Monday, September 26, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award!

Thanks to Elizabeth at First Year in Third Grade for the "Versatile Blogger" award!!


1. Able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities: "a versatile saw".
2. Changeable; inconstant.

Now for the rules. When you receive this award, you must thank the person who gave you the award, tell seven things about you, and pass this award onto 15 blogs that you feel deserve this award.

Seven Things About Me:
1. I've taught 5th, 4th, and now 3rd grade.
2. I'm working on my master's in special education.
3. I'm a big UNC Tar Heels fan!
4. My family is a modern Brady Bunch.  Parents both got remarried in 2009. I gained 3 step-brothers and 2 step-sisters between the 2 remarriages - all in the same age range as me, my brother and sister.
5. I went to my first fashion show on Friday.  Tickets were to the Triangle Area Fashion Week finale - compliments of one of my students' moms.
6. Last year was the year of travels - Key West, Las Vegas, Hilton Head, Isles of Palms, Tennessee, Washington, DC, Michigan
7. I have a fabulous dog - Bailey :)

15 Blogs that I feel deserve The Versatile Blogger....
1. First Year in Third Grade
2. 3rd Grade Gridiron
3. One Extra Degree
4. What the Teacher Wants!
5. Education Journey
6. Cooperative Learning and Other Classroom Resources
7. Get in the Fold!
8. Lesson Plan SOS

......Partial list right now...hopefully I will get back to finishing it :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Why must 3rd graders lie?  This has been the question pressing on my mind.  I have to think that many of them don't see it as lying, just telling their version of the truth in a convenient way.  For instance...

Suzie comes to me..."Johnny pinched my hand."
"Johnny, come here.  Johnny, did you pinch Suzie's hand?"
Looking at the red mark on Suzie's hand...."Johnny, you didn't pinch Suzie?"
"No I didn't pinch her." The tears are starting at this point as well.
"So, you're telling me that your fingers didn't touch Suzie's hand."
"No....She just..." and so the confession begins that obviously it wasn't Johnny's fault because Suzie took his pencil.

Do they not understand that it is still pinching?!?!  My brain has been so boggled over trying to figure out how to approach these situations which happen not only once but often twice or more a day with various kids.  Ideas anyone?!!? Strategies?? Help!

Now, most third graders will eventually admit to the truth after I wear them down.  Let's not even start to calculate the amount of time I spend trying to wear students down to get to the truth.  However I have one Mr. Pinocchio.  His nose won't fit in the classroom before the year is done.  "No, he didn't turn off the lights in the bathroom, that was so-and-so accidentally leaning up against them.  That's why he didn't realize." "No, he wasn't playing around by switching bathroom stalls twice.  That was because they were obviously all clogged up (even though no one had told me and we all know all third graders want to talk about bathroom things)."  "No, he didn't chase the girl around the playground.  So-and-so MADE him do it (although the girls claim there was no one with him and the other kid said he didn't either.)" "No, he didn't mess with so-and so's hair in the other group.  Everyone else in the other groups are lying."  I've tried telling the poor kid that the whole world isn't against him.  I've tried explaining the story of the boy who cried wolf - he's been caught lying before so its hard to believe him now. But he still won't admit to ANYTHING.

AGRH!  This is very much the frustration of a Wednesday evening.  The counselor and principal intern (who is FABULOUS) are involved...hopefully things will look up soon.  Until then...what do I do with all my Pinocchios?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Math Project - Envision Topic 1

We gave our first unit test on Friday and I have to say that my kids did pretty well.  And the ones that didn't....well I had an idea that they wouldn't.  The one thing that all kids did struggle with was reading and following the directions so I know to work on that for next time.
Next week is going to be review week.  On Monday, I'm working with another teacher to split our classes to reteach and enrich before our district assessment on Tuesday.  We'll also have to go over how to bubble in answers since they will have one of their first experiences on Tuesday.  Then Wednesday and Thursday we will also split our classes to reteach and enrich based on the scores from the district assessment.  For this unit, I will be working with the enrichment group.  On Monday we'll be working with BIG numbers.  On Wednesday, we are going to complete the Envision Topic 1 Project.  Then, on Thursday we'll explore the problem solving strategy of making an organized list.  For the Topic 1 Project, I typed up the directions and then tried summarizing information from several Wikipedia sites.  It was a task but I know I'll use it again.  I have pasted the link below so you can benefit from my weekend of hard work :)

Envision Topic 1 Project - Research a tall structure and present the structure along with number facts and a drawing of the structure.

And...just for you.  On Friday, we'll be giving the Addition Pretest.  I could not...for the life of me...find one I liked online.  So I took a couple okay ones and put them together.  My addition pretest for third grade is found below....

Addition PreTest

Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornados OH MY!

So since I have started the school year I have felt the trembles of an earthquake, dealt with the winds from the outskirts of a hurricane, and had tornado warnings...and it's only the first week of September!  Today brought the tornado scare.  When I woke up and turned on the news this morning I knew things weren't going to be good.  The forecast called for turbulent, volatile weather all day long.  Students piled into the classes wearing rain coats and rain boots and carrying umbrellas.  Students were late from missing the bus due to rainy weather.  Then about 10 minutes into my reading lesson (this is already after morning meeting as well) my principal comes on the intercom for the pledge of allegiance and a wonderful announcement about the weather and what to do in case of a tornado drill.  Now remember this is brand new school without concrete plans for these kind of things.  So post-announcement I was forced to answer questions about what we do and how we sit (duck and cover of course!!).  I also had to ease the minds of a few very worried 3rd graders. (Although this had to have been better than the dance teacher with the class of first graders in tears.  They proceeded to practice duck and cover, learn it was just like an armadillo, and then got to move around the dance class like armadillo and practice times!).  I reminded the kiddos that it was my job to protect them.  Their parents put them on the bus each morning knowing they are safe because they are with me.  I let them in on the secret that they didn't need to worry because I would take care them.  Then, they got to throw their imaginary worries at me for me to hold and take care of.  Skip ahead in the day...past the indoor recess...past the thunder and upset the "tornado drill."  The students did great.  They stood up, lined up, and ducked and covered where I told them to.  However, something they never teach you in school....How do you keep a hallway full of 2-5 graders silent in the duck and cover position for about 25 minutes?  I hurt for them.  Their knees were sore, their backs hurt, and their focus was wearing!  For the most part the kids did great!  We finally stood up, dusted off our knees, did some stretches and went back to tornado (that I am very thankful for!!).  I dried some tears...yes it was scary but remember I'm here to take away worries and keep everyone safe.  I complemented the positive behaviors and discussed the not so good ones (talking, laughing, kicking each other, etc).  I even answered the best question of all....
Little girl's question: "Ms. McNinch, was it okay if I was praying while I was down on the ground?"
My response: "Of course it was dear...because we both know that even though I will do my best to keep you safe, there is only person who can really do that."