This week I tried to incorporate some pumpkin fun into our reading lessons. I don't have a lot of time with my students and I need to make the most of what I am doing so I wasn't up for anything super crafty. I took a couple of stories I love and used them with my groups to work on story structure and cause-effect relationships! Here a peek at what we did.......
First, we made the pumpkin chart at the top of this Anchor chart and charted what we knew about pumpkins before reading "Too Many Pumpkins" by Linda White! I created a graphic organizer to help us record information about the book after reading.

 You can grab your copy HERE!

The following day we created the Beginning, Middle, End chart at the bottom of our anchor chart above, then we played this game I got from Mary at Sharing Kindergarten, Which she shared at Freebielicious! It is wonderful!! 36 questions about the book incorporated into a game the students loved! I made two copies so we could play it in smaller groups!

Wednesday we read "Perfect Pumpkins" by Jeff Bauer, and created this Pumpkin book Compare and Contrast Chart!

I let the students pick a pumpkin book of their choice from my collection and they used these cute graphic organizers!

Today we watched one of my favorite pumpkin books The Runaway Pumpkin being read on YouTube, it just adds a little something to switch it up and not just have me reading the book, the kids love it when they get to watch the "movie", it's really just someone reading it and showing the pictures from the book but it feels like a movie to them! Then we used a graphic organizer I created to chart cause and effect relationships within the story! Here it is if you want this one too!!

We've had a lot of fun studying pumpkins! I hope these freebies are useful to you! I can't believe how fast October is flying by, I hope to share more with you next week! Thanks for reading
First off let me tell you about an awesome giveaway going on over at my bloggy friend Holly's blog
You could win some awesome prizes including Holly's whole store! Scentos Holiday markers!! and 3 custom activities from little ol me! Yep, you pick the concept (addition/subtraction, multiplication, any reading skill, writing, you name it) and the theme (fall, winter, Christmas, apples, stick kids, what ever you like) and I'll create you three activities!! So click on the picture above to head on over there and enter to win!! 
Now let me tell you about my math woes! My students just weren't picking up on division and I was struggling to break it down for them! We worked on the steps to dividing and made flash cards that they could use to help them remember each step. We worked through problem after problem together. I checked for understanding over and over. I asked them to do a problem on their own and not one of them even knew where to start. The curriculum does not stop for us, we're suppose to be headed into fractions and were struggling to get division!! I was feeling quite overwhelmed with trying to figure out what to do next.

My special education supervisor meet with me to discuss my first observation and I told her about my delima "they just aren't making the multiplication/division connection" I said. Somewhere in the conversation I mentioned my blog and she wanted to see it. I pulled it up so she could check it out and showed her the BOO multiplication game I had created. She says "can't you make a game like this were they match the multiplication and division facts" - DUHHH!!! Immediately the light bulbs were going off and I knew exactly what I needed to do! (Don't you love when that happens)

So we went all the way back to basic division 6/2=3 and I explained that division is reverse multiplication, you just take the numbers your given and create a multiplication problem so we wrote 2 x ____ = 6 under the division problem. My students were able to easily solve this and as soon as I said, that's also the answer to our division problem the light bulbs in their heads were going off as well!! We did a couple more together and I was amazed how it had just clicked for them!!

For the next couple of days we kept it simple with only 2 digit numbers that they could quickly solve multiplication facts for. I would give them a worksheet with division problem, they would write the corresponding multiplication fact under the problem and solve it, in turn solving their division problem. Then I started throwing in three and four digit numbers to be divided by a single digit number. As soon as they saw the bigger numbers I heard "we can't do this" and "oh my goodness this is so hard" everywhere.

I quickly showed them that now we just create more than one multiplication problem, for example 1525/5 is equal to 5x_____=15 and 5x____=25. Keeping the numbers evenly divisible so we could create simple to solve multiplication problems was the key! They again caught on quick and today finished 25 problems in under 5 minutes when just last week they were in tears over division!! The confidence they've built is what is now driving their success!

So here's the game I created for us to play that got it all started.....
The kids loved it and kept asking to play again and again! I loved the confidence they now felt about division!!

Next week the plan is to introduce numbers that don't multiply evenly and looking for the closest possible match such as 72/2 = 36. You can't use 2x_____=7 so we'll have to find the closest match (2x3=6) and then subtract and find the 1 left over, bring down the 2 and create 12 and then find 2x_____=12. I think it will go much more smoothly then it did in the past!

I hope this freebie is helpful to someone else, it sure made a difference for my kiddos! This is truly what teaching is about for me! Finding a way to teach a concept kids really don't get at all and helping them build a confidence that they can and will learn rather than just saying "we don't get this" and moving on to the next thing! There is no better feeling then seeing that smile on their faces today as they did division!!
Yep, I've been serving up PIE to my students without the sugar rush! We've been learning about author's purpose! Does the author want to persuade you, inform you, or entertain you? Hmmmm....maybe I can do all three?? Don't worry I didn't get that complicated with the kiddos just yet!! Here's what we've been up to!

First I got these wonderful posters from Third Grade is a Hoot! and used them to introduce the concept of PIE to my students!

Then we used these wonderful cards I got from Love 2 Teach 2 to do a PIE sort. It's part of a wonderful unit she has on her blog for free!
I prepared the cards and three pie tins, one had a P in the bottom, one had the I, the other the E. Each card has a picture of a text on it and the student had to use the picture to determine the author's purpose. We took turns bringing the cards up and placing them in the correct pan and explaining why it went in that particular pan.

I got this great game from Debbie's Dabblings. It has different cards, all about Thanksgiving and the students decide what the author's purpose is, if they are correct they advance to the next slice of PIE on the game board! (Sorry it's upside down)

We used these PIE cards to vote for what we thought the author's purpose was. I read aloud short texts, students choose the purpose they believed was correct and held up that letter! It's just three strips of card-stock held together with a brad and labeled P, I, E. Here's a freebie so you can make them if you like!

Finally, we used these graphic organizers to record information about the books we were reading this week..
It's free from Fourth and Ten!

I hope to share some new ideas on math tomorrow! We are finally getting division!! Can't wait to share with you how it's going!! Happy Tuesday everyone!
I was Booed today by two different fabulous bloggers! Thanks to Christiana at Bunting, Books and Bainbridge and Deanna at First Grade Chatter for the shout outs!!! I love both their blogs and was excited to see that they like mine as well :) Click on the picture above to go to 2nd Grade Pad and see the rules of "Booing"!

Now it's my turn! Here are three blogs I'm loving right now.......

First is Heather's blog A Special Kind of Place

Heather is so sweet, she's used some of my ideas and sent me the sweetest emails about my blog! She also has lots of wonderful ideas of her own to share so head on over and check her out!!

I also love Thinking of Teaching,
Thinking of Teaching
So many awesome ideas!! I keep going back whenever I start a new concept because I'm sure to find some great resources there!

Alyssa from Just a Primary Girl is also a sweetheart!
She has wonderful ideas, I'm always trying out!!!  So go ahead, check out these fabulous blogs you won't be sorry you did!

I am working on reorganizing again! I still have all my "stuff" for the younger grades packed in around our house and it's driving my family crazy!! So I have started a slow process of clearing a closet and getting it all sorted out! What I wanted to share with you all today is the binder covers/spines I created for my monthly binders! I shared about them before here, this is what they looked like...........

I wanted to spruce them up and so here are the new covers for you...........

I feel so far behind right now, I'm spending the weekend planning! Hopefully it's as fruitful as I want it to be and I'll have a lot more to share soon!!

Don't forget I have an awesome giveaway going on - You could win some fabulous brag tags like these
 Post Elementary - Custom BragTags™ (SAVE THE DAY)Personalized Paw Tag - Reading is Fun (Monkey)Personalized BragTags™ - Hang Out and ReadSprings Valley Elementary - Custom BragTags™ (Celebrating the Lorax)
 Click on any of the pictures above to go to my giveaway and enter! I do have to ask that you are honest and follow imagestuff's blog and confirm the email that you are a follower, it seems we have lots of entries but not lots of followers showing up!!! PLEASE PLEASE check your email and confirm so that you show up as a follower! I hate having to police these things!! If you've already  entered please check again and make sure your a follower!!! I really appreciate your help with this!!

Happy Friday Everyone, I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to my weekend!!!
Do you use Brag Tag's in your classroom? There are so many options and the kids just love earning them. My 5th and 6th graders earn customized tags as a behavior incentive. Every month we vote as a class to honor one person who has been an outstanding student! That person receives the golden "M" award! We have a celebration and announce the winner in a ceremony similar to the academy awards. They get to sign the Marvelous Worker banner and have their picture taken with the golden "M" statue. I buy them a $5 gift card to the restaurant of their choice and give them a Mustang Pride Brag Tag. Here's what my custom tags look like.......

My students are so excited about getting them and proudly show them off! I've seen other teachers using them as part of their bucket fillers system or other good behavior recognition systems.

One idea I really like is using them to reward students for meeting their reading goals. Check out these awesome tags......

The school I previously worked in used accelerated reader and each student set a goal. It would been great to reward students for meeting their accelerated reader goals with one of these! You could even have them personalized with your school or classroom name!

Guess what here's a chance for you to win a set of tags for your classroom! Enter using the Rafflecopter below from now through October 15th. Make sure you follow imagestuff's blog and confirm by email that your a follower!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!!
Our core reading series is Journeys from Houghton Mifflin each week students are given 10 vocabulary words to learn. They are tested on the definition at the end of each week. Our scores have not been great and I was searching for better ways to make the words memorable. I found this book.......
I actually saw Jane Feber at a conference a couple of years ago and knew this book would be full of great ideas, and I haven't been disappointed. Here are a couple of Jane's ideas we've tried........
I gave each student a fortune cookie, we looked at their fortunes and discussed how a fortune sounds. Then they used vocabulary words to write their own fortunes. Here's one they came up with, "every aspect of your life will change" the vocab word is aspect!
I was very pleased with how well they did with this exercise they really got into it and came up with some great ones!
We wrote Vocabulary Bumper stickers! This was a little more difficult for them to catch onto. I need to collect some clever bumper stickers or find images to share with them to get them started I think!

Here's a few good ones. "I muted my mouth in class" the vocab word was muted. "Mrs. Marshall causes me a lot of tension" vocab word is tension, and "strawberry's are doleful when they don't get eaten" LOL vocab word was doleful!
 We hung these up outside the classroom they were very proud of their work!
 We've made a couple different kinds of vocab booklets, the first ones (yellow above) are folded books with one page for each word. Students wrote the word and illustrated it. This was a bit difficult for them so I ended up using the sentences from the book we read that week. I typed them up had them cut them out and glue one sentence to each page and illustrate it from there.
This is another vocab booklet that I  came up with using the LINCS strategy, there is one strip per word. For each word the students write the word and definition, an illustration, use the word in a sentence and come up with a "reminder" something like "ten-sons give their mom tension" ten-sons is the reminder for tension.

Today we created Vocabulary Comics.....
I created this blank comic strip, students choose a word and then came up with a sentence, and illustrated it across three frames. Again they did a pretty good job at this! The comic concept seemed familiar to them and they came up with pretty good sentences. Here are some particularly good ones....
This one says "el dia de los muertos is customarily celebrated in Mexico"  It shows the people with masks and the 2nd bubble says "ohhh that's scary" The vocab word is customarily
This one says "I am Jubilant when the last bell rings" and shows the student running from school then sleeping in on a Saturday saying "I am so glad I don't have to go to school" of course the vocab work was jubilant!

Here are the blank comic templates I created....

We are using this vocabulary box to keep all our words (it's an empty tissue box, it was already decorated so I didn't even have to cover it)
I wrote all the words out on these blank business cards (from Vista Print) and put them in the box, at the end of the week we review with all the words we've learned so far.
Students draw a word from the box and then use it in a sentence. Last week we played pictionary with our words it was very interesting to see how the students illustrated their words, and how well their classmates guessed the word by their drawings.

Jane's book is full of many more great ideas, I will share more with you as we try them!

I have one more thing to share, a while back I posted Spooky Math activities with a monster multiplication game. I put in the directions to match the problem with the answer card but forgot all about adding the monster cards to the packet ooopps! So after a couple of emails and finally understanding what everyone was looking for I've got them for you!!! Sorry they weren't there the first time but here they are now if you need them!

Stay tuned tomorrow for another giveaway! I've got Brag Tags coming your way!! I'll be showing you the behavior management system I use along with my tags!
Yep, that time again, ALREADY!! I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for this months party! Here is what I am doing currently.......
Your turn head on over to Oh Boy 4th Grade and link up with the rest of us!!

Ok now I want to show ya how we've been learning about cause and effect! First we created our anchor chart....
We read Amelia Bedila's First apple pie to fill in the chart, it's a great book and the kids really loved it! They got the humor which hasn't always been the case for my students!
Then students read another Amelia Bedila book with a partner and filled in this graphic organizer
 You fold the paper in half, cut three sections on the front half. Cause goes on the outside, effect on the inside! I made this one to share with all of you.........
Yesterday we looked at some comic strips and decided what the cause and effect of each one was...
You can't see it really well but the boy got a shot, then he cried! We did a few of these 2 picture strips together then I gave each pair their own strip with 2 sticky notes, they read the strip and determined together what the cause and effect would be...............

They did an awesome job with this project, even when the cause and effect had to be read into a little bit they got it! I glued each strip to a bright colored piece of paper and had them write on post it notes so I could laminate and keep the strips for future lessons!

Today we watched the Pixar Short "For The Birds" The students used a Graphic Organizer I got for free from Lisa at First Grade Bloomabilities to determine the cause and effects happening within the movie! Another activity the kids LOVED! They worked so well determining the cause/effect! I couldn't believe the conversations I heard around the room about what caused each event!!

Tomorrow we are going to use If You Take a Mouse to School and a free activity from Christine Statzel on TPT! I can't wait to use it, I know my kiddos will love it and it will be a great way to wrap up our week of Cause/Effect instruction!

Happy Thursday!!! It's gorgeous here in Northern Indiana, Hope everyone's enjoying fall :)
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