Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Collection of Card Games for Word Work Review

We are winding down our school year and spending time reviewing a year's worth of learning. 
Third graders have been exposed to words, words and more words. 
From prefixes to suffixes from synonyms to antonyms, we covered it all.  
 We have evidence of our learning throughout our room. 
We've posted words on our Word Wiz board...

On our word wall...

On charts....

and in our word closet....

Do they have them all straight in their little brains....probably not entirely.
Lots of words need lots of practice.  So I've added games to our Work With Words bucket.
Playful practice will give them a way to review what they've learned while holding their attention. 

My third graders love card games.
Here is antonym Go Fish

Synonym Bingo

Prefix Boom!

A suffix match game...

I've added these games and more to my Teacher Pay Teacher Store.
If you are interested in checking it out, just click the link below.

Reading Third Grade VA SOL Test Practice Card Games

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Quick & Easy Budget Friendly Mother's Day Craft Idea

Happy Mother's Day!
Are you short in money and in minutes?  
Then this is your kind of  Mother's Day Craft.
I picked these tiles up at Home Depot for a mere 11 cents each. 
I grabbed some clear acrylic spray and scrounged up a basket of colorful sharpies. 
We were all set to craft and create a special Mother's Day present. 

My students all ooed and awed over the pretty "teacher" markers they got to use. 
They had to earn their way to the "creation station".  They were good as gold!

They created great pieces that I know their mamas will treasure. 

Here are some of their special creations:

Art from the heart.  Is there anything a mom would love more??

I will give them a quick spray of clear acrylic sealer and they will be good to go!

My kids were able to create a one of a kind piece of artwork and I spent less than $5.00.
Oriental Trading can't even beat that!

Enjoy your Mother's Day this coming weekend!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

SOL Reading Test Practice and Comprehension Clubs

I read this on Robert Marzano's twitter feed today:

"Probably the most powerful way to communicate high expectations for reluctant learners is to interact with them in a rigorous manner when they respond incorrectly to a question. Pay them the same deference you would a high-expectancy student."

In other words, we are not to let any student off the hook....Here is how he suggests probing:


We are using the think-pair-share strategy during our comprehension club time.  I tend to run club meetings more often as we get closer to state testing time.  The first step in forming comprehension clubs is to group students heterogeneously with 4 students in a group.  I make sure that I have one student who is a strong, "take charge" type in each group.  "Reluctant learners", as Marzano refers to them, are mixed into each of the different clubs as well.  With this set up, you have student "coaches" in each group.  By this time of the year, I have many students who have the third grade reading strategies and skills down solidly and end up sounding just like minnie me's as they work with their club members. 
Kids learning from kids...it's a good thing! 

We always have a first meeting in which students just meet to share what types of reading and books they like the best and then they come up with a club name. 
 Here are our clubs this year: 

My personal favorite: The "Read Hard or Go Home" club.....talk about rigorous expectations!
Plus how fun would it be to sit on a mushroom or flower while reading...love it!

I attach their club signs to the 3C Reader Poster.  Clubs can earn star points for working productively,  respectfully and responsibly with their clubmates.  

During their club meetings, my groups have been working on reading different types of texts, discussing and analyzing them, and then answering comprehension questions.  
This is where I get some state test preparation in.  

We read the text outside of our club meeting time.  This allows me to support those who need some reading help to get through the passage.  Everyone is responsible for thinking through the questions independently though.  They meet with their clubmates and sit in a circle facing away from each other.  They read and answer just one question at a time on their own.  They make sure they have found proof of their answer using the text and have highlighted words or sentences as needed.   

After I ring the bell, the group members will face each other.  They each have a job to do. 
Student One will read the question aloud along with any answer choices. 

Student Two gives his answer and justifies it by referring back to the text and explaining why he answered as he did. 

Student Three confirms.  This mean he will either agree or disagree with the answer given. He will add on to further justify why he agrees or give alternate proof as a way to explain why he disagrees. He will also manage the group as the group further discusses how they believe the question should be answered.  This is the most interesting part of the process for me.  As a teacher, you can really witness who has a good understanding of reading and thinking skills. It is as if you can get a glimpse into their little brains as they discuss how and why they think as they do.   I take plenty of anecdotal records during this time.  

After a bit of debate, the club usually reaches an agreement as to what they believe a good answer is.  Student Four checks everyone's understanding.  This is necessary because I will pull a random student pin and that person will need to report for the club.  

We will have a quick whole class reporting of the answer and then move to the next question.  We turn the job cube with each question so everyone gets a turn to take on the four roles.  I will have to say that kids don't let kids off the hook and they have high expectations for everyone in their club. 
A little peer pressure tends to work well in holding everyone responsible and accountable for thinking and answering.  It's amazing what they will do to get me to draw a star on their club sign. 

Thoughts about Marzano's tweet?  
Would love to hear your take on it!
Interested in running comprehension clubs using the Role Cube? 
Email or comment below and I'll send it your way!

Monday, April 30, 2018

We're Becoming Metric Measuring Marvels!

Centimeters, liters, grams, milliliters, meters, kilograms....for most third graders these are unfamiliar, rather confusing math and science words. They get so jumbled in their little brains!  Learning the metric units and understanding them to the point of applying them can be a struggle. If your students are anything like mine, they need plenty of exposure to the words and lots of hands on practice using them.  

We are working on becoming "Metric Measurement Marvels"!
If we are to become one, then we must be sure we understand the units, can measure with them AND make reasonable estimations.

We will work through measurements of length, weight and capacity and record our learning along the way.  Here are the pages that we fill out with all the important information that we have to learn.
Last year we folded our pages and stapled them to make a booklet.

We are keeping math notes in a marble composition book this year.  
It comes in handy as we can go back to prior learning if we need to review a concept.

As I introduced units of length, we added them to our journals.  
We learned benchmarks for each one....the centimeter is about the width of our fingernail and the meter is about the width of an arm span.  Referring to these benchmarks helps when we need to make estimations of length.  

Students get practice using the tools to measure items and then they record them on a chart and finally transfer the data to a bar graph.  I'm always looking for ways to connect prior math learning and this allows students another opportunity to apply graphing skills.

The pages are set up for students to work through:  "What I Know",  "What I Can Do" and
"What I Can Create" using each type of metric measurement.

My students worked on their measurement skills at a math station during guided math time.
It was easier to gather the materials for six students at a station as opposed to the whole class trying to work on it at the same time. Really, since my students worked in partners, it was just three balance scales, three tubs of rice and three rulers.
Having to record their measurements in the booklet or math journal made them accountable for the work.  Allowing for whole group math talk time afterwards helped to make sure students were understanding the concepts.

The other part of our standard involves students making reasonable estimations.
Students enjoyed playing these spinner games with a partner.
Working with a partner allowed students to share their thinking and their rationale.
Here is where I wanted to hear them using their "benchmarks" to help them.

Verbalizing their thinking is essential.  When doing a paper task like the one below, I always have the class check papers right afterwards. 
Immediate feedback on a skill like this one is so critical!

We still have more learning to do!
This is a skill that needs to be intentionally reinforced and will show up in more math stations as we go through the rest of the year.
I'll be posting how I reinforce measurement through my behavior system next.
Follow my blog or check back soon!

If you are interested in using these materials with your students you can check it out in my store.
Just click the link below:

Metric Measurement Marvels: Measuring Weight, Length, Capacity

Metric Measuring Marvels

How do you handle the challenge of teaching the metric units to your students?
Would LOVE to hear!
Let's help each other out....
Comment below or email at youngdor8@gmail.com!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hello Spring! An Easy to Follow Poetry Writing Activity

It is finally beginning to look and feel like spring in Virginia!  I'm so excited to feel the warm sun again.  We had a good soaking rain and the world has burst into bloom.  It is time to say hello to spring and bid farewell to old man winter.  What better way to do this than with poetry? 
My students and I had the best time writing and celebrating all the joys of spring time. 

As with most of the writing activities we do, I start with a mentor text.  For this one, I checked out a variety of Spring related poetry books from our school library.  We read poem after poem and enjoyed the flow of the language and the beauty of the springtime illustrations. 
Our favorite was Swing Around the Sun by Barbara Esbenson. We were lucky enough to have a digital version of this one so I could project it and could use it as a shared reading activity. 
Image result for swing around the sun

This acrostic poem book about Spring gave us good inspiration for writing our own poetry. 
After enjoying the poetry of others, my students were ready to draft a poem of their own.  We used a venn diagram to compare and contrast winter and spring.  We were careful to think of contrasting ideas that correlated with each other.  For instance, if we wrote that we drink hot cocoa in the winter, we would record a spring time drink like lemonade on the opposite side.  Because we always say "two brains are better than one", my students brainstormed with a partner.  Then we shared ideas as a whole class.

The next day we were ready to draft.  We used our ideas from our venn diagrams to help us craft lines using the pattern Hello..... and Goodbye......   I modeled how to add adjectives and verbs to jazz up lines and make them more interesting to read.  For instance instead of writing Hello sandals and Goodbye boots, we could say..."Hello strappy sandals that let my feet breathe and Goodbye furry boots that keep my toes toasty warm."  My kids came up with some amazing lines!  I love to pause during the drafting stage to have kids read their "Golden Lines".  Hearing the creative lines they were coming up with really inspired the other writers in the room. 

The revising and editing stage came next. It is at this point that I share the writing rubric that will be used.  We talk about their third grade writing targets.  Students get a copy of the rubric and meet with a writing partner.  We always revise in green pen and edit in red.  Students give "Positive Praise" and "Friendly Feedback" during this process.  They give specific compliments about word choice or ideas and then can give helpful advice about a line that may sound confusing or words that may be overused. 

It comes to me next.  It is at this point that I grade the writing piece using the rubric that was shown to the students.  I make any additional corrections so the students get a cleaned up draft to copy.  They copy in their neatest handwriting during the publishing stage. 

Next students get to create art work for to accompany their poem.  We used cupcake liners to craft spring time flowers.  They flipped the liner inside out so the pretty bright colors showed.  Then they used scrap paper to add grass, bugs, leaves, etc. 

Now they were ready to display for others to read and enjoy. 

They make a colorful and cheerful display. 

ALL my students were successful in creating a poem that they were proud to hang up for others to read.  
I've added this poetry activity file to my TPT store if you are interested in trying it with your students.  If you do, my students and I would love to read some of your Hello, Goodbye poems!
Email me @ youngdor8@gmail.com

Happy Spring and Happy Writing!

Let's Write a Spring Poem: Writing Resources and Rubric