Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Super Spelling Overhaul

About a month ago, I started using the premium version of Spelling City hoping it would make it easier for my kiddos to get consistent practice with their words. I was also looking for something to to make MY "plate" a little less full. :)

Holy Moses. When I tell you that this site has taken a huge weight off my shoulders, I am not lying

Peeps, in a departmentalized school, we are expected to teach Reader's Workshop, Writer's Workshop, Skills (ELA) and Spelling (Words Their Way) all in a 2.5 hour block each day. Yep. 

I will be the first to admit that Words Their Way (Spelling) took a back seat to Reader's Workshop, Writer's Workshop and Skills. (hangs head in shame)

Enter Spelling City. It takes me about 30 minutes to enter the new sorts (lists) for each group and choose their assignments. I have 2 groups, and I LOVE being able to differentiate their lists AND their assignments. 



One of the things my parents have loved is the Spelling City app that is available on iPhones (and coming soon to Droid phones!). Not many of my kiddos have internet access at home, but many of their parents do have iPhones, iPads or an iTouch. If they download the app, the kids can log in and practice their list for the week in several different games. Not every game is available - there is a logo in the assignment dashboard (for teachers) next to games that do not work with the app.


I learned my lesson during week one with Spelling City. While you can set it up so that students complete tasks randomly, I prefer for my kids to move through the assignments in a set order. I had several kids picking the Spelling TestMe options (spelling test) instead of the Practice Test at the beginning of each sort. It's an easy fix, but one I'd rather not stop to do every time one of my kiddos clicked on the wrong activity. 

I also love being able to look and see which words they missed on the pretest and how long it takes them to complete different activities. This is a huge help when I go to pull small groups for Word Work instruction. I know which words and patterns to spend more time on, and which words/patterns I can review quickly. 



Then there's the feature that made my heart SING!!! I do not have to grade a single spelling test ever again. EVER!! As soon as the kids complete the Spelling TestMe activity, their grades are recorded and display under the Test Results tab. When they complete a new test, it averages everything together. 

Can you hear me singing from here??? I know it might sound like something small, but being able to just print that out when it comes time for report cards is m-a-g-i-c-a-l!! If a kid is struggling, I can also print the individual results out for RTI purposes or parent conferences. I can even show them how much time the student has spent utilizing the site and which words they miss repeatedly. Amazing! 

Finally, if you need a little more convincing before you purchase this for your own classroom or (even better) talk to your principal about purchasing it for your class/grade level/school, take a look at one of my cutie-patooties weighing in with her own opinion on Spelling City! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Georgia Girls Get-Together!

On Saturday, a fabulous thing happened.

I got together with some of the sweetest bloggers our Peach State has to offer. It was freezing for these Georgia girls, but we stayed warm inside The Cheesecake Factory!



 
Row 1: Funky Fresh Firsties

Row 2: The Bubblegum Tree, Georgia Grown Kinders, Mrs. Jump's Class, Grade School Giggles, iTeach, Terry's Teaching Tidbits, The Extra Energetic Educator

Row 3: Sharing Kindergarten, Kindergals (both of them!) :), Mandy's Tips for Teachers, Teaching 4 Real, And They All Fall Down, Sherry, 3rd Grade Gridiron, Your Favorite Bookworm!

If you aren't following all of these ladies, make sure you check out their blogs for lots of new and fun fabulous ideas!

Sweet Mandy also made us these place mats so we could put faces with blog buttons as well! :)


We gave away a few door prizes too! Georgia Grown Kinders got a yummy bottle of vanilla lotion, iTeach walked away with a super-cute spring scarf, Fun 2B in First snagged a thermal mug, and Mrs. Jump's Class left with some St. Patrick's Day hand towels!

I really loved meeting everyone and I wish I had taken more pictures - we were just too busy talking!! (Imagine that! Teachers! Talking!)

 I am so thankful for new sweet friends who understand my need for cute clip art and fonts. :) I can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Positively Presidential! {A Freebie!}

This week is all about the love, but we can't forget to incorporate some love for our (U.S.) presidents as well!



I'll pull this out next week after our (blessed) four-day weekend. I'm hoping use it as a reteaching tool later in the week for some of my sweet kiddos who are still struggling to tell the difference between nouns, verbs, and adjectives. 

Here's the skinny on the retooled version of this fun freebie:
  • 3 new sentences added
  • 6 different presidents mentioned - Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, Bush, and Obama!
  • larger, numbered word cards with coordinating graphics
  • sorting sheet for word cards so students can sort words for individual sentences
I'm planning on placing the word cards in Ziploc bags, so that I have 9 total - one baggie for each sentence. I'll place 1-2 baggies at each table and then in a few other places around the room, including my table. This way I can meet with small groups of students to see how well they understand the difference between nouns, verbs and adjectives. The rest of my kiddos can circulate the room with a partner or on their own to work through the activity.

Lord help me, adverbs are up next! :)

As always, if this is something you can use be sure to leave me some love below or on TpT where you can snag it for FREE!
I'm also linking up with Brenda at Primary Inspired for her All-American Resource Round-Up!





Sunday, February 10, 2013

Something Good and Love, Love, Love My Readers - A Freebie!

First, I'm linking up with my sweet bloggy peep Jennifer over at Rowdy in First Grade. It's been a hard week, but I'm going to focus on the happy with...


Something Good at Home:

We've been attending the sweetest church for the last year or so, but haven't really "plugged in" to make it our church "home" yet. I am really looking forward to going to our community group gathering tonight and becoming a bigger part of our church.

Also, my favorite Snor-a-saurus Rex went for a SLEEP STUDY on Friday night. Hall-e-u-yer! We'll get the results back sometime this week, but it is a BIG step for the hubs to even admit he is a little, um, noisy at night. :)

Something Good at School:

We just finished reading Because of Winn-Dixie and I just about died when I read the last page and all 42 of my kiddos gave it a standing ovation. How sweet is that??? I am seriously in love with anything Kate DiCamillo writes. Our timing was perfect because we can't have a Valentine's Day party, but we can have a Movie Party on Thursday to celebrate the end of our read-aloud!


 
On a side note, I had such big plans for February.
 
Valentine's Day packet, Heroes and Villains unit, St. Patrick's Day update...

HA! :)

The St. Patrick's Day update will happen. I think. The Heroes and Villains unit will come along as well, but not nearly as quickly as I imagined in my head. I also have bits and pieces of a Valentine unit but that will just have to wait until next year. 
 
In the meantime, I hope you'll be able to use this fun freebie in your classes this week. 
 
 
Click Me!
 
I am continually amazed by the love you all have shown this blog and my TpT store over the last year. Thank you - from the bottom of this busy heart! 


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Whew!

I told some friends last night that when I listed this packet, I felt like somebody needed to give me a t-shirt. Or a cookie.

I went with the cookie. :)

Click Me!


It's designed to help 1st-3rd grade teachers review, introduce and extend the comma conventions listed in the Common Core. I started to make this pack exclusively for 3rd grade, but I found my students needed a BIG refresher on the standards now listed for 1st and 2nd grade as well.

Standards Covered:

3rd Grade:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.2b Use commas in addresses.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.2c Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.

2nd Grade:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.2b Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.

1st Grade:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.2c Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series.

 Inside, you'll find:

1. Anchor Chart Resources:
  • Cards that list the standard and provide an example for students.
  • I used these to create my charts as needed. I put the standard and example card at the top, and then we brainstormed additional examples together in a shared/interactive writing setting.
  • This was key for my teammates and I - it gave us the flexibility to review and reinforce what we needed to teach individually.


 2. Flipping Over Commas:
  • Flipbooks are included for each standard!
  • For standards that list more than one skill, I've broken it up into separate flipbooks. For example, you'll find one flipbook for using commas in dates and a second flipbook for separating single words in a series.
3. Sentence Scramble:
  • Again, these are broken into sections by grade level standards and for standards that list more than one skill, the sentences are separated. 
  • We used this as a "Scoot" game. Students worked together to unscramble the word and punctuation cards and create the sentence correctly. When they were given the OK, they recorded their work on an answer sheet. I only asked my kids to do this 3 times - you can always run off the recording sheet back-to-back and have them list every sentence. 
  • You can also put the sentence scramble cards in a center or have them play a relay-race game in groups of 3-5.
4. Comma Chameleon Sentence Sort
  • Once again, each activity is repeated according to grade level standards. 
  • Students can work independently or with a partner to look at 6 cards. They have to sort them on to a mat labeled "Correct Chameleon" or "No Way Newt."
  • After sorting, they choose one of the cards to write correctly on a recording sheet and come up with an additional example on their own.






I also managed to squeak out a Spring version of Apply the Adjective before I crashed last night.

Click Me Too!

The Spring version includes word cards related to:
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Spring
  • Easter
  • Earth Day

WHEW!

If you made it through all of that, you deserve a cookie too. :)

How about a BOGO deal instead?



For any item you purchase from my store during today's sale, you can pick one our free (of equal or lesser value). Just purchase your more expensive item on TpT and then receive your free item via email.

DON'T put the free item in your cart on TpT!!

Instead, send me an email with your TpT username (so I can verify your purchase) and the name of the free item from my store that you'd like.

thirdgradebookworm@gmail.com

Woo-hoo!

Happy Sunday! I'm off to do some shopping of my own! :) 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Currently and a SALE!

I just love the beginning of every month. Going through and reading all of the Currently posts just makes me smile. :)



Listening: My sweet giant fur-baby is sitting in front of my laptop as I get this post together. He has found the perfect sun spot on our table and he is purring like nobody's business. I love it.

Charlie
Loving: Our Lighthouse Team visited a local Leader in Me school for their 5th annual Leadership Day. It was amazing! So many ideas to "borrow" - I can't wait to share them with you! That's going to get it's own post.

Thinking: I have something really special up my sleeve for my sisters and my mama for Valentine's Day. No, I am not pregnant. Sorry. :)

Wanting: Now, I know my northern bloggy buddies and readers might disagree with me, but I really really really really want a snow day. Just a day to finish (or start) the bajillion and one projects I have in my head and around my house. Anybody with me?

Needing: Clarity. Nothing major or life-changing. Just praying that He will make the path He has for me clear. :)

Pet Peeves: Bullies - kids (and adults!) being mean just to be mean - is something I/we absolutely do not tolerate. My teaching partner and I work hard from Day One to establish a sense of family between our classes. I understand the occasional argument or cranky moment between kids. But being hateful on purpose to make yourself feel bigger and better? Don't do it!!

Liars - I have to agree with Farley on this one. Please tell me the truth the first time. Because if I have to waste my teaching time investigating and interrogating your friends to find out what really happened, things are going to be SO much worse for you. I will write you up. I will call your mother. I will make sure you spend some quality time away from my classroom researching and writing about the truth.

Missing Manners - I know as teachers we see this all the time. It doesn't make it any less aggravating for me. If you want something different on your tray at lunch, you need to use the words "May I please..." and "THANK YOU" with the lunch ladies. Hold the door open for others. Stop when an adult is trying to cross the hall and you are in a looooong line of children keeping them from their destination. "Yes ma'am" and "No ma'am" are appropriate responses to yes or no questions. "Huh?" and "Yeah" are absolutely unacceptable. Maybe I should offer a class. :)

It felt good to get that all out.

Before I sign off for the day, know that I am working like a crazy person to try and finish up this unit:

Note the absence of the smiling Cheeto. Thank you. :)

When I do, I will come back and give 3 copies away! This has been a long and laborious project, but I want to make sure it is practically perfect before I put it up in my store. My sweet teammates have been so patient and helpful. If either of you are reading this, THANK YOU! :)

I also wanted to make sure you knew about the upcoming sale on TpT:


Thank you to the fabulous Ashley Hughes for the adorable graphic. The full 28% off will be on Sunday only. Make sure you use the promo code SUPER when you check out.

Monday's sale will be 20% since the promo code is only good for Sunday. I'm extending my portion of the sale just in case there are buyers like me who always forget something and want to go back for more! :)

Now go link up with Farley and check out all the other Currentlys!


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