Go check out the first issue of The Organized Classroom Magazine absolutely free this month. You're bound to find plenty to interest you.  Great job Charity and good luck! 

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