Monday, February 11, 2013

Oh, Holidays!

I cannot even believe that I haven't blogged in weeks! It's that time of year- yup, the down-to-the-wire, kick-it-in-high-gear time of year! The year is literally F.L.Y.I.N.G by- seriously! Where did the time go? Is February already almost halfway over?! The end of the year will be here before you know it!

My kiddos and I are in full review swing!  We are digging deeper with all the wonderful things we have learned about the different genres. I love this time of the year because things really start to click and our conversations become so much deeper. Love!

To give us a break from all of that hard work, we have to throw in a bit of fun! I can never pass up a good holiday so you can bet we did it up big for the February holidays- Martin Luther King Day, Groundhog Day, and 100th Day!

If you can believe it, I only took TWO pictures on MLK Day. I know, I've already grieved over it. It was such a wonderful day! We read the book Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King- well, by "we" I mean one of my students- that was the day I lost my voice completely! We made a character web describing him, listened to the most famous part of his speech, and wrote about our own dreams and how we can make them a reality. The kids were adorable with their goals. I am dying that I don't have more pictures to show! Arrrggg!!!!

For Groundhog Day, we used  this amazing unit from Teacher's Clubhouse. It came packed with great resources, including a fabulous PowerPoint that gave the kids an introduction to Punxsutawney Phil, explained how the tradition of Groundhog Day started, and provided lots of great facts. You didn't think they would go a day without having to learn something, did you?! The unit also came with a fact book about groundhogs. The kids loved being able to make their own book and then read it. Such a simple idea, but in third grade, we never really do those types of things. After seeing their reaction to it and how excited they were to read their books, I think I'm going to have to find a way to make some of my own for other activities! This picture below shows the fact book- you have to look close, but it's there!

The kids recorded the things they learned about groundhogs and Groundhog Day and as a special snack, they were given their very own "groundhogs" just appearing from their burrows! I found this adorable idea at The Domesticated Lady Blog.

The next fun day was 100th Day! Now, I have to admit that as a third grade teacher, I have never really celebrated the 100th day of school. This year, we celebrated and we had a blast! I used resources from Jessica Travis'  100th Day Packet of Fun and the kids loved them!

To kick it off, I gave my kids a challenge- to create 100 different words from the letters in the phrase 'One Hundredth Day.' Several of my kids successfully completed the challenge! They had such a blast and actually stayed busy for quite a while! They were determined to make it to 100 words- and it was a such a great way to practice spelling rules! 

I then gave the kids a large pretend $100 bill and they wrote about what they would buy with $100. Of course, we had to have a heart-to-heart about what was reasonable and unreasonable to buy with that amount of money. Some of the kiddos were heartbroken when they realized they would not be able to buy a new game system or a dirt bike with $100! However, those sweet ones sure did wow me with their ideas of giving some to charity or buying gifs for others. They know how to make a teacher smile! For those who couldn't think of anything they wanted to buy, I gave them a copy of an old book order and they made their list of items they would buy if they could go on a book "shopping spree." What's better than books?! 
After that, we discussed what a googol is- 10 raised to the 100th power- yes- that's 10 followed by 100 zeros! I gave the kids lots of paper and they made their googol. They were shocked to see just how big it is and our discussion about what you could actually make or have a googol of was quite interesting! We taped our googols to a popsicle stick so they were easy to roll up. 

To give ourselves a mental break, we calculated how many times we could complete certain activities in 100 seconds. The kids were surprised to realize that 100 seconds really is quite a long time! We estimated first how many times we thought we complete an activity and then we recorded our actual results. We analyzed which activities we were able to do the most and the least. I was cracking up! When the kids were singing their ABC's- I just about died! It was too cute!! I found this wonderful activity for free 
HERE! Lots of thanks to Jill @ Mrs. T's First Grade Class for the fantastic idea!

We ended our day thinking about ourselves as 100 year-olds. I shared what I hoped that I will have accomplished by the time I am 100- and yes, I got a little emotional thinking about what my life will hopefully be like after all of those years- the kids I will have watched grow and learn, how my own family and kids (someday!) will be as adults. It was a great moment! The kids then wrote about what they hope to accomplish by the time they are 100 and drew themselves as 100 years old. Such a cliche activity- but it was wonderful!! 

I was so busy in all the action that I forgot to take pictures. This one kind of captures most of what we did. You can see the $100 bill, the writing activity, the googol wrapped up, and a sweet treat I gave the kids at the end of the day- Smarties in a bag with a tag that said, "Congratulations! You're a 100th Day Smarty!" 

Now, don't get the wrong idea. Along with all of this fun, we are working hard!!! We have mock state testing coming up in a few weeks, so we will be puttin' the petal to the metal! 

Hope you had a wonderful Monday! Valentine's Day is just days away- enjoy!!! 


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