Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Activities

Just be aware that this is going to a post full of pictures...just a forewarning.

So...every year third grade puts on the Christmas musical (and by every year I mean this is our second year).  This year I got to sit down with the music teacher and pick our musical.  And we picked "Elfis and the Sleighriders".  If you haven't heard of it, look for it on youtube or just google it.  It is a super cute, super short, Christmas musical.

We had play practice for a little over a week leading up to the show.  We had two daytime shows, and one evening performance.  It is insane, intense, crazy, and wonderful.  We almost cancelled it 4 or 5 times.  But in the end, it was totally worth it.

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So, every year my kiddos make a gift for their parents.  The past few years, my kiddos each get a foam snowflake.  I take their picture, print their picture, and they glue their picture onto the center of the snowflake.  Then they get to glitter around it and we turn it into an ornament.  Well, this year, one of my kiddos was my student a few years ago...can't do the same gift.  But I wanted to do the snowflake.  So ALL three third grade teachers decided to glitter snowflakes to decorate our stage for Elfis.  I don't know what it is...but I love using glitter.  It irritates the mess out of some people...but since we don't have time for crafts in third grade, I tend to go all out during December.











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Have you ever heard of Pom juice?  It's pomegranate juice, sometimes mixed with other juices.  It comes in these bottles:










Well, my mother-in-law has been collecting these bottles for me for awhile.  She gave me some a few years ago, and they've been sitting in a cabinet in my classroom since then.  FINALLY, a reason to use them!  We painted them, and turned into snowmen and snowladies.  I LOVED it, my kiddos loved it, my table didn't like it so much though.  One of my kiddos flat-out admitted he didn't know how to paint.  And to think, we have an Art teacher at my school 4 days a week.  Sheesh.
  
 












They turned out kind of cute, if I do say so myself.
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When I first started teaching, I would spend the week before Christmas teaching Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.  As the years have passed, I have dropped Hanukkah and just teach Kwanzaa (just due to time constraints).  So every year I read the book Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford.
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/together-kwanzaa#cart/cleanup

It's a great book that teaches the traditions of Kwanzaa, and the Swahili words associated with it, in a picture book.  My third graders even enjoy it.

After we read the book (while taking notes and having a pop-free pop-quiz the next day) we all make a mkeka cloth.  Seriously, this was the quietest my kiddos got all week.  You could've heard a pin drop in my room...it was fantastic!




December is crazy for me...I really don't remember December of 2012.  But I LOVE December.  This year I pulled out everything I could to make sure my kiddos got everything out of the month and the Christmas season that they could!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Resolutions for 2014

I've decided to link up with A Peach for the Teach for the 2014 Resolutions Linky Party.


Personal: Instead of the Freshman 15, I gained about 75 pounds over the course of freshman/sophomore years of college.  I am determined that I will lose most, if not all, of that weight this year.  I'm done being this size!

Professional: I have 4 iPads in my room.  They come out during math rotations, for fun math games.  And then they come out for special activities/projects.  I'd like to use them more...including using QR codes.

Classroom: I have taught every grade level in elementary.  Some (4th and 5th) were very brief and with ESE students who were not on grade level.  But that means I have accumulated A LOT of stuff.  I also tend to take things to work if I think there is even the slightest possibility I could use it in my room.  It's time to clean house...err, school.

Blog: I WILL blog more.  That is my goal.

Just for Fun:  I decided a few years ago that I wanted to run a Disney marathon before I turned 30.  I turn 30 in 2016.  Disney World has their big marathon weekend in January.  I thought about waiting until 2016 to run my marathon, and then decided that I wanted to bump it up a year.  I have run multiple 5K's, and this past October I ran a 10 mile race at Disney.  Yesterday was the first time I've run since October (bad, I know).  But I really want to run the marathon in 2015...so it's time to start training again.

I can't wait to see what your resolutions are.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Morfo and Melting Snowmen

So, our reading series, Reading Wonders, has a 6 week unit setup.  As in, every unit has 6 weeks that are all tied together for one big theme.  The sixth week is the project week.  There is always a readers' theatre, and then multiple projects to choose from.  These projects require research and reading skills beyond just a basal.

So, for our unit 2 week 6, we chose a project that asked us to research an animal, its habitat, and how people could protect that habitat.  But you know me, I can't just do a simple flipbook (which I think is what they wanted, now I don't remember).  So, of course, I found an app.


Morfo is an app that allows you to take a picture, and then cause the picture to talk...complete with blinking eyes, moving mouth, etc.  It's AMAZING!

My kiddos got into groups.  They then had to pick a "wild" animal and do research on it.  They then had to find a picture, and have their animal talk about the habitat, other animals that live there, and how people can protect their habitat.  My kiddos did quite well.  They researched online and in books.  I wish I had saved the morfo's, but something went wonky with my iPads and they didn't save.  Grr!

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So, every year, around November/December, my class makes a snowman.  I first heard of this on Pinterest, and as soon as I saw it I LOVED it.  Thank you Frugal Teacher!

I do my snowman a little different every year though.  One year we glitter glued on his face.  This year, instead of a face, we just dripped food coloring on him throughout the day.
So there's our snowman.  All day we watch as he melts.  We talk about the 3 states of matter, and then at the end of the day, he looks like this.

And then I put him in a pot and boil him.  And we talk about steam and boiling and evaporation and all of those fun science words.

My kiddos love it...and it's a fun page in our Science Journals.

What kinds of fun science experiments/activities do you do with your class?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's been a month...

I feel like the worst blogger EVER!  I have these grand visions of what my blog is going to look like...and how often I'm going to blog...and then life gets in the way.

So...here's a quick recap of the last month.

Morfo

Have you ever heard of Morfo?  It's this great app for the iPad.  I'll have a post on it later this week, so keep your eyes peeled.

Mr. G why is your hair green?


So my district has decided that every school needs to participate in an online assessment program called Discovery Education.  (Have any of you heard of that?)  Well, last year our DE scores lined up almost perfectly with our FCAT scores...so the district is really pushing it.

During the first round, I only have 1 (yes, that is a 1) kiddo who was proficient in reading.  Now, I know I have the inclusion class, but that's AWFUL! So we talked about our scores and what we had to work on.  And then before we took our second assessment I made a deal with my kiddos.  If I had 4 students who were proficient (level 3 or higher) in reading, I would dye my hair green.  Well, I had four!  So I had green hair for the day.  My kiddos LOVED it!

This is one of my best teacher friends.  She teaches next door to me, in third grade.  And she decided to get in on the hair dyeing action.  She let her proficient kids streak her hair with pastels though.  It's hard to tell, but she's got quite a few different colors in that hair.

 Christmas Activities

I'm actually going to do a separate post with all of my Christmas activities, including our Third Grade Christmas Musical - Elfis and the Sleighriders!

Thanks for sticking with me as I learn how to balance life, work, and this blog.