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Tires in the Classroom

Instagram is my newest obsession lately. There are so many inspiring ideas on the site! I found the idea of painting tires for my classroom on @cootiesandcuties Instagram page. Using the tires in the classroom has been a big hit!  I posted about how my tires came out and lots of people had questions about how to do it.  Here’s my step by step guide.

How to Paint Tires to Use in the Classroom:

Step 1: Lay a tarp in the back of your car. You don’t want grease from the tires in your car!

Step 2: Call car repair shops and ask if they’ll donate old tires to your classroom. When I called a local one, they said they had over 100 to choose from each week and I could have the pick of the lot! It was awesome!

Step 3: I took them to the local car wash and put in $5 to get 10 minutes worth of suds. I hosed them down till all the grease and grime was gone.

Step 4: Let them dry out for 24 hours.

Step 5: Buy your spray paint. I got the brand shown in the picture above. It worked fine on the pink, yellow, green, and blue tires. The purple tire was a little off. More on that later.

Step 6: Put your tires up on a piece of wood or a brick so their not flat on the ground. Make sure you spray in the yard and not on concrete! I spray painted the top at about 1:00 in the afternoon and flipped them over at 4:00 pm to do the bottoms. I let them dry in the yard for 24 hours. It only took one can of paint for each tire. I bought two for each tire and got to return half of the spray paint to Home Depot!

Step 7: After the first 24 hours, I let them dry for a week on my screen-in-porch. I wanted to make absolutely sure that those tires were not going to get paint on my kiddos’ clothes but it was hard to wait to bring those tires in the classroom!

Step 8: A week later, the tires were ready to go! The tires in the classroom look FANTASTIC! The only issue I had was bringing in the purple one. It was flaky and the paint was peeling off though I hadn’t done anything different to it. I had my kids take it out to recess one day this week and shake it, throw it, and pummel it a bit to make sure all of the excess paint was off of it. Though the bottom of the purple tire’s uncolored now, it’s been doing fine since we did that. I’m guessing the purple tire was different because it’s a larger tire and probably a different brand than the others. The paint reacted different on it and didn’t bond quite as well.

Overall, the project only cost me about $35 total! Both my students and I LOVE the new additions to our classroom! They make great alternative seating when we are working around the room and are very popular when we are doing independent reading.  I think that it doesn’t matter what kind of paint you get at the store too! I did a lot of reading online before tackling this project and all sorts of brands work. Painting tires seems to be a kind of guess and check system to see if the tires you get will work with the paint you buy. If you decide to take this on, best of luck to you!! 🙂

Follow me on Instagram for more teacher tips and ideas! @TheLifetimeLearner

Classroom Organization, Reading, Uncategorized

Favorite Third Grade Read Alouds

Read aloud is one of my favorite parts of our daily schedule. I believe that it truly helps my students form a love for reading and a love for learning. It is so important for students, no matter what age they are, to have literature read-aloud to them. In my classroom, I choose books that are both engaging and purposeful to help my students learn the standards while enjoying themselves at the same time. Today, I’m talking about my favorite third grade read alouds.

Over the past few years, I have read-aloud many books to my students. Some have been more exciting than others. That’s why I have put together a list for you of ten books that my third grade students absolutely love year after year. Here are my favorite third grade read alouds:

#1: The Doll People

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This series is amazing. It’s written by the same woman who wrote The Babysitters Club series along with Laura Godwin. It’s a wonderful book about dolls that come to life when the humans are away, and it’s captured the hearts of my students year after year without fail. Some years, we read the sequels as well depending on how much time I have. My third graders are captivated by the story of Annabelle Doll and her family as they go on adventures around the house, to the local school, and even on a boat in the last book!

#2: My Weird School

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Dan Gutman is a fantastic writer who my third graders adore. Every year, I read the first book out loud during out unit on character traits. We discuss what character traits we see in Miss Daisy (the teacher). I own the entire My Weird School series so after I start reading the first book, I assign each student in my class a My Weird School book to read on their own throughout the rest of our unit. They have to find the character traits that best describe the main character in the particular book they are reading.

#3: Marvin Redpost: Kidnapped at Birth? 

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A lot of my students have already heard of There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom  or Sideways Stories from Wayside School  by the time they get to my classroom. However, they haven’t heard about Marvin Redpost. The first in the series, Kidnapped at Birth?, is about a boy named Marvin who believes he may be the king’s long lost son because he has the same hair color as him. It’s a short, funny chapter book with a mysterious twist that gets my reluctant readers hooked and they end up wanting to read the rest of the series on their own.

#4: Bunnicula

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This book is great for third graders around Halloween. It’s told from the perspective of a dog named Harold. He lives with a cat named chester and a family of four humans. One day, the family get a new pet bunny and that’s when strange things start to happen. The vegetables in the fridge start to change colors, the rabbit only wakes up at night, and he’s not a fan of garlic. Could Bunnicula the rabbit be…a vampire? This book is a mysterious comedy that my students laugh out loud at every year.

#5: The Kingdom of Wrenly

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Every year, I really like to read a book that is geared towards my lower-leveled readers. I mostly read book series aloud to allow my students exposure to new books and get ideas about subjects they’re interested in. I read this book to my class each year because it’s a short, high-interest beginning chapter book that all of my students can enjoy and pick up the rest of the series after I’ve finished. It has pictures on nearly every page and is about a prince and his friend that go on adventures around a magical kingdom. At this point in time, there are nine books out so far.

#6: National Geographic Chapters

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I am a big fan of National Geographic Chapters for kids. This is my first non-fiction read aloud each year and it’s great for the students in my class that don’t pick up non-fiction books on a regular basis. There is an entire series of these. Each book is about different animals who do extraordinary things. They are true stories that the kids love to hear. I always hear murmurs of disappointment each time I stop reading one of these. I’ve read a different National Geographic Chapters book each year to my class and they have all been wonderful.

#7: Love That Dog

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During our poetry unit, I pull this book out. During the first few pages, I get a lot of bewildered books. My students ask, “Is this really a chapter book?” “This is poetry?” “What kind of book is this?” It’s about a kid who isn’t a fan of poetry. Over time, the kid slowly realizes that poetry doesn’t have a set style or a list of requirements. It’s different for everyone and it’s a very personal thing. It’s a powerful book that had a few of my kids tearing up at the end. Love it!

#8: Stranded

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This series has five books so far that leave you hanging on the edge of your seat. If you’re looking to give your students the ultimate cliffhanger each time you stop reading, this is the series for you. Stranded is written by the host of Survivor. It’s about four kids who are step-siblings that go on vacation with their uncle after their parents get married. They end up getting stranded on a deserted island with no adults to help them. The four kids have to learn to survive using the little knowledge they have while they wait to be rescued. Every chapter had my third graders on the edge of their seat. Every student in the classroom can relate to one of the four kids on the island. There are wild animals, skeletons, disasters, storms, treasure, and more! Definitely one of my favorite third grade read alouds!

#9: The Land of Stories

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This series is LONG but well-worth it! Each book is about 400 pages long but is filled with adventure. The series is about a twin boy and girl who end up falling into a fairy-tale land called The Land of Stories. In the story, they find magical people from the stories they grew up reading–Red Riding Hood, Jack from the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Snow White, and so many more. In the first book, the twins have to figure out a way out of the storybook that leads them back to the real world while trying to avoid the Evil Witch at the same time. My class loved the first one so much that we read the second one too! About half of my class bought or went to the library to get the third and fourth books too!

#10: Out of My Mind

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I had the chance to read this in college and the author came to my school to give a book talk as well. I was hooked! It took me a few years to work up the courage to read it to my class because I worried since it’s not hilarious and action-filled that they wouldn’t love it. How wrong I was! Out of My Mind tells the story of Melody, a fifth-grade girl who has cerebral palsy. She can’t walk, talk, feed herself, go to the bathroom by herself, or anything else, but inside her head, she is brilliant. She’s intelligent, smart, capable, witty, and creative. This book captivated my students and gave them a new perspective on people who are different from themselves. It teaches empathy and how to think outside the box. From the first word to the last, they loved it.

Honorable Mentions:

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The Buddy Files is a great book series for students who love a mystery mixed with a little comedy. It’s told from the perspective of a dog who loves all food and is searching for his missing family. My students would read aloud with me when they knew what Buddy the dog was going to say next.

The One and Only Ivan is loved year after year by my third graders. Ivan is a gorilla who is trapped in a mall in a cage and is watched by mall-goers day in and day out. With the help of a little girl, a few elephants, and a dog, his life changes forever.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is an oldie-but-goody! She is an old woman that is adored by all the children in the neighborhood. When a parent is having difficulty getting their child to clean their room or act politely when company is over, they call Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to ask for advice. She always has an idea of how to help the child in a unusual and typically magical way. It can be a little slow to start, but my kids are normally hooked by the end of the first story.  Each chapter tells about a different child and a different ailment Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle needs to solve.

 

What are your favorite third grade read alouds? I’d love to hear what you read aloud to your class!

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Reading, Uncategorized