Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher: October 2013

Time for Fall Fun!

I have been on fall break for the past 2 weeks! I was was so blessed to be able to spend one of those weeks at an all inclusive resort on the beach in Cabo San Lucas with my family! We road horses on the beach, parasailed, snorkeled, swam with dolphins and relaxed by the pool. It was pretty warm and didn't feel anything like fall! I was excited when I got back to Phoenix and discovered that fall has come! And it made planning some fun fall activities for my classroom so much more fun! Are you ready to see what I have up my sleeve for the rest of October?!

Some of you may remember THIS post from January about my Reading Superbowl. The kids had a blast and I was very pleased by the amount of reading my entire class did during this week. Which got me thinking...I have a sports themed room...kids love some competition...I love when they get excited to read...and the World Series is right around the corner!!! Yes! We must have a Reading World Series! So I got to work and made some things...





How it works:
The class World Series lasts for 9 days (each day is a new inning in your game). You will set a nightly reading goal. This goal depends on your grade level and class needs. I recommend 15 or 30 minutes. Split your class into 2 teams. During this time, students take home a reading ticket. On the ticket, they record the minutes that they read that night. (I have also included reading tickets that require the students to summarize what they read.) The next day students will receive a base hit for every 30 minutes that they read. Each team will have their own field (that you attach to the white board) and throughout the 9 days they will move their players around the bases and keep track of the team score on the scoreboard. At the end of the game, the team with the highest score can win a celebration!

You can buy the entire kit to have your own Reading World Series HERE in my TpT store. I am so excited to get this started! 

But the fall fun doesn't stop there! My school does a literature parade every year. Students get to dress up as their favorite book character and we parade through all the classrooms. The kids love it. So do I! After the parade, we usually have some sort of fall harvest party. However, I really get sick of the traditional classroom parties that always involve a lot of sugar. So I planned some fun (and food!) that I think will be fun, unique AND educational! Win!

First we will be making pumpkin bread in class while practicing measurements, reading comprehension, sequencing, adjectives and following directions!



First, I will have students read the recipe and answer comprehension questions. 

Next, I have students use the recipe to put the sequencing cards in the correct order and record their answers. This is done in their reading groups as a literacy center.

Then, we will make the bread in our classroom!!! Students will help with the measuring and following the directions. While the bread is cooking I will have students record as many adjectives as they can about how the bread smells. Once the bread is ready to eat, they can finish with adjectives about the looks, feel and taste!

Finally, my students do some pumpkin writing. I have included a transition word poster, several planners and writing paper. You may want to have your kids write about how to carve a pumpkin or how they think you would make a pumpkin pie. Or have them write a personal narrative about making pumpkin bread at school to share with their parents. I also included blank writing paper if you have a different prompt in mind. 

My room is going to smell SOOOO yummy! (And it is quite a bit healthier than cupcakes and cookies!) You can pick up this kit HERE in my TpT store.

And now it will be time for some science in my classroom. I really want to begin teaching my students about the steps in the scientific process. We have a school science fair in the spring and think that third graders need a lot of reenforcement in order to make that activity meaningful. So my class will be doing a pumpkin seed experiment! The question is "Do large pumpkins have more seeds than small pumpkins?"



 I made some cute posters with each step in the scientific process.
 I included some informational text about pumpkins and a graph to do a class survey when you are doing the research step. And I also included a booklet for the students to record each step of the experiment.

You can pick up this cute activity HERE in my TpT store.

At the end of the day, my kids will have learned a lot, had tons of fun AND only eaten a piece of homemade pumpkin bread. Now that is an awesome classroom party!

What do you do to celebrate fall/Halloween in your classroom?

Common Core Reading Binders

Fall break has given me the time to catch on projects on my wish list! Today I put together Common Core Standard binders for reading!


These binders are going to help me keep all of my materials and assessments organized. I make things. And I find great freebies. And then I buy awesome products. But it can get hard to keep it organized. My school uses standardized report cards and so I really need my resources sorted by standard. Inside the binders, I have dividers for each standard.


I like the number dividers because the number correspond with the standard. I am using the last two to sort my informational text by subject.

On each divider, I included a label that reminds me about what is included in the standard.


I found these for free HERE.

Behind each divider, I put my graphic organizers, interactive journal pieces an assessments for the standard. This part of the binder is a work in process!


You know you are a teacher when you get excited about binders! But they are so functional...and CUTE!


How do you sort your Common Core materials?

Sticky Note Desert Research Report

The Common Core has put an emphasis on informational reading and writing in every grade. Teaching students to do informational writing using informational books can be a challenge. 

This quarter my students will be focusing on informational reading and writing. In science we will be learning about deserts. And I just love to mix my science, reading and writing! I am excited to teach them how to paraphrase and take notes, use text features and then use the facts to write an organized report. But in third grade...this can be a disaster! So I made THIS desert research unit!




Am I alone or do all students just LOVE using sticky notes?! In this lesson students will research a desert, take notes using sticky notes, turn their notes into a report, illustrate, reflect on their writing and critique a partner's report. You can also have your students create a Table of Contents and Sources page if you choose. 

The writing pages will help keep writers organized! And they really need help with this!

They will love the process while learning about deserts, note-taking and report writing!

Also, check my store for my Sticky Note Animal Report and Sticky Note State Reports!

Pumpkins and a FREEBIE!

I can't believe that it is already time to start planning fall and Halloween activities for our classrooms. Where did first quarter go?! Oh well....second quarter is my favorite! Lots of holidays!

This Halloween, I plan to focus on pumpkins. That way students who don't celebrate the holiday can still take part in all of our activities. In reading, we will be reading a recipe for pumpkin bread and answering comprehension questions. They will be working on sequencing using the recipe and practicing their adjectives. And the best part...we'll be making pumpkin bread in the classroom! It is going to smell soooo good! Then we will do some writing about pumpkins. We are going to do all of this using THIS kit.





Then in science, we are going to practice using the scientific process. We are going to experiment to see if a large pumpkin has more seeds in it than a small pumpkin. We'll integrate a little math in by practicing weighing the pumpkins and graphing our hypothesizes. I still need to make some printables for this project. Coming soon...

But here is where the FREEBIE comes in! During our math groups, students will practice their multiplication facts using THIS fun pumpkin war game. And it is FREE! So download it for your class. All I ask is that you leave feedback.


Do you have any fun fall or Halloween plans for your classroom this month?