Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fall in Love with Teaching Blog Hop

These past couple of weeks have been a blur!! I told myself that I would change things up so that I could  become a better educator for my students, my campus and of course myself.  So today I'm sharing some little things that have helped me love teaching even more.

Let's start with my classroom.  This year I have incorporated white board desks instead of my old brown ones.  They were so easy to prep and install.  All you need is whiteboard planks from Home Depot, Velcro, and colorful duct tape for the borders and your done!  (check to see if your Home Depot will donate the boards)  My students love using them and I save a ton of copies by not using so much paper.

Take your lesson outdoors!  We have an outdoor learning environment on my campus (garden) and I love using it for writing, math and of course science lessons.  The students love just being able to move around and explore.

Here my students are calculating the perimeter of the outside of the plant box.  (excuse our poor little plants)

Cooperative Learning is the key to less stress if you do it correctly.  Here my students work together to come up with words that follow the rule written on each table group.  Here my students from the blue table are trying to come up with more words that have the r controlled vowel.

Students love working together and I love hearing my kiddos teach each other using their own language.

Keep it organized!!!  I've added a few things to help keep my class organized and in order this year.  Here's a look at my tables which are grouped by color and some crate seats that are used for reading spots and storage.

Here's my life saver!!!  My guided math board.  I also created a literacy station board to match but forgot to take a picture.  This little board saves me from hearing "I forgot where I go Mrs, S" 20 times in row.  Now my classroom is student driven vs. teacher driven.

Now here's you chance to win one item of your choice from my store and a $50 gift card to teachers pay teachers!!!!  Just follow the prompts below and you'll be entered to win one of these prizes!!!!

Well I'm off to read some great tips from the teachers of the Third Grade Tribe.  Make sure to click the click here button to hear some great tips from the Teacher Treasure Hunter!

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Pumping up my Math Instruction: Guided Math PT1

This week I'm going share my math schedule with you guys and discuss how I incorporate Guided Math into my math block.  If you missed my last post, I discussed how I use Problem of the Day as a daily warm up with my students to practice problem solving.  Feel free to check that post out!
  Here's a look at my math block.  As you can see my math block is 90 minutes long and most of our time is focused on Guided Math and math rotations.

Since this is Part 1 of my guided math blog post I wanted to share with you how I get my students  ready for the transition from seat work to math rotations.  In my opinion the only way to assure that your transitions run smoothly is to incorporate a rotation display board for you and your students to quickly reference before rotations.  I hate to admit it but in the beginning of last year I kept my rotation chart and grouping sheet on a clipboard on my desk nowhere for my students to see.  (WOW)  How wrong is that!  My students were constantly asking me questions, not because they were off task, or not listening, but because they didn't have anything to reference other than me.  So  to alleviate that headache,  I added a math workstation display board in my classroom.  
As you can see the board is easily visible for my students.  The cards are laminated so that I can write the station activity on them with dry erase markers and they can be easily moved since they are glued to close pins.

  Here's a look at the board filled out.
It's hard to see since I took it with my iphone but my groups are filled in with my students names and can easily be changed when regrouping.  The rotations cards have the skill they will work on at each station so they know what basket to grab their materials from.  I also add a clip to the round numbers (rotation) they are working on that day so they know where they are to go. Since creating the board all my students have to do is look for their group, see what round their currently on, and get to work.  Easy!!!! 
If your wondering about  my rotations they include problem solving, concept development, numeracy, vocabulary, and stem.  Make sure to check back for Part 2 where I explain some activities I use in my rotations.
If interested you can grab my Editable Math Workstation Display kit here.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Pumping up my math instruction: Problem Solving

Today I'm going to share with you all how I tackle problem solving during math.  As you know I made the jump from 2nd to 3rd last year and had to  prepare my students for that yucky state test.  Luckily my students did an amazing job and I know it was because of how I tackled problem solving.

I knew I had to improve on problem solving so the first thing that I did was add problem solving to my math block!  Each day we spend the first 15 minutes of our math block focusing on problem solving.  This has made a huge difference in how my students approach a story problem.  As you can see I have a wall just for problem solving that includes my problem solving strategy posters (in store) that my students use to reference while solving their POD.  My students also have one in their POD folders to reference.  Below the POD header I  usually take the 2-3 copies of their POD and glue them to white paper and invite a few students to come solve on the board.  This allows me to assess my students understanding of problem solving daily.  These students also get feedback from me and their classmates.  Finally you can see that I include quick checks on my board (included in my story problem packs)  that my students solve independently 1-2 times a week.  Students have to show how they used each strategy while solving the problem and explain their thinking in words.  These forms give me so much data and RTI information for my students!

All of the resources above can be found in my TPT store!
 link to store

Well I'm off to get some sun!  
What does problem solving look like in your classroom?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Currently July (2015)

I'm thrilled to be linking up with Farley to bring this months currently!  This summer has been packed with trips to the pool, library, cheerleading practice and of course binge watching Orange is the New Black.  Other than that here's what going on with me......

Listening:  I'm jamming to Janet Jackson on Spotify while looking for other 3rd grade teachers to follow on Instagram.  I'm hoping that Janet comes to Texas on her tour this year, because I've already warned my husband that we are going if she does.

Loving: I'm loving the fact that my daughter is finally swimming on her own!  This summer we've been through 2 level 1 classes and have spent so much time in the pool to get her comfortable enough to actually get in the water and it's paying off!

Thinking:  Where and when did July come from?  I thought summer vacation just began!  Oh well, I guess I better start getting ready for all the back to school displays that are about to be put out:(

Wanting:  My anniversary is next week and I have had my eye on these Kendra Scott earrings.  

Sophee Drop Earrings in Gold
Needing:  I really need to quit procrastinating and plan our summer vacation which is two weeks away.  

All Star:  I think if my friends would all agree I'm an all star when it comes to making them laugh. 

link up!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Made It - Library Pockets and Word Crackers

So today I have decided to show you how you can create classroom essentials for little to almost no cost at all!

First let me say that before I create anything for my classroom I like to reflect on what did and didn't work for me this past year to see what I need.  With that in mind I knew I had to create something for taking lunch count and checking out books from my class library.  I hate to admit this, but my lunch count took up way too much time in the morning!  Our district actually has breakfast in the classroom and taking lunch count was one of the many things that needed to be taken care of in that small block we call arrival time.  Then I never followed through on making my students sign the check out log for my class library, I figured out that I'm really not worried so much about that as long as their reading!  
So today while at Joann's Fabric I spotted these Jumbo Library pockets from Creative Teaching Press and knew I could use them for something, plus they were a steal at 1.80 for a pack of 12!  Of course I grabbed all of the ones I could find.  Then I went to Michael's and grabbed some beads and pipe cleaners to make some tools for my students to use during word study and guided reading.

Project 1: (less than $2.00)
I used the large pockets and colored card stock to create a lunch count display.  Students have 4 choices for lunch which I wrote on the pockets with expo marker (after laminating). I cut the strips of paper into pieces and wrote students names on them.  When students come in they will grab their strip and choose what they want for lunch, then my helper will count and record it before morning announcements are over. Quick and easy and now I won't have anymore delays!  

Project 2: (less than $2.00)
Library pockets!  All you need is card stock cut into strips, library pockets, hole punch, and rings.  Place a hole at the top of the pocket and place the ring thru it and attach to a book basket.  Give students 2 strips of paper with their names on them to use for checking out books.  Students will choose a book from your library by placing their strip of paper in the library pocket of the basket the book came from.  When the student is finished reading the book and has returned it they can get their strip of paper back. This will allow me to see what genres each student is reading, how long they've had a certain book and if their placing the books back where they belong.

Project 3:  Word Crackers (less than $4.00 for enough to make 25)
These are very simple to make, all you'll need are some beads, pipe cleaners and some card stock. These need to be made before allowing students to use them!  First place 10 beads onto a pipe cleaner.  Next take a strip of card stock and poke a hole through it on both sides with the pipe cleaner.  Once the holes are poked pull the pipe cleaners through and tape it down on the back.  Then your all set to use the word crackers in class!  These can be used to practice counting syllables, compound words, stretching words, and so much more!  These also can be used in Math (rekenrek) for adding up to 10.  Below my daughter used the word cracker (green)to determine how many syllables were in the word umbrella. As you can see she slid over 3 beads because she heard 3 syllables.

I can't wait to see what you guys have created!

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Well it's that time folks, time for my kiddos to take STAAR! My students have worked so hard this year and I am confident that my kiddos will ROCK this test!  Since we only have 6 days left to prepare I decided to let my students write their very own STAAR PLAN using dots-n-spots New Year's Eve Resolution guitars.   (click the link to go to her store)
My students loved planning how they were going to be successful on our big test.  Everybody loved reading my students plans.  Take a look!
I went a head and ran with the Rock Star theme during our daily math review. My kids love solving problems that have cute clip art and bright colors.  I projected them with my projector and my students solved and explained the process during our think-pair-share time.
I've also been working hard to applaud the efforts of my students since this is such hard time of the year, so I've given my students their very own "mini me" to go in their STAAR folders.  The students earn badges (stickers) for making their target score on their quizzes.  My students love this more than anything I've every done! I will definitely continue this next year. If you plan on doing something similar in your class I would make sure its kept some place that is private.  This isn't something you would want everyone to see. My students keep theirs in their folders. 
Lastly we've been using my using my Reading and Math strategy packs from my TPT store and my students grades have increased tremendously!  If you follow me on IG then you've seen my post about my students scoring 88% passing on our district 9 week assessments.  Believe me when I say we celebrated hard in room 22!  
I'm planning on ending our final week of STAAR prep with a rock party so I used one of the extra guitars from our STAAR plan activity as an incentive. Each time we get 80% on a quiz as a class one of my students will add a guitar piece to the board.  Once our guitar is complete I plan on surprising them with a rock star party including go noodle, star pencils and goodies as a reward for all of their hard work.
Well I'm off to cook a roast I saw on Pearls, handcuffs and happy hour for Sunday dinner. Would love to know how you guys are preparing for State Test.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Starting the New Year off right!

I know I'm late but I wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year!  As always I've started my New Year by setting some goals for myself professionally, spiritually, and of course physically.  

Professionally:  My  students are taking the STAAR exam this year so I've been really trying to make my lessons and activities more rigorous.  I'm  also reducing the number of worksheets I use, instead I'm relying on hands on activities that make my students think.

Spiritually:  I received a bible companion journal for Christmas that has weekly lessons to help better understand the bible.  I plan on reading it for inspiration and strength.

Physically:  Last, but not least I made a goal to slim down!  I've met so many inspiring teachers that have done the work and slimmed  down, that I think I can do the same.  I know that I have a long road ahead of me but I truly feel that I can accomplish this with the support of my ig friends.

So to keep up with my physical goal I'm linking up with Teaching with a touch of Pixie Dust to bring you my slim down Saturday.

I did really well this week because I planned and prepared all of my meals in advance.  I stayed away from the drive thrus and drank nothing but water and green tea.  I also started using MFP again but had a hard time continuing to track everything, but I plan to do better.

I also plan to hit the gym!  It's been super cold and wet here so all I wanted to do after work was come home and snuggle up on the couch.

 I continue to look for motivation from all of my ig buddies, if they can do it, I can do it.  

Quote of the week:  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!