Thursday, February 28, 2013

Motivational Posters

My family just finished watching all of the Harry Potter movies over the course of two weekends.  Okay we were kinda addicted!  After we finished the last one I got kinda sad.  I mean my 7 year old and I looked forward to movie night with Harry.  Since I missed Harry, I started going on pinterest to find Harry Potter stuff and saw a quote from Dumbledore.  It said..."Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." 

That started me onto making my own motivational posters in my classroom.  I have a bulletin board where I put up a character education trait and a motivational poster each week.  The character education trait is something we look for with our classmates to fill someone's bucket.

The first poster I put up was the Dumbledore quote. We had a great discussion about what it meant.

Now instead of store bought posters, I've been adding my own creations.  I've been getting more positive feedback from my students with my own posters than with the store bought ones! 
Here are some of my new motivational posters.  I tried using clip art that the students would recognize.  I used book characters, movie characters, famous people, etc for my posters.

I started playing around with these and the next thing I know it...I made 24.  And there are still more I'm thinking about.  Isn't it crazy how you just starting making one thing and then....BOOM....hours later you made a whole bunch?!?!?  Whatcha think???

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Today we did a fun science experiment.  We are learning about slow changes to the earth, such as erosion, weathering.  And rapid changes like earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods. 

The three third grades got together in our school lunchroom and made our own volcanoes.  It was so much fun!

We had groups of 4 work at kneading their clay and forming it around a small plastic cup.  Then we had them go over to another part of the lunchroom and watch a short film on Discovery Learning about volcanoes.  This gave the three teachers time to sneak around and add the baking soda and dish soap.

Once the movie was over, the children went back to their groups and number off 1-4.  We had number 1s add red food coloring and number 2s pour the vinegar into the cups.  Oh my gosh....the oohs and ahs were priceless!

After the first eruption, the groups had to predict if the "lava" would flow the same as last time, or if it would flow a different way.  Then we had the 3s add green food coloring and number 4s poured new vinegar into the cups.  The kids once again had oohs and ahs!

We discussed how sometimes lava flows in the same direction and how sometimes it doesn't.  Then we had a discussion about how they can decide where to build towns near a volcano, since they never know which way lava will flow.  It was a great discussion.

Here are some of the pictures of the volcanoes the groups made.

Don't you just love when your students LOVE something and LEARN at the same time???!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

State Testing

Every year, after Christmas break, we break out our state testing coach books and start working with the kids.  Well, this year it is different.  We are focusing more on our NWEA testing and not the state tests.  This is due to the changes coming with common core and PARCC tests.

It feels a little weird...I mean I'm just teaching as usual.  Not cramming things into their little minds that they won't remember anyways.

So the tests start next week.  How do I feel....nervous.  I mean I know they won't do as well on them, but we've been told that is okay.  We want to focus on NWEA and implementing common core more.

I have been still working on extended response when it comes to math.  I mean what third grader really KNOWS how to explain how to answer a math question with words????

Another thing I do is make them positive bookmarks (they color them and I laminate them).  They keep them on their desks throughout the test. 

We also made our light bulb helpers.  They wrote an "idea" on what they should do for the test.

And finally I give them all a pencil that says "Do your best on the test".  Having done these few makes them know how proud I will be with them.

Are you ready for state testing???? 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

HUGE Bloggy Friend Giveaway

Tonya from Tonya's Treats for Teachers is having a HUGE 700 follower giveaway. 

There are 25 bloggers giving away things along with Tonya (including me)!  This one is HUGE people....get on over.  I can't even imagine 700 followers....WOW!  Thanks for including me Tonya!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Attention Getting Posters

I have been trying out some new attention getting posters in my classroom.  It started around Halloween.  I used Stephanie from 3rd Grade Thoughts  poster that said, "Hocus Pocus - Everybody Focus."

I started playing around with words and made "Ho, Ho, Ho, We're Ready to Go!"

Then for Winter I made:  "Graham Crackers, Marshmallows...Let's Listen S'more!"

Oh my gosh...I can't stop!

Lately we have done "Have no fear...good behavior is here!"  This is so much fun!  My students have to repeat the last part while making a super hero pose!  SO MUCH FUN to watch, let me tell you!

Now to go along with my chocolate theme, I just started this one.  I'm reading aloud to my kiddos "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".  So this one goes to song from the movie:  "Oompa Loompa, Doopity Doo - It's time to get ready and listen to you!"  They have to sing the second part back to me.

I gotta stop...I've made some with characters from Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, St. Patrick's Day, etc. They are just so much fun to have my class do.

The other teachers think I'm crazy...they shut their lights off or ring a bell.  My class responds with goofy sayings.

Is anyone interested in these?  Should I put them in TPT???  I just don't know if anyone would get my crazy style with the sayings.  What do you think???

Monday, February 18, 2013

President's Day Activity

We have been studying about the American Revolution for the last month.  We already learned about George Washington, so I took a little time talking about Abraham Lincoln. 

I got a few copies of this book from Scholastic.  It is an easy read for my third graders, but we didn't have a lot of time so it worked out well!

Then I made this cute Venn Diagram to compare and contrast Lincoln and Washington.

I had them write a paragraph about Washington, a paragraph about Lincoln, and a paragraph explaining their similarities (sorry I didn't take a picture of that).  We put them on my bulletin board with these cute headers. 

They really enjoyed learning about Lincoln since we have been so focused on Washington and the Revolution!  How did you celebrate President's Day?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day.  Mine was very nice, although my son was home sick and couldn't pass out his valentine's day cards....he'll do it on Tuesday.  :(

On a happier note, my son did send his Mommy flowers at school for Valentine's day.  Don't you love getting flowers at school?  My students were as excited as I was!

Here are the beautiful flowers he sent (of course with daddy's help since he is only 7 1/2).  Can you tell that I like purple?


Once I opened them up, my students had me read the card.  After they all went "Awwww" we were able to continue one what we were doing!

Later that day when my class was passing out their valentine's cards, one of my darlings came up to me with this...

it is a valentine's day card for my son!  And she is a girl and gave out all girl she came up with one for a boy, I don't know.  I just love how wonderful my class is!

I hope you are enjoying yoru valentine's day weekend!

With love-

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Part 2

I'm a couple days into my chocolate theme.  The kids have started reading their novels, The Chocolate Touch.  They are loving it!  Any time I can get away from the reading series for a few weeks makes us all happy.
I start out the theme by graphing our favorite chocolate item.  My 7 year old helped me make the graph.  Here is a picture of him helping me draw the lines.

He wanted to graph his choice, so he filled in a square.  The next day when I brought it into school, the kiddos were so excited that my son filled in his choice!  Isn't it amazing how our family becomes part of our class??  Any way...I got off topic.

I also have my students list different chocolate things.  Here is the list I have up.   They don't know it yet, but tomorrow they will be putting these chocolate words in ABC order!

We talk about where cacao beans grow.  This was my map lesson where the children had to label the 7 continents.  Then we had to label where cacao beans grow.  Here is my poster that we made together.  They have a printed map in their chocolate folders.


And my last picture is my finalized graph that the kids colored.  After we filled in our graph, they had to use the class data to make their own copy of the bar graph. 

I will share some more pictures from my chocolate unit in the coming days.

Valentine Treat Bags

I finally finished my student's valentine goodie bags.  I saw so many great ideas on Pinterest that I kept going back and forth with what I was going to make....I just ran out of time!

So I started out with a bookmark (that I laminated) and a homework pass.

Then I added a paper treat bag, pencil, and a fruit roll up ( junk food ban at my school).

I made an adorable bag tag that I attached to the outside and...ta da...a cute treat bag.

What do you think?  I hope you all have a "heart-tastic" Happy Valentine's Day with your kiddos!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Be My Bunny Valentine Freebie

A quick post and a freebie for you all.  I attached these cute tags to my student's treat bags for Valentine's Day.  If you can use it, please click on the picture below.  I left a spot blank for you to sign your name.  I used adorable graphics from and the font is from Hello Fonts.

If you do use this tag, send me some LOVE and leave me a comment to tell me that you LOVE it.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Super Heroes + Writing = FUN

I just had to share this.  You know how each year your students are interested in something and it just escalates into a HUGE thing?  Well, this year it is Super Heroes.  It started with a few of my boys and then just went crazy.  A few of my boys are not very interested in writing.  So...I got to thinking....

I came up with these character cards (using Melonheadz graphics) on different Super Heroes.  I printed a small picture and taped it to a sheet of construction paper.  Then I printed their names on a small card using the Super Hero graphics from Dollar Doodles.

I had them graph for their favorite Super Hero.  I didn't tell them why.  All I said was that they had to pick on that they liked and knew something about.  That was last week and I didn't bring it up again (so evil, I know).

A couple days ago one of my students said "You know last week when you had us graph our favorite Super Hero?"  Yes...I said.  Then they said, "Are we gonna do anything else with that or was that it?"  I told them I was waiting to see if anyone remembered...which of course got a HUGE reaction from the class.  Like I remembered...I thought about it...etc.  (I just wanted to wait and build excitement).

Here is a picture of the charts with the Melonheadz graphic and
the Dollar Doodle name cards I made.

So I brought out the charts that they voted on.  That is the group they were going to work in.  They had to discuss their Super Hero and discuss the character traits that made them up.  We brainstormed things like:  super power, costume, villains, helpful, saves the world, etc.  It was such a fun discussion.

Then I had them start making a web of things they would have if they were a super hero.  Are you thinking where I was going with this activity?

Then they had to work in their group to...make their own super hero story!  They had to use a villain, a super power, a costume, all the things we talked about.  The excitement in my classroom was amazing!

Here is a picture of a group working on their story.  I used a writing page from

They have been working on these for 3 days already (almost 3 hours of class time) and they are so loving it!  They ask "We have a couple minutes of free time...can we PLEASE work on our Super Hero story???"  I mean they are asking me to write????   It is so wonderful.

Once they are done and I put them on a bulletin board, I will take a picture to share.  They should all be done next week.  It is such a fun activity...I'm so glad I thought of something to get these guys writing!

Oh more thing I did.  You know how with Whole Brain Teaching you use those fun little signs like:  Mac and Cheese, Everybody Freeze?  I made one that says:  "Have no fear...Good Behavior is Here!"  The students have to stand in a Super Hero pose when they say their part...too much fun to watch!
Here is a picture of the sign I have up on the board.  Like I cute watching
them all make their super hero pose!  :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chocolate Unit

Hi everyone!  So sorry I haven't blogged in a few days.  My son was sick again...that darn stomach flu has really hit his school hard.  This is his second time since we've been back from Holiday Break!  Fingers crossed that darn flu bug can leave his school soon!

I'm getting ready to start my chocolate unit next week.  The unit lasts for two weeks (the most time I can use before state testing starts)!  I don't know if your school has a no junk food ban, but we do.  It really puts a damper on teaching a chocolate unit when you can't actually eat chocolate!

Oh well...I will be using the story Chocolate Touch in my classroom.  Have you read the book???  Great story and the children can really relate to it.  I have some fun activities that I am working on to update my unit.

I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aloud to my class during this unit, too.  I bought the adorable graphics from Melonheadz that go along with this story.  Can't wait to put them to good use (I already made a fun character trait analysis project to go with the characters from this story)!


Does anyone use either of these two stories in their classroom?  Do you have any good ideas that you would like to share with me?  Would you like to see some of my "chocolate-tastic" ideas in the coming weeks???? 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Sales

Hi everyone.  I'm so excited...I'm having my first Teacher's Notebook sale and another TPT sale! I've been on TPT for awhile now and I just recently started up my shop at TN (I really like how you can have a bigger sale on TN).

So if you are interest, I am having 30% off at Teacher's Notebook and 20% off at TPT!  Yeah!!!  Click on the pictures below and they will take you directly to my stores.

Thanks to Primary Reading Party for the great link up and adorable graphic!


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