Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Sentence Surgery! Room Transformation Lesson


After reading The Wild Card by Hope and Wade King I (Stacie) decided that we needed to become super creative with some of the content we teach.

At the beginning of the year, it always seems that third graders have a sudden issue with punctuation, capitalization, and subject-verb agreement. This year I wanted to do something crazy to help students focus on this and to really take what they are doing to heart.

Maria and I decided to do sentence surgery and create an experience the kids would not forget.

Is there a doctor in the house? There were 26 in fact! It was the most amazing lesson and the kids couldn't stop talking about it. In hindsight, it was simple to plan and to undertake but it was a jump off the creative bridge into the unknown - this lesson could have gone south quickly- but it was all worth it!

makingoverthirdgrade.blogspot.com
Mrs. Lopez ready for surgery
I bought isolation gownso.r. caps, and face masks from Amazon. Don't you just love Amazon? The gowns were a bit pricey ($45) but I got 100 of them so I can use them for future lessons.  I created a sentence fragments and complete sentences to provide each pair of students. The intention was that they would match up the fragments and make complete sentences but it turned out so much better than that because the kids cut up all of the sentence fragments and created complex sentences using different pieces of several different original pairs that I had planned.
number of

Maria and I went out to pick up our class from lunch in our gear - we told the kids that there was an emergency in our room and that they would all need to conduct surgery in order to save the many patients that they had waiting. They were so excited and shocked by what was happening.


makingoverthirdgrade.blogspot.com
makingoverthirdgrade.blogspot.comMaria, our vice principal, Mrs. Lopez, and I put each student in their operating outfits and had them stand by their tables. They were given directions to discuss their "patients" and to diagnosis what was wrong before making any surgical decisions. They were completely engaged, Maria and I gained a lot of formative assessment information about
students and they are all working very hard now to ensure that they continue to correctly use capitals and punctuation correctly.

Mrs. Lopez recorded the lesson for us, you can see the majority of it (the last 10 minutes are not recorded as she had to leave the room to address another issue) here.

Students couldn't wait to share what they did when they got home and many of them took the gowns with them to show their parents. We kept the caps and masks for future work editing and revising our work. The kids put them on when editing and revising and they love it!

What is one of the most engaging lessons you have taught? What gave you the idea for approaching it the way you did?


**Please note that this post is cross-posted to my blog, Making Over Third Grade.**
 photo Stacie sig_zpsmntqujpq.png  photo Maria sig_zpsagiiewfu.png

Monday, February 19, 2018

Field Trip, Testing, and Moving Forward

We have a field trip coming up this week! I  both love and hate field trips. They are the best and worst days for me as a teacher. I love them for the kids, seeing their excitement, experiencing their joy, and basking in their happiness as they learn new things. The happy excitement on the bus on the way there, and the sleepy faces on the way home. I love all of these things. But I also hate field trips.

I hate them because I become a nervous wreck. I worry about losing a child, I count them, and count them, and count them again. I worry about how they are behaving, about all of their possessions. Making sure all the lunch boxes and jackets that left the school return with us. I worry about how our students are perceived by others and how they are feeling. I have had students have accidents on the bus and get sick away from the school. It is no fun dealing with these events at school, it is even harder to deal with when you are away from home. These are the nightmares. Thank goodness they are rare or unheard of occurrences.

This field trip comes in the midst of our MAP testing. Which is a welcome relief from the pressure of testing. I know it is a necessary evil but I hate it all the same. While the data is valuable for the students who take the test seriously, there are those students who rushed through each test in less than 30 minutes and therefore will have to retest. Finding the time to do this, as well as a means of motivation for these students is a struggle, but it is one I know we will find a way to do.

And so it goes, testing, field trips, and moving forward in our school year. It is hard to believe that there are only 69 days left in this school year. It seems that we have so much more left to cover, so much more left to do. 69 days is not enough time. It doesn't seem like we should be getting ready to have these students move on yet. So for now, I will take in each day and be happy that I have these days left with this class and I will enjoy each moment of these days. Third grade is magical and I am so grateful that I get to be part of it each year.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Using Kami in the Classroom


Have you heard of Kami? Have you seen this tool in action? If not, you are missing out! This add-on can be found in the Chrome Web Store. This add-on allows the user to type and write on PDF files so that you can annotate texts, add notes and details, and color code ideas. Even though we have iPads in our classroom Kami is a powerful tool I use when I am in other classes that have Chromebooks.

We have a new English Language Arts (ELA) program that we are implementing this year and it includes a lot of graphic organizers that teachers either need to print and copy for their classes or recreate in an editable document. Kami eliminates both of these steps and allows teachers to simply push out a graphic organizer and have students annotate the PDF and turn in their work with a few simple clicks.

Kami works with the Google Drive and Classroom so that teachers can make the most use of their instructional and planning time. With the paid version you can create Google Classroom assignments directly in Kami. You can assign PDFs to students in your Google Classroom for students to open and annotate in the free version of Kami as well.

The most difficult thing to teach kids about Kami (and really it isn't that hard - its just that third graders don't always listen the first, second, or third times) is that when they are done with their work they must save it with the annotations otherwise their work will be lost.

I have been able to digitally sign documents, keep track of time sheets, and mileage reports, as well as add directions to student documents while using Kami.

This is a tool worth checking out!


Monday, October 16, 2017

Dr. Goodall's Roots & Shoots


Our class had an opportunity to meet Dr. Jane Goodall at the Roots & Shoots event at Chrissy Field
in San Francisco. Our students have developed a civic project to collect food for the needy and work with community resources to distribute what we collect.

We have been working on this project for weeks and we were all so excited to meet Dr. Goodall. I mean really! It is a once in a lifetime event and for our kids to have this experience it was too much! I was over the moon for them (and okay, I will admit it, for me too).

We were scheduled to go on Wednesday, October 11th. Then the fires in Napa and Sonoma hit. The air quality in our area was really bad and school was canceled for the 11th. No school, no field trip, Students and parents were disappointed. Mrs. Solis and I were disappointed as well. There was nothing to be done about it.

Working with the Roots & Shoots coordinator, we will have access to the video of Dr. Goodall's speech and we will be receiving the badges we would have received at the event.  Small tokens for the kids to let them know that they were missed. This made me happy for them though; I know that they will be happy to have this recognition.

I am not going to lie though, seeing the photos of other students with Dr. Goodall brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how this event would have affected our students.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Super STEM Wednesday!

We decided to try something new this year.  The first Wednesday of every month the third grade team has decided to do STEM activities with our students.  The students rotated through three STEM activities, where they worked in collaborative groups to investigate, explore and problem solve. The first station was called Tie-Dyed Milk.  Students got to find out what happened when you add food coloring and dish soap to milk.



The next station was Help Harry!  The students were each given a bag of supplies and Harry (he is a pom pom).  Their task was to create a tower that would lift Harry as high up as they could. The tower must keep Harry safe and be free standing.





The last activity was the Tower Trials.  Students planned and built a tower using Legos, spaghetti and marshmallows. 



Fun was had by all! We are definitely going to make this a monthly thing!

Maria



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Two Weeks in Time to Get Real

We have been in school for 7 days now. We are no longer getting to know each other - we have become a class. And what a class we are! I am so excited about this school year! I can't wait to dig deep into the learning process and watch each student grow this year. It promises to be so much fun!

So here we go into our second week of curriculum, we are learning how to get our work done and do it well. We are learning how to ask questions, learn the ins and outs of using our iPads for learning, and rocking our academic conversations. I am impressed and each member of our class should be too!


Sunday, August 20, 2017

We're Back!

After a relaxing summer, we are ready to jump back in!  We are looking forward to spending the year getting to know our great group of students.  Over the summer, we bought some new flexible seating and made some change to our classroom. Ms. Ryan and I can't help ourselves, we love to change things up and are always trying out new ideas.

We will have the same schedule we did last year.  Ms. Ryan and I have a unique position as instructional specialists.  We teach half of the week and the other half of the week we go into other 3rd classes and help teachers. Ms. Ryan will teach on Mondays and Tuesdays and I will teach on Thursdays and Fridays.  On Wednesdays, we will spend some time together and alternate the afternoons.  However, we will be together in classroom until September 18 and anytime we are not needed at other schools, we will teach together.

We love teaching and are so excited for all the fun we are going to have this year!