Saturday, March 31, 2012

Writing for Teaching Blog Addict!

Wowza!  We are honored to write for Teaching Blog Addict!  This blog helped to inspire us to start our own blog. Check out our post over at TBA!  We have some awesome freebies over there!  While you're at it, make sure you are following us and our Facebook page so you can get updates!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


If you download the Five Finger Retelling, there is a book you can print to go along with it!

Retelling a story is something we have worked on all year long. I started using the five finger retelling strategy last year. I love it! All I have to do after a story is hold up my left hand and my students will list the characters, setting, beginning, middle and end of the story. This week, I have been explaining the difference between summarizing and retelling. The five finger retelling strategy is better used with summarizing but I have found that using this to get kindergarteners to retell has been great, especially for my boys that stare at me and say they don’t remember.

Today I read “Chicken Little” to my class and then I passed out one page of the five finger retelling book. As I handed it out, I told the student which part they were writing about. This is the first time that I have had my students retell by writing, so I was lenient on the explanations. I think they did a great job!

This student had the ending of “Chicken Little” and she wrote, “The wolf throwed the guys up”. In the “Chicken Little “book that we read, the wolf tricked them and they went into his mouth and he sneezed them out. 

This student said, “Second, Chicken Little ran into friends.”   

This student said, "Chicken Little got hit by an acorn."

To get to my teachers pay teachers account and download the free smartboard five finger retelling slide, click here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

State Testing Fun Ideas

In about 2 weeks, we will be giving our state tests.  Here in Missouri, it is called the MAP Test.  To get kiddos pumped up and excited to "Show what they Know", my grade level does a MAP Rockstars Theme.  Each kiddo gets to be interviewed for a display in the hall.  I got the idea for the display a few years ago from Beth Newingham and just tweeked it to fit.

For the interview, kiddos take turn being the paparazzo and the Star.  They can be any kind of famous person that they want.  Lots of my boys want to be famous football stars and my girls want to be famous singers.  After the interview, they write all the information in paragraph form.  We talk about writing like a magazine author.  You may even want to bring in some Kidzbop Magazines (or other kidish mags) to show how those authors write articles about stars.  Once the "articles" are written, they are allowed to bring in props to pose for their picture.  Today I had a little guy bring in a football and football helmet and one of my little girls had her hair teased so big, it look like she was wearing a wig.  They went all out!

I also have a list of tips for state testing. 

Do you do anything fun to prepare for your state testing?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More Math with Money!!!!!

I just had to post my mental math warm-ups that I give to my students prior to beginning math during our money unit.  I always start with the number bonds that make $1.00 but the parts are even tens numbers, for example .20 and .80, or .60 and .40.  This helps them to build their understanding of numbers that make tens and hundreds and drastically increases their mental math strategy.  The kids like them too, because they are quick checks (and it may help that I make competitions out of the quick cash warm-ups from time to time).  Over the course of the unit, I change the parts to numbers with 5's in the hundredths place, and then move into random coin amounts in the parts boxes.  Because mental math strategies is a unit that we don't have much time to incorporate in our math curriculum, I like to inject it into other areas of math!  I'm posting one free starter, but feel free to visit my TPT account and get other quick cash warm-ups!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thanks Marie for the great blog award from your Blog at The Hands On Teacher site at .  Please check out the other  blogs we handed this bad boy out to in our previous post!  You have a great blog, yourself, Marie!!

Singapore Sunday.....sadness (its the last day of spring break)

I have been working on teaching my students to add money (the Singapore way).  Because we spent so much time using the place value mats, I decided that it may help with their transfer to add money using the place value mats with a decimal.  I began by just showing the students coin combinations in my SMART notebook file.  They have to recognize coins and find the sum of each circle combination.  Then I have them record the amount on the money adding page recording sheet.  Once all the students have their answers recorded on their sheet, I select a student to come up and "uncover" the mystery amount.  This allowed me to see who understands the idea of coins, dollars and the placement of the decimal.  After that, I had my students write the sums of two coin combinations into the place value boards and find the total amount of money for both coin combinations.  I like to remind them that when the sum is ten or more (in each place value) you have to share next door.  I think with a few more practice sessions using the place value boards, the kiddos will really understand how to write money, its relation to place value, and adding with regrouping.  I hope to continue this with subtraction!

You can visit my teachers pay teachers account to purchase the SMART notebook pages! It is up and running.....I have posted the pages under Adding Money on Gretchen Kassel's Teachers Pay Teachers account!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Diary of a... Writing Project Freebie

Hello again friends!  I wanted to share a writing project that my kiddos LOVE to do every year.  We usually do this project around our State Testing time because it is a fun break for them, though it is still a great Writing Workshop Unit!  Shh!  Don't tell them!

I won't bore you with all the details (because it is all written out for you in the free download), but we read the Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly and then the kiddos make their own version with a new character. 

Feel free to pin, post, or FB!


Check out this Awesome Spring Time Linky Party where you can score some amazing freebies!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Lightning...and math facts

Well, today is the last day of Spring Break and I am sitting on my couch with no power and severe thunderstorms booming all around me.  I know I probably shouldn't be on the computer in a lightning  storm, so... if this post just ends randomly, you know what happened! =)

I promised I would tell you about another awesome resource for memorizing math facts.  I wish there was a way I could tell everyone in the world about this program because I love it and believe in it that much!  Have you heard of  OMG!  It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I found it this summer when I was randomly typing into Google, "Dear God, please let my students memorize their math facts."  Ok, I really was just looking for interactive math games and this popped up!

So what is this amazingness you ask?  To get full details go to the website because they even made videos for teachers, parents, and kids to watch that tells about all the goodies. 

In a nutshell, it is a FREE, FREE, FREE online program that preassesses kiddos to find out their memorization level.  Then it designs a personalized program for that child.  My kiddos log on once a day (either at home or at school) and it usually takes 5-8mins.  They are given a math fact on the screen and are only given a few seconds to type in their answer.  If they are too slow or get it wrong,  the program tells them the answer and requires them to type it in.  It will ask that fact again until it is mastered.  It only focuses on a few facts at a time.  Kiddos then play a speed game called, Beat the Teacher.  (P.S. If your kiddos aren't good at typing, they can change the game to use a screen key pad and use the mouse to click it).

What I love most about this is how easy it is and how much information the teacher gets from the program.  You have a page for each kiddo that will tell you which facts they mastered, were too slow at, or totally missed.  It will give you a percentage for each session.  When kiddos master a fact program, for example: addition, it will email you and you can print off a premade certificate for them that has their name and it even has your name on it!

I shamelessly brag on my kiddos to my principal and my colleagues any chance I get.  Almost ALL of my kiddos were on the division program in 3rd quarter of third grade.  That means they mastered all of their addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts. It does not let them move on until every single fact is mastered!  I LOVE it!

So have you ever heard of this? 

P.S.  I did not get struck by lightning! Yay!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yee haw!!!!!!!!!!!

Amy, Gretchen and I spent the first few days of our spring break in the great city of Nashville, TN! My favorite thing that we did was horseback riding! My horse, Cherokee, led me through the beautiful countryside without a scratch and I saw a shooting star! I am posting a picture that is a little scary. I tried to edit out our glowing eyes but when I did it made us look like black eyed zombies. I thought the glowing eyes was a little less disturbing! Inspired by my horseback riding experience, I decided to create an activity that is sort of a throw-back to the Mad Libs stories. I'm teaching my students about story elements in reading and writing so, I am going to rewrite the attached story "Horse Tales". I am going to read it to my students with the blanks and we will fill it in whole group. When we are finished, I'm going to go over each sentence and have my students identify the story elements.

Click on the links below to download Horse Tales. When your students are finished writing, download the gold stars to give to your star writers!

Amy, Gretchen, and Shelley
Goodbye, y'all!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Amazing Math Facts Idea I learned!

Today was our last day before Spring Break!  No kiddos, just a Share Fair that our district has every year for Professional Development.  I always leave there with great ideas, but I also always leave there thinking, "Geeze, there is a lot of stuff I still don't know about!"  Don't worry, new teachers out there, everyone, no matter how long they have been teaching, never feels like they have it all together. =)

One really cool thing is about Math Facts.  My teamie, Meghan, was super excited about one of the classes she attended.  A fourth grade teacher (Mrs. Parn) gave out some really great ideas of how she makes sure her kiddos have all the facts memorized.  She does an activity every morning for morning work.  Students come in and pick a math fact from a chart she has posted on the wall.  On their paper, they then write all the facts in that fact family, the meaning of the fact, the part-part-whole model, a pictorial representation, and the number line.  She says her students gain a great understanding of what this fact actually means and what it represents.  I LOVE this idea!  My teamies and I were so excited, that when we were in the car to leave, I just had to take some pics of Mrs. Parn's handouts! 


I wanted to start this in my room right away, so I made my own version that you can download here. 

I have another awesome Math Facts idea to share with you, so stay tuned.  Just sign up with your email in the sidebar and you will be notified whenever we post!  It is that simple!

Do you have any awesome things you do with your kiddos for memorizing math facts?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Saint Patrick's Day is almost here! I do love this Irish holiday but I am really excited because it marks the beginning of Spring break! Let's be honest fellow teachers, this is the time of year when even the sweetest student in your classroom begins to act like a nut! 

 So, today in kindergarten, we talked about how we would catch a leprechaun. I had my students share some ideas and they were great! We began with the sentence starter: To catch a leprechaun, I would.....

Later in the day, we continued our leprechaun theme with a guest appearance by O'Malley! While my students were in P.E., he ran through our room and  made quite a mess! He left a letter next to his footprints and gold coins.

Download O'Malley's letter

The kids had a great time picking up the coins and reading the words. If they came to a word they didn't know, they asked a friend for help. I tried to upload the coins in word so you can change the words to match your sight word list but the coins were jumbled together. I made a set of yellow coins and white so you can pick which one you want to use. I used the white and copied them onto yellow paper. I am going to put the coins in a black pot and use it in a reading center. Students will pull out a coin and if they can read the word, they keep it. If they can't read the word it goes back into the pot. Take the blank coins and if they pull out a blank coin they have to put all of their coins back in the pot! Have fun!!!



Click here to Download coins

So what are you planning for St. Patty's Day?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fun Ideas for teaching Perimeter

It got to over 80 degrees here in Missouri!  Crazy, but BEAUTIFUL!  It was so gorgeous out, I just had to think of some excuse to take my kiddos outside!  We of course did lots of fun activities indoors, such as measuring the perimeter of books, our desks, the whiteboard, etc.  BUT... we also had to get outside.  So I decided to take them out to measure the perimeter of each other. 

Each kiddo got a partner, a yard stick, and a piece of chalk.  They took turns laying on the sidewalk and drawing a rectangle around their partner.  Then they measured each side, recorded the measurement, and then added up the sides to find the perimeter.  It was really fun afterwords when the kiddos all walked around and looked at everyone else's rectangle. 

Do you have any fun things you do to teach perimeter?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fabulous Force and Motion

Well hello followers!  So this week is crazy wild, we have report cards, placement meetings, book studies and common assessment scores due before hitting the bricks for Spring Break.  In the event that you plan on coming back from Spring Break to conduct a short unit on force and motion; I have the unit for you!  I have been working with my students on recognizing the effects of force and motion on objects.  The culminating activity will be the creation of their own personal mouse know the old game with the marble, tub, and plastic net that catches the mouse.  We began by going through the packet and performing a few experiments to help us understand the physics of force and motion.  I paired my students up and gave them baggies with the 4 items they used to complete the experiments.  I just kept the baggies on my file cabinet for the week- it was super nice to have put together.  After completing the packet my kiddos brought their household trash to school, examined what objects they have to work with, and designed their mouse trap using what they know about force and motion to create a fast moving mouse trap. I will have to post pics of the finished mouse traps on Friday for all to see.

      Packet                     Trap Trial Runs                       Trap Rules             Objects Description Page

Monday, March 12, 2012

Differentiated Kite Rhyming Craft

This is a spring craft and rhyming activity. I cut construction paper into squares and then cut strips of paper for the kite tails. The rhyming words attached are three different levels so you can differentiate according to students' ability. The page with three blank bows are for students to create his/her own word that rhymes. For example, the first word is sun and the student would write a word to rhyme.

If you love my Kindergarten stuff, check out the Kindergarten-2nd grade Linky Party at Kindergarten Lifestyle!  There are so many awesome resources out there!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Singapore Sunday: Math Resources

Hello Teaching Friends!  So, we thought it would be fun to Blog about Singapore Math Resources every Sunday.  Even if you don't teach Singapore Math, you can still use these strategies in your classroom!  To make sure you don't miss out, Follow us and make sure to follow us with your email address! Find the little form on the sidebar on the right.  Yes, that right over there!

Below you will find a little smartboard lesson you can download that teaches about Number Bonds.  This is an important Mental Math Strategy in Singapore Math that I refer to constantly with my kiddos.  We are still talking about it in third grade and we are learning about time!  I have included an anchor chart that I keep up to "Anchor" my students' thinking all year long.  This takes Number Bonds to a higher level, using Bonds to Branch.

Smartbook File
  Did you find this resource beneficial? Should we continue to post Singapore Sundays blogs?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Government Unit and FREEBIE

We the people, of 3 Teacher Chicks Blogspot, in Order to form a more perfect Blog,

establish resources, insure classroom Tranquillity,
provide for the overworked teacher, promote general
Sanity, and secure the Blessings of Learning to ourselves and
our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Government Unit for the students
of the United States of America.

Check out the fun resources for teaching a Government Unit offered at my TeachersPayTeachers store!  Scroll down for the FREEBIE!  The first person to comment on this page and follow my TPT store will get this unit for FREE!  Make sure to leave your email address!

Executive Branch Quiz FREEBIE!

5-Star Blogger