Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Word Study Trouble: Affricates

If you even know the word "affricates," then your school must do word study as well (instead of the traditional spelling lessons).  This is an area that is small, but oh so important to students!  I have a small group of students who just can't seem to move past this feature!

They can sort their word cards, they can sort picture cards....but when it comes to writing them correctly on a test or in their everyday writing - that's a whole other story!

Soooo....first I went looking for help, google-style.  Then I went for help (wallet in hand) to the teacher stores.

Turns out there's not much out there, other than the sorts I've used over and over and some helpful hints.  

To the drawing board, er, computer (Publisher)!

I realized it might give students a good opportunity not only to do some picture sorting, but also to give students a chance to match words ABOUT the picture and give them a choice (for example:  drum, jrum) with common mistakes I see my students make.

Then, there are two follow up sheets:  one they have to choose the correct spelling and another where they have to write the word....and you can always adjust it, depending on the student level, where they just have to write the beginning sound (dr, ch, j, or tr).

Please let me know what you think!  I haven't tried it yet with my kiddos, but wanted to see what your opinion was!  I might do the same with some other confusing features.  I've provided a link {here} so you can view it closer (it's in Adobe/Google Drive). 

I'm going to see if it's "kid worthy" then make a few more sets and probably throw it up at the teacher's store, but for now, it's a freebie available only thru the blog.  

Thanks for any feedback you'd like to give - it's much appreciated!!!!  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Possessive Nouns

This is a hard concept to teach.  I've been spending most of my morning looking through my resources and well, pinning, pinning, pinning! :)  

Not that I got sidetracked by other things...nope, that never happens (and I didn't create two or three new boards to go with some of the things I've found!).

After writing down all my ideas from last year and the new ones I found this year on sticky notes, I finally sat down and voila!  New unit!  (My husband keeps asking me why if I teach the same concepts each year, why I have to reinvent the wheel - I usually just give him "that look" and he backs off!).

So, I've already noticed that others were also looking for refreshing new ideas since my email has been flooded with "so and so pinned this" which means I must've found some good things!

How did we plan before Pinterest??????

The one thing I started noticing though was that a lot of great activities deal with the phrases - but not the whole sentence that you would find possessives included. Also, several things reminded that yes, my students sometimes DO mix up adding "s" to plurals and adding "apostrophe s" to possessives.  Yours too?

So, with that in mind, and knowing I've had this super cute Zombie clipart just sitting in my folder - voila!

May I present Pirates vs. Zombies!

Yep, I figure pirates travel in groups, zombies are loners....and my boys are gonna eat this up! :)
Students sort sentence cards into whether they are singular (zombies) or plurals (pirates), and use a recording sheet to write the underlined phrase correctly.  Also included are an answer key and links to my wiki grammar page, pinterest page, and back here to the ol' blog.  

If you are in need of a little zombie/pirate rivalry, please click on the picture to take you to Teachers Pay Teachers or click {here} for Teacher's Notebook! 

Ouch - just thought of a bad pun for the zombies, about giving them a hand....guess I'll spare you that one! :)

Friday, February 15, 2013


I shopped the Super Sale and focused on one thing - Time.  While I couldn't find a magic wand to grant me more time to get things done in my day (hah hah), I did find some awesome units on Teacher's Notebook!  I thought I'd share them with you, as well as my Time unit I finally completed {here} on Google Drive.

My favorite, that inspired me the most:
"Time Will Tell" from BrightConcepts4Teachers

*This had a GREAT clock craftivity, as well as an AM/PM Sort, student schedule of the day, etc.  Definitely go check it out if you need some resources on time, or if you just want to revamp what you're doing! :)

The next great time ideas came from Buzzing With Ms. B with her "Springtime Activities:  Telling Time to the Nearest Five Minutes"

Next was the "time cubes" - too cute - from Nylas Crafty Teaching!  I love that not only were these ideas reasonably priced, they basically wrote my unit for me (once I finally decided the order of things!):

Last, but not least, was the center that I just couldn't resist...I mean, how do you resist tacos??? :)  From A Series of Third Grade Events:


So, if you're looking for some cute and very helpful ideas on time (and not looking to spend a lot) please go check out these shops!  I will tell you it was worth every penny! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Money, White-Tailed Deer, and Contractions - Quite a Combination!

Been burning the midnight oil lately trying to get the units done. I don't know where the weekend or these snow days go - you'd think I'd be more together!

Ah well.

Wanted to show off my latest efforts. If you teach in Virginia (and possibly other places), one of our lovely standards is that we have to teach the white-tailed deer as part of our life cycle standard. Yep, must be a hunter there in the capital!

 Anywho, there's not much out there kid-friendly or even activity-wise about white tailed deer (unless I've been looking in all the wrong places!). For my VA friends, I've created a packet to help you out! Also, be sure to check out my wiki page on life cycles - I've uploaded a video from the VDGIF that they created just for this standard! (You can also find it on their website).

 The packet includes the are/have/live charts I've really grown to love using! Whether we're completing them cooperatively, or the students are doing it independently, they are wonderful! Not sure who came up with the idea, but thanks! It also includes a diagram (cut/paste) of the deer and a life cycle chart (3 different versions). Click on the picture to go check it out! ;) 

Next up, Contractions.  Had a brainstorm while planning with my collab teacher....trying to think of some sort of game the kids could play with contractions that was similar to the ones we did for abbreviations (they LOVED "Abbreviation Call Out").  So, after racking my brain, I came up with "Building Contractions."

I focused on not, is/am, will, and have contractions. This set comes with letter cards to "build" the two words that form a contraction (such as can and not).  "Bossy apostrophe" comes along, tells certain letters to sit down, takes their cards, and puts him/herself in the place of the letters.

It really helped my students understand about the contraction and where the apostrophe goes!  We made a list of the contractions as we "built" them, and students were able to see a pattern of which letters were replaced.  It was another big hit with my students and the understanding has shown in their work! :)  Click on the picture above to check it out further!

The last activity I have to share with you is the what I created for  my money unit.  I have to confess - I am using some ideas from Investigations, but my kiddos this year just can't get the "abstract" part of the series, so I have been branching out on my own.  I am completing a 5 day unit on money and will begin a 5 day unit on time (to the nearest five minutes).  My kiddos lack the basic skills to "build on" to where Investigations say they should be, and though we've been practicing money all year long...well, time is another story. 

I went shopping for a lot of time things over the "super sale" weekend.  I will be going through these and will share some of the units/activities I bought in another post.

Until then, I'm pretty proud of the money activities I created.  Some of them are old ideas "refreshed," but my favorite is my "money mat."  My kids in the past have had skills with counting, but when it comes to writing money - well, let's just say seeing the cents mark at the end of a dollar amount gets old after awhile, right?  Almost makes me want to teach decimals to the kids before writing money!  But that's a whole other concept and not exactly in our standards for second! :)

So, I am posting my money unit that I wrote on Google Drive for you to access {here}.  However, please check out some of the activities that go with the unit by clicking on the picture below!

 Hope you were able to see something you could use! :)  Have a great week!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Currently....There's a Lotta Linkies Going On!

So, a lot of linkys going on in the teacher blog world! (Be sure to read all 4 in this post!).

First up, Currently....linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade!
Okay, so most of this is self-explanatory....we've had several snow days and two hour delay days recently.  Don't get me wrong - LOVE snow days!  Of course, I never get done quite as much as I want to.  However, I like them a little more spaced out, and when they don't involve rescheduling testing 3 different times!  Argh!

As for the generic girl scout cookies - they're only available once/year, right?  Yeah, well, Walmart has two kinds....mint and the peanut butter patties...available year round in their store.  I know, don't go there, right?  It's all because I made a trip to Walmart this morning.  Blame it on that! :)

Okay, well on to linky #2
There's a "14 Days Of Love Freebie" linky where you can go and get 14 different freebies...one per day....that has already been preset.  Click on the picture below to take you there!  Gotta love freebies!!!!!

Linky #3:  100 Days of School!  Link up and share how you celebrated (or will celebrate) your 100 days!  Please see my previous post {here} to see what we did!  (Including a cute shirt design!).


Just wanted to share another one of my fave Superbowl commercials...I've had fun "reliving" a few before the big game!


Friday, February 1, 2013

100 Days, Northern Lights, Fossils, and More!

Quite a combination, eh?  Well, we started Monday with a 2 hour delay thanks to ice and we ended the week with a 2 hour delay for snow flurries/freezing temps.

Because of our snow days, we had our 100th day (originally last Friday), this Wednesday.  The good news was the kids had a BLAST!  Bad news was, I was stuck PALS (reading) testing the entire day. :(  However, the assistant who was in my room had fun with the kids and they behaved well for her, so all in all, a good day!

My daughter had a special one hundred day shirt that was actually not too hard to make....if you'd like the template, click {here}.  I can't guarantee the spacing is accurate, but I think it turned out cute!  I just printed it on one of those sheets that goes through the printer and is a t-shirt transfer.  I think you can find those at Walmart, Target, or Staples. 

Because I was not in the room, I don't have very many photographs.  Actually - I have one, and that's what I hung proudly outside my room.  If you'd like to see more 100 day festivities, please check out my Pinterest page!  There are so many great ideas out there, I didn't have to reinvent the wheel!  The picture below is some of my students "100 dots" artwork and their "100 creations."  They also had to do things in 100 seconds, measure 100 centimeters, had a special 100 day snack (which they used their hundreds chart to count out), talked about what they wanted 100 of/didn't want 100 of.  Mine was 100 meerkats :)  NOT 100 spiders!  Too many legs!!!
With our Polar Habitats/Unit, we studied fossils on Monday and created some on our own.  I pinned the recipe I used for the dough, and then added food coloring to the student fossils (shells pressed in the dough).  We let them dry for the day on the windowsill and the students took them home the next day.  

On Tuesday (no picture) we studied icebergs and glaciers and answered the question, "Does Ice Float?" (it does).  Even in salt water!

Wednesday, of course, was the 100th day.

Thursday, we had a blast learning about the Northern Lights and created our own, using pastel chalks (borrowed from the art teacher).

Friday was  a day of rest.  Just kidding!  Friday was another 2 hour delay day, so we didn't get quite as far as I'd like (and we were still trying to catch up from last week - we only went 2 days!).....so no spectacular thing unfortunately for Groundhog's Day, other than reading one of my favorite books, Groundhog Gets a Say, as well as predicting whether he'd see his shadow tomorrow.  (I think it's unfair when two holidays come in one week!  Help!).  

We also studied polar bears and filled out our charts and diagrams.  At some point, I WILL finish putting together this polar unit and post it for you to see!  I've really enjoyed using the polar animals to study habitats, adaptations, life cycles, and throwing in maps.

Oh!  How could I forget????  We also received our gingerbread from Christine's Gingerbread Project at Sugar and Spice.  What a great way to discuss diversity, learn about new places, and geography skills!

So....whew...wish I could rest some this weekend, but my daughter is now a budding cheerleader with her first game on Saturday (our local Parks & Rec) and my son has a sleep study on Sunday/Monday. :(  We're trying to figure out exactly what's going on with him.  He's had an awful time this year falling asleep in class....we're not sure if its his absence seizures, sleep seizures, sleep apnea, or....which is apparently the "unfixable one"....a sleep disorder where his internal clock is set from 10pm-8am every morning (yeah, think about what my reaction was when the doc asked if he could go to school at 10am every day and the school would be responsible for filling in the gaps!).

But, not to end on a downer note --- don't forget about the SUPER SALES this weekend at Teacher's Notebook (can't wait to see their new design!) and Teachers Pay Teachers!!!!! :)