Friday, July 11, 2014

Celebrating with a Giveaway!

It has been almost one full year since I began my blog and my very first store at Teachers Pay Teachers! The year has flown and I feel like I have grown so much as a blogger, teacher, and entrepreneur! Just this week, I have created a shop over at the Teacher's Notebook. My enthusiasm and excitement has been kicked up a notch (along with the heat in good old Philadelphia) and I would like to throw my very first GIVEAWAY!!!

I am in dire need of followers and would love if any and all of you could share this exciting news with your fellow friends and family!!! I am giving away my Multiple Meaning Match-Up Bundle from my TPT and TN stores to 5 lucky followers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


1. Please FOLLOW ME at my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking the link and the "Follow Me" star
2. Please FOLLOW ME at my Teacher's Notebook shop by clicking the link and the "Follow Me" button
3. Please SHARE this post via Pinterest or Facebook
Good Luck!
<3 Mary

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Because of Winn-Dixie Literary Celebration

I choose different chapter books to read to my classes during the school year. Some I have kept in the rotation. Some I have quickly removed once seeing the glazed over looks in my students eyes. Each and every year though, Because of Winn Dixie always ends up being one of my students' favorites! They clap with excitement when they see me reach for the book and they groan with frustration when I stop after two chapters. Many of my students flock to our school library to check out this book in order to follow along with me in class as I read it aloud. the old saying goes..."If it ain't broke, don't fix it." 

Because of the trending popularity of this story in my class, I decided to surprise my students with a party to resemble the one had in the book. I replicated all of the foods and beverages served in the chapter including Dump punch, Otis' pickles, Littmus lozenges, and Opal's egg salad sandwiches. I also mixed in a few others to include peanut butter sandwiches (since Winn Dixie loved PB so much) and animal crackers to represent Gertrude's Pet Store. 

We snacked on our food, drank our Gloria Dump punch, and watched the movie version of the book. As we watched, I had students compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the book and the movie. They also worked in centers to complete a pamphlet that I had created based on certain chapters and characters in the book. 

We even decorated our classroom with the tree from Gloria's backyard and turned our classroom library into the Herman W. Block Memorial Library. Each student identified a mistake they have made in the past that they regretted or felt bad about and wrote about it on the bottle outline that I made for them. We hung them all from the tree and talked about why we thought Gloria chose to do that in the story. 

Needless to say, my students were 100% engaged on this day and still continue to get this book from the library to read it over again at home or during independent reading time in class. There is no better sight to a teacher than students truly loving to read! :D

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How 3rd Grade Celebrates Saint Patrick's Day the Academic Way!

It has been a busy couple of weeks in Glenolden School! The kids of Room 5 have really been buckling down lately in preparation for the state assessments (PSSA tests). St. Patrick's Day fell on a Monday this year and I wanted to surprise my students with something out of the I created holiday centers in honor of all things green and Irish! :)

Getting to school extra early on a Monday morning can be quite difficult, but I managed to get into my classroom with enough time to spare to setup all of the activities. I sprinkled gold glitter all over the tops of the desks. As students entered the room, they inquired about the glittery mess. I directed them to the white board which explained it all!


I wish I had a video of their reactions! They were equally surprised, anxiety-ridden, and grossed out! UNLUCKY DUST?!?!?!? What were they going to have to do to get their luck back??? Within five minutes of entering the room, my 3rd graders were ready for the challenge. 

In partnered groups, the students had four tasks to complete in order to "earn lucky charms and get their luck back". The four tasks included skills that we had been working on in class. I used this opportunity to partner up students based on their mastery of the skills. I grouped students that mostly mastered the skills with students that were still struggling to grasp certain concepts. The activities also allowed for my students to get some cooperative learning experiences. 

The four common core-aligned tasks included:

1.) Students read two passages about St. Patrick's Day celebrations in different parts of the USA. They were asked to compare/contrast using text-based evidence (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.9)

2.) After reading a passage about the Irish Potato Famine, the students identified the main idea and supported it with three key details from the text. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.2)

3.) Without using a passage, students were given sentence strips with directions on how to make Irish potato candy to sequence using only the clues in context. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.3)  

4.) Given four short video clips to watch, students were asked to fill in a graphic organizer using their schema and clues from the video in order to make logical inferences. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.2)

Be sure to check out my TPT Store in the future for freebies from this lesson! They are not quite store ready just yet!!! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Math Bulletin Board FREEBIE - Pizzas at a FRACTION of the cost! :)

We are less than a month away from our annual state testing and Room 5 has just concluded learning about fractional parts of objects. As a tie-in to our math curriculum, we designed a math bulletin board as a class. One of my extremely bright and creative students came up with our BB slogan.

Students chose pizza toppings and were given the amount of slices that their pie would include. They designed their pizza and came up with the fractional parts for each topping. I had them color the edge of a standard paper plate brown, gave them a traced circle to cut out on paper, a ruler to "cut" their pizza in the right amount of slices, and paper/tracers for the toppings that they chose. This whole project took approximately 30 minutes from start to finish. 

You can see pictures of the latest board and find a link for the fraction pizza FREEBIE HERE

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Compare & Contrast Practice with my 3rd Graders

Hula hooping champion of the 4th grade...that's me! Why wouldn't I find a way to incorporate these hard colorful plastic rings of fun into my lesson on comparing and contrasting?! Before expecting my scholars to be able to dissect and analyze similarities and differences between two FULL text passages by the same author, I thought it would be good to break it down into more manageable chunks for my kids.

I intro'ed the skill to the whole class using the anchor chart below and by using the passages I created (that are available HERE) to model, guide, and eventually release the application of comparing and contrasting.

The steps listed gave the students an opportunity to covertly and overtly tackle this task. As soon as I would go to Step 2, students would immediately raise their hands. It is important to actually wait it out fora bit to teach them that "thinking" should take time. We will often put on our best "thinking faces" when getting to these "think" steps of any process. This also kind of forces them to stop and think before raising a hand to answer. By waiting it out, you also give the slower processing students what they need to work it out and feel successful before giving them the answers.

Using my Promethean board, I completed the "I DO" part of my teaching delivery (note the I DO, WE DO, YOU DO, & YOU DO sign next to the board) where I modeled and students gave me the 3 L's (look, listen, and learn). We then practiced the steps together in the "WE DO" stage. During this stage, it is SUPER DUPER important to make sure ALL students are working with you and not just sitting there picking their noses, playing with their shoelaces, or daydreaming of snow days ;). I made sure to color code my markings when working through the passages, to match the anchor charts and steps we referred back to so frequently.

Working in partners and small groups for the "YOU DO" stage, students used another short passage to fill out information in a life-sized Venn diagram. I walked around, giving immediate feedback, challenging my higher students, and helping my struggling students. I also grouped them so that I had stronger students mixed in with the students that would need help. I often find that students learn well when being coached by a same-aged peer. I guess they truly know their audience :). To answer your question, OF COURSE WE HAD A HULA HOOPING CONTEST once we finished our work! Haha! I absolutely lost my title of champ to a 9 year old student. 

After practicing this skill for two more days, I had students attempt to try one all by themselves (thus completing the last "YOU DO" stage). It was through this task that I was able to quickly assess them on their mastery of the skill. Based on the information given, I knew who had mastered it, who needed a little bit of review, and who needed small group or one-on-one help. Luckily, I only needed to pull two students out of twenty to point out a few minor mistakes. 

Be sure to visit my TPT STORE to check out the passages created solely for teaching the skill of comparing and contrasting!!!!! :) 

Happy Teaching, 
Mary ~ Teaching Takes the Cake

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Keeping Warm with our Hot Cocoa Math and Literacy Centers

The holiday excitement has come and gone. We are back to our normal routine in room 5. With a new year, comes new centers for station rotations. I worked on creating winter-themed centers over holiday break that I could use interchangeably with any topic that we were covering.

Prior to the break and since returning, we have been focusing on learning how to determine main idea while recounting key details and explaining how they support the main idea (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.2). The students have such a better handle on this skill now that we have practiced it together and in partners several times. We are now safely in the stage of "skill independence" and they are able to determine main idea and key details without the guidance of adult support. To reinforce the skills, I decided to use my newly created centers (which can be found in my TPT STORE).

Students get a hot cocoa mat, 5 marshmallows (or game pieces), and any task cards or flashcards based on the skill being reinforced. They take turns answering questions or completing tasks. If the task is completed correctly, they remove a game piece/devour a marshmallow. If their task is completed incorrectly, their turn is over. The first student to empty their hot cocoa mug is the winner.

I divided task cards relating to determining main idea and key details into plastic baggies. I put about 20-25 task cards  and a class list in each bag. Students place a check mark next to their names so that I am able to keep track of when and how many times they have practiced with certain skill card sets. Answer keys are also provided for students to self-check.

You can find these FREE mats and center directions in my STORE.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gingerbread Celebration

During the weeks leading up to the winter holiday break, my class worked on putting together gingerbread themed reader's theaters. I presented mini-lessons on reading accuracy, expression, rate, and volume. We practiced our plays together through partner reads, group reads, and independent reads.
I will be making these plays available on my TPT store - check back soon!

We invited other classes to watch our plays. During intermission, we handed out gingerbread cookies and gave students the opportunity to vote on our gingerbread houses.

Third grade had been working on multiplication and money in math class. To tie these concepts into our gingerbread celebration, we worked on compiling a list of items we could use to make a gingerbread house and what each item would cost. We worked on a "cost sheet" that listed all of the items by price. The students worked together to multiply the cost by the number of items that they would purchase. Below is an example of the activity. *** YOU CAN FIND THIS ITEM FOR FREE IN MY TPT STORE  <--- click here ***

The students used this list and a fake budget of $10.00 to order the items they wanted to use to make a gingerbread house. They were challenged to spend as close to $10.00 as they could without going over. During morning homeroom, students were able to purchase the items for their house. They used play money to buy the items and had to figure out the correct amount of change that they would get back in return. I was lucky enough to have brave adult volunteers to join us for the gingerbread house building session!

We displayed our gingerbread village in the main lobby for all to appreciate. During our plays, classes were invited to vote for their favorite gingerbread house.

The students seemed to really enjoy themselves and were able to stay focused during all of the excitement that the holiday season brings! :D