Duck into Third Grade

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Practicing Predicting with PURPOSE

How important is it to teach kids to be predictors? Adults often forget that predicting takes time.  It comes more naturally for some students than others.  It is definitely a learned skill that improves with practice. Summer is a time to s-l-o-w down and  b-r-e-a-t-h-e!  Look for examples to try out and teach predicting to those fortunate folks in your nucleus.

I wonder if those are rain clouds because they are…

I think this movie will be good/bad because…

This character is very determined so I predict he will …

If I don’t double check my packing I will probably…

The dry weather is tough on flowers, if I don’t water them they will …

Speaking of flowers, I discovered this red balloon wrapped around my rose bush, I had to do a double take.  It made me smile to think I actually thought it was a flower at first glance. Double takes are vital in life and in the classroom.

Teaching kids to have a second look and giving them time to reflect and check their predictions is huge:

Was I right on the money?

Do I need to tweak my predictions?

Do I need to do a 180 and rethink?

Isn’t this a life skill needed by all?  Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent.

Summer is the perfect time to practice predicting with pizazz!



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Sweet Summer Days!


Just as a juicy watermelon can quench your summertime thirst, a well chosen book can ignite the brain’s gray matter like the fireworks on the 4th of July. Yes, I know summer is for relaxing and rejuvenating but it is also a great time for growth, wonder, reflection and exploration.
Oft times, my students write me during the summer and it is always a treat to hear from them but I was a bit taken aback by the last letter I received. Carlos wrote that he had joined a book club because he thought they’d have a read-aloud and read-to-self time but the reading club turned out to be crafts and games.
Don’t get me wrong, I know of some summer reading groups that do just what Carlos wanted to do, a former student who is now dynamite teacher has a group of kids reading The Lemonade War this summer! Way to motivate real reading. Kudos to Tenille Shade! Unfortunately, Carlos can’t fly down to Mrs. Shade’s reading club so the he will be crafting away. I have nothing against crafts and games but I think it’s a slam against reading. It seems like ‘they'(aka well meaning adults) do not think reading can stand on its on two feet (figuratively speaking of course). Do they know about the magic of reading? (Mem Fox wrote a whole book about it!)
Today, my grandson and his mom read a stack of books for an hour, talk about stamina! He is only 13 months old and he didn’t want to quit.
I think we sell our kids short sometimes because our expectations are too low. Kids will rise to the level of our expectations however that street goes both ways. Adults need to be real. Why not call it the games & crafts club? Why the pretense? Adults can be confusing at times. Kids are unpretentious and bless their hearts for spreading their genuineness to as many adults as possible. Adults say what they think you want to hear or tout their agenda while kids simply tell it like it is. You seldom have to guess what they’re thinking : ) One of the many reasons why I teach third grade! #easytokeepitrealwitheightandnineyearolds

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How to Be Cool in Third Grade…Read-Aloud!


When should we start reading aloud to kids? It should occur the same time that we start talking to babies. It is heart-breaking to hear teachers announce there is no time to read-aloud because some of those precious young ones sitting in classrooms were not read to as babies. They have not enjoyed the closeness and community reading aloud brings to families so how can well-meaning educators deprive students of something so precious and easily within the grasp of every teacher. What is easy to do is also easy not to do.

The first two weeks of school we read: Each Kindness, Ish, Edward the Emu, The Most Magnificent Thing, Enemy Pie, Fine, Fine School, The Golden Rule, Ninja Cowboy Bear, Scaredy Squirrel and The Invisible Boy. All are great community builders except Edward the Emu I just threw that in for fun because I like reading it with an accent 🙂 They have made many connections using these books as springboards. After reading Scaredy Squirrel we wrote about our fears. One student shared that he was afraid of dying. I feel so blessed that he felt safe to share that with the class. I think the community building books really brought everyone together. I am going to strive to start each day with one if at all possible.

Our first chapter book was Betsy Duffy’s How to Be Cool in Third Grade. At the end of the day we gather on the carpet and entered the world of Robbie York who is writing out the steps to his plan to be cool in third grade. He soon learns there is more to achieving a goal than simply writing it down. We all need to be reminded of this from time to time.

Daily 5 is up and running and my class is absolutely awesome, 22 eager learners! They are already up to 15ish minutes in Read to Self and about 10 for Work on Writing. We are

I have two grandkids that live far away so of course I read to them whenever I can which isn’t very often so I’m reading books on Youtube too.

I hope the start of your school year was oh so smooth,
and your troubles were few as you find your groove,
May reading aloud be a daily treat-
for developing readers it can’t be beat!