Last year I struggled with beginning my Daily 3 rotations. It was my first year in second grade, and I didn't realize how much LESS independent second graders were than third graders. When I finally began my Daily 3 routine, I knew I wanted to have engaging, relevant activities for my students to work on independently while I taught my small groups. After some trial and error, I learned a few things along the way that I wanted to share with you today. 
One important thing I learned early on was to have different choices available for different learners- but not so many that it overwhelmed them. If I set out too many activities or gave them too many choices, my students spent half the time choosing what they were going to work on instead of actually working on their word work. Another important thing I needed to remember was to rotate the activities often, so my students didn't get bored with the same activities. This also kept them excited about what new activity they could expect to work on during word work.

Appealing to different learning types was another important thing to remember. I added Spelling City, which is free to use, and I was excited to learn that Spelling City already had our spelling words on their site so I could easily import them and have my students practice them each week. Including tactile activities, writing, artistic, and computer based activities makes it fun and engaging for your students. 

My students oohed and aahed when I shared Play Doh Spelling with them! I had a station set up with baggies filled with stamps and little party-size packs of Play-Doh that I bought at target. They grabbed a baggie, a mat, and a recording sheet and they were good to go. After stamping each word, they wrote them on their recording sheets. They love this one!
Below is a new activity that I introduced this year. I searched high and low for the Macaroni and Cheese letters, and finally I spotted them at Target!  Students spell each word with the letters and copy them onto their bowl, which they can decorate as well. They can also trace each word a few times with a different color to practice their words. To incorporate more writing, sometimes I have them write about their favorite lunch using their spelling words or create fun lunchroom rules using their words on the back of their bowl paper. You can grab this freebie by clicking on either picture below. If you can't find the macaroni, you can print out the letters I included in the freebie.
Below is another favorite of my students! They think it's magic when I tell them to write their spelling words in white crayon, then color their picture with marker- they never believe they will be able to see their spelling word appear! I also have my students draw a ghost on the backside and write their words a second time. They can even trace over the words they've already written with a crayon. You can grab the freebie by clicking on the picture below. 
I hope you found some useful ideas that you can add to your word work stations! If you would like to see more, you can check out the entire pack HERE. Have a wonderful week!

I wanted to pop in quickly and share another vocabulary idea with you. This one is a hit with my kiddos! I call it Swat That Vocab Word. I post our vocabulary words in a pocket chart on our front board. I pick sticks and choose two students at a time to come up front to participate. Each student holds a (clean) flyswatter. I either say a definition, a synonym, an antonym, or I give a sentence clue. I give the students a few seconds, then I say "swat!" and the student who swats first has to use the word correctly in a sentence that relates to the story we are reading. The students go crazy over this simple vocabulary practice! You can use this same method to practice almost anything! 
If you would like to try Swat That Vocab Word in your classroom, click on the image below!
You can check out Magic Hat Vocab by clicking on the image below in case you missed it. It's another favorite game we play to practice using our vocab words!
If you use it, I hope your kiddos have as much fun with these games as mine do!

Last year, a wonderful grandmother of one of my students offered to buy all of the supplies and come teach my class how to make this amazing fall decor project. I took her up on her offer, and my students and I were delighted with the outcome of our beautiful pumpkins! To make 24 of these pumpkins she purchased:

  • 50 feet of of vinyl hose 
  • orange acrylic paint (we used 4-8 oz. bottles)
  • small paper bags or brown construction paper for stems
  • leaves and berries from the Dollar Store (or any craft store)
  • paint brushes
  • styrofoam plates
To start, she cut the hose into 2 foot sections and stapled them with a box stapler, but a regular stapler will work as well. Then she cut the small paper bags in half and twisted them into stems (see photos below). 

Next, she cut the leaves and berries for each pumpkin and saved them to add after the pumpkins were painted and dry. She mentioned that she ironed some of the leaves on a low setting that were badly wrinkled. 
The students were given a pumpkin on a styrofoam plate and we called them to my back tables in groups to paint them. We stuck a piece of newspaper rolled up in the middle of each pumpkin so the students had something to hold on to while painting. The tables were also covered with newspaper. 
Some of them were in a hurry and left some white patches.  We had to encourage them to cover the entire surface with paint. 
After the students were finished, we pulled out the newspaper handles and stuck in the paper bag stems once they were dry. 
We also added the leaves and berries, which made a nice finishing touch. I sent the students home with their pumpkins on a clean styrofoam plate and bagged them up. Their families loved them and were able to enjoy them throughout November!
Overall, this was a fun, easy, fall project that the kids loved.
I remember when I was in fifth grade and my favorite teacher handed us a beautifully bound scrapbook of our memories from the year. As I looked through mine, I realized it was a keepsake of the pages I'd written the entire year. We didn't know that our teacher was saving the pages we wrote throughout the year about our memorable events, field trips, holidays, and what we were learning in class. 

Last year I decided to introduce something similar to my class. My students created memory books that they also worked on the entire year. They documented experiences such as their first day of school, highlights of each month, our Fall Festival, their birthdays,  and our field trips. I began to see students who were struggling with writing become successful and actually enjoying it. 

As my students finished each page, I collected and organized them inside of a plastic file crate similar to the one below. At the end of the year, it was easy for my parent volunteers to make sure each book was in the proper order so I could quickly bind them with my school's binding machine and pass them out on the second to the last day. 
The students who didn't purchase a school yearbook last year were able to have their friends sign their memory books on the autograph pages. My students and their parents loved the finished products! 
I asked the students to only use crayons or colored pencils on their pages, and to try to keep that consistent throughout the year. They really wanted to use markers, but I found they were too overpowering and didn't look as nice as the colored pencils or crayons. 

Would you like to try a free sample for October? You can grab this freebie HERE. I hope you and your kiddos enjoy it if you can use it! :)
And you can grab the cover to the file case above by clicking HERE

Have a wonderful Sunday and rest of the week! I am off to Disneyland on Tuesday for Fall Break! :)
Welcome to the October edition of Pick 3! Every month when I sit down to write my Pick 3 post, I'm in shock that another month has flown by! Soon the holidays will be upon us, along with the whirlwind that it entails. If only we could slow down time somehow!
I can always depend on the bloggers in this link-up to share new and amazing ideas and activities to enrich my students' learning experience in my classroom. I hope you are able to find some great new ideas to use in your classroom too!
I love the PAWSitive Planner guides from Lisa! They are filled to the brim with fun thematic book, video, and lesson ideas to help you easily plan an amazing unit! This one is all about fire safety, which is the first week of October- this week! I love how she has done all of the planning for us! She has several others that you can find at the top of her post HERE. Check out the one on pumpkins too- it's amazing! 
(Click on Photo Above to See Original Pin)
These Rice Krispy Treat monsters are adorable! To save time, you could buy the ones in the package, but I would probably make them myself- they taste better! These would be perfect for a classroom party. I might make a batch and stick them inside goody bags for the kiddos to take home. I also plan to make these for my girls' Halloween party- they would look adorable sitting out on a platter!
(Click on Photo Above to See Original Pin)
These story book inspired pumpkins would be so fun for the students to do! Next week is our Fall Break, so I might send this home as an optional project with my students. Those who want to make a story book character can, but I won't make it mandatory for those students who won't be around and don't want to participate. How cute would they look decorating the classroom though?
(Click on Photo Above to See Original Pin)

Be sure to visit the other bloggers participating in our link-up for more great ideas! I hope you find some fabulous ideas to pin! 

This linky is hosted on the third of each month. We would love for you to join us! 
1.  Save the Pick 3 images to your desktop.
2.  Create a blog post using these images to share you 3    
     Pinterest Picks for the month.
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5.  Be sure to check out the other Pinterest finds that have 
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