Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Welcome to the World!

I know I have been a little MIA from blogging lately, and I wish I could say that is going to change...but realistically, not for a little while. Why you ask? 

Because Stella Elizabeth has finally arrived!!

Stella was born on November 15th at 11:20 pm. Just like with my first pregnancy I was induced after an ultrasound (the 8th of this pregnancy!) showed low amniotic fluid and little fetal movement. Everything turned out fine and we were super excited to meet our little bundle.
 Stella was 7 lbs 6 oz at birth and is doing great.  

Here she is!

I'm hoping to be back blogging again in the new year...so have a great holiday season, a wonderful new year and I'll see you in 2014!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Please Remember.

Remembrance Day... as we call it here in Canada is one of my favourite teaching moments of the year and being home on mat leave this year means I missed out on talking about this special day with my students.

I hope you were able to take some time day, or in the days leading up to today to talk with your students, read a special book, watch a video and attend a ceremony/assembly.

Of all the teaching we do, today's is some of the most important. 

Here's an example of what one school in my community did to make the learning more meaningful.

If you go to The Star website there is also a great video to go with the article. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One more freebie...

I know that the Halloween Blog Hop over at A Class*y Collaboration is still going on and I hope that you have been able to pick up a bunch of great freebies!

Even though it's not my day for a freebie on the blog hop, I still have something for you. It could be used for a Halloween activity or just a procedural writing lesson. It would go well with my first freebie for the blog hop- click here to see the post if you missed it. 

Your students will need to draw a simple monster and then write a procedure to explain how to draw their monster. Once this has been completed it's very fun to switch the procedures with a classmate and follow the steps to re-create the monster drawing!
Students love checking to see if their monsters match up and it makes for a very fun bulletin board as well. 

Included in this freebie is a graphic organizer and a success criteria check list. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trick or Freebie- Day 4

I'm back with a second freebie as part of A Class*y Collaboration's Trick or Freebie Blog Hop!

The blog hop last from Oct 24th until the 31st so I hope you are available to visit everyday and grab some great freebies!

My freebie today would be a great addition to any math workshop or math stations/centres.

This freebie contains 36 3-digit number cards, plus 6 blank cards to write in your own numbers.

I have also included the instructions for a 3-digit addition, a 3-digit subtraction, a number line and a comparing numbers station using these cards. 

Click on any of the images to grab your freebie!

Don't forget to head over to A Class*y Collaboration for more great freebies as part of this spooky blog hop.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Trick or Freebie- Day 1

I am so excited to be a part of a great Halloween Blog Hop that is happening over at A Class*y Collaboration. If you are visiting for the first time, welcome. I hope you find lots to your liking!

Now, on to the FREEBIE!

I have a super spooky (ok, not spooky but fun) writing pack for you to start off the blog hop. 

Click on any of the images below to grab your freebie. 

Procedural writing is one of my favourite ways to start the school year in Grade 3 because students have a lot of experience with it and it's a great way to introduce all those routines you want to have in place in your classroom. By the time Halloween rolls around your students will most likely be "experts" and able to handle this activity independently...which means the Halloween fun can also turn into assessment!

This freebie pack contains 3 different procedural writing topics- How to Carve a Pumpkin, How to Trick or Treat Safely, a choose your own topic option. Each choice has a graphic organizer to help students brainstorm and plan our their writing as well as a set of good copy paper.

I've also included a success criteria poster to help your students do their very best work. I hope you enjoy it and don't forget to check back at A Class*y Collaboration everyday from now till the 31st to pick up more great freebies. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Trick or Freebie Blog Hop

Have you heard?

It's coming....

The authors over at A Class*y Collaboration are having a Halloween Blog Hop.

There will be freebies every day from October 24th until the 31st.

Don't miss out on all the fun!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five for Friday

I am exhausted...

That's it.

But, I wanted join in for the Five for Friday fun so here we go.

I made this hat for my new baby...I'm at 38 weeks! Can't wait, yet sooo nervous. What'll it be like with two kids?

I caught some kind of sinus cold this week and in two days have already used at least 2 full boxes of kleenex. I've been using Hydra Sense since I can't take anything and it feels like I'm drowning every time.

This is my daughter and our dog. My heart melts every time I look at it.

I still have a pretty big list of things I need to get before the baby arrives. But there's time. Right?

I just ordered this from Zulily this week using a credit I had on my account! Can't wait.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween Picture Books

When I first transitioned from teaching Grade 7 and 8 to teaching the younger kids it took me a while to realize that I needed to integrate the holidays more into my classroom. It's just not something that was a big part of my planning with the older kids. Now that I am teaching Grade 3 one of my favourite ways to integrate the holidays is by reading a picture book as part of our Book of the Week or just as a fun read aloud. 

So you can imagine how excited I was when I received a new box of books from Thomas Allen & Son to review and there were some new Halloween picture books!!

Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow

This book, and the whole series of books, is so cute! The original Five Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed was one of my daughter's favourites when she first started picking her own bedtime storybooks. 

This is a great book for a read aloud for younger students, probably Grades 1-4. I like that it's not scary and the students will love the tricks played by the 5 little monkeys. One of the things that I like best about the Monkey books is the illustrations. They are so colourful and fun. I think the students in any class would really enjoy writing about their own trick or treating experiences, imagining themselves as the monkeys and the types of tricks they might play. 

In The Haunted House by Eve Bunting

I love Eve Bunting! 

The pictures and rhymes in this book are just fabulous. It's definitely a little scarier than the Five Little Monkeys, although my almost 3-year old has seemed to gravitate to it. This would be a great book to use as part of a poetry unit especially if you were teaching rhyming couplets. I think creating a class Halloween book would be super fun. Each student could create a couplet about a haunted house or their own Halloween experiences and then illustrate their writing. 

All kids will enjoy lifting the flaps and seeing the Halloween ghouls hiding underneath. There are also some touch and feel aspects to the book that children will like to explore. I have enjoy doing a number of picture walks through the book with my daughter as it has introduced her to some of the "scarier" aspects of Halloween in a safe and fun way. She has also really enjoyed tracking the shoes of the little girl and her father as they made their way through the haunted house.

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

Oh, David Wiesner....your books are so, so, so....!

This book isn't necessarily a Halloween book but I thought it would make a great creative writing activity, especially for the older students around this time of year. Like many of David Wiesner's book this one has very little writing or dialogue but what it does have is a very clear plot line. The structure of the book is organized like a comic book with a variety of panels that move along the story line. 

This is the blurb provided by Thomas Allen and Sons website:

Another comic tour de force from three-time Caldecott medalist David Wiesner. Mr. Wuffles ignores all his cat toys but one, which turns out to be a spaceship piloted by small green aliens. When Mr. Wuffles plays rough with the little ship, the aliens must venture into the cat's territory to make emergency repairs.

I love that the aliens in the book has distinct dialogue bubbles that shows the conversations they are having. Wiesner uses a variety of symbols to create the dialogue which means the students are required to infer what the aliens might be saying to each other. If I was to do this type of an activity with my Grade 3 class I would have my students work in groups of at least 3 or 4 students in order to create the story and dialogue for the book. Older students could perhaps complete the activity in partners or even independently. A concentrated study on the use of quotation marks would coincide nicely with this creative writing activity as well. 

Coming up soon!! The ladies at A Class*y Collaboration have some spooky fun planned...Oct 24th- 31st.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Math Workshop Set-Up....I had a brain surge!!

I woke up this morning with a huge brain surge about how I would like to organize and run my Math Workshop... you, know next year when I go back to work after my mat leave. Is it a bad/good sign that my brain is still working on school stuff even though I haven't taught in almost 5 weeks?

Anyway, last year I started Math Workshop in my class after reading Guided Reading by Laney Sammons and loved it. However, I was in a new grade and found the preparation difficult to keep up with. I have been  re-reading through all sorts of blog posts and pinning ideas all over Pinterest and finally this morning it just came to me!

Here is "The Idea"...

Now, obviously none of this has been put into practice but I think it's a pretty good idea! Do any of you organize your Math Workshop in a similar way? I'd love to hear about it or leave me a link to your post in a comment. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Interactive Reading Portfolio (Freebie)

This is an oldie but a goodie! This post has by far the highest traffic of all the posts on my blog and I am so happy that so many people have found it useful.

I would like to do an updated version but would love some input. Please take a moment to fill out the short survey at the bottom of the post to help me create a new freebie for you all!

At the end of our Literature Circles unit I was looking for something to celebrate the work my students had been doing and to showcase their skills...so I created a Literature Circles Portfolio (foldable extravaganza)! Throughout the unit we focused on summarizing, making connections, character traits and explain our opinions about a book so of course, that's what the portfolio highlighted. Here are some pictures of my template, completed student work and a few annotations sprinkled in! Enjoy!

Note: This post is very picture heavy! Sorry.

The cover template.

Inside the template...all the foldables closed. I gave my students the option to put their own titles on everything except the connections foldable.

Book Review

Accordion fold summary- we focused on the characteristics of narrative writing during this unit. The foldable outlines the beginning, middle and end of their novel as well and the problem/solution. I am very glad that we did this unit before writing our narratives as I think it really helped my Grade 4's understand the parts of a narrative they were expected to include in their own writing.

Favourite part and favourite character.

Predictions...before and after reading.

Student covers...so well done!

The completed portfolios.

This student went ABOVE AND BEYOND! On the back of the portfolio I gave the students a variety of options...a letter to a character, a poster, party planning etc and gave very little guidance in order to see which students would really take their portfolio to the next level. The inside work was all scaffolded during out Literature Circles unit and so I hoped the back would be an opportunity for students onto apply their knowledge of the book and independently display their learning.

As with all projects, some were great...some, well? Needed more effort, that's to be sure.

As you can see, each student personalized the inside of the portfolio according to their book.

Another great independent project on the back of the portfolio. 

If you are interested in seeing the handout I used for this assignment, along with the rubric, please click here! Also, please note that the independent assignments were not created by me because I found a FABULOUS resource on the web and used a few ideas from there. The link is posted on the handout but you can also check it out by going here.

I hope this helpful and useful for some of you. I would also LOVE to hear about the kinds of projects you use in your classes to celebrate the end of a reading unit. Please post your ideas and comments below. 

Help me create a new Interactive Reading Portfolio Freebie!
Click on the image below to be taken to the BRIEF survey.

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