Monday, December 31, 2012

Phases of the Moon

I think its safe to say I am addicted to Pinterest, and SO many of my ideas and inspirations come from that wonderful site. I had seen the phases of the moon recreated with oreos before and loved it so I thought I would give it a try with the third graders. We were wrapping up our unit on Space/Solar System and had discussed the phases of the moon and done a few other activities with it. This was a great hands on activity to end the unit. I love lessons like this where the kids are all invested in the activity. There were no behavior problems and they were able to pull together as teams to complete the task. I also saw them using the various references in the room (posters, text) to verify their moon phases.

This took about 20-25 minutes to complete and started out with them cutting out the phases of the moon from a piece of paper. They then had to arrange them in order and show that the phases are a cycle. 

Then I passed out the oreos and demonstrated how to remove the frosting with a spoon. This came easier to some groups more than others. (They were not graded on how well they were able to remove the frosting, rather that they had the phases in the correct order and had removed the appropriate amount of frosting.)

I had some very happy third graders when they were finished as they were allowed to sample the phases :)


I am a bit behind for a Christmas post but better late then never I suppose! For the second annual door decorating contest at my school my partner teacher and I wanted to do something impressive. After unimpressively slapping up some brown paper for a gingerbread house one Friday afternoon we knew it would need to be a Saturday effort. Three hours later we had this!!
The white paper says "Oh Deer"lol. The deer on the left has Christmas lights on it and the deer on the right is wrapped in garland. In the middle is Santa's sled with a few presents. 

Our plan was to have the kids make snowflakes to put on the blue paper but the week we put this up we had 2 early release days and two snow days as well as the third and fourth grade musical. YIKES, we were all kinds of crazy busy.

Oh DEER!!!!!

I love that we were able to plug in the lights. It was three hours well spent :)

I hope everyone was able to enjoy their Christmas break.  I had a wonderful time catching up with my family and friends. (I also really enjoyed waking up with NO ALARM every morning.) Ah, sweet vacation!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I mustache you a question

During the months of October and November my partner teacher and I taught this unit on elections.

We (teachers and students) had a blast during this entire unit. There was so much authentic learning, researching, discussion, etc., it was fantastic. During the debate, my partner teacher and I wore some pretty awesome hats to dress the part of moderator. The kids got a kick out of it and it just felt fun. 
I had forgotten about these hats until I received this gem today. 

It looks like somebody got a new app on their iPad and put it to good use.  I simply cannot stop giggling. 

My partner teacher is seriously awesome!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Favorite TPT Freebies

Here is the short list of my favorite freebies from Teachers Pay Teachers. TPT is an amazing resource that I use often, if not daily. I love sharing ideas with other teachers, it just makes sense to pass on ideas to make us all better teachers.

This is a great activity for spelling practice. Just like in the game scrabble, each letter is worth a set amount of points.  After writing down the spelling words students add the points that the letters are worth. My students enjoyed adding up their points to see which word had the most and which had the least. It was a great addition to our spelling repertoire. 

These have been an AMAZING resource. My spelling practice consists of students writing their words in their "Words I Use when I Write" dictionary and then choosing one of these cards. There is truly something for everyone and I have never heard a complaint.  I have many students who use these task cards when they finish work early, it's been a wonderful addition to my classroom. 

This set of worksheets went immediately into my sub binder. It is such a versatile resource since there is a set for literature and non fiction. The day I downloaded this gem I ended up going home sick and was SO happy to leave this for the sub.

This could also be used as spelling practice, however, this set also includes recording sheets. There are also additional task cards not included in the set above. Both are wonderful and can be either combined or switched out to create variety.

This little number is great for reinforcing basic geometric concepts like sides, vertices, etc.  One of the suggestions is to use it as a center which is exactly what my plan is. Now that my students know these concepts this will be a great way for them to practice.

Cuteness! I am a newbie to graphic design and long to be able to create fantastic clip art like this. I can't believe these are free, what a find!

These are some of my favorite freebies, I would LOVE to hear what some of yours are! 

BTW, I love these Ecards! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday Funday!

Yesterday I took a total break from school stuff. Instead I spent the day Christmas-ing my house with my family.  I made the most delicious chocolate-peppermint cookies and did some awesome crafty crafts with my 3 (almost 4 yikes) year old.

I knew I wanted chocolate cookies with peppermint and knew I had hit the jackpot when I found white chocolate peppermint M&M's (who knew such a thing existed!?!)  With a few tweeks to an instant cake mix I had the YUMMIEST and EASIEST holiday treat, hooray!

It started with with Duncan Hines devil's food cake mix. I added 1/3 cup olive oil and two eggs and mixed until it was no longer lumpy (it was quite thick.) 

Then I added these babies, it was about a cup or more, they are pretty big.  I spooned them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (because goodness knows I won't feel like scrubbing the cookie sheet!) and threw them in the oven (350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes). 
Easy peasy and DELICIOUS!

I only scooped about a tablespoon sized dollop and they spread out a lot to make a decent sized cookie. This would be an incredibly treat to bring to my holiday party at school, I think the kids  (and other teachers) would gobble them right up.

Another holiday craftivity we worked on was decorating plates with Sharpie markers.  Holy cuteness! I had seen this on coffee cups before but thought we would try to give them as gifts from my daughter. I love that it has her awesome artwork and is fully functional. My next step is to bake them in the oven to make sure the sharpie won't wash off and as long as they are only hand washed my little artist's masterpiece will be permanent. 

I thought about getting enough plates for my students to do this for their families, however, I have already spent enough on the darlings, maybe next year?!  

These plates came from TJMaxx but I think the ones from the dollar store work just as well.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


When reviewing data, geometry always stands out as a area of weakness for my school. The math group I teach has the most support and interventions of the three math classes. I team teach with the Title 1 math teacher which means the students get to stay and get support in the room! It's fantastic! Geometry is usually saved for the spring however, I decided to introduce it earlier in the year with the hopes of having enough time so I could do it justice. 

After reviewing the chapter and then beginning to work with students I have a much better understanding of why geometry is such a struggle. There is so much vocabulary to remember and students are being asked to identify, classify and sort shapes, lines etc. 

To help my students remember the terms to identify lines and angles I tried two kinesthetic approaches after we had learned the vocabulary from the book. The first method gets them using their hands and is borrowed from my FABULOUS partner teacher.  I ask them to make a point with their body by making a fist, they make a line segment by stretching their arms out straight and with their hands in fists and so on. We did this quite a few days for review and I would use it as their ticket to leave as a quick formative assessment.  

The second thing we tried was using tooth picks and mini marshmallows.  I had them write down the terms they are responsible for and then we made them together.

Each student got one of these cups with two toothpicks and five marshmallows.

I asked them to write the word and make it using their marshmallows and toothpicks. The first one was pretty easy :)

Many students were confused with the line. They stuck the marshmallows on the end and forgot to leave room at the end (otherwise it's a line segment) 

By the third or fourth term they really had the hang of it, however, the marshmallows started to get sticky :/

In the end they needed to make eight vocabulary terms (lines and angles) and after their figures were checked by a teacher they were allowed to eat their (sticky, yucky) marshmallows.

I leave you with two laughs.
I guess this is what I get for buying Dollar Store 'pencils' (My smartypants Canadian friend told me that crayon is French for pencil, but I still get a chuckle out of this)


How is that not professional development!!??!!  CEUs are in order :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Comprehension Cards (Freebie!!!)

Another goal I have is to be able to share quality freebies. I have benefited greatly from freebies on Teachers Pay Teachers (I will share my favorites in a post VERY soon) as well as from blogs I found through Pinterest, and I wanted to share the love with you. I have a bunch of things to sell on my TPT store, but part of the whole experience of TPT and blogging is to share (free) ideas with other teachers. Available to you are 20 comprehension cards for reading literature and four blank cards as well as a table for recording student fluency and comprehension. I love using these and store mine in a greeting card box, as I spoke to last post. I print them on card stock and laminate them so they stand up to my most rough and tough students. However, I have seen people glue them to popsicle sticks and keep them in a cup (awesome!)

When I use these with the kids I fan them out and hold them like playing cards so I am the only one that can see them. I ask students to pick one (sometimes more) and everyone works on forming an answer at the same time so they are ready when it is their turn. Sometimes the kids write their answers down or jot down notes so they have it all together when asked to answer orally. 

Available at my TPT store!
Thanks for visiting :)