Five for Friday: Crunch Time Edition

Hello friends!

It's time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and share my Five for Friday!


I feel like this was a very long week, considering it was a short week.  Anyone else?

Anyhoo, here's what is going on in my neck of the woods:





My 4th graders have been busy, busy, busy preparing for the statewide writing assessment. The test is Tuesday, and quite honestly I think if I have to look at another essay I might pull all of my hair out. At this point, I have to let go and let God, if you know what I mean! I must say, my students have made incredible progress since the beginning of the year, and they are giving it their all, and that's all I can ask for!

One thing I noticed as we are doing our last minute preparations is that my students were doing a great job of formatting their quotes (YAY!)...but they were having a hard time following up their quote with support. For example, they would write something like:

In the article Students Get Healthy, the author states, "75% of students do not make healthy choices when packing their lunch." This means that 75% of students do not make healthy choices when packing their lunch.

I needed my students to see that they needed to use the quote to support their reason/opinion, not just restate exactly what the quote says. I've found that it is most helpful for kids to see examples of other kids doing something correctly, so I ran some copies of an essay I felt was pretty good, and we looked at how the student added on to what the quote was addressing without repeating what it said.

My students looked at examples of their friends' work to figure out quoting in an essay



The best part was that all the other students complimented the girl who wrote the essay...without being prompted by me! It's so nice to hear my kids say stuff like, "I got an idea after reading your essay that will make my essays better" or "I didn't get this before, but now I see what to do." One thing we have focused on throughout the year is celebrating the success of others, so it is nice to see it in action!


To give the kids a little boost just before they take the test, I had everyone's parents write them a letter of encouragement. I sent home a "Top Secret Envelope" with each student:

Parents received a Top Secret Envelope and wrote their kids letters of encouragement before the writing test!


I would have liked it to be a little more Pinterest-ready, but sometimes you just don't have it in you. Inside was a letter explaining what the parents needed to do, a blank piece of paper with a cute border, and an envelope.

Parents received a Top Secret Envelope and wrote their kids letters of encouragement before the writing test!


I have received almost every envelope back, and I know a few will have them on Monday. I went ahead and wrote a letter for the students who didn't have one yet, so that everyone has something to open on Tuesday morning. I'll hand them out right before they take the test. I love having such supportive parents!

Parents received a Top Secret Envelope and wrote their kids letters of encouragement before the writing test!




Since I feel like I've been neglecting my 3rd graders while getting the 4th graders ready for this test, I've given them a fun little project to work on...making their own picture books.

We started with a lesson about "Power Sentences" It is one of my absolute all time favorite lessons, and it comes from the blog Teaching My Friends. I took the anchor chart she created and turned it into a Word document that I projected onto the Promethean. Then, students chose one sentence from the chart they made that they wanted to base their story on.

Using a great idea from Teaching My Friends, students wrote POWER SENTENCES!


The next step was to fill out a Story Map. Students added more characters, decided on a setting, and fleshed out more details for their stories.

My 3rd graders love creating their own picture books! Here you can see them using a Story Map to flesh out their ideas.

(Twinsies! They're so cute)

Then, they used a Picture Book Planning Sheet to decide how they wanted to place their words and pictures. Again, No fancy fonts or any bells and whistles, but it got the job done:

We used a planning sheet before getting our blank books and publishing.


After that, hello Target blank books!



I didn't have enough plain books, so I randomly chose 3 students to get a special Emoji cover. Y'all, this was a BIG DEAL. You would have thought I was giving away gold bricks rather than Emoji books!

I'll keep you update on how the books look when they are finished!


I have some new products I am looking forward to using with my 3rd graders, as I start preparing THEM for the reading test. It never ends!

One of my favorite reading skills to teach is asking and answering questions while reading. I figure if my students can get this down, they are pretty well prepared for anything the test throws at them.

These adorable SQUARE posters are going to look amazing hanging up in my classroom!:

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

We will refer to them as we dive into questioning! Then, I have graphic organizers that cover a variety of questioning skills:

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.



Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

I love how these can be used with any book or fiction passage! There are differentiated options to help your kiddos who need a bit more scaffolding.

Finally, once we become questioning masters, we will practice our skills by using this choice board!

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.

Like all my choice boards, you get activity guidelines, activity pages, and a rubric for easy grading. I'm super excited to use the Question Tracker to help my friends practice their Logic Smarts!

You can check out all 3 products here, or grab the bundle and save!

Asking and answering questions is my favorite skill to teach! Here are some fun activities that help me when teaching about this important topic.




Finally, I am taking part in a HUGE celebration for Teaching Autism's birthday! She is giving away not 1...not 2...not 3...but 4(!) $100 TpT gift cards. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter below, and then head over to her blog for even more chances to WIN! Hurry, the contest ends on 2/28.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading! See you around :)


2 comments

  1. I saw your Instagram post about the secret envelope and this idea is just spectacular! I love it and wish I had tried that when I had a regular classroom. I will pass this on to my daughter who teachers third grade right now! Also, LOVE your blog design! I just switched my blog to a new look and I love all the new features! Have a great weekend!
    Carol
    Teachers Are Terrific!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aww, thank you! I think your new blog looks great, too! I was so happy with how many parents participated...the kids are going to LOVE it!

    ReplyDelete

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