Wednesday, March 30, 2011

State Test Notes

I plan on giving one of these out each day. We start testing right off the bat in the morning...which will be nice. The bad thing is we lose our precious plan time :(

The kids have been working so hard. 9 days until the Reading Assessment!

This one will have a dum-dum sucker attached. (If it's coming out really tiny, I don't know why! But it looks fine on Scribd!)

Dum Dum Beat the State 1 Page

This one will come with a coffee filter full of chocolate graham crackers! It's cheesy, and I don't know if all the kids will get the pun, but I don't think they will care if there is food involved :)

Cracker State Test Note

Cooperative Learning Spring Project

At our school, we use a lot of Kagan Cooperative Learning. I can tell by Friday that we are going to need a bit of a brain break, especially since we are coming back from Spring Break. I think I will need the brain break the most! I'm excited to see if they can work together to create something fun :)

Kagan Spring Poster Project

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Techy Teacher

Head on over to the Techy Teacher to see a great tutorial on using the green screen in Imovie. Also, check out her 3 R's video she did with her kids...I really want to do this in conjunction with our Social Studies Recycling Project during testing! I think it would be awesome to work on it during guided reading!

I got rhythm!

(As a side note, I always find rhythm a REALLY hard word to spell!)

I had a student come up to me today and say, "Hey, Mrs. Thomason, wanna hear my rhyme?"

I said sure, and so he put his hand up next to his face, and gave a little "pum, pum, shoo, pum click shoo..." It's hard to type those beatboxing sounds into words, but there it was, in a neatly organized series of noises :)

It was cute, he was so proud of himself!

Monday, March 28, 2011


I see lots of people out there posting pictures of their organizational systems.

I can't do it! I'm not really the most organized person, and while I don't think I'm the worst either, I still have a long way to go. Even after being in my room for two years, I still feel like I'm figuring out what works for me, and that causes a bit of organizational chaos. Plus, add the fact that I'm holding some Title I materials in my room, and the old teacher left a lot of materials I can't throw out yet, and you get a lot of stuff.

I do want to post a picture of my classroom soon, because I swear it's a closet compared to everyone elses! We have enough room for 4 hexagon tables, two computers tables, my desk, and the guided reading table, and not much room for anything else. I'm so jealous of people that can fit COUCHES into their rooms! Or even cozy book nooks! No way that would fit in my room :(

So, I did buckle down today and clean out one corner of my desk, so I can be proud of that :)

My husband said to me the other day, "Honey, you know how you learn things about people after you're married that you thought you knew before? Yeah, you aren't as organized as I thought you were."


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Biography Page

I thought this might make a cute title page for the student's own biography.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Biography Page

I am experimenting a bit more with Scribd, and I have to say that turning my docs into PDF files are making life so much more interesting!

I want to do a biography unit with my kiddos after state testing is done where they write their own biographies.

I created this page that they can brainstorm on. The only sad thing is that I know I'll be printing black and white. It's not perfect BUT it is my first foray into actually using my graphics from Lettering Delights. I created it on a Powerpoint (is that the best thing to do? I don't know! Easier than Word!), and saved it as a PDF. The banner was the trickiest part.

About Me

My name is Megan, and I have been teaching for two years. I graduated from Boise State University in 2008, after deciding that I wanted to teach...AFTER I had one bachelor's degree already. Looking back, I wouldn't take back my first experience at college, but I think teaching is where it's AT!

I teach in an urban school in Topeka, Kansas. How did we end up in Kansas? Well, after being married, we lived in 5 different states before my husband decided to go to law school. Kansas is where we ended up and we love it! There are parts of other places that we miss, but we are happy to be here.

I have taught 3rd grade for both years, and I love it! Sometimes I think I would like to try 1st or 2nd, but I love that the kids come knowing how to read, and that makes my life so much easier!

Teaching in my school is definitely a challenge. Our district has not made AYP that past several years, and that has really trickled down to teachers. We do a lot of test prep, and teaching kids how to "beat the state." It's fun....for about a month, and then it gets old. I constantly have to remind myself to have fun and just enjoy teaching...if I can bring enthusiasm and excitement to the classroom the kids will learn!

Here's what our daily schedule is like in 3rd grade:

8:30-10 Math Block. We use Everyday Math, but right now we are also doing multiplication and test prep. Fitting it all into 90 minutes is REALLY difficult!

10-10:45 Specials...The kids go to Music 2 days, and PE two days. The fifth day alternates between music and PE.

10:45 Science. It's an awesome part of our school. The kids rotate between a desert, rainforest, space, and greenhouse lab. That means that core teachers don't have to teach science in our school. When I student taught in Idaho, I knew what a struggle it was to fit in science, and I'm glad the decision is made for us here! We are a science and fine arts magnet school, so we are the only school in the district like it.

11:30-12:30 Guided Reading. We have to teach all of our kids every day for 20 minutes in small groups. For us, that means four groups of 6-7 kids.

12:30-1 Lunch/Recess

1-1:45 Bathroom/Drink/Last two groups of guided reading.

1:50-2:10 Reading Wrap-Up and Recess.

2:15 Shared Reading/Writing/Social Studies

3:30 Dismissal

I like our schedule, but it is nice to come home and relax. I love spending time with my husband of almost 5 years, Todd, watching TV, reading, blogging, crafting, and sewing. I also play volleyball with a group of teachers on Monday nights, which is a blast!

That's about it!

Lucky the Leprechaun

This is an idea I saw on Proteacher that I wanted to try. The kids have been working so hard, and I knew I wanted to have a little fun on St. Patrick's Day. We have been working on parentheses, multiplication, and fractions, and so each student's paper had a math equation on it that corresponded with a numbered shamrock. I taped the shamrocks around the room, and the kids had fun trying to figure out what they were for. When the time came, they solved their number sentences and found their shamrocks. They got so excited when they read the message (LOOK IN MRS. *********'S ROOM!), and they rushed to jump in line to head over there. They searched around the room and found a "pot of gold" filled with green mint oreos. It was really fun to see their enthusiasm!

Here is the document I typed up to give to the kids. I hand wrote their equations and passed them out according to level (more different problems for the higher kids, easier ones for the low).

The one change I did make from the letter was not using the smartboard. I was sick the day before and didn't get to make the flipchart. I think it worked out better spreading the kids around the room to find their shamrocks anyway :)

Lucky the Leprechaun Letter


Retell is one of the questions on our state test that invokes the most fear into our third graders. The answer stems are LONG, and they tend to look very similar. Next week, to help my students with this, I am doing some retell practice. I created a story about "the bearded test writers" (we talk all year about how the bearded test writers LOVE to trick third graders into choosing the wrong answers!) and our class. The kids love personalized stories.

The chart is to help them organize their answers. They ask themselves three things for each choice--1. Is it in order? (the correct choices are always in beginning, middle, end order), 2. Is it true (does it contain any details that do not happen in the story?), and 3. Are the details important (some minor details are thrown in there...the details must be supporting, important details).

I'm hoping once the kids learn some tricks to navigate these questions, they won't seem as daunting!

Eight Months

Well, it took eight months for me to get motivated to write on this blog. It's been that kind of year!

At the beginning of the year, I always have all of these hopes and dreams that end up getting fantastically tweaked once I get to know my students better.

I'm hoping this blog can be a place where I can go back and feel inspired. I want it to give me a chance to think about the good things that are happening in my classroom. I tend to focus on the negative, and that can reflect on my attitude and my students. I don't want that to happen! There is so much inspiration out there in the blogging world for teachers, and I want to be part of that.

So here we go!