Monday, February 27, 2012

Tissue Paper Butterflies

It is very rare for me to ever to an artsy activity that isn't related to our curriculum in some way (although I do try to incorporate it as often as possible).  However, last Friday afternoon I rewarded my students with all kinds of fun things.  They have been working so hard and been so well behaved that I just had to do something for them.  One of the things we did was make butterflies that turned out really cute.  I had my students cut out the inside of the butterflies and fill in the empty spaces with tissue paper, so the butterflies are translucent.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hodgepodge Pictures

I found a few extra pictures on my camera that I haven't done anything with yet, so I thought I'd share some of the things we've been doing in class.

This one of my student's geometry zoo from my Buggy About Geometry unit where students have to create a zoo using different geometric terms.  I think out of all my geometry activities this and the "I Have Who Has" game are their two favorites.

We've also been working on our biography posters that I bought from Scholastic.  My students have LOVED every second on this project, and I have to say I always kind of want to make one myself:)

This is my class conducting a science experiment outside from my heat experiments collection.  It's always hard for me to teach my heat unit during January and February, because so many of the experiments I want to do require us to go outside and need sunny days.  However, I've gotta follow that curriculum map, so I have to be ready to go whenever we have a nice day.  Today, we learned about how different colors absorb heat.
 We made pockets out of white, black, blue, and red construction paper and place thermometers inside the pockets and let the sit outside for about 15 minutes.  (After looking at this picture, I obviously should have also shown students how to place the thermometer inside the pocket correctly.)
Students had to record the original temperature, their predictions for each color, and then the actual results after the 15 minutes.  I always like this experiment, because it is so quick and easy to prepare for, and I feel like my students get a good grasp on the content.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Branches of Government Card Sort

We finished our government unit several weeks ago, but that is one of those VERY hard concepts for my students, so I frequently feel the need to go back and review the concepts on occasion.  One of the hardest parts of this unit is identifying the roles and responsibilities of each branch of government.  There are some really big words and complex concepts for third graders!  I've recently created a card sort that I plan to use to help reinforce these ideas and concepts that I'm excited to use next week.  It's the same information that they've studied, but it's just presented in a different way.  You can grab a copy by clicking on the picture:)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Last summer was a summer of new technology for me.  I'm not going to lie, when I first heard the words "sqworl" and "pinterest" I had no idea what they were.  They've now become some of my new favorite teaching and organizational tools.  I think that Pinterest has really taken off for obvious reasons, and I'm a huge fan!  You can check out my interest boards at this link.  Although I'm almost ashamed for anyone to look at the recipes I've pinned.  I'm going to start looking for health ones, really.

It seems like sqworl has sort of been placed in the background, but I still think it has a lot of benefits for the classroom, especially with student research.  I like doing activities that require my students to do a little research, but that is such a hard thing for my third graders.  Once they find the research, they're okay, but it's the searching that really gives them trouble.  This is one of the reasons I love using sqworl in my classroom, because I use it as visual and easy to use bookmarks for my students.

You can see below a picture of my government sqworl page.  I've added all of these great websites that teach about government to my page.  This is great, because rather than having my students try to find useful and child friendly sites they can just go to this page and have a moderate collection of sites to choose from.  It's made the research process so much easier and more manageable for my students.

I've bookmarked each of my sqworl pages to the computers that are available to my students.  This way my students can just go to "bookmarks" and then click on the subject area they need, and then they have access to whatever sites I've preselected.  This is a also very useful for newsletters to parents.

Here are some links to some of my sqworl pages:
Multiplication Facts
Ancient Greece
Georgia Habitats

I'm sure there's many other great ideas for using these tools in the classroom, and I'd love to hear yours!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


We've spent the past several weeks measuring from my Shiver Me Measurement unit, and I'm ashamed to say that I have very few pictures of any of my students' finished products.  We've made pirate ships, found treasures on treasure maps, gone on scavenger hunts, and all kinds of fun things!  As always, the hardest skill for my students was using a ruler to the nearest 1/4 inch.  That took quite a bit of practice, but I think they've got it.  I think the best thing to do is to actually get students up and measuring, so that's what we did.
You can see from my anchor chart that I am not one of those teachers with amazing handwriting and artistic skills-I really do try!  As a matter of fact I tried to draw an elephant for something yesterday, and my students told me it looked like a rabbit on wheels:)

We've also learned about the difference in measurements within the same unit.  I've made a little activity to help with this skill that my students enjoyed.  It took a little modeling for them to fully understand the task, but it did help them to see the differences between the different units.  You can click on the picture for you copy if you'd like one!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lesson Plan Template

Without a doubt the the most popular post on this blog was from last summer on lesson plan organization.  I'm still using the same system, and I have to say it is the best thing I've done to stay organized.  I'm actually a complete scatter brain and one of the most forgetful people ever, so I have to be over the top organized.  Like everyone else, my plans are very different from year to year, but it's so nice to have the notebooks as a reference to use while planning for the current year

I've had several requests for my lesson plan template, so here it is!

I can't say that I have ALL of my lesson plans written in this format, but I've tried to use it for the majority of my lesson plans.  I started with my performance tasks for math and have slowly added other areas over the past couple of years.  The digital format makes it so easy for me to revise and tweak to make them better every time I teach them.