Monday, February 28, 2011

Developing Characters with the Fiction File!

I posted my Fiction File yesterday, and I couldn't wait to use the new posters with my kiddos!  We spent some time talking about flat and round characters, and the kids made a chart to sort characters they found during independent reading into the two categories.  They will continue to add to the anchor chart throughout the week as they find more examples.  The students are currently working on developing round characters in their realistic fiction stories.  So far, I am blown away by their understanding of the author's craft!  Yay!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fiction File: Story Elements Posters!

My Reader's and Writer's Workshops overlap A LOT.  Right now, we are working on reading and writing Realistic Fiction.  I made posters for my class to use as anchors throughout this study, and they are cute, cute, cute!   You can find them HERE, if you're interested in seeing more of the file!

Win Two Units from Deanna Jump!

I think we can all agree that Deanna Jump is a rock-star in the world of teaching! She is an absolutely masterful kindergarten teacher and her units are superb! Deanna has offered to give away two products from her TpT store... any two products you choose! How exciting!

To win this contest, here is what you must do:

   1. Follow my blog: One Extra Degree
   2. Follow Deanna's blog: Mrs. Jump's Class 
   3. Follow my TPT store: One Extra Degree TPT Store
   4. Follow Deanna’s TPT store: Deanna Jump's TPT Store
   5. Leave a comment for each of #1-4 indicating that you follow.
   6. Re-post this on your blog and comment below with a link for an extra entry!

I will randomly pick a winner on Sunday, March 6th.  Good luck!

I also want to throw in a plug here for a new blog: Oh' Boy 3rd Grade! She was thoughtful enough to give a shout out about my blog, so I wanted to return the favor! Maybe I'm biased since she's posting pictures of what she's doing with my Chris Van Allsburg Author Study, but I seriously can't wait to see the ideas she posts.  Definitely loving her spin on the unit and her adorable To-Do List. Check it out!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Classroom Snapshots: My Educational Oasis!

I have a slight beach theme in my classroom.  Nothing over the top, because I prefer simplicity.  I also really believe in making my classroom as cozy as possible.  I use elements that lend themselves to the beach theme without totally transforming my room into a sand dune or boardwalk.  I try to use the same color on all of my bulletin boards (teal makes me think of the ocean), and I stick to a color theme for everything that goes into my room.  (Yes, my color theme matches my blog scheme.) I, of course, need a gathering place for read alouds, and I set up several areas around the room that are conducive for group work. The following pictures were mainly taken right before school started before we added anything to our word wall, CAFE menu, or book recommendation board, but you'll get the idea!  Rather than writing a narrative about how I set up my classroom, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.  Someday, I swear I'm going to figure out a way to fit a loveseat into my classroom.  Until then, this is what I'm working with.  What's your theory on classroom design?  What works for you?

Computer Center

Eventually, I replaced the store-made poster (top) with a fluency poster.

The Book Recommendation Board and "Must Reads" bucket before school started!

Classroom Shot!

Books in the Spotlight for Recent Read Alouds!

Word Wall and Wondrous Words List... ready for additions!


Check-In Area

I have 5-6 pails that I use as decorations... and for several lessons.

Two reasons why I love The Flower Factory.

Place mats make me happy because they make my room less institutional.  This mailbox was found at the Salvation Army five years ago for a dime!  It's my tattle box... but I get a lot of love notes too!  Luckily, Target had a slightly smaller version this year, so you can all use this too!  It's such a life-saver for me.  I don't think I'd ever trade it in.  Ever. 

Bucket Filling Buckets are placed above each kid's cubbies.  I have numbered them with student numbers since this picture was taken so that they can be reused year after year.  They are filled with  Bucket Filler Forms and pom poms!

I hate jellyfish, but I love this wind chime. So perfect for The Daily Five and rotations!
Just a random picture to prove that we actually use our bulletin boards!  Haha!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Expanding Vocabulary and Minds!

I spent Snow Day #7 at home working on word work activities, cleaning the house, entertaining my two fur babies, and praying for Spring!  Make sure you click above the first picture to download a copy of my word investigation sheet.  If you're interested,  you can check out my 193 page Expanding Vocabulary Bundle on TpT!  It has lots of ready-to-use activities and everything you need to create a WOW Words Word Wall to expand your students' vocabularies across content areas! It has printables for syllables, rhyming, inferring word meanings, homophones, synonyms, antonyms, "retired words", idioms, strong verbs, open-ended phonics searches, wow words, levels of word knowledge, and so much more!  Check out the description on TpT for a full listing of contents!  :)

Super Seusstastic Crafts and Yummies!

I am constantly trying to find ways to incorporate Dr. Seuss into third grade.  We tend to use books like The Lorax , The Butter Battle Book, The Sneetches, and Yertle the Turtle, because of the allegorical nature of the books.  I love all things Seuss, but I am insanely jealous of all of the primary teachers out there!  Anyway, I found the CUTEST pipe cleaner crafts on Craft Jr.  Although I will not be able to use them with my own kiddos, I thought that SOMEONE might be able to use them! You can find the directions for these absolutely darling finger puppets HERE

I love the following Lorax craft because of it's simplicity, but also because it is so stinkin' cute!   You can find directions to this craft HERE

Check out the Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes.  Hello Red Velvet!  I love the idea of using cotton candy for their crazy hair!  LOVE IT!  You can find the recipe HERE!

Here's a cute little pencil topper craft featuring Thing 1 and Thing 2.  You can find it HERE!

Okay, and while we're on this topic, here's another option for Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Click HERE!
Here are some YUMMY Green Eggs & Ham Cookies.  I saw that Brooke from Primary Perspective had something posted about these little cuties, but just in case you didn't catch it, you can find more information HERE.

There are tons of cute ideas HERE for a Seuss-themed party!  You'll definitely want to check them out!

Lastly, if you're looking for Dr. Seuss ideas to round out your plans, Erica Bohrer has a comprehensive list of blogs to visit for inspiration.  You can find them HERE!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Ice Cream" Math Manipulatives!

I have a few kids that really rely on manipulatives to do division and multiplication, but I think that this idea could easily be adapted for all of you K-1st grade teachers!  You could very easily use it for addition and subtraction with a few minor tweaks.

I found these adorable ice cream cones and scoops at The Dollar Tree a while ago.  Like months ago.  Of course, being an elementary teacher, I snatched them up.  I knew I'd think of something sooner or later.  Well, it wasn't sooner.  It was definitely later, but an idea finally hit me.  Division.  Some of my little peanuts still struggle with it... and multiplication too.  If you come across something similar at your nearest Dollar Paradise, you may want to pick up a few sets of these beauties, because you can use pom poms to work with "ice cream" and solve math facts.  I love this manipulative, and it really makes me UBER excited for summer. Unfortunately, we have ANOTHER Winter Weather Advisory tonight.  Bah humbug!

I'm pretty sure this bag used to hold valances... now it holds "ice cream".  The Lorax would be so proud of me...
Lastly, I have to show you my "Prediction Box".  Abby from The Inspired Apple... gasp!...  inspired me to spruce up my existing box.  I already had a bright pink label on it, and I already LOVED the pattern on my box, but I totally fell head over feet for her cute labels.  I bought the kit on TpT, and I am a seriously happy camper.  Highly recommended!  The first picture was taken sometime last fall...  BEFORE the makeover transformation!  The rest are of the revised box!  It's definitely an improvement!