Saturday, October 27, 2012

Genre Genius!

Brrr—it’s been cold today!  It was a good day to hunker down with a cup of coffee, watch movie classics, and finish some reading projects!

A few weeks ago, my third graders started working on reading genre.  I love teaching this mini unit as it helps young readers to go beyond their comfort zone and try new books!  We had a lot of fun incorporating a brand new genre “field guide” foldable book that students will be able to use as a resource the rest of this year.

We also did a fun scavenger hunt with genre clues hidden around our school library.  The kids read the clues, guessed the genre, and then checked their answer with the QR code.  Super fun!

Finally, students were given a genre project choice board from which to choose and do activities to show their learning.  The kids enjoyed these so much that they asked to do more activities from the board after they’d finished their first choices!  We had a blast with this!  

Best of all, the students now really have a good understanding of story elements and what makes a book fit a certain genre.  The kids are also branching out to read books from genres that they previously didn’t choose.

I’ve bundled all of these goodies into a “Genre Genius Super Pack,” and you can take a look here.  It includes the field guide foldable book, the QR scavenger hunt materials, the genre project choice board, and all of the printables needed to do those activities!  It's all ready to go!

I'm off to read a book for a little while myself now... J Have a great weekend, and stay WARM!  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Math FREEBIE

Happy Monday! J  My 3rd graders are working on subtraction this week!  I recently noticed that my class was struggling with equations that have missing addends.  Oh, how early our misunderstanding of “algebra” begins!  Kids can become quickly confused when simple variables or missing addends are introduced! 

With Halloween around the corner, I thought that “costumed characters” could help us understand how this math concept works.  Would it help students to grasp pre-algebra concepts if Halloween characters were disguised as a “mystery number” in an equation?  If nothing else, it might just add a little fun to this math skill.  J  I’m going to give it a try in my class this week!

Hope that you can use this FREEBIE with your class, too!  I’ve made two different versions, one with simple addition equations and the other with double-digit addition problems.  An answer key is included as well.  I’m counting on it helping my kids.  I’d love to hear how it works for you!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween FUN Math Hunt

A few months back, I posted a FALL in Love with Math Scavenger Hunt.  My kiddos had soooo much fun with that activity that I decided to make a Halloween version as well.  It’s so hard to believe that trick or treating is barely over a week away!  This week we will be doing this Halloween FUN Math Scavenger Hunt! 

Basically, this activity is a math problem solving scavenger hunt with a self-checking twist.  Kids travel around the room looking for story problem cards and solve them on their recording sheet.  They know that their answer is correct if they find another question card with that answer in the top corner!  This works really well as a math center or enrichment activity.  I used the fall version over the course of a week as kids finished their math “must do” work.  You can also use this as a “question of the day” activity and model the work whole-group.

I love that it gets learners up and moving, and it gives great insight into students’ problem-solving skills.   If you’d like to have your kiddos scavenger hunt too, click HERE!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tech Tuesday: EdCanvas

So this week I’ve taken the plunge into flipped classroom!  My 3rd graders are doing an awesome job and LOVING flip!  I’m loving being able to go deeper into content and spend more time with hands-on learning in the classroom!

The switch to flipped classroom has taken a little bit of research and a trip around the learning curve, but I’ve found some great tools along the way.  My favorite one so far is EdCanvas.  It’s amazing—and free!  This website allows you to quickly assemble learning modules (such as those used for flipped or blended lessons) by simply dragging in video clips, web link activities, handouts, and photos.  Students see and do the activities step-by-step as you’ve set them up.  Post a link to your EdCanvas in Edmodo or on your website, and it’s set to go!

EdCanvas has many great features including:
  • YouTube video search within the EdCanvas site
  • Ability to link EdCanvas to your Dropbox or Google Drive 
  • Access to the EdCanvas gallery
  • A QR code generator to share your EdCanvas
  • Class setup options for your students to create modules too!

Here’s an EdCanvas that I made for rounding.  Super easy to make, and my students loved learning with this!  I'm hooked!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Prompts & Giveaway!

Mmmmmm….fall!  Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie pancakes, pumpkin candles.   These chubby orange gourds are on every porch on my street, and have inspired me to come up with a pumpkin classroom activity, the Pumpkin Patch Prompt RAFT Write!

RAFT is an acronym that stands for Role, Audience, Format and Topic.  This differentiated writing strategy allows learners to choose their own writing prompt from a list of leveled choices.  It’s always good to give students choice, and RAFT is a fun way to do that with writing prompts.  I like it, too, because it works for ALL of my learners, from those who struggle to those who are more advanced.  RAFT is also fantastic because it raises students’ awareness about the various formats that exist for writing:  postcards, newspaper articles, diary entries, poems, and more.  They get to choose and experiment with these formats, all around a fun topic.

I’ve added this activity to my TPT store, but I will be giving away a FREE copy to the first 5 people  who comment below!  Happy Fall y’all! J

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Skeleton Sentences

Yikes!  The Halloween candy is out in full force at the grocery store.  I will need to bypass those aisles for the awhile…

With spooky stuff coming up later this month, I’ll soon be using cute little skeletons to help my kiddos write more elaborate sentences.  What do skeletons have to do with writing?  Well, they’re a great intro to “bare bones” plain sentences that leave readers wanting more.  When kids learn about “skeleton sentences,” they can start to think about how to add more descriptive words to make their sentences even stronger. 

I had a little too much fun making a Smart notebook for this “Skeleton Sentence” set.  It has an interactive “x-ray machine” where kids can slide the sentences through the machine to see them appear!  There’s some other hide-and-reveal talking points too, and ways to do guided practice as a class.  I’ve also included 2 practice printables where students can extend their “skeleton sentences” into stronger, more elaborate ones.  I can’t wait to see how this helps my kids write with more detail!   If you’d like to try Skeleton Sentences with your class, click HERE to get a copy!

Brain Break!

Wow!  It’s been a busy week, but I just had to blog to share a GREAT resource that my friend Brenda shared with me!  I'm a big believer in “brain breaks.”  Kids REALLY need to be able to get up and stretch during the school day.  Quick exercise breaks refresh students (and teachers), help with activity transitions, and improve oxygen flow to the brain.  We just think better when we’re able to get up and move!

If you are looking for a fun brain break, be sure to check this one out!  Not only is it incredibly fun, but it even has a social studies connection!  Watch closely to see how people from all over the world take this little dancing break too!  Try it in your classroom—it’s a blast!