Friday, March 30, 2012

Fun-Filled Friday!

Today marked the end of our study on various artists. We did two projects today, which left me a little worn out at the end of the day...but our creations turned out fantastic! My third graders recreated Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. For this project we used oil pastels, tissues, as well as white and black construction paper. First, my students took yellow oil pastels and drew the stars. Then they picked up blue and green oil pastels and made several cirlces around the stars. After that, we created a "swirling" effect (showing the wind/movement) using more blue "waves." Taking a tissue, my third graders rubbed the sky to blend in the colors. As the last step to our project, we created the skyline. We discussed the importance of using a "pinch for an inch" when moving from one building to the next. After they cut them out, my students glued the skylines to their sky and there you have it! The finished products look quite nice in our classroom! :)

The last artist that we studied was Jackson Pollock. Although several of my students have done "marble art," they still loved this project! We discussed Pollock's abstract work, and then set out to create our own! Half of my class worked on the actual marble art, while the other half of my class created a similar project using the mouse on their laptop. Then of course, they switched! It must have been a long day because I accidentally placed an "a" where an "o" should be for his last name :) This is probably because another teacher and I keep wanting to call him (Po-lack) not (Paw-luck). Oh well-too late to fix it now, I'll correct it on Monday morning! None of my kiddos have seen it, so all is well!

ART, pART 2!

Yesterday, we studied another artist. Georges Seurat was a French painter who led the artistic direction of Neo-impressionism (his work is shown below). To create this art project, we gathered the following materials: long colored paper to hold pictures, sandpaper, crayons,  two small white pieces of paper, an iron, and wax paper. We brainstormed a list of appropriate objects that could be drawn and discussed the importance of creating one object that fills up the page. They colored the sandpaper (very hard) and then I placed the white paper down on my counter, then sandpaper, followed by wax paper and an extra piece of construction paper (just to make sure the crayon didn't melt through). Then I ironed across the top of the layers for a few secons. I stapled the transferred picture (with dots) towards the top of the long black paper, and then placed the sandpaper picture below it. As a challenge, I had several students complete a regular crayon picture of their "original" drawing so we could see how much the color vibrancy changed from one to the next.

Stay tuned for more art projects to come!

More student examples:


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wild about ART!

I know what you're thinking: I thought this lady taught in the classroom...? Yes, it's true: I am a third grade teacher, but I also get to teach Art every week to my kiddos! We get to use a variety of materials, but instead of traveling to another teacher/classroom to learn about art, we do it in our own room! Some projects turn out better than others...I just keep telling myself that my hidden artistic talent is going to shine through. While I wait for it to "show up," I'll continue to practice  :) Whenever my students complete an art project, I allow them to "display" it on the whiteboard with a magnet so that we can view everyone's work! They love doing that!

With Math State Assessments underway, we get to enjoy an hour together every afternoon to get creative! Today we studied Pablo Picasso. Featured above is a picture with several of my students' art pieces. My students thought it was fun getting to create a project with an abstract look. Before we began, we talked about Pablo Picasso's life and viewed several of his creations. There is a slideshow (52 seconds) of some of his work shown here.

Another artist that we learned about was Georgia O"Keefe. My students saw pictures of her and her creations. We talked about how most of her art pieces are "close-up" views of flowers. Then we discussed how we could create our own Georgia O'Keefe-inspired artwork. We decided that there should be only one or two flowers on the page, so we would need to spread the petals all the way out to the end of our paper.  Varioud pictures of flowers distributed to each group.  They got to select which flower they wanted and make a quick sketch of it before recreating the picture using oil pastels. They got messy as they rubbed the oil pastels in to "fade in" the colors, but I love the way they turned out! It looks so Spring-y on our bulletin board in the hallway!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

An Award: What a Surprise!

Heather over at Beg, Borrow, and Teach has honored me with this awesome award! Thank you so much! If you haven't had a chance to check her blog out, please do so! She has a "Shelfari," complete with books that are on her reading list :) I love that idea!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

They're Not Creepy or Crawly...They're Cursive Critters!

I was filing something away in my art cabinet today when I noticed a "Cursive Critter" popping out among the other projects we've done this year. Our 3rd graders did a unit on Insects in the fall, and each student also created a special Cursive Critter that went along with it. With spring upon us, this might be a fun project to have your kiddos do!

     First, take a plain piece of white copy paper and fold it in half long ways. The student can write his or her first name in cursive with a pencil as large as he/she wants and as close as possible to the fold. If there are any bottom extending letters in the student's name, have him wait and add it in after the rubbing stage. Next, have each child trace over their name several times. Now comes the rubbing part: using their fist, rub over the name repeatedly. We found that even a glue stick helps to rub and made our hands less tired!  Check to make sure that the name is reflected onto the opposite side. Finally, decorate as you wish! Glue on black legs and place on a green leaf to complete this very cute Cursive Critter!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Let the Madness Begin!

With March Madness in full swing, my students are getting a small taste of the madness in our classroom. The games started during our Spring Break, so this bulletin board highlights the "Sweet Sixteen" teams that are left. The map pin-points what states the basketball teams/colleges are from. I placed the first fact up today, starting with the University of Kansas (yes, despite the recent nail-biter, but seriously...who else?!). I shared that James Naismith was the inventor of basketball, taught physical education at KU, and started basketball at KU. I will continue to add more facts about the remaining schools as the week progresses. This is one of my favorite times of the year!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Making Cute Bulletin Boards

This is a picture of the bulletin board nearest my desk. I had a bunch of scrapbook paper, so I decided to put it to good use! It makes a fun design and incorporates our school colors. I placed my graduation cap by the corner, so when I discuss high school and college with my students, they can see my diploma and cap.  :) I'll be posting another picture of a scrapbook bulletin board soon (featuring bright pink and lime green-fun spring/summer colors!)! I don't know about you, but I LOVE my Cricut machine. I used it to make library tub labels and bulletin board headings a lot  at the beginning of the school year!

Linky Party for 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Bloggers!

Join the Linky Party by visiting Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies! You can also view other 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade teachers' blogs! Hop on over and check it out!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Take Time for a Coffee Break :)

I LOVE the smell of coffee, however, I cannot stand the taste of it (sorry to disappoint, Coffee-Lovers everywhere!)...So I decided to take a spin off of the idea. In my classroom, I allow my students to "Take a Coffee Break," when reading. After modeling how to do so correctly, it has become a huge hit! My students ask if they can take their coffee break constantly! It goes a little like this: grab a book, scoot your chair back (safely), prop your feet up on your desk, and whisper READ!

One day, my kids earned the mystery message of "Mini-Smoothie Day." I brought in dixie cups filled with smoothies for each student. That way, my students got to have their smoothie during their coffee break!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Are You a National Board Certified Teacher?

When I ran into my former second grade teacher over the weekend, she mentioned that I should check into becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. Although rigorous, she said it was one of the best experiences she's ever had professionally. I am not yet qualified to apply (due to mandatory 3 years teaching/counseling experience), but would like to hear your thoughts on the process. In case you have not heard of it, click here to visit the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website.

Please comment or e-mail me  ( ! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Helpful Sites and Tid-Bits

Hey everyone! I wanted to share two very helpful places to visit.

 First of all, check out The 3 AM Teacher. She is super tech-y and has awesome freebies and tips!

Also, I stumbled across Makin' Cute Blogs! Talk about free stuff! You definitely need to take a look at what is offered there. It's pretty impressive!

Hope you are enjoying Spring Break!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sweet Surprise!

As my husband and I were visiting my family over the weekend, we decided to go on a walk. In my small hometown, everybody knows everybody, which is nice... to some extent ;) We strolled past my old friends' houses, our tiny park that features a slide and 4 swings, and not one- but TWO gas stations that run alongside the highway. As I rambled on about things my friends and I used to do, we suddenly found ourselves turning the corner to the road that my second grade teacher lives on. I guess we were just at the right place at the right time. We spotted her in her front yard-gardening gloves on and dirt on her knees. What a sweet surprise on my Saturday! My husband laughed at me as I practically ran down the sidewalk to greet her :)

We all have people who have helped to shape us to become the people we are today. Many of us are fortunate enough to have several special people in our lives. Well, my second grade teacher is the one who put me on the path to my career choice. I have been given multiple opportunities to express this to her, and I urge you to let those who have positively impacted your life know the difference they have made. Who knows? Maybe that is just what that person needs to hear today!

Just wondering...did anyone else "play school?"  I remember rushing home to my bedroom and preparing to "teach" a class of my own. The place where I slept would suddenly transform itself into a working classroom.  I had a gradebook, chalkboard and dry-erase board, teacher's edition manuals, a desk, and random #1 Teacher objects all around my room. I knew at the age of 8 that I would someday become a teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Musselman, for inspiring me. Thank you also to my family, who constantly encouraged me to achieve my dream. :) The only thing that made this Saturday even sweeter were the homemade ice cream sandwiches my mom made us! Yum!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hunting for Leprechauns!

The morning began with an air of mystery and excitement. As I rushed into the gym to join my school's Running Club, I was greeted by 3rd graders anxious to know if our trap had worked. You see, this week my students have been busy devising plans for a trap to catch a leprechaun. We presented all the plans that were submitted and voted as a class on which one we wanted to try out. Lennox, the Leprechaun had already visited our class once this week and left a note wondering where our pot o' gold was. Now all we had to do was catch him and then we would be able to keep our gold as well!

We set the trap up using things that we had in our class- an ottoman and a ruler to prop the lid open. We also use fabric to create a "trail" leading to the gold. What we didn't expect to find when we walked in the door to our classroom was, well...a catastrophe...the pictures speak for themselves!

Admist the chaos that had apparently happened in the middle of the night, we fixed our eyes upon our trap. The lid was closed, which means that our trap had been triggered! We gathered around our trap and counted together, "1, 2, 3!!!" I lifted the lid, and what did we see? No, not a leprechaun! Instead the following note was left for us:

You tried to catch me and made mad, but magical powers I do have...
So I captured me gold and stole it back, so your teacher would have a Heart Attack!!

Our naughty leprechaun did leave us a gift. He scattered chocolate gold pieces for us to find.
As we picked up our classroom and put it back together, I passed out Lucky Charms to end our crazy adventure!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mystery Message Revealed!

We did it! My 3rd graders worked hard to receive their newest "Mystery Message!" I keep the message above the board and have students guess a letter each time they earn a compliment or work extra hard! We have our own version of "Wheel of Fortune" letter-guessing:) Every time one letter is guessed, we see how many times it is used in the message.

 The message revealed today was Dizzy Mummy, which is a Minute-to-Win-It challenge. If you would like to use it, click here .
We pulled out rolls and rolls of toilet paper and completed the challenge of creating a "mummy" out of each student without breaking the toilet paper.

I can testify that it truly made us dizzy as we wrapped the toilet paper 'round and 'round our friends' bodies!

My little mummies were all smiles during this eventful activity!

Monday, March 5, 2012

24 Hour Fitness Challenge!

To encourage my students to stay physically active, students have been asked to bring a picture of themselves/family participating in an activity. The pictures will be added to the bulletin board in our classroom. Will I be participating?! OF COURSE! I plan to post pictures of me "working out" during a session of Jazzercise, walking with my husband and dog, and a few from childhood sports. It will be fun to see the pictures start rolling in!

Our P.E. teacher is also leading the way in his 24 Hour Fitness Challenge. On April 19, he will run/walk (but mostly run) for 24 hours straight! Pretty amazing if you ask me and about everyone else at our school! He also provided our students a Fitness Log to track their activities/minutes each day for a month and a half. I, along with many other teachers, keep an updated fitness log in the gym so students from our entire school can see what we're up to!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Names Again?!!

We're getting new names again in class... but instead of multiplication facts, my students are receiving a prefix or suffix as their name for the day! This is a great way to practice and reinforce the definition that goes with each prefix or suffix. I placed cards inside a plastic nametag and hooked them to a lanyard for students to wear around their necks. For the entire day, everybody in my class (including me!) has to call a friend by their prefix/suffix name. For example, "Pre- means before...I have a question for you." Anyone who accidentally calls someone by their real name has to state the prefix/suffix 3 times out loud. This also gives me the chance to have students give an example of a word that goes with their given prefix/suffix. They love it!