Monday, October 27, 2014

Help Keep Those Water Bottles Organized + Freebie

In my classroom, we are fortunate enough to have tables instead of desks. I love, love, love them, but sometimes certain things pose difficulties. This time of year, with the dry Colorado weather, it's water bottles.


Kids definitely want to have their own water bottles, especially if they are coughing. While we do have a water fountain that we regularly wipe down, some prefer their own personal bottle and I am a-okay with that.

What I am not okay with is when it tips on the table and spills water on their workspace and the space around them, or if it's left on the ground and gets bumped by feet and chairs, or if it's left around the classroom and can't be found when needed. Because we move so much for Daily 5 and Writing Groups, kids are not staying at their space all morning, either, so a more centralized spot was needed across the board.


We are fortunate to have a sink in our room and a fairly decent-sized countertop that we knew would be the perfect place. I have loads of these document-sized baskets that I wasn't using and placed one right next to the sink to serve as the gathering spot for these bottles.

Now, when someone needs a drink, they can either head to the sink to use the water fountain or to use their own water bottle. It's a simple and effective organizational strategy that has saved me loads of tripping and mopping up! Plus, since they're in the basket, I can easily scooch them aside if I need additional countertop space for a bit or to wipe it down at the end of the day.


One rule I do have is that the basket needs to be empty every Friday so that water bottles get washed, although most get taken home each day. They also need to have a name on them, and I am happy to lend a Sharpie in case a kiddo needs to get theirs on one.

I made this simple sign that you can pick up on Google Docs HERE. I laminated it and used lots of clear tape to ensure it didn't get wet and ruined.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Keeping Healthy with Dracula + Freebie

I have been under the weather with a cold/cough thing that is spreading like wildfire though our classroom and grade level. 'Tis the season, I suppose.

I asked on my Facebook page ways that you all stay healthy this time of year, and Darilyn reminded me of such a fun and easy way to encourage kids to sneeze and cough into their elbow: The Dracula Sneeze!

We have been going over ways to stay healthy as a class using part of my Interactive Health Notebook.


Of course we go over washing our hands, coughing into our elbow and not our hands, using tissues, etc., but this is such a fun twist on the usual reminders they hear. The timing couldn't be more perfect, either, since Halloween is next week and on the forefront of everyone's mind :)

Fonts by Jen Jones and border by Bubbly Blonde

Now, when I see a kiddo starting to cough or sneeze, I simply say, "Dracula!" and they are prompted in a fun way to remember to use their elbows just like Dracula and his cape. We also introduced this with a fun poster and got the chance to talk like we were from Transylvania, which is always a hoot.

If you'd like a copy of this freebie, pick it up from Google Docs HERE. I hope you're all staying healthy!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Technology Resources for Halloween

There are loads of online resources when it comes to Halloween, but I wanted to narrow down the many sites to the top five that I like to incorporate during the month of October.

While some require a subscription (BrainPOP & Brain POP, Jr.), many are free and, best of all, fun for your students to enjoy during free time, math class, and more!

BrainPOP & BrainPOP, Jr.

Once again, these sites come through with engaging, short videos full of history and fun facts on Halloween.


There are lesson ideas, vocabulary printables, and more. If you don't have a subscription, keep your eyes peeled. Both sites do a free video of the week, and hopefully these will become available as the holiday draws closer. Click HERE for BrainPOP's movie and HERE for BrainPOP, Jr.'s.

ABCya.com

If you haven't checked out this site before, I *highly* recommend it! You can choose activities by grade level (K-5) and loads of free games are available in ELA, Math, Social Studies, holidays and more! Scroll to the bottom of any grade level to find additional Halloween activities (Word Search, Crossword Puzzle, and pumpkin matching), but what I love best is having the kids carve their own Jack o'Lantern.

There are a variety of options on the side toolbar, from using stencils to adding hats and arms:


At the end, kids can click the candle icon to turn their carved pumpkin into a full Halloween scene:

It's a lot of fun for a free choice activity and kids love sharing their designs with one another. To find this on ABCya.com, click HERE.

Ghost Blasters & Spooky Sequences

This is such a simple and yet highly engaging game for kids to play during Math! There are a wide variety of choices on the site, so depending on what you're working on you may want to have kids work in identifying multiples of ten, sequencing by counting up or down, identifying odd/even, adding multi-digit problems, and more!

One of the favorites is Ghost Blasters:

Its simplicy allows students to focus on the skill, but the pace and points system keeps them engaged and having fun-- you could even send these links home to parents for Halloween-themed math homework! To see the long list of options, click HERE.

Tech for Teachers: Halloween Games

If you're looking for a *ton* of Halloween games and interactive sites, look no further than this symbaloo! Loads of activities are available on this site that link to resources all over the web. It's a great option during free choice and includes activities like pumpkin carving, songs, scarecrow building, matching, puzzles, jigsaws, and more!

To head to this site, click HERE.

If you're looking for classroom resources, be sure to check out all of the Halloween products in my TpT Store. I have recently added Halloween Brain Breaks that are a festive addition to my Classroom Brain Breaks set. I mount these on orange construction paper and they add some spooky fun to our day!


Have fun with these technology resources in your classroom and have a very happy Halloween!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Classroom Job: Class Greeter

I love class jobs and always try to have every child involved in the management and flow of our day. Not only does this release my time so I can focus on more important things, but it truly provides ownership for my students that this room is their classroom, not just mine.


To read my previous post on Class Jobs in my room, click HERE.

I am so fortunate to work in a school with super-creative teachers and I tend to steal  borrow many of their ideas for my own room. This is such a great example of one of those times!!

My Morning Meeting Leader is a key job that every student will have at least once throughout the year (we switch weekly, so some will be Meeting Leader twice). This person is responsible for leading our class in Morning Meeting and really getting us off to a good start to our day. To read more about Morning Meeting, click HERE.

My teammate had a wonderful idea to keep this leadership role up throughout the day and it made perfect sense! Since the Meeting Leader is in charge of starting the Greeting in the morning (where each student greets the student next to them by name), they can keep up that role as Class Greeter during the day.


This simple sign is right next to our door to help. Now, whenever a parent, support teacher, the principal, another staff member, etc. comes to our door, our Meeting Leader is in charge of greeting them using this script. They are also encouraged to shake their hand and we're now working on a firm (not wet noodle!) handshake :)

To pick up this freebie, click HERE.

I am thrilled that my students will now be developing their leadership skills beyond their comfort zone and also take more responsibility and ownership of our classroom.

How does your class welcome visitors? (I'll be honest, before this sign, students never did! It was always my role. But I know there are tons more ideas out there and I'd love to hear them in the comments!!)

3rd Grade Thoughts - Widget
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