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Quotation Mark Help

Spring Break is right around the corner my friends...you are almost there or maybe just came back in from break. I'm happy to share some ideas on teaching quotation marks for my newest edition of Wait for it Wednesday.

We have a lot going on right now...state testing is just around the corner so we are reviewing and finishing up covering anything we may have ahem skimmed over.  We have Spring Break in a few days and Open House almost right when we get back.  So I'm flying in over drive right now.  I've been really trying to think of fun, creative ways... WAYS to get things to stick in their brains lately to really have things stay with them.  So if you follow me on Instagram - you've seen my stories where I'm getting them outside, having them move around and create or manipulate things with partners.  Anything to help get things to stay.  HEY, I've even rapped a perimeter song and I DO NOT sing. LOL
So, with that being said, I knew I needed to get my students up and moving and thinking when it came to quotation marks.  Paper and pencil just doesn't cut it anymore!
I first created 3 sentences and made them into word puzzles.  So they were all scrambled when I presented them to the group I was working with the other day.  They had to first work together to unscramble the words and find what made sense.  

Here they are trying to figure out what order the words go in to make sentences and then decide who might say those sentences.  After that I handed out 2 quotation mark sticks and had kids stand up holding the words to form the sentence.  The quotation mark kids had to find their spot in the sentence.  It was very engaging and fun to watch the rest of the class when they noticed someone heading for the wrong spot.  They were quick to point out - oops, try again or don't go there.  They were like little teachers making me proud.
They kids with the word cards lined up in order at the front of the room and the kids with the quotation marks on a stick had to squeeze in where they thought they should go.

Give it a try, just write 3 sentences out with word cards let them unscramble which is fun PLUS it gives you some insight on their thinking.  If they are realizing someone is 'speaking'/dialogue is happening then you can see how they put the sentences together.  For instance, who is buying lunch would make the most sense if the teacher asked that question.  So they need to make an inference and put Mrs. Moore said with that sentence etc.
Let me know how it goes if you try it out.  I know my kids really enjoyed this activity and I know it 'stuck' with them because they did well on a follow up quiz. =)
Happy Teaching! xo,

SPRING time activities

I LOVE Day Light Savings people - no so much the dark in the am but the longer daylight in the afternoon for sure...this sunshine out at 7 pm is bringing a big, HUGE smile across my face.  I love the outdoors and the longer days give me more time to do my trail runs and squeeze in a bunch of other activities I enjoy!  Along with Spring times comes Spring Fever which I did my best to tackle        ( here ) if you want to read more about that.  But I'm here today to share some fun art ideas and activities you can use in your classroom this time of year.

Welcome to my newest edition of ....

Learning about life on the farm is perfect this time of year.  I have a couple fun art projects in my farm unit that would be fun to display and have up while teaching your farm unit.

It's also a great time to teach about lifecycles ~

So sad I couldn't find my picture from several years back when we did this...but take your students outside as a reward if it's nice out.  Give them buckets of water and paintbrushes and let them paint the playground.  They love this...they can create images on the ground that will disappear quickly but they still enjoy it.

Sometimes all you need to do is give children some empty Easter eggs and play doh - it's amazing what can happen when their imagination goes wild.

Or have them do an activity where they can make some predictions with what might happen if you put a carnation or celery stick in water with dye in it...

There are so many fun activities that you can do with kids in the springtime of all ages.  If you are interested in any of the ideas and want more information on them you can find them by clicking the pictures below:

The most important thing you can do is get your kid or students outside, exploring their world.  They can lay down and look at clouds and record what shapes they look like, look for leaves and then do a leaf rubbing.  Have fun with your kids and let them be little.  Happy Teaching! xo,

Class Reward - Flashlight Friday

Hello, hello, hello ~ welcome to another edition of...

Friends, I have to share how much fun we had last week when we earned our class reward!  Oh my gosh it was the best day ever!

I love thinking of new and creative way to have rewards in my classroom - if  you need some ideas visit my Facebook Live for behavior ideas for Spring Fever here.
 I do several class incentives each month for behavior and really try to switch things up which I talked about in my Facebook Live video.  I relate it to metabolism...and how sometimes we need to switch up our workouts to get better results and shock our system.  Well guess what!?!?  Our students need a bit of that too, it sounds funny but trust me it's so true.  Offering the same ol', same ol' incentives every day gets OLD really fast.  To keep your students on their toes and wanting to earn rewards you need to switch up what you are offering them if that makes sense.  
So, I try really hard to do just that.  In March I bring in what I like to call the Leprechaun on the Ledge....very similar to the Elf on the Shelf.  This Leprechaun is a plush one, I got mine about 8 years ago at a Hallmark store but you can also get one at Amazon.com
Here is one for under $12

He can leave notes to the students, get into trouble or be found doing silly things like switch up your schedule or drink a bowl of Lucky Charms, etc.  You decide what works for you and your students.  Even if you just want to use one of the notes I created in this pack and have him literally sitting on a ledge all through March you can do that...I tell my students he's watching and he's an extra set of eyes - especially if I have a sub.  You can grab my pack with lots of Leprechaun notes here

Another thing I love to do for behavior is a mystery word or sentence.  They earn letters until they spell it out, which is great - I love watching them 'guess' what something says.  This last week we earned a Flashlight Friday I called it.  It was ahh mazing!  We actually ended up doing it on a Thursday which happened to be Dr. Seuss Day and they had earned it on Wednesday so we just went for it.  In 23 years of teaching this was my FAVORITE class reward YET!  My students were beside themselves, engaged, reading and enjoying every minute.  I send a remind note to the parents through Remind which helped to have them bring in books, blankets and small flashlights.  They also had small flashlights and head lights at Walmart for only $1 so I bought some of those too.  
They had a blast and it was a favorite, we'll be sure to do it again before June.

I really try to stay away from 'food' related rewards so I spell out words like: 
Extra Recess
Mystery Reader
Stuffed Animal Day
What are some class rewards you like to do?  I'd love to hear about it.

Charlotte's Web Ideas

Charlotte's Web ~ I'm so excited to share one of my favorite books with you for my weekly Wait for it Wednesday blog post:

Charlotte's Web is a beloved story ~ such an easy read just as easy to fall in love with... I remember so clearly sitting in my third grade class listening to this story and then taking turns doing a Reader's Theater on it.  I was the goose and Wilbur for different chapters.  I had read the story before with my mom so the ending wasn't a surprise to me.  I looked around the room and saw kids with tears coming down their face.  It was the first time they read the story and it was soo sad!  My teacher Miss Baggie told us that great stories will bring out emotions.  That good writers can bring you to tears of sorrow or joy by how they write the story and develop the characters and story line.  Of course pretty much anything Miss Baggie said I thought was gold because she was an amazing teacher and I adored her...but she was absolutely right.

There are so many wonderful ways to do extensions of this story as well as just reading it for pleasure!  This book opens the door for such topics as theme, predictions, character analysis and traits and so much more.  

My partner teacher and I always show the movie after we read the book and then do a venn diagram comparing and contrasting the movie with the book.  This book also has such rich vocabulary for 2nd - 4th graders and it's a great time to introduce this new vocabulary to them as well.  The ideas are truly endless for this story:
It's a great way to teach cross curricular intentionally.  Teaching about spiders is great for science, there are several STEM activities that can be found on pinterest under Charlotte's Web too.  Keeping a journal as one of the characters is a great way to get your kids writing and you can teach mini lessons along the way on punctuation or grammar.  The great thing is that this book is so amazing that it motivates your students to do the book extensions.  They want to talk about the characters through a simple book talk because they are so drawn to them.  Getting them in small groups to discuss the book is awesome and you will see and hear them being engaged and excited about what they read.
I hope you are able to fit this story into your teaching career at some point, it is one of the best pieces of literature out there in my opinion.  If you are looking for extension activities that are low prep and ready to go you can take a closer look at my pack by clicking the picture below:

I'd love to hear some fun ways you extend this story in the comments!  Happy teaching! 

Math Games

It's a math edition of my weekly series 

thanks for joining me ~ be sure to check in every Wednesday for different topics and tips to help you through your teaching journey.

Math games are a great way to give kids time to explore number sense and strategies in a non threatening way.  I know, your classroom is a safe, fun, engaging and loving place.  Sometimes no matter how 'safe' your classroom is - kids can create their own sense of urgency or stress when it comes to math.  I'm the perfect example of that....
When I was in Kinder I was brilliant!  Totally kidding!  But I was tagged as smart/gate because I was an excellent reader.  ( My mom was a teacher which helped ).  So I was put in a 1/2 combo class with only 4 first graders.  The teacher was old ( like ready to should've  retire(d) any day old ) and told us she was teaching that class like a straight second grade.  So I tell people I sorta kinda skipped first and went straight to second grade.  I'll never forget raising my hand when she was teaching borrowing.  I was already apprehensive because I was younger than everyone else.  I told my teacher I was having trouble understanding the concept because I never really even did basic subtraction. ( remember this is the 70's ) we played kitchen for 1/2 our day in kinder back then. LOL
She promptly said, " I don't have time for this, you are suppose to be one of the smart ones!"  " You'll just have to learn it on your own. " The second grader sitting next to me ( I still remember her name ) leaned over and said, " you're so stupid!".  I was beyond defeated, devastated, heartbroken.  Do you know that unfortunately that exchange of words and how I felt inside set the stage for my feelings towards math for the rest of my life?  I know that sounds extreme but I have never liked math....like ever!  I always struggled and had ZERO growth mindset in regards to my success at math.  How sad is that?!?!  I never did raise my hand again in that class with a math question.  #sadsville
I wanted to tell that story to illustrate how easy it is for kids to get to that place.  Not necessarily from a teacher but from other kids, their own sense of self worth, etc.  Math is definitely one of those subjects that teachers need to be sure to give lots of encouragement.

So ~ back to our topic this week.... I LOVE math games and just in the last couple of years I have come to LOVE math in spite of that icky teacher.  Math has become probably my favorite subject to teach which I never thought I would say. #successstory
But really I see such a value in math games it allows kids to explore math with partners, in small groups or on their own. It's amazing how explaining to a peer how you got an answer or why you think what you do has such power.  I have seen the quietest child speak up during math games with a partner due to either excitement or just plain curiosity.

Playing games encourages strategic mathematical thinking. Students are having to find different strategies for solving problems either on their own or with a partner.  They are required to deepen their understanding of number concepts.  Whether you are working on ten frames, fractions or word problems ~ you have just opened the door for critical thinking to happen in a fun, engaging way.
•     When certain games are played repeatedly, they support and help develop the student's automaticity especially when working with fact fluency.
•     Students are given much needed practice on a concept without a teacher there to guide them through every step.  All too often we are rushing through concepts - onto the next Unit or Chapter....kids need more time!   Once a concept has been taught and students seem to have a decent grasp on it then games are the perfect way to extend that concept and get them thinking deeper on it.  We as teachers can then switch to the role of observer or facilitator walking around the room guiding, asking questions and watching.  I've learned to ask: WHY instead of give an answer.  Often that extra step gets them thinking and they realize the answer on their own. 
•     Games help students  develop familiarity  with the concept at hand.  In doing that, they are gaining confidence and often helping their peers along the way.

I have some games that have worked well in my classroom over the years.  They are mainly for addition and work well with partners.

All you really need for these games are dice and you are all set.  I now have a collection of dice that I've gathered over the years.  Large colorful dice, small regular ones, rainbow colored dot dice, soft quiet dice.  You name it I probably have it.  That makes learning fun too.  If you are interested in a closer look at these math games you can check them out here by clicking the link or watching a few of my videos explaining them below.  There are 9 games in the pack:  The games are: 
The 9 games/activities are:
* Roll and Color/Dab/Cover
* Roll a Number Sentence
* Comparing numbers
* Clear it Off
* Add it Up
* Fact Family Rolls
* Double Down Race to the Top
* Counting On
* Partner Game








I hope you can incorporate math games if you haven't tried them yet, it will really transform math in your classroom.  Good luck and happy teaching!

The benefits of Scoot or Task Cards

I wanted to talk to you guys about the use of Scoot or task cards in the classroom.  I just incorporated them last year.  Why did I wait so long?!?!  If you are unsure of what Scoot is, like I was let me explain it to you.  Scoot is a whole- class educational game/activity.  A task card is placed on every desk in the classroom and the students move around the room with a clipboard and a recording sheet answering the questions.  Now there are a few different ways to play this game:

If you have a flexible seating classroom here is an option on how to play:

Scoot is wonderful for so many reasons:
It gets kids UP and MOVING!  This is so important and has become less of a priority unfortunately to many schools/districts.  Kids need more movement in their day!  This is a wonderful way to break up the monotony of the day and get them moving around. 
Scoot is the perfect way to review a concept that you've been working on.  I actually take the time to grade their recording sheets to be sure they are getting the concept.  In third grade I often have them grade it, trade with a neighbor.  I put the answer key under the doc cam revealing one answer at a time and we go over it.  It's the perfect way to see how they are doing and if re teaching is necessary! 
**If you have more desks than cards you can add BRAIN break cards.  Either just write brain break on a sticky note and write jump 15 times or do 15 jumping jacks, touch your toes 15 times, etc.  That way if you are playing the traditional way you have something for every desk. **

I have added several Scoot games to my store if you are interested and want to give it a try ~ I'll be adding more over the next several weeks.

Counting On Strategy and Mental Math

Happy hump day ~ it's already Wednesday friends!

I wanted to talk to you guys today about the strategy of 'counting on'.  What exactly does that mean, and what does it look like?  Counting on is when you start with the larger number in a number sentence and count on the smaller number.  This truly makes more sense than starting with the smaller number.  It's more efficient and takes much less time.  

There are so many ways to help your students with this:  

1.) Give your students a number chart to 120.  They can find the number on it: say 107 and color it in or place a marker on it.  Then count on from there the 2nd number. 107 + 3 = 110.

2.)  On a worksheet or white boards once they have several problems have them circle the larger number and count on from there.

3.)  Grab my Counting On Math Mats and have them do a hands on approach.  They will love this hands on and engaging activity.  The left side of the mat is where they place the bigger number and smash it down with their fist while saying it.  Then they count on from there.  You can grab it ( here ) for only $2.

4. ) Use unifex cubes as another hands on way to count on.
They will tap their head and say the bigger number than count off the cubes they need to add on and count on from there.

Lastly if you use touch points ( which when I taught first it worked great for the little ones that had trouble ).  They can use touch point cards to literally count on.

I hope this has been helpful and you can truly feel successful with your littles that are struggling with this concept.  Let me know if you tried any of these in the past.  Happy teaching!

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