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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!

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

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!