Sunday, April 10, 2016

Telling Time and Elapsed Time Lesson Plans and Activities




Elementary teacher looking for new math games and math centers to help teach elapsed time? This blog post details how to start with telling time lesson plans and free telling time activites and telling time games. She then goes into detail about elapsed time activites and gives lots of FREE resources!

Hey Hey!

We just wrapped up our elapsed time unit and let me just say....WHEW! It was fun, but it was a challenge. Partly because so many of my third graders came to me struggling to even tell time. #yikes

I began by giving my kids a pre-assessment to determine if they even knew how to tell time. I was blown away by how many students couldn't not correctly write the correct hour. They understood how to find the minute hand, but when the minute had was past 30 minutes and the hour hand gets close to the next hour---so many of my kids were adding an hour because it was "closer".

To snag the telling time assessment template for free {CLICK HERE}

I used this template so I could easily group my kids for math small groups. After small groups, I gave them my {telling time quiz} again and then gave the the highest grade to put in the grade book.

If you have a subscription,
BrainPopJr also has great time videos!

Tip:
Do you have those kids that still struggled trying to determine the hour hand? Try this simple trick

Elementary teacher looking for new math games and math centers to help teach elapsed time? This blog post details how to start with telling time lesson plans and free telling time activites and telling time games. She then goes into detail about elapsed time activites and gives lots of FREE resources!
To snag this poster {CLICK HERE}

Now that we have FINALLY (hopefully) mastered how to tell time, we can now start elapsed time. 

In my little opinion, teaching elapsed time on a number line makes the most sense. Sometimes the kids get confused on the carts, so I decided I would teach them that second and let them choose which was easier for them 

A trick that really helped my kids with elapsed time, was to break apart the elapsed time into manageable benchmark times. I had them look at the elapsed time and break it apart by hours, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, and 1 minute. Sure, they can break it apart by 30 minutes, BUT when the time is 12:45 and they are trying to add 30 minutes to that, they end up messing up their calculations. 

Take a look: 
Elementary teacher looking for new math games and math centers to help teach elapsed time? This blog post details how to start with telling time lesson plans and free telling time activites and telling time games. She then goes into detail about elapsed time activites and gives lots of FREE resources!


I had the kids decompose the elapsed time using the benchmark times mentioned above. 
As the kids added the times, they circled them to remind themselves that they have already added the numbers. Do you see how I added the 5 minutes before the 10 minutes?
This is because this made more sense us when using friendly numbers. 

I love it when my kids can practice in a fun way! 
Have you heard of these dry erase pockets? I use them for everything! 
Check out how I use them in a blog posts {HERE}.
Elementary teacher looking for new math games and math centers to help teach elapsed time? This blog post details how to start with telling time lesson plans and free telling time activites and telling time games. She then goes into detail about elapsed time activites and gives lots of FREE resources!

To snag one of these write on wipe off templates {CLICK HERE}. 

I love integrating {QR Codes} in the classroom! It's such an excellent way for the kids to check their work and at the same time I am able pull {small groups} without the hassle of kids constantly coming up to me! 

Well---they still come up at times lol, but not at a crazy rate ;) 

Elementary teacher looking for new math games and math centers to help teach elapsed time? This blog post details how to start with telling time lesson plans and free telling time activites and telling time games. She then goes into detail about elapsed time activites and gives lots of FREE resources!

If you would like the big elapsed time unit, click the image below! 

Elementary teacher looking for new math games and math centers to help teach elapsed time? This blog post details how to start with telling time lesson plans and free telling time activites and telling time games. She then goes into detail about elapsed time activites and gives lots of FREE resources!

I hope this was a Peppy Zesty idea for you! (:

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Interactive Notebook Hack

Hey everyone! It's Angela from Hippo Hooray for Second Grade popping in. Interactive Notebooks are all the rage these days, and today I want to share a tip for implementing them with ease!
Interactive notebooks are all the rage right now! Check out this blog post for a quick tip you can use tomorrow to make INs easier to implement in your classroom!

First Things First: What are Interactive Notebooks?

An interactive notebook is a place where students can take information supplied from the teacher and merge it with their own thinking. Interactive notebooks differ from traditional note taking, in that they allow students to stop and interact with the new information and receive feedback from the teacher and classmates about their understanding of the new information, instead of just copying down notes from a book or the board and having no clue what they're writing.

Want to know a way to make your interactive notebooking easier? 
Here's what you do! 
Buy sticky notes! And LOTS of them!!
Interactive notebooks are all the rage right now! Check out this blog post for a quick tip you can use tomorrow to make INs easier to implement in your classroom!
Oh my goodness, sticky notes have saved my interactive notebooking life! These little gems can be used in so many ways, giving you and your students back the time the need to actually learn (not cut out a bunch of little pieces of paper!). Here are a few ways I use sticky notes:

1. Sticky notes as flip flaps

Don't have time to create a cute foldable? Or maybe the task of cutting is just too time consuming for your students. No worries! Just give your kids sticky notes. They label what's underneath right on top of the sticky note, which will help to increase student ownership of the notebooks. I do like to come around with clear tape while the students are working and put a small piece at the top, just to make sure the sticky notes don't fall out of the notebooks.
Don't have time to create flip flaps for you interactive notebooks? Use sticky notes instead! Read more about this tip and so many more  on this blog post!

2. Sticky notes for tabbing sections

Again, another way for students to take ownership of the creation of their notebooks is for them to make the tabs for the sections of their notebooks. They write the heading on the opposite end of the sticky side, and put it on their table of contents page for the section. I like to use a different color for each section. Then I cover the whole sticky note with clear packaging tape so that they are durable.
Use sticky notes to tab off sections in your students interactive notebooks! Read more about this tip and so many more  on this blog post!

3. Sticky notes for labeling the left side/right side

My students use the left side of their notebooks as the "Thinking Side" (the output/interacting side), and the right side of the notebook as the "Information Side" (the input/note taking side). So I use red/pink and green sticky notes to label the sides. Red for the Thinking Side: STOP and think! Green for the Information Side: GO ahead and learn! Again, I cover these with clear packaging tape.
Use sticky notes to label the left/right sides in your students' interactive notebooks! Read more about this tip and so many more  on this blog post!


If you want to learn more about how I use interactive notebooks in my class, click HERE! I also have a Pinterest board dedicated to all the interactive notebook gems I find online:

What else do you use sticky notes for? Leave me a comment below!

Thanks for stopping by today!


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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Beat the End of the Year Blues

Guess what time of year it is? Yep. YOU GUESSED IT. The time of year where my students all of a sudden "don't remember our class expectations"...ha.. RIGHT. So that means it is time to revamp my classroom management!Check out these classroom management strategies to help you beat the end of the year blues!
I have many tricks I use in my classroom all year round, but some I leave until the end of the year to bring out! 

The first is my V.I.P table. I loved loved doing this in my classroom last year. Rachel at The Tattooed Teacher blogged about it---genius I tell you!!

First... I moved our rug from our classroom library to the middle of the room, brought in a table, and got to work making it VIP-ish! Their table is labeled with big bright letters.. V.I.P...HEY HEY!... They even get their own table sign. 

Then, I put together their *own* set of special supplies. oh yes, it's special I tell you! Things like: pens, highlighters, markers, pencils, erasers, tissue, hand sanitizer (seriously their FAV!), sticky notes, scissors, etc! 

I choose 3 VIPS a week, and each VIP gets to wear a V.I.P. badge ALL WEEK. 

I like to also give them special privileges..things like: pack up first, line up first, shoes off, keep their water bottle at their desk all-darn- day! (yes, this is HUGE!) work on the carpet...oh and you better believe no other students may walk on their carpet. ;) I also let them be my personal paparazzi. They can use our devices to take pictures for our classroom Instagram! 

Let me tell you, my students are SERIOUS about this table. It is a BIG deal. Last year I saw a huge turn around of classroom behavior since introducing it. I have seen those students that really don't care about incentives or feel like they can't earn anything work SO hard to earn this special privilege! I encourage you to think about if this would work for your classroom and try it out!

You can grab all the things I use in my classroom FOR FREE HERE! :)

Another thing I love really using in my classroom around this time are Brag Tags! You can give brag tags for any and everything! I like to give mine out randomly. 
Beat the end of the year blues by using brag tags for classroom management!

I give out brag tags for students who pass a certain amount of lessons on our Think Through Math program. 

I give a brag tag to our Secret Student when we have one.

I also hand them out in various parts of the day when I see someone working very hard on math, reading, science, etc! The students love keeping their necklace in the classroom and wearing it throughout the day! 

I have a growing pack of brag tags in my store HERE if you want to check them out before the price goes up soon!!
Check out these classroom management strategies to help you beat the end of the year blues!

I hope these tips help you make it to the end of your school year!! You can do it! Be sure to follow my classroom management board on Pinterest for more ideas!! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Low Prep Dinner for Busy Teachers

Spring-time can be a super-hectic time for teachers!  The fatigue of the school year can set in, leaving you with little energy or will to prepare a healthy meal.  I'm sharing one of my FAVORITE recipes for when I'm at my busiest and EVERYONE is excited to see this meal when the crew comes home!


Back in the day when I was shuffling between soccer games and watching my daughter cheer, a friend shared a recipe for roast beef that quickly became a staple in our household.

What made it so special?
I could come home from work, spend 15 minutes in the house prepping the meal, and LEAVE!  When I come home, it was done!  No watching the clock. Just done! Let me tell you, my family knows this aroma when they enter the house and are PUMPED!

Ingredients:
Eye Round Roast
Kitchen Bouquet Browning Sauce


  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degree
  2. Line your baking pan with foil
  3. Completely cover your roast in a even layer of Kitchen Bouquet
  4. Bake in the oven 5 minutes per pound.  (I usually try to find a roast that is pretty close to exactly 2 or 3 lbs )  This makes a perfectly rare roast.  Adjust time to suit your taste.
  5. When your timer goes off.  Turn off the oven, but....DO NOT open.  The radiant heat will cook the roast.
  6. Run your errands, take a nap...WHATEVER
  7. Two hours later, your roast is ready!  
Add a simple salad.  In a new pan, drizzle potato wedges with olive oil and rosemary and bake until lightly crisp.

Later in the week, use the leftovers by thinly slicing the the roast to have French Dip sandwiches to bring to the soccer field or baseball park with a bag of chips & baby carrots with ranch dip.  

Hope you enjoy one less meal to fuss over and avoid running through the Drive-Thru!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Responding to Reading: 3 Ways to See Improvements Instantly!


Hey hey hey! It's Kelli from Tales of a Tenacious Teacher! I'm sitting here enjoying my Spring Break. If you are too- congrats! You've made it this far! If yours has already past or still coming... hang in there and keep working it! You've got this! 

I'm here to share 3 ways to improve your students' responses to their reading. As I tell my students, we respond to our reading for a few reasons. 1) I'm not in their brains! I don't know what they are thinking, what's easy for them, what's hard... so we need to take time to respond to our reading. We respond to our reading both with the speaking and the writing domain so both are included here today. 2) As we learn to become better readers, we need to stop and check our thinking often. I always tell them that they won't do this for the rest of their reading lives the way we do it right now in 3rd grade... but the things we practice now will help it become automatic for us later so we spend time writing and sharing about our thinking often to help it become automatic. 


Usually with that, I have them buy into the importance as to why we do this. It's also a good talking piece with parents who sometimes think that because their child can read fast and accurately, they don't always fully comprehend their reading. So how do I get students to think deeply and completely about their reading? I've got 3 tips!


If you've been around here for a little while, you'll know that I love rubrics and language. Both are in this post. I'm guilty though of not always using rubrics to help both me and my students know what to expect. I've found that a simple rubric for each skill/focus is easiest for me to see what students know what to do and what they are missing to get to the next step.

These rubrics are based off of specific skills and focuses. The top is a 3-point rubric that focuses on 2 things: the reading focus and the language focus. The reading focus targets "how" the student is able to respond to their reading on a particular focus (such as character motivation). The language focus is usually a grammar focus to help them  communicate their idea more clearly. The bottom rubric targets "what" their work tells you as a teacher on their thinking level when it comes to that focus. 


Two ways to use this: 
  1. Cut them in half and just give students the top half. Have them glue it into their reading notebooks to reference so when they are completing a jotting on that focus, they now what you are expecting. You can keep the bottom half as a talking point if you need to pull a strategy group. 
  2. Have them glue the whole page into their notebook so that students know clearly what to work towards and what their work tells you of their thinking while reading.


I'm a big proponent of graphic organizers. I've found the most success when I give a graphic organizer and have students fill it out. Later, students draw it themselves and modify to make it work for them. I've given my students a blank page in their reading notebooks and have told them to just jot during their reading... all I get usually is a mess of thoughts and I struggle to identify what my students are even thinking during their reading. So graphic organizers help both my students think completely and help me notice what they rock at and where they have some gaps for me to help fill.

For our character units (we have a series unit, mystery unit, and biography unit that we can use all these organizers for), we pay attention to our characters... a lot. We think about their problem, but not just their problem- we think about how they react to it and what that tells us about them. We think about their actions and choices and how they impact relationships and problems. We think about character motivations and what is pushing them to do things. All of this helps us develop strong ideas and traits for our characters. I've found simple box graphic organizers with question prompts to be very helpful to get students to think deeper.


The last tip to is help them communicate their thinking clearly through language. This is a great time and way to integrate grammar into meaningful instruction. I've made little mini-charts that students glue right into their notebook to reference often. Even better, if you change the printing settings and scale down a bit, they fit perfectly into a composition notebook. These mini-charts are meant to provide language supports and expand vocabulary to help students get to a deeper level. I've used an adjective chart to help students recommend books, adverbs to describe how their character reacts to something to give a better picture of their characters intent, question matrixes to help them formulate stronger questions, and sentence frames to initiate conversations about books in book clubs. 

 

Sometimes I add the language cues right to my graphic organizers to help it become even more accessible. 

I've found that by implementing these 3 tips, my students are producing more quality work and it allows me to see where I need to put my efforts. 

Want to give it a try? Click on the image below try using it. If you find it helpful, you can check out the whole set of rubrics, graphic organizers, and mini-charts in my TpT store!

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

3 Must-Dos When Returning from Break

Spring break..that awesome time when you get to have lunch whenever you'd like, schedule appointments mid-day, and take a bathroom break at any given moment. However, coming back from break can be a rough transition, especially for third graders. 


For many third graders this is their first year taking big state tests. While you return from spring break ready to hit the ground running, they return with the anxiety that comes from facing down the days until "testing season". Throw in some nicer weather, and you've got a recipe for spring fever. While it isn't ideal, its the world we live in, so here are a few great tips to help get your students back on track and focused on learning when they get back from break. 

1. Review your expectations right away. 
Silly, right? They've made it through six months of your class at this point. They ought to know how to behave, but its amazing what a week away from the classroom structure can do. Its like one of those memory eraser deals from Men in Black...its just all gone. Spending 15 minutes on the first day back can save you headaches for weeks to come. (Plus, it gives you a chance to focus on some of those expectation that were starting to fall to the wayside before break.)

2. Start the day off right.
It can be easy to skip routines the first few days back. However, hopping right back into the morning work routine can bring comfort and familiarity for students. It reminds them that they know this routine and that nothing has changed over your week apart. (If you didn't have morning work before break, this is also a great time to get it started.) 

3. Provide time to share. 
Kids are talkative when they return. They've been away from friends for a WHOLE WEEK! That is almost forever for third graders. Giving them purposeful time to share their spring break adventures (even if it was just playing video games on the couch) builds classroom community. Get bonus points if you can work this into a lesson...Write about your break? Document on the map where people went? There are tons of great options. 

Although they seem simple (and time efficient...if I do say so myself), just these three small tasks can mean the difference between transitioning back from break to a room of wild, crazy monkeys or a room of the sweet learners you said goodbye to just a week before. Of course, if you are lucky enough to do all these things and still end up with a crowd of wild monkeys, here are a few great tips to support your classroom management when Spring Fever hits.  

Have a great week!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Teacher Tips for After Spring Break

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Returning from Spring Break can be the BEST time to add a spark to your classroom routines!  What's more...it is also the perfect time to try out some techniques and routines that you might have been a little nervous to try!  Who better to try them out with than with the students you have already established a trusting environment!
Collection of  five "Must-Do" activities/management in the classroom that will get keep student focused in the right way!  The final tip is my favorite!

These are my top tips that you should try with your students!

If you aren't already using Class Dojo with your students, after Spring Break is the perfect time to start.  Focus as a classroom on the behaviors you want to see most often, add them to your Positive Behavior list, and start catching your students in the act.  A two-to-three month commitment late in the school year is the perfect time to try out this interactive app.  
  • Set a weekly goal of positive behaviors and reward your class with extra recess, Stinky Feet day, or a simple snack & short video on Friday
  • Choose the Random Pick option to watch a "Secret Friend" in the hallway to add to the class total.  My students always clap for the Secret Friend and thank them!

Class Dojo too much of a commitment for you?  No worries!  One of  my favorite ways to quietly recognize on-task behavior, good choices, or ANY act of "Awesomeness" are giving my kids tiny tokens while I'm teaching.  Trust me, kids NOTICE when you pull out these goodies and just lay them on desks and give a silent pat on the back.  Be super-generous and watch how contagious positive behavior spreads throughout your room!  I use a variety of things I have collected like:

Your Guided Math and Reading groups are probably pretty established by now.  Add a little pizzazz to the routine and try out some Flexible Seating options for one of your rotations.  Who knows?  You may decide you want to do more in the fall when school starts!!
  • Scoop rockers make a great option to get out of desks to do some reading or independent work in a quiet location in the room.  As a 3rd grade teacher, I've never had centers in a specific "place" in the room, so this leaves the extra room available perfect for some choices on the floor.  I found mine at Walmart, but I have been told you can find them at Aldi's as well!  
  • Standing Work Zone: Raise the legs of an unused table or a collection of desks in the building to create a place to plop center games and word work.  Let your "standers" have a spot to work, wiggle, and lean to their heart's content during one of your rotations!

When Spring Fever hits, why fight the battle when you can channel the energy productively! If GoNoodle didn't save your sanity this winter with its Inside Recess options, then you need to head over to check out the movement activities that range from the ever-calming Maximo to the goofy Koo Koo Kanga boys!  Create your own list of favorites and let your kids do the choosing.  Start one of these during your transition times and just WATCH you kiddoes clean up and join in no NO TIME!

One my of kids' favorite activities to spend 5-10minutes is simply having the chance to get our markers, colored pencils, or crayons and draw.  I have a collection of great ideas on my Pinterest Board that are Low (to zero) Prep and High Interest!  You can see it HERE.  These are perfect activities to follow up a round of standardized testing, too!  Very stress relieving!
  • Find a You Tube Channel will calming classical music.  You might like THIS one!
  • Guide a directed drawing, demonstrate a doodling technique, or simply give them a Squiggle that you start for them.  
Enjoy the last few weeks with your precious friends!


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