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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Blogger question!

Calling all fabulous bloggers! I have a question! You know how when you post a comment on someone's blog- you leave your name and the name of your blog as a link?  How come whenever I try and be fancy like that, it just shows up as www.lightafire3.blogspot.com and not Light a Fire 3 ?  I have no idea how to fix it.  Thanks in advance for your help!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I am a Reader!

Like I have said before, I am feeling the crunch of state testing.  I know that if I am feeling it, my kiddos are feeling it- so I decided to take a step back today and talk about what it is that we LOVE about reading.  No multiple choice, author's purpose or text evidence necessary!  We started by brainstorming some things that we love about reading and then grouped them into categories.  I was so surprised to see my kiddos identifying that they love the people they read with, the places they read and they all had a favorite book!  All of the students identifying a different favorite book was a big one for me.  I have found in the past that I get a ton of Diary of a Wimpy Kids on their lists but know that they haven't even read the book!  Check out what some of the kiddies wrote!

So cute! It was nice to take a breather and remember that I teach reading because I want the kids to LOVE reading.  I don't teach reading so that they can pass a test!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Finally back!

I am finally back home and settled after the conference.  I thought I would have time for posting but I was exhausted! Frankly, I still am exhausted!  I thought I was tired after a day with the kiddos- but this was a new/different type of tired.  I heard some amazing presenters including the delightful Rafe Esquith.  If you haven't read Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire (I haven't yet either) I would recommend it based on his inspirational presentation!  Wow is he dedicated!

I still have to prepare my lesson plans for next week so I am off-

Never compare one student's test score to another's. Always measure a child's progress against her past performance. There will always be a better reader, mathematician, or baseball player. Our goal is to help each student become as special as she can be as an individual--not to be more special than the kid sitting next to her.”-Rafe Esquith Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Met my Idol!

Quick update from the NAESP conference. I had the privilege of meeting Diane Ravitch. She is working hard for teachers!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I am very excited that I get to attend this year's NAESP conference in Seattle.  No- I am not a principal but I get to pretend I am one for three days!

I recognize that not everyone sees the value in these types of conferences.  I get that one argument against this type of thing is that my time might be better spent in the classroom with the kiddos.  I agree with that- to a point.  One of the reasons why I am so excited to go to this (even if I'm not a principal) is that I LOVE to learn.  At a national conference you get to learn from the BEST.  There are so many options for break out sessions that cover a variety of topics.  I will be attending some on RTI, a few on differentiation, a couple on teacher mentors and one on professional learning communities.  Learning new strategies, new techniques and methods helps me to be a better teacher when I am in the classroom.  Isn't it always a good thing to work smarter not harder?

Anyway, I will attempt to blog while I am away but no promises! I am going with a large group from my school, including some of my favorite new teachers- and we are spending three nights in a hotel! I can't imagine what kind of crazy shenanigans we might get up to- hopefully not as crazy as the last overnight conference I went to- but I'll save that for another post!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Order of Operations

Phew* This week has been crazy!  I survived- only to gear up for another exciting week at school.  I don't know how you are feeling but- report cards are due, I volunteered to write a playground grant that is also due, we are MAPS testing on Monday/Tuesday, and I will be gone Thursday and Friday for the NAESP conference in Seattle.  Expect some fun updates on the conference, I get to play "principal" for a couple of days!

I wanted to share a math game that my kiddos played on Friday.  I just LOVE math games.  My group this year are super active and because of our schedule- they really need to be up and moving in order to concentrate in math.  We have been working on order of operations and introducing the concept of parenthesis in math.  They are solid on the fact that parenthesis means "do this first" but, are struggling to integrate parenthesis into problem solving number sentences.  So, we played a little game where they needed to use parenthesis to determine how many points they earned!

The students tossed ten bean bags into the different shaped openings.  Each one was worth a different value- the top circle was worth one point, the left square was worth two, and the right diamond was worth three.  We kept a tally chart to record how many bean bags went into the goal and then the students used their white boards to create a number sentence and figure out the number of points that each student earned.  The student tossing- created their number sentence on the board so that we could compare our answers.

It was a very simple game but the students really seemed to pick up on the application of parenthesis.  On Monday they will be working on a problem solving activity so I will let you know how it translates!


I decided that I couldn't let St. Patrick's Day slide without doing *SOMETHING* so we just did a quick shamrock/rainbow art project.  The kids had a blast and we managed to squeeze it in at the end of the day without feeling rushed!

 This little guy just HAD to have his picture taken- they are so funny sometimes!

I hope everyone out in blogworld had a great weekend.  I was busy, busy, busy with a friends 30th birthday celebration on Friday,  a St. Patrick's day spent at the Seattle Sounders MLS opening game and another friends birthday party on Sunday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Award Season

Wow! I am honored that Sam from A Teacher's Looking Glass passed along an award for new bloggers!

Thank you so much for the award and if you haven't checked out her site- you should!

I haven't had much to post lately-there is a flu bug going around my school and I had students running to the bathroom left and right!  I have been busy cleaning and sanitizing the classroom because I have some fun non-teaching things and the NAESP conference coming up and I don't want to be sick!

I am also embarrassed to say that we have not jumped on the St. Patrick's day theme in my classroom.  I am starting to feel the pressure of the state test looming over me (we take it May 1st and May 7th) and I haven't done as much as I would like to make sure the kiddos are ready for it.  Luckily, I still have time.  Even luckier, I have a great group of kiddos who I know have the skills they need to pass.  I mostly get worried about the emotional part of taking such a big test in third grade- it's a lot of pressure, stress,  and anxiety for my littles!  We read this book today and the kids thought it was a hoot!

If your library doesn't have a copy of it- you can find it here

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another blog award!

Wow.  I can't believe it! Mrs. Tompkins at Wild About First Grade passed along the Top 10 Blog Award to me!!

Click on this link to view the rules of the award!

Here are my top 3 (I tried really hard to find blogs that didn't have this award yet- and I couldn't find many! If you don't have this award- let me know and I'll add you to my list! You're all my "top 10")
Third Grade Treasures
Miss Third Grade
Math Workshop Adventures

A quick picture *as promised* of dress like your favorite character day.  On the left is Snow White, I am the Giving Tree in the middle, and on the right is Miss Frizzle!

In unrelated news- my husband was accepted into a graduate program! This weekend we have been busy celebrating and spending time together! It will be hard for me to have him go from being at home all the time to being busy at school so I am going to take advantage of the time we have together now before his program starts!

Enjoy your Sunday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Family Reading Night!

Phew! I am exhausted and the week is not over yet! Tomorrow is dress like your favorite character day so check back tomorrow for more pictures!

Tonight was family reading night.  It was a BLAST!  The local food bank came to our school and cooked up Green Eggs and Ham for around 400 people!  Then, each grade level hosted an activity related to a Dr. Seuss book.  I could go on and on forever about how much fun it was and how much the families enjoyed it but I will just show you some pictures of our Dr. Seuss decorations instead! :)

 These are some decorations throughout the school.  Just love the look of The Other Cat In the Hat- created by some of our fifth grade students!
Each grade level decorated their door to "advertise" the Dr. Seuss book they worked on.


First Grade

Second Grade- They had an amazing display!

*Saving Third for last*
Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

And then third grade- we really went overboard with Lorax stuff--and Dr. Seuss!
 Sneetches, Yertle the Turtle, Thing 1 and 2- we did them all!

 Our LARGE bulletin with all of our Lorax work on it!  Wall space is a premium in our building so we sneaky third grade teachers "claimed" our space with the blue paper and then we can't take anything down until we have enough to put back up!

The Swamee Swams were hanging inside the room!
 My Teammates doors! We ALL had to decorate!

  I wanted to do something a little bit different!

My team and ME (I'm in the middle) in our THNEEDS ::cough:: snuggies ::cough::!

See you tomorrow for dress up day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Grinch Day!

I know, I know, Dr. Seuss' birthday was LAST week!  My school is celebrating our Dr. Seuss week/ spirit week/ reading family night this week.  Today was wear green for Grinch day! I had a blast wearing all green (even if it didn't match).

We wrote similes about the Grinch.

 We wrote how we would make the Grinch grin!

Our family reading night is Wednesday and each grade level hosts an activity based around a Dr. Seuss book.  Third grade has The Lorax and so we spent last week reading The Lorax and writing persuasive letters to the Onceler asking him to stop making thneeds/ cutting down truffula trees.  I am sure I will post more after Family Reading Night but I couldn't wait to post the letters- they turned out wonderfully!