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!