FIve For Friday!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey!

This week was super short… only 2 1/2 days! The kids were very excited all week for Thanksgiving. However, it was rather relaxing having 10 out of 28 kids absent on Wednesday! We had a fun day, reading N.C. Wyeth's Pilgrims and creating a literature web, watching a BrainPop and Learn360 on Thanksgiving traditions, and typing up our DBQ's on Google Classroom. 
I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my dear mother, sister, grandmother, her husband, and my fantastic boyfriend. We ate at a nice restaurant (which means I wasn't forced to eat turkey and traditional Thanksgiving foods, whoop whoop! I got some pumpkin ravioli instead). Then we returned to my grandma's house. Later in the night, my boyfriend and I went to a friend's home. It was a very successful Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for all the people in my life.

Officially feels like November! Leaves are changing colors and it finally is getting rather cold. My boyfriend and I went to a winery on Saturday and had a chance to see all the beautiful changing leaves. The winery was DELICIOUS and a nice break after a stressful week!

My boyfriend and I are driving up to Rehobeth Beach to spend some time at my mom's beach house. Although it's chilly at the beach, there is a lot of fun small-town activities taking place there, such as lighting the Christmas Tree! Should be a blast and festive.

I am having a Cyber Monday sale at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Click here if you're interested in a sale on some great goodies :-)

Phases of the Moon with Oreo Cookies

Firstly, happy Thanksgiving! Phew, we made it, teachers! The kids left at 1:35 today, and I promptly left at 1:36 :-)   It was a very easy day. I signed up for the computer lab the entire morning, and my kids typed up their DBQ's on Google Classroom. Half of my kids were missing today, so it was nice to feel productive yet not worry that anyone was missing much.

This is a product that I LOVE for teaching the phases of the moon. I sell it on Teachers Pay Teachers as well, click here if you're interested in purchasing it. I saw many of the Oreo Phases of the Moon projects on Pinterest, but there were no ready-made kits, mostly just ideas. I put everything together into an easy product. It has all the labels and cute little clipart, in both color and black and white. It is too stinking cute, I love it. Double Stuft Oreo's work the best because the cream isn't set on the cookie very well, so it's easy peasy to scrape off. I made a Google Doc for parents to sign up to bring in Oreo's (it unfortunately takes quite a few bags of Oreo's!). I will be using this activity to teach VA SOL 3.8 in about two weeks, I know the kids will adore it.

Once There Was A Tree..... November Bulletin Display

I love creating book-themed bulletin boards. I adore seeing my students' excitement over the display, and love hearing "OOH did you read that book?" In the spirit of November and Thanksgiving, this month I created a Giving Tree display. I find the illustrations and surface simplicity of this book charming.

This display was easy to make. I cut out brown butcher paper and green butcher paper for the tree. I traced the old man and little boy on my projector. This tree was a hassle. I had visions of making both the leaves and the trunk a dark green color (like the book), but my school was out of dark green butcher paper. UGH. Plans had to be rethought. I do not like how the tree turned out, but I think it provides a cute backdrop for the rest of my display.

I think I love making book-themed bulletin boards so much because I get to use my projector to trace memorable book characters. The traced drawings always amaze my students! They think their teacher is the best artist in the world.... I never tell them my trick. Whoops. As a super unartistic person, it is nice to have someone think that I have artistic talent :-)

Each writing piece that I displayed centers around the idea of "How to be a giving person." The kids and I brainstormed how to be kind and giving to our friends, families, and communities. It was cute to see what they came up with. A perfect idea for November, a time of giving thanks to others!

I personally find the book The Giving Tree a bit sick and an uncomfortable read, which I think is the point of it. The relationship shown in the book is dysfunctional and abusive. It is reminiscent of relationships where someone keeps giving and giving and giving, yet in return never gets anything. Many of us have been in relationships where we constantly give, only to realize in the end that our mate is nothing but a self-indulgent taker. Sadly, the tree never comes to this conclusion. She gives, and gives, and gives, and loves, until there is nothing left of her.

The book is sweet and wonderful until the boy finds a girlfriend and decides that he needs to build a house so he happily cuts down the tree's limbs. Suddenly, the book takes a turn from a kind, loving relationship to one of manipulation and enabling. Shel Silverstein does a fantastic job of bringing the idea of a children's book into a more adult and mature setting. This is rather off-topic... but the idea of an "adult children's book" always reminds me of that Sex and the City episode with Carrie Bradshaw... where she meets with Big's ex-wife and on-the-spot comes up with an idea for a "children's book for adults" about Suzie and her magical cigarettes.

This post quickly went off-topic, but the display was easy to create and ultimately ADORABLE! Try it for November or December, the months of giving :-)

Five For Friday.... late!

This is my first time doing a Linky Party... so hopefully I am doing this right! Make sure to take a peek at Doodle Bug's Teaching for some great ideas. 

So glad this week was over! The kids were so excited about Halloween this week, so it made for a rather rough week. Fingers crossed that they had an awesome time celebrating on Friday!

Our classroom Halloween party went well! We watched a Magic School Bus: Going Batty while enjoying brownies, Goldfish crackers, and lollipops. I have the best classroom parents to help make our days so much fun!

Officially feels like November! Leaves are changing colors and it finally is getting rather cold. My boyfriend and I went to a winery on Saturday and had a chance to see all the beautiful changing leaves. The winery was DELICIOUS and a nice break after a stressful week!


Mindmapping is my new favorite way to review for science and social studies tests! This tool can also easily be used for math and language arts. These graphic organizers connect and organize concepts, so the kids see how their learning fits into a "bigger picture."

The mindmaps in this post are all about our Civics unit. Look at the one below. There are pictures, symbols, and descriptions of the different information that will be on the test. It helps connect the terms so that students can visually see that all these ideas and concepts fall under a bigger blanket term.

 It is easy to differentiate with mindmapping. I pretype up a list of vocab words that the kids need to know. This is a difficult activity for some of the kids, and the pretyped list is all that they will include. It is a great way to see what your kids do and do not know. Your high-flyers will have some really awesome mindmaps.

Mindmapping can also be done on Kidspiration, or I have used these with great success with my my students.

Have you used mindmapping before? How do you do it similarly or differently? If you haven't, try it as a review to wrap up your next unit!

Vocabulary Notebooks

I am SO excited for my vocabulary notebooks this year! They are, without a doubt, my favorite thing that I have created or used in my classroom.

In the past, my team used Michael Clay Thompson's Building Language in our language arts block. I adore this man and his teachings. I have been to multiple sessions of his trainings. He is so passionate about what he teaches. If you haven't heard of him, here is a YouTube video of some of his beliefs concerning literature and grammar. I have a huge crush on him.... I know, I'm creepy. Clearly I have a thing for older men with a passion for literature. He makes a great point that kids need to begin in early elementary school to encounter serious, academic words. He explains that if a child knows the word "tyrannosaurus rex," it is ridiculous that they are not taught how to interpret or decipher a word like "serene." Here is his website if you'd like more information or are interested in some of his works.

I created an engaging, hands-on, and informative Vocabulary Notebook, and I offer it on Teachers Pay Teachers. Feel free to take a peek at it here! All you need for this is a notebook for each of your kids. I use a spiral for my kiddos.

The product has step-by-step instructions so you can easily make this part of your language arts block. What I love is that after the initial setup and explanation to the kids how to do each of the "days," they can do it all by themselves. It is perfect while you are meeting at your small table with groups, the kids are independent and learning on their own. There's a beginning section of the notebook complete with vocabulary Frayer Models so that the kids truly understand what morphology is.

We switch out our Vocabulary and Word Study. So one week of word study, one week of Vocabulary.

MONDAY: Do vocabulary word sort. Highlight prefixes/suffixes/roots of the week.
TUESDAY: Morpheme Illustration
WEDNESDAY: Dictionary Detectives! Kids get dictionary practice and must look up five of the words of the week and write their definitions and page numbers.
THURSDAY: Make flashcards for words and do Sentence Scribes.
FRIDAY: Cumulative "vocab check."

MONDAY: For example, the morphemes of the week were "vis" and "vid." I choose two roots that mean the same thing. The words are sorted in the graphic organizer, then the kids highlight the morpheme of the week. Okay, I don't know why there are explanation marks after the vis and vid.... SO EXCITING! Don't worry, I have edited them in the actual product tee hee. It made my kids giggle though!

TUESDAY: Morpheme Illustration! In their Vocab Notebooks, the kiddos write each of the morphemes of the week. They also write each of the words, and draw pictures to illustrate each one. For example, the Constitution for the word preamble, rain for a forecast, and an eye for foresee. Pictures and visuals are one of the best for creating memories! This is definitely the students' favorite day. How funny is that second journal?? "I am dehydrated after PE. Just like I am at the exact moment I am writing this." My students are so sassy this year, they seriously make my day.

 WEDNESDAY: Dictionary Detectives. Kids find out the meaning of the word, citing both guide words and page number for proof that they found the word! Dictionary work and guide words is a skill that third-graders are still learning and working on, so this can be challenging for some of them. Sometimes I have the struggling kiddos do this in partners. How cute is the detective clip art??? I am such a clip art addict. I love cutesy clip art, but I think this notebook is more suited toward older kids, so I had to put a halt on my usual "adorable children smiling" clip art.

THURSDAY: Sentence Scribes. Kiddos make sentences with their words of the week! Easy, fun, and reinforces the idea of where the prefix/root/suffix is located.

FRIDAY: Cumulative vocab quick check! The morphemes of the week are added to all the previously studied morphemes. The quiz on week 12 is realllyyyyy long, but the first couple of weeks are short and sweet. I have a Quizlet that the kids log on to in order to study.

My fave aspect of this notebook is the cumulative vocab quick check at the end. After a few weeks, the kids are shocked to realize how many morphemes they learned in such a small amount of time. Breaking it down into small, organized chunks does wonders for the kids' memorization and understanding.

Again, I love this. And I truly want you to love it too and try it out. I am so passionate about this creation, and my students' vocabulary grows tremendously over the course of the year as they learn more and more about how to break words into meaningful units.

What do you think? How do you teach prefixes/suffixes/roots at your school? Do you have any questions about the notebook and how it is set up?