Saturday, April 30, 2011

I am Poem

This past week we began a lesson from Joann Portalupi and Ralph Fletcher's book Nonfiction Craft Lessons: Teaching Writing k-8 called "Writing Through a Mask". It is a lesson on perspective and creativity.  The mentor text I used was Sierra  by Diane Siebert.

Siebert writes, "I am the mountain..."(Which by the way...a great way to assess on understanding of landforms). Joann Portalupi and Ralph Fletcher say that the writers,  "..put on the mask of your subject and become that thing."

I meshed this lesson and a poem outline that my wonderful friend Lauren gave to me.
Sierra (Trophy Picture Books)

Some of the kiddos wanted to do their I am poem on themselves, and that was fine with me. Doing it from the perspective of another point of view can be challenging for some kids. I just wanted them to write and not feel pressured or forced to write something they weren't loving.

We began this on Tuesday before the terrible storms that ripped through, and we were out of school for two days. The kids came back in yesterday and wanted to get right back to work on this poem!

I am so proud of my babies! They have become very creative writers this year! Some of them are also very sensitive and aware of the world around them.

For example: One of my sweet darlins wrote: "I worry about the people in Alabama." (because of the tornados) I teared up and hugged her so tight when I read it.

This little lady told me afterwards that she meant to write, "I dream about talking TO animals." She saw what she put and said, "Whoa..."I dream about talking animals?!? That couldn't happen."

I smiled and agreed.

Here are some more pictures of their hard work.

My camera died before I could take more, but some of my kids wrote:
1. "I am a cat with an owner"
2. "I am a soccer ball"
3. "I am a dog who chases cats under tables"
4. "I am a fish"
5. "I am a dragon"

You can download the I am Poem rough draft I made by clicking the link below.

Hope ya'll have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Classroom Management Linky Party!

The wonderful Kelley Randall over at Mrs. Randalls's Learning Library is having a linky party! I'm out of school today due to yesterday's severe weather and flooding. (Now we have to make up 2 days...) ANYWAYS...

My Behavior Management System:
I use the ticket system. Each child is given one ticket each morning. The students write their initials on the back...with a crayon. I have had a couple of students steal tickets and erase the original owner's name.They keep their tickets in what I call their Zippies. (Because its cute to say.)

As the day goes on the kiddos can gain or lose tickets based on behavior,effort, or lack of homework. I always keep a handful of tickets in my pocket too for hallway behavior. One of my favorite things to do is catch that one kid doing EXACTLY what they are suppose to be doing while EVERYONE else is off task or not following directions quickly. I hold out that HUGE roll of tickets and just spin off a TON! Ripping off 20 or so tickets in front of everyone...jaws dropping...makes a hugh impact!

I used to let them shop at our class store with their tickets every week, but oh my that got to be too much work. Now I only do it every six weeks when they get their report cards. year I will be implementing Beth Newingham's Classroom Economy. My friend that teaches fourth implemented this this year. I love how they basically learn how to keep a checkbook. (Subtracting debits from total credits)

So link up with Mrs. Randall. I love seeing how other great teachers manage their classrooms!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wonderful Website Wednesday

I have used Read, Write, Think a ton this year! It has amazing resources for grades k-12. There are lesson plans, interactives, and printouts.

A good friend of mine that teaches first gave me this book of comics. My boys have loved it! A few of mine asked if they could write a comic...ummm YYYYYESSSS! Anything to get our boys to love writing! It has tons of comic book resources here. My favorite was this one, The Comic Creator! The kids get to compose their own comic strips. They get to choose backgrounds, characters, and props. There is a comic strip planning sheet for the kids to use as a draft.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

YAY! Now time to share

Now it's time for a random printable share...Let's see if this works!

Planet Brochure

Before we began this activity we looked at many different travel brochures! We discussed the pictures, titles, and captions. I placed the kids into groups of 2. I assigned them a planet, and they researched it on WorldBookonline, library books, and in our science text book. The inside of the brochure is mainly facts, but the outside is much more fun! They get to imagine they can travel to the planet, and write about places you can visit. (We threw in some author's purpose into this lesson too...persuade!!!). They loved it!

Something I will do differently next year is have them make commercials to visit the planet with our Flip Camera! They will have an outline to fill out for writing the script with information that is in the brochure.

That concludes today's random share!



So many of you share your amazing printables for free out there. I want to do the same, but apparently my computer lives in Russia. I tried to set up, but it is all in Russian! Please help!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wonderful Website Wednesday

Well I know April is almost over, but there is still more time to celebrate Poetry Month! One of my favorite websites is Giggle Poetry. There are tons of super cute and funny poems that my third graders have fallen in love with.

My favorite part is the Poetry Readers Theater. I did these for fluency practice for homework, and my kids begged for more.

A teacher (can't remember her name) uses many of these for visualization lessons. She has her students keep poetry notebooks. They read the poem everyday together. On Fridays the kids glue them into their notebooks and illustrate their poems. The kids can share and talk about how their mental images were different.

Have fun and always remember to laugh in the classroom!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Synonym and Antonym Egg Hunt

One of my favorite blogs is Saylor's Log. She is a first grade teacher, but I have used so many of her ideas in my third grade classroom! I just bump them up to our level. One of my favorite ideas of her's is her Synonym and Antonym Egg Hunt. We did this activity the day before state testing began. It was a fabulous way to review dificult vocabulary words and reinforce the meaning of "synonyms" and "antonyms". For some reason my kiddos had a very difficult time remembering which were the "same" and "opposite"....even when I constantly gave them the hint of "Sssssame" "Ssssynonym"...go figure.

BUT AFTER this there was no longer a problem! My kiddos had a blast. 

How to: I printed off a pair of either synonyms or antonyms on labels and stuck them to a plastic egg. I put Scotch tape over the label so it would last longer. The kids got into partners and labeled a half sheet of paper 1-23...(that's how many eggs I made...random number but who cares?)

The kids walk around and find each egg. They write S for synonym or A for antonym by the number of egg they chose. When they were finished we went over each pair. So much fun!

And I made the mistake of throwing a couple of eggs under this pointy plant. One of my kiddos got poked. I couldn't help giggle because he ran up on the egg with so much excitement. He just didn't see the "pokey things" as he called it.



I am a professional/teaching book nerd. I, like many of you out there, I'm sure, did not have any classes on teaching writing. I do not feel at all strong in my teaching of writing. My very good friend and mentor let me borrow Writing Essentials. I am halfway through this book, and it has only been 2 days. It is easy to read and packed full of real classroom ideas. Please, if you haven't read this book and you're in need of a bit of influence in the writing department, CHECK THIS OUT! I promise you, you'll love it!
Writing Essentials: Raising Expectations and Results While Simplifying Teaching

Also- my classroom ceiling is getting fixed...I've been told, so classroom pictures will be posted sometime this week!

Amanda K.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wonderful Website Wednesday...oooopppss Thursday?

So this week we have had state testing, and tomorrow is the last day. (The choir will break out into song, angels will float down from heaven around 11 tomorrow.) I lost track of the day, and so here is the post that I was suppose to do yesterday. Enjoy!

Free Reading   Free reading intervention tools


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Amazing Giveaway!!!

One of my favorite blogs, Lesson Plan SOS, is having a great giveaway! The ladies were lucky enough to meet Marc Brown, the author of the Arthur books. Jealous!

They have created an Earth Day activity to go along with Marc Brown's new book, Arthur Turns Green.

Head on over and check out their amazing blog! They also have a great Teachers Pay Teachers site!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

YAY for a Giveaway!

Julie over at Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher is having a giveaway celebrating 100 followers! Check it out! She also has a new TpT Store.

Monday, April 11, 2011

No More Groans when they hear..."Review"

So my dear friend that teaches fourth grade this year shared this amazing review game with me that I just had to share with you!

This game doesn't have a name, so we called it the "No Name Game". Maybe you could help?!?!?

1. Take a normal test (front page only) and make enough copies of each page for each student.
2. Cut the questions apart.

3. You will need a numbered bucket, basket, or some type of container. Place each question with its appropriate bucket.
4. Students will go to a question, answer it, then bring it to you to check.
5. If they get the question correct, they write their name on the question slip of paper, fold it up VERY tightly, and put it in the corresponding bucket. If they get it wrong, they get ONE more chance to find the right answer. They can come back up to you again. If they get it right, they put it in the bucket. If they get it wrong, you mark it and they put it in their pocket for further review later.

6. When everyone is finished you go around to each bucket and draw out two (or whatever # you want) names from each bucket. I give the students whose names I draw out a piece of candy. I rarely give out candy, so they tend to think it's a big deal. It is so cute because they cheer for each child whose name was chosen. So sweet and hilarious!

Something I have learned after doing this twice...
If they don't fold up the slips of paper very tight, kids can see the correct answers by glancing in the bucket.

My solutions:
1. I could get enough empty cube shaped tissue boxes for the correct answer receptacles. This way they cannot sneak a peak at the correct answer.
2. The easier solution that literally just popped into my brain---Place the question slips over at the other empty desks. If they get the question correct ..then and only then can they go over to the bucket. (I like this solution much better!)

My kiddos LOVE this so much! You will not hear moans or groans when reviewing. I hope you can find some way to use this in your room as well.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Shelf That Has Changed My Life...

A teacher friend of mine was getting rid of this HUGE shelf last year, so of course I took it off her hands. I was going to implement "Book Boxes" (modeled after the Two Sisters) , and I needed somewhere to put them....PERFECT! It was this ugly taupe color, so I painted it black. I call it "THE Shelf". It basically holds their book boxes AND community supplies: staples, stapler, extra crayons, writing paper, notebook paper, sharp/dull pencil boxes, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses. I love this because the kids are not coming up to me asking for "stuff". They know where to find it, and they get it.

           (Excuse the darkness of the picture...New camera= still not 100% on how to fix the lighting)

Also, on the top you will see trays that (usually) hold reading response sheets. My kiddos choose one each day to write in response to reading.

More pics of my room are soon to come. I had a mini-waterfall disaster, so my ceiling is in need of repair. Things are pulled away from the disaster zone, and it is a HOT MESS!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wonderful Website Wednesday

Today's site is Where is the SMath? This site is AMAZING! It illustrates for kids how math is EVERYWHERE! Where is the SMath is full of pictures and videos, posted by teachers or the SMath guys! You have to find the math in the pictures.
Thursdays are so much fun! Every Thursday there will be a special SMATH MYSTERY IMAGE in the sidebar to the right. Using their observation and inferencing skills, your students can make a prediction as to what this image is.
 Please check this out!!! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Back from Spring Break...

Next week is our state testing, and I had many-a-cute review games planned and made for today. I worked on them all spring break! HOWEVER...the kids were all asleep or came in late this morning. I had to do a mini-exercise class just to get them out of the zombie state.

Then...bad rains came and my ceiling began to LEAK...I spent my afternoon pulling things away from the waterfalls coming down and scrambling for buckets.

Middle Tennessee Radar Image

Oh spring break..why were you so short?