Cross-Curricular Learning: Reading, Writing, & Innovation

In late January of 2018, my students were introduced to fables during reading in my homeroom class.  We read fables from our textbook, leveled readers, and picture books.  In small groups, we broke down the elements of the fable genre.  We used comprehension strategies to help understand what we read, and pulled out figurative language when it was used.  Once we had a good grasp on what a fable story needed to sound like we were ready to write one.  We did some practice prior to the final fable draft, with shorter stories.  Then, we were ready for the “Real Deal”.  The students worked in pairs to brainstorm their ideas for a fable story.  These students became the best storytellers, creating wonderful characters and morals to the story.  Once this was complete, it was time for our Innovation teacher, Mrs. Avrith to step in.  She helped the students create storyboards for a trailer to the fables they had just finished writing. She taught the students all about stop-frame animation.  Please click on the link to read all about the students’ claymation trailers

This was one of our favorite projects this year!  We love GPS!

A little plug, and she didn’t put me up to this. * Tanya Avrith is one of the authors of The Google Infused Classroom

Find her and Holly Clark’s book on Amazon


Week #31 Competition Time!

We are nearing the end of the school year, and it’s a bitter-sweet feeling.  Many of my students have expressed that they actually don’t want the school year to be over.  One of the reasons being that they will miss WRITING!  I love it! They are super excited over this week’s competitive prompt created by the Night Zoo Keeper folks.   

Stay tuned below for some of the stories my awesome 3rd graders came up with using this week’s prompt.

Prompt: Can you invent a magical animal that could live in one of these magical places and tell us all about them?

Magical Place

By Grace D.

I woke up to a sun beam in my face. That wasn’t so pleasant but, it wasn’t just any ordinary sun beam.  It was um…. pink. I was very confused. I looked out my window and there was an Animal Hospital, and a pink lake. I went outside, and it felt magical. It was weird but, I liked it. I looked at the pink lake and saw my reflection. But, there was something behind me. It was a bear. I heard the bear talk to me in a deep monotone voice. He told me he came from the animal hospital.


The Path

By: Sadie C.

Once upon a time there were a magical place where majestic animals

roamed. Once there lived an extraordinary animal. The animal had

Sparkling and shimmering eyes. It was a shape of a mouse. It was small, but mighty. The mouse shimmied over to his favorite thing ever. It was a gorgeous pink lake. When it was tuckered out. It scurried over to a nice shady spot. (Yawn) When the mouse opened its eyes he saw a mysterious building. A animal hospital.  He ran down to it, but noticed…Where is its lake? He needed to do something…


Star Eyes

By Delilah N.

“HELLO? Any one?” I had woken up and suddenly I had appeared in this place with a pink lake, and an animal hospital. I walked over to the pink lake and saw something incredible! It was a weird looking bird, but it was swimming. It had diamonds on it as weapons and it was glowing. I couldn’t believe it.  I walked to the animal hospital, and explained what I had seen. But when I told them, they said the pink lake hadn’t existed for years. So, when I looked back at the pink lake it was all gone!



By: Maru D.

Once there was a little boy.  He went to the Moon, and saw a shadow.  It looked big with fire. It was a lion that kept all the animals safe. The lion was powerful. The boy kept all of the animals. The animals were all-powerful. They all had their own powers.  Strongest of the them all were the lions. They ruled the whole moon. One was the queen of the moon. She was Beautiful. The boy adored her. Her power was fire. She could make a volcano erupt, and cause a forest fire.


      The Green Forest

By: Joseph M.

Once there was a boy that saw a bunch of dragonflies.  The boy followed the dragonflies, and he brought them to the green forest. He was looking around. He got scared. He heard a bunch of noises. Then, saw a castle. He saw a huge dragonfly come out of the castle, and he said we dragonflies need help because we’re losing food. He asked, “Are you magical?” He said, “yes.” He had a bunch of food. He gave it to them. He said it would last for years. The dragonfly said thank you. The boy said he had to go.


     The Ice Forest

     Written by: Liliana D.

Once upon a time there lived a baby penguin who lived in a boring night zoo. He hated it there, and wanted someplace magical, and interesting. But he lost hope because there was no way to escape. Little did he know he had powers that let him teleport to any place he wanted! The next day he woke up with tingling feet, and hands. He wasn’t in the zoo! He was in an ice forest that wasn’t boring, but amazing! Now he teleported to any place he wanted, and had the best life.


About My Made Up Animal and Land

By: Violet N.

My made up animal is dragon that can disguise into any color to hide and capture its prey. But the dragon is a friend of humans and will not harm them. He lives in a huge deserted desert with a pink lake which no one has discovered except him. His guard which keeps him safe, so he won’t be another animal’s prey. He began as a harmful dragon that hurt people, but now he is a friend of all humans and will not harm them.


The Pink Iguana

By: Antonio S.

One day there was pink iguana. He could never find something that looked like him.  One day his was getting chased by a cat. He was the biggest bully ever at his school. He quickly jumped over a lake. While he was jumping over the lake he saw a reflection of himself. He realized that  he was different. From every jump in the lake it turned pink. He was camouflaged. The cat lost sight of the iguana. The cat slipped and went in the pink river. The iguana saved the cat, and it was never mean to him again.


My Idea for the Next Story

By Max F.

Once upon a time there was a little parrot that always liked to go into a pink lake. One day I was traveling in the woods and Jim found something. It was pink so he walked closer and closer. Then he saw a pink lake. He started to look around everywhere. He saw a little animal, it was a parrot. He thought it was magical because it was pink, and it had a horn on its forehead.  It also had a tail, and a tattoo on its body. One of them was a dragon.











Week #30 of the 100 Word Challenge


By: Maru D.

Once I was I going to go to the mall. I saw a dog driving. I said, “Why is it driving to my best friend?” I was thinking why was the dog driving. And, all of a sudden there was a huge crash. My car got totaled. I was freaked out. I finally got to the mall. But, I lost my car. When did it arrive? I said. So, that is why today is the worst day ever, and I’m still kind of wondering why a dog is driving. Bye.

Week #29 Using words in our 100-word stories

It’s week 29, and these 3rd graders are having a fantastic experience participating in the 100 word challenge!  They couldn’t wait to get to the Digital Petting Zoo station today to work on this week’s challenge.  I love their motivation to continue this writing challenge, and publish it in 4 days.  Continue reading below to read some of the stories my students came up with, and don’t forget to leave a comment.


By: Emma A.

Once there was a girl named Lena Heno, and she loved playing in the woods with her friend Nayomi. One day they were playing in the woods and they got lost. Then Nayomi said “W-where are we…?” Then Lena shouted, “HELLO!! ANYONE THERE?” Then they heard some kind of growl. Nayomi started to panic “ W-what was t-that?” she said, they heard the growl again, Nayomi frantically fell to the ground. Then Lena saw two crimson dots behind the trees. She felt like she was in grave danger. The growl got louder, and louder, and louder, It happened…



By Violet and Grace

Once there was a girl named Stella. One day Stella went on a bike ride. Then her bike hit a speed bump. All of a sudden a car drove up to her. There was a guy in a crimson colored car. He asked if she wanted a bandaid. She frantically walked up to the car and as soon as she could respond the guy pulled her into the car and they drove off. She felt like she was going to wake up in a grave. She was crying with misty tears. She shouted for her mom, but she couldn’t hear her.


The Girl in The Crimson Shirt

By: Delilah N.

Once there was a girl named Katie White who always wore a crimson shirt. Everyone thought she was mysterious, but she didn’t care she was lonely.  When she was feeling sad she went to the grave two blocks away. The reason she was always feeling sad was because her mom always shouted at her and blamed her always. One day she went to the grave and it was misty, she felt like something  was following her, so she frantically ran, but fell, and got knocked out and when she opened her eyes there was a shadowy figure standing above her…


The Grave Walk                                            

By:Caroline D.  

One night I woke up from a bad dream I designed to go on a walk in the in middle of the night, so I put on some flip flops and opened the door. I almost forgot my key so I opened the drawer and got my key and I set of. It was a misty night in crimson pj’s I started to walk for hours. I walked. Then I passed a graveyard I thought it would a good resting place so I sat next to a grave I had some water so I gulped it down. I had ate that. Then I took a quick nap I woke up ,and I felt something,or someone grabbing my arm I looked down.

  My Sad Day

By: Joseph M.

Once upon  a time there was a boy that was very  sad he woke up one day and it was raining and  his mother was in grave pain he drawn here a crimson color dog and his dad was francally  to go to work and he had to make some money I was so mad and sad at the same time then a few mins later my eyes started to look misty and I shouted, “Please make the rest of the day GOOD!” And it did. My mom was feeling better. My dad faced his fears, and when it stopped raining I said, “Yes, it turned into a happy day!”


Week #27 Has to include …Although they ran quickly, they were still not making enough progress…

My students find these types of writing challenges to be the trickiest…. This week they had to include a certain phrase within their story.  We had a Skype session with Julia Skinner a while back that addressed this challenge.  She was able to walk my students through this, and give some great feedback on their pieces which hadn’t quite included a phrase one week.  They were so thankful to get positive feedback from the founder of the 100 Word Challenge.  They have really been trying to use that writing workshop with her to take their writing to a higher level.  I’m really proud of them!  Don’t forget to leave a comment for each of the stories each week.


One day in the middle of the forest there was going to be a race.  The animals were training, and the humans in the city were going to attend. They were training too. The race was taking place at 5:00 sharp. At 5 o’clock the humans arrived, and the turtle who was referee blew the whistle. They all ran. Although the humans all ran quickly the were still not making enough progress, so the animals won in the end.


The Cupcake Challenge

By: Sadie C. & Liliana D.

One day there were two penguins, and they loved cupcakes. So one day they had a cupcake challenge. The judges were Mr. Potato Chip,  Mr. Marshmallow, and Mrs. Browny. The penguins arrived to the challenge. The judges greeted them, and gave the instructions to them. You make a jumbo cupcake, and they yelled “GO!” Half way through the challenge the judge, Mr. Marshmallow told them to run away. “The oven is gonna blow!’’  Although, they ran quickly, they didn’t make enough progress. When they returned Mr. Potato Chip announced penguin #two won!



Week #26 for the 100 Word Challenge

Latest prompt

To start off the summer /winter prompts, we have been challenged to include these 5 words in your writing. They can be in any order, but must ALL be there! They are:


Here are a few of my students’ pieces of work that include these words.

  The Hopeless Grasshopper

                                         By Violet N.

Once there was a tiny yellow grasshopper. He had been searching for food for 10 years now, and he was getting very thin. Sometimes he went into the sewer and took a bath. Sewers are very dirty so he didn’t really come out shiny or clean. One day he thought to himself “Maybe I should just give up, I’m hopeless”. One morning he saw a huge crowd of people heading to a theater. He thought, “People eat at theaters so maybe my wish will come true”. He went in and his wish finally came true.


The Shiny Statue             

                     Written By: Liliana and Delilah

Once there was a girl named Ashley. She was fifteen, and she worked as a photographer. When she wasn’t taking pictures she had her nose buried in a book. The book that she was reading was called the Secret Garden. The book was tiny and thin, and filled with amazing things. She liked the part when the girl walked through the hidden passage to the secret garden, and saw a shiny, yellow statue. Ashley also had a power. When she read she could go inside, but people thought that was hopeless.

Yellow Cookie

By Sadie C.

One day in a Famas bakery, a long time ago, there were two best friends. There was a marshmallow and a yellow cookie. The marshmallow was lovely and cookie was friendly. But one horrifying day a customer bought a pack of yellow, thin, tiny cookies and Cookie was in the pack! Marshmallow didn’t know what to do so he thought fast, he jumped through the air with a shiny smile. Was it hopeless? It worked! He jumped in the cookie pack and saved the cookie!

Tiny Tater Tot

By Grace D.

One day I was eating tater tots. One tater tot was very tiny and thin, and the rest were big. All of a sudden it jumped out of my plate and on to my shoulder. He started talking to me. I thought it was weird. He said his name was Shiny. He also thought he was hopeless because he was the only tiny tater tot. Then, the sun turned yellow and it was a happy day. Shiny and I became best friends. The rest of the tater tots were mean. Sadly, Shiny jumped on the plate and said, “bye bye!”


Math Literature Books with Book Creator

My 3rd graders have been writing and illustrating math literature books in class for the past three months.  We have finally published a few, and have some more to finalize.  I am so proud of each of my student’s creations.  They love using Book Creator to demonstrate what they have learned, and to teach others some math.  Check out our books below, and tell us what you think!

Week #25

This week’s 100 Word Challenge had to include this … but how did he/she get up there?…

Check out my student’s short stories that include this prompt this week.

The Eggs

By: Maru D.

Once upon a time there were eggs that wanted to take over the world. They started in the UK. They found a forest. A little girl was walking through the park making a flower crown with all the dandelions. She saw the eggs. She thought they were adorable until they attacked her.  She climbed up a tree and stayed there. It was almost sunset. She hopped up on the tree. Her parents are worried. In the morning she saw somebody on the jog. She yelled at her friend. Her friend said, “But how did you get up there?”


 The Strange Rock

                      By Violet N.

Once on a rainy day, I was walking in a jungle near a load of trees and stream. I was walking through the stream. I accidently stepped on something hard. I picked it up, and it was a big rock. I took it out of the water, set it down, and walked the other way. While I was walking I came to a dead end, so I walked the other way towards the rock. When I saw it, it was up in a tree I wondered, “but how did it get up there?”


The Wild Goose Chase

By: Antonio S.

One day there was a boy who lived on a farm with lots of animals.  He had so many that he couldn’t even see them all. He gave all of his geese medicine at night because they didn’t go to sleep. Plus, they got hyper and cried too. He had fourteen geese. He usually did a head count two times,  but he was super tired one time and counted only one time. He counted fourteen. When he woke up he heard crying. He ran outside to find his geese on the roof. He wonder how they got up there.


The Paper in the Jungle

By: Joseph M.

There was this boy named Cody that lived in the mountains next to the jungle.  He asked his mom if he could go explore the jungle. She said, “yes.” Therefore, he went to the jungle and was looking at the trees.  Then he saw a piece of paper on the tree. He said to himself, “How did that get up there?” He got it down, and read it. It said, “This jungle is dangerous! People go who go there get in big trouble.”  He quickly ran out of the jungle.


How Did You Get Up There?

By: Max F.

One day this kid was hiking in the forest.  It was a really long hike. You have to go through it for days, so we brought his camping stuff with him. He also brought his water, snacks, and some food to have over the night. He even brought some Gatorade too. The next morning he kept walking, and then it was night time again.  The following morning he kept walking and he heard some kid yell, “Help!” So, he went to where the voice was, and looked up. He said, “How did you get up there?”


Into The Enchanted Woods

By Grace D.

One day I was bored so I decided to take a walk in the woods. I walked and walked until I came across a letter. The letter said, “Keep on walking till you see light.” So I did. I finally stopped walking and saw a beam of light, and a tree with no branches. There was another letter on the tree. I couldn’t read it because I couldn’t get it. I thought to myself, but how did it get up there? Now, I was lost in the woods.


The Cow who Wanted to Escape

By Addison M.

There was a cow who did not like the farm. He wanted to escape. A few days later he was gone. The farmer was looking for him. He was running away from the farm. He was hungry, so he started looking for food. The farmer was still looking for the cow. He saw a tree withd food on it. He started climbing the tree, but then got stuck. Finally, the farmer had found the cow. He said, But how did he get up there?” The farmer climbed the tree, and got him down.


Hide and Seek…

by:Alessandro O

One day Alex, Justin, Mark, and Adam were having a party.

Alex and his friends were bored, but Adam came up with an idea.  He said, “Hide and seek?” And they all said, “yes.” They went outside and Adam counted.

Justin said, “Come on, Adam is counting!” So they all went to hide. Mark went to hide behind the tree with Alex. Justin went hiding somewhere else…

Adam was done counting.  He quickly found Alex and Mark, so they went to look for Justin. They found Justin on the roof.  Mark yelled, “How did he get up there?”


      The Secretive Panda

                          By: Liliana D.

Once there was a girl named Sky. She had a stuffed panda. She took her panda to the park. She played then left. When she got home she realized she left panda at the park! She ran back, and tried finding it, but she coudn’t. Oddly, she saw a window on a tree and peeked in. It was a different world! She heard something and realized her panda bear was alive, and in the tree! She didn’t know what to do. All she could think of was how did he get up there?