Duck into Third Grade

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Top Five Christmas Treats

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Twas the week before Christmas break and all through the school,
some distracted children were attempting to break every rule,
Thank goodness for the magic of reading, it carried us through
those difficult days of waiting for you know who…

Silver Packages was a jewel indeed,
the class sat spellbound and listened to me read,
Night Tree
kept their attention as well,
Eve Bunting had a fabulous story to tell,
Little Match Girl, a classic that encourages empathy x 10,
the class made connections again and again,
Mr. Willowby
helped to lighten the mood,
in this rhyming book we meet many a resourceful dude,
Too Many Tamales was a treasure for sure,
these books were the ultimate cure,

We also memorized A Visit from St. Nicholas and performed it many times without delay,
This narrative poem taught the class persistence as they practiced day after day,

In the blink of an eye the party day was here,
with a final performance for their parents so dear,

Then they played Christmas Scattergories and Taboo,
Then holiday good-byes were said crying boo hoo!

Finaly the time for rest, reflection, and rejuvenation is here,
Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!!!


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Summer Reading Rocks!!!

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“Encouragement works, not so much through persuasion, as it does through jogging the right memory at the right time.” -Hattie & Yates
“Failure gives valuable feedback that we use to address our regretable actions and improve our situation in the future.” -Schwalbe
“You cannot force the leaves to fall and the seasons to change, jsut as you cannot force stamina and get engagement. To that end, stamina is not a goal; engagement in learning is.” -Mraz & Hertz (authors)
Those were a few of my favorite quotes from this little jewel. The authors did their homework! They gave the latest research along many examples illustrating these traits in action in classrooms so each and every student that is under the tutelage of today’s busy educator can be enlightened. Yes, this information will help your class be better students but more importantly, it will give them the tools to help them be better people. If you read only one professional book this summer, let it be this one. The authors illustrate teaching traits that will equip students for growth mindsets vs fixed mindsets. I rearranged the order of the traits to help me remember them. F-ROPE… Here’s a quick overview of the traits.
Flexibility-try different ways to find a solution
Resilience-learn from failures and bounce back
Optimism-say good-bye to fear and get ready to learn something new (this is the trait those kids that are bored need a healthy dose of)
Persistence-don’t give up even when the task is hard
Empathy-learning to put oneself in another person’s shoes

The authors give literature picks to go along with each trait and loads of ideas to put these puppies into practice. One of my favorites was the storytelling aspect. Students tell stories illustrating real-life applications of the traits in their lives. The example given in the book about a fifth grader climbing Mount Washington is priceless.

Do your students a favor and dive into this well-written read!


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Sweet Summer Days!

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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