Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Please Thank Your Partner...


Where are they these days?  Everything is so instant.  And so entitled feeling.  Want a quick way to insert a polite social skill into your day?

It's so easy.

Any time you do work with a partner, when the activity is over you say, "Please thank your partner."  That's it.  They shake hands.  Or say "Thank you."  Or give a hug... we've been doing it all year so, by now, my kiddos are pros and they know that at the end of any partner activity we will always thank our partners!

This public service announcement has been brought to you by... me!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Morning Meeting Activity Ideas

I posted earlier in the week about how Morning Meeting has literally saved my classroom and got some great feedback!  Check out the blog post by clicking the pic below!

Lots of you asked about the kinds of activities we do during that time of the meeting so... ready?

We LOVE this little Chipmunk!  He's from Hallmark.  He asks quirky questions and asks the kids to do silly things.  Sometimes our activity is one of his shenanigans!

I've collected lots of quiz cards and vocabulary games... the Target Dollar Spot has good stuff!  We spend 2-3 minutes doing these sometimes.

I have a set of question dice.  We might roll a dice and a few kids might answer the question.  We also LOVE to do a "20Q".  That's the pink thing in the middle.  Run to the store and invest $10 in one.  It's GREAT for critical thinking!

It's always easy to pull out a card or two from the box...

Or read a few facts from this book.  The kids decide if the statement is a fact or a fib.  We love learning little tidbits!

A FAVORITE is always Mad-Libs.  I love that we're practicing grammar skills and the kids love the stories!

Each of these can be done in less than 5 minutes, keeping our meetings brief but fun!

Hope that gives you a peek into what we're doing for our activities!  Of course, there's free stuff you can do to... we like doing jokes, snapping and clapping patterns, sharing weekend news, "Go Noodle" (especially KOO KOO KANGAROO!!!), and using task cards to play my favorite favorite game "Back to Back", which I've blogged about many times.  You can check that game out by clicking HERE!

Do you have any good, inexpensive ideas for activities?  Add them in the comments below!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Organizing Grammar Games

Am I the only one with a crazy amount of grammar games... that I'm CONSTANTLY adding to?  I LOVE GRAMMAR GAMES.

We play them often...

We do classroom hunts...

We do partner games...

We LOVED this one that had us working on possessive pronouns...

But, my organization for storing them got a little  out of control with so many.  So... here's the new organization!

12 x 12 scrapbooking containers!  Then, inside, most everything is bagged up and ready to go!

Looking for some great low-prep grammar games?

Check out this bundle in my TpT store.  All the random games I've made this year... so fun!

Monday, March 14, 2016

How Morning Meeting Saved My Classroom {freebie too!}

Do you do a class meeting?  Morning meeting?  Afternoon wrap-up?  Whatever you call it... this has saved my classroom this year.

When I taught 1st and 2nd grade, I always had a morning meeting.  Every day.  We loved it!  But, when I moved to 3rd grade 4 years ago, I just couldn't find the time.  I would start doing it but something would come up or students wouldn't be done with their morning work or or or or... there was always something and, eventually, morning meeting would fall by the wayside.

This year I have quite the group.  I love them, like I always do.  But, the first few months were much more exhausting than normal.  To top it off, our class sizes are huge and I have 31 friends in my class.

In November, I was just tired.  My classroom had ceased to be a community.  I was nagging them all day, which isn't me.  My classroom management has always been on point so I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong this year!  I decided to bring back morning meeting and, this time, to stick with it.

It has made a HUGE difference.  We operate as a community.  We have time to talk about behavior expectations.  We get to work on social skills.  We share ideas.  We learn grammar skills.  Check it out...

We start out here.  Students have assigned spots on the rug and they sit in their spots, facing the chair and easel so we can go over morning meeting expectations.

We go over the "Morning Meeting Rules" on this chart.  I say the words in blue.  Students finish each rule by stating the part in pink.

Then we transition into a large circle.

We do a greeting.  Everyone goes around the circle, shaking the hand of the person next to them and saying, "Good Morning, (student name)."  We've been able to practice an appropriate handshake, eye contact... and you should see the smiles around the circle each morning!

After that, we do a quick activity.

I have lots of "stuff" under my easel...

After the activity, students transition back to their spots and we get the "News of the Day" from the leader.  This is something I did in 1st and 2nd grade and I worried that it would be too juvenile for 3rd graders.  But, they like it so much and the amount of learning that we are able to do is incredible.

Here's how it works...

Students chorally spell while I write.  I write exactly what they spell and punctuate so, if it's incorrect, I write it anyway.  We find and fix errors at the end.

We start with the date.

Then, the leader gets to tell us something.  It can be anything... what he/she did last night or ate for breakfast or about a pet or a parent... I have a set of news idea cards the leader can refer to if he/she can think of nothing to share.  Keep reading to grab that freebie!

After the leader tells us his/her news, they chorally spell while I write.

Check out this news from last week... awwww!

Then we find all sorts of parts of speech.  We find adjectives and common/proper nouns.  We can identify whether we have written a simple, compound, or complex sentence.  We find linking verbs and helping verbs and talk about verb tenses.  Taking the "News of the Day" to this level, has made my students experts at 3rd grade grammar.  Seriously.  They are the ones who come up to the chart and circle/underline and they love having the ownership of this.

After the news is done, the leader comes up to the chart and uses a pointer to guide the class through a choral reading of the news.  We work on inflection and fluency... pacing and intonation.  I love it!

The next item on the agenda is a poem and/or a passage.  Last week, we worked on context clues.  So, we had this poem up and we worked on determining the meanings of the underlined words.  At the end of the week, poems are moved to the partner reading table so pairs can read them during ELA time.

We read the poem together, talk about stanzas, get volunteers to read it to us, etc... This week, our poem focuses on onomatopoeias and strong verbs.  We LOVED reading this one.  So fun!

We also like to read a passage from this book.  I read it on Mondays and then we answer the questions as the week goes on.

After that, we go over our class behavior expectations.  These are five goals that we came up with together during the rough patch of behavior we were experiencing at the beginning of the year.  To be honest, we have met all of these goals by now, but the students like having the daily reminder.  Our goals are...

*We will have quick and quiet transitions.
*We will raise our hands to speak.
*We will worry about ourselves.
*We will not argue with the teacher.
*We will treat everyone with kindness and respect (even if they are not our best best friends).

Last, we say our class motto... this is something I heard a while ago and shared with my students.  They have even made up motions for the motto and everything.

"Good, better, best.  Never let it rest.  Until your good is better and your better is your best!"

That's it.

Would you believe the whole thing only takes about 20 minutes?  And... if we're in a hurry, I can get it done in about 15.

So, there you have it.

Morning meeting saved us.  You should try it!

Looking for the "news idea freebie"?  Here it is!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bulletin Board Freebie!

Can you believe I whipped this up all during my 30-minute planning period?  True story!

Each 3rd grade classroom worked to come up with 10 things they liked about 3rd grade.  We hung them up and... instant, engaging bulletin board!

I made the word "LOVE" with some garland I happened to have on hand... and the large heart at the top is actually covering up a spot where I didn't have enough of the bulletin board border!

You can snag the printables for this bulletin board on TpT for free by clicking the pic above!

Enjoy and happy Valentine's Day!

Looking for other fun Valentine's Day goodies?

Check out the partner play in this winter play pack...
Candy bar wrappers... this file even includes an editable Powerpoint so you can add your students' names on the back of the wrappers!

And homework pass goodies!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Who Doesn't LOVE a SALE????

Have you heard?  There's a sale-e-o-yo going on a TpT Wednesday and Thursday!  (Thanks for the cute graphic- Primary Punch!)

My store is 20% off with an EXTRA 10% if you use the code START16 when you check out!

Don't miss it!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Main Idea BINGO!

We had so much fun playing "MAIN-O" today... it's a main idea BINGO game!

Please ignore the mess on my table... our green dry erase circles are very loved.

Students paired up and colored in details on their BINGO board as I read the clues, which were the main ideas!  So much fun!

Snag it as part of my random ELA games growing bundle... those are just $1 a game!  Or get it on its own for just $2!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It's Time... for a SALE!

Start January out right with quick and easy to grade "Snapshot" assessments, interactive reading, writing, and grammar notebooks, partner fluency building plays, and Common Core connected reading response tasks for grades 2, 3, 4, and 5!

All 20% off in my TpT store until 2016!

Click the pic head over and check it out!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Around the World REWIND! {Check for freebies!}

There's still time... click the pic below to check out old blog posts highlighting Christmas Around the World goodies you can use in your classroom!

Your kiddos will thank you for it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Party Saga: The Control Freak Teacher {Aaaaand... Freebie!}

Admit it.  You're a control freak too.  And, nothing brings that out in more more than class parties.  I love them.  But I dread that feeling of out-of-controlness... so mine are organized.  Maybe more organized chaos than strictly organized.

BUT... I have to run stations and students rotate through them at scheduled intervals.  I am usually lucky to have a plethora of parent helpers so that I can meander through the room, snapping pictures, and having fun with my kiddos.

Tomorrow is the day for our Christmas party!

We will be...

1.) Playing "Christmas JINGO"... I have the JINGO games for all holiday parties and LOVE them.

2.) Making edible Christmas trees... always a sugar-ified hit.

3.) Making an ornament craft.  Hello 60% off of Christmas at Michael's!  I stocked up and bought some for next year too!

4.) Playing a "Roll and Cover" multiplication game from the fabulous Fourth and Ten.  I printed these in color and slipped into page protectors.  Students can check off boxes and wipe off for the next crew!

5.) Making Christmas cards... silently at our seats.  Click the pic to score this freebie!  I'll even add more for other holidays as the year rolls on.

So, for about 40 minutes, students will be rotating through those five activities.  I may even get wild and crazy and not assign them where to go but instead just put a limit of 6 kids at any activity at any one time.

How's your week looking?  And... are you crazy about controlling your parties too?  The thought of it turning into a giant free-for-all is petrifying to me!
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