Monday, November 17, 2014

Don't Let Pigeon Eat the Pumpkin Pie!

Are your students as into the Pigeon books as my third graders?! If so they will love, LOVE the fall-inspired Pigeon craft I created and used in my classroom. First, I started by reading Don't Let Pigeon Ride the Bus, by Mo Willems. As a class we brainstormed ideas related to fall and autumn.

Our list included:

  • Playing in/raking leaves
  • Hunting
  • Carving pumpkins
  • Spending time with family
  • A Thanksgiving feast
  • Wearing warm clothes
Then, I encouraged my students to relate these fall-esque ideas to Pigeon. I shared with them my example...Don't Let Pigeon Eat the Pumpkin Pie.
I asked that students write on their "Don't Let Pigeon" half sheets before starting on their craft. Here are some of the ideas they came up with. 

I put all of the little cuties on the bulletin board outside of our classroom....and VOILA! Fall craft complete! 
Find this NEWLY UPDATED craft  in my TPT store! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

That's just the way the Cookie Crumbles

How do you manage student behavior? Something new I've started this year, called smart cookies, really has my students motivated! I've created a document with a smart cookie template. Once I've printed the document I'll copy the page on multi-colored paper from Staples and cut out the cookies individually. They end up looking like this...

At  the beginning of the school year I gave these out like crazy for coming into the classroom quietly, quickly showing me that they were ready to learn, etc. I award them for many different reasons. When students earn a smart cookie they know to put their name on the back of the paper.
They then put them into the massive cookie jar! On Friday afternoon I pull anywhere from 10 to 12 cookies from the jar. The students' names that are pulled will get a piece of candy. See the gold smart cookie pictured above? I award the golden smart cookies for EXCELLENT behavior! In the case that I pull a golden smart cookie at the end of the week that student has the opportunity to pull from a prize box (filled with dollar store goodies..oooh yah!)

This approach to behavior management works well for my students! Because I don't always pull everyone's name from the jar I also have a 20 - 30 minute block of time set aside at the end of the day on Friday called "Fun Friday." This allows the well behaved kids a reward despite not being pulled from the cookie jar.

If you're interested in using this idea you can find it for free here. If you choose to use it please share your experiences and comment below!! Thanks!! :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dog Breath...Piu!!

What do we do when we notice that our students are struggling to understand an idea? Well we create a fun craftivity to make a memorable learning experience! That is the exact result of my latest creation!

I observed during writer's workshop that many of my students were failing to organize their writing using a beginning, middle, and end. Even their reading response retells were lacking organization. Right now my students are loving Dav Pilkey...mostly his Captain Underpants books I keep in my classroom library. I chose to use one of his picture books called Dog Breath...the kids got a kick out of it! All in all it's about a family's dog that cannot get rid of her dog breath. After reading it all together I decided that we would create a cute craft that went along with the message of the lesson.

I modeled for students how to write on the inside pages (check out the dog bowl and inside pages on my TPT store). I then wrote Hally Tosis (the name of the dog) on the front of the dog bowl. My third graders really enjoyed cutting and gluing the dog food on the bowl!

When everyone finished I filled up our empty classroom bulletin board. I love the way it turned out...a cute AND effective lesson...what a success!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween on the Horizon!

Love, love Halloween! It's one of my favorite times of year...I'll admit it's madness, but I love it! This year I decided to include a fun, festive craft. Gritch the witch made an appearance in my classroom. The kids loved Margie Palatini's Piggie Pie. If you've not read the story...check it out! You won't regret it!

Anyways, as a class we read the story and talked about the recipe Gritch was using to make her pie. Then, we brainstormed different ingredients for spooky halloween food. The objective was to create a recipe that could go into Grtich's recipe book. Here is my class sample...

 Cat ear cupcakes...mmm' boy!
What I loved most about this craft and activity was that it really allowed students to explore their creativity!
I printed off a picture of Gritch to accompany our recipes..and voila! A page from Gritch's recipe book..done! I hung them in the entrance to my classroom for all to see!
This was such a quick, easy, and fun activity to do as a class. If you're looking for the recipe card you can find it here at my TPT store!

Happy crafting!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Classroom Design

I should start by introducing myself! My name is Molly Whetstone and I am a first year teacher at an urban school district in central Illinois! I teach third grade and could not be more in love with my job. The start of this school year has been crazy...especially since it's my first time putting everything altogether. I have to say that putting together my classroom has been one of my very favorite parts of the start of the new school year. Because I've had so much fun getting organized and decorating I thought I would take an opportunity to share some of my ideas! I hope you enjoy! :)

I decided on a colorful, but gender neutral color theme! I love the bright colors..they really allow for some creative thinking! Here are a couple pictures of my classroom library. The colorful pillow came from Gordmans...and they were relatively cheap I might add! The bins came from Big Lots as part of their "back to school" decor. I attached the library labels by laminating, hole punching, and running a ring through the label and the container...(I know how much of a pain stray library labels can be!!)

I am so fortunate to have many bulletin boards in my room. I love designing bulletin boards inside and outside of my classroom! My favorite is probably the bulletin board dedicated to our current anchor charts!
Aren't these huge google eyes adorable? As soon as I found them at Michaels I knew I had to use them somehow! :) So, so cute!

This bulletin board is reserved for student work! ...SUPER STAR student work! The kids love looking at their hard work in the classroom!
 This is how we keep track of our math workshop rotations!
I saw the idea of a move-able word wall on Pinterest. I can't wait to start using the word wall for word work activities!

Along with our math workshop rotations we practice the Daily 5 in reader's workshop using a similar schedule. I printed, cut, and laminated the labels. I hot glued magnets on the bag so that the labels can be switched out easily! The labels include (read to self, reading response, listening to reading, buddy reading, and word work). My students rotate through the rotations using the tables they sit at!

 My super talented father built me a book bin organizer! This was before the bins arrived. On top of the book bin organizer are our word work centers. I purchased the color coordinated bins at Dollar General. Below the counter are the students' math bags (each student has their own). They are held up by a shower curtain rod. Below the bags are our math center games!
...Finally! The book bins I ordered from really good stuff were on back order forever! The kids were oh so excited when they finally arrived.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour of my classroom! A lot of the design inspiration came from a classroom decor blog and shop. Check out Schoolgirl Style! Her classroom themes are amazing and at a reasonable price too!

Please, please borrow any ideas and comment with questions or suggestions! :)

The Sunny Side