Sunday, October 30, 2011

Owl Moon Lesson Plans

I've had a LOT of requests for my Owl Moon lesson plans, so I finally sat down and typed them up for you all! It's a ten page file (12 if you include the title page and the little note from me).  If you want to pick up a copy of my plans, you can find them HERE for JUST $2.00!  I usually charge more for ten pages, but since this is a supplemental resource, I'm keeping it el cheapo instead!  I'd love to offer them for free, but it took me forever to put this together, and even if I bundled them with the original file, I would have had to increase the price because of the length! :)  I hope you understand, friends!  Anyway, the plans are there for anyone who's interested!  Hope they help! :)


Friday, October 28, 2011

Answer Buzzers- Giveaway!!!!

Hi friends! A fabulous educational company, Learning Resources blessed my classroom with the the cutest answer buzzers you will ever see, and this week my kiddos went absolutely BANANAS over them!  The buzzers are cute, colorful, and fun to use! They don't sound like your regular run-of-the-mill buzzers, and I LOVE that they each make a distinct kid-friendly sound.  My personal favorite is the doorbell.  :)

If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you've probably picked up on my compulsion for filling my classroom with brightly colored goodies.  I love how bright and cheery these little beauties are! Let's just say... I'm smitten.  :)  After our little review session this week, my thirdsters are smitten too.

Since we just wrapped up our Unit 1 Benchmark Test and were wrapping up the 1st 9-weeks, I thought it was only appropriate to do a little review of the concepts we have studies thus far.  So, we pulled up a little Powerpoint presentation, and played a round of "Are You Smarter Than a Third Grader?"  I may have belted out a little ditty or two to amp up the excitement level, but I'm not ashamed!  Hahaha!   Essentially, the game looked a little like this:

The kiddos took turns answering questions and hitting the appropriate buzzer.  I labeled each buzzer with a Post-It to designate each buzzer as an answer choice, and everything went off without a hitch.  Since we haven't memorized the sounds that each buzzer makes yet, the kiddos simply said the letter they chose as they hit the buzzer.  They ate it up with a spoon!!!!  Of course, I LOVE finding ways to make review sessions and test prep more engaging and tantalizing, and I am totally excited!  The buzzers will be making LOTS of appearances, and I am certain that they will help increase attentiveness... and ultimately grades.  :)
Do you want to know the best part?!  They are only $19.99 HERE!!!  A TOTAL STEAL!

Of course, I am a big proponent of putting kids in the proverbial driver's seat, so I conducted a little poll afterwards to see what they thought about our fabulous new learning tool. This is what they thought:

Here's what you need to do to win a set of answer buzzers for your classroom...

Leave a comment telling me how you would use the answer buzzers!  :)  I'd love to hear!
"Like" Learning Resources on Facebook and tell them that One Extra Degree sent you!
Follow their blog, and tell them I sent you!
Follow Learning Resources on Twitter.

(The winner will be randomly drawn next Friday, November 4th at 10 P.M. EST}

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Better Late Than Never... Right?

Okay, this post is tremendously behind schedule, because I intended to post about it at the beginning of the school year.  Now, it's report card time, and I'm taking a minuscule "time out" to update you all on the rest of the "Daily" 5 centers in my room.  Though truthfully, I'm still sifting through trying to figure out how to mesh it together seamlessly with Reading Street.  It's been a process... that's for sure!  Have a looksie!  I'd LOVE to hear what you put in your different stations to keep the Daily 5 running smoothly!  

The Listen to Reading Center!  I primarily use the story of the week here to give students more exposure to it.  :) There's nothing really special about it.  There are rugs to sit on, headphones to plug in, and a radio system with the CD already set. 

The Read to Self basket is kept on my bookshelves for easy access. 
I use drink stirrers for pointers... but I think some of them are growing legs and walking out of the I may move them into my Guided Reading goodies exclusively.  They do make GREAT pointers though, and they are FUN!  I also added some fab blogging goodies to this center... like Cara's bookmarks from The First Grade Parade!

I believe these are from What the Teacher Wants!  Great blog!

I put these together during my first year as a Title teacher.  They have seen better days, but they still work!  ;)

I put some task cards in the center to extend thinking for some of my top readers or fast finishers.

I put lots of goodies in my Work with the Teacher bin... some things I made... some from blogs... some from TpT.  I put everything in one place so I can grab items at a moment's notice... if I notice that I need to reinforce something.  Some of my favorite tools are my wikki sticks, my highlighters, and the little highlighting trackers for kiddos who still need to track while they read.  They think it's so much cooler than finger tracking, but there are witch fingers and claws, mini-fairy wands, goggly eye pointers and drink stirrers available for variety too.  :)
The numbered tubs (previously & briefly known as Math Tubs) were recently moved to the bookshelf to house all of my
Guided Reading manipulatives.  I keep them close by, since my table is right next to this bookshelf for easy access.  The
 baskets in the bottom house my leveled  guided reading books and worksheets for the week.  I keep my Work with Teacher
 basket and my conferring notebooks on the top of the shelf.  :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Calling All Ohio Friends!

I would love to get together with other teacher bloggers, and I know there are a lot of Ohioans out there in blogland.  I would be 101% giddy if we would get together and chat about (what else?) teaching before our inevitable snow starts to fall... and accumulate!  I would be happy to plan a little get-together around the Akron/Canton area sometime before the holidays.  Thoughts?!  If you're interested, shoot an email my way! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Catching Up & Catching My Breath

I'm back from my little hiatus, and we are LOVING our new home!!!!  My life has been absolute CRAZY TOWN, and I really haven't taken enough pictures lately.  Honestly, snapping photos has been the absolute last thing on my mind.  I did manage to capture a few snippets of our classroom activities though.

We have been studying story elements, particularly characters/setting.  Since I am departmentalized, I have started to color-code my anchor charts to showcase the ideas and examples from each class.  :)  The kiddos generated examples of characters and settings on the first day of our story to activate prior knowledge.  This is what they came up with:

Here's a close-up of both sections of the chart:

We used this anchor chart as a launching point to look at how characters and settings are intertwined.  I sent the kiddos to read after we generated the chart, and then they displayed examples from their independent reading time on the board using color-coded Post-It notes.

One of our Reading Street worksheets required kids to identify character traits, so I whipped out a few resources from the "archives".  The following goodies are from my character traits bundle.  We didn't do the full blown lesson, but we did look at a few of the character descriptions to practice using adjectives.  The kids did a MUCH better job answering the questions on the sheet, so I can't complain.  It's always nice to have supplemental resources to pull from when they just aren't getting it.

I have a few pictures of an opportunity cost lesson that we did in Social Studies, but I cannot get them to rotate for the life of me, so I will explain the gist of it instead.  Essentially, each kid was told that they needed to create a product that would retail for $150.00.  I asked them to draw the item on a piece of paper and color it to make it pop!  Once they were done, the kiddos laid their "products" on the Guided Reading table, and we started "shopping".  It basically worked the same way as the lesson in my Play-Doh-nomics lesson, sans Play-Doh.  {Let's face it.  As much as I love my students, I couldn't justify buying 48 tubs of Play-Doh... especially after closing on our home.  So, we whipped out the paper and it worked just as well.}   I had the kids get in line, "shop", and then go back to their seats.  They wrote why they chose their item over the others, we discussed their opportunity costs (what they gave up), and it also allowed us to discuss scarcity... or as one child put it "scare city".  When he wrote, "I bought this item because I was in scare city!"  My first reaction was, "Oh no!  I stressed him out!"  Then I realized that he was using precise language to describe his choice, and then I relaxed.  :)  I love the feeling you get when you realize that your kiddos really, truly, completely understand a concept.  I especially love when that content knowledge shows up in another content area!  Be still my heart.  :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Blogging Break!

Admittedly, I haven't been the most consistent blogger since school has resumed.  I am in a super transitional time of my life, so blogging has landed itself at the absolute bottom of my To-Do Scroll.  I'm still adjusting to a totally different school district with a totally different culture, different protocol, and totally different clientele.  Of course, on top of that, we're moving.  Next week.  Mid-week.  Wednesday to be exact.  The best part?  We have been so crazy busy that about 85% of our packing still needs to be done this weekend.  

I probably won't be blogging for a week or so until I can get my life (literally) back in order, but I may be popping in occasionally to see what's hot in blogland.  :)  Have a great weekend, friends!  I promise, I'll be back soon-ish!

I cannot wait to come home to THIS every single day... :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


It's crazy to think that I've been blogging for a whole year, but it's true! I wrote my first post on October 2, 2010!  I honestly can't believe how many wonderfully talented teachers I've gotten to "know" over the course of the year, but wow!  You all amaze me!  Thanks for sharing your talents, thanks for "following", and thanks for letting me learn from you.  I love hearing from teachers from literally all over the world!  Before I launch into a really neat story about one of the emails I received, I want to remind you all that everything in my store is on sale through midnight to celebrate my blog's first bloggiversary.  :)

Any-who!  I'm pretty sure that I've never mentioned that "when I grow up", I'd love try my hand at writing children's books, but it's true.  I, admittedly, have my own Writer's Notebook.  It's partly to use for examples with my kiddos, and it's partly because I love to engage on language play.  I have also used writing as an emotional outlet for most of my life.  It's seriously therapeutic for me.  :)  Well, ladies and gents, I have a new role model, and her name is Dicy McCullough.  She is the most precious lady ever.  Ever.

Dicy McCullough is a retired music teacher who is the author of two books, "Tired of School" and "Tired of My Bath".  Anyway, in both rhyming stories, a little boy named John Allen grows tired of something, but eventually changes his mind.  :)  Dicy surprised me one day by sending a very sweet email offering to send me copies of her books!  I was so blown away by her kind words and her generous offer.  I was even more blown away when the books arrived at my door.  They are adorable!  I love the bright colors and fun rhymes.  I love how relatable they are for kids.  I love how she named the character after her own father.   That was such a great example for my kids to see... to see that authors use inspiration from their own lives to create fresh new stories!

I read the books to both of my groups today, and we talked about how people write books and publish them.  We talked about using our lives as inspiration for characters and stories.  Mostly, the kids talked about how much they love the dog in both stories, how funny the stories are, how much they enjoyed the rhyming, and how much they liked the illustrations.  Dicy, if you're reading this, my students wanted me to tell you that you are a very talented author and they think you did a great job!  They said that you should definitely write more books!  :)  Both groups requested to put the books in the spotlight so that they could read them during independent reading throughout the week.  They were a hot commodity!  I wanted to snap photos of the kids reading the books, but I just couldn't get away from my small groups in time to go full-on paparazzi.  Rats!

If you're interested in finding out more about Dicy and her books, you can find them on Amazon.  You can find out more about the books and her journey at her website: or at her blog  Make sure to stop by and show her some love!

Lastly, I have had a few questions about our Stress Box.  I do think it could be useful as a tool for your whole class, but my teamie and I use it with one particular student.  It's a tool that our principal thought up that was facilitated by our school counselor and the kiddo.  It travels with our little pumpkin back and forth between our rooms, and it's used only when needed.  The student uses emotion cards that were self-created to show us how he/she is feeling.  If indicated, we ask if he/she needs to use the Stress Box.  We keep it near the back of the classroom, and the child is permitted to take 3-5 minutes to diffuse any anger or anxiety at the box.  There have been some casualties... namely a Koosh ball that has been picked apart and a slime-filled ball that was punctured... but all in all... it's a very effective tool.  We tried to fill it with sensory goodies that can be squeezed, ripped (Play-Doh) and manipulated manually.  Like I said, this could probably be used with a whole group, if you have a need for it, but we're using it for an accommodation in our rooms.  I'm thinking that something like this might fit nicely with something like Cara Carroll's Peacemaker Conflict Corner to use with her guide to problem-solving! Friends, I know this is still sort of vague, but it's just the nature of the beast when we're talking about accommodations and modifications.  I hope that answers any questions you have though.  Let me know if I can clarify anything else.  :)   I think I may make a personal Stress Box to cope with moving  to our new home over course of the next week!  Ha!