Sunday, November 4, 2012


Hello! I am still alive over here in third grade land.  First of all, I love, love, love third grade!!  However, my blogging was brought to a standstill because I have been SOOO busy with my new grade level!
However, I am working on my Volcano unit to tie all kinds of objectives together.  In third grade science, we have volcanoes, mountains, valleys, canyons, caverns, and islands. In reading we are studying informational text, and working on comparing/contrasting scientific ideas.  My grade level decided to use the basal story about volcanoes to do this (since it is compare and contrast) and then also do volcano research. 
I do not focus my teaching in reading on one story like that because I use Guided Reading and Daily 5.  The volcano story is great for volcanoes, but it is also a 4.8 level... and we are only just starting the second quarter of third grade. It is definitely not appropriate for all students! 
But, I digress....
I am using other informational text in my reading groups, but for science we are going to focus on volcanoes like everyone else! We will be doing volcano research to create volcano books, where we focus on creating non-fiction text features, and having a clear topic sentence and supporting details for each paragraph.  I am going to post my templates to create a volcano book on my teachers pay teachers site!  If anyone actually reads this, and responds, I will send it to the first 5 people for free!  :)

Also, I am putting together a series of lab demonstrations and lab note sheets as well.  This is what made me most excited!  Here are my plans so far:

1.  Lava Lab - using chocolate and marshmellows to demonstrate how rock melts into magma, comes out of the earth as lava, and cools into rock.  Which of course.. then we get to eat!

2.  Viscosity of Lava Demonstration - This one was a tough one to think about.  I wanted my kids to understand that it is the amount of silica gas (and if they just know that it is the amount of gas, I will be happy) that determines how explosive the eruption would be.  So, I came up with the idea of using a soda bottle!
First, we will take a new, unopened 20 oz soda bottle and talk about how there is gas in it.  This is our example of a volcano where there is a lot of sillica, that traps the gas in the bottle which means it has a high viscosity. Then we will open it up and watch the explosion! 
Then, we will use a second 20 oz soda bottle, and talk about how in a low viscosity example there is not a lot of silica and that allows the gas to escape.  We will shake up our bottle, and then open it a little and close it back up.  Repeating that a few times to let the gas escape.  Then when we finally open it up, the soda will still come out the top... only not so explosively! 

3.  The age old volcano lab.. this one is not quite as exciting!

Any other ideas?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Help!! I need your help!

What do I need to have or do for a third grade room that is different from a fourth grade room???!!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big changes...

Well, it has been awhile since I've had time to post. This week, I haven't evenhad time to read other blogs!  It has been a rough week. First, we had curriculum night for parents on Tuesday. That went amazing. Great turnout, and I could tell the parents were feeling good. After, I was gathering my things to leave when my principal came in,

He had a very serious look on his face, and asked if he could talk to me for a few min. I thought I was in trouble! He explained that the 10day enrollment numbers had come in. Then I thought he was going to tell me I had to move schools!

Instead, our third grade numbers are too high. NC says we can only have max of 22 in K-3. 4th grade can have ip to 30 or 32!! So, he has to move a teacher from 4th to 3rd. He felt I was the best fit and most able to handle the change at this point in the year.

He asked me to sleep on it and get back to him.  After a lot of not sleeping and thinking, I decided that I really didn't have a choice because if no one else on my team wanted to, I was going to be chosen I'm the end anyway.

So, now I'm changing grade levels!! 3 weeks into school! I told my students yesterday, and there wre many tears, not just from the girls! My principal called each my parents to tell them personally. Now, I will keep my fourth graders through Friday. They will start their new class Monday, my new third graders will come to me next Thursday. This way, I will at least have a couple of days to flip my room and get ready.

I am very anxious, and nervous. But I've been assured that I'll be great. Only time will tell!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First week, Monday Made It!, and Currently

Wow! I can't believe that the first we1ek is over, and the second week has started! I will post about the activities I used in the first week in more detail and with pictures tomorrow, but for now here are some of the things we did! What have you accomplished in your first days or week?

1.  Math:  We started teaching math on day 2, so we have actually gotten quite a bit done here.  They are decent math students this year but slow as molasses!   I swear we could teach math all day long and still not finish!  :) Ok, maybe not that long, but definitely we keep going over math block and into reading!
     Interactive Math Notebooks: These are amazing!  The kids love them, I love them, everyone loves them! Mostly though, I just love that this group can fold, cut, and glue paper....  It is fantastic!  We started with an entry I call "Math about Me" and then have done some pages on Place Value and Comparing numbers.
    Population Project: This was amazing!  They kids had so much fun, and they did such an amazing job on them. You can find the project on my Teacherspayteachers site for free! (that is my Monday Made it). After I created it, and used it myself, I touched it up and made it more complete to post.  It has everything you need to do it in your own classroom to practice writing large numbers in word, standard, and expanded forms.  Also, I am sure that you are also trying to find ways to increase global awareness as 21st century learners!

2.  Reading: We started Daily 5 with Read to Self.  I will post on that on Friday. I think I am going to make Friday my Daily 5 posting day.

3. Back to School Project - Personality Spheres - This is my favorite project.  The students create a sphere using 20 cut out circles and attaching them together. On each circle they answer a question about themselves. 

I think that was all of the exciting things we did in the last week.  I swear, it takes this group so long to do anything!  They do good work, but even just putting a heading on our paper takes several minutes.  I think I am going to have to start finding ways to motivate them to be quicker! Have you had groups like that?  What do you do?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Twas the night before school...

Twas the night before school.. and all through the house all the teachers were stirring, and planning, and thinking!  lol..
So, my roommate and I are both teachers, and both of us were sitting here going through all the things we still need to do for tomorrow.  Ready or not, here they come!
Not having access to a printer and copier at school really set me behind.  I have everything I need to print in a file on the server at school called (creatively) "to print."  Tomorrow morning I will have to print, and then find a copy code so I can copy things. If I only get my job application, and stuff for my math notebooks we will make it until enhancements when I can get the rest done.  I hate not being totally ready though! 
What did you, or are you doing, for the first day of school?
Here is what I have planned, but I am always looking for new ideas!
Morning Work: Apply for your favorite classroom job
Math Block: Welcome, procedures, tour of the room, basic expectations, blah blah blah...
Then.. Introduce our Interactive Math Notebooks! Thank you Janaye at Frogs and Cupcakes for her amazing inspiration here! Our first entry is going to be a lift the flap page of Math About Me.  I cut white computer paper into 7 x 9.5 in pieces that I will have the students fold into 8 boxes and cut them out.  They will put a line of glue with our glue sticks along the top to make them open, and write the topic on the outside using markers. 
All About Me: Write name, # of letters, # of different letters, and the value of their name if a=1 and z=26
My Birthday
My Address
My Family
My Favorite Sport (anything to do with their favorite sport and numbers)
My Favorite Number
How Old Am I? (Challenge - how many days old? or weeks?)
My Phone Number

I hope it turns out! I will post pictures tomorrow.
Reading: Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Pollaco.  I love this book! I read it every year! Tomorrow I will read it, and then we will discuss how to write a thank you card.  They will choose a former teacher to write a thank you card to.  We will also do a reading interest inventory.

Science/Social Studies block: Personality Spheres.  I love this project. It will take two days at least to complete.

For everyone who is starting tomorrow.. Good luck!! If you are already back in school, hope you have another great week!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Task Cards, Smart Boards, and a massage

Today was a very tiring but great day.  I was so happy this morning to play with my task cards that I made.  I laminated them with the fabulous personal laminator.  I really love that thing, but am out of the laminating sheets. I am hoping that one of my parents brings some in, although the wish fish was one that stayed on the board.  Anyway, I cut them out and put them in the containers!

What a great find those were! I found 4 x 6 plastic photo boxes at Micheals and JoAnn Fabrics for less than 2$ each.  They are perfect to hold the task cards!  I used clear plastic packing tape to tape the objective card on the outside, and the direction card inside the cover.  I also posted more of the task card sets to  I need more plastic photo boxes, but I think that I have a mom who is going to bring them in for me!  I am really excited about my common core task cards.

After playing with my task cards I was really busy doing lots of unexciting stuff.  Until the late afternoon, when they installed my SmartBoard!! Yay!!  I did a little SmartBoard dance in the hallway when they wheeled the stuff down to my room.  Sadly, the cords are too short to reach all the way over to where I want them to be permanently, but I have a place to make it work temporarily.

The final part of the awesomeness was that I came home and had the most amazing massage ever. Just what I needed!!  My roommate's girlfriend is a massage therapist.  She offered me a massage in exchange for me giving my bag of old tennis balls to him to use in his classroom.  I would have jsut given them to him, but I jumped at the chance for a massage! Ah.. relaxation!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Open House

I cannot believe how ready I was for Open House.  I have never been so ready and it was almost scary how smooth it went!  I had all of their packets of back to school forms and information in sheet protectors with their name on a sticker on the outside.  I am so rediculous, that I put a sticker on all of the forms that need to come back to school, and put them at the front.

Next, I set up stations with signs to show all the things that needed to be done during Open House.
I wanted to have the students occupied so that I could secretly ask the parents to write a sweet note to their child for me to leave on their desk for the first day of school.  :)

Here were my stations:
1.  Name plate: I have used white 2 x 7 in paper strips for students to make their names on their desk for the last few years.  Tonight I had the students decorate their name plate so that I could laminate them and have them ready for the desks for the first day.

2.  When I grow up...:  I made my bulletin board with quotes and pictures from Walt Disney.  Then I cut out fish shaped peices of scrapbook paper.  Each student wrote "When I grow up, I want to be a _____" (and filled in the blank of course with what they wanted)   They turned out pretty cute, but I will have to have some redo it because they wrote only the word of what they wanted to be.  Some interesting choices though. They ranged from Cop, to Marine Biologist, to BMXer.  There was one teacher, and my neice (2nd grade) said she wants to work at PetCo.

While the students were working on those things, I had the parents set up with all of their forms.  I pulled out the 3 they needed fill out for open house, and showed them the folders to turn them in to.  Then I explained the cards.  I am really excited about the cards for them on the first day.  I am going  to have them do that seeral times throughout the year I think.

Then I had the students find their writing composition notebook. This is their first assignment.  they are supposed to decorate the cover with anything they want that is flat.  Usuallty I do this the first week of school, but our open house was so early I thought it would be nice for them to have it done before school started.  I put their names on them with return address stickers.

My wish list was made up of scrapbook paper fish cutouts, and I called them our Wish Fish!  We also had sign ups to be room parents and help file papers for our Monday Folders.  I had 22 out off 23 families show up.  It was great! Tomorrow I will call the last one to see if they are still coming and let them know to come by and do the things we did tonight so that they don't feel left out on Monday. :)

Also, tomorrow we pick up our laptops! Our district has laptops for all teachers this year! Yay!