Sunday, February 26, 2012

Summary for Miss Nelson is Back

I thought I'd post this quick pic of an anchor chart we completed last week. We read Miss Nelson is Back which is one of my absolute favorites! We talked about how we need to include the characters, problem, and solution in a summary and show the flow of the story. The kids really enjoyed thinking of a summary as a story arc as you see in the chart below.
Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


This week starts the two week road to Open House! I always seem a bit overwhelmed the week of Open House so I've decided to start a bit early. We've been learning all about characters, problem, solution, genre, theme, and summary over the past few weeks. This week, I'm having my kids complete a comprehension activity for the book Verdi by Janell Canon. I absolutely love this book and it's great for summary! I originally got this idea from one of my coworkers and thought I'd add some stuff to it. I created a few things for students to complete and glue onto a "green snake" when they are finished reading Verdi.
 Students will write about the characters, problem, and solution for the top section of their snake. In the middle, they will write their summary. On the bottom section, they will write about the genre and theme of the book. You can download this activity here for free. :) It's a great way to see if student's are comprehending what they read while adding a little fun to it! Until next time...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reading Camp is over!

While I love our third grade reading camp we do each and every year, I'm glad it's over. :)  It's a great week of learning for the kids but it's also really exhausting for me!  I'm glad that everything went so well this year and the kids learned so much!

Each year, we host a reading camp that is all day long for an entire week. All of our third graders gather in the auditorium and sing camp songs, learn reading strategies through mini-lessons, and even compete in a "Word Wizards' contest. After we attend our normal specials (conference time), we go to our own rooms for a camp snack. We then rotate groups for genre studies where students have the opportunity to learn more details about each genre and really dive deep into comprehension skills in different genres. We finish up that section of camp with a read aloud time by the camp fire in my room. Now, as you can see in the picture below, my camp fire is fake of course! The kids love it when I turn on the lantern in the dark classroom and read by the "fire". It feels just a little bit more like camping even though we're at school!


We then headed off to lunch and recess. After coming in from recess we studied media literacy and followed that by read to self time. We ended the day with our readers theatre practice. We also had the chance to work in book clubs and reflect about camp each afternoon. It was a busy week, but a great one! I completely redid the camp journal we used last year and put it up on TPT. Check it out here!
It was a busy week but yet a great one in Cabin 203! Happy reading everyone!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Books! Books! Books!

Hey everyone! It has been a whirlwind of a week and I can't believe tomorrow is already Thursday. This week we are camping out in my classroom...not literally of course! We have a week long reading camp each year in third grade. We sing camp songs, play a word game called 'Word Wizards', learn reading strategies through mini-lessons, travel through genre study groups, act out reader's theatre scripts, and of course READ! I've created a few things this year for camp including a camp journal which has kept me quite busy! I can't wait to share it with y'all and will upload it this weekend. :)

Since we are in camp all week and reading books and more books, I decided to browse through my eBook resources so I could integrate some technology this week too! I've listed the eBook sites I use below so you can also have a spot to go with a list of links. I found of some of these through Pinterest, some I learned about at TCEA, and others I just stumbled across.

We Give Books

This is my latest fine and already a fav! We Give Books has several children's eBooks that you can use in your classroom. One of my new favorites is Goodnight iPad, similar to the book Goodnight Moon.
These are all free eBooks.

KOL Jr. Stories 

This site has eBooks for young kids. Some of the stories are unknown but they also have books from the Arthur series.


Tumblebooks is a great resource for eBooks for kids.  Unfortunately, it does cost money. However, there are readable books, audio books, and even books that read to you! Most books also have quizzes or games associated with them. Our school purchases this program so our kids can use it at school and home. The kids absolutely love it! They are also more and more nonfiction books too.

This is actually a link to an app for iPad or iPhone. Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite authors and I thought this is a great resource for classrooms using iPads, especially for the younger kiddos!

This is actually a site of videos where actors are reading well-known books. I like to use these from time to time for a reading lesson when I want to put a little novelty in my lesson. 

Barnes and Noble has some books online read by authors or actors. This is great for younger kids!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bloggy Tag!

Hey everyone! One of my followers, Kara, invited me to be part of Bloggy Tag!  I'm so excited to be involved in blog tagging for the very first time. Thanks Kara! If you haven't checked out her blog, Treadwell's Math Adventures, take a moment to stop by! She's got some GREAT ideas!

Here are the rules:
1. Post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them in your post.
5. Let them know that they have been tagged.

Okay, let's get started! 12 fun facts about myself...what if I'm not very fun? Haha...okay I'll try my very best!
  1. Even though I've lived in Texas for the last 16 years, I spent the first 18 years of my life as a Cali girl! I grew up in Tracy, California which is in central California. Being a Cali girl, I LOVE the beach. :)
  2. I grew up in a big family. I have two brothers and two sisters. I'm the second oldest in my family. :)
  3. I have the cutest puppy, Bela. She's a chocolate lab mix and is too cute! She's a little over a year old and I probably spoil her too much but I can't help myself. :)
  4. I'm an Aggie so I love Texas A&M, even if our football team hasn't done too well in the past few years. :-/ Gig Em Aggies!
  5. I am married to a great man named Blake. We are approaching our two year anniversary and I couldn't be happier!
  6. I love scrapbooking. I used to scrapbook all the time with my Cricut but blogging has taken over my spare time. I think I'm more addicted to blogging than scrapbooking now haha. 
  7. I'm addicted to ice-cream. I love just about every flavor. I also love gelato and frozen yogurt. I try to keep that out of my house so I don't eat it 24-7 haha.
  8. I'm one of those that loves Starbucks. I just can't help myself sometimes. If I'm having a hard morning, a  White Chocolate Mocha just makes it all better. :)
  9. I've taught kindergarten, first grade, and third grade. I actually love them all and wouldn't mind teaching any of them! Maybe I'll give second grade a try sometime too!
  10. I love baking cookies, cakes, pies, and anything else I can think of. Sometimes I bake just to bake and have to bring my baked goods to school to share with the teachers...just so my hubby and I won't eat them all!
  11. I'm addicted to Pinterest like everyone else out there! I use it for teaching, baking ideas, cooking, hobbies, and so much more. I have no idea what I did before Pinterest was around. It's really what got me started with blogging!
  12. I love reading and watching movies on my Kindle Fire I got for my birthday. I wish I had more time to just relax and pull up an ebook!
Here are Kara's questions for me...
1.  If you're a "pinner", what's your favorite item you've pinned?
  • My favorite item I ever pinned was the Kindle Fire when it was announced. My hubby found out I wanted one and it arrived right after my birthday when it was released. 
2.  Who is your favorite children's author or book in general?
  • I absolutely love Judith Viorst. Alexander and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is still my absolute favorite book of all time.
3.  What is your favorite dessert?
  • Tiramisu is my absolute favorite by far!
4.  What is your most memorable school moment?
  • My most memorable school moment in teaching has been when my sweet students through me a shower for my wedding. They all wrote down their favorite recipe and collected them in a recipe book that I still use. I've never seen such a sweet gesture!
5.  Any advice you would give to a new blogger (like myself)?
  • I'm a new blogger too! I'm not sure if there is any advice I could give you with being so new. I feel like I have some great ideas to share and then I forget about it. So I would encourage you to blog when you have a great idea so you can share with others!  
6.  What's your favorite TV show?
  • My favorite TV show right now is Revenge. I'm addicted.
7.  How did you learn the tricks of blogging?
  • I have been reading different teaching and baking blogs but I'm not sure if I know the tricks yet!
8.  What is your favorite math game?
  • My favorite math game is still 'Around the World'. I don't use it much in my room but I loved playing that growing up. I know it's a little old school@
9.  What is your guilty pleasure?
  • IceCream 
10.  What is your favorite band/song right now?
  • I like The Fray.
11.  Do you sew?  Would you recommend buying a sewing machine?
  • I have sewed a bit before with my mom's sewing machine and I really enjoyed it. My cousin sews and quilts and is so creative. If it's something you love to do, then do it! You can make so many things.
12.  Favorite place to buy teacher things?
  • I really like Lakeshore Learning. We have a store here and they have an online store too!
Here are the questions for those I tagged:
1. What is your favorite teaching blog?
2. What is your funniest teaching moment?
3. If you could teach any topic, what would it be?
4. What is your favorite TV show?
5. What was your best lesson you've ever taught?
6. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
7. What's your favorite digital tool you use with your kids?
8. What was your favorite moment in school growing up?
9. What is your favorite read aloud book?
10. What is your favorite dessert of all time?
11. What's the best "teaching" book you've ever read?
12. Do you Pin? If so, what's your favorite Pinterest pin?

TAG! You're it!

  1. Miss Janes @ Miss Third Grade 
  2. Kristen @ Ladybug Teacher Files  
  3. Lesson Plan Teachers @ Lesson Plan SOS
  4. Tracey @ Our Cool School  
  5. Jen @ Runde’s Room 
  6. Annie @ Teaching Blog Addict 
  7. Julie @ Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher 
  8. Rachelle @ What The Teacher Wants
  9. Mrs. Randall @ Mrs. Randall’s Learning Library 
  10. Christie @ Teaching in Flip Flops 
  11. Abby @ The Inspired Apple 
  12. Amber @ Me and My Gang  
Have fun!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

TCEA 2012

Hey everyone! I'm so excited about being here in Austin, TX for the annual TCEA convention! I get the opportunity to learn all about technology and how to help my kids become 21st Century Learners. It's always a great time of learning and collaboration with other teachers. I thought I'd mention on this blog that I post all the info I learn on my technology blog. Feel free to stop by to learn about new technology tools you can start using in your classroom today!

Taylor's Technology Tidbits

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Summary - Cactus Hotel

We've been exploring summary the past few days in my classroom. Summary is always one of the more difficult skills to teach to eight year olds! We are required to teach summary of fiction texts and literary nonfiction texts. We started with sequencing first and then discussed what a "retell" is. After exploring those, we moved into summary. My students are really understanding it better than they have in the past!

We started learning about summary with 'Into the Book'. If you've never used this site it is a great tool to teach different reading strategies! It has great interactive lessons for the kids as long as a variety of teacher resources. It has quite a bit of stuff for summarizing and my kids absolutely love it! If you don't have computers in your room for kids to explore this site, you can always do it as a whole group lesson too. :)

My class seemed to grasp summary of fiction much easier than literary nonfiction. Literary nonfiction is a new genre to them in third grade and sometimes they have a harder time with the story. We read Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson. It's a great story about the life of a saguaro cactus. We made the anchor chart below, summarizing the story of the cactus hotel. I hope you don't mind my drawing skills, I'm not much of an artist! The kids really enjoyed the book and I encourage you to use it for a summary lesson or even a general lesson on literary nonfiction texts.
Happy summarizing!