What a spook-TECH-ular Halloween it was in Room 3 today! Students began the day by reflecting on their progress so far in our class. They folded a white piece of paper in fours and answered the following questions in each block:
1. My favorite part of the day is....
2. I need the most help with...
3. Something I learned so far....
4. The best part of the day is..

I plan to use the students' reflections during parent conferences tomorrow afternoon.

Then the best part of the day came when students rotated through centers for the remainder of the day. My first class of 28 4th graders rotated through 6 centers and my second class rotated through 4.

Center one was a lesson with me on using www.Glogster.com Here students created a digital poster on the chapter book we just finished titled Bunnicula. Students were expected to post the title, a short summary of the story without giving the ending and post two pictures.

Here is an example of a student's Glog.

Next, students in my homeroom worked with our ELL teacher Mr. Martinez. He gave each student a kitkat and had them take a bite. They then wrote a descriptive paragraph persuading their audience how it tasted and why it was good. Students posted their descriptive paragraphs on Edmodo.

In my second class students worked with our Special Education teacher, Ms. Difulco. She read students a Halloween story and had them post a response on Edmodo.

Then was a lesson with my PLEP student from Holy Cross College. She also read a Halloween story to the students and had them complete a writing assignment to go along with the book.

Students also worked with our technology intern, Ms. Brittney. She facilitated a lesson on the iPads using the app Keynote. Students created a 3-4 slide powerpoint on our chapter book Bunnicula.

The students had a fabulous time during our Tech day today and learned a lot. They explored a few new tools using the technology and were motivated and highly engaged throughout.
Yeah, how exciting! I have been awarded the # Rockstar Meme Blog Award by Nancy C at Teaching is Elementary.

When one is awarded the meme, according to the originator Guhlin, they are supposed to Write a Post about how Blogging has Rocked your World then:

1. Respond to the meme and link back to this blog entry.
2. Leave a comment on this blog entry and ask 5 more people to participate.
3. Notify those 5 people by sending them a quick note

So here I go....


I have learned to implement so many wonderful ideas from reading and how to effectively run Daily 5 in my classroom. This summer I went crazy with the wealth of information I found on blogs on incorporating the Daily 5 into my classroom. My students love the Daily 5 and I am even doing an action research project on the Daily 5 in the coming weeks to submit for one of my last masters classes.

I am a more effective teacher this year. Every year for the past nine years, I have felt like I have grown some, but this year I feel like I have grown the most and I owe it all to the wonderful blogs that I read. Reading a variety of blogs every day and gathering other educators thoughts and opinions on education has empowered me to be the best that I can be. I now stray away from all the negativity and am motivated to go for the gold!

I have built my PLN. I have collaborated with a plethora of educators since this summer through blogs. I have participated in webinars that I learned about through blogs and have even presented to my colleagues about the benefits of blogs.

My students have learned to become exceptional writers. They are motivated to blog and enjoy commenting on other students blogs.

BLOGGING HAS TRANSFORMED ME! Thank you Nancy C for awarding me this Meme.

I am passing this Meme to the following people.

Mrs. Ripp- a fifth grade teacher who is very reflective and has many words of inspiration Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension

Ms. Wilson- my partner teacher with fabulous ideas and lessons in Math, Science and Social Studies - The Scoop in Room 1

Mrs. Bongers- a fourth grade teachers who I borrow lots of lessons ideas from- Life in 4B

Ms. Naugle- a fourth grade teachers who inspired me to get started PLN- Not Just My Initials

Tara- a fourth grade teacher One of the first blogs I began following. 4th Grade Frolics

Thanks again Nancy C for awarding me the Rockstar Meme! And thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who inspire me each and every day!
We are working on lots of exciting things in Room 3 this week. This week is our week to do announcements over the PA system. We get so nervous talking over the PA system including me. The students say the Pledge of Allegiance the school pledge, and inform us of lunch and other school announcments. Then we come together as a class for 10 minutes to log into the iPads and vote in a poll. Today's poll was "How are you feeling?" Next students are off to PE, however out of 28 students only 8 go to PE everyday. The rest want to stay inside and use the technology to either sign into Edmodo or Kidblog. ( I guess my excitement for technology is really rubbing off on them.) Today I went on Twitter and searched for a class under comments4kids for students to make comments.

When students arrive back from PE they began the Daily Edit sentence and copy the Word of the Day down. This week I am using the Daily Edit to review our English skill of verb tenses from last week. Next, students come to the rug for a mini-lesson on cause and effect. After reviewing our purpose and strategies for identifying the cause and effect I read the book Why does Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears.

I stopped frequently for students to turn and talk to their partner to make predictions, inferences and identify causes and effects. Then we did a shared reading with our chapter book Bunnicula. I use this book to do a lot of think alouds with the students and students do lots of turn and talks. Finally we moved on to centers as I am calling it now. This is where students get to utilize the Technology and I can work with a small group on the comprehension skill for the week. Next, students go to lunch and recess. When they arrive back we work on writing. Today students were introduced to revising and practiced with a sample paragraph. Tomorrow they will apply what they learned in their rough drafts.

Here are a few things I am looking forward to in the next coming weeks:
Introducing students to Keynote on the iPads to create a story with photos from our classroom or Fall Fest.
Using the GPS devices on Friday during the Fall Fest.
Here is a picture of my iPad screen and a few of the apps the students and I have explored.
A few of our favorites is Screenchomp, Brainpop and Edmodo. They enjoy using Screenchomp to reteach lessons to their peers and to draw pictures. Today in groups students explored the Brainpop app. They watched the video of the day and completed the quiz. I also introduced Edmodo to the students last week. They have been using this social networking site to post their responses to their journal prompts, take short quizzes and polls.

Tonight I discovered an exciting app called Stick Pick. This app allows you to pick students at random and suggests question starters for students based on their level of learning. I am looking forward to using this app tomorrow in guided groups. The best part about it is that it tracks formative assessment and it can be emailed to parents. A few others I installed but haven't used yet are Dragon Dictation, Keynote and Flipboard.
How do you motivate students to read? I motivate my students and empower a passion for reading by introducing them to a plethora of books. Every Monday, students visit the classroom library to choose a new selection for the week. They read their book during our weekly silent reading time, after tests and they are even allowed to bring their book home for more reading. My students also visit our school library every other week. We attend library for a 50 minute block. Student check out books, work on book talks, and participate in information resource lessons. I also motivate my students to read by purchasing books of their interest. Recently, through Scholastic I ordered a 3-D Zombie book and a Wrestling book which have been "hits" with the boys in my class.

Last but not least I motivate my students by asking outside sources such as one of our local librarians from the public library to visit our classroom and present to students a variety of genres.

A few of my students completed Book Talks about our chapter book read last month. My students were given a project at the end of September with choices on how they would like to present the chapter book Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. A few of my students did not complete a project at all. So, instead of giving them a zero, because I don't believe in failure, I allowed these students to stay in during their PE time to complete a book talk. Their book talks consisted of 4-5 pages of pictures and illustrations to convince their audience that Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was worth reading. They all did a wonderful job and all earned a passing grade!

The students were so excited to use the iPads today. They were so excited I had to have them clasp their hands while I gave directions. They worked in pairs to explore  Screenchomp. Sceeenchomp is a like a dry erase board, but the cool thing about it is that they can record what they do. I eventually plan to have them teach one another the objective of the day. Isn't there research that says you learn better by teaching and applying the skill?

Today was a very productive day in Room 3. This week in Reading students are learning purposes for writing and identifying the author's purpose in a variety of passages. The anchor chart I used to introduce the lesson can be found here.

I began the lesson by reading the picture book Eppossumondas by Colleen Sally. Eppossumondas is a "noodlehead" tale, which I learned from googling is a tale about someone who doesn't use their brain. The story was delightful and the students really enjoyed predicting the outcomes. We concluded the story with identifying the author's purpose and adding the purpose to our anchor chart.

Next, we continued and completed reading Chapter 3 of Bunnicula. They are really enjoying this story ,and we are stopping to talk to our partners frequently throughout the story to work on our Metacognition and deciphering words using context clues.

Then we reviewed Verb Tenses. I found a fabulous app called Show Me for the iPad that I can't wait to introduce to students tomorrow. They are going to use the app to demonstrate how to use Verb Tenses by recording and annotating on the iPad teaching the skill. However, I am going to have to let them explore the iPad first before I try to get them to do an activity. They are so eager to use them. I was able to get them all registered this afternoon. I plan to pull 10 students to stay in during PE to let them explore and then introduce them to the app so they can teach their partner when they return. Stay tuned for some great examples.

Finally, we moved on Non-Fiction Text Features. Students chose a non-fiction text to skim and scan for non-fiction text features. They located features from the text and recorded them on a manilla folder.

This is not my original idea. I tried locating the teacher I borrowed this wonderful idea from, but couldn't seem to locate the source. Thank You! Now tomorrow we will use the features to practice applying them to test questions.

Finally, for some RAH! RAH! RAH! I had cheer practice after school with the 4th and 5th grade girls. Here are a few pictures of the cheerleaders in action.
We played "Ship and Sailors" during the last 10 minutes of practice. This is an excellent team building activity.

Do you see what I see? That's right! My technology grant has finally arrived. We received 10 ipad2, 5 netbooks, a flipcamera, a digital camera, a web cam, and 5 GPS units. I am still waiting on the laptop cart and the laser printer.

The students and I were so happy we cheered with joy. One of my students was so excited that he already told his mom, who was a substitute today at our school. This afternoon she stopped by my room and so kindly asked if I could use her help to set up the new equipment. So, of course I said YES! She also has her own iPad and will be helping me and the students get acquainted.

I am looking for any helpful tips, advice and apps to get us started!
This year I have taken a different approach to teaching reading in my classroom. I have completely thrown out the basal reader and am taking on chapter books with my students. Two weeks ago, my students and I finished Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.

Students were introduced to the skills sequencing, main idea and details, character traits, and effect and applied all skills to the book through reading response. Last week, students were given their first reading project to complete, which was a Book Talk or review about Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Click here to see the project paper students were given. Today students presented their book talks and they did an excellent job. It was amazing to the see the creativity and talent of some of my students. Here are a few of my students presenting their book talks.

Last week, we began the chapter book Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe. This is definitely a more challenging book for my students. Sharing this book with my students has allowed me to really focus in on metacognition and doing more think alouds with my students. We discussed plot this week and the conflicts the main character may encounter. Next, week we will begin discussing Author's Purpose. Our wonderful librarian pulled a stack of books for me to use for mini-lessons on Author's purpose. I am also thinking of using a few for small group for students to read and identify the author's purpose.

My students are still loving blogging. Some of my students are up to 8 posts and a few of them are posting at home. Yesterday, we discussed how to make a quality blog comment and made an anchor chart. They wrote, on an index card, to a journal prompt on the board about their favorite movie. Then each student was given a sticky note to make a comment. Students enjoyed reading their comments and now they are eager to get back on the computers to begin commenting. Here is the link to my students blogs. Please check them out and feel free to leave them a few comments!
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