Thursday, April 26, 2012

Challenge week #3 and Bonus Probability Packet!

I can't believe this school year is almost over! Now is the time to panic about all the things I wanted to get done this year and now only have 4 weeks left to do them! :)

I have been slowly decluttering my room with the help of Clutter-Free Classroom which is making me even more anxious about summer and moving classrooms! However yesterday I had a sub while we had some extra PLC time (THANK YOU!!) and when I got back to class my sub asked me "Is your desk always this clean?" I was tempted to get out my before pictures and show her the mess that I like to call my desk, but I didn't want her to think I was a slob :) Her comment made me feel good about all the extra work I have been doing to get my room clean and organized. Even though I am only on week #3 I am feeling really good about it the time school starts next year I should have a clean, neat, and organized classroom!

I wasn't able to take pictures of the trash can or recycle bin before they were emptied, but rest assured that they were chock full of things I just didn't need or use anymore. It's amazing how much stuff we aquire as teachers in one short year!

This pile is going to the lounge- One person's trash is another's treasure right? 
This is just a a small amount of the books I will be donating to our city library
I had a drawer FULL of dry erase markers...and guess what? Half of them didn't even work!!

Also while doing some decluttering of my files I found a probability packet that we used earlier this year, it has some worksheets and games. I added it to my TPT store if you want to check it out, and in an attempt to gain some followers the first 5 people to follow this blog and post a comment (with their e-mail address) will receive a free copy!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Out with the with the new!

4 different classrooms in 4 years is the reality of my teaching when my principal approached me this year and asked if I was okay with moving classrooms (yet again) it really didn't phase me :)

I have moved classrooms every year due to various first year was because I transferred schools (which is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me!) Well since the school I transferred to was brand new we were very as we grew classrooms got moved around. My second year I moved across the hall...and then last year I moved to a different hallway because I changed grades. This year I will be moving again (RIGHT NEXT DOOR) because we are adding teachers and we want to keep the grade levels together. I thought I would be more upset about moving again...but my new room is fantastic and I am actually pretty good at moving so it will be a breeze ;)
Another postive to moving is that I don't build up a lot of clutter...each summer I have had to purge items I didn't use or need...HOWEVER it has also caused a little bit of disorganization. I have drawers filled with "stuff" and cabinets filled with "junk" AND after moving grades I still have yet to get rid of some of my 5th grade materials...oops :)

The other day I came across Clutter-Free Classroom and the Clutter Free Classroom Project and knew I just had to do it!

I am a few (okay more like 15) weeks behind so I am going to work at my own pace and maybe I will eventually catch up ;) I've combined challenge #1 and #2 into one post since it is more the planning stages than the actually doing.

For challenge #1 we had to take before pics of the areas we are wanting to get I said, I am moving classrooms, however they all look the same so it will work just fine :) Challenge #2 was to make a I will post the before pictures and tell you my plan all in one!
*My first area has been making me crazy all year is our 3rd grade storage closet. We are so fortunate to have this much extra space...however it is so cluttered and disorganized that we aren't utilizing it in the best way. My goal this summer (or during some of our PLC times) is to go through the materials and figure out what we are using and what we aren't using. I also would like to make each shelf teacher specific or even better yet subject specific :)
*My game cabinet is another area that I hate...the kids are terrible at putting the games away and making sure all the pieces are in the right spot. My boxes are ripping etc. My plan is go through the games and get rid of anything that doesn't have all the pieces (and can't be played without all of them) and get rid of anything they NEVER play.
My library...I know it doesn't look so bad, but that is because I came in this past weekend and cleaned it up. My goal for next year is to have the books organized by reading level and have the bins labeled so the kids know which bin to put the books back into. This will be a group effort :)

Cluster-shelf...this is by my guided reading it should be reading stuff right? Well sometimes I love to shove math stuff there, highlighters, other random things I plan for this is to make it all reading!
Gross...I need to de-clutter this space and use the drawer more efficiently. There is a little bit of everything in each drawer, and yes...that is a Darth Vader potato head....I love Star Wars :)

My drawers make me first year I had a great organization system...and for some reason when  I moved i decided to just dump things into boxes and they haven't been the same since. My plan is to get rid of the things I don't use...and then make sure similar items are in the same drawers.
Really...Who has a clean desk? This is an area I definitely need to work on.

There are a few more areas I took pictures of, but I will spare you all the torture of looking at all of them! I promise I will save those pictures for the big unveiling 52 weeks from now :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Figurative Language Fun!

Why is it when I decide to spend a few hours of my Saturday up at school, I end up spending ALL day? I swear the minute I walk into my classroom time speeds up!! Sometimes this is a blessing and sometimes it is a curse. It's a blessing because my days NEVER drag on during the school week, time flies everyday...however I just never have the time to get everything I want to get done, done.

So here I am up at school on a Saturday, and yes blogging probably isn't helping my productivity, but I needed a break from cutting, cleaning, and planning for next week :)

Over the last few weeks we have been studying figurative language, and let me tell you we have been having a blast!

We started our unit off with idioms. The kids use and hear these everyday they just didn't know what they were called. I was really impressed with their knowledge of what the actual expressions meant. I was also pretty impressed with some of the idioms they knew on there own. When we were brainstorming idioms one of my kids shared "My dogs are barking" which definitely put a smile on my face!

The first thing we did was read "Even More Parts" by Ted Arnold. We had a lot of fun with this book...the illustrations are amazing!

After reading we made a list of idioms that weren't mentioned in the book. The kids then chose their favorite and illustrated the literal meaning, which made for some pretty fun pictures :)

Thanks to Christie over at Teaching in Flip Flops after we were done with our illustrations we had a fun way to display them in the hallway!

Here are a few examples of the kids interpretations :)

"Please give me a hand"
"Why the long face?"
"I have ants in my pants"

After idioms we moved on to similes! We read Crazy like a Fox by Loreen Leedy and brainstormed more similes and then chose our favorites for a fun display in the hallway :) 

"Busy as a Bee"
After similes we started metaphors, these were a little harder for the kids to understand. I just had to keep reminding them that it's like a simile without the words "like" or "as"

For our metaphor project I found a darling activity on TPT from Mary Bauer. Color Poems incorporated similes and metphors. I decided to add a little fun and mess to this activity with water colors to decorate our poetry :) 
That's all for now, I suppose I should get back to work!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Money, Money, Money-Freebie

Thanks again to my blog stalking skills I was able to find a fun activity for my student's to practice adding money.

After spending some over at 4th Grade Frolics I found this activity and I just knew my kids would love it so I got right on creating my own money key. (I added in 1 and 5 dollar bills to make it a little more challenging) Let me tell you it was a hit...the kids LOVED adding up "the cost" of different words (especially their names) I even rotate this activity into our guided reading centers occasionally and have the kids find the worth of the 3rd grade high frequency words, and the best part is it takes quite a bit of concentration so they are really quiet while doing it :)
Another fun money activity my kids enjoy is "Coins tic-tac-toe". The kids work in groups of 2 (sometimes 3 if necessary) The first player lays 4 chips/paper clips/markers etc down on any 4 of the coins at the bottom of the page. They add up the coins and if that amount is on the board they get that space (color it, cross it out, etc) The second player then moves ONLY ONE chip to another coin, adds up the amount and if that amount is on the board they win that space. Game continues until they get a tic-tac-toe. (this can be changed to getting 4 in a row which makes the game go a little quicker) Usually after one round my kids pick up on different strategies they can use to win...I let them figure this out on their own.

If you would like to download either one of these freebies visit my TPT store :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Number of the Day-Math Freebie

All year we have been using Math 4 Today as a warm-up to begin math. Unfortunately there are more weeks of school than we have warm ups from this book. A few weeks before we ran out I started to think of different activities we could do to get those math brains started and I came up with a Number of the Day activity.

I assign a different 3-digit number each day. The kids use this number and a whole slew of other math skills we have been using in class to complete their worksheet. The kids love it, and I especially love that it reviews things like: odd/even, place value, expanded form, word form, money, etc.

Using Power Point I project the Number of the Day on the Smart Board:

You can get a free copy of the worksheet from my TPT Store or click here  for the PDF.
I sent the sheets to production and made spiral bound booklets to keep their work organized and to prevent spending my life in the copy room :)

If you are looking for some more freebies hop on over to Teacher Blog Addict for a linky party with LOTS of great freebies!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I am reminded daily how fortunate I am to teach in such a wonderful school district with the coolest kiddos and the most generous parents. This week was the book fair and teachers were asked to make a stack of books as a "wish list" that we would like to have for our classroom library. My stack was rather large since I am attempting to build a 3rd grade library of books. :)

Throughout the week kids would go to the book fair with their parents and pick out books for themselves and a book for our class :) On the last day of the book fair I still had quite a few books left in my pile, so I picked out a few to buy and left the rest (telling myself I didn't really NEED them)

Later that afternoon I walked into my classroom after making some copies and found a stack of books on my desk. One of the moms who had been helping take down the book fair went ahead and bought the rest of the books from my stack. I am one lucky teacher :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rolling those facts

Like I admitted in my first post, I am a blog-stalker. Having my own blog has not stopped me at all! I still love spending hours reading other teacher's posts and ideas. One of my favorite blogs is here I have gotten several fun ideas from her already.

Just the other day I was perusing this site and I came across a really fun idea for multiplication and fact family practice. In 3rd grade we spend ALOT of time working on our multiplication facts. It can sometimes get repetitive (even though we have several different games) so I am always up for new ideas.

She posted this and I was really excited to try it in my classroom. Assembly was my biggest concern when it came to this adventure. My kiddos sometimes rush and don't take their time when it comes to cutting and folding. This seemed to me like a project that would require exact folds and patience, however it was really simple and worked wonderfully. I printed the outline on yellow cardstock and emphasized how important it was to take our time during the cutting and folding stages and they took me seriously, or it might have been Radio Disney in the background ;)

The dice have been assembled beautifully and are ready to be used for fact family practice as well as a preview for those dreaded division facts next year!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Making the Switch

I haven't always taught 3rd grade and honestly I never really had the desire to. Ever since I can remember I wanted to teach 5th grade. I thought that was the PERFECT age. I apparently thought raging hormones, girl drama, eye rolling, and the ever important "looking cool" was really fun. Now don't get me wrong, I liked teaching 5th grade, even though every year after spring break my kids magically transformed into snotty middle schoolers, I still enjoyed them. They were independent, would say some pretty hilarious things, and they were at the point where we could do really fun projects and they always seemed to amaze me with their abilities.

So last May when I finished my masters degree I decided I was up for a little bit of a challenge and I asked my principal if I could move to 3rd grade. Unfortunately with transfers, placements and several other factors I was unable to move. While I was bummed, I wasn't devastated...I loved 5th grade and loved my teammate so life went on. End of story...or so I thought. Just 1 week before we had to report back to school my principal called me and let me know that one of the 3rd grade teachers would be transfering back to her old school and she wanted to know if I was still interested in the position. Of course I was interested...but this made things a little more interesting. I now only had 7 short days to move classrooms, figure out what the heck I was going to do with 25 little 3rd graders, and get aquainted with my team. I didn't hesistate for second though...I figured why not take this chance, it will be a fun challenge.

So here I am almost through my first year of teaching 3rd grade and I couldn't be more thrilled with my decision. I love 3rd grade...I love that my kids hug me in the morning when they get to school...I love that they LOVE school...I love that they are still so sweet and kind to each other...and mostly I love that they are smaller than me! ;) I absolutely love everything about 3rd grade! This is definitely the place for me :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Enough with the procrastination

By true defintion (or maybe just the urban dictionary definition) a blog stalker is someone who creeps on other people's blogs and knows too much about the blog owner. So now that I know that there is a term for my obsession I have to admit I am a true blog-stalker. I love reading other people's blogs...especially teacher's blogs. I have been blog stalking for about a year now and I think it is finally time to start my own "educational" blog.

So here it goes...wish me luck and enjoy the chaos that is my 3rd grade classroom :)