Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tonya's GIANT Giveaway!

Have you seen Tonya's 500 Giveaway???? is GIANT.  You need to pop over to her blog and see all the amazing prizes you could win.  Click on the picture and it will take you right there.  And by the you see a familiar button in the top right corner?  Yes, it's me!  I'm so excited to be a part of this.  Tonya was one of my first bloggy friends, so anytime I can help a bloggy friend I am there!  And I'm so excited to be with this wonderful group...  Now stop reading my blog and move on over to hers to get in this GIANT give-a-way! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bucket Filling Freebie

My favorite activity the week was when I read Have you Filled Your Bucket.

Product Details

I know a lot of people read that story, but I really was looking for a different one to read.  I couldn't find one in my library, so I read this one.  Anyone have a different bucket filler book?

Anyways...I read it to my class.  Then we made a chart showing bucket fillers vs. bucket dippers.  I love making charts with this class already!

I then explained this bucket filler form.  I have a box from Really Good Stuff that is called a compliment box.  I just decided to use that for my class bucket since it had positive words all over it.  I explained to the class that they needed to be sneaky and catch other students being bucket fillers.  Then they would fill out the form and put it in the box.

Really Good Compliment Kit

Friday we read a few that were in the box.  The smiles on those faces were priceless.  I have a punch card for each student.  I am using the one called Frequently Fabulous from this set by Creative Teaching Press.  Every time they receive a compliment in the box, I will punch the card.  When they fill it up, they will earn a prize.

Click here to view larger image

They LOVED it.  I've done bucket filling before, but never the punch cards and sharing them with the class.  This is now a permanent part of my Friday afternoons.

If you are interested, click on the picture below to get my bucket filling sheet the children fill out for each other.

Happy Bucket Filling Everyone!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

First Week

So I made it!  Two full day institutes and 3 full days with the kids.  I can't believe we made it!  Now if I can just get through with Open House Tuesday night (or should I say make it through the long day on Wednesday after a LONG Tuesday night).

The first three full days - what did I do?  Well, we check in the mountains of supplies, did some fun getting to know you activities, and even had time for some learning.  I usually do different academic assessments to see where my new students are.  You know 5 minute addition and subtraction test to see if they know their basic facts.  Reading a story to see if they remember story elements.

We read Miss Nelson is Missing and shared what a great teacher would look like and what a mean teacher would look like.  We even made a chart showing these traits and what the students would look like to match the teacher (that was a lot of fun hearing what they thought they would look like).

And how was your first week????

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Teacher Area

I finally succeeded in finding my desk!  Yeah!  I knew it was in there somewhere, but it took awhile to find it.  I wanted to take pictures of my teacher area for a couple of reasons:  1)  to show off my wonderful binders that I spent the summer organizing, and 2) to have proof of what this area looked like BEFORE the students came and I officially started using everything!

In this picture you will see my teacher's toolbox, my mystery birthday poster,
my marble jar, and a green bin that holds my comprehension prompts.

In this picture you will see my subject binders that hold my current chapters and
my Monday-Friday bins from Lakeshore.

Here is my desk.  Didn't it turn out cute???  You can see my Brain
Break sticks in the purple bin. 

Have a great day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of Meetings

I can't believe that I had my first day of institute today.  Where did summer go????  I have another full day of institute meetings tomorrow...then the students come on Wednesday for a full day.  I'm excited but also a little sad that summer is over.  I really enjoyed reading blogs all day long and finding new ideas on Pinterest.  Oh well, I guess I still have some time on weekends and days off, right?

And now a question...give me one word that describe your feelings about starting back to school.

Here is mine - excited!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Class Library

I finally took pictures of my class library.  I have most of my books sorted.  I didn't sort and label my library until a few years ago. I didn't think it mattered. Once I did it, I can't believe I didn't do it sooner. The kids are drawn to the bins and not the white case. I can also draw their attention to a series or an author easier by telling them to go to a specific bin and try some books from there.

I sort my books by:

favorite authors (Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, etc),
favorite book series (A to Z Mysteries, Magic Tree House, etc),
favorite topics (animal stories, sports, etc),
nonfiction science (animals, earth science, space, etc),
nonfiction social studies (Revolutionary War, map skills, etc),
math (geometry, number sense, etc).

I also have a ton of books from the school that I put into this big white bookcase.  I did pull out books that go along with my bins, but not a ton of them. 

I used bins from the Dollar Tree in blue and green.  Those colors match the major color scheme in my classroom.  I also printed out library labels that I bought on TPT.  I laminated them and then sticky tac them to the bins.  This way I can change out different bins to meet the needs of my class that year.  Some years the class loves Geronimo Stilton books so I make a bin for that.  Some years it is a Junie B. Jones group so I switch that bin out.  I don't like my bins permanent for that reason.

Do you sort your library? 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reading Workshop

Yesterday, I told you how I'm going to teach math using a math workshop approach.  Today I'm going to share my reading workshop approach.  It is pretty much the same.  I will start each day out by doing a skills warm up and then I will teach a whole class reading lesson. Then I will assign them an activity to do. Here is a picture of my Reading Workshop signs.

I have Read to Someone, Read to Self, Listen to Reading, Meet with the Teacher, Vocabulary, Word Work, and Writing.  I will eventually have my students pick their activity, but in the beginning I will choose it until I get a feel for their needs.

I did the same as my math chart...printed the signs out as a 6 slide on one page and used another wonderful $1.00 pocket chart from Target.  I have them hanging on my chalkboard with the purple reading one on top and the green math one on the bottom.

What do you think????

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Math Workshop

I don't know about you, but I have such a hard time figuring out how to fit in Daily 5 and Guided Math into my third grade classroom.  Reading all my bloggy friends blogs about these topics gets me excited, but then the reality of my own teaching day sink in and I realize that it won't work.  I have so much I have to fit into third grade before the state tests in March and I have my district curriculum needless to say....I get frustrated!

I'm excited to say that I think I finally figured it out!  I read a great book this summer called Guided Math that I got from Amazon.  I know there were a lot of book studies about this book, but I never was ready to read it.
 Product Details

After I read the book, I realized that I already was incorporating a lot of the ideas in my classroom but I didn't label it guided math time.  I called it math.  So this year I want to include more aspects of the guided math ideas but I am calling it Math Workshop. 

I am going to start each day out by doing a math warm up and then I will teach a whole class math lesson.  Then based on how my students did in the math lesson, I will assign them an activity to do.  Here is a picture of my Math Workshop signs.

I have Practice Facts, Math Game, Meet with the Teacher, Use Manipulatively, Problem Solving, Task Cards, and Test Prep.  This way I can meet the needs of my students using class data and NWEA data.  I can also differentiate my excited! 

I printed the signs out as a 6 slide on one page.  Then I cut them out and laminated them.  I also made name cards to put next to each activity.  I used my wonderful $1.00 pocket chart from Target.  Here is a picture of my finished product.

I'm really excited that I FINALLY figured out how to teach Math this year.  I'll let you all know once the school year is going to see if it is working out.  What do you think????

Happy Wednesday!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Catching title, huh?  Do you use THINK in your classroom?  I have it right above my alphabet line in the front of my classroom.  Some people asked me questions about it in my classroom reveal, so I thought I would explain it a little more.

THINK is a way to get your students to think before they speak.  Sometimes students are not very nice to each other, especially at recess.  So I use this strategy to help out with this with my students.

Here is what THINK stands for:

T = Is it TRUE
H = Is it HURTFUL?
I = Does it INSPIRE?
K = Is it KIND?

I use it to try and do away with the tattling and the hard words that some students have trouble with.
Here is a picture of my display.

I ask my students "Did you THINK when you said that?  It takes a little practice, but once the children follow this, I have very little tattling or hurtful words!  YEAH!  If you have any more questions about this strategy, just let me know!

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back from Arlington and a Freebie

Hello everybody!  I am finally back from Arlington, Virginia.  Can I tell you how exhausted I was?  We left at around 3:30 pm on Thursday night and drove straight through.  Yes...12 hours!  We got into Arlington around 5:30 in the morning and had to find a restaurant open to have breakfast to kill time.  Then we left on Sunday morning at 8:45 am and got home around 8:30 pm!

So why did I go to Arlington?  My nephew was having his 4th birthday.  We normally would not have gone (especially with school starting next week), but when your 4 year old nephew calls you personally to invite you to his party....well what's a 12 hour drive, right???

We also got to attend my sister in laws retirement ceremony as am officer in the Coast Guard.  Oh my gosh how wonderful that was.  Not being in the military you kinda forget about all the regulations and ceremonial stuff that goes into things like that.  It was really nice and we were so happy we could attend.

We also got to see some of the Washington, DC sites.  I LOVE visiting DC.  It really gets you in the teaching history mood!

Now on to some blogging ketchup (heehee I mean catch up)!  I missed Monday made it, but I figured all my classroom photos kinda counted!

Here is a little freebie.  I use this coupon to give my students on their birthdays.  It is for no homework.  I hope you can use it.  Birthday Coupon

And don't forget to sign up to be a follower on Tonya's blog.  She is getting near her 500 mark and she has over 18 blogger friends plus herself donating to her giveaway!

One more thing...thanks for the nice comments about my classroom.  It was the first time I showed off my classroom and I was a little nervous about sharing.  So for those blogger friends who commented...much love and a giant THANK YOU!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Classroom Pictures - Day 4

Hello everybody.  Here is day 4 of my classroom.  I'm sorry if it is dragged out, but I had so much I wanted to share, that I wanted to make sure I included everything.  I only have two pictures today...until tomorrow!  :)

Here is my reading board.  It is purple.  It is busy, I know, but there is so much that I teach in reading, that I had to have it all on there.  Under the board are my guided reading activities (with polka dots).  You will see my CAFE posters with my mystery theme.  I also have my PIE posters, my Super Kitty Reading Strategies, and my SPREADS reading strategy.

Here is a close up of my CAFE and Super Kitty reading strategies. I put the comprehension strategies that go under each of the components of CAFE under it at the beginning of the year.  When I teach a strategy I put a cute little smile by it.  That way when they learn a new strategy or review one we learned already, they can have a visual reminder of what type of strategy it is (and it is also a reminder to me to make sure they are all covered by the end of the year!).

I completely forgot to take a picture of my class library.  I will do that on Monday.  I'm heading back from Arlington today, so my next blog should be back in the wonderful Frankfort, Illinois!  And don't forget about the BIG Teachers Pay Teacher Sale today and tomorrow.  Everything in my store is 20% off!  Have a great night!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Classroom Pictures - Day 3

Hello everyone!  I'm still in Arlington, Virginia and using the schedule thingy from blogger so hopefully it'll work.  I have some more pictures of my classroom and a cool idea I came up with.

Here are my attendance boards.  As I showed in an earlier post, I made these from a magnetic chart that stands up.  On one it says:  whoooo is absent today (that one has all their number magnets on) and the other one says:  whoooo is here today?  The children will come into the room and move their button magnet to the here side.  One of my jobs is an attendance clerk.  They will tell me who is absent and they will also move back all the numbers onto the starting chart at the end of the day.  That way I'm ready for the next morning.  The basket to the right is where my students will put notes to me (of course it is blue, green, and has polka dots).

Here is under the chalkboard. Please don't mind the extension cord (I had a fan running because the air wasn't on in the classrooms yet) and the wonderful artistic rendering of Super Mario Brothers that my son drew on the board!  But anyways...I have my Wonder Wall, Vocabulary Treasure, and my Book Nook posters under there.  I still need to put all the board stuff up like:  homework list, pocket charts for spelling and vocabulary, schedule, etc...but I can't erase that drawing yet!

Here is my math board.  Coming down the pole are my math common core vocabulary from Ashleigh.  I decided to put them on ribbon together by topic.  I think the spot turned out great!  On top of the coat racks are the student's art buckets.  This is where their extra school supplies "live" since they don't fit in their desks. here is my great idea...I teach third grade.  Anyone who teaches third grade knows that the state tests are brutal for our third graders.  I usually take up 1 1/2 walls of space just to put up all the math posters I will need for the year.  Well since I moved to a smaller room, I didn't have the space.  So I thought about it for a long time and it finally hit me.  On the wall I have the unit I am currently teaching, so this first unit is place value, comparing numbers, and money.  Then on the hook I have all the posters I will use to teach math all year long.  The students can flip to any poster if they need refreshing and I can leave them there for the state testing because they are already up in my room.  Isn't that a great idea?  I punched a hole in the top left corner of each poster and used a rubber band to hang it on the hook.  My seven year old flipped around the posters to make sure they would be secure and it was easy enough for him to find a poster worked!  I am soooo excited about this!  What do you think?

 Well, that's it for today.  I'll show you some more tomorrow.And don’t forget about the BIG back to school sale from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Everything in my store is20% off! Stop by my store and pick up some new items. Have a great night!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Classroom Pictures - Day 2

Hello everyone.  Today I will show you some more pictures of my classroom.  I tried using the schedule thing for posting this, so hopefully it works.  My son and I are in Arlington, Virginia for my niece and nephew's birthday parties.  A last minute trip that I didn't know I was gong to take.  But when you have a 4 and 7 year old asking if you and their cousin can make it...well what's a little 12 hour car ride?  Right?????

Here is my writing/English board.  It is red and I have a red bin here to hold my writing activities and my shared writing binders.  I used my Let's Bake Up Some Great Writing on the board.  I will have mini clothespins that the students will use to show where they are in the writing process.  My header says:  Inspect good writing traits!  I have the 6 traits writing posters above this board, but I forgot to take a picture of that.

Here is my behavior clip chart.  I don't keep it in the front of the room.  I usually use clothespins for the clip chart, but this year looks like I may have too many students.  So I'm using numbers with sticky tack on them for the students to move around with. I think hope they will all fit!

Here is the board I use to show student work (which is why it is blank).  I used green for this board.  Above the board are my How are you feeling about this topic? posters.  The small board I'll explain down one picture.

Here is my character education board.  My school uses PBIS as our district wide behavior.  Even though that is our district plan, I feel the need to still talk about character education traits.  On the top of the board I use different Argus posters to show a thought of the week.  I change it weekly.  To go along with that, I've added a character trait of the week.  I printed these awesome posters from Lisa Richling at TPT called Kids of Character: Character Education for Every Week of the School Year and I will change those once a week also.  On the bottom of this board are little library pockets that match my polka dots.  This is where I will keep track of the group that earned the most points each day.  I will show the buckets that go on their desks to collect points all day long another day.
And to the board is my mystery themed job chart.  Don't you just love the polka dots?! I use velcro to attach little magnifying glasses with each student's name to change the jobs.  I change my jobs every two weeks (I find this a lot more manageable).

Well, that's all for now.  I'll show more tomorrow!  Don’t forget about the BIG back to school sale from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Everything in my store is20% off! Stop by my store and pick up some new items. Have a great night!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Classroom Pictures - Day 1

I finally have some pictures of my classroom.  Now remember...I am doing a mystery theme, but I also used polka dots too.  I used the black border with dots from CTP for all my boards.  I then used a plain color for each board on the behind the black (looks so much better)!  I made headers for each of my board tying in my mystery theme.  And also remember....I moved into a smaller classroom this year.  So I had to start all over with where to put stuff and how to fit in all my bulletin boards.

This is my social studies board.  I am using a new curriculum this year.  I start the year off teaching about colonial life and the revolutionary war.  I use blue for social studies.  This includes bins for center activities and notebooks.  My header says:  Hot on the trail of social studies facts!  I also made a sign that says Revolutionary War (I hate putting bulletin board letters on my board...too much time finding the right letters and too many staples on my board)!  I couldn't bring myself to putting Pilgrims on here (it is only August) so I compromised and made the cute dog in the bottom right corner wearing a pilgrim type hat!

Here is my science board.  I use yellow for science.  I teach life cycles and cells for my first chapter in science.  See my new Lakeshore nonfiction/science comprehension center???  I have the yellow bin there to put learning centers/activities.  My header says:  Let's investigate science!  I don't know if you can see my chapter header, but it says:  Types of Living Things and it also has the Big Idea for the chapter on the sign.  The little signs on the left are my scientific method signs.

Here are my whole brain teaching signs (thank you to Stephanie from Third Grade Thoughts).  She has so many great things about whole brain teaching you really need to check it out.  I made my own sign that said "Ready? Set. Go!".  The rest are from Stephanie.  I thought they looked super cute by the cursive alphabet line.

Here are the rest of the whole brain teaching signs.  If you go to her blog, there is even a video that shows you how to teach with these posters.  Super cute video!

That's it for today.  Tomorrow I will show you some more of my classroom. 

One more thing...I jumped on the Teachers Pay Teachers bandwagon.  They are having their BIG back to school sale and I decided to join in the fun with my first sale.  Everything in my store is 20% off! Stop by my store and pick up some new items.   Have a great night!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SPREADS - a Reading Strategy

Have you ever heard of SPREADS?  It was a reading strategy that a co-teacher introduced me to years ago.  I used it in my classroom, but when that teacher left, the remaining third grade teacher said she didn't want to use it anymore.  I don't know where that teacher found the idea, maybe a graduate class.  If it is your idea, please let me know so I can give you credit for it!

Well, that is going to change.  I am going back to using it.  SPREADS stands for:  Scan, Prediction, Read, Evaluate, Authorize (which I changed to Author's Purpose), Details, Summary.

It works like this.  Before the class reads a story, they do the following:  Scan the story and then Predict what the story will be about.  While reading:  they Read the story and write down and thoughts or ideas they have.  After reading it they:  Evaluate (write 3 questions about what they read), Author's Purpose (tell why the author wrote this story), Details (answer the 5 Ws), and then write a Summary

My class really enjoyed doing this, so I'm excited to be doing it again this year.  They could do in in small groups with me, with a partner, alone, in groups, or they could even do some parts for homework to check for understanding.

Here are the new signs I made for my classroom using cute graphics.

Let me know what you think.  I have this for sale in my TPT store, if you want to take a look.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fellow Blogger's Giveaway

Hello everybody!  I just spent another 9 hours in my classroom.  Wow, I forget how tiring these days are.  I will have pictures soon...I promise! 

And now on to something fun and exciting.  Tonya from Tonya's Treats for Teachers is nearing 500 followers.  She is only 80 followers away.  Click on her link and go to her site.  If you are not a follower already, join.  She is fantastic and the giveaway she is planning is great!  Hop on over and help Tonya reach 500 followers.

Have a great night.


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