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Monday, October 12, 2015

Third Grade Metacognition

Hello Buddies-

If you have not read "Comprehension Connections" by Tanny McGregor then you are missing out! This book is filled with practical lessons to introduce comprehension strategies to kids. 



Kelly (again the more silent member of this blog) recommended this book to me and I a THRILLED she did. 

We started our third grade year work on Metacognition and thinking about our thinking while reading. We've also discussed and modeled REAL reading versus FAKE reading. The best parts of the lessons included in this book are that they do not immediately rely on text to convey and practice the concept. As an In-Class Resource room (an inclusion class with special education students) I LOVED that component.  Tanny's lessons allow my kids to practice complex comprehension strategies regardless of their reading levels-which is PERFECT!

This past week we made Reading Salad-combining text and our thinking to make real reading.  Modeling this lesson to my kids, showing how I was thinking while reading, and then including their thinking while I read the text really solidified their understanding of Metacognition. 
I took a picture of this chart with my phone and printed it out so that my kids could
put it in their Book Lover's Notebook as a reference point throughout the year.



I definitely recommend that you check out this book for your class! 
Have a SUPER day!
Damien 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Heroes Need Capes...

Hello Buddies-

I must say the beginning of the year in third grade is very much like the beginning of the year in fifth grade.  How you ask?

  • Routines, routines, routines!
  • No one has the stamina for anything- Me included!
  • Assessments! Assessments! Assessments!
  • Behavior reminders: walk quietly in hall, push in chair, don't talk while I'm talking-it's like they've never been in a classroom before. LOL
  • Organizing supplies
  • And MILLIONS of reminders!
Basically it's exactly the same, just with a smaller audience. 

However, one thing that is different is their "no holds back" enthusiasm. In continuing with our Superhero theme I read the class "Dex, The Heart of a Hero". It's an adorable story about a small dog who is ridiculed by others but works very hard to be a hero. In the end, he realizes he is a hero already but just needed a hero costume. 

I knew I wanted hero capes for my class so I went on over to Pinterest and found a great link on how to turn large adult t-shirts into superhero capes for kids. 

Earlier in the week we designed superhero logos and I attached them to the capes.  After reading Dex I gave the kids their capes and called them by their superhero identities.  The kids were OVER THE MOON and super appreciative of their capes. 
Don't they look super heroic?




After a quick photoshoot I knew we needed to MOVE, so we went on hero patrol to make sure the halls of our school were safe and topping our heroic behavior.  




Thankfully my good friend Kelly (and the quieter half of this blog) has her classroom as far away from mine as humanly possible and I knew she wouldn't mind us crashing her room with only a few minutes left to the day. 

This was a VERY cool day and now we have our capes to wear whenever we need a little extra courage. There were certainly quite a few "this was the best day ever" mumbles as I dismissed my kids that afternoon!

Have a SUPER day!
Damien 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Third Grade Superheroes

Hello Buddies-

I had a blast meeting my third graders and beginning our SUPER year together.  We started the day analyzing a scene from Disney's Incredibles asking ourselves, "What is the job of a hero?"
Here we are watching the final battle scene from Disney's Incredibles
We put the qualities on a chart and they became our reference point for the month. I am constantly reminded my kids that I will need them to "be a hero", while pointing to the anchor chart. 
Not my prettiest chart, but I made it with the kids on the first day
After that we read "The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man", made our own Superheroes, and wrote about how we could be third grade heroes this year. 


After a few other first day, "getting to know you" activities we started our first Read Aloud of the year. I was super excited to find this series of books when they were recommended by my friends at Barnes and Nobles when I was searching for a Superhero themed book for third grade. 

Captain Awesome is a very funny book about a boy who loves Superheroes, particularly a comic book here called Super Dude, and creates his own hero identity called (you guessed it) Captain Awesome.  We will probably finish the book this upcoming week and the kids are loving it, particularly the way Captain Awesome sees everything around him like a superhero.  His arch enemy is his baby sister called Queen Stinkypants and he has visions that his new teacher is working for super villains determined to torture him Geography lessons. 
I could not imagine a third grader who wouldn't enjoy reading about
Eugene's, I mean Captain Awesome's, adventures. 
It has been a SUPER start of the year- the pun never gets old. 
Have a SUPER day!
-Damien