Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale!

It's that time again! There is only one day left to shop the Cyber Sale at TpT. I know I will be stocking up on some good deals! I know this is a stressful time for all of us, so take the burden off and purchase some ready to go units! I'm currently using my fraction packet to teach fractions on a number line. So far so good! We are learning where fractions go between 0 and 1 and what they look like.
While you are in my store, be sure to pick up my RAK freebie. My class last year loved to hide little goodies and spread cheer around campus!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall is in the air!

I stole this image from Starbucks website, but I'm thinking this is free advertising, right? :)

I adore this time of year! I am so happy to be sipping Pumpkin Spice Lattes (Starbucks of course!) and groovin along at school. This is the sweet spot for getting so much done. I've taught them how to be in small groups and now we are moving fast! This week I will be finished with my first unit of study (shhh.. I was supposed to be done weeks ago! But you have to move slow to go fast, right?) We've learned how to ask and answer questions (we're still working on that citing evidence part) and we've done some prefix and suffix stuff, and also figurative language.

We are going to finish the unit this week with Lovin Lit's freebie featured in TpT's newsletter this Sunday. It says for grade 4-8, but I think my third graders can handle it! Is it bad that it caught my eye because it was teal chevron?

We will also be starting on rounding. Normally, rounding was really hard for third graders, but I learned last year how to make it a ton easier. First, we start off by counting by tens and hundreds in our counting circles. This helps them better understand where numbers end up. I also teach them expanded notation addition which helps them to know what the number "means" not just what it says. Finally, I teach them how to make a number line for finding the numbers that they are between before they start to round.

When they understand how to round on the number line, then we start using chants and other things to help us remember in a pinch.

I also show them this visual of a car. We talk about if they were on the road and the gas station was at zero and 10 and when they got to a certain point they would need to decide to turn around or go ahead. This is a great visual for them to understand. There are little cars with numbers for us to practice as a class where the car should go.

Finally, with these visual reminders, we are able to do the kind of rounding that is more likely to show up on a standardized test, where they are just given a number. I also included the car visual to help them remember!

I'm excited to get started and I think they are going to get a kick out of the car graphics (made by my hubby!)

If you are interested in Rounding Road you may purchase it in my store! There is a freebie rounding page in the preview as well!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Addition Practice

We've been working hard on addition so far this year. I've worked a lot on truly understanding what addition means, and what place value means. We started off by doing number bonds. I talk about it in this post {Singapore Math}. Pretty much we did A LOT of review on making ten, and bigger numbers and how to break apart numbers. With the help of Singapore disks (Thanks Donors Choose!), we made ten frames with dry erase markers on our desk and added one digit numbers. My principal got to see this, and luckly I didn't get in trouble for writing on the desks! :) 

After tons of practice with making ten and number bonds, we are working on simple addition to the thousands place. The method that has been really successful for me is expanded form addition.

By using expanded form addition, my students are able to add numbers in their head with lightning speed. I'm not quiet there this year, but last years' students amazed me with their math abilities, especially mental math. I think this form of addition also encourages a thorough understanding of place value, instead of following a rote procedure. Since CCSS asks that students do not learn the traditional algorithm for addition and subtraction, this helps students to be able to quickly and easily complete addition problems. This method also cuts down on errors from incorrect use of the standard algorithm.

This packet, with 13 worksheets for teaching this method of addition and number bonds is available at my TpT store {here}.


Friday, September 6, 2013

I think I survived!

Now that I made it through open house and the first few weeks of school, I might be able to breathe again. I am so tired, it is not even funny. I'm sure I will feel much better after sleeping 14 hours tonight! :)

Last night was Curiculum Night, and I think it went well. I once again did a scavenger hunt so parents could look around the classroom with their child in an organized way. I love doing this, because I'm not the center of attention!

In addition to preparing for Curiculum Night, we've been busy getting to know each other, creating goals, and learning all about Third Grade! For goal setting, we've created many goals, both academic and social or personal. We are graphing our NWEA results and creating a goal for when we take the test next week.

 I have been teaching Thinking Maps for the first time, which has been fun and challenging. So far I have introduced the Circle Map and Bubble Map. For the Circle Map, we used it to develop our rules, our classroom volume, and what a great student looks like. So far, I have used Circle Maps to teach about describing characters in a story and an apple. This was such a great way to introduce adjectives. They came up with some great words!

My focus this year is to delve deeper into Common Core for ELA. I have been using some great resources on Read Write Think. They had some great community building and conflict resolution ideas that were really helpful for establishing a positive classroom environment. This lesson, Getting to Know You had the students interviewing each other and completing a bio-cube as a culminating assignment. I used this activity to begin our study on asking and answering questions (RL.3.1).

To introduce the idea of bullying as well as how to respond to literature, we read A Bad Case of Stripes. Read Write Think's lesson helped me to develop the lesson.

We've done other things, of course, but this has what has worked really well for me these past few weeks!
If you are interested, the Curiculum Night Scavenger hunt is available {here} and my goal setting packet {here}.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

TpT Back to School Sale!!

I am so excited to be a part of the Back to School sale at Teachers pay Teachers. Everything in my store is 20% off, and with the promo code from TpT you can get a grand total of 28% off. Now is the time to stock up on your favorites! If you love teal and chevron like I do, you might like my latest products. I have a classroom decor pack as well as a teacher binder.

If you are looking for a way to assess your students on the third grade Common Core Standards, or if you are a fourth grade teacher looking to see what you need to go back and teach, can I suggest my Multi Format Math Assessment?

I will be starting my year off with multiplication tests. Start now so students have time to earn their sundae! My Multiplation Sundae pack has everything you need to run a multiplication fluency check. The pack has tests, flash cards, student grids and sundae parts.

I will also be starting this year with my Literature Circles pack. All of those CCSS standards for listening and speaking, as well as responding to literature can be addressed with this packet. You can use the same format all year to teach these standards. Also included is some anchor charts and worksheets to teach your students about summarizing, quotations, vocabulary, dictionary skills, text connections, and more.

 Finally, I recommend starting the year off with bucket filling! My bucket filling pack will allow you to have a positive classroom environment. The packet includes bucket labels, worksheets, bucket forms and much more!

School starts on Tuesday, so I am frantically trying to get ready. I am excited for all the discounted goodies on TpT this weekend and Monday. I will have pictures of my classroom soon!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Literature Circles

I've tried for several years to get Literature Circles going in my classroom. I think they are a great idea and I love the learning that can come from them. One of the biggest problems with Literature Circles that have job roles like illustrator, summarizer and such is that one student would come unprepared and it would mess up the whole process. I wanted to simplify the process of Literature Circles while still enjoying the benefits of students being engaged and talking about books. I also wanted to include a Literature Response component so I could see that learning as well. Towards the end of last year, I began Literature Circles again, this time without the traditional jobs.

I divided my students into 6 groups, so there was 3-4 students in each group. Any more than that and they start to go a little crazy! Since most of my students were about the same level, I let them chose what book they wanted to read. When they chose the book, this put them in their Literature Circle groups. Next, I had the students read with each other. There are pros and cons to this arrangement, one being it takes forever to read together, but it encourages oral language and fluency development. I think next year  I will alternate days between reading silently and reading aloud together. After reading the first day, see where the students are at in their book. I then divide the book into thirds and tell them how many days they have until they should be done with the first section. When they read the first day, they are excited to read so I have an accurate picture of how much they can read, not how much they can read while fooling around! :)

When the students have completed their section of the book, I have them complete a response sheet. This sheet has most of the roles from traditional Literature Circles and is aligned to what CCSS expects for responding to literature. I like that I can assess all students on all aspects of the reading, not just one student illustrating a picture, for example.

After a day to respond to the book on the response sheet, the students come together to talk about the book. This is where I have roles for the students. They absolutely love these, and I use them for most group work, not just Literature Circles. The roles are Discussion Leader, Messenger, Volume Control and Reporter. The Discussion Leader keeps everyone on task, the messenger asks the teacher questions and does the group evaluation, volume control keeps the volume low, and reporter introduces the discussion questions. All students are expected to add to the discussion and this really helps with meeting CCSS standard 3.SL.1.

After the discussion students are expected to fill out an evaluation sheet about their group time. There is a group form for the messenger role to fill out as well as a self evaluation. This helps students with their accountability for their learning. When this is complete they will start the cycle again until they have read all of their book.

All of this of course took awhile to model. Before they could write the response, I had to teach them how to write a summary, how to make text connections, how to look up words in the dictionary, how to correctly illustrate a scene, how to think about author's message and how to come up with discussion questions. Each of these task have a corresponding worksheet and anchor poster.

When I first started  Literature Circles, expressed their concern with how to take grades. I've found that rubrics and anecdotal records are a great way to take grades during Literature Circles. From watching students discuss the books, I know their understanding of what they read, how they are making connections and how they are able to verbalize their answers. From listening to them read, I am able to hear their fluency and where they are struggling. From the Literature Responses, I am able to see their comprehension, text connections, writing, and dictionary skills.

This style of organization has really worked for me. For more ideas on how to implement Literature Circles in your classroom, check out
If you like what you see and you are interested in Literature Circles in a different way, you can purchase Literature Circles~ For Any Book! at my TpT store. What about you? Do you do Literature Circles in your classroom? What works well and what do you struggle with?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Wow! I've been missing in action for awhile! :) I'm excited that it is summer, but I can't believe it is all ready July! Insanity! I've been working hard with my hubby to fix up our house, so that has been exhausting! When it's too hot to work, I've been working on TpT products. My most recent addition is this Volume and Mass Scoot. Hopefully, it will make BORING volume and mass much more interesting!

It's aligned to CCSS 3.MD.2. It has real world examples, word problems and beaker reading. My students last year loved to play Scoot and it gives them the movement they always need! I hope it will help you out! Download it for free by clicking {here}!

For those of you just starting your summer, happy summer! I'll be back soon with my next MAJOR product for teacher organization!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Now I can Breathe...

I can breathe again! We wrapped up testing this week and I finished and passed my dossier! I am SUPER excited to be done with that craziness. My class is all hyped up for Spring Break which is STILL one week away!

In the mean time, I've been searching out new websites and trying new things in my classroom now that the testing crunch is over. A couple new websites I've found have provided me some inspiration.

I went to a CCSS Math training two weeks ago and learned some great tips. One of the great resources they shared was This website was created by one of the author's of the Common Core Standards, so it has great examples of the rigor required by the CCSS.

This example shows an example for 3.G.2, a geometry standard. The examples have higher order thinking and a commentary for teachers. These problems can also allow for more than one answer and require talk between students. I think this website is great for finding examples of tasks required of students to be successful with the CCSS.

Not all standards have an example yet, but the site seems to be expanding! I will check back often for more examples!

If you are on Spring Break, enjoy it! Happy Easter to everyone!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Plans for the week...

It's Monday night and I'm planning for my week. One of the standards I need to address is 3.RI.3. This standard has taken me awhile to wrap my mind around, and I'm still trying to figure out how to teach it the best. One of the resources I came across was from Read, Write, Think. If you haven't checked out their website, you absolutely should! It has some great lesson plans. I got there from Read Tennessee, which is another great resource. They have lesson and ideas for every common core standard! It is great! The one I will be using next week is for writing cause and effect essays. I will pretty much be using the lesson from the website.

I know this is hard to see, but click here to see the whole lesson. It gives you graphic organizers for the students, and great graphic organizer tools that can be used on the web. I plan to project the graphic organizer on the SMART board as I read a book about natural disasters, probably this one:

We will fill out the graphic organizer together, and then the students will create one with a partner on a different natural disaster book. I have several books in my class library, as well as there is a couple articles in the Time for Kids supplement we got with Treasures. After that, they will create an essay using the Essay Map program that is also available. We will do this during computer time later in the week.

I would love to hear if any of you have other ideas for teaching this standard, especially the scientific processes part!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine's Day

 Wow! Valentine's Day is right around the corner! Next week is conferences so I don't have school on Valentine's Day, so we will be celebrating on the 13th which just seems wrong! One of the things we will be doing is my newest product, Valentine's Day Math Centers. There are 5 centers and one whole group activity.

It includes measurement, graphing (pictographs, bar graphs and line plots), multiplication, subtraction and fractions. These are all things my students need some more review on!

This activity is working on measurement to the 1/4" and line plots. The students will measure the objects then place their data in a table. After that, they plot their line plot.

Also included is fractions on the number line. We have been working on this for awhile, but fractions are a major topic for third grade. In this activity the students have hearts with fractions on them that they have to find the matching number line.

There is also a subtraction game. My students are beginning to be proficient in this area, but I want to make sure this skill is solid.

Also included in the bundle is a multiplication match. Students will match the array with the multiplication fact and the area drawing.

Two data and graphing sheets are also included. Students will collect data about their friends' favorite candy, and create a bar graph. In addition, students will create a pictograph of colored candy using the candy of your choice. This page is available as a FREEBIE!! when you download the preview.

I plan on using these centers during my math rotations next week.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Super Sunday Sale! 

I'm super excited for the Super Sunday sale tomorrow! I will be happily munching on buffalo chicken dip, guacamole and watching the Super Bowl ads. I will also be filling my cart to the brim with TpT goodies! To take advantage of this great sale, click my store, and enter SUPER at checkout!

My most recently added product is my Fraction Unit. Before I  saw the CCSS standards for fractions, I had never thought about putting fractions on a number line. Now that I have done this with my class, I see the benefits for the students of understanding how fractions work.

 After placing fractions on the number line, both visually and with numbers, I moved to comparing fractions. The 3rd grade CCSS requires comparing fraction with like numerators or denominators. They understood the common denominators, but numerators were a little more difficult. This is where manipulatives were helpful!

Comparing fractions led to equivalent fractions. With these lessons, manipulatives are so important! We used fractions strips that are in our math kit.

There are 3 games included in this packet as well as a number line for the bulletin board. I hope this is helpful for you!

Click here to purchase Fractions ~ Number Lines, Equivalents, and Comparing. A FREEBIE of the Comparing Fraction page seen here is available in the preview!