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Character Trait Cards and Mystery Graphic Organizer

I have been MIA for a couple of weeks, but back today with a few fun things to share!  We are in the midst of our Mystery Book Club unit (click here to read about how we launched the unit with a real-life mystery).  I wanted to spice it up this year so I made some fun graphic organizers for my students to use while they are reading!  The one I am posting today is a one-pager that includes all the elements of a mystery!  Click here or on the picture to grab it for FREE (for a limited time).

Mystery Graphic Organizer

I explained to my students that detectives have to do a lot of paperwork to complete while on a case.  They are constantly keeping notes, writing down clues, tracking suspects, etc.  It totally hooked them and they are working hard on their “paperwork” as they plow through their mystery books!

 

Mystery Graphic Organizer

Mystery Graphic OrganizerDuring our Read Aloud time we are also continuing our work with identifying specific character traits and noticing patterns with character behavior.  After talking with my colleague, Kelli over at Tales of a Teacher, I was inspired to try tracking character traits a bit differently than I usually do.  Normally, we have a chart with our characters and keep a traditional list of traits.  Here is what I am trying now and I think it will really help kids to see patterns with characters.  It will also help students see what traits are very strong and evident throughout the book.  This will help when it comes time to write about our characters!

A few months ago, I made some character traits cards (click here or the pictures below to view them in my TPT store) which included the definitions in kid-friendly language and synonyms.  I cut them all out and use them during small groups (for vocab work, matching games, teaching specific traits, teaching synonyms, etc.).  Here is what they look like cut apart:

Character Trait Cards

Then I thought I could also use them without cutting them apart!  The picture below shows what they look like before cutting.  Each page has one main trait (at the top), the definition, and 2-3 synonyms.  I originally left blank boxes to add other synonyms.  Read below to see how I’m using those blank boxes now!

Tracking Character Traits

As we read, we post traits that fit our character (I actually pre-picked the traits I knew would fit so that if the kids didn’t come up with one, we wouldn’t miss it).  If we see them do or say something later in the book that demonstrates that trait again, we put a tally mark!  By the end of the book, we can see what traits are the strongest!  Students are also learning new words to use when describing characters.  The above example is our beginning work for Jigsaw Jones!

Onto other things!  Here are some pics of our Valentine’s Day Celebration!  Can’t you just feel the love?

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And look at all of this…as much as I LOVE chocolate, I don’t think I can handle this much!  One little kiddo even made me a super creative Valentine out of pipe cleaners, post-its, googley eyes, paperclips, and binder clips!

valentines-day-fun-gifts

All that chocolate is not helping me slim down!  I’m linking up with Gina over at Third Grade TidBits for Slim Down Saturday – even though I am not doing well slimming down :(

Click the pics to join the linky!

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slim-down-saturday

 

I am just starting completely fresh this week!  With my b-day and v-day all in one week, this has been one sugar-filled and workout-less week!  I am still not working out and can’t seem to force myself to do it and now that broomball is over, I am getting zero activity!  So, I am setting a very simple goal of working out JUST ONCE!!!!  Mexico is less than a month away!!!  Must focus!!!

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Need a Valentine’s Day Book and Activity?

This 3-day week felt LONG and my sleep schedule is extremely off-kilter.  It’s to the point where I was nodding off at the wheel on my way to school – not good!  Anyway, a few things for you today!

1) A Valentine’s Day Book and Activity
2) New Neon Frames (Sneak Peek)
3) Slim Down Saturday Linky
4) Our Country Study Kick-Off

 

1) A Valentine’s Day Book and Activity

The book Heartprints is a cute little book about kindness!  It doesn’t necessarily have a connection to Valentine’s Day other than the hearts – but the message is powerful!  I always read this book in the beginning of the year but it would be very appropriate this time of year too!

After we read, the kids write down kind things they can do to leave heartprints behind!  I just copied some little paper hearts on a variety of colors and each student got 6 hearts.  If you want to snag the hearts template (it is nothing fancy), a pdf of the book cover (it has my class library label on it – see the picture below), and a Smartboard file for this activity, then click here!  Here is our door display!

Heartprints Book Display

Heartprints Book

As I was Googling to find a cover image of the book, I found another blogger, Primary Practice, who wrote the definition of a heartprint.  You can get a copy of it at her blog here or click the picture!

Heartprint Definition

Have fun spreading love and kindness!

 

2) New Neon Frames (Sneak Peek)

I have been tinkering around with creating digital frames and borders and I am excited about these bright and glowing neon frames!  They aren’t quite ready yet (hopefully in the next couple of days), so follow me for updates or keep checking my TPT store (there are a few other fun frame freebies to grab while you wait for the neon ones)!

Neon Frames

 

3) Slim Down Saturday Linky

It is Week 2 of Third Grade Tidbits Slim Down Saturday Linky!  I didn’t do so hot this week…oh well!  Join us to Slim Down by clicking here or on the picture!

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slimdown

4) Our Country Study Kick-Off

Now, for a little bit from our classroom this week!  We kicked-off our Country Unit in Reader’s Workshop!  Here’s how the kick-off went:

country-study-kick-off
Of course, they really aren’t bored with it at all – they are LOVING it!

Day 1 – Students just browsed all the different country books and then they wrote down their top 2 countries.

Day 2 – My fab colleague, Kelli over at Tales of a Teacher printed out some super cute “plane tickets”.  I filled out their plane tickets, which told them what country they were “going to” and who they were “traveling with” (their partner for the unit).  It is amazing how a little pretend plane ticket brought so much excitement!

Day 3 – We learned that before we “travel” (or read a book about a country) we usually have questions about the place we are “going to” (or reading about).  So we listed as many questions as they could think of.  That day as they read, they jotted any answers they found!

Day 4 – I cut apart all our little questions from Day 3 and we categorized them based on similarities.  Here we are categorizing.

RW Country Unit

We had some good discussion about where different questions would fit.  I really let the students group them.  We came up with these groups (sorry for blurry photos):

RW Country Unit

After this, students had to come up with a heading for each group (synthesizing…this is usually not easy for my class!).  They did fantastic!  Here are our final categories (I had to help them with the “values” category):

RW Country Unit

Students realized that no matter what country they are reading about, the books are usually organized in a similar way…by these big ideas!  Finally, we turned these headings into “essential questions” and now students are reading voraciously to answer them!  So fun!

That’s it for today!  Thanks for visiting!

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