Latest from the Blog

I Am Thankful For New Ideas

Today is the final day of idea sharing for the We Are Thankful Linky Party over at Blog Hoppin’. I am truly thankful for all of the amazing new activities and tips I have picked up from my fellow bloggers and I hope you’ve all had a chance to swing by the linky to see the plethora of ideas for all grade levels. Something new I tried this week that I wish I knew about all along is a free app called Too Noisy. I displayed this app using my Apple TV and the kids were absolutely thrilled! The noise meter moves and the smiley face changes to a worried face when the noise level in the classroom is rising and then to a sad face when the noise level is too high. The sensitivity of the meter is adjustable, which I love because you can change the settings based

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Supplies needed for letters of thanks craftivity - construction paoer, glue, scissors, googley eyes

I'm Thankful for Activities Like

Today over at the BlogHoppin’ We Are Thankful for Linky Party, everyone is linking up classroom activities they are thankful for. In the spirt of fall, thanksgiving and parent-teacher conference season, I have a few activities I enjoy doing with my third graders this time of year. Fall Activity Every year around this time, my students design their very own leaf creature! First, they do a leaf hunt in their backyard or along their walk to school and bring their leaf collection to class. The classroom buzzes with laughter and excitement as they sift through their collection and pick out a few favorite leaves which they arrange into a “creature“. Googley eyes and other unique features are added before the students mount their creature on cardstock to be displayed on the wall. This wall of creatures becomes a game board. Everyone writes a diamante poem describing their creature (a fun way to review

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I Am Thankful for Helpful Hints

Today’s linky over at Blog Hoppin’ is all about Helpful Hints. Here are a few hints that help me in the classroom. Hint 1 – Sub Plans Made Easy Easier Any teacher knows it’s often less stressful to come to work sick than to prep for a sub…so sad…so true. It took me more time than I’d like to admit to establish a system that makes sub prep a whole lot easier than it once was. Every time I write sub plans, I save them to my computer in a very specific way.  I name the file by weekday then date and the type of sub day it was (half-day sick, whole day professional development, etc.) This has made sub planning 1,000,000,000 times easier because I can easily located a “similar” sub day from the past, open that file and whip out revised plans rather than starting from scratch. Hint

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I'm Thankful for Time Savers!

This week, I am participating in the “We Are Thankful For” Linky Party Week over at Blog Hoppin‘. I am thrilled to start with time savers that help me increase efficiency around the classroom. Since my enthusiastic third graders are always inspiring me to create new and exciting lessons, I have a tendency to get lost in the creative cloud after school. If I don’t prioritize my to-dos for the next day of teaching…I soon find myself looking at the clock around 4:30 wondering where the last two hours disappeared to. With these helpful routines and tools, I can whip out everything I need for the following day lickity-split and get to collaborating and creating with my team without my to-do list whispering into my ear. Pre-Planning and Copying Every Wednesday after our grade level meeting, I sit down in silence and solidify my plans for the upcoming week in the

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Using Lino For Student Reading Blogs

Last year, I decided to do a technology makeover on my daily Reader’s Workshop. My favorite part of this makeover was a wonderful app/website called Lino. The moment I saw it, I fell in love with the attractive interface and amazing ability to organize ideas. Rather than using this app for it’s actual purpose (as a digital bulletin board) I decided to use it for my class reading “blog”. Earlier in the year, I had tinkered with the idea of reader blogs because of their undeniable power in getting students motivated to write about their reading. Rather than simply recording thoughts in a notebook mostly seen by their teacher, a reading blog allows students to publish their thoughts for their peer audience and get feedback. Unfortunately, our school’s wireless network was not supportive of so many students connecting to one Blogger account simultaneously and my reading blog dreams came crashing down.

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Collaborate With Clock Partners – Classroom Management Freebie

Collaboration. Conversation. Presentation. Incorporating these essential elements of the Common Core is a breeze if you follow these two simple steps. 1) Stop thinking of these as standards that should be addressed independently. 2) Start thinking of these as tools that students must utilize to achieve mastery in the content areas. During each lesson and learning activity in the classroom, we should provide tools for students to collaborate productively, have meaningful two-way conversations (two-way being the key word), and present their thinking in a way that is clear and powerful. One of the best ways to begin building these skills is to incorporate partner talk in each and every learning activity. Often times, teachers’ default partnering strategy is to have students talk to the person sitting closest to them. This may be quick and easy but it also limits students’ learning horizons as they are hearing from the same person

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Volunteer Organization and Scheduling

Parent and family volunteers are a major asset to any classroom and I love, love, love having them around! Here at the start of the year, many afternoons are filled communicating with volunteers about expectations, scheduling and training. My volunteers are part of my classroom community. Therefore, I put a great deal of effort into creating routines and expectations for each of them so they fit right in with our respectful classroom environment and are an asset for the entire year. There are three vital elements in developing a strong and effective volunteer presence in your classroom: communicating needs, syncing schedules, and introducing routines and expectations. STEP 1: COMMUNICATING NEEDS Make a list of each area you would like support in and that you know can be successfully managed by the parents in your classroom. Once you have your inevitably long list, narrow it down to the most important areas

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Building A Community for Respect and Learning

During our transition to Common Core, I catch myself worrying a lot. Luckily, it’s the kind of worrying that does a body good (you may be thinking that doesn’t exist…but I think it does). That’s because each worry I have leads to a problem solving session…which leads to new and exciting ideas about teaching…which lead to amazing new projects that challenge me and keep me loving my job. One “healthy” worry I just can’t shake is how to best develop my third graders’ brain stamina and develop their perseverance when solving complex, multi-step problems. My colleagues and I talk about this constantly. Yes, we have always focused on these elements of learning but never have we done it to the degree called for by the Common Core Standards. As I mulled this worry over in my mind during the summer, I realized this challenge could not be mastered with a

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Getting To Know My New Class

Everyone feels a little jittery and nervous during the first few days of school. The best cure..let the kiddos focus on what they know! And what topic are they more comfortable and well-educated on than themselves!? That’s why I love loading them up with fun-filled all about me activities during the first week of school. Not only does it ease those jitters, it helps me get a first glimpse of their interests, likes, hopes and dreams so I can start building a strong foundation for class-building and strong student-teacher bonds. My favorite activities can be found in my All About Me Back To School Activity Pack. Here’s a peek at one of the activities included in the pack – the All About Me Survey. I have formatted this survey so it includes a variety of multiple choice, short answer, and fill-in-the-blank questions. I also incorporated a few questions that simply

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Core Inspiration Classroom Portable Tour: A Garden-Themed Classroom Design

I put the finishing touches on my classroom seconds before my new third graders arrived on Wednesday morning. One of my favorite moments of the year is seeing their nervous and excited eyes take in the scene of their new third grade world. Here is a peek at what they saw on their first day. One of the focal points of my classroom is our library. It is ready to use on the first day of school. Even though the students aren’t perfectly trained on how to keep the library organized, I let them check out books immediately. I value easy access to books far more than a  perfectly-organized library. How can I resist letting them get their hands on a book when they are chomping at the bit?! Since we spend a great deal of time in the library for read alouds, class meetings and classbuilding activities; it is also

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Back To School Blog Hop and Giveaway

Right around this time each summer, I start to feel antsy and excited for the first day of school. (I literally have those little bursts of excitement that make me want to squeak out loud). As I set up my classroom, my mind starts to wonder who will be in my class, what the first day will be like and what the most memorable part of the upcoming year will be (hoping it will be a moment of hilarity). I find that my antsy feelings are eased a bit when I write out my plans for the first week back. Planning for the first week can be a bit daunting if you don’t have an organized plan of attack. I like to consider myself a bit of an organization pro 😉 so I am excited to share my super-systematic-organized-first-week-of-school-planning approach! Here it comes… I always, always, always save my plan book from

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Back To School Features Coming Soon :)

This blog is currently under construction. To receive an update when it goes live, subscribe at my Facebook page. Features coming soon: Teaching Lessons and Freebies Classroom Design Tutorial Back To School Essentials Thank you for your patience as my blog is being designed.  

Read More »

I Am Thankful For New Ideas

Today is the final day of idea sharing for the We Are Thankful Linky Party over at Blog Hoppin’. I am truly thankful for all of the amazing new activities and tips I have picked up from my fellow bloggers and I hope you’ve all had a chance to swing

Read More »
Supplies needed for letters of thanks craftivity - construction paoer, glue, scissors, googley eyes

I'm Thankful for Activities Like

Today over at the BlogHoppin’ We Are Thankful for Linky Party, everyone is linking up classroom activities they are thankful for. In the spirt of fall, thanksgiving and parent-teacher conference season, I have a few activities I enjoy doing with my third graders this time of year. Fall Activity Every year

Read More »

I Am Thankful for Helpful Hints

Today’s linky over at Blog Hoppin’ is all about Helpful Hints. Here are a few hints that help me in the classroom. Hint 1 – Sub Plans Made Easy Easier Any teacher knows it’s often less stressful to come to work sick than to prep for a sub…so sad…so true.

Read More »

I'm Thankful for Time Savers!

This week, I am participating in the “We Are Thankful For” Linky Party Week over at Blog Hoppin‘. I am thrilled to start with time savers that help me increase efficiency around the classroom. Since my enthusiastic third graders are always inspiring me to create new and exciting lessons, I have

Read More »

Using Lino For Student Reading Blogs

Last year, I decided to do a technology makeover on my daily Reader’s Workshop. My favorite part of this makeover was a wonderful app/website called Lino. The moment I saw it, I fell in love with the attractive interface and amazing ability to organize ideas. Rather than using this app for

Read More »

Collaborate With Clock Partners – Classroom Management Freebie

Collaboration. Conversation. Presentation. Incorporating these essential elements of the Common Core is a breeze if you follow these two simple steps. 1) Stop thinking of these as standards that should be addressed independently. 2) Start thinking of these as tools that students must utilize to achieve mastery in the content

Read More »

Volunteer Organization and Scheduling

Parent and family volunteers are a major asset to any classroom and I love, love, love having them around! Here at the start of the year, many afternoons are filled communicating with volunteers about expectations, scheduling and training. My volunteers are part of my classroom community. Therefore, I put a

Read More »

Building A Community for Respect and Learning

During our transition to Common Core, I catch myself worrying a lot. Luckily, it’s the kind of worrying that does a body good (you may be thinking that doesn’t exist…but I think it does). That’s because each worry I have leads to a problem solving session…which leads to new and

Read More »

Getting To Know My New Class

Everyone feels a little jittery and nervous during the first few days of school. The best cure..let the kiddos focus on what they know! And what topic are they more comfortable and well-educated on than themselves!? That’s why I love loading them up with fun-filled all about me activities during

Read More »

Back To School Blog Hop and Giveaway

Right around this time each summer, I start to feel antsy and excited for the first day of school. (I literally have those little bursts of excitement that make me want to squeak out loud). As I set up my classroom, my mind starts to wonder who will be in

Read More »

Back To School Features Coming Soon :)

This blog is currently under construction. To receive an update when it goes live, subscribe at my Facebook page. Features coming soon: Teaching Lessons and Freebies Classroom Design Tutorial Back To School Essentials Thank you for your patience as my blog is being designed.  

Read More »