Focus on Characters: Miss Penny and Mr. Grubbs

In my class we are continuing our study of characters. I want to share with you another great picture book with two very contrasting characters. 

This book is also by Lisa Campbell Ernst (as I've said before- one of my favorite authors!). It is really a sweet book...

I read the story to my students and then I started the chart- but we did not fill in the words to describe the characters (we did that later). 

I gave my students the reading response activity and sent them off to illustrate and write. After giving them some time- we reconvened on the carpet and completed the chart. Then they could go back and add to their own work if they chose to. 

You can find the free printable activity here!

They loved this activity and I was really pleased with their efforts! 

Up next... Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch!

What picture books do you love to use to teach character?


Focus on Characters: Squirrel Park

During Reader's Workshop we have been focusing on character. For the first portion of our unit I read the novel From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. What a great story to teach character- the main characters Claudia and Jamie are so distinct and have such personalities that my students could really envision the characters and get to know them. 

After we finished the novel I wanted to continue to work with the concept of character. The first story I chose was Squirrel Park. It is by one of my all time favorite authors- Lisa Campbell Ernst. 

First I read the story...

Then we charted the 3 main characters- Chuck, Stuart, and Mr. Ivey. First, I just wrote their names and sketched a picture of each. (I did not list any character traits at this point.)

I then sent students off to their seats to draw and list describing character words for each character. After students completed this, we met back together and then completed the chart. 

Here is a sample of the worksheet the students completed...

You can find this free worksheet here! I hope it is something you can use. 

This is the first in a series of picture book character lessons I will be blogging about. Be sure to check back for the Miss Penny and Mr. Grubbs lesson tomorrow!


Calendar Math Companion Journals

At my school we began using Everyday Counts Calendar Math a few years ago. I had really never used any form of calendar math before that, so it was the beginning of a learning process for me. Originally, I had really thought of calendar math as a kindergarten/first grade activity. Boy, was I wrong!

After trying to faithfully use calendar math on a daily basis, I found I was falling short. I would skip a day here and there, my daily counts and calculations would get off track, some of my kiddos were not engaged in the learning taking place ... 

So over Christmas break last year I decided I needed to do something to get the calendar math ship back on course... enter my Calendar Math Companion Journals. 

I began with January- I included the everyday components, the focus skill for the month, and then tried to wrap in those third grade skills that my students need a constant review of.

My students love having their own journal, I love being accountable to the journal and my kids- not so easy to skip a day anymore (they are sure to remind me on the rare occasion I get off track), and I love the constant review of skills. I feel like my students are now all engaged because we work through the journal together each day- I give them a minute to fill in their answer and then we check and I explain/answer any questions they have. I have the journal projected on my SMART board and it goes like clockwork. I can get calendar math time done in 15 minutes. 

If you are interested in these journals- you can find them to purchase from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here: Calendar Math Journals

What tips and tricks do you have for making calendar math time work in your classroom?

Have a great week!

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