Pool Noodles ~ ~ who knew?!?

Thursday, March 31, 2016
As most of you know I was a competitive swimmer for most of my life...with that being said I often think about water, goggles, pull buoys, etc.  Weird and quirky yes...but I own it.  I spent years trying to wash the chlorine smell off my body and realized one day it was just a part of me and accepted it. 

So when I saw the colorful pool noodles at the Dollar Tree ~ ~ it got me thinking....how can I use those in my classroom with my students and to solve life problems I was having...well here you go!

One thing that drives me absolutely batty is the way they constructed our doors.  We have hallways in our school and our doors don't have built in door stops and they are kinda heavy.  I have this very worn piece of wood that I shove in the door to hold it open.  Also our back door needs to remain locked but kids go out often for recess, breaks and to their backpack hooks.  So this came to mind:

If you want the kids to be able to get in and out without having a door monitor or herd of crazy kids excited to answer the door than use this noodle on the edge.  Quick easy in and out and pull it off fast in an emergency.

Next up....even though I'm loving third grade and not wanting to go back to first I find myself finding hacks for firsties.  Maybe because it just might be the HARDEST grade to teach.  I applaud all my first grade teachers ~ ~ I did it for 15 years whew!  It wore me out even though I loved it.  How about for segmenting sounds?  To make it more fun ~ use pool noodles in your small group.  My teenage daughter plays the drums so I just stuck them on one of her old drum sticks...you could use a large pencil, kitchen utensil or pointer too.

My big kids would probably even love some math fun with these: 

There's so many things you can do with pool noodles.  If you are able to get your hands on a bunch it would be fun to add to a block center in kindergarten or preschool. You can cut them up and kids could stack them or lace them - the options are endless.  What have you done with pool noodles?

Project Based Learning

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
What is project based learning?  How can I implement it in my classroom?  These are all questions I had just a few weeks ago that many of you may have too.

project based learning ideas

I hope that I can better explain it to you and I highly encourage you to try it in your own classroom.  It was such fun as a teacher to see my third graders work through the driving question I gave them.  They had more problem solving skills than I realized!

project based learning poster

This is just a little taste of what it's like.  Typically you give your students a driving question or situation for them to solve in small groups.  Bie.org ~ http://bie.org/about/what_pbl explains it like this:  

Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. In Gold Standard PBL, Essential Project Design Elements include:
  • Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills - The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management. 
  • Challenging Problem or Question - The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
  • Sustained Inquiry - Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
  • Authenticity - The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
  • Student Voice & Choice - Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
  • Reflection - Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
  • Critique & Revision - Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
  • Public Product - Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
My engaging problem for my third graders was: 
** Help me create a more viable seating chart to use in our classroom.  **
They were given a class list, rulers, yardsticks, graph and regular copy paper.  They were given the direction that they could use anything they needed in the classroom, white boards, manipulatives, etc.  They worked in small groups of 4 -5.  I did have them assign their groups jobs ( so everyone would take part ) - they had to work through that in their small group.  Here are some pictures that I think say it all:

project based learning -- create a class seating chart

Some groups felt the need to measure my library and computer area so they could estimate the space better on paper...love their thinking!  I even added a challenge to figure out the area and perimeter of their seating configurations.
project based learning project - work together to create a viable seating char

project based learning project - create a class seating chart

project based learning - build a seating chart

When presenting I was so thrilled to see my listeners in the audience hard at work.  They asked hard questions to the groups.  One girl asked why they put a boy at the back of the room when he wore glasses.  Deep thinkers indeed!  Another student pointed out that there was a row of b/f/f/'s and they might talk too much.  

Create a seating chart - project based learning in small groups

working together in small groups - project based learning

presentations of a project based learning project - building a class seating chart

As you can see it was a full day!  They worked so hard and I was so proud of all of them.  Since I made them choose jobs everyone was involved ~ even the quieter students had to offer something up.  Not only was I pleased with the presentations and the thoughts and reasoning behind them but with the questions my students asked the groups.  One child asked the group to demonstrate one of their table configurations right then and there.  I had kids get up and the group got hard to work...only to find out that 2 of the kids were not facing the front of the classroom.  It was a good lesson for everyone that there is so much to think about when creating a seating chart.  Not an easy task ~ ~ ~ I think they had a deeper appreciation for me and my job at that moment.

If you want to give it a try I have this very lesson available in my store with directions, tips, etc.  You can grab it { here }

project based learning product from TPT
**NOTE : If you are having trouble with this link:  in the TPT search bar:  type project based learning victoria moore 

I sure hope you give it a try -- be ready for some great academic conversations and a buzz in your classroom!  Don't be afraid of the noise ( it was productive noise ) and well under control.  I can't begin to tell you how very proud I was of ALL of them!

Using Poems with Young Learners

Saturday, March 12, 2016
poems in the classroom, poetry units, elementary poems for a year
Welcome - read on for the FREEBIE!
I love teaching young learners with poems.  Using poetry promotes literacy, engagement, builds confidence and community.  Did you know that April is National Poetry Month?  April is right around the corner...what a perfect time to think about incorporating more poetry into your classroom.  Whether you teach Kindergarten or 5th grade poetry is a powerful teaching tool to use in your classroom.  
   Think about growing up and all the songs, chants and poems you remember.  Poetry has a way of staying in both your mind and your heart.  It often brings back warm memories of your childhood.  Why not use that as a guiding force in your teaching?  Young learners can find more confidence in their reading skills with poetry.  They can quickly recognize familiar words and remember rhyming word family words.  It's a great way to reinforce sight words and rhyming.
Reading poetry fosters curiosity and introduces even your youngest learners to soul and rhythm.  It also can build upon your Speaking and Listening standards by having beginning readers read short poems in front of their peers.  The children that are listening can respond to the poem or point out rhyming words to an elbow partner.  It also is beneficial to all learners.  Your ELL learners can remember simple rhymes and poems which can help scaffold their learning.  Poems can be universal.
The use of poetry engages students.  They are drawn in to the rhyming and natural rhythm that comes from poetry.  They can use poems to search for patterns, rhyming words, sight words and familiar words they know.  In the midst of them finding these words they are gaining confidence due to repetition and simple wording that can often be found in poems.

I have a product line of these poems that lend themselves perfectly for the K-2 classroom.  Here are some samples:

poetry anthology, poems for a year, poetry in the classroom

Poems for a year bundle

poems with sight words, poetry anthology, poems for primary

poetry in the classroom, sight word poems, poetry anthology, primary poems

I'm so happy to make my sampler pack FREE for you this week to help me celebrate my time on TPT.  Here is a peek at my sampler pack:  Click on the photo below to grab it free - week of 3/13/16 only! Please don't forget to leave feedback ~ I'd love to hear what you think of it.  

Sight word poems

holiday poems in the classroom

Remember if you love it you can grab the bundle 

( 3 more different packs - here )

I hope you find as much success in your classroom with these interactive poems as I've had.  Here are some reviews of what teachers think of these packs: 

poems in the primary classroom

If you use poems in your classroom please share what you have found to be beneficial below in the comments.  I'd love to hear from you!  

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Dr. Seuss Ideas

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It was a Seusstastic Day today in third grade!  We had a blast and had to fit it all in on such a fast, fun filled modified day. 

First ~ ~ I read The Lorax and after we made the Truffula Tree snack that is just too cute and fun!  The kids loved it - sticky fingers and all!

If you missed my previous post on the Truffula Tree snack...this is all you need:
1 red vine
1 handful of cotton candy
BOOM ~ ~ ~ you've got yourself a fun Seussy snack.

Next up a picture with my amazing team partner in crime...We were Thing 1 and Thing 2.  { and a little Grinch drawing }

Lastly we went into our amazing Reading Specialists room and read - there were cozy nooks, pillows and a TON of Dr. Seuss books.  I wish I would've taken pictures...she decorated it soo cute!

How did you celebrate?