Saturday, April 28, 2012

Getting Artsy

Our third graders just read Elena's Serenade from our Basal.  It's a story about a little girl from Mexico who wants to be a glassblower even though everyone, including her papa, thinks only men can be glassblowers.  She doesn't let being young and a girl stand in her way, and she follows her dreams!

I saw the perfect opportunity for an art project to go along with our story and began searching for ideas.  I found some great art teachers' blogs and ultimately found our project at Miss Oetken's blog ARTASTIC!  We didn't have any of the Graphix Shrink Sheet or anywhere in our small town to buy it so we went with the plastic punch cups.

After taking our reading test for the week we watched two videos about glassblowing.  First, we watched a PBS Kids video telling and showing us how glassblowing is done.  As if that wasn't amazing enough for my kiddos, we then watched a video about renowned artist Dale Chihuly.  We saw many of his famous pieces such as a tree in New York City's Botanical Gardens and explored his website looking at more examples of his art, like the ceiling of the Bellagio in Las Vegas!  They were truly in awe!

The kids wrote a paragraph about Elena and her glassblowing.  Then they wrote a paragraph about Dale Chihuly's work and made sure to use lots of adjectives and descriptive writing!  Finally they wrote about and drew what they would make if they were glassblowers and could make their own piece of art.  Fast forward to after lunch and each student gets to decorate a clear punch cup with colorful permanent markers.  I popped them into the toaster oven on broil for a few seconds to make our "glass sculptures".  They turned out great and the kids absolutely loved it!  Take a look at a few of our finished projects!

I'm so thankful to Miss Oetken for sharing this wonderful idea!  I think this is a keeper for next year too!  Have any of you ever done this or a similar project in your classes?  Our kids don't get to have an art class at my school so if you have any great ideas for incorporating art into the regular classroom please share!

Now, on a side note, make sure that you head over to Stellar Students and check out her 200 follower giveaway!  She's choosing 2 winners when her giveaway ends on Monday, April 30, at midnight to win items from her TPT store and more.  Click on her button below to go to her giveaway post!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Measuring, Counting, and Graphing...Oh My!

We have measured EVERYTHING in our rooms (and the other 3rd grade rooms)!  We did an amazing activity last Friday that I absolutely loved and have to share!  Although I wish I could, I can't take credit for the idea.  I was inspired, of course, by pinterest and another wonderful blog!  Here is a snapshot from her blog.

From Love2Teach2 Blogspot
We have been learning how to find the perimeter and area of different shapes.  As soon as I saw this on pinterest I knew I had to do this activity and persuaded invited my wonderful 3rd grade colleagues to join in!  Our principal was in on the fun too since he came to observe me the day we did this activity.  We each created 5 shapes in our rooms (unfortunately the hallway doesn't have individual tiles) for a total of 20 shapes.  Have a  peek at a couple of my shapes (we've been working on fractions too and each of us included halves in some of our figures)!

We rotated through all 4 classes and, working in groups, recorded the perimeter and area of each shape.  I loved watching them walk around the outside to count the perimeter and step on each square inside to find the area!  Hearing them talk about the halves and how two halves equal one square foot made me quite proud!  I think this activity made it more concrete and easier for them to understand!

I have a freebie to share with any of you who can use it!  This is a two page worksheet, but I have included 2 variations of the cover page to suit your needs (one for a worksheet per group or one for each student).  I chose to have each student complete a worksheet in order for everyone to have some accountability.   We completed the top of the worksheets together before beginning as a reminder for the activity.  Each student could look at their worksheet to see the definitions for perimeter and area and that one tile is one square foot!  You can download the worksheet here at google docs or from scribd!

Floor Shapes Area and Perimeter Worksheet
We have moved on now to counting, adding, and subtracting money.  I was pleased to see that I only had a few kiddos still struggling with identifying the coins.  Nickels and Quarters are still confusing a couple of them.  Since most of my kids can already identify the coins fairly easily, I needed a good activity to practice identification that would hold some value for everyone else.  

Thanks to Ginger Snaps Clip Art, I had just the idea!  I won her last giveaway (her WHOLE clip art shop), and needless to say, I was ecstatic!  I used her data clip art to create four different worksheets that incorporate identifying and categorizing coins, tallying the number of nickels or quarters found, and then creating a data display.  We've done so many bar graphs that I wanted to revisit graphs that we are less comfortable with so I made two pages for creating line plots and two for line graphs.  We did one side together to review how to create each data display, and then one individually!  That activity is for sale at my new TPT shop!  Here's a preview for you!

I'd love, love, love to know what you think about the items in my shop!  
Any suggestions or anything you'd like to see for sale on TPT?


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Themed Measurement Activity

If you're looking for something to do tomorrow that will tie in the Easter holiday with your math curriculum take a look at this measurement activity from my new Teachers Pay Teachers store!

We completed this activity last week, and the kids really seemed to enjoy it!  They, of course, love hands-on learning like most kids do!  I numbered 20 different plastic eggs (I have 18 students) and filled them each with a string that I had already measured.  We started out by each choosing one egg, measuring the string inside to the nearest half inch and recording the length on the exit slip.  We did this three different times, and each time the kiddos had to have a different egg.  After measuring all three strings, they found the total length and then had to write specifically telling how they found the total length of all 3 strings.  We ended the activity by estimating 3 more items that would be about the same length as the total of all 3 strings.

This was a fun activity for the kids and something that we can include in our writing portfolios!  Hopefully it will be of some use to others!  If you'd like to download this freebie, you can get it at my TPT store!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Changes and Chapters!

We took a two week vacation from our reading series recently! Rather than continuing with our weekly story and same ol', same ol' routine, as a class we read a chapter book. I chose "Sideways Stories from Wayside School" by Louis Sachar for my reading group! Mrs. Gorf's apple antics and all of the other humorous characters had my kids hooked from the beginning! Over a two week period we read the book aloud, built our comprehension and improved our extended response answers with questions about each chapter, learned many new vocabulary words and built our dictionary skills, and completed a writing task at the end of the book.

Special thanks are due to The Teaching Bank for their novel units from Teachers Pay Teachers. This was the first novel for both my students and I, and needless to say I wasn't sure exactly where to start. The unit I purchased from The Teaching Bank really helped me know where to start with this chapter book and saved me quite a bit of time too!

Of course I added to the materials I purchased! Each of my kiddos wrote a 31st chapter for the book with themselves as the main character! In my reading group we've really been trying to work on reflecting on our own work and helping our classmates edit their work. So, with that in mind, I created a peer review and self-assessment checklist. In addition to that, I created a teacher assessment rubric to evaluate the students' work based on criteria that we have been working on in class. I also created a simple exit slip or bell ringer with an answer space similar to what will be on the KPREP test.

Peer Editing and Self Assessment Checklist

Sideways Stories From Wayside School - Ch. 31 Writing Assignment Rubric

Sideways Stories from Wayside School Exit Slip or Bell Ringer With KPrep Template

My kids have loved reading this chapter book and were so upset that they didn't get to read another one this week! They moaned and groaned when I told them to bring their text book to class on Monday. But I love how much they loved it! Hopefully someone out there can use these documents!

Check out Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher for an amazing giveaway!  She'll draw for a winner this Wednesday at 8 PM so hurry on over and don't miss your chance to win everything from her TPT store!

I would love, love, love to read another chapter book with my class soon! At the very least, we will be reading more of them next year! What chapter books have you read with your classes? Any recommendations for my 3rd graders?

I've linked up with "Manic Mondays" at Classroom Freebies! Head over for a look at lots and lots of great blogs all offering you freebies!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday