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Monday, November 5, 2012

Turkey Twisters - A Thanksgiving Fluency Game

I can't believe I haven't blogged since September. Yikes, where does the time go?  

I created a fluency game last year for Halloween and several people have asked about other fluency games so I created one for Thanksgiving. You can check out the Halloween one here and check out the Thanksgiving one at teacherspayteachers. The Thanksgiving one is similar to the Halloween one but instead of reading poetry the kids have to read Turkey (tongue) Twisters. My kids played it today and enjoyed it. Though I always have to laugh at some of their voices. One boy was supposed to use his monster voice and for someone he was speaking with an English accent. It's also interesting to see their interpretations of the voices (some third graders are completely unable to sound grumpy!). 

I hope everyone has a great November, I'm afraid Thanksgiving will be here in no time!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mr. President Goes to School

I love this book! I shared it with the other teachers in my building as part of a back-to-school ice breaker. I haven't read it to my kids yet, but I will soon. It has a great message for kids and teachers. Mr. President is having a bad day so he sneaks off and goes back to his Kindergarten room (and teacher). It's amazing how he is able to use the things he learns in the classroom at the White House. The illustrations are a hoot! If you haven't seen it yet, check it out!  Click on the cover below for a link to Amazon.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Flip Snack

Have you heard of Flip Snack? It's amazing!!! 

Flip Snack is a website where you upload a PDF and it converts it into a flipping book to view on the web. It's so easy to use! I started by creating a Powerpoint with the pages (slides) I wanted. Then I did a "save as" and converted the Powerpoint into a PDF. Next I went to Flip Snack, browsed to the PDF, clicked open, and a few minutes (if that long) later a book was born. You can then click on edit and change the cover, make it flip automatically, etc. I created one to show at open house and on the first day of school to show some of the things we do in third grade. You can check it out here.

I also created one after the first day of school and sent the link to parents which they LOVED!  Click here to view that one.    

If you are interested in checking out Flip Snack, click here.

Happy flipping!

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Beginnings

I have to say that time right before school starts is my second favorite time of year (second only to Christmas).  I love tracking down back-to-school bargains. I love decorating and reimagining my classroom. I love seeing my teacher friends again. I love the anticipation of meeting the kids. I love planning and creating learning opportunities for them. I love the possibilities. And I love that every school year is a new beginning. After listening to my overworked siblings this summer I have a new appreciation for the fact that we get to start fresh every fall. Awesome!!!!

I want to wish you all a great school year. I didn't blog at all over the summer, but I have lots of ideas to share so I hope you'll check back often.  

I'm going to start with a couple of back-to-school ideas. First, I have a Get to Know You Smart Board activity at teacherspayteachers for free. It serves two purposes. One is to help the kids get acquainted with each other. It also acquaints them with features of the Smart Board.  You can check it out by clicking here.  

The second is an Ask and Swap get-to-know you activity. It's based on the Kagan activity Quiz, Quiz, Trade. Each child has a card, partners up with another student, and asks the question on his/her card. Each partner asks and answers and then they swap cards and partner up with someone new. Click here to access the goggledoc.

Have a great year!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Minute Olympics

We have three days to go!  Unbelievable!  Where does the time go? It's not easy to keep engagement high the last few days of schools so this year we are going to end the year with a mini mini-unit on the Olympics. I think the kids will enjoy it and it will allow us to review lots of skills and concepts! One of the activities I have planned is Minute Olympics. The activity is designed for six kids in a group to complete six different one minute activities. When they are done with the activities, they will figure out the range, median, and mode for each activity. Since they are figuring out the median, I want them to have an odd number of data. With six kids in a group, they will take turns acting as the activity leader. The activity leader will hand out materials, give directions, and act as the time keeper. S/he will not participate in that activity so the kids will end up with 5 points of data at each activity. If you would like to download the activity which includes two record sheets for the kids (the second sheet includes mean for older kids) and two different types of activity signs (half page signs to post or signs to fold and set on a table), please click here to go to teacherspayteachers. I posted the activity there for free. If you have other ideas for minute activities, please leave a comment!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teacher Appreciation

Wow! Long time, no blog!  I didn't know realize I hadn't blogged since the beginning of March! I've been out of commission due to sickness, state assessment, and just plain old busy! I figured today, being the beginning of Teacher Appreciation Week, would be a good day to start again. 

First of all I wanted everyone to know I'm joining the sale at Teachers Pay Teachers. Hope on over and check out my products. Several are free and those that aren't are on sale for 20% off (and TPT adds to that discount if you put in the promo code TAD12).  Click here to go my TPT's store. 

Second, I haven't read any blogs in two months either so I missed out on joining the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot. However, I just finished hopping to all 42 participating 3-6 blogs and downloaded a ton of great material! I did hit the jackpot! And my kids will be the winners in the end! If you haven't checked it out yet, click here for Jackpot Headquarters. It's worth the time - but hurry - offers are only good through today (May 6).

And lastly, I want to wish all my teacher friends out there a happy Teacher Appreciation Week. We all work so hard during the school day helping our students in their life journey. Then we come home and spend more time devoted to our students making lesson plans, grading papers, and coming up with activities for our kids. We read blogs combing for ideas to use in our classrooms. These blogs are written by some outstanding teachers who want nothing more than to share their ideas. I feel so blessed to be a member of the blogging community where I am frequently moved to tears as fellow teachers share both their heartaches and triumphs. I find great comfort knowing I'm not alone because, even though we interact with kids all day, teaching can be an isolated endeavor. I find great motivation here on days when I'm tired - finding an idea that excites me and makes me anxious to return to school and share it with my kids. I find great inspiration here as well. So I want to extend a special thank you to all the bloggers out there who do so much for me. They make me a better teacher and impact students beyond the ones they teach; and they do so because they love what they do. Thank you!

I hope every one feels some extra appreciation this week from your students!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Recess Queens and Kings

I have a great group of kids this year so when the b word (bully) came up at conferences I was surprised. After thinking about the issues, I wondered if perhaps some of the stronger personalities were being a little overbearing and being perceived as bullies. I decided to read The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill and have a discussion. As I listened to the discussion about problems on our playground, I became more sure that no one was intentionally bullying anyone, but there was definitely a problem with some of the kids being bossy. I had the kids fill out a paper marking recess queen/king or respectful friend behavior at recess (which you can download by clicking here). 
We then talked about the behaviors on the sheet and what kind of things recess queens and kinds do. Finally, I asked them to be honest and reflect on their own recess queen and king behavior on the lines at the bottom of the sheet. The responses I got were very honest. I loved the one that said she would really like to be a recess queen but keeps her “inner queen” under control. Too funny! I then suggested that we come up with a signal or phrase to let our friends know when they are acting like a queen or king. The kids brainstormed several different ideas. I would like to tell you the kids decided on “take off the crown” or “step off the throne” which were my favorites, but we’re dealing with third graders and they voted for “get off the stage.” So now everyone is equipped with a way to stand up for themselves and let those with strong personalities know they are trying to take control and be in charge.

I would love to know how you handle issues like this or how you help kids stand up for themselves. Leave a comment and let me know!