Tuesday, October 8, 2013

South Carolina Elevation Maps


We are writing to you from dreary Charleston.  Normally we have beautiful sunshine, but it has been dark, gray, and rainy the last few days.  Our Headmaster always says that rain is "liquid sunshine" but I'm having a hard time agreeing to that when I'm outside for carpool!

Our third graders study South Carolina history, but our first chapter delves into the geography of our state.  We focus on the regions, the rivers, and South Carolina's natural environment.  For some reason, the kids are so good at memorizing the regions of the state.  They love it!  We did some fun foldables to keep them engaged.




After learning the regions and the different elevations found in our state, we made an elevation map using food.  Each region's elevation was depicted by a type of food that can be found in South Carolina.  We used grits for the Coastal Zone, rice for the Inner/Outer Coast Plain, split peas for the Sandhills, beans for the Piedmont, and marshmallows for the Blue Ridge. 




 The idea is that the Blue Ridge Region has the highest elevation (about 3,000 feet) so the marshmallows stand up higher than any other part of the map.



Despite being covered in glue and exhausted after this activity, I'm so glad we did it.  Our kids love it and it brings Social Studies to life. :) Do any of you do something similar with your state?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Five for Friday!


Well, hello there!  We have been SERIOUSLY neglecting this little ol' blog.  Maybe there will be a year when we don't reinvent every lesson plan the wheel?!  Maybe there will be a year when we don't re-do 75% of our stuff to make it better whilst blogging?!  Nah.  That'd make things way too boring!!  :)

We've had a wild week!!!  Read on to hear how we raised 10K in one week and download a new freebie we put on TpT today!!  Link up with Kacey so we can see what you've been up to!


1.  South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital Fundraiser
The third grade at our school has a class mascot and since we live in the Lowcountry, we chose our state reptile.  We are the Loggerhead Sea Turtles!  A few years ago, we got the idea to raise money for the Sea Turtles at the South Carolina Aquarium.  Our students participate in a week-long Read-A-Thon and ask sponsors to donate money for every minute they read.  For example, 200 minutes at 10 cents a minute = $20.  Our class donated OVER $10,000 last Friday!  From one week of reading!  The Aquarium Staff cried their eyes out!  We cried!  It was an amazing moment!!!




 

2.  FREEBIE ALERT
Do your kids love Scoot as much as ours?  Are they obsessed?  Do they beg to play?  Will they play instead of Recess?  Okay, maybe that last one is a stretch.  ;)  Check out our latest {Rounding Scoot} game that we added to TpT today for FREE.  If you like it, please leave feedback.  It makes our day!  I swear.  :)

3.  Smiley Faces 
Who would have thought 3 little smiley faces would make such a big difference!!!  A few weeks ago, while brainstorming how I was going to start rewarding all my perfect little girls angels amongst a large group of boys I quickly thought of 3 strikes and you're out!   After remembering a pinterest idea about writing on the desk with dry erase markers, I quickly came up with the idea of each kid drawing 3 smiley faces on their desk each morning when they get to school.  Throughout the day they can lose one for not paying attention, blurting out, going ahead and not following directions, etc.  I simply just walk past their desk and wipe a smiley off.  If they end the day with all 3 smileys, they receive a "turtle tap" for their behavior chart.  20 turtle taps and they get to pick a prize.  If they lose all 3 they have to sign our Turtle Log, which is a note home.  I was amazed at how well this works.  Not only are my superstars racking up turtle taps, but my wild monkeys have calmed down.  At the end of the day, I walk around each desk with a Clorox wipe and wipe them all off.  The only down side I have found is at the end of the day my hands look like the good ole days when we were using Vis a Vis pens.  Their desks also look super cute with 3 smileys smiling at them all day!!!
 


4.   Emily found her A/C remote from school in her purse this afternoon.  She'd been looking for it all week.  Nothing says back to school like this....
 
 
 
5.  I live here?!
I had one of those moments last night.  Check out the gorgeous sunset off the Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina.  Not a bad place to call home!
 
 


Have a great weekend!  Thanks for reading!



Friday, September 13, 2013

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday Everyone!  We wanted to link up with Kacey to share what we've been up to this week in third grade.  Join in and share with us!


1. Living in Charleston, South Carolina has its advantages and one of them is learning about our class mascot, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.  Every year our class "adopts" a sea turtle at the South Carolina Aquarium & Sea Turtle Rescue Hospital.  We raise money through a Read-A-Thon and the kids have an absolute blast.  Last year we raised over $5,000 and in 2011 we raised over $3,000!!!  We are in the middle of our Read-A-Thon right now and our class has pledged to read 5,000 minutes in one week.  Fingers crossed we can reach our goal of $3000!



2. Our school has math facts requirements for each grade level.  Our kids have to master 50 facts in 2 minutes and 30 seconds.  Each quarter we master a new operation and by May we have covered all 4 (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).  If you need some tests, check ours out {HERE}.  They are FREE on TpT.  :)

Our students graph their scores each week a la Marzano.  If only all of our students could have a graph that looks like this one.  :)



3. We began our study of maps in Social Studies.  We will use One Extra Degree's Pirate Map Unit on TpT next week.  Click {HERE} to check it out.  It's so much fun!  This week we explored some maps of South Carolina and did some fun foldables.  




 4. Holy moly.  We've just discovered Brain Breaks.  Where have these been the last 11 years?  My kiddos have some serious #antsintheirpants.  BUT they will work really hard if they know they can dance and #party rock for a minute or two!  Here are our faves so far. Just click the link to check them out.


5.  Guided Math blows my mind.  It's going really well, but the control freak in me worries a bit!!  The kids are either meeting with us, playing a game, working on task cards, or playing a game on the iPad.  They LOVE it, but I *slightly* stress as I teach my small groups and wonder...are they playing the right way?  Why is that group so loud?  What app is he on??  As you can see from the pics, all looks OK!



Enjoy the weekend.  We've made it through another week!





Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday Workshop-Set Up and an EXTRA FREEBIE

Today we are linking up with Jivey for Workshop Wednesday.  We love reading about how you all set up your Reading Workshop!!!



We have tried a few reading workshops since the year has begun and so far, it is the quietest time of the day.  We were a little nervous about reading workshop only because this group is BOY HEAVY and they need a song and dance to stay engaged.  Seriously Kerry and I have been pulling out all the stops, even our tap shoes...ha ha ha, to keep these little learners happy.  Believe it or not, they are eating up Reading Workshop and doing so well.  I have been running late (of course).... I am long winded, but I am not complaining.  We started with lots of modeling and short sessions of RW just to get them rotating correctly.  So here is the "set up" so far...

We started the year with reading leveled non-fiction texts about Sea Turtles. (More to come about that, but Sea Turtles are our grade mascot and we do a HUGE fundraiser to support the South Carolina Sea Turtle hospital in Charleston).  Each day we introduced a new text feature for non-fiction using this packet(FREEBIE for today only)!!!!!!

It all begins with my lower group coming to my table and reading this book together as I introduce text features and discuss the facts.  
My middle group was at the reading nook reading to themselves.   My high group has to start with the activity so I usually give them the book and allow them to read it by themselves before they come to me.


I use these little signs to help us all remember where we are.   


After 20 mins we rotate to the next group.  My lower group will go to their desks and work on the activity that is in their packet.  I always have my lower group reread the section we read by themselves before they do the activity.  I then work with the middle group, while my higher group heads to the reading nook for read to self.


Finally, I get to my high group and we go over what they have read.  If it is a long chapter or section, I only assign for them to read part of it and then we read the rest aloud at the table.


By now my lower group should be done and they head to read to self and my middle group works on their activity.  When I am done with my high group their usually isn't much time left for them to work on their activity.  But since they start with the activity the next day I have them complete it then.  The activity is always on the same skill with all the groups, we just read leveled texts. We do this in the beginning of the year with our Open Court Basal to just get familiar with the reading skills and comprehension questions.  Then hopefully by the 2nd quarter we will move to our novel units.  It has taken us a few years to find what works best for us.  This is working so far this year!! YIPEEEE!!!

Still with me?  See I told you I was long winded!!!  :)

Now this isn't about set up, but I must share an app I found to help during reading workshop.  It is called Audio Note and the lite version is free.  The real version is $4.99 (Yikes!!), but I could possibly buy this one.  IT'S THAT GOOD!  It is a voice recorder and a note taker all in one.  You could really use it in many ways.   I record each student as they read a passage during RW.  Then I can simultaneously take notes as the app records.  MAGIC!    It has been amazing!!!  I am still figuring out all the parts to the app, but so far I am in LOVE!  I can't wait to show the students how different they sound after a few short months...I HOPE!!!    Check it out!


Happy Workshopping, sweet friends!! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Made It-Math Workshop Style

Oh, Math Workshop.  I love you so!  Y'all, I just have to gush about our new math workshop!  It's so much fun and working out really well!  Link up with 4th Grade Frolics and share what you've been doing lately.


First up, Tara is keeping us cute and organized.  Go download her Math Workshop signs {HERE}.  I love them!  Bestill my chevron loving heart.  :)  

We pretested (is that a word??) our kiddos at the start of our place value chapter to determine our groups.  We have 4 leveled groups in all.  Each day we teach a 20 minute lesson and then our students break up into their centers.  Over the course of the week they will visit 4 centers (iPad, teacher time, task cards, & a game). 

Today we focused on money denominations during the whole group instruction portion.  While the kiddos were setting up their foldable, I showed this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2I9AlYp2zk  




We reviewed coins, bills, and counting change.  Click {HERE} to pick up the foldable we used today.  It was easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, (and free)!

Next, we broke up into our centers.  Today we used our Piggy Place Value Task Cards.  Click {HERE} for more info.



Another group played Gator Chompin' by 'And They All Fall Down'.  Click {HERE} to download it on TpT.  It's awesome and free!


Another group played Sushi Monster on the iPads (forgot to take a pic) and our teacher group worked with play money.


I can't believe how much we packed in a 50-55 minute session today.  This group loves to move and sing and PLAY!  We have got to keep up with them, so the math games are working out perfectly!  We will be back soon with more workshop ideas.  Happy Monday, friends!


PS... Thought I'd share this funny!  This is what happens when you wash and dry a whole pad of Post-Its!  It's like popcorn in the dryer!!!  As you can see those are men's clothes, so note to self...guess I should start checking the hubbie's pockets too!  
Sticks, rocks, cars, Post-Its...what will it be next!






Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thursday Throwdown and a Freebie!

We are linking up with Erin from I'm Lovin Lit for a Thursday Throwdown!  Yeehaw!  Today's post asks us to describe how we make learning more interactive.  Link up and share what you do.  :)


The first idea we want to share is quick, easy, and super fun. This technique comes from the book How To Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov.


 Celebrations (or props or shout-outs) are public praise for students that do something great.  Who doesn't love praise????  When you teach these cheers, you engage the class quickly and provide powerful reinforcement.  It can be a simple, "Uh-Huh, Uh-Huh" or 2 Snaps and a Clap or Two Snaps, Two Stomps.  Whatever it is, you are sure to grab everyone's attention!  You may say something like, "Wow!  That answer deserves a Hot Pepper."  Then the class will hold up an imaginary hot pepper, dangle it above their mouths, take a pretend bite, and say "Tssssss."  It's a ton of fun and a great way to build classroom community.  The best thing is....your kiddos will come up with their own celebrations.  Talk about taking ownership!!

We also wanted to share an INCREDIBLE read aloud for narrative writing.  Today we read the book, The Memory String by Eve Bunting.  It's a wonderful book about character, values, and accepting new situations. 


 We used it to teach the concept of "show, not tell."  If you are familiar with Lucy Caulkins' Writing Workshop you know the lesson on news reporter vs. story tellers.  This book is PERFECT!  Afterwards, we made story boards (like a movie reel) to demonstrate how to picture your story like a movie in your mind.  Our kiddos were so into the lesson and really did a fantastic job.  




If you want a copy of the movie reel click {HERE}.  We thought we'd share it in case you're teaching narratives now, too!

Have a great evening, everyone. TGIF (tomorrow!)!!!  :)


Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently & Some Updates

It's a new month and time for Currently with Farley!  Most of ours explains itself so no need to bore you with the details.  Link up and share what's going on with you! 

Kerry's Currently:



Emily's Currently:




We have been busy updating some of our novel units on TpT.  If you've grabbed our Ralph S. Mouse unit, re-download it.  It got a little trip to the spa for a much needed makeover!  Click {HERE} to check it out.

Enjoy your Labor Day!!   Happy Monday Everyone!