This is a post that I wrote for iTeach Third that I thought you might enjoy. It's time to start planning for our first days back! The very first day back from winter break is a party in my classroom! We celebrate the new year together. We are a family and it seems fitting that we celebrate together. It is also a nice way to ease back into school and set the tone for the fun quarter ahead. Here are a few ways that we celebrate.... 1. Watching the Ball Drop in Time Square Each year I have a few kids who have seen the ball drop, but most of my third graders are not allowed to stay up that late. I just find a recording of the ball drop on YouTube. We count down together! 2. Hats and Horns A New Year's party is not complete without hats and horns! I grab these at the dollar store. My kids think I have lost my mind when I tell them to make lots of noise! I highly recommend having a sign to the kids that will indicate that they must stop blowing the horns. Also,...
Time to be honest- I really don't like teaching area and perimeter. I love teaching math, but area and perimeter are not very useful skills in the whole scheme of things. None the less, my students are expected to master these skills so I have to come up with fun activities to practice the tricky skills. I think I have a winner for you!!! I cut 12 pieces of holiday wrap in a variety of sizes. I labeled each piece of wrap with a letter. Students scooted around the room with their rulers and calculated to area of each piece of wrapping paper. Students loved it and barely noticed how hard they were working! I added a challenge by including both rectangles and some irregular shapes! I also included large pieces. My students had to use the distributive property in order to solve the large multiplication equation.  My class has only covered area- not perimeter. I only had them solve for area. But you could have them solve for perimeter as well! Click on th...
Gifting is my love language and so I just LOVE giving holiday gifts to my sweet third graders. The only problem? It can get pricey pretty quick. I want to share a few simple gift ideas that won't break the bank or require any Martha Stewart type crafting. 1. Books I absolutely adore giving my students a special book before saying goodbye for winter break. I enjoy writing sweet notes in the front of each book and I imagine them treasuring the book for life. Or at least until they get those fancy electronics from Santa! Don't run off to Barnes and Noble to buy these books. I love that place, but it would cost way to much to buy 24 chapter books for my students. Buy from Scholastic! Find the $1 books or a set of books that work for your grade level. This year I am buying each of my students a copy of Winter According to Humphrey. I LOVE this book! This year, each of my kids will be getting the same book. (We just love Humphrey!) Most of the time though, I buy a ...
I am so excited and honored to join some very talented teacher bloggers for the Books Teachers Love linky! If you are not familiar with this blog series- it is a monthly event where bloggers share seasonal book recommendations for the classroom and activities that use with the books. It is a great way to get a head start on reading plans for next month!  Every December, I read The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy to my third graders. They always love that the book is written from the point of view of a puppy. Petey asks his mom for a little boy for Christmas. His mom tries to get him a boy but sadly reports to Petey that there are no boys to be found. Petey goes on a search for a boy of his own. The book has a heartwarming ending where Petey ends up finding himself 50 boys!  The holiday season is a tricky time to keep kids engaged in the important skills that we must teach. I think that using some special holiday mentor texts can help disguise the practice! I like to re...
I use book clubs (also known as literature circles) in all of my guided reading groups. Students love reading chapter books with their peers and they are very low prep for the teacher. The success of your book clubs is tied very closely to the books you choose to read. When the right sets of books are chosen, a teacher can have students engaged and practicing all the skills needed to master the grade level standards! Here are some tips that I have learned for picking good book club books. My school uses Lexile levelers. Regardless of what type of book level system you use, it is essential that you are choosing books that meet the group's needs. No one enjoys reading a book that they don't understand, but we still want to challenge our readers. Spend some time determining the reading level of the students in the group and look for books that are on the higher end of their level. I consider this to be their instructional level. They may need my support, but they will...