October 2015 - Amber from TGIF (Third Grade is Fun)

Fall Classroom Activities for Busy Teachers

I have such amazing memories of Fall and Halloween from when I was little.  As an adult, I love this time of the year, BUT it can be exhausting too!  So....I am sharing some tips as a veteran teacher of 21 years.   

At our small school, we don't have an art or music teacher.  I want to expose my students to both, but on top of all the other items I prep every week and add in data collection, SLO's, intervention documentation, I feel a bit stretched each week.  I have found my saving grace in The Art for Kids Hub on YouTube. The artist on the video, Rob, is fun to watch and he knows just how to explain everything in kid friendly terms.  He is also so encouraging and helps kids understand art terms and that each piece will be unique.  

Our first attempt with this video/art combo went so well that we have already tried more!  Rob explains step by step how to draw these cute pumpkins and how to blend and shade each part.  The ONLY supplies we needed were white paper, a black marker and oil pastels (but we just used regular crayons and it worked out great).  My students were so engaged!  Here are some pictures of my students' artwork.  
Each pumpkin is hand drawn by the students and then they add shading and blending techniques.  My students learned so much about using more than one color on a section, how to blend the colors, and how to use shading techniques to give it a realistic look.  Each student then added their own flair to their pictures and we hung them up on the wall.  The BEST part of this was it took less than 30 minutes from getting out supplies to hanging the artwork on the wall.  I call that a MAJOR success.  We even tackled an origami project in less than 30 minutes this week.  

I am telling you that you will thank yourself for incorporating The Art for Kids Hub into your week.  It is a wonderful brain break for you and your students.  Check out the video here:

I am also excited to share with you one of my students' favorite games to practice their division fact fluency.  The Monster Bump Division Game is available in my TpT store.  This is my go-to game when my students need fact fluency practice.  Busy teachers need easy to create games for their centers and practice time.  All you need to do is to print the game board and the game cards (fact cards) that you want your students to practice and have some type of game pieces.  (I use Unifix cubes.)  It really is THAT SIMPLE.  My students request this game ALL the time.

If you are interested in a similar multiplication bump game, here is Bump That Paw! Multiplication Game.


Halloween Classroom Story Elements Stations

October is finally here and along with it comes a flurry of activities!  As teachers we need activities that the kids will be excited about and so will we!  Every year I start the year off with a lot of non-fiction and I transition to fiction in the month of October.  What a perfect month for fun, wacky fiction, and I kick it off with a story elements unit.  

Here are some of my stations.


1.  Listening Center - Let the group pick a fictional story to listen to and then record the problem, events, and solution.  You can pick this sheet up for FREE in the link below from my TpT store.  

<<<Story Elements FREEBIE from Amber from TGIF>>>

2.  Writing Center - This writing activity really helps students understand that the solution in a story must be tied to the problem.  Let your students write their own story about a problem they once faced and how they solved it.  Put each sheet on a clip board, add some colored pencils and put it all in a basket.  DONE!  This sheet is also free in my TpT store with the link just above.

3.  Story Elements Sort & Match - There is so much you can do with these cards!  There are 24 sorting cards with the categories of character, setting, problem & solution.  First, I have my group sort them.  (Put all the character cards together, the problem cards together...)  Then they must then match the character, setting, problem and solution that would make a complete story.  I then challenge the group to complete it in 5 minutes or less and then a third time they must beat their previous time.  Then I have them mix the cards all up and turn them over so they are looking at the blank side.  Now they can play memory match.  (A match would be turning over two problem cards or turning over two setting cards.)  These cards are great to add to your permanent centers too.  

<<<The Story Elements Sort and Match is available in my TpT store too!>>>

4.  Reading Center - Now for the center that I leave up for the WHOLE month of October!  You can see from the pictures below, I just use what I have - I don't run out and buy anything.  I make a tent in my classroom and leave it up all month long.  (I am sure the janitor LoVeS me.  Hehe.)  This year I used PVC pipe my husband had and old sheets to create my tent.  In previous years I used my daughter's old pink princess tent and not one single student complained!  I did drape a sheet over it though.  In a basket, I add The Closet Creature story (available for free from Super Teacher Worksheets), story elements page, and comprehension questions on clipboards.  Then I add the MAGIC - FLASHLIGHTS!  The group climbs into the tent and reads the story out loud while tracking the words with their light.  I keep the tent and flashlights out all month and I add books like Black Lagoon, Goosebumps, and There's a Nightmare in My Closet.  My students love getting to read in the tent with flashlights.

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