Duck into Third Grade

This site is the bee's knees

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Thanks: Read Aloud Rock Stars, Mrs. Hager & Professor Watson

Bahaha!!! Funniest professional book I’ve ever read and also one of the most profound! Steven Layne pounds home the importance of read aloud in EVERY classroom k-college. The act of reading aloud is heavily research-based but sadly an unpracticed or at best sporadically practiced form of instruction. Many educators are opting to pelt their students with more test prep than is humanely conceivable. Worksheet after worksheet after worksheet, supplies our adults of tomorrow with so many more memorable characters that Ivan, Dorothy, Charlotte, Poppy, or Frindle ever could. It is mind-boggling how much impact students have being peppered with an endless mound of unrelated worksheets. Mind numbing, indeed!
I have been blessed with two rock stars of read-aloud. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Hager, would stand at the overhead and draw any unfamiliar words we encountered during our beloved read-aloud time, talk about an unscripted lesson in visualization! Professor Betty Watson was an amazing artist of reading aloud. She held the entire class of 20+ year olds in the palm of her hand. We laughed with her and cried with her and were ‘encouraged’ to read a MOUNTAIN of books from all different genre (causing many groans from yours truly). She stretched us all as readers and soon to be teachers and cramped our social lives a bit doing all her assigned reading,LOL! We left Harding University with a boatload of knowledge about all kinds of books and able to match any reader with something to entice their interests. These two rock stars have imprinted their love of literacy on all who entered their circles. I am blessed to have been one of the many they influenced.
Colleges should have classes not only on Children’s Literature but also on the art of reading aloud. It isn’t something teachers should have an option, “To read-aloud or not to read-aloud” does not have the child’s best interest at heart.


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Open Wide


A trip to the dentist should not cause shaking in shoes and perspiring palms but alas a simple cleaning sets off uncontrollable alarms inside me that cannot be squelched. I have found something that makes this ‘ordeal’ much more bearable. I plan something fun to do afterward, meet a friend for coffee, go to a bookstore, etc. Does this victory bribe abate the fear? Not entirely, it does however give me something to ponder on instead of focusing on the scrape, scrape, scraping of metal against teeth.
I use this with my class all the time. After we do something painful, say a benchmark, we will do reader’s theater, an extra science experiment, or an art project. Life is filled with the good,(a child’s giggle, rain on a tin roof, a smile), the bad, (flat tires, leaky plumbing-my last time to mention this, seriously, trips to the dentist) and the ugly (state assessments, broken promises, snarky comments). I’m going to focus twice as much on the good (microscope it) and put much less energy on the other.

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Passwords Problems

IT-Probleme und Home Office

So much depends
upon having
the right password
to match
the task at hand.
a password and
is like
getting into
a car
that will not
Computer, check
Internet, check
I’m not going
Cyberspace awaits only
those of us
know their usernames

as well as

their beloved
passwords too!

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Exudes Empathy and Engagement



My class did the 4 C activity (from Making Thinking Visible) on our class read-aloud, Kizzy Ann Stamps. Some of their reflections were:

Connections-Kizzy Ann had a dog and we have dogs. She had a scar I have a scar. (I’ll admit these responses did not cause me to do handstands, but I kept reading and I’m glad I did.)
Change: At first Kizzy Ann was bothered by people looking at her scar but she changed because she discovered it is what’s on the inside that is important.
Challenge: It was hard for Kizzy Ann to trust people.

Concept: Look for the good inside people and don’t let the outside get in the way of being friends. Friends can be different because we are all different in many ways but we are alike in a lot of ways too. (Remember the book Fools and Feathers?)

Pretty deep thinking for third graders! It led to insightful discussions with everyone engaged and putting in their two cents worth. They were shocked by the unfairness that bombarded Kizzy Ann’s life.

These 23 Texas third graders were able to crawl into the skin of a black girl back in 1963 during the first year of integration of the black school with the white in the deep south. We got to read Kizzy Ann’s letters to her new teacher telling her about her crescent shaped scar from her eye to her mouth which earned her the nickname Moon Child. A scythe in the hands of a neighbor boy changed Kizzy Ann’s life forever. She explains the bright spot in her life, her incredible dog, Shag, her only friend at the onset of the book.

Group work is always a challenge because a few want to do everything and there is always a hitchhiker here and there so when something works you want to shout it from the mountaintop.
So here goes, “Give the 4 C activity a try!

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Technology Takes Time


“In a minute.” “After this call.” Facebook, cell phones, emails, texts and tweets… are stealing time away from the kids of today, leaving these young ones hungry for face to face interaction. I talk to kids every day. Believe me the thing they yearn for is the same thing adults yearn for, to be heard.

Children are more adept at imitating than they are at listening.  What messages are technology packed parents sending their offspring?

“You are the most important thing in the world!” vs “Just let me take this last phone call, delete a few emails, change my FB status, and then we can talk.”

Remember the old song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”? Maybe, we should get Billy Joel to write a new verse about yet another way kids can be ignored.

Adults need to be the ones to model moderation. Are we up to the task?

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Start Stop Poem


After reading Twilight Comes Twice to my class as a springboard they wrote Start Stop poems, which are kind of like eating Lays potato chips, it is hard to write just one. We did Without Transportation, Without Fractions, and Without Quadrilaterals. They were pumped!

Without quadrilaterals
there would be no blocks, bricks, or books.
We’d have no dollar bills, post-it notes,
or computer screens.
What would we do without walls, windows,
cell phones?
Notebooks, sidewalks, football fields
and basketball courts would be no more.
Our world would be not be in the same shape
Without quadrilaterals.