I am linking up with a fantastic little blogger named "Jivey" over at Ideas by Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday linky.

This week's theme is persuasive writing. I love this topic. I love persuasive writing.

Here are some books I use:

Here is an activity I shared for the Christmas themed persuasive book "Peter Claus and the Naughty List". I shared this back in December but just uploaded it to Dropbox if you want to pick up a copy.

Here is a checklist I use. Here are small copies for the students.

Here is a bundle of resources that I use in my classroom:


Here is a graphic organizer I use.

I have used this book before, had my students research a dog breed and write a persuasive report on why that would be the best breed for their family. I don't have any resources to share for that activity, maybe this summer.....

Yesterday I read a great post by Tonya at Tonya's Treats for Teachers with a freebie about arguing for or against candy in vending machines at schools.

Can't wait to read all the posts and find some new books and ideas for next year!!! Hope you found something you can use in your classroom!

Warning - this post has no educational value - okay I threw something in at the very end that you could use in your classroom - but 98% of this post is not educational.

I am linking up with my bloggy friend Holly (hoping she doesn't kick me out of her party) for her Tried it Tuesday Linky. Be sure to stop by and check out all the awesome things people are trying in their classroom (or living room!).


Every where in teaching blog land people are sharing their goals for the summer and for next year (I did mine yesterday) and I have been reading them like crazy - I like reading what others hope to do, but I have not seen one person mention watching T.V. Am I the only teacher that is looking forward to watching T.V. Every summer my husband and I pick a series or 2 and watch entire seasons on DVD.  This summer we are going to watch Breaking Bad - I don't know how we missed watching this series, we watch every other AMC series (and most of the HBO ones too!). I can't wait to get started on this series, I have heard so many great things.

Here are 3 series that I tried and loved and recommend to you!

Downton Abbey. This is the fastest paced historical drama I have ever seen. They keep the story moving and aren't afraid to be mean to the characters - love it!

Homeland - we have only watched Season 1 so far and are eagerly awaiting Season 2 to be released on DVD. Love, love, love the acting in this series!

Sherlock - BBC - We have just finished Season 2 of this series and it is awesome. This is an updated version of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Sherlock is an absolute genius with an incredible memory and no social skills (like Sheldon only with mysteries instead of physics). The show is twisty and fast-paced and the dialogue is excellent.

What are you watching this summer? Do you have any suggestions for me (and my husband)?

If you read this far I do have a little teaching idea for you. It is using t.v. or movie clips as a prompt for a math inquiry lesson. You could use this clip from Big Bang Theory to teach about combinations.How many combinations are there in their version or Rock, Paper, Scissors.

I am very happy to be linking up with Kim at Finding Joy in the 6th Grade for her linky!

I am just about to start Grade 3 Testing - the time when I have to take down or cover up bulletin boards and anchor charts and not help my class with their work, so this is usually the time I look around and think about what I want to do differently next year and what I want to try. This linky is perfect timing for where I am at mentally right now!

I purchased the Interactive Math Journals from Runde's Room this year but haven't started using it yet. I plan on reading through it this summer, planning out how I want to use it and trying to make a few sample pages myself. I would like to try more "notebooking" in general and have created a pin board just on this topic - but my goal for next year is just math!

 I think I have done a decent job this year of co-creating anchor charts with my students. I like to use a combo of these anchor charts and mini-posters I make to create a resource wall for students to refer to. I read this post by Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching and thought - I definitely want to do that next year!

This was my first year back in a Grade3/4 after being in a Grade 2/3 and I think I dropped the ball on novel studies and book talks. I really want to get a better handle on this over the summer and have already found some excellent blog posts and resources to help me along. I also bought many, many reading comprehension fans to help guide our talks!

I have been inspired by Amanda at Collaboration Cuties and Jivey at Ideas by Jivey to start using mentor sentences next year. I even purchased Jivey's 10 week unit on using mentor sentences to get me started.

I often find myself taking on more than I want to at school and becoming frustrated by not being able to do my best or feeling rushed because I have said yes (or just not said no) to too many things. I would like to focus on what I really want to do and give those few things my all and say no thank you to the rest.

I love this linky already - it is great to see other people's goals for next year. I feel like we are all still learning and growing (even the bloggers I think have it all together) !

Be sure to link up - I would love to read about your goals!!

Linking up with the super awesome ladies (even if they are on summer vacation and I am not) at Collaboration Cuties for their Mentor Text Linky!

This week's theme - social studies. I am suggesting to you the book Jonathan Cleaned Up - Then He Heard a Sound or Blackberry Subway Jam  by Robert Munsch (I know what you are thinking, you're thinking...I can't believe she is suggesting another Robert Munsch book  but seriously it is a fun book!)

Here is the book description from Amazon:

Jonathan's efforts to keep his apartment clean are foiled when a subway unexpectedly stops in and unloads thousands of passengers. Jonathan sets out on a surprising adventure to solve this curious problem.

That's right the subway stops in his apartment!! His adventure leads him to the mayor's office.

I had never heard of this book before I read the title in a suggested book list for my Urban and Rural Communities unit and that is what I use it for. I use this book as a launch for the urban part of the unit. We read the book and talk about all the aspects of the story that identify the setting as urban - large apartment buildings, a mayor, lots of people, a subway (I teach in a rural community).

I also use this book as a launch for my cityscape art. I love any art that involves making a cityscape. I do at least one a year (yes, o.k. sometimes I do more than one - and my co-workers make fun of me because of it).

Here are some that I have done (pictures from Pinterest, not my class, this year we did Multiplication City Art)


When teaching urban and rural communities I also like to do the following activities:

1. Compare the 2 types of communities (using the activity from the now defunct Ministry of Ed. exemplars )

Sample pictures from the Ministry of Ed's Exemplars document.

2. Simple diorama project using two large circles cut from tag paper, folded in half and glued back to back - one side is an urban community the other rural - students have gotten very creative with this in the past.

The other project is an urban and rural photo essay - students pick one type of community and take photos that prove it is an urban or rural community, add captions and sentences explaining the role of the item in the community.

3. Community Flips - we make these on 11x17 paper. Students draw a picture and record information about the type of community or area on the inside flap.

 Sorry for the pictures, you know when you think you have your files on your memory stick, only to find out they are not, they are only in your school file!!! If you are interested in any of the rubrics or project outlines I would be happy to send you a copy - when I get to school!!

Have a great Sunday - I'm off to find more books to add to the list!!

Linking up with the lovely Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Saturday linky.

One of my favorite ways to motivate students is theme days. My students have always gotten so excited for theme days - they love all the work that leads up to the theme day (highly motivated to complete the work - don't even realize they are learning) and on the actual day - oh my word!

Holidays of course become great theme days/weeks. I love doing a Polar Express theme in December.

But my absolute favorite theme days are based on books. One of my teaching friends and I often plan our theme days around books - especially if they are about to become huge blockbuster movies. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Dr. Seuss. We do this theme day whenever another movie is coming out. We all dress up like a Dr. Seuss character (Thing 1 and Thing 2 of course!). There are so many amazing activities related to these books online it is hard to fit into one day.

2. Chocolate. We did a huge chocolate day when Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was remade. My teaching friend read the book to her class grade 1/2) and my class read chocolate novels - Chocolate Touch, Chocolate Fever and Charlie and the Chocoalte Factory. On the day students were invited to dress up like a character from Charlie {the Oompa Loompa costumes were hilarious}. We had stations set up between 3 rooms. Each student made a chocolate factory  - like a gingerbread house only with all chocolate candy, they did chocolate pudding painting, design a chocolate bar wrapper and a variety of reading response activities!

But my all time favorite that I am hoping to bring back soon is.....

3. Harry Potter Day!!! Oh the joy of Harry Potter Day. I love the books, I love the movies, did I mention I love the books. Both of us read the books to our class - usually book 1 since they were young and hadn't read any on their own yet, no matter what movie was coming out. We typed up invitation letters for each student - identical to the ones in the book, printed out on beige bond paper and shut with a gold seal like sticker - then one of our co-workers would crouch down outside our windows and throw them in - like they were delivered by an owl!!! Students and teachers dressed up like wizards and witches. On the morning of the best day ever, we had the students run through the brick wall at Platform 9 3/4 - we made a brick wall on brown paper - cut it into interlocking pieces - attatched to metre sticks and as students ran towards the "wall" we would open the wall and let them through. Students were sorted by the sorting hat - a black hat with slips of paper with the house names on them. Students travelled with their housemates through the activities - wand making, potion making.......super awesome day!!!

I love theme days and my students love theme days and they may forget everything else we did throughout the year but they never forget our theme days - they don't even realize that they are learning on the way to the theme day and on the day too!!

I wish I had photos but last year in a fit of motivation I took all the photos in my desk and went around to the older grades handing them out! I said why am I keeping these, when will I ever use them or need them, oops, that was before I started my blog!

Happy Friday everyone! I am linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky.

1. Summer List Poems

As part of our poetry unit we wrote list poems. We read some of Douglas Florian's list poems (What I Love About Spring and What I Hate About Spring) and Bruce Lansky (What I Found in My Desk). We wrote our own list poems for summer. We used the sunglasses pattern freebie from Third Grade Love to write our good copy and here is how they turned out! Love them, will be doing something similar again next year for sure!

2. ABC Countdown Has Begun!

That is right we are just starting our countdown. This is our first year doing an ABC Countdown. I got the idea from two awesome bloggers: Amanda at Collaboration Cuties and Jivey at Ideas by Jivey. So far we have had Alphabet Day, Bubble Day and Cartoon Day. Each day we complete a page from Diane's ABC Book (freebie). (It is a Math ABC book but we are using it to make a class memory book). We brainstorm a classroom memory for that letter to complete the page. Bubble day was a huge hit - with blowing bubbles outside and bubble gum inside!

3. You Know You Are a Teacher When.....

You keep your daughters castle project for 3 years just in case you teach Medieval Times again - then haul it out of the basement and bring it to school to launch your unit!

4. Drive-In Movies!

This is really from the weekend but we went to our first Drive-In movie night of the season - it was a little chilly but my family loves the drive-in - the pj's, the food, the people, the noise - love it. We saw Iron Man 3 and then fell asleep!

5. Math Mania

It is the time of year, right before Grade 3 Testing, that I am teaching math like crazy - trying to make sure we have covered everything, reviewed concepts from earlier in the year and making sure students know how to show their work and explain their thinking. This week we quickly reviewed motion geometry - transformations. Students love this unit - but they struggle with the "math" words for slides, flips and turns. I made this little set of posters to help them out. You can pick up a free copy in my TpT store.

Each student was given a set of paper penominoes and they had to glue them on to large chart paper and perform a transformation and label it. Here is their work.

If you haven't checked out the amazing bundle of resources at Teachers Notebook you really need to go check it out now!! I can't believe what an incredibel amount of products you get and how much money is being raised. Teachers are the best!!

I am linking up with Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday linky. Be sure to check out her awesome blog and her post today - I loved it!

This week's theme is reader response ideas. I am going to show you the two charts I use in shared reading lessons to model responses and to record student ideas.

The first is the Go Chart. I use this at the beginning of the year for fiction books. When starting a new shared reading book I record student responses on sticky notes and place them on the chart (2 pieces of bristol board with headers and white paper for where the sticky notes go). I work with the students to develop a strong response - we do a lot of oral responses and prompting. Then I move to everyone writing their own response on a sticky note and placing it on the chart for a different shared reading book. Finally I move to having them complete a Go Chart for their own guided reading book.

The second is a RAN chart (I don't know why it is called that). I use this when we start non-fiction reading. I follow the same process: 1st time  me recording, 2nd time them recording and sharing, 3rd time independent recording for their own book.

I like these charts because they help me model the basics to my students and can be left up like an anchor chart!

I am including a copy of each chart if you are interested in using them with your students. Click on the picture to pick up a copy - I print them on 8.5 x 14.

Linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried it Tuesday Linky. I love reading her posts - she has a way of sharing her ideas that is inspiring but also makes it seem like I could do it too - that is my favorite quality in a teaching blog.


Today I am sharing a few things that I had to try more than one time before succeeding.

I have tried a number of ways to store math manipulatives for students - the paper ones we cut and they need for numerous lessons. First I used envelopes glued into their duotangs - I thought that if the students kept the flap tucked in their math tools would be safe - nope.

Next I had a brilliant idea to use page protectors. These would work if the students always carried their duotangs right side up and never tossed them into the finished work bin or back into the math bin - unfortunately most kids in my class carry their duotang in a way guaranteed to make things fall out!
Finally, I had the boring idea to use ziploc baggies and packing tape. This boring and unattractive method is the winning way in our classroom.

I have tried a number of markers to use on chart paper to make anchor charts. Last year I kept reading all over the blogging world about these fabulous markers.

Only I am not finding them so fabulous (maybe it is just me). I do like that they have two sizes of tips on each marker, that is great. But they do not last any longer than other markers, I have had many tips split so I end up with a funky line in my letters and I don't love the colours - the purple and orange in particular bug me and there is no pink or grey or light blue. I am still searching for the perfect marker for making anchor charts (I believe if I have the right marker mine will look like the ones I pin on pinterest!). I have read that people love their scented markers from Mr. Sketch so those are next on my list to try - if you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them.

For the last few years I have been using a job chart - that I do not have a picture of because I ripped it down and threw it in the recycling bin in a fit of frustration. It was a really nice job chart - I used super cute cards pasted on  library pocket card holders and students names on index cards in each pocket if it was their job. Only I stopped moving jobs around on Monday mornings or I forget whose job it was or I couldn't see the name ....

It was a sad state of affairs until I read this post by Joanne (super awesome blogger from Head Over Heels for Teaching) and now we have "Teacher of the Day". I steal tons of ideas from Joanne, I even told my class that I got this idea from her - shout outs in the class!

Each day one student is Teacher of the Day and they get all of the jobs - attendance, hand out paper, collect library books, put stickers in agendas at the end of the day etc. I know who the teacher of the day is because they get to sit in a super comfy padded grey chair instead of the hard plastic orange chair. We are going in reverse ABC order. My kids were so excited when I introduced this last week that they immediately started figuring out the order and wrote me up a list! I will for sure use this again next year, plus I do not need to take up valuable wall space for a job chart!

Super comfy chair for teacher of the day!

I also tried numbering my post like the super cute ladies at Collaboration Cuties - love it!!

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