Saturday, September 28, 2013

I'm Back... With Lots of Pics and {Maybe!} a Freebie Too!

My blog stalker {a.k.a. mom} has reported her dissatisfaction at my lack of blogging this past week... so, since I was spending my Saturday at school working anyway, I took loads of pictures so I could show you {her} what's going on in my room!

First up... I got some new seats!  These were on clearance at Target and are actually ottomans (ottomen?!) that you can store things in.  I got the black because I thought they'd stay cleaner looking... but you can see the little shoe prints on them!  :)

I also switched out teacher tables so the dry erase shapes I had on before had to be replaced.  I found these circles and speech bubbles by Avery on Amazon.  You can find them HERE if you're interested!

We are gearing up for a week of learning about subjects and predicates.  I found a song on Youtube that we're going to learn and my kiddos will be doing my "Scoring with Subjects and Predicates" hunt in the classroom as part of their "must dos" for word work this week.  If you click the pic, you can check the product out on TpT!

And I decorated for Halloween!  I don't have a lot of bulletin boards that can be changed out in my classroom so this summer I made holiday bunting banners for each holiday.  I printed and assembled them and they are ready to go!  If you click the pic, you can check out my blog post all about them!

Our 3rd graders all get a weekly homework sheet that they keep in their folder.  Since we're departmentalized, we all need access to the sheet.  We use a Google Doc and can quickly add notes or changes for all of the classes.  My homework sheets, weekly newsletter {click to see more!}, and new Speller's Choice sheets for October are ready for the kids to grab on Monday morning!

We finally have "bucket filling" up and running!

I got my 1 change-able bulletin board set up.  I do a seasonal BB each month and write students' names on seasonal shapes so I have some cute little ghosties that I'm going to write on and hang up!

Last... this was an "I love you" present I got this week from one of my sweeties!  :)  I love my job!

Did you make it through all the pics?  Here's a secret... go back up to that bucket filling picture and click on it!  There's a freebie hidden there!  I'd love to hear from you if you download it!

One more thing... just a quick reminder that you can win a set of writing photo cards from Learning Resources!

Click the pic below to find out more and ENTER!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like...


I had an accomplishing day today... got to sleep in {finally!}, graded some pre-assessments, and the Lions won their game!  Yay!!!!!!!!!  You probably heard me screaming at about 4:10pm after the win.  I've calmed down since then and I am sorry for disturbing you!  And to all of the sports commentators (except Terry Bradshaw) who predicted a loss today... IN YO' FACE!  I am positive the line of sports commentators who read my blog is huge, so I am sure they will all feel put in their places over the gloating I just did.  I'm just saying.

After the win, I wanted to get some creating work done, so I finished up some updating I wanted to do on my Christmas Around the World scrapbook.  So many people downloaded it last year and so I wanted to share that it has been updated!

There are now TWO files.  One is free and it's the pack for the 8 countries that I use when I do the study- America, Mexico, Italy, Brazil, Liberia (in Africa), Australia, Japan, and Germany.  You can find the FREE file HERE!

I also added some editable pages to a 2nd file.  The 2nd file contains all the same pages as the free file, plus a few more for other common countries teachers may use during the study.  There is also an editable PowerPoint file so you can add your own countries!

Both files now have a cover for "Christmas" or "Holidays" around the world and have been updated with new graphics and fonts!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!  We have a field trip tomorrow and the weather looks perfect!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Snapshots- Critical Thinking Photo Cards Giveaway!

Happy Thursday!  My third week of school is almost at an end so I thought this would be the perfect time to celebrate with a GIVEAWAY!

I've shared pics of my writing center before...

   And this shelf holds all of the extra "stuff" at my writing center... papers, cookbooks, idea starters...

And one new thing I added this year... a set of Snapshots- Critical Thinking Photo Cards that I received from Learning Resources.

I love these cards!

There are 40 large photo cards with interesting pictures on them that my students are loving to use as idea starters.

Kiddos who look at the picture and still don't know what to write about can flip the cards over.  The back of each cards has several questions that my students are enjoying using as story starters!

These would be so great for working on so many skills... inferring, drawing conclusions, predicting, dialogue... so much!

Learning Resources has offered to give a set of these cards away to one of my readers too!  Yay!  You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and click HERE to check out the cards at Learning Resources.  This is the grades 1 and 2 pack, but they are great for my 3rd graders.  There is also a PreK-K pack available too!

You can check them out on Amazon too.  Click here for more info on the PreK-K set.  And here for more info on the 1st-2nd set.

You have lots of time to enter and spread the word. The giveaway runs from now until October 3rd... which is my birthday! On my b-day, I'll let you know who wins!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 16, 2013

Asking and Answering Questions: Flipping the Question

It's FAIR DAY!!!!  What's that you ask...?  Well, living in an incredibly rural county has its perks {sometimes!}.  One of those perks rolls around every year in September and it's Fair Day!  Our county grange fair is going on and every week the Monday of fair is Fair Day.  Most schools in the county are closed so kids can go to the fair, show animals, do 4H stuff, etc... and most teachers get the day off too.  Last year our kids were off, but we had to report for PD.  This year we get the day off too!  So, I'm working on stuff for school and waiting for my hubby to get home so we can go go the fair for lunch.  He's leaving work at noon today and we're going to go eat something that has been fried.  Yum!!!!

While I'm waiting for him, I'm working on school stuff.  Last year I realized that my students REALLY struggled with asking their own questions about a book.  Like seriously struggled.  So, this week we're going to start working on RL 3.1- ask and answer questions.  One thing I want my students to be able to do is not only ask quality questions, but answer them with more than one word.  So we are going to be FLIPPING questions.  I have made a set of cards with common questions one might ask about a book and the cards can be physically FLIPPED so students can see how to use the questions in their answers.

These are available on TpT for free!  If you do download them, I'd love to hear from you so don't forget to leave some feedback!  Just click the pic below!
I hope you all enjoy your Monday... at the fair or at school!  ;)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Daily Five in Five Days. Oh Yes We Did!

Working in a departmentalized elementary school is something I've blogged about before.  I LOVE IT!  I love focusing on only ELA and I love that my students get all core subjects every day.  And I love that we all work together as a team to do what's best for kids... we aren't "islands", which I loved when I was one but now that I'm part of a team that works together in the way that we do, I can't imagine going back to working on my own behind closed doors.

Anywho... one of the challenges is getting started with Daily Five at the beginning of the year.  When I was an island, I felt like I could really take my time getting Daily Five up and running.  But, not only is third grade more academically intense than 1st and 2nd, but departmentalizing means that I can't just stretch out my time blocks.  I have to be prompt and punctual and get things done because other people are counting on me.

So, gone are the days of taking six weeks to get Daily Five up and running and now is the time for getting it running in five days.

And, I'm happy to report that we have done it!

My almost 50some 3rd graders {I teach ELA to two different classes of kiddos} have totally nailed it and we are ready to go with small groups and a "real" Daily Five starting on Tuesday!  I will be making their choices for a few weeks yet, so that's the only thing that will be different, but we are trained in all the ways of Daily Five and it only took five days!

Here's how it worked...

Monday we hit really hard on Read to Self.
Tuesday, during the 2nd round, I added Read to Someone.
Listening came on Wednesday.
Thursday we did work on words and work on writing.
On Friday, we put it all together and had all activities running at the same time.  It was beautiful!

I did not teach any writing last week, so I had about 110 minutes each day to work on Daily Five routines only.  I'm pretty excited about being able to work with small groups so soon!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

8th Annual Fart Lecture

Yes, that's right.  Today I gave my infamous fart lecture.

It happens every year... someone lets one loose and the class either erupts into hysterical laughter or covers their noses, swatting away fumes with their hands.

I don't know about you, but it makes me unhappy when bodily functions interrupt learning in my classroom!

Hence, the fart lecture.

It goes something like this:

Ok, friends, everyone farts.  You fart.  I fart.  Your mom and dad fart.  Your grandparents fart.  Everyone does it.  If every time someone farted, everyone stopped everything they were doing to swat away smells or laugh, no one would get anything done.  Ever.  So, when it happens, we have to get over it.  I don't like how they smell either, but you'll never see me holding my nose and fanning away the smell like this- {insert image of me doing this in a very ridiculous way}.  So, right now- make some fart noises, act silly, say "fart", do what you need to do and let's get over it so we can get on with learning... ok, thank you.  Let's continue on with what we are doing.

And the lecture ends.  The farts have lost their power over us.  And we can learn again.

The next time someone toots, it just takes me giving my few remaining sillies the stink eye and they simmer down right away.


How do you keep kiddos from going nuts over this stuff?  Do YOU have a fart lecture too?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lions Win... So Someone Here Won Too! {Two?!}

Thanks for playing along yesterday... I said if the Lions won, I'd send two people both of my new packs... Nouns and Verbs are SUPER and Scoring with Subjects and Predicates!

And... the Lions won!  I'll admit it, I was nervous in the first quarter.  After Adrian Peterson's breakaway touchdown I chewed my fingernails down to nubs!  But, my team pulled through and my house was a happy place!  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my lucky Lions hair ribbon, which did the trick!

So... two people have won my two new packs!  I'm not doing this one at random though... Matt Stafford's number is 9, so I'm sending #9 the packs- that would be kmedvigy and Joique Bell was my hero yesterday so, since he's number #35, I'm sending the pack to comment 35 which is Angela Hopewell.  You didn't leave your e-mail addresses, so if you're reading this, please e-mail me at so I can send you some goodies!

If you missed the packs and want to check them out, click the pic below to head to yesterday's post to learn more!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Movin' and Groovin' for Grammar Practice! {Two new activities!}

It's the first Lions game of the season!  YAY!!!!  I'm bumming right now because I want to be there, but watching from the couch will have to do today.  We're going to two games next month and I can't wait!

So, in honor of my team kicking off today, I made one of my newest grammar hunts football themed!  I had to stick with the Honolulu Blue cover to honor my team!  :)  This one is for determining subject and predicate.

I also made a superhero themed hunt where students differentiate between nouns and verbs...

If my team wins today, which they will, I will send BOTH of these packs to two people who comment on this post.  Packers and Bears fans need not apply.  Just kidding!  :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What We've Been Up To... in Pictures!

Holy first week of school, Batman!  It's always such a whirlwind and I forget every year how crazy the first few weeks are!

We've been busy setting up routines and getting ready for when we start switching classes next week.  I have a group of super sweeties this year {and one best friend... which is how I always think of my more challenging kiddos!}.

I have had time to snap a few pics of what we've been doing this week...

We did my favorite beginning of the year tradition which is to color in bubble letters of our names, mount them on colored paper, laminate and hang all year!  Usually I hang them in the hall, but this year I'm keeping them in our room...

On the first day, I took a picture of each kid making a "thinking face".  On the 2nd day {Wednesday}, we cut them out and glued them to a piece of writing paper with a thought bubble.  They each wrote in the bubble something they were thinking about 3rd grade.  I hung them in my baggie quilt in the hallway... and love it!

And today we decorated the covers for our RRJs {Reading Response Journals}.  I brought out the scrapbooking paper, stickers, and glitter glue and they had a blast making them look unique!  We started these last year and I LOVE them.  The kids respond to their reading by writing 3-5 sentences at home each night and I love seeing their thoughts about their books.  I really gives me insight into their comprehension and also gives valuable writing practice!  They can't WAIT to start using them next week!  Click either pic to learn more about RRJs!

Find my RRJ pack on TpT!

It's been a good first week.  One thing I'm absolutely LOVING is seeing my kiddos from last year!  Since last year was my first year in my building, I didn't have any former students to wave at all year long... I am LOVING bumping into my kiddos from last year, quick hugs in the hall, fast waves as they walk past my room, and seeing those precious kiddos!

Hope everyone else is off to a good start... but I am glad tomorrow's Friday!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Words of Wisdom on the First Day Back

Today is my first day back!  I'm up early, getting stuff ready, and wanted to share my favorite favorite favorite quote that sums up the gravity of our profession, the importance of our interactions, and the true power that we have as educators.

I've shared this Hiam Ginott quote before, but have made a printable to share.  I have this hanging in my area in my classroom and it's a great little reminder about the impact we have on kids.  Click the pic to download a copy to hang in your room and inspire yourself with!  And happy new school year to all!!!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Lunch Choices... Quick, Painless, and a Great Way to Start the Day! {Psst... a freebie too!}

Lunch Choices.  Ugh!  I used to have a chart in my room and each kid would put a letter behind their name to show their lunch choice.  But I always hated the bottle neck up at the chart each morning... and then calling up kids who forgot to choose... and then transferring the choices from the chart to a new form that I had to turn in... or kids who would not pay attention and grab the wrong letter... Yikes!

So, now I have a very simplified system for lunch count.  At my old school, we had to turn in a slip with each kids' name and their choice each day.  Now we just hop on the computer and input the number of each item wanted, so it's pretty quick.

I do lunch count orally each morning.  I call each kids' name and mark off their choice on a paper that I have in a sheet protector so I can easily wipe it off at the end of each day.  I like calling out for each student.  It gives me a quick second to see each kid, touch base with them, give a smile, and also serves as a quick attendance check.

My sheet looks like this:

If you click the picture, you can download a similar copy that opens in Powerpoint.  There are three slides using the same graphics.  One has a similar table, one has a four "quadrant" system for making tallies or jotting kids' names, and one is blank so you can create your own table to suit your needs.

Enjoy!  Don't forget to leave some Labor Day lovin' if you like the file!  :)

Tomorrow is my first day back, so I may be absent from this blog for a day or two... I'm hoping not, but you never know!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lucky Number 19!

Hubby's lucky number today is 19... so... Miss Nelson wins my "Say it in Style" editable newsletter pack!


If you missed it, click the pic for more info!

What's on your agenda today?  I've got laundry, last minute printing/laminating, groceries, and a final "cleaning rush" before heading back to school on Tuesday {am I the only one with a house that gets cleaned only on major school breaks and before putting up holiday decorations?!}.
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