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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Space, the Final Frontier

Can you guess our topic for science this week? I love space! We found some rockin' awesome BrainPop videos, and most of them are free to watch! Check them out {HERE}!

The past 2 days have been focused on learning the inner and outer planets, and the uses of the Sun. How better to learn than with songs?

I realize that Pluto is now a dwarf planet, but it rhymes! I learned this one when I was in school and I just can't change it now!

And this song came straight from my brain to yours. I wrote it last year for my 1st grade students, and it's just fun to sing!

Can you see why this song is so entertaining?

Practice these at home! Test on Friday!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Cast of Characters

I'm a little late in posting this, so I apologize!

Last Friday was a half day to allow for parent/ teacher conferences. It was also Dress-As-Your Favorite- Storybook- Character Day! To say I was excited would be an understatement. I have so many favorites! How could I ever choose just one?!

As it turns out, my son made it easy. He woke up with a fever and a cranky attitude, so I brought him to school with me. I had to grab an easy costume. I chose..... Elizabeth Bennett. (from Pride & Prejudice, you know)

Here is the 3rd grade team in character, with my son the baseball star.

My shirt reads "I {heart} Mr. Darcy"- see? I'm totally Elizabeth! 

Ms. Roach dressed as Amber Brown, and Ms. Chastain is Fancy Nancy.

I know you want to see my students!


 Football star

 Bat Girl


A Positive Role Model 
(Joe Davis- from a book my student received on positive African American male role models)

To celebrate good literature, students got to participate in a dance. I got a little video of my son showing his moves. You'd never know he was sick.

Now for what you've been waiting for... the teachers! 

 There were more, but they ran when they saw my camera. *sigh*

I think everyone had a good time! I can't wait to do this again!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Celebrity Story Saturday- Shoe- La- La!

I try to film these on Friday afternoons so I can post them on Saturday morning. Well, yesterday was a 1/2 day for students to allow for parent/teacher conferences. I didn't think about teachers leaving at the 1/2 day as well! (Probably because I still stayed until 4:00)

Imagine my happiness when I found today's reader still working in her classroom at 2:07. What dedication! What heart! What a good thing for me since I didn't have anything else to post today!

So, thank you, Mrs. McCarver for being such a dedicated new teacher! We are glad to have you as a part of the Clifton Hills 4th grade team!

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Character Context Clues- Printable!

Tomorrow is a half day for Hamilton county to allow for parent/ teacher conferences. It's also a Dress as Your Favorite Character day at Clifton Hills! Students may dress as their favorite storybook character, or in their Halloween costume provided that:
1. Costumes actually match a story. Students have to have the book that matches!
2. Costumes aren't scary. No zombies or politicians for us! :)
3. Costumes are appropriate. *ahem* Appropriate length and story genre.

Each grade will participate in a Storybook Parade and plenty of pictures will be taken.

You might be wondering what 3rd grade will be doing during their time in the classroom. Well, we will be working on character analysis and context clues. Using paper bags and art supplies, students will make character bags with clues inside to give hints as to their characters.

If you'd like to download the document, click {HERE}!

As always, if you download it, please leave a comment on what you think!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Friendly Letter

We are working on using commas and writing friendly letters this week. And what would a lesson be without a song?
(The song came to Ms. Roach and I during recess. Yes, we are that good.)

Friendly letter, friendly letter,
Gonna be great! Start with the date!
Then you add the opening, the body and the closing.
Sign your name, sign your name!

Thank you, Ms. Brewer for coming and visiting the class! We love getting to show our brilliance!

Here is our letter we wrote for Ms. Brewer. Tomorrow we are going to update and edit it to make it perfect!

p.s. Students, remember to bring in candy for Friday's costume parade! Remember, costumes must be characters from a book and a bag of candy will earn you $10 Cub Cash!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Science lapbooks

We're done with our lapbooks for chapter 3- Organisms of Long Ago. I posted on Third Grade Thinkers about the different mini books we would be making. Today I got to send the finished products home, graded and ready to be shared with parents. Here are the students who made a perfect 100%.

The lapbooks were graded using a rubric. Each mini book was worth 3pts, the entire lapbook was 36 points. The topics covered were:
 Chapter 3 vocabulary
Geologist, Paleontologist
Rocks and minerals
Endangered and extinct animals
4 layers of rock
3 categories of rocks
Desert landforms
Animal adaptations

Great job, all of my students! We will make more lapbooks this year since my students really enjoyed the activity.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Celebrity Story Saturday- There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves

I apologize for not posting last weekend! My excuse is that I was on fall break at my parent's house in Murfreesboro. I hope no one was too disappointed!

Today's Celebrity is a TRUE Celebrity. She is well loved by teachers and her expertise is coveted by schools all over the country. Clifton Hills has been blessed to have her here with us this year. You can see posts about what's she's done for our school by clicking on the links below.

21 Fix- Them-To-Fit-You Centers

Strengthening Literacy in All Content Areas

Do You Hear What I'm Saying?

Today's Celebrity is the ONE.... the ONLY.... Dr. Faber!!
 The story she chose is perfect for fall.

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

Thank you, Dr. Faber! Can't wait to have you back at the Hills!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Science Puzzles

Over on Third Grade Thinkers, Ms. Chastain shared the science vocabulary puzzles she made over fall break. Feel free to hop on over and download them for yourself!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Not bad for our first day back!

Our first day back from fall break and it was a success! I don't think anything educational was lost or misplaced over the break! It's a miracle!
For language arts we are working on simple subjects and predicates. Since Mrs. Jackson covered this topic during our first Boot Camp rotation, my students were already familiar with the concept.

Subject- who or what the sentence is about
Predicate- starting with the verb, tells what the subject does

We practiced with a simple sentence. We underlined the subject and circled the predicate.

Looks easy enough. Now to add some motions.

To add some kinesthetic learning- movements to imprint the topic into our brains, we added our arms. I said a sentence and my students repeated it back to me while underlining the subject and circling the predicate with their arms.

You know you're impressed!

I took pictures of our literacy centers. We are reviewing synonyms, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and pronouns.

 Synonym Cinnamon Rolls- Found at Lesson Plan Diva

 Farmer Blends- found at Herding Kats in Kindergarten

Parts of Speech Dominoes- found at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

I want everyone to know that my class was AWESOME today! The only behavior colors that were changed today were due to students forgetting their agendas at home. Let's hope the good behavior stays throughout the week!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


One reason I love Clifton Hills is because we have connections to some really neat people. For instance, Mrs. Ritchey, one of our ELL teachers, is married to Brett Ritchey, who is a radio announcer for J 103 here in Chattanooga!

Now Mr. Ritchey is no stranger to General Delk's Army. Last year he was one of our Celebrities for Celebrity Story Saturday and he made a special appearance as Farmer Brown. He jumped at the chance to be featured again for BIG PLANS!

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?

Thank for coming by, Mr. Ritchey! 


Friday, October 5, 2012

21 "Fix-Them-to-Fit-You" Centers

Can I just say...again... how much I L.O.V.E Dr. Faber? No students for a whole day, and I get to bask in Faber's glow. Perfection.

(Was that laying it on too thick? Cause I'm not using sarcasm at all. I really loved today.)

The focus of today was how to make easy-to-adapt centers using what you already have on hand.Or, using things you can talk your administration into getting for you; file folders, manilla envelopes, card stock, sandwich baggies....

To prove how easy this is, she spent one night making 21 literacy and math centers. It took a few hours, but 21 CENTERS PEOPLE! She didn't get to laminate anything, but the ideas were there.

** Dr. Faber promised to email us the Word Docs she used for these centers. When I get the email, I will update this post with everything.**

Special Shout-Out to my Third Grade Team for being models in my pictures! :)

#1 Sound and Spelling Sorts

 Long and short "a" sort

 Consonant blends

 Long and short "i" words

A great place to get some activities like this, is the Florida Center for Reading Research. Pick your grade level and there you go!

#2 Anticipation Guides- Whole Group
Dr. Faber included a Signal Word Sort, a Vocabulary Sort, and a Summarizing activity. All the activities revolved around the same story. Center #3 was centered on the story as well, thus proving one can do many, many things with a great story.

 Signal Word Sort
Students take parts of the story and separate them into the correlating question.

 Vocabulary Sort
Students match words and definitions

Using an easy fold, students retell the story

#3 Three more stations on the same story
Before/ During/ After questions, Making Connections, Vocabulary flip-books

 Before/ During/ After questions
It's a matching game and a comprehension tool!

 Vocabulary Flip-books
I think everyone and their brother understands that I love flip-books. And lapbooks, And awesomeness. 
The teacher includes a list of words from the text and the definition. Students are to write words and definitions on each page of the flip-book, along with a sentence and possibly an illustration. 

Making Connections
The teacher makes a list of possible connections from the text and students have to choose which connection the teacher was making.

#4 Fluency- Emotions
By far one of the favorites of the day. The only thing missing was a chart with pictures of the emotions. So, I decided to make one. You may find it {HERE}.

#5 Consonant and Vowel Sorts
Not only sorting vowels, but deciding if the word begins or ends with a vowel and using syllables.

Have students who aren't sure of their vowels? No problem! Dr. Faber has a handy-dandy vowel song!

#6 Math Sorts- Vocabulary
 Done in 3 parts- vocabulary sort, math prefixes, picture vocabulary and definitions

Not going to lie, the vocabulary words were hard. Of course they could be modified to different grade levels and students would be able to use the math word wall.

#7 Fraction Dominoes

Dominoes are color coded and can be used for all sorts of skills- multiplication/ division, geometric shapes, sight words and pictures, nouns/verbs/adjectives... you name it!
The activity would need to be modeled first. I made an assumption that my students knew about dominoes, and I got a long 'train' instead of a 'branched tree'. Never assume.

#8 Prefix + Word + Suffix
Color coded, use sight words. Dr. Faber only used the top 4 prefixes and suffixes. Students can practice making words, creating sentences, inventing easy definitions, etc.

#9 Guided Reading Book Clubs
If you've ever joined a book club, you know how they work. Chapter by chapter students will discuss characters, plot, setting, find new vocabulary, etc. Dr. Faber shared {THIS} website. 

#10 Expository Text Patterns

We decided that we wouldn't put all 8 on a page. We would only look at maybe 3 at a time. We also talked about choosing different passages to differentiate the center for our students.

#11 Paragraph Puzzles
Take a paragraph from a text you've read before and cut it up. Students have to put it back together. This would be good for poetry, songs, chants... anything students need to learn with fluency.

 Add the passage so students can check their work. 

 #12 Reading & Writing Station
RAFT, Tic-Tac-Toe, Top 10

#13 Synonym, Antonym, Homonym
Self explanatory, really. Make sure they are color coded!

#14 Reader's Theater/ Choral Reading
Differentiate the reading for the different reading levels in the class

#15 How Can This Be Used?
Dr. Faber used those picture cards that you find at the Dollar Store and Walmart to prove that we teachers assume a lot. We assume that students will see a picture of a Jack-o-Lantern and not think "pumpkin". That's asking a lot from student who might not have ever seen a pumpkin in real life. So, instead of using them as the creators might have intended, we were asked to create new purposes.

#16 5W's & H- Basic Signal Words

Fun way to choose which question to answer first- roll the die!

#17 Open Sort Review
Students sort different techniques used in the 5 Elements of Reading.

#18- Newspaper Search
Students use the newspaper to find sight words, vocabulary, word families, etc.

#19 Fact & Opinion
Students decide is statements are facts or opinions.

We decided that we would make statements based on science or social studies lessons for extra practice. We would also use card stock and laminate the statements instead of using so many copies.

#20 Creating Sentences
Sentences can be logical or silly. Color coded, of course.

#21 Puzzle Review
Make puzzles using vocabulary from across curriculum, add definitions, pictures, and examples. Students put the puzzle back together while explaining to a partner what each word means.

Here are some that Ms. Roach made during a break

Poetry 1

Poetry 2