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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Summary Writing- A Heroic Job!

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! 
It's a Summary Writer! 

Writing a summary isn't the easiest thing for my third graders to do. After YEARS of retelling on their DRA assessments third graders are required to write a written summary of the text they have read. This is no joke! In order to combat the evil of Dr. Summary each year we hold- Super Summary Boot Camp! We spend the day learning to write and practicing write summaries. 

I start by introducing my kids to this self-created anchor chart that defines the parts of a summary, what a summary is, and most importantly- what a summary isn't. 
The Superhero theme matches my Superhero themed classroom
Next, I read this SUPER fantastic book while using post-its to document the story elements that I will need to later write my summary. 
Then it's time to review and order my Story Element post-its to create my summary. We talk about the need to add transition words and to possible cross out plot points that we thought would be important, but don't belong in our summary. That's a TON of work! So it's time for a min break. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore has been turned into an Academy Award winning short film. The kids get out their snack and we watch the cartoon off Youtube. While the kids are busy watching I use our post-its to write my summary. 







We convene back together, we review my work, then it is time for them to get to work. Wearing their Superhero capes they get some leveled readers (one of the few times I use these) and they get to work reading, post-iting (that should totally be a word), and writing their summary. 
                   

Everything is more fun in a cape!  

From there I can collect their summaries, see who got it, and plan any strategy lessons necessary during upcoming Reading Workshop periods to help any heroes who struggled or need to clean things up. This boot camp prevents my kids who got the skill from having to write tons of unnecessary summaries and let's me get started with strategy lessons after only one day of summary instruction. 

Hope this post helps you to concur your summary woes. If you need more information feel free to comment below and I can share the Google Doc I created for my SUPER SUMMARY BOOT CAMP with you. 

Bye Buddies!
-Damien

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Welcome to Cafe Font- Serving Up Good Books Since 2006

Welcome to Cafe Font! 
Do you have a reservation? 

That's how I greeted each student when they arrived to school the other day for our Book Tasting. You see, we had just finished a Mystery Unit and my kids were resting on their mystery skills without visiting other genres. Mysteries were easy! They followed a pattern! They knew the characters! They were short! It was time to make a change. So Kelly, the quieter half of this blog, recommended Book Tasting

I found a great resource from Head Over Heels for Teaching and began planning the books and genres while turning my classroom into a Cafe. 

I was thrilled with how my room looked. 

This sign greeted my students when they arrived. 

Doesn't it look great!






Since it was hat day (in honor of Read Across America Week) my "staff" wore chef hats for our Cafe. 
Cafe Font Staff- Me, My Co-teacher, Student Teacher, and
Classroom Para

Greeting the kids with our reservation list. 
The kids had a blast tasting different genres. I used the menu for Head Over Heels for Teaching for my kids to document what books they desired to read in the future. The genre headings are from her product as well and made set up REALLY easy. After the kids rotated through 6 courses they used a reflective napkins to write about their experience (also from the product). The whole event took about 80 minutes and then Cafe Font was closed for another year. 

This activity was a great way to get my kids to taste (and hopefully read) new books. 

Have you ever held a Book Tasting session in your classroom? I'd love to hear about it!

Have a GREAT Weekend!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cheese-its + Toothpicks = Area/Perimeter

Recently my third grade superheroes and I were working on Area and Perimeter- particularly that a figure can have the same area, but different perimeter and that a figure can have the same perimeter, but different area. Cue the food!

Even though we aren't technically supposed to have food in class...Well some rules are made to be broken. My heroes were given a certain number of toothpicks (perimeter) and had to build figures that used all their toothpicks. Therefore-the same perimeter, but different area. 

Then the yummy part! Students were given a set number of cheese-its (square units) and had to construct figures using all the cheese-its that had a different perimeter. 

Here are some pictures of my third graders creating and documenting what they found when investigating same area and different perimeter. 

A piece of green construction paper worked
well for a workmat. Students could easily see
their manipulative. 
Using graph paper to
document the figures they
created

Differentiating was easy by providing students
with different numbers of cheese-its/toothpicks
This concrete activity really helps to drive home the concept. Though I am sure that, if asked, my students would say that their favorite part was when I told them to "make their manipulative" disappear-the cheese-its mostly! 

See you later! 
You Buddy!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Makeover Time!

The Reading Buddies are currently undergoing a bit of a makeover. We are happy to share our new logo....

We absolutely love it and are thrilled to share it with you. 

Have a GREAT Monday!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Reading Super Powers!

Hello Heroes!

Not sure if you've heard, but our Classroom Library has been taken over by the JOKER and his gang of villainous, well, VILLAINS

 We have been working hard and examining the traits of a Superhero in order to gain our Reading Super Powers and win back our library from the Joker. We examined a clip of heroes working together by viewing a small clip of the FANTASTIC Disney movie The Incredibles. Then we created this chart showing the traits they exhibited.  
Lastly we've begun exploring METACOGNITION- our first Reading Super Power. We learned that Metacognition was an important part of REAL Reading and that it meant we needed to think about our thinking. 

It's tough work, but nothing a 3rd Grade Superhero can't handle!
-Mr. Font

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Because of Winn-Dixie & Technology

Hello Buddies-

As I've mentioned before, we are a workshop district! We've been using the new Writing Workshop units of study for the last three years and have been using Reading Workshop for the last four. This year, however, my principal purchased the Teacher's College Reading Workshop units, one for each grade level and an entire set for third grade. My third grade colleagues and I were SUPER excited to receive them and dove into the character unit. The character unit uses Because of Winn-Dixie as a read aloud. This was a text I used when I taught fourth grade and was a little concerned that it might be a bit "over the head" of my third graders. However, they fell in LOVE with India Opal Buloni from the very first line. 


“My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.” 

I mean seriously- what a GREAT first line!

After reading the novel, we got the entire third grade together in our APR to watch the movie and conducted a digital chat using TodaysMeet as our hosting platform. We watched the movie and compared it with the text. Can I just say- I don't know who was involved in adapting this heart-warming novel into a film but they MISSED THE MARK! BIG TIME! Although I was disappointed in the film adaptation, and think Kate DiCamillo should be as well, it made a great comparison to the novel. 

It was blankets, pillows, and chrome books for our digital chat. 

TodaysMeet is a quick and easy format to have
bachkchanneling while viewing any kind of film. 

Here are my two third grade colleagues and I facilitating our student chats. 
One of the coolest thing about our chat was the way it helped a poor friend who went home early. One of my littles got sick in the hallway (with yours truly-yuck!) the morning before our viewing. Not to be too gross, but as the little sweetheart wiped the vomit off his mouth he immediately asked "Can you tell me the time we are watching the movie in-case I get sent home so I can watch from there?" In-case! In-case! Honey- we are sitting on the floor in the hallway with a garbage can- YOU ARE GOING HOME! I felt really bad for this cutie so I coordinated with his Mom so that he could not only watch at home, but participate in our digital chat with the rest of the kids in school. How cool is that!?!?! Technology really helped to once us and make sure my little friend didn't miss out on the experience. 
Here's a picture of my little friend watching bat home and chatting with us while we
watched and chatted at school. 

If you haven't read Because of Winn-Dixie, you should! It's such  heart-warming tale with some really interesting characters. One of my favorites to read aloud is Miss Franny Block. In my interpretation Miss Franny is a former souther belle who is past her prime and runs the Herman W. Block Memorial Library. One of the best parts is when Miss Franny tells Opal and Amanda about her relation Littmus W. Block and his time int he Civil War. Miss Franny teaches the girls about the tragedies of war and that "war is hell". When I read that line aloud to my class I thought they were going to have a stroke. Here were my little third graders hearing their teacher say hell not once, not twice, but three times! (Thanks Kate) Each time the word left my mouth they gasped in a way that said "we are shocked but trying to keep it together". I just tried not to laugh because it was hysterical! 

You can't make this stuff up!
-Damien 


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Third Grade Airlines- Regions Day!

Hello Buddies-

In third grade we have been studying the regions of the United States. Now, I'll give a #teacherconfession here- I do not like teaching Social Studies. I just don't! I didn't like it in 5th grade and I don't like it in 3rd. Phew- it felt good to say it outloud. 

However, every so often something clicks and I find myself looking forward to a particular lesson or activity that is Social Studies related. That day, was Regions Day!

We broke our classrooms up into the five regions and each took control of helping our kids board "Third Grade Airlines" and flying off to the next region. Airline ticket and all!

Prior to the day we decided that we would do some nonfiction reading, some writing, a little digital viewing, and they would make a souvenir to take with them. We also decided to dress up for each region. 

Here are my colleagues and I dressed for our region. 

My LOVE for Disney and my kind colleagues allowed me to be the Southwest. We did some nonfiction reading and writing from a regions packet I found on TPT. The kids used some of the information they learned to write postcards home. Postcards were a great format as they were quick and helped the kids to pick the best facts from the reading selection. 

Taking some notes to include in our postcards to our
friends "back home" in New Jersey.

Once our postcards were finished it was time to go souvenir shopping. We made Mickey Mouse Ears as no trip to the southeast is complete without a trip to Disney and no trip to Disney is complete without your own Mouse ears. After the ears were ready I told the kids it was time for the fireworks display. If you know Disney, you know they REALLY know how to do fireworks! We ended our rotation by watching Wishes fireworks show on the SMARTBoard. It was fantastic and the kids were adorable "ooh-ing", and "aah-ing" at all the right spots!

We really had a blast having the kids "fly-off" to different regions. We even made them wings to wear for their first flight on third grade airlines. Each classroom also had a walkie-talkie borrowed from the office so we could make sure our flights left on time. Communicating with my SUPER colleagues via walkie-talkie was hysterical! One colleague even announced that her "flight would be delayed" because they were running a little behind on their activities. It was also a ton of fun mixing the kids up a little bit. Each flight contained kids from all three classes and one special ed class. This is only 1/5 of what the kids participated in as they traveled the five regions. 

Just wondering- Is there any subject you really don't like to teach?

See you later buddies!
Damien