Sunday, January 18, 2015

 My Life Just Got Easier! : )

This week I had one of those Aha moments or maybe it was really more like a "DUH" moment! I have had problems all year trying to find good material for me to use to teach Oklahoma. We do have textbooks, but they just seem a little intense for third grade, so most of the things I have used were things I made. I don't mind making things, but the problem is my principal wants me to help support the reading comprehension. I'm happy to help, but I have nothing like that to teach Oklahoma and reading comprehension together. 

I tried my hand at making one and I will admit it was much harder than I thought it would be. It was hard to get the passage to an appropriate reading level. Once I got it down where it needed to be, I had a tough time deciding on what the questions should be. I think the hardest part was choosing the wrong answers! HA I don't think writing reading comprehension pages is one of my talents.

So my Aha moment happened the other night, I was looking at the teaching guide of the Oklahoma book which I haven't done much, because we didn't have any kind of workbooks so it just seemed like a waste of time. As I am looking at it, I keep seeing these pages that say Student Edition, but I don't have one so I decided to try and google the book. I found the book and the student edition online. I was very happy when I was able to download it! There are a lot of pages in the student edition that support reading! YES! We may be doing them together since the textbook is so intense, but at least I don't have to make things, unless I want to. I kind of felt like a load had been lifted off of me.

I want to share some pictures from the Fall that I never got posted. First up is my bulletin board from Red Ribbon Week. I used the drawings the kids did as the border for the bulletin board.

You might call me lazy, I like to call it earth friendly. ;)  I made this bulletin board so I could change out the question each month and have the kids write a new answer. The mittens say, "Inquiring Minds Want to Know". Of course the kids love it because their pictures are on it.

We studied the Plains Indians in the fall. Right before Thanksgiving, I gave them paper, scissors, crayons, glue and their imaginations to make Plains Indians villages. Some worked by themselves, some chose to work in a group which was interesting when it came time to take them home. They were making plans on who was going to take it home first and then bring it back to school for the next one to take home...I never saw any of them come back to school! Hahaha

Later they worked in teams to make a Timeline of Oklahoma's State Symbol adoptions

 OK, I think that about caught me up me up, at least for now.  Have a terrific week!!! I get Monday off!

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Monday, January 12, 2015

 Now I Understand.... and Animal Dioramas...Two Thumbs WAY Up!!!

It really is true, now I understand why some of my favorite blogs will seem to just drop out of sight. Now I'm not saying I'm anyone's favorite blog, but I did drop from sight for almost three months, how is that even possible?

I really think the answer at least for me lies in my school and job change. I can't say that I am working so much harder because my lesson plans are a breeze at my new school. ;) I think changing schools after being at the same school for 20 years had more of an effect on me than I thought it would. I went from a school where almost all of the parents and students knew me to being a virtual unknown. This may sound crazy, but that has been much more difficult to deal with than I thought it would be. At times I have felt like a first year teacher. There will be things I didn't know, no one told me and I didn't know to ask. I really need to write those things down to pass along to others new to the school.

Now I am half way through the year and I feel like I have built some pretty good relationships with the students. I had one student tell me I was her favorite teacher because we didn't ever do any work in my class. :O I didn't know whether to take it as a compliment that I've made learning fun or go home and look for some harder things for them to do. That has been one of my biggest worries since moving to 3rd. I have been afraid I would be too easy on them, the only thing is, they seriously seem more immature than my first graders. I have had to go back and do things with them like I would have in first grade. For example, I just assumed that 3rd graders would be able to find the next blank page in their agenda without clipping it...WRONG. So I have had to take a step back with them and get them on the right track and I am happy to say that most of them find the correct page with or without the clip! PROGRESS!

The students just finished up making oral presentations on their animal reports and dioramas. I used Samantha Almaguer's Animal Diorama and Research Report Project Pack. It made my job so easy, there were sample dioramas to show the students, rubrics to send home with the them and another set for me to use for grading. The report was simple and easy for them to fill out, she also had a page they could use to do their oral presentation. It was definitely worth the money and it saved me so much time. The boys and girls were so excited to do them. I wasn't sure what to expect, I never sent
 home any projects for the kids  to complete at my old school. It was interesting to see which kids did the diorama completely by themselves and which looked to be completely done by a parent. LOL Here they are some of them,   It was hard to decide which ones to post, so I posted way more than I should have. SORRY. 

While they were giving their oral presentations, I had the other students take notes. They were supposed to write the student's name, the animal, what class of animal. one interesting fact and a nice comment. I'll be honest they didn't all get everything down, but I think it did help to keep them paying attention. Here are a few of the nice comments:
"Her speech has very interesting facts."
"I like the way you spoke clearly."
"I like how she read it loud and proud."
"Amazing presentation."
"I thought your diorama was outstanding."
"I like the placement of the scuba diver."
"Anthony amazed me with his animal."
"His box was really, really creative and it looks real."
"His diorama was very educational."
\"That was an interesting fact, I did not know about the heart disease."

All in all it has been a great project! I will definitely do this one again next year!

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