Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Estimating Sums and Differences Resource

Hey everyone!

I hope everyone's year is off to a great start. I can't believe we are halfway through October already!

My class is absolutely amazing this year, and I am having such a fantastic time accelerating them and meeting their needs. I can only hope that their scores on all of the lovely assessments reflect all of the learning going on!

Besides the actual "teaching" part of teaching, I'm struggling to keep up with the demands that keep piling up. I know you all can relate. Paperwork for this, keeping a log for that. A committee for this, growth goals for that. I'm very grateful that my classroom is running so smoothly. Otherwise, all of the extra stuff would probably push me over the edge.

We are wrapping up our study of place value, addition, subtraction, and estimation. These skills take up the entire first marking period so that we are certain that students have a solid foundation before moving on to other concepts. Side note: I am SO excited to get these kids rolling with multiplication and division. I'm anxious to see how far I can push them!

I've always found estimating sums and differences a pretty dry concept to teach.

What is a teacher to do?
Add dice, point values, and call it a game, of course!

My students had a great time playing this game, which I dubbed Estimating Extravaganza! It turned out to be a great way to practice this skill. I saw a few games similar to this when I was browsing, but I wanted to make it a little more involved. Each round has a different set of directions. The rounds include both two and three digit numbers, and it calls for estimating both sums and differences.

Click the picture or link to download. Please let me know what you think! =)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Brag Tag Display

I'm starting my fourth week with students tomorrow, and this year has been so different from years past. As I've said before, I've gone from teaching two years of general ed. third grade, to two years of co-teaching third grade, to this year teaching accelerated third grade.

My students are SO eager to learn. They eat up every bit of information I give. Behavior has been on point, aside from a few small instances. I tell everyone who will listen in my building that I am truly blessed this year.

They are most likely annoyed with me.

But anyway, like many of you, I use brag tags in my room. I actually have to use them, as we adopted them last year as a part of PBS. The school purchased a few tags that we can all use, like honor roll, student of the month, and perfect attendance. It is up to use how we display and use the tags.



Here is how I display my brag tags. The PBS team loved it so much last year, they took pictures and showed it to others in my building, so many others have a similar display. I do not let the students wear their tags because I don't want anyone to lose their necklace. Last year, I hung my necklaces with tiny command hooks. This year, I purchased Pin Hooks.
image from pinhooks.com
I like them much better than the command hooks because I can reposition them without ripping my background paper. This year, I have a career high (and building high) 25 students. This way, if my numbers go down next year, I can adjust accordingly. You can purchase them in primary colors, bright colors, clear, or black and white. I clearly went for the brights! The only issue is that the pins stick out a little bit because my cork boards are shallow. (For the record, I was not compensated for telling you all about PinHooks. I just wanted to share a cute product!) The small labels were a freebie that I sized down considerably. The creator's name is not in the download, so if it belongs to you, leave a comment and I will link! I love my chevron border, and I use it on every board in my room with a black background!

I do not love my photography skills. Sorry.

I started everyone out with a "First Day of School" brag tag, which I downloaded for free from TPT from Teaching Rock Stars. As the year goes on, I will add brag tags that the school supplies, as well as some of my own. Throughout the year, I introduce new ways to fill your necklace, mostly using pony beads. For example, I declare February "Fe'blue'ary. Blue is the highest color you can get on our clip chart, school wide. Any time a students reaches blue in February, they will get a blue pony bead on their necklace. Once I introduce different pony beads, I will add a key/legend in the blank space on the bulletin board that will explain the meaning for the different colors.


I'm currently nursing what feels like a budding sinus infection, so I'm kind of in a sudafed-daze. Looking forward to a good night's sleep so that I can be ready for a full week of school and open house on Thursday night!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet the Teacher Blogger Linky

I am probably the last to this party! I've added a bunch of new blogs to my feed recently, and it has been great to get to know everyone a little better! So I knew I had to join in on the fun.


In case you're new here, here's a little intro! My name is Meg, and I'm a 28 year old third grade teacher in Delaware. This will be my sixth year as a teacher. I can't believe it! My first year (2009) was spent as a writing specialist. Followed by that were two years in a general ed third grade classroom, then two years in a co-taught inclusion third grade classroom. This year, I'm in for another change, as I'll be teaching the accelerated third grade class. I'm pretty sure I could rattle off most of the third grade Common Core Standards by heart. #embarrassing #sorrynotsorry

Let's get personal! I currently live with my boyfriend of two years and my cat, Mona. She started out as a foster, but her cuteness convinced me to make it permanent. I mean, how can you resist?



Now to the Q & A portion!


These are a few of my favorite things..

My nephew (pictured. you're welcome.)
Chai Tea Lattes
My magic machine a.k.a. Silhouette Cameo
Sleeping in
Hashtagging to the point of annoyance



If you weren't a teacher, what would you want to be?

I went into college as a journalism major, with dreams of being a news anchor. That kind of career involves moving around the world though, and I'm pretty family oriented, so that kind of lifestyle just wouldn't work for me. I've always wanted to work in higher education, and I still see myself doing that someday. I guess for something completely different than education, I'd be an optometrist. (Even though I just had to google it to make sure I spelled it right.)

Three little words that describe you.

Passionate. Loyal. Goal-oriented.

Finish the sentence, "_____, said no teacher ever!"

"I'm in it for the money!" said no teacher ever!

It's your birthday and you can invite anyone (dead or alive) to the party. Who are you inviting?

Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone seem like they'd be a good time. Or maybe a few cast members of Saturday Night Live, past and present, like Gilda Radner or Bill Hader.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would be the title?

This is a tough one! Maybe "A Work In Progress." I feel like I have SO much more to accomplish, both personally and professionally!

You get to pick one superpower. What is it?

Teleportation! My family lives all over the US, and I'm over an hour from my immediate family and friends. Being able to see them whenever I want, without having to worry about travel time or expenses, would be amazing. Also, I hate commuting to work, even if it is only 40 minutes, so I'd use it for that, too!

What's your favorite quote or saying?

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something." I just love this saying, especially in our profession. Sometimes, we feel hopeless, unappreciated, and overwhelmed. But we do "something" every day. We need to remember that when we're in the thick of it this year!

If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

"Somebody to Love" by Queen. It is my absolute favorite song to belt! If you are unfamiliar, go listen, now! The Glee version is great, too!

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Night owl, for sure. Although I'll probably be in bed by 8 at the latest during the first couple weeks of school. No judging!

What's your favorite resource that you've created in your TPT shop?

I don't have the biggest or best shop, but I put things in there that I use and love. I love using this product with my students!


Share something we might not know about you!

Well, you definitely won't know this. My hair doesn't look like the picture above anymore! I went to my back to school hair appointment today (you all have those, right?) and got about 4 inches chopped off and went a few shades darker to my natural color (see roots in the picture above). I miss it already!

That's it! If you haven't linked up yet (I can't be the ONLY one!), here's the place to go! =)



Teachers in my district go back to school Monday. I've been in to my room a couple times here and there to start setting up, but expect pictures of the finished product next week sometime!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What I Bought!

Did you take advantage of the Teachers Pay Teachers sale? I put my store (my tiny store!) on sale for the event, and I want to say thank you to anyone who purchased any of my items. Please let me know how they work for you!

Now, what did I buy? I'm glad you asked because I made a snazzy graphic.


I mentioned that I will be teaching the accelerated class in third grade this year. In other words, I have the highest achieving students in my room. Aside from literally "accelerating," I clearly want to up the rigor and introduce higher level skills and concepts. To do that, I purchased:

Blogging Literature Circles by Where the Wild Things Learn
Mentor Sentences by Jivey
Root of the Week by The Brown Bag Teacher
Morphology Dictionary by Ladybugs Teacher Files

My room doesn't have a theme, just a color scheme. I love brights on black. To update my decor, I purchased:

Desire to Inspire Subway Art by Hope King
Simple Iconic Library Labels by Ladybugs Teacher Files

I also purchased Math Homework Card Games by Teachers Clubhouse. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to use them yet. I may use them as a choice during math centers. I might also have the students keep the games in their binders (as Amanda suggests in this blog post) for extra practice.

The last item I purchased was the Editable Desk Tags by The Brown Bag Teacher. I'm always looking for ways to streamline transitions. I do a ton of partner work, so I'm going to give this Kagan strategy a shot.

Link up with Blog Hoppin'!


Did you buy/create anything that you think would help me accelerate and really push my above level third graders? Leave me a comment so I can check it out!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Goodreads Purge Part Two: Fiction

I'm back with the rest of my recent reads. This time, I'm sharing fiction! If you have Goodreads, feel free to visit my profile and add me as a friend! I love seeing what everyone is reading.

John Green

    

I had already read & loved The Fault in our Stars. It was a quick, entertaining read, so I immediately set out to read more from this amazing author! These books did not disappoint, either! They are all young adult and deal with the relationships frequently encountered in that time of life.

Looking for Alaska (5/5; this one was my favorite!)
An Abundance of Katherines (3.5/5; not bad, just not as good as the others)
Paper Towns (4/5)

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Rainbow Rowell

      

The first experience I had with Ms. Rowell was Eleanor & Park, and that was one of the best books I've ever read! The style reminded me of John Green. The rest of her books (above) are a little more adult in content, and they read wonderfully! They are all light reads about relationships. Great for the summertime.

Attachments (4.5/5)
Landline (4/5; this one just came out!)
Fangirl (5/5; this one was my favorite!)

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The Program & The Treatment


I clearly love dystopian YA! The premise of this series is that suicide has become an epidemic. If you show any signs of depression, you get sent to "The Program," where your memory is wiped. The Treatment follows how a group of teens fight back against the program. It was a good book to read; I couldn't wait to read what happened next!

The Program (4.5/5)
The Treatment (4/5)
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Gone Girl


This book was recommended to me a few times, but I'm not into mysteries, and that's what I thought this book was. Um, it isn't! Well, not really. About half way through, everything you thought was happening gets turned upside down. I can't wait to see the movie!

Gone Girl (5/5)

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Ready Player One


Another dystopian, but the backstory here does not seem too far from where technology is headed. The back story is that the economy has crashed and people escape to the "OASIS," which is a virtual reality that is free to access using a headset. The creator of the OASIS died, and he has left a quest (based on 80s pop culture). The first person to solve it wins the creator's fortune. It is impossible for me to paint the picture of the OASIS in a short summary, so you should definitely check out this book. If you grew up in the 80's and know a lot about the pop culture of that time (movies, video games, music), you'll really enjoy this book.

Ready Player One (4.5/5)

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Where'd You Go, Bernadette?


This is old fashioned chick-lit. Bernadette is an eccentric mother (with an incredibly strange past) who goes missing. The text is mostly made up of emails, documents, and other correspondences that tell the story of the main characters. (I previously read Love, Rosie and enjoyed the format, which is why I read this book.) All of the characters were so out there, so I couldn't really attach myself to them. But, it was an entertaining story that I was able to finish, and I did like the format.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette (3/5)
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The Book Thief


This booooooook. I just loved it. It tells a story of the Holocaust from the point of view of Liesel Meminger, a young German girl who is sent to live with a foster family in Munich. She learns to read and so much more. I watched the movie (it is on Amazon Instant), but it didn't do the book justice at all. It is such a long, deep book that it was impossible to fit everything into a film. But I definitely recommend it!

The Book Thief (5/5)

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A Long Way Down


A Long Way Down focuses on four people who end up at the same location on New Year's Eve. Sounds great. But the place where they meet is actually the top of a building that is famous for people committing suicide. The book sounds dark, but it really isn't. The story is told from all of their points of view on how the next few days are spent. This is also a movie, but I haven't gotten around to watching it yet (with Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette & Aaron Paul).

A Long Way Down (3.5/5)
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The Kite Runner


Another great book. This is a story of an unlikely pair, a rich child and his servant's son, who live in Afghanistan. The story chronicles their lives, as Afghanistan crumbles and their relationship is tested. It is a really long book, but worth the read!

The Kite Runner (5/5)




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Thanks for indulging me in my summer Goodreads purge!

My reading with no doubt slow down once I go back to school in two weeks, but I hope to try to keep up with it. Right now, I'm reading Life in a Jar (on my Kindle) and This Is Where I Leave You (on audiobook while I'm walking on the treadmill). 

What did you read this summer? Anything to recommend to me?!