Posts tagged third grade
Third Grade Math Manipulative Must Haves

One of my favorite parts of my classroom is the math manipulative shelf.  I try to keep it stocked with a variety of materials that can help students build concrete models of all sorts of math problems.  

Bingo Dots - a must have math manipulative in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching

We have a rule in my class: if you can’t solve a math problem on your own you must build it before asking for help.  So much of third-grade math is abstract: the perimeter of imaginary places, the area of imaginary floors and walls, fractions of abstract objects, imaginary money being exchanged between two people, etc.  These can all be tricky concepts to visualize mentally.

Our school has never provided any math manipulatives, but I have slowly gathered a set of must-have manipulatives for third grade.  Check them out!

Bears

My students love counting bears.  They are easy to grasp and can help to model addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These come in especially handy as students are learning to multiply and divide.  

Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching

Bingo Dots

These are a particularly inexpensive manipulative.  Along with our bears we use bingo dots to make physical representations of most addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems.  One of my favorite ways to use bingo dots is during our first multiplication lesson of the year. We build arrays with bingo dots.  It's a quick and easy lesson that is super hands-on!  

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Fraction Pieces and Magnets

I always introduce fractions with manipulatives.  Having students build fractions really helps them to develop a concrete understanding of how you can have a fraction of an item. Although there are many cut-and-glue fraction sets, I prefer to use store-bought ones. I just find that when students cut them out their pieces are not always exact, and this leads to confusion when trying to compare fractions.

Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching
Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching

Money

Play money is a great manipulative to add.  In third grade, we spend a lot of time counting counts and subtracting money.  I have a handful of students who prefer to count physical money and this is great for them!  When doing word problems about ‘buying something at a store’ my students know how to role-play this in pairs and use play money to find their answer.

Clocks

Teaching time (especially quarter-to, quarter-past, and half-past) is such a tricky part of third-grade math.  I always teach the first time lessons with each student holding a clock.  Then, as they get to these questions in their homework and independent practice they are able to return to those clocks to physically create each time (or elapsed time) that is needed.  I love how using a clock really helps to cement this concept for most students!

Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching

Drawing Paper

This is the least expensive of all my manipulatives!  I keep a stack of scrap paper in my math manipulative area. I find that it is super helpful when students are able to draw out a problem - particularly when it involves distance (i.e. “A car travels 250 miles…”) or area/perimeter.  Some of my students are super successful when they are able to make a quick sketch and add in dimensions to visualize the ‘whole picture’.

I’m always looking to add to my math manipulative collection.  What works best in your class? Send me an e-mail or sound off in the comments below!

 

Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching
5 Things Missing From Your Sub Plans

This year, my teaching career looks very different from the past few.  After university, I was super lucky to land a third-grade teaching contract, and I stayed there until this past June.  After moving to a new city over the summer,  I am trying something different.  While we get settled somewhere into our new house and community,  I am taking the year to be a substitute teacher in our local public district (or, as we call it up here in BC, a TTOC, Teacher Teaching On Call). 

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It's been fun to pop into many different grade levels for the day and see how different teachers and schools choose to run their classrooms.  Most often, teachers leave me wonderful day plans with exactly what I need to teach each day.  (However, I have been very thankful for emergency plans on days that there has been nothing left!)  

In looking through many, many different 'sub plans' I've noticed that most are missing a few key pieces of information that would make my day, as a substitute teacher, so much easier.  Here are the things I wish all sub plans would include:

Your Usual Attention-Getter

How do you usually get the attention of the students in your room? Are you a clapper?  Do you do a call-and-answer?  Do you ring a bell?  Does someone turn the lights off?  As a sub, it can be almost impossible to establish a new attention-grabbing routine in a day or two, and kids respond best to what they are familiar with.  When a teacher leaves this key piece of information in his/her plans, it helps to set me up for success! 

Extra Class Lists

So often, substitute teachers are only given one class list for attendance, and then it is required to go back to the office first thing in the morning.  The rest of the day, I am without a complete class list.  I love when the teacher has left a few easy-to-find copies of the class list somewhere readily accessible.  

Important Routines

I have found that students thrive on routines, so when a substitute teacher arrives, they can be very thrown off by familiar routines that are not 'done right'.  If you have an important routine in your classroom - morning meeting, end-of-day dismissal, birthday songs, line up, how centers are chosen, etc.  write down the procedure to help different substitute teachers maintain the routines while you are away.  

Off Limits Items

Regardless of how 'on' I am as a teacher, there will always be one or two students who try to get away with things that the classroom teacher would not normally allow.  If there are things in your classroom that the students can't use, touch, or do - jot them down in your sub notes.  

Student Notes

As a classroom teacher, you have days (and weeks, and months) to try and 'figure out' some of the tougher students.  Substitute teachers have only minutes.  If you have a student with special needs, or a student who may need some behavior help, write down some of the strategies that have been successful.  As a sub, we want to help your students be successful, but the best way to do this is to partner alongside the work that you are already doing daily in the classroom.  

Have I missed anything?  Is there anything that you include in your sub plans that is a lifesaver for your students?  Let me know in the comments below!

- Rachel

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Planning the Perfect Crime Scene Classroom

I know I’ve said it before, but I love hands-on events in a classroom. I love creating learning moments that students will talk about for months (or years) to come.  Last year, while studying inferencing in our reading curriculum my teaching partner and I decided to turn our classroom into an interactive crime scene to really dial up the excitement.  We had such a fun day and the kids were buzzing about it until they went home for summer break.

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We decided to set the classroom up as a crime scene to help explore how making inferences is a lot like being a ‘detective’ when you read.  When you read, you must use observations to draw a conclusion and read-between-the-lines of a story.   At a crime scene, detectives have to use clues to figure out what happened, there is no obvious sign explaining everything. 

Although we set the stage with a few inferencing lessons that introduced key vocabulary, the real highlight was our Crime Scene Classroom.  Here are my top 4 tips for planning your own Crime Scene Day. 

Tip 1:  Make a list, check it twice

Be prepared.  However you choose to set up the scenes in your classroom, have everything ready to go ahead of time.  I would suggest preparing materials for each scene in a large Ziplock bag or ice-cream pail so that it is quick and easy to set up.  If possible, choose Crime Scene scenarios that require very few additional supplies.  Try brainstorming ‘crimes’ that can be committed with things you already have in your classroom.  Are there any rules that you have in your classroom?  What if the criminal broke one or two of them?  I have also planned out 4 easy-to-assemble crime scenes in this packet.    Store your supplies away so that they can be quickly accessed during a prep or recess break.  I've laid out the supplies that I used in a convenient checklist in my Crime Scene Classroom packet

Organization is key!  The  Crime Scene Class pack  has detailed set-up instructions to make planning/set up so much easier. 

Organization is key!  The Crime Scene Class pack has detailed set-up instructions to make planning/set up so much easier. 

Tip 2:  Set it up in secret

I set up the crime scene during my prep time and made sure that none of my students knew about the activity before the walked through the door to begin solving crimes.  The surprise on their faces when they came into our classroom was so worth it!

Setting up the class while students were at recess allowed them to be really surprised when they walked in! Do we look sneaky?

Setting up the class while students were at recess allowed them to be really surprised when they walked in! Do we look sneaky?

Tip 3:  Set the stage

Instead of handing students a workbook and telling them to go solve each crime, I would suggest getting into character and really setting the scene.  This helps students to get excited about the event.

  “Grade Three! Something terrible has happened in our classroom.  Someone or many people have broken into our room and committed crimes.  The police need your help to solve them.  Will you be Junior Detectives for the day and help me to figure out what happened to our beloved classroom?”   

The more engaged you are, the more engaged they will be in return.

Tip 4:  Start together

After I invited students to become Jr. Detectives for the day, we all entered the Crime Scene Classroom together, as one group.  Then, we proceeded to the first scene together.  Here, made observations and inferences as a group so that all students understood how to participate in the activity. By modeling this, students had a good understanding of how to visit each crime scene and make observations without rushing.  (Well, most of them at least!)

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Tip 5:  Be prepared for early finishers

While most of my students moved carefully through each crime scene, one or two finished with lightning-speed.  And the worst part… their work was well done!  I quickly came up with a few tie-in activities to extend their learning. 

  • Write a timeline of the crime
  • Draw a map of how each crime was committed
  • Write a first-person story about one of the crimes

We had so much fun completing our Crime Scene Day, and it was a great way to help students understand what it means to make an inference. 

The plans for the complete Crime Scene Class (along with 2 scripted inferencing lessons, printable decor, planning pages and student workbooks) can be found here

Have you tried a day like this?  I’d love to hear your best tip in the comments below.

 

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Love Languages in the Classroom

Have you ever heard of Love Languages? I use them all of the time in my marriage and I try to show care and kindness to my friends in ways that speak to their love languages as well.  But have you ever thought about using them in the classroom to help your students interact with each other and show care in a more meaningful way? 

If you have never heard of love languages, the basic premise is that there are five basic ways that we all receive and give love: gifts, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, and words of affirmation. Through the love languages quiz, you can find out the primary and secondary way that you like to receive love. 

I wanted to try this out in my classroom because I had a group of kids who both loved to give physical touch and did not like to receive it.  It was a really weird contrast.  They were a very ‘touchy’ group without any sense that no one else wanted to be hugged/touched in return.  I thought that exploring Love Languages might give them other tools to show their care/concern in a way that could be better received. 

So we did the quiz individually, as a teacher-led activity.  You can find a kids’ version of the quiz right from the official Love Languages book website.  I walked my students through each question and we tallied up their primary and secondary love languages. Each student was given a post-it note and they charted their top two Love Languages.  

It was so interesting to see how my students like to receive love – it was definitely different than I would have expected. 

It was so interesting to see how my students like to receive love – it was definitely different than I would have expected. 

Then we met on the carpet to talk about it.  Of course, we all loved parts of all of the Love Languages, but after talking, most agreed that these were their favorite ways to receive love. Together, we brainstormed ways that we could show love to our friends that would match up with their Love Languages.  

  • Play a board game with someone who is quality time
  • Give a high-five to someone who is physical touch
  • Write a note to someone who is words of affirmation
  • Tidy a friend’s cubby if they are acts of service
  • Make a craft for someone who is gifts

It was so fun to brainstorm ways to show love to our friends in a way that they like to receive it.  We hung up our Love Languages chart in a clear spot in the classroom for the next couple of months so that the students could easily see it. As a teacher, I enjoyed watching my kids head back to that chart frequently to find a name on it to see a way they could ‘bless’ someone else.  It really helped to build character and empathy in my students and encouraged them to put the needs of their peers far above their own needs.

Have you ever used Love Languages in your classroom?  I’m already starting to plan ways to go ‘bigger’ with this in the future. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

- Rachel

Poetprints.ca Love Languages in the Classroom
Genius Hour in Elementary

Last year, I did my very first Genius Hour in my third grade classroom.  For those who have never heard of Genius Hour, it is a student-directed hour of independent projects that was based on Google's 80/20 philosophy of work.  (More on that here, plus a great video to show parents and kids!).  It gives students a chance to explore their passions and interests and allows them to develop a lifelong love for learning.  It also helps to hone research and presentation skills in a way that is 'outside of the box' and creative.

Most of the blogs I had read ahead of time seemed to use Genius Hour in the upper elementary, middle, and high school grades.  Looking back, I wonder if I was crazy to try it with eight year olds.

Maybe I was. At times, it was insanely chaotic.  I definitely 'bit off more than I could chew' and it was a lot more work than I anticipated. But it was such an overwhelming success with my students that I am set on doing it again this year, and learning from the parts that I was ill-prepared for.

Most of the work came from being under-prepared.  I hadn't fully thought through what it would take to prepare seven, eight, and nine year-olds for independent work.  

Yes,  they are capable of it... but it takes scaffolding and intentional instruction to give them the tools to succeed!  

So, learning from my mistakes, here are four tips for a smoother, well-planned Genius Hour in Elementary!

Genius Hour in Elementary Tip One:  Model Everything

One of the most valuable things I learned in leading Genius Hour in third grade was to model all pieces of the process.  Instead of telling my students to come up with a topic, I participated in Genius Hour alongside them and verbalized my thinking process out loud.

"What kinds of things am I interested in, I'll write them down!  The ocean, hockey, running, cooking.  I love to build stuff.  When I was at the ocean I saw a family flying the most amazing kites, and they were doing loops.  It was so interesting."

I didn't just say "List the things you are interested in," I demonstrated how I would come up with some topics.In future lessons, I explicitly taught how to turn my ideas into an essential question.

"I love kites and the ocean," became my Genius Hour question "How do you build a kite?"

Genius Hour is driven by an essential question that students work each week to solve through research and hands-on exploration.  (Each question cannot be solved by a simple Google search).

Eventually, I even gave a complete Genius Hour presentation.  This way, my students were not caught off-guard by what I expected from a presentation.  I built a simple kite in front of my students, and showed what I had learned on a step-by-step poster.

Genius Hour in Elementary Tip Two:  Narrow Down Presentation Options

I have found that in older grades, students are so excited by the idea that they can choose any way that they want to show what they have learned.  The world is their oyster!

However, when I tried this in Third Grade, most of my class looked at me like a group of deer caught in headlights.  They were absolutely overwhelmed by the number of possibilities.

Should I do a poster?

What about a movie too?

Is a poster better than a movie?

I don't want to do a movie.

What if I code a video game?  I don't know what that means. But maybe my brother does.

Do I have to do all of the options?

I was ready to pull my hair out.  So we had a class meeting.

In our classroom we decided that everyone would have a small poster (I bought the poster board) that showed what they learned, and then they could also have a small model or project if they wanted.

I would suggested narrowing down the options for how Genius Hour can be presented in lower elementary.  As always, allow some students to go 'above and beyond' as they are ready and feel prepared, but don't make this the standard for all students.

Genius Hour in Elementary Tip Three:  Simple Ways to Keep Students Accountable

Genius Hour is only one hour long.

It seems like a lot but it will fly by.  To keep students accountable I used a very simple Work Log where students simply answered the question "What did you do today?"  At times, all they would write down was:

I colored my poster.  And that was enough!  Don't waste valuable time filling in a work log when you could be working on Genius Hour.

Genius Hour in Elementary Tip Four: Check with Parents

This was one of the things that I learned in retrospect.  I allowed students to choose any project of their choice without checking-in at home that each project was o.k. with their families.

It didn't go well for us.

Students assumed that they had access to a computer when they didn't.  Or access to a poster board when they didn't.  Or even a ride to the public library when they didn't.

This year, when my students create their Genius Hour plan, they will also need to have a parent/guardian sign off to make sure that their plan is reasonable.  I don't want to put any undue stress on parents or families, and hope that each project is one that my students can do (mostly) independently.

This years' project plan has a parent approval and suggestion section!  Much needed after last year.  

I've taken all that I learned and created a completed guide for Genius Hour in lower elementary.

It has teaching guides, a day plan, a week-by-week timelines, student worksheets, and rubrics.  Check it out. Hopefully your Genius Hour can run smoothly right from the start!  

Have you ever done Genius Hour in your classroom?  Share your best tip below!

 

GeniusHourPoetPrintsTeaching
Morning Routine in Third Grade

In Third Grade the morning routine is one of the most important parts of the day.  It sets the tone for the day and is one of the most valuable 'chunks' of time.   I've found that students are never more 'alert' than in those first 45 minutes.  While every school, grade, and district may have their own required morning activities, these are the routines and procedures that I have found to be the most effective.

Third Grade Morning Routine:  Don't Over Plan

I can remember my first year of teaching Third Grade.  I tried to do it all.  I had a morning routine that was 5-6 items long: grammar, cursive writing, close reading, math facts, spelling, vocabulary... we did it all!  But we did not do it well.  I could not figure out why almost every student was doing average (at best) on each section of the morning routine.  No one was "mastering" anything, and I felt like I was constantly trying to re-teach concepts.  Not to mention the piles and piles of marking!

I found that to make the most of our mornings I had to seriously cut down on the number of things that we were trying to accomplish.  Instead of trying to do it all, I picked which pieces were the most important.

So I cut it down.  By more than half.  And it totally worked.  Instead of floundering in piles of work, my students began totally ROCKING the few assignments they were given.

I suggest choosing no more than 2 or 3 individual assignments each morning.  (Some of my 'fast finisher' students work on a bonus project when they are done, but for the majority of the class this is the perfect amount of work.)   Each morning my students walk in and independently begin:  spelling practice, a quick morning grammar, and cursive writing.  And I love the look on their faces when they begin to feel successful at each!

Third Grade Morning Routine:  Teach It

It's so important to make sure to explicitly teach each part of your morning routine.  Don't assume that students will "just know" how you want them to complete their grammar and vocabulary practice:  teach them to do it, and do it painfully slowly.  

In my class, we spend the first month doing our "morning routine" as a whole class, and I model each part of our morning routine multiple times.

Using my document camera I will walk students through how to practice their spelling (including where it goes when they are done!),  how I would like their grammar to be completed, and the proper formation of each day's cursive letter.

As students are ready I will gradually move from instruction to guided practice.  Here, I will write the instructions on the board and gently remind off-task students what I am expecting.

Third Grade Morning Routine:  Keep it Consistent

In my third grade classroom, consistency is key.  I make sure that every morning has almost the same routine so that students always know what to expect when they walk in the room.  I try not to change up our morning routine without a ton of notice, and I find that students respond very positively to the consistency.

When students come in each morning I write their "Morning Work" on the whiteboard along with a short cheerful message.  As each student files in they quickly glance at the board to read the message and see which supplies they will need.

One of the things I developed for my class last year was a Grammar Practice Book that specifically covered the grammar and writing skills that I felt were the most vital to third grade.  Take a peek here and see if it might be helpful for your class.

Do you have any specific things you love in your morning routine?  Anything that always works?  What about any utter disasters?  I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

Third Grade Morning Routine tips
End of the Year Activities

It's that time of the year again!  The birds are singing, the sun is out, and the school year is winding down.  I've found myself becoming a little bit tear-ier than usual when I think about saying goodbye to this years' batch of kids.  At times, they were a really tough group, but I've loved the adventures we have been able to have together.

There are so many ways that you can celebrate the end of the year in an elementary classroom.  I thought I'd share a few of my favourite ways to mark the end of a successful year together.

1. Now and Then Bulletin Board

On the first day of school, I always take a picture of my kiddos holding a sign that marks their first day in a new grade.  For me, it's important that this happens on the actual first day of school.  (Not the first week, etc.)  I love the nervous/shy/apprehensive smiles I get when I take their photos on Day 1.  Then, towards the end of the year (usually 2-3 weeks from the end), we take another photo.  This time I ask them to scream out "I am done grade three!"  I love seeing the difference between their beginning and end of the year photos.  They grow so much in third grade.  

2. Birthday Party for Everyone

The theme for our year end class party this year is "Birthday Party for Everyone".

I have to admit, I am not the best at celebrating birthdays in class.  I'm great at holidays, book studies, literary events, science projects... but birthdays...notsomuch.  This year, we are having an in-class birthday party for all of my students on a day that is no one's birthday.  Each student is in charge of something: planning games, making invitations, setting up colouring stations, organizing food... even washing the dishes afterward!   

A fun way to celebrate with their friends, and make sure each child feels valued during the school year. 

3. Slideshow (Class Movie)

I love ending the year off with a class movie.  I am an iPhone and camera addict (Nikon girl!)  so I am constantly snapping pics and quick movies of my kiddos. This is my chance to snip them all together into a short (ok... 10 minutes... not that short) movie to watch.  

When I first started teaching I always waited until the last day of school to show them the movie.  Last year I stopped doing that.  Why?  Because they love the movie.  They love it so much that they could watch it every day for a week.  So now I usually show it to them 2-3 days before the end of the year. It gives them a chance to see it a few times before they have to say "goodbye" to each other for the summer.  Then, if they want to talk about it, process it, or suddenly *remember* someone that they need to play with on the playground... they can! 

4. Beach Field Trip

I know that this one isn't possible for everyone.  I feel so fortunate to live in British Columbia, and only 30-45 minutes away from more than a dozen world class beaches.

Each June my grade three class heads to the beach with our grade one buddies, their siblings, and all of our families.  We celebrate the end of a successful year family-style with a beach BBQ, sandcastle building contest, and little toes in the sand!

5. 'About My Year' Project

End of Year Flipbooks by Poet Prints Teaching (K-5)

 

I always try to finish out the year with a project that helps students to reflect on their time in Third Grade.  It's a great way to help students to remember all of the fun you had, and think back on how much they have learned and grown!  Last year we wrote letters to future Third Grade students.  This year, I created a flipbook template that let us think about the best parts of the year! 

6. Award Ceremony

In the last week of school I always hold my annual 'Grade Three Award Ceremony'.  We set up the classroom like a mini-auditorium and each student is given an individualized award certificate.  I invite parents to come watch and try to make this a special part of the end of our year.  This is such a chance to honour the unique parts of each student in my classroom.  I love how students light up when they hear how they are being honoured.  Teachers Pay Teachers has many pre-made award certificates.  I use this pack from 'Teaching with a Mountain View' because it has so many different options and is a great time-saver.  (I do still have to come up with a few awards on my own - but she has an editable template as well).  

7. Maintain Routines

This one may sound odd... but stay with me.  Sometimes the end of the year in an elementary classroom can be so much fun that it gets a little chaotic.  Field trips, parties, school-wide events, parent visits and evening concerts can mean that their last few weeks in a certain grade look almost nothing like the rest of the year!

Last year, I remember one of my bright-eyed little third graders coming up to me and asking "Mrs. P, will I ever get to do read-to-self with you ever again?"  She was heartbroken at the thought that regular grade three was over.  

In the hustle and bustle of the "fun" of the end of the year, I've learned that sometimes the best gift you can give to your students is the gift of keeping things as normal as possible.  They like it.  They like you, their teacher.  They will miss so many parts of the grade they are in, so why not let them hold on for just a few more days? 

How do you and your class celebrate the end of a year of learning?  Any traditions you have carried forward from year to year?  Anything you are hoping to try out next year?

BEATING THE SUMMER SLUMP (and a freebie!)

April and May are some of my favourite months to be a teacher. By this point, I know each and every one of my students, and they know me.  We’ve found our perfect rhythm and can work together as a fairly well-oiled machine.

I know which students need that ‘extra push’ to do their best, and which ones need to be gently coached with a hug and a smile of encouragement. I know how to correct behaviors in a way that encourages the best from my little ones, and doesn’t crush their spirits.

Each student needs such different things, and it often takes months to figure it all out.

Look at my little hard-working students  Oh term three, how I love you!

So, for me, Term Three is the most blissful of the three.

They know what I expect in my classroom, and I (for the most part) know what they need to be successful. I still get small butterflies in my stomach when I look across the hall to the Grade Two class that will eventually be ‘mine’ next year.

I wonder how we will get to this point.

Academically, I find September to be one of the most challenging months as a teacher.

Is anyone else with me on that one?

All of those lovely, high-achieving students that walked out of the school in May or June, walk back in like tiny little zombies who have forgotten almost everything. (Or so it seems!)

Oh, the summer slump.

Teachers, you know what I mean.

It’s that phenomenon that happens over the summer where the 8+ weeks of summer vacation seem to erase our students’ brains… or at least the part that remembers how to ‘do’ school.

So we re-teach. Things that were a snap in June, are suddenly brand-new skills.

  • How to put your name on a piece of paper
  • Where to line up
  • How to use capital letters and punctuation
  • Working for more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time
  • How to open a thermos! (So, so many thermoses… side note: why has no one invented a thermos that will open itself?!)

I’ve tried all kinds of things to beat the Summer Slump.

I’ve sent home reading logs, writing journals, and extra science projects.

Some have had more success than others.

This year, I’m trying something different.

I’ve put together a “Stay Sharp Summer Packet” for my kiddos.

It covers most of the things that we have learned in Grade Three, plus a few skills from previous grades that I don’t want them to lose.

I’m spiral-binding it into a booklet and sending it home right before the break.

Purposeful practice: Summer practice pages specifically designed to practice the most important skills.  (Try out a freebie - link below!) 

It is my hope (and prayer!) that they will do one page every 2nd day.  That should be about 15 minutes of work. Just enough to help to keep their minds sharp a little bit over the summer, and maybe, just maybe, prevent the summer slump from completely erasing their brain! ;)

I'd love for my blog readers to try this packet out!  The full version is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but I've put together a sample (9 full pages!) for you to try out for free. The full version (90+ pages is available for 5$). 

(CLICK HERE for the freebie!)  

Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.  

How do you combat the Summer Slump in your classroom or in your school? I’d love to hear your tips!

- Rachel

What to do with Task Cards

This is Part Two in my series on using task-cards in the elementary classroom.  Hop on over and check out part one ("Why I love Task Cards!)

Task Cards are the ultimate versatile resource for teaching any subject. Apart from the answer sheets, they are not consumable, so they can be used time and time again.

Consider printing them out on heavy paper, and then laminating them to make sure they last through many uses. In my classroom we use task cards for more than just small group work.  Check out all of the different ways we use these flexible-use cards!

  • Go paperless - Allow students to verbally quiz each other on the task card concepts prior to a quiz, or when they are finished an assignment.
     
  • Use the task cards as a whole-group activity by projecting them using a document camera
     
  • Set the on each desk and play a game of scoot.  Have the students stand behind their chairs so that they are ready to move. Give students 1- 2 minutes at each card to write down their answer on the Answer Sheet, and then call “Switch!”  Students then move onto the next desk and begin to solve the next question.
     
  • Give the cards to a parent volunteer to work with struggling students
     
  • Set up centers with various sets of task cards.
     
  • Use task card sets for early finishers. (Consider using task cards that are a challenge to the students)
     
  • Task card scavenger hunt - Hide the task cards around the room. Give each student an answer paper and instruct him or her to find all of the cards and solve the problems. My students love this one because they think it is hilarious when they can “beat” me and find all of the cards that I have hidden.

In my TeachersPay Teachers shop, I have a number of ready-to-go task card sets.  

How about you? Do you use task card sets in your classroom?  What works for you?  I'd love to hear in the comments below, or send me a message on Instagram (@poet.prints)! 

Happy Monday!

- Rachel

 

 

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The One iPad Classroom

In the fall, my school did an in-school Professional Development day.  It was a 'best practices day' and a few teachers were asked to present on something that was working well in their classroom, or something they felt confident to teach to others.  I love technology!  My classroom has a projector and an iPad, and I was asked to present on how I effectively use a single iPad to instruct and teach in an elementary classroom. 

There are many ways to use a single iPad effectively in an elementary classroom. 

There are many ways to use a single iPad effectively in an elementary classroom. 

I was nervous, but I have to say, it went really well!  So well, in fact, that I'll be giving another pro-D talk later on this year to a larger group of staff!  (Wish me luck!)  Our school may not have a huge technology budget for the elementary department, but with a little creativity, there are still many ways to use technology to make students' classroom experiences better.  Even before I was given a projector for my classroom (only two years ago now), I was finding creative ways to use a single iPad, or an old iPod touch to add to the learning environment.  

This is the PDF I handed out at my presentation.  It walks through hardware needed to set-up, apps for teachers, apps for students, and effective classroom uses.  Please feel free to use it at your school, keeping my logos and copyrights in tact. 

Guide to the One iPad Classroom 

- Rachel

The One Ipad Classroom