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Saturday, September 29, 2012

BIG PLANS- Photojournalism

On Monday we were blessed as a class to have a visitor with an awesome occupation. Photojournalist, Ramsay Fulbright from News Channel 3, came to get video of my class bring brilliant.

 We, in turn, asked him some hard questions about his job. That's right, we really asked the tough questions and found out all the ins and outs of being an excellent photojournalist. Here's what he had to say!

** Some of the videos look a little different. Some files were too big to directly upload to the blog and had to be done through youtube first.**

1. What is the highest degree needed for this profession?

2. What are some specific classes or skills you had to work on?

3. What does your work day look like?

4. Do you use any special equipment in your field?

5. What specific position do you hold in your company/ job?

6. How long did you have to practice before you got your job?

7. What is the starting salary for your profession?

Off camera, I asked Mr. Fulbright which stories were his favorite to cover and he said he likes stories with lots of action. Of course those stories might be ones that involve fires or accidents, so they need competent professionals covering them. I'm glad Mr. Fulbright is on the case!

He also commented that he liked stories like ours; those that allow him to be in classrooms with fun, intelligent kids!

Thank you, Mr. Fulbright for sharing your time and experience with General Delk's Army! You're welcome back anytime!

Want to see en example of Mr. Fulbright's work? Check out the story {HERE}. Video from the classroom is his work!

PEF Foundation and General Delk in the news!

Remember when I went to the SIOP training and was interviewed? Here it is!

Thank you, Chanel 3 News and David Carroll!

Check it out {HERE}!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Boot Camp- Complete Sentences

I didn't post here about last week's Boot Camp lesson. Instead, I posted on our Third Grade Thinkers blog. This week I will post on both, just to cover my bases. :)

My lesson for Boot Camp was making complete sentences. So, of course we had to go over what a sentence needs to be complete. Here comes a jingle!

Sentence Jingle:
A sentence, sentence, sentence
Is complete, complete, complete
When 5 simple rules
It meets, meets, meets.

It has a subject, subject, subject
And a verb, verb, verb
It makes sense, sense, sense
With every word, word, word.

Add a capital letter, letter
And an end mark, mark.
Now we're finished and aren't we smart?
Now our sentence has all its parts.

Alpha Team:

Bravo Team:
By far this was the best team of the day. Great job, Soldiers!

Charlie Team:

Delta Team:

After practicing the song and talking about sentences, we practiced identifying complete sentences and fragments. Mrs. Jackson worked on types of sentences in her room, and Ms. Roach and Ms. Chastain worked on math skills. They promised to update the Third Grade Thinkers blog with information about their lessons, so make sure to check!

p.s. Check back tomorrow morning to see our newest BIG PLANS interview! Photojournalist Ramsay Fulbright!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Strengthening Literacy in All Content Areas

Once again my school was blessed enough to have Dr. Faber come for a Professional Development day!

Yesterday she spoke with the lower grades, K-2, and hosted a Parent Literacy Night for our parents. Today it was the upper grades' turn. All teachers, grades 3-5, were in the library to glean information from Dr. Faber as to how we can strengthen our literacy scores.

Once again, I'm not going to share everything, I'm just going to hit some helpful highlights!

** Parent Tips **
1. Talk to your student when he/ she gets home and ask questions. Ask students about any new academic vocabulary learned, and new concepts, not just, "Did you have a good day?"
2. During your child's tv time, ask questions about the show. Can they describe the characters? Can they tell you the lesson being learned (if there is one)? Can they tell you how the show made them feel? What about the commercials? Were they engaging and persuasive?
3. Have fun and play games. The best part of a school day is when we, as teachers, can hide a lesson during a "play time".
Need some game ideas? Here you go!

  • Play some games with a deck of cards!
  • Practice money skills with play money (like Monopoly money)
  • Have a Scrabble game? Let your child build their spelling words with the tiles!
  • Practice making letters with Play-Dough
  • Chores for pennies! Get a clean house for cheap!
  • Play math games with dominoes
 ** 5 Elements of Reading ** 
(Thank you to Ms. Roach and Ms. Chastain for agreeing to be pictured!)
Any teacher worth her (or his) salt already knows these elements. They were drummed into our brains in college. However, it's always good for a refresher course since we are noticing that quite a few of our students have not had proper training in these areas.

1. Phonemic Awareness- it's what you hear!
Students need to recognize the different sounds letters make before being able to grasp the next element of reading.

2. Phonics- connecting what you hear with the letters that match!

3. Vocabulary- words that make you sound smart!

 There are 4 kinds of vocabulary:
1. Listening- this vocabulary starts from the time you are born. This is also your largest vocabulary since you will hear more words than you will say.

2. Speaking- second largest group of vocabulary words. Students should begin to notice that there are different types of speaking vocabulary; school and home. Academic vocabulary is used in school and should be shared at home, but students also need to know that some terms are best left outside the school doors. :)

3. Reading- third largest group of vocabulary words. Just because you can say it doesn't mean you would recognize it in print. Teachers can help by having a very print-rich classroom. Parents, you can help by reading aloud with your student every day.

4. Writing- the smallest vocabulary bank. In a perfect world, students would be able to write every word as perfectly as they can speak them. This is not a perfect world. Students need to hear new words, be comfortable using them in a spoken conversation, and be able to recognize them in print before they can write them with confidence.

4. Fluency- Reading and decoding words at a nice pace.

 5. Comprehension- understanding what you're reading. If you're not understanding, you're not really reading.

To help our student with their reading, they are going to need some "Fix-Up" strategies. Knowing different strategies for reading words that are unfamiliar to them will help kids when they are away from their teacher; like when their teacher is in the middle of a small group reading time. We tell our students Try 3 Before Me! In other words, try 3 Fix-Up strategies before coming and interrupting the small group.

We made some bookmarks for our kids with some strategies on them. If you'd like a copy, click {HERE} for it in a Word document!
Prefer PDF format? Click {HERE}
 If you download the bookmarks, please leave a comment on what you think!

Last, but not least, yours truly created a song to go with the lesson of 5 Elements of Reading. Check it out!

What a great day! 
Thank you, Dr. Faber! Can't wait till next time!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's in my Teacher's Bag?

Thanks to Ms. Roach, we in 3rd grade had an awesome lesson on inferring. Students were posed this question:
What is in your teacher's bag?

We started by defining what it means to infer: to take what you already know + what you read or information that is introduced to you = make an inference!

I asked my students what they already knew about me. They listed things like:
1. I am a parent
2. I am a teacher
3. I am nice/ mean/ crazy
4. I like to change students' behavior colors and punish kids Yep. ;)

Take everything they said, and now use what you know to infer what I would have in my purse.

Here is our chart.

Students had to defend their thoughts.
Why would I need a sword? For protection. (From whom? A ninja?)
Why would I carry soap? To wash (down by the creek I guess, since I'm so country)
Why would I carry a knife? Because you're crazy. (That was a real question and answer)

I seriously wonder about what goes on in my students' heads sometimes.

But, as you can see, they did get a few right! The red checks show what things I did actually have in my bag.

Now the other teachers have these cute posters with cute pictures. I never claimed cuteness. I did use the worksheet that Ms. Roach included in her lesson plans, but since I don't know where she found it, I can't share the link. I will go around and get some pictures of the other posters so you can see how well our 3rd graders did!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Get It! x11

Today marked the last day to master x11 facts. Tomorrow we move on to bigger and better things. I have no idea what they will be as of yet, but we will figure it out!

Here are our newest x11 Celebrities:

Great job, Soldiers!!

p.s. We're going to be famous! Check out Channel 3 News on Friday at 6pm to see our class doing some math!

p.p.s. And check out Saturday's BIG PLANS post. We interviewed the Photojournalist, Mr. Ramsay Fulbright!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Celebrity Story Saturday- Caps for Sale

Our next Celebrity from our pool of newbie teachers is.... Mrs. Nunes!

Mrs. Nunes is a new 4th grade teacher and she is rocking it out in my old portable. In the tradition of new teachers, she is dedicated to her class, as seen by the way she stays late most days to get things ready for the following days and weeks. Her class is lucky to have her!

When I asked her to read for the blog she jumped on the story Caps for Sale. This story is one of her favorites and I'm happy to say she does an awesome job sharing it.

Click {HERE} to hear it or watch it below

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Persuasive writing- Commercials

We are working on Author's Purpose this week. Figuring out author's purpose is easy as PIE!

P- Persuasive
I- Informative
E- Entertaining

So we looked at writing to persuade today. One of my students was brilliant enough to recognize that commercials are persuasive in nature. I  showed the class {THIS} post from last year where I persuaded my students to use Miracle Money Grow.

I must say, my Soldiers were impressed by my winning personality!

So we created a list of things that my students love and would be able to persuade the general public to buy. We made lists for each item telling why it was such a good deal.
1. Bike
2. Justin Bieber doll
3. Motorcycle
4. XBOX Connect
5. Giant Hello Kitty cookie

The students divided into teams and had to create a mini commercial that introduced the product, told where you could find it, and how much the product would cost.

Here they are!

Personally, I like the motorcycle being sold for $10. I'd never ride one, but it sounds like a good investment. :)

Tomorrow we will expand our advertising empires to include newsprint.

Here they are again: Youtube versions


Justin Bieber doll



Hello Kitty cookie

Get It! Multiplying by 11s

Here's a quick look at my brilliant students who mastered their 11s facts!

 He was much more excited before the camera was on. 

Diva. Pure Diva.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Get It!

Here's a shout out today for one of my students who took it upon himself to master his 7 times tables over the weekend.

Because of his diligence and dedication, he got to wear one of General Delk's badges to show that he's going to be featured here on the blog! Awesome job, Soldier! I'm so glad you Get It!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

BIG PLANS- Boy Scouts Recruiter

Remember waaaay back a few weeks ago when we read the book Big Plans in class?

We made a list as a class about different occupations that fascinate us, and a list of questions we would like to ask about those occupations.

Today we have our first interview! Mr. Jones from the Boy Scouts of America was visiting our school on Monday to promote the organization, and we were not going to let an opportunity pass us by! Mr. Jones was gracious enough to agree to being interviewed and of course we have it all on film. :)

You can watch the interview {HERE} or watch it below.

1. Highest degree needed for this profession?
Bachelor's Degree. Mr. Jones attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and got his degree in Communications.

2. Specific classes or skills for this position?
Because Mr. Jones travels to speak to individuals about Scouting, he uses his Communications Degree and eloquent verbal skills quite a bit.

3. Typical work day?
With the beginning of school and the need to travel to many elementary schools, Mr. Jones works around 12 hour days. Lots of traveling and presenting.

4. Any special equipment used in this profession?
As a promoter for the Scouts, Mr. Jones is required to stay in communication with lots of people. He relies on his cell phone, computer and car to keep him connected to the world.

5. Position in the company?
 Mr. Jones is a Senior District Executive. He works for the Boy Scouts in the Chattanooga area.

6. How long did you have to practice for this position?
No practice required! Mr. Jones saw an advertisement for the position and it fit with his communications background. After his interview, he was hired on the spot!

7. Starting salary?

Thank you, Mr. Jones for being our first victim... um, willing participant! You were a great sport and my male students were excited about everything you shared about the Boy Scouts.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mathematical Musings in Multiplication (also Alliteration)

My students are really impressing me with their mathematical know-how. We've worked our way through our 0s, 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 10s and today we worked on our 7s. I plan on putting a video of how to work our 7s on here tomorrow, but today I thought I'd share how we do our math.

1. Get comfortable...
2. Get ready...
3. GO!

I'm proud to report that 90% of my students made a 100 on their work. (reviewing 2s, 3s, and 4s)

Working on 7s today, I told my students that I don't have a special song or trick, so they'll just have to work on memorization. We made x7 index cards for students to take home and study. Students who come back knowing their 7s get to be featured on the blog tomorrow!

In language arts, we are working on figurative language. We have studied similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, and now alliteration.
I love using alliteration! It just helps things flow off the tongue.

She sells seashells by the seashore.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

We watched a short video about a girl whose name is all alliteration: Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout!It was important that my students understood that the letters didn't have to be the same, just the letter sound.

In fact, today we had a Thrilling Thursday and tomorrow we will celebrate Fun Friday! Then we will have a Super Saturday and a Soulful Sunday in preparation for a Marvelous Monday!

Can't wait to see what we can come up with tomorrow!

p.s. Did you notice the # of our followers? Yesterday we had 39, today it's 52!!! Time for a party!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mini Math Lesson- x3

Still working on our multiplication facts. We started our 3's today and I'm pretty sure those suckers are mastered!

We started with this poster. We uncovered answers as we went.

Answers covered, we started chanting three numbers: 3, 6, 9.

3..6..9 (beat)
3..6..9 (beat)
3..6..9 (beat)

Once those numbers were in our heads, we started adding the number sentence. Repeat a million times.

3x1 is 3!
3x2 is 6! 
3x3 is 9!

Now, add the next number where the beat was previously. Add some hand motions, or cock your head to the side when you hit 12.


Start the number sentences again! Repeat a million times!

3x1 is 3! 
3x2 is 6!
3x3 is 9!
3x4 is 12!

For the next one, just work on the number sentence 3x5 is 15. Use your hand to hold up 5 when you say 15. Repeat a million times.

3x5 is 15! 
3x5 is 15!
3x5 is 15!

Now all the number sentences so far! Don't forget motions!

3x1 is 3!
3x2 is 6!
3x3 is 9! 
3x4 is 12!
3x5 is 15! (hand out)

Practice 3x6 is 18. When you say the number 18, shake your finger!

3x6 is 18!
3x6 is 18!
3x6 is 18!

Add it to the rest of the sentences, make sure you are doing all the motions! Repeat a million times with motions!

3x1 is 3!
3x2 is 6!
3x3 is 9!
3x4 is 12!
3x5 is 15! (hand out)
3x6 is 18! (shake finger)

Next practice the numbers 21, 24, and 27 as a group. I had my students move their shoulders back and forth- twenty on one side, one, four and seven on the other. Repeat a million times.!
Twenty.... four!
Twenty.... seven!

Add to the rest of the sentences, using motions.

3x1 is 3!
3x2 is 6!
3x3 is 9!
3x4 is 12!
3x5 is 15! (hand out)
3x6 is 18! (shake finger)
3x7 is 21! (shoulders)
3x8 is 24! (shoulders)
3x9 is 27! (shoulders)

Last one! Are you ready?

3x10 is thir-ty! (make sure you stress the two syllables) Come up with some motion for 30. We used jazz hands.

3x10 is thri-ty!
3x10 is thir-ty!
3x10 is thir-ty!

Bring it all together now! Do the motions!

3x1 is 3!
3x2 is 6!
3x3 is 9!
3x4 is 12!
3x5 is 15! (hand out)
3x6 is 18! (shake finger)
3x7 is 21! (shoulders)
3x8 is 24! (shoulders)
3x9 is 27! (shoulders)
3x10 is 30! (jazz hands)

Want to see it in action? Check the video! We invited Mrs. Webb and Ms. Harper to see us in action and test us on our new knowledge.

You can't hear all of their answers, but all my soldiers got the answers right! Awesome job!

Homework was to finish a x3 practice sheet we started in class. Students who make a 100% will have their names announced during the afternoon announcements!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core

It seems like everyone now-a-days is talking about the new Common Core standards that schools around the country are using. You'll see teachers talking about it on Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, and in classrooms. You'll notice I even have the Common Core App on the side of my blog.

As a teacher and a parent, I've been trying to collect Common Core material for all grade levels. You never know what grade level you'll be placed in from year to year! Besides that, I have 3 kids of my own that will benefit from the materials I find. :)

My oldest is starting Kindergarten this year and I was thrilled to find this Kindergarten Common Core workbook filled with all the Common Core standards and activities to match!

I. LOVE. IT! I love anything that makes being a teacher/ mom just a little bit easier!

Parents and teachers- check this out! They also have workbooks for other grade levels!

Celebrity Story Saturday- Quick as a Cricket

We studied figurative language this week as we looked at poetry. Today's Celebrity chose a book that goes right along with what we have been studying! The story Quick as a Cricket is full of nothing but Similes!

How wonderful of Ms. Meadows to choose this book! I'm not surprised that Ms. Meadows made this choice. As our newest 5th grade teacher, she knows what's going on. She would never choose a book that was anything less than perfect.


Students- as you listen to the story, keep a count of how many similes you hear. Bring in the total for a surprise! Extra points if you create a picture to go with one of them!

Click {HERE} to hear the story or watch it below.

or here

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mini Math Lesson- x0, x1, x10

Guess what we're working on?! Multiplication facts!

So far, we have mastered, that's right, mastered, our 0, 1, and 10 facts! I know you're impressed!

It helps that we came up with some chants and motions thanks to our SIOP training. :) Here is our chart to remind us of our rules. Mock the pictures all you want. I'm a horrible artist.

Everything in pink symbolizes a motion being made.
Here are some videos of what these chants look like- thank you Ms. Roach!

x0- When you multiply by 0, the answer is 0!

x1- When you multiply by 1, the answer stays the same! (one hand out- showing that we stop at the number being multiplied, don't go any further!)

x10- When you multiply by 10, you add a 0 on the end! (I explained that you add a 0 to the end of the number being multiplied)

We were doing so well with our chants and facts that we just had to share our knowledge! So, we called in Ms. Harper and Mrs. Webb to come check us out!

Watch here:

Or here:

 Needless to say, they were impressed! We also impressed Mrs. Blowe and Mrs. Custer when they visited our class. :)

Ms. Harper was so impressed that she agreed to announce all of my students who made a 100% on their practice sheet during the afternoon announcements. Would you like to see all of my students who were announced?

Here they are!


I couldn't be more proud of my students! Tomorrow, we master x2!