Busy! Busy! Busy!! That's all I can say. It seems like after the winter holiday we have so much to cover. I know many of you have had lots of snow days (lucky!!). Here in Florida it's been nothing but sunny (thank goodness!).

Today I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her infamous Five for Friday party. It's been awhile. Hope I remember how to do it! LOL!

 My kids have been hard at work with informational text during the last few weeks. When we started our unit, the students selected a topic to become an "expert" on. They gathered books from the classroom library, school library, and found information online. They have spent time reading to self, locating text features, and learning about main idea and details. All of this work culminated into a book of the information they found most important and most interesting about their topics.
They book was made from mailing envelopes and the idea and directions can be found in this book by Dinah Zike:

I dug out my collection of old scrapbook supplies. I highly recommend gathering old supplies of stickers, paper, ribbon, etc.  The kids LOVED digging through it all looking for just the right thing for their book. It has taken about a week of work to finally finish them.
 The book is made up of 4 envelopes. There are tabs across the top. I had them write main ideas on those. They had to include 3-5 details and 4 different text features in the book.

 During our study of informational text, I was able to use many activities from my Text Features Pack. (If you own this pack be sure you have the most recently updated version.)
I'm lovin' my text features arrows. I printed them on bright paper and laminated them. The students used them to "point out" features they found in their reading. I was able to easily and quickly assess their learning.

Did your kids go through the Silly Bandz phase? Mine did! When they were finished I refused to get rid of them. I spent a small fortune on those darn things. I pulled out this box not long ago and decided I had to put them to good use.
I organized them by color, put them on binder rings and, VOILA, I now use them for grouping. The kids LOVE it. I randomly pass them out and they have to find the friend with the matching color! The bands at the top of the picture are from the party store and I got them around Halloween (a fellow blogger sent them to me).

At my school we have several cluster classes. These classes are comprised of  severely handicapped to autistic to Down Syndrome students. They are the sweetest bunch of kids you'll ever meet and their teachers are saints! I volunteered my class to take part in a program called Silver Pals. Once a week we visit their classrooms and my students play, teach, and learn with these very special kids. My kids LOVE this time of the week. It really warms my heart to see them so selfless and giving. On Valentines Day we delivered cards and cookies to them. Currently, my kids are practicing a song with them for our volunteer breakfast. I know it's going to be beautiful!

It's been a busy month full of fun and lots of learning!

I am so pleased to share a wonderful resource with you, Laura Candler's Mastering Math Facts.

Like most 3rd grade teachers, I want my students to leave my class this year having mastered their multiplication facts. (I require my students to master the facts 2-9. I give 100 problem quizzes with 6 minutes to complete it. They have to get a 99% or 100% to pass.) Before our winter break, we had been well into our study of multiplication. The students were practicing with models, arrays, and pictures.

When I started the timed quizzes, I wanted some kind of motivational program. Laura Candler's resource had just what I was looking for. It is jam packed with not only activities for teaching multiplication and division, but she includes some fun ideas to motivate students.

At the time I received the resource, my students already had a pretty good understanding of the concept of multiplication, so I started with Laura's Times Table Challenge. I gave out the blank chart and set the timer for 9 minutes (just a random time). They did pretty good. Most kids finished with time to spare. I told them to keep the chart in their classwork folder as a resource.

As students pass all of the facts, I will use the more challenging table that Laura includes. The numbers down the side and across the top are mixed, so it will take some extra thought and will show me if they REALLY know them.

Two more resources that I really like are the ice cream sundae and this mini multiplication book. As an individual challenge, students color in the section of the sundae with the number they passed. When all parts are colored, that student will get a special treat of their choice. The green paper is a mini booklet of facts. Some of my kids said they will keep it in the car, so they can study. Good idea!

 I love this part of the resource because it was just what I was looking for. Laura created this ice cream cone printable. I'm using this as a class motivator and to track progress of the entire class. When every student has mastered a fact I add a scoop to the cone. When all the scoops are added I will throw an ice cream sundae party for the kids. They are super excited about this. I have the cone displayed on the wall. Along with the cone, I keep a record sheet with each students' name and a star under the facts they have passed. Laura also includes a train display that can be used the same way. The whole class challenge is exciting and it keeps all kids on track and studying for the weekly quizzes.

I have only touched on a tiny portion of Laura Candler's wonderful resource. There are lots and lots of printables for teaching the concepts of multiplication and division along with daily quizzes, ideas for motivation, and math games. I like that she includes alternate ideas for some of the activities along with tips. Her directions are clear and easy to follow. This is one fabulous resource and it's well worth the money. Please check it out!!

Yikes! I'm a little behind on February favorite reads. Hope you find some new read alouds or mentor texts for this month.

This first one is my new FAVORITE! It's great for anytime, not just February.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by Willam Joyce
Here is what Amazon says:
   Stunningly brought to life by William Joyce, one of the preeminent creators in children’s literature, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a modern masterpiece, showing that in today’s world of traditional books, eBooks, and apps, it’s story that we truly celebrate—and this story, no matter how you tell it, begs to be read again and again.

The story is AMAZING! To accompany the book, you MUST show the Academy Award winning animated short. You can purchase the video on iTunes or use this version if you can show it at school. I put both the book app and video on my iPad to use at school.

The kids made some neat comments as they watched. I love that there are no words and they have to really listen. Perfect for a quick write when it's over.

For the month of February, you might enjoy sharing some of these:

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch  is just a classic for me. February does not end without sharing this one. The story is so sweet.

A few informational text for February:
Valentine's Day Is

Lincoln happens to be my favorite president and I love all books about him. I have quite a collection. These are some of my newest:
I am Abraham Lincoln (Ordinary People Change World) is a super cute book by Brad Meltzer.

Let's not forget our first president and other famous Americans:

George Washington: A Picture Book Biography

George Washington

A Weed Is a Flower : The Life of George Washington Carver

Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth are two of the most fascinating women. I enjoy sharing their stories with the kids.
When Harriet Met Sojourner

Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth

At the elementary level, we often forget about Frederick Douglass. 
Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass 

I'm on the lookout for more books about the childhood of famous people. Students should have the chance to see that many of these amazing people were kids just like them who accomplished great things. If you know of any please share in the comments.

Hoping you found some new books to share with your kiddos. Thanks for stopping by!

Back to Top