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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Reading Marathon

We had a Reading Marathon last Wednesday!  I found this idea in the fall on a website and have no idea from who...if it was you, please let me know so I can give you credit!

What is a Reading Marathon?  It was 110 minutes of reading and writing and the kids loved it!!!
The day started with the children getting a piece of large paper and folding into 6 squares.  They took out the book that they were reading independently.  I set my timer to keep everyone on task.  Every ten minutes the children would alternate between working on a square or reading.  I even participated in the reading!  The kids asked to do this everyday...I told them once a month!  I think I might try a different genre.  This could be tweaked to do a project.  ex. Animals
Round 1- Make a new cover for your book, including title and author. (10 minutes)
Round 2- Read for 10 minutes
Round 3- Choose your favorite character draw and label.  Write three important details about the character.
Round 4- Read for 10 minutes
Round 5- Write a quick summary of your book.  (We used the somebody, wanted, but, so, then organizer)
Round 6- Read for 10 minutes

Round 7- Draw a visualization from the book.
Round 8- Read for 10 minutes
Round 9- Write 3 questions about your book.  (we used "I wonder" statements too)

Round 10- Read for 10 minutes

Round 11- Write a connection or the theme or both.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday's Five Fabulous Finds (on Pinterest)

Here are five of my favorite pins for the week! 

My next math unit is Fractions.  I have been looking for new lessons to teach a difficult concept to my students.  I plan on using some of these sheets in their notebooks.
I just LOVE this  "Making Connections" anchor chart.  I need to get my daughter to crochet some chains!  I like the connection to media.
This set of cards will be awesome for teaching Roots...part of the Common Core.  I love the visuals on the cards.  (great for English Language Learners)
This activity is a must-do in my class.  How easy???  I like the connection between Fractions and Decimals.
A Friday true!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lucky Day- Part 2

I had a previous post about a Lucky Day prompt. Click the link to read more it:

Here is a picture of the bulletin board I created with their published stories.  
I bought the felt pot at the Dollar Tree and used tissue paper to make the rainbow. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shower of Strategies

It seems everyone is testing this week!!!! 
 I can't wait for it to be more round of testing in May!
 (Math isn't as stressful)

I read"The Biggest Test in the Universe". 
It is a humorous look at taking a test. 

We brainstormed a list of testing strategies and I had the children pick what they needed to focus on, during the test.  They wrote and illustrated a raindrop.

Here is the sign I put on the umbrella handle.  I printed out two and stapled them together.

Click image below to print:

Here are some colorful raindrops:

Click the picture below to go to Dots-n-Spots water bottle labels.  She has some great ideas for test week.  My class decorated her water bottle labels. Go to her blog for more ideas:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Got Read Aloud?

What books do you use for read aloud?
I am new to fourth grade and have been discovering so many great titles this year.  I have been modeling independent reading and reading aloud daily.

Here is what is happening in Room 210...
I am reading Punished.  The story is about a boy who gets punished and has a spell put on him.  The boy needs to collect special words to break the spell.  The book discusses puns, oxymorons, anagrams, palindromes and onomatopoeia.  It is a short chapter book, a very quick read.
Check out the link:!.html

Here is a book that I just finished reading to my after school students.  This is a great story of friendship and perseverance.  Kate uses rich language and vocabulary.  At the end of every chapter, my students were begging for more.  I would highly recommend it...a tear jerker!
Check out the link:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday's Five Fabulous Finds (on Pinterest)

This was a CRAZY week and I did not have a lot of time to spend much time on Pinterest.
But I managed to still find 5!  Here they are...

A great persuasive happy to start a new genre of writing!
(after months of narrative)
A simile rainbow writing activity (I wish I could give out Skittles)

A cool trick for learning your 3's tables

A clever and cute way to store cupcake liners
Way too cute!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tools for Long Composition

Today I dressed up like Ms. Fix-it MCAS!  I know that I have stooped to gimmicks...but they are loving it!  I have to admit...I am too!!!!

Can I just say that overalls are not flattering???
I am so glad they never came back in style after the 80's.

Tomorrow is our MCAS long composition day!!!  My first one as a fourth grade teacher.  We have been working on strategies all year and today we are reviewing the acronyms:  VOICES and CUPS.  I have (hopefully) taught the children that these two words are their revising and editing checklists.  Everything in the room has to be covered and the only resource they can use is a dictionary.  I am sending home the sheet for them to study for homework.

My tool belt is full of tools that have the acronyms on them! 
Conventions (see CUPS)
Excellent Word Choice
Sentence Fluency


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Whoooo Can Summarize?

I love to use bookmarks with my children during Daily Five!  I have been focusing on various strategies for comprehension.  The past few weeks the strategy has been summarizing.  Here are my bookmarks that I created today! I printed them out on colored card stock and added some bright ribbon.

The children will write a summary in their weekly letters  to me about their reading using the key words from their bookmark.  (see my Book Whisperer Post for more information about letters) I change the focus of their letters to match the skill we are working on.

Click image below:


Showers of New Followers... 

Thanks to everyone who joined my blog this week-end.

I finally hit 100!!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Calling All 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade Bloggers!

 Lorraine at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies is having a link-up party for upper elementary blogs! Click on the button above to check out all the neat 3-5th grade blogs there are out there...
I'll bet you will find someone new!!!

Friday's Fabulous Finds (on Pinterest)

Here are five of my favorites for this week. 
 I love to find things that I will use at school or in my everyday life!

Great Visual for teaching yard, feet and inches

I want to do this next week but I am going to use a real umbrella!
Love the fraction kites...always looking for fraction ideas!
How cute is this summer wreath???
Waiting for Old Navy flip flop sale.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Lucky Day- Narrative Writing

I started out the lesson reading "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."  we listed all the unlucky things that happened to him during the day.  We talked about how all the things were realistic.  (I have a few friends who get carried away with their exaggeration)
Book Cover

The children brainstormed ideas in their journals about having a "Lucky Day" and all the really good things that could happen in one day.  We broke it down into morning, noon and night.

I had my children use:
a 4-square graphic organizer
six trait writing checklist

We spent several days writing, revising and editing.  They published their stories.  They added a LUCK sign complete with a real lucky penny!(glued over shamrock)  This is a perfect prompt for March.


Our MCAS long comp is March 20th.  Finally...we can move on to a new type of writing!!!!
I feel so LUCKY!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hallwarts School of Writing

We are getting ready for the" MCAS Long Composition" in a couple of weeks.  We have had two practice days as a grade level and over the next two weeks I am reviewing the six traits of writing and empowering writers. (plus many months of writing practice) I don't want to burn out my students so I was inspired by something fun that I saw on Writing Fix  I tweaked her lesson!  We are going to spend the week at "The Hallwarts School of Writing." 

Click on the image:
First, I reviewed the 6 traits of writing by creating anchor charts with my students and using the posters from  I did one trait a day and had the kids do that step in the writing process.
I used the Fourth Grade MCAS prompt from last Year.  Write about a special memory of a teacher, a funny memory, something your teacher taught you, a field trip or a time that your teacher made you feel proud.

Day 1- Ideas (Brainstorming)
Day 2- Organization (organization)
Day 3- Voice and Word Choice (Drafting)
Day 4- Sentence Fluency (revising)
Day 5- Conventions (Editing)

I continued going over these  6 Traits of Writing at the "Hallwarts School of Writing." I put the 6 areas of writing cards into my sorting hat and had the children each draw a trait.  The child read over their final draft and identified where and how they used that trait.  The children became the experts on that trait and highlighted the skill. I had each group use a specific color marker. (The teacher could assign the traits prior to the activity but I am going to take my chances with the luck of the draw)

I took pictures of each child with their trait hat.  (for those with the dreaded bug problems...I cover each head with paper towels for pictures)  I found a star border at Walmart.

I even downloaded some musical scores from the Harry Potter movies to play while the children worked on their writing.  The children enjoyed their magical week!