Sunday, December 30, 2018

Happy New Year!
In a way I am sorry to see the holidays behind us. I love the last weeks before Christmas when decorations are up and we to do some fun things at school. Everything is so festive! This year we tried something new for our parent gifts (thank you Pinterest) and they turned out amazing.

Here is the link if anyone else wants to try these:

With the holidays over, I am also excited to be get back to school. These winter months are when everything starts clicking and the students really take off. I am anxious to see what they do.
  photo Maria sig_zpsagiiewfu.png

Monday, November 19, 2018

Trimester 1 is in the Books

It is amazing to realize that we are officially done with the first trimester of the school year and that we have two more before the end of the year. It is zooming by! Maybe because of the move and the new beginning, but even if we hadn't changed schools I think we would still be shocked to realize that it is already the end of November. 

Once again this year we have been impacted by Northern California fires. We ended up having the last day before break called due to smoke. This happened last year for three days as well. We are hopeful that this isn't a new normal for us. We pray those impacted by the fires are safe and sound and we are grateful that those we know who have family affected by the fires are all safe and will be able to come back from this tragedy. 

This is a time of year for counting our blessings. We have much to be thankful for. We are grateful for the class we have (we are SO lucky to get the opportunity to get to know and work with these 21 amazing kids), the staff we are getting to know, and a supportive administration. We are grateful that the class we left has a teacher who loves them as we do, and who has welcomed us back to see the kids. 

We are grateful for our families near and far, their love, and support. We know that we would not have been able to make the shift from one school to another without their help. 

We are grateful for so much! We hope that you have a lot to be grateful for as well and that you have family and friends that you can share your holiday with! 


 photo Stacie sig_zpsmntqujpq.png  photo Maria sig_zpsagiiewfu.png

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Donors Choose Request: Eradicating Hunger One Footstep at a Time

As teachers at a Title 1 site for many years Mrs. Solis and I have participated in the UNICEF
Power Band project several times. These bands are usually free or provided for free through a grant for Title 1 students. This year we are no longer at a Title 1 site so will not receive the bands for free. We thought we would not have the opportunity to participate in this program this year due to the cost of the bands without the grant.
Then I received an email stating that for a limited time there was a donors' match for projects that request the UNICEF Power Bands. This is our chance to try to bring this project to our new school. I immediately created a project requesting funds to receive the bands for our new class. 
The UNICEF Power Band program is a worthwhile project that teaches students empathy, wellness, and community service all from wearing an activity band and exercising. Throughout the year students will earn Therapeutic Food Units (TFUs) for those who are at risk of dying from hunger. All they have to do is move! In addition to the bands, we will receive lesson plans to teach students about other cultures and about the way kids live in the countries the TFUs are helping.
We are hopeful that we will be able to have our students participate in this program and since there is a donors' match we "only" need half of what the project shows. We know that $447.50 is still a lot of money, particularly at this time of year. But...we are hopeful. All we need is 45 people to give $10. That is about the same price of a visit to Starbucks or a fast food meal. We are hopeful and we know that with your help we will be able to make this project a reality! 
So even though we know that this is a busy time of year, we are hoping that you will be able to help us fund this project and share the link with others.
Thank you so much!
 photo Stacie sig_zpsmntqujpq.png  photo Maria sig_zpsagiiewfu.png

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Taking On a New Class

Here we are! It is done! Maria and I are officially at Cordelia Hills and are now Coyotes! The move wasn't easy. In order to welcome our new class, we had to say goodbye to our class at Anna Kyle. It is a bittersweet transition. 

We are ecstatic to be at Cordelia Hills and to welcome our new class. We have a wonderful class and it is going to be an amazing year! 

In our first three days, we participated in the annual Fun Run, the Great American Shakeout - earthquake drill, and an assembly to see Mr. Trotter pelted with water balloons by a first grade class who had perfect attendance. 

It is exciting to be on this new adventure and to start a new class. We can't wait for the adventure to begin!

 photo Stacie sig_zpsmntqujpq.png  photo Maria sig_zpsagiiewfu.png

Saturday, October 13, 2018

New Adventures Ahead!

There is a time each year when the class just clicks and you know it. You have got this and the class is no longer a group of kids but a class, a single unit, united it seems not just in learning but in making the class a family of sorts. This happened early in the year for this class and we are so grateful for that. This group of kids has been a blast to work with. So it is with heavy hearts that we have to say goodbye to them this week. 

You see, we accepted a new position at another school in our district. We will still be teaching third grade and coaching, but our home site will be different. That means we have to say goodbye to this group of kids, to our team, and to our site to begin a new adventure with a new class, new team, and new site. We are excited about this new chapter in our lives. We are excited about the opportunity we have to make this change and for the class, we are about to start. 

This is a week of mixed emotions as we end our time with one class and start a new year with a new group of kids who will now be "ours." It's very exciting, and a little scary, and even somewhat sad, but it is happening and we can't wait to see what the future holds! 

We hope that you will join us on this new adventure as we make our way through third grade. 

We will begin podcasting our adventures soon! Stay tuned! 
 photo Stacie sig_zpsmntqujpq.png  photo Maria sig_zpsagiiewfu.png

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!
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.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.