Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Place Value...The Mat Has It!

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." ~Albert Einstein

I love third grade.  No, really, I absolutely love third grade.  I think, looking back on my life and all the struggles and challenges and "different directions" and hard stuff, and easy stuff...I really think my destiny has always been to be in a classroom and third grade is the perfect fit.  Yes, there are challenges but really I wouldn't want it any other way.  We don't learn without a challenge; without a good fight.  We get to see what we're made of when challenges happen.  No, it's certainly never convenient, but looking back on my life as I'm sure all can say, the most growth, the more possibilities, the proudest moments are those with a huge challenge.  I continue to look to the days ahead with optimism, strength, courage, determination, and a zest for living.  Happiness...I'm sure I've found it in my personal life and for sure in my professional life through the beautiful eyes of my third graders.  I am truly blessed.  Just had to ramble!!

I posted a freebie on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store entitled:  Place Value...The Mat Has It!  Please go over and pick up a small lil 'ol freebie that I've been using in my classroom for the past few weeks, and truly for a few years.  It never ceases to amaze me that sometimes the simple ways of doing things are the most productive!  Here's the link:  I hope you like this little something as much as I do!

Thanks for being my friends and supporters!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Very Hairy Caterpillar

"It is like the seed put in the soil; the more one sows the great the harvest." ~ Orison Swett Marden

It's caterpillar time in the third grade room!  Yippee!!  Each year I think, "this is the best bunch of caterpillars I have ever seen."  Then the next year's kiddos come and I repeat myself, "this is the best bunch of caterpillars I have ever seen!"  It amazes me that with a few supplies, sun, water, and patience these great hands-on caterpillars are created!  Here's all you'll need to make your own:
4 cups of soil (I use Miracle Grow plant soil) and 4 tablespoons of quick sprouting grass seed (look for rye grass seed).  Measure and put in a large ziplock bag.  Let your kiddos mix the soil and seed together.  Cut the bottom from a styrofoam cup for a funnel.  Slide a knee-high nylon stocking over it and pour the mixed soil, seed combination into the stocking.  Slip a small hair tie, ponytail holder (at least four of them) over the end of the stocking section to section off the caterpillar.  Repeat this process until the soil and seed mixture is gone.  We made at least four sections.  Tie a knot in the top of the stocking and trim away any excess.  Submerge the caterpillar in water for 10 minutes, then place it on a styrofoam meat tray.  Place the tray into a plastic bag and let it sit overnight.  The following day remove the bag.  Watch and water.  After a few days the grass will begin to grow through the nylon.  Add googly eyes (teachers job with a hot glue gun) and antennae (students had fun winding them around pencils and fingers.)  Tadaaaa.....finished.  The process takes a little over a week.  Below are pictures of the progress we made...from the sprouting to the finished product.  I've done this project for many years and each year the caterpillars have grown.  I put two students together to do this project; they help each other by holding and pouring.  The teamwork is second to none!  Try it!  Blessing to all as we turn our eyes to the beautiful fall season; the harvest and the hard work realized!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Important Half of Tootsie and Teed

"I am fond of pigs.  Dogs look up to us.  Cats look down on us.  Pigs treat us as equals." ~Winston Churchill

I think Winston Churchill was referring to guinea pigs!  And who knew that Winston Churchill had a passion for animals??  Let me ramble just a bit, my friends, as I confess that I have lost my dear guinea pig friend Tootsie Roll.  He was definitely the important half of Tootsie and Teed.  I truly thought that this fabulous pig, the one that thought he was truly a student in the third grade room, was a forever guy.  Then, last week, I realized that even with guinea pigs all good things eventually end.  My piggy left me last week and to say that I am broken hearted is putting it mildly.  Ok, now that you're all done laughing at me for being so silly I just have to say that he was more than just a pet that I cleaned and fed.  He was the keeper of lots of secrets who went through many many events in my life silently, with love, and above all with understanding.  I think that pets are the most insightful of us all.  They also love us unconditionally and treat us like kings and queens (if he only knew!!)  I got TONS of inspiration from my little furry friend.  He made many, many students smile and feel special.  That was the greatest gift of all...he made my students, all of my special kiddos who don't feel so special sometimes, feel special.  After his passing I tried to decide what would be fair to all including myself.  I decided that my third grade room just wasn't complete without a pal so I did what I'm sure my piggy Tootsie would have wanted...I adopted a guinea from a rescue in Madison.  This little piggy's name is Penelope.  She is a dear...lots of long hair, a peruvian, and very, very calm.  She waits in the wings to be petted and held.  I think it's going to be a perfect pet for my third graders.  My kiddos will continue to learn about love, responsibility, and God's creation.  I am blessed to have this little critter in my room.  I'll post pictures of her and a few new ideas as I venture into a great new school year.  I appreciate your friendship everyone!!