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elementary

Morning Meetings Made Easy

This year, I started a year with a class that was unkind and disrespectful to one another. I heard about something called Morning Meetings while doing some research and knew it was something I wanted to implement in my classroom. I found a way that made it easy on me and fun for the kids. It has been one of the best things I have done in years!

How to Have a 10 Minute Morning Meeting

My morning meeting has six steps. We start right after the announcements come on over the intercom each morning. The kids know that by the time the announcements are over, they need to be seated at the carpet in a circle so we can begin immediately.

Class Leader

Before I go over the steps, I’ll explain what my class leader is. I have a classroom leader that leads the morning meeting the entire week. They help lead the whole morning meeting while I do last minute things. For example,  like taking attendance and talking to any students that just walked in the door late. I sit with the class for morning meetings every Monday to make sure our new weekly leader has everything under control. Then Tuesdays-Fridays, it is all on them! I have a jar that my kids can write their name on a sticky note and drop it in. I then pick a sticky note out each week for a new leader!

Step 1: Class Rules

I use whole brain teaching in my classroom so the first thing we do is recite the rules of our classroom. This helps remind anyone who might not be over at the carpet to hop on over there and is a great reinforcement of my expectations on a daily basis.

The copy of my rules came from here. It’s a freebie on TPT from Shine Bright and Teach.

Step 2: Greeting

The leader pulls a greeting out of the jar. The We use a ball and pass the ball around the circle to greet each other. My morning leader will say “Good morning, (name), how are you this morning?” while following the directions on the greeting card. Sometimes they have to say hello in another language, wink at each other, say it in a silly voice, or something different. I just made up some silly greetings and printed them out. Once the leader asks the first person the question, the person has to reply and then ask the question back. The ball is passed around the circle with that same question being asked of each person. They know this step shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes. I really emphasize that the only person who should be talking is the one with the ball and to address each other by NAME.

I use “hands, ears, and eyes” in my classroom which means the students have to have their hands in their lap, their ears open to the speaker, and their eyes on the speaker.

Step 3: Question

At this point, the class knows they all have to stand up. The class leader pulls a question out of our jar (I use the questions from 3rd Grade Thoughts Morning Meeting product). These are questions that should tell the class a little more about that student. The kids know only the person with the ball can talk and your answer shouldn’t last more than a few seconds. This step shouldn’t take more than about 4 minutes total. 

The class leader starts with the ball and throws it to the first person. They ask the person the question and also use their name (example: Sally, what is your favorite sport?). The class leader then sits down in the circle. The person is supposed to respond using the class leader’s name (Bob, my favorite sport is soccer.) They then throw the ball to another person and repeat the same (John, what is your favorite sport). Then it continues around the circle. They can choose to throw the ball to whoever they want. We have also had to have mini-lessons on appropriate ways to throw the ball! Having them USE EACH OTHER’S NAMES and USE SENTENCE STARTERS has really opened up the communication in my classroom. I’ve realized many third graders don’t know how to talk to each other. We have to teach them how to ask and respond to one another.

By the time this section is over, every child should be seated on the carpet. I can also tell how many people we have left depending on how many people are still standing.

Step 4: News

This is the time where my class leader turns to me and asks if there’s any news that day. This is when I tell the class if anything important is coming up that day/week. I may mention picture day, if field trip forms are due soon, or if our schedule will be any different. It’s a great way for me to tell the whole class something without repeating myself 392039 times when each child enters the classroom that morning.  This lasts no more than 30 seconds.

Step 5: So Long, Farewell

My class leader than does a “so long, farewell” (basically, it’s our goodbye and ending to morning meeting). I found a list of silly ways to say goodbye to each other, typed them up, and put them in our goodbye jar. The class leader pulls one out and tells everyone if we will say goodbye with a fist bump, hug, or high five goodbye. The kids then turn to the person on their left and the person on their right and say the goodbye (example: better swish, jellyfish!) and then do the gesture the leader assigned. The silly goodbye ALWAYS puts a smile on everyone’s face and gets everyone’s day off to a great start. This should take about a minute.

Step 6: Start Our Day

At this point, the kids know to get up and start their day. We switch for science and social studies with another class right after morning meeting. So, they know they are to report back to their seats, get out their stuff, and line up at the door.

-The picture above shows:

-where they sit in yellow. where I keep my jars in pink

-our morning meeting schedule for my leader to look at in blue

-the class rules on the wall in blue

Having those things on the wall has been really helpful to classroom leaders! 🙂

 

I also bought and read the book called Morning Meeting by 3rd Grade Thoughts. This gave me some great ideas of how to keep my morning meeting under control. It’s a great resource and I highly recommend it 🙂

Let me know if you have any tricks for morning meeting! The first week, it took us about 15 minutes.  But by the end of the second week, we were doing this routine in under 10 minutes every day. The key is to train your class leader every Monday so they follow your high expectations the rest of the week and you can do what you need to do while they run the meeting for you! My class leaders also know that if they don’t run the meeting as I expect, they will lose their privilege and I will take over. None of them want that so do a great job making sure everyone’s being quiet, on task, and respectful to the speakers.  Let me know in the comments if this helped you at all! And make sure you keep in mind that morning  meetings in everyone’s classroom looks DIFFERENT and that’s okay! 🙂 Do what works for you and your students!

Uncategorized

Multiplication

I’m starting to teach multiplication strategies this week! It is one of my favorite units of the year. I use four strategies to teach multiplication when we first start our unit: equal groups, drawing arrays, repeated addition, and skip counting.

 

First, I always start with equal groups.

Second, we learn how to draw an array.

Third, we talk about how multiplication is the same as repeated addition.

Last, I teach my class how to skip count.

Skip counting is the method I like them to use ALL year long. The other three methods are great for the beginning, but in the months to come, skip counting is what helps them get the most quick and accurate answers. It also helps them transition and memorize their multiplication facts quicker!

During each unit, I teach my mini-lesson and whole group lesson on Monday. This means we glue each of the strategies into our interactive notebooks on Mondays. We also do some independent practice that day. This helps me decide who will be in each of my groups during math centers the rest of the week (Tuesday through Friday). For the rest of the week, they get to play games and enjoy math centers that help practice the skills we learned on Monday.

Third Grade September Math Centers

I also include some of my Third Grade September Math Centers in my rotations to help spiral review the skills we learned earlier in the year.

Additional Math Centers

I also use these multiplication math centers that practice all of the strategies we have learned. They are easy to understand and great for extra practice.

Skip Counting Posters

I also put up skip counting posters on the wall during the first two months of our multiplication unit as something the kids can refer to as a reference. This helps them start to learn the skip counting sequences by heart.

Other Games

I also want to mention two games that are perfect for teaching multiplication strategies! The first one is called Back to School Problems: Multiplication Strategies. Students have to collect school supplies each time they solve a multiplication equation.

The second game is called Introduction to Multiplication Strategies Sort. The students sort the cards of equal groups, arrays, picture forms, and repeated addition equations to match the correct multiplication equations.

Multiplication Quizzes

After we’ve been practicing these methods for several weeks, I also introduce them to our multiplication fact quizzes because these quizzes help show me who is starting to learn their facts and who needs more practice. I also have an ice cream party with my class at the end of the year for anyone who passes all of their multiplication facts (passing their division facts earns them extra toppings too!).

Finally, here are links to all of the products I talked about above!

How I Teach Multiplication Using Equal Groups

How I Teach Multiplication Using Arrays

How I Teach Multiplication Using Repeated Addition

How I Teach Multiplication Using Skip Counting

Multiplication Strategies BUNDLE!

Third Grade September Math Centers

Multiplication (3.OA.1) Centers

Skip Counting Posters

Multiplication Quizzes

Back to School: School Supply Problems Multiplication Strategies Game 

Intro to Multiplication Strategies Math Sort

 

 

How do you teach multiplication each year because I’d love to hear about it!

Math, Uncategorized

End of the Year A-Z Countdown

I have been doing an A-Z Countdown in my classroom every year for a few years now. It’s my FAVORITE way to end the year!

What is an A-Z Countdown?

In the last 26 days of the school year, you celebrate a different letter of the alphabet by doing something special. I love using it in my third grade classroom because it’s the first time my students will have end of the year testing and it’s a stressful time of year! The A-Z Countdown lets them have something to look forward to each day in between all the test prep and allows a little extra fun in our room. I have seen a lot of people do an A to Z countdown over the years but I’ve tailored my A to Z countdown to be the most exciting it can be for my class and now yours too!

Why Do It?

It’s FUN for everybody involved! My students and I both love doing this. It also makes the last 26 days of the school year so special for us and lets me treasure the time we have together a little bit more.

How to Get Started

I have a FREEBIE in my TPT store to help you get started! Download it for free to see what I use for my A-Z Countdown and then change it to what you need in your own room!

Want Details on Each Day?

There is a detailed guide on what I do for each A-Z Countdown Day in my own classroom here!

Every day of the countdown you get:
-A poster to display what day it is
-parent reminders to send home each day
-a page that shows how I’ve implemented that countdown day in my own classroom! This includes tips and pictures to make the most out of each day!

The A to Z countdown has been used in my classroom four years in a row. This packet gives you the tips to make each day the best it can be!

I hope you have a happy end of the school year!!

Uncategorized

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