October 2016 - Amber from TGIF (Third Grade is Fun)

Keeping Students Accountable while using the EPIC app

More of us are engaging our students by using technology in our classrooms.  But how do we keep them accountable?  I use the EPIC app for independent and group reading in my classroom.  It is also a wonderful resource for research. An EPIC account is available free for all educators.  Students can access EPIC on tablets and computers.  You can check out one of the research projects we completed in my classroom below using EPIC.

My friend, Kami from Teaching with APPitude, is such a wonderful resource for all things iPads.  In this video, she teaches how she keeps her students accountable using the EPIC app.  I love how she show step by step how she assigns books in her classroom and how she keeps her students on track in such a simple way.

I have learned so many wonderful easy technology tips from Kami.  You can find her on Facebook and check out many of her videos. She does such an excellent job of explaining, and she is fun to watch too!

Last year, my class created animal report posters and we exclusively used the EPIC app for our research. (Check out our posters below.)  My students were able to gather multiple sources to cite their research, and it was such a blessing because they were able to find books on their level.  

Each of my students picked an animal.  If some students wanted to pick the same animal, I was fine with that.  It actually turned out to be a blessing because they were able to help each other out a bit.  Each of them were able to find several books that were on topic and on level.  Some books were even read aloud books so my students who needed support, had it. Since research for 2nd-4th Graders is such a new concept, having all of the books in one place is so helpful.

I find using the poster display is makes it very possible for my students because it doubles as a graphic organizer for them to gather all of their information.

You can see some more examples below and also a timeline for my lesson plan for the week.

These animal report posters are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store along with many other research posters.


Teaching Common, Proper and Abstract Nouns with Engaging Activities

I love teaching grammar when I can get my students involved and active!  This week we were studying common and proper nouns (with a bit of abstract nouns thrown in there too).  If you have to cover the Common Core Standards it covers L.3.1C and L.3.2A.  I am not a worksheet type of teacher and so when it can be more interactive and engaging I am all about it!

Some weeks I make my own activities, but I was short on time.  I was saved by Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey, a 3rd Grade teacher from my neighboring state.  At our school, our mascot is the Bulldogs, and I have a dog theme in my classroom, so when I saw her "Paws-itively Perfect Proper Nouns activities, I knew I had to use it in my classroom!

On Monday we started our mini-books.  The kids love stapling them together (why I am not sure, but it is such a treat for them),  I enjoy giving them 5-10 minutes to take ownership of their book by coloring the cover.  I use this time to remember to submit my attendance (which I always forget) and to make sure I have my supplies ready for the next few subjects or bring up the website that I may be using in the next subject.  A lot of times we feel guilty as teachers giving the students time to color when it isn't a "state standard" we have to cover, but I feel like this allows me to get totally organized so I don't waste any teaching time later in the day.

Mini books can be homemade.  Just staple a few index cards together and have the students write a rule on each page with examples for proper nouns, common nouns and abstract nouns.

The mini-book introduces the students to Butch the Bulldog as he takes them through the rules of nouns.  I love that Butch doesn't just "tell" the students the rules, but makes them infer from examples.  On these pages, there are several different ways to practice the concepts of common, proper and abstract nouns.  Check out the quick check practice on the back of the mini-book.  >>>

With a homemade mini book, you could also have students write several words on one of the pages and color code them.

Throughout the week, we had different centers.  The correct/incorrect proper nouns center is one of my favorites because I love having my students sort.  First, they sort by whether or not the proper nouns are written correctly.  Afterward, I had my students rewrite the incorrect sentences.  

I like this type of sorting activity and use it often.  This is where I put those worksheets that I have a dislike for into practice.  I cut up parts of the worksheet and have the kids sort them!  Just like this correct/incorrect sorting activity and then we correct some of the sentences on our white boards.  I find that the kids are more invested and engaged even though they are truly doing the same work.

We use IXL at my school, so another one of my centers involved working toward earning a medal for completing the skills that we were covering:  common and proper nouns and abstract nouns.  IXL is free for the first 10 questions, but it is worth every penny for the subscription!  This is the 3rd year that our school has purchased it.  

The Color-a-Noun center was probably the most popular.  Who doesn't enjoy coloring with dry erase markers?  I laminated this center so I could use it over and over.  However, I tell you one way to get those kids motivated to do this activity would be to let them use the sheet without lamination and allow them to use the smelly markers!  My kids go ape over using those.  

After using this Color-a Noun activity, I was inspired to make a few homemade sorting activities similar to this for my classroom.  It was so easy.  All you have to do is make several shapes (circles "polka dots" are super easy) all over the page and write a word in each one.  Then at the bottom add a code.

The Paws-itively Perfect Proper nouns activity pack has even more print and go activities.  If you love these hands-on type activities as much as I do, you may want to check out similar resources here >>> Grammar resources by Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey <<< 

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