Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Made It - Book Pick Sticks

The craziness has set in - today was the first day back for teachers.
Tomorrow we have meetings all day (yawn), while thoughts of all we have to do back in our classrooms race through our minds.
Then on Wednesday we have Open House in the evening.

I'll have more to share later but wanted to jump back into Tara's Monday Made It hoopla with one project I completed recently.
I love that my students love books, but sometimes some of the kids hoard favorite books in their desks, even though they are finished reading them,.
So, each student will get 2 of these book pick sticks to put in the book boxes in my classroom library when they take a book.
They can only have 2 books from the classroom library out at a time.
Hopefully it will work as well as the plan I have in my head.

Thanks to Lowes and Sherwin Williams for the free paint sticks!
I painted the sticks first with some paint I had leftover from a bedroom redo at my house.
I added some washi tape, and then ran the name labels on sticky-back paper.
The font is from KG Fonts, and the apple clipart is from Krista Wallden.
I did have to secure the ends of the washi tape with some Mod Podge.

I put this picture on Instagram and got lots of feedback.
I love that you can buy pocket charts that are a color other than blue.
The black charts just seem to make colors on sentence strips pop!
Sorry for the blurry picture!
I discovered that these pocket charts are on sale on the Scholastic site!
You can find them here.
I purchased mine at our local teacher supply store.
Even though they are not on sale at the store, it was still cheaper for me because I didn't have to pay shipping, and teachers get a small discount at our local store.

Hope all your back-to-school activities are going well!

Friday, August 15, 2014

I'm a Guest Blogger Today about a Great Back to School Read Aloud

If you are visiting from Diane's blog at Fifth in the Middle - welcome!!
Glad that you stopped by, and I hope you'll become a follower.

Today I am guest blogging over on Diane's blog for her Friends on the Fives series.

Diane is famous for creating the state blogger symbols.
She also sets up a fun March Madness bracket for teacher bloggers during the NCAA tournament.

I am currently a third grade teacher. I love to read, and I encourage that love of reading in my students.
I often try to share my literature related lessons and activities on my blog.

My guest blog post on Diane's site is about one of my favorite back to school read alouds. 

I stumbled across the Humphrey series of books by Betty Birney while visiting Barnes & Noble about two years ago.
The main character (Humphrey, the hamster) struggles with adjusting to new classmates at the beginning of the school year. The new classmates represent a wide variety of personalities, just like your average present-day classroom.

 I created a PowerPoint presentation to introduce each of the chapters in this book, and it can be yours for free in my TpT store.  

The PowerPoint slides in this product introduce each chapter of this inviting book, as well as Humphrey's Rules for School. Also included is a reflection booklet for students to visualize and respond to each chapter in the book.

 I have projected the slides from the PowerPoint on my Interactive WhiteBoard as I read the chapters aloud.  The book could also be used for small group guided reading activities.

Betty Birney, the author, has given permission to use photos from her teacher-friendly website ( in the PowerPoint.

The reflection booklet supports CCSS for ELA. Additionally, the concepts of cooperation and responsibility presented in this book support PBIS strategies.

This book provides a key lead into a study of series books.
I hope you are able to use this in your classroom in the coming year.

Check out this product to use with your study of series books!
Check out Diane's blog if you'd like to be a guest blogger, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday - Walgreens Pencil Case Deal

Well, I'm three for three!
I've joined up with Jessica at Covered in Glitter and Glue for her "What I'm Loving Wednesday Linky"
for three consecutive weeks!
Can you tell I like this linky?
I love these pencil cases that are on sale at Walgreens this week.
A friend told me she buys red and green items during the Back to School sales to give to her students for Christmas.  What a great idea!
So I scooped up these pencil cases that I will save and fill with red and green goodies.
They are on sale for 39 cents each with the coupon in the weekly ad.
Walgreens will allow teachers to get 6 at a time.
The pencil boxes are usually 99 cents each.

I just finished this book by Billy Crystal - so funny!

He tells stories about his family and his career.
Many of his comments made he laugh out loud.
It's a great summer read.
On Monday some teacher besties and I spend the day at a friend's cottage.
Days like that make wonderful summer memories.
We took a ride on the PON-TOON!
I love that song!

We also took the kayaks out.
It was so calm out on the lake.

Hope you're having a great week doing things you love!
Thanks Jessica for hosting this linky!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday - Math Focus Wall With CTP Products

Hurray!  For the second week in a row I am linking up with Jessica at Covered in Glitter and Glue for her What I'm Loving Wednesday Linky!
Let me just say right off the top that I'm loving my summer!
Last weekend I had my family up for a get together.
We had so much fun eating, laughing, eating, lounging, reminiscing, and eating some more.

I also am loving that the football season has started.
We went to a Packer training camp practice yesterday but unfortunately I forgot my camera and my phone so go no pictures - ugh!

But, what I'm most excited to share this week is my math focus wall!
I was lucky enough to get score some items from Creative Teaching Press, and love how the board is all coming together.

We begin the year with multiplication so I always use flashcards as part of my border to get them thinking about the facts.

I love the colors of the calendar set from Creative Teaching Press.
You can find this set on their website here.

I also love the GNOMe set of cards that CTP has put together to display math standards.
GNOMe is an acronym for Geometry, Number Sense, Operations, and Measurement.
As you can see, I am starting the year posting the standards under the "Operations" heading because we begin the year with multiplication facts.
I plan to add the other areas as we get to them.
I think the visual display of the expectations will be important for my third graders.
Check out more info on GNOMe here

On the bottom left side of my focus wall is a legal size review board that I created.

We start our daily math work with a review of concepts on these boards that I change monthly.
I laminate the legal size sheets, and each day fill in a portion of the board.
For example on this board I write a number like 152 in the standard form section.
Then a student helper leads the class through showing 152 as requested in the other sections.
We show 152 expanded as 100+50+2, 
the word one hundred fifty-two,
the Roman Numeral CLII,
and then in the bottom sections students write numbers less than and greater than 152.
After school I erase the date we entered with a vis-a-vis pen, and change the number 152 to another number.
This process provides the students with a good review of basic math vocabulary.

At the beginning of each month, and new board replaces the current one.
I am convinced the daily review of third grade skills helped my students to make significant growth last year.
You can check out these monthly math boards in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.

What are you loving this week?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Currently - For the Last Month of Summer Vacay

It's the first day of August.
Time to savor every last minute of this summer vacation.
And it's also time to join Farley's Currently linky.

 I've had a quiet afternoon.
My new teaching team came over for lunch, and then after they left I spend the afternoon lounging and reading blogs.  Perfect for a rainy summer afternoon.

I have two new team members at my grade level this coming year, and they are both awesome.
They seem really easy to work with, and they have great ideas to share.
I think we will be so productive together!

We are having a small family reunion at my house this weekend.
I looking forward to all the fun, but also thinking about feeding everybody.

I moved in to a new house in April, and had a list of projects to do before school starts.
There are still a few, like painting a bedroom, and cleaning the carpets that have yet to be crossed off the list.

I'm excited to be going to San Diego for a few days next week to see a friend!
I have hardly bought any clothes this summer because most of  my hard-earned cash has gone to things for the new house.
Sounds like a good excuse to hit the mall in San Diego!

We start on the 25th, but have multiple district sponsored workshops before then.  
And now, like Farley, I am going to do a shameless plug.

As you probably know, there is a BIG SALE coming on Monday and Tuesday.

I just completed a product that I think will be very useful in tracking the return of books and homework.
You can check it out here, and hope you add it to your shopping wish list!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday - Cute Chart Paper!

Today I'm linking up with Covered in Glitter and Glue for her What I'm Loving Wednesday Linky.
It's my first time linking up this summer, and one of the few times I've blogged two days in a row!
That's just one of the many things I love about summer - having the time to blog and check out fun linky parties.

I stumbled upon these unique chart paper collections while scrolling through Instagram this morning.
I immediately ordered two from Staples, and will pick them up at their store.
As you can see it measures 24" by 32" and has ruled lines.
There are only 25 sheets on the ring, so I ordered two. The black was $11.99.
They also come in green, blue, and red polka dot, but those are colors are a bit more expensive.

I'm also loving all the cute items I got from Lena at 4th Grade With Glitter!
She somehow knew that I needed colorful new dishrags for my kitchen!
And I love the yellow flower details (a daisy and seeds) she added to the box.
There are some fun glasses I hope to have my students use for close reading.
She also included gum, snack bars, nail polish, vitamin water, post-its, a notepad, and an inspirational book.
I tell you people - she was on a yellow bender!
It made me so happy to go through the box.
Thank you Lena!

Check out all the SLANT box love at Lessons With Coffee's blog!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Tuesday "Twofer" - QR Codes and Haiku Deck

It's Tuesday, and I am going to to join up with two linky parties to share technology tips.
Yesterday I attended the EdTech Teacher Summit on Navy Pier in Chicago.

It was a fabulous place to attend a workshop on using iPads in elementary classrooms.
I heard lots of practical, can-use-it-tomorrow ideas that I plan to share today and in future posts.

One of the apps I am going to share to link up with Holly's Tried It Tuesday linky is called Haiku Deck.

Haiku Deck is a free app, but it's also available for Chromebooks!
In this tool, students can create short powerpoint-like presentations to share info about a topic.
This is a sample presentation I was preparing about penguins.
This tool is really easy to use - even for primary students.
You do not have to sign in to use this app/website.  You can use up to 7 slides for free without an account.

The presentations are actually called "Decks".  I'm not sure where the "Haiku" part comes in.
You do not have to create poetry (unless you want to!)
There are great visual directions to get you started.
One of the things I really like about this tool is that there is a search engine embedded right in the app/site.
The images that come up seem to be very student-friendly.
This is another sample project I was doing on cockapoos.
A colleague in the class was making a learning center about concrete and abstract nouns, and searched for an image on the abstract noun - honesty.
It was interesting to see the totally appropriate images that came up.
I will definitely use this app/site during non-fiction units with my third graders.
You can find out more about Haiku Deck here.

Next, my friends at Learning to the Core and I Teach 1:1 for their Tune Into Technology Linky.
They have been sharing great technology ideas this summer, and this week they are sharing information about using QR Codes in the classroom.

My students LOVE learning with QR Codes.
I have developed two QR Code activities that were big hits in my classroom.

The first is an investigation of well-known author websites. Click here to see it in my TpT store.

The next is an investigation of popular vacation websites!  Click here to see it in my TpT store.

Check out all the great QR Code activities, and an awesome giveaway at I Teach 1:1 or 
Learning to the Core!