August 15, 2017

3rd Grade Read Alouds

I was moved to third grade this year, so I needed a fresh batch of read alouds.  After all, I have some former students in my class, and I didn't want to reread any chapter books to them!

After thinking back on books I loved as a kid and asking other teachers for recommendations, I purchased the following books for my classroom:

How to Be Cool in the Third Grade

Judy Moody is in a Mood

The One and Only Ivan

Because of Winn Dixie

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Witches

Those may last me through this semester, but I already have some great options lined up for the spring semester! The following books were recommended to me by other 3rd grade teachers that I totally trust. (A * denotes books I have read and completely approve of!)

How to Eat Fried Worms*

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Lemonade Wars

Lone Bean

The Wild Robot

Third Grade Angels

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing*

Did I leave any of your favorites off of my list?! Let me know in a comment below!


Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links comes at no extra cost to you, but I do get a small percentage back that I use for the upkeep of this blog and other School and the City communications.

August 3, 2017

Sneak Peek: Welcome to Third Grade!

I am completely exhausted but my heart is so happy. I survived Meet the Teacher today and I got to squeeze all of my sweet kids from last year!

As you may or may not know, I was moved (promoted?) to third grade, so I have a few of my students that were in my class last year. All of my other former students will be right nextdoor or across the hall, so I'll still get to see their sweet faces every day. Yay! They were a wonderful class and I miss them tons.

Anyways... on to the sneak peek...

When new students and parents first walked in, they saw my math about me chart, a photo area, and instructions on the board. (I also had fun music playing... #ambiance).

The YAY balloon is from the Target Dollar Spot, but I found a similar one on Amazon, found here.

Most students bring their supplies with them, so I have them sort them for me. My bins are labeled with my supply labels, free in my TPT store.

SPOTTED: pencil nametags, expectation posters, and team jobs

On tables, students found their nametags, important forms for parents, an envelope full of information to take home, and a quick gift.

I found the fun glasses at Target in the party section. You can read more about them here.

I printed on sticky notes using a free template that I found on TPT after reading some tutorials. It's easier than I thought it would be, and I love how it looked!

Here's the area where parents turned in the forms, signed up to volunteer, and viewed my classroom wish list.

Wish list tips: Make sure parents have something to take with them so they don't forget about it, and write your name on the back of it in case they have more than one child at your school.

I bought these acrylic display signs last summer, and they have proved so useful! I use them for sneak peek, curriculum night, and even during daily lessons to label centers or differentiated activities.

Last but not least, I set up my table supply caddies with the new supplies and I LOVE how gorgeous they look!

Whew! Now I just have to get ready for Monday.... First day of third grade, here I come!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links comes at no extra cost to you, but I do get a small percentage back that I use for the upkeep of this blog and other School and the City communications.

July 20, 2017

What To Do With All of Those Blank Books from Target

So you raided Bullseye's Playground and stocked up on some blank books for your classroom. Now what?

I love the blank books almost as much as my students do. I use them for almost every final draft writing project, and my students get so excited about "publishing" books. My second graders needed some help with organizing their books and making them neat, so I created some templates.

First I created some blank, lined templates with lines of various sizes. You can grab them here - free in my TPT store! With these templates, I usually pre-cut them for my students quickly with my paper cutter. It only takes a moment and cuts down on distractions.

Then I got excited and wanted to use blank books for ALL THE THINGS. Here are a few templates that I have created and used in my own classroom...

This poetry book can be used as a tool to teach your students about five different types of poetry: acrostic, shape, haiku, personification, and diamante. This product includes an example, a scaffolded prompt (You Try It!), and a blank space (Write Your Own) for each type of poem. 

One of my favorites is the VIP book. Use this book as a tool to have your students keep track of the historical figures that they learn about and have a keepsake to take home at the end of the year. Or, use it as your star student book. It's up to you!

When I introduce this book to my students, they are going to complete the first page about themselves.

Last, I made a few templates to help my students write informational texts about topics that fit with our content standards. You can click on each image to view the matching product description on TPT.



Have fun publishing!

July 15, 2017

Back to School with Oriental Trading

I got an exciting package recently - Oriental Trading!


that Oriental Trading has an entire educational line called Learn 365?

and that Oriental Trading's prices are really competitive, and cheaper than Amazon?

I was so excited to discover Learn 365 this summer, and had to make some purchases that I think my students and I will love.

First, I picked out some money dice. Counting and adding money is a big 2nd grade standard, and I'm always looking for more fun ways to keep my kids practicing. I thought these dice would be perfect for a math center - just roll, then add or subtract! Easy & engaging.

money dice: $4.49 on Oriental Trading

Next, I picked out a box of 10-sided Dice in Dice. Yes, they're expensive, but I've had my eye on them for a while and I think it's a worthwhile investment for my classroom. With these dice, the opportunities are endless. I see myself using them for quick addition and subtraction fact practice or to roll double-digit numbers. You know the kids will get so excited about the mini dice inside the big dice!

10-sided dice in dice: $36.99 on Oriental Trading

Okay, so I might have a thing for dice.... because I also ordered question dice! Asking and answering questions is another 2nd grade skill. I thought that these would be perfect for retelling a text, or for generating questions starting with specific question words.

question dice: $4.29 on Oriental Trading

I'm so glad that I saw these All About Me Posters on the website, because otherwise I would have forgotten to order a set for this year! I use these every year in my classroom. Last year, I got a great idea from my teammate: I sent them home as homework for the first week of school. Students brought them back, and I kept them in a file. Every two weeks, I would display one of the posters on a special spot on my bulletin board. That child was the line leader and teacher's helper for the time that his or her poster was displayed. I'm going to do that again this year!

all about me posters: $8.99 (set of 30) on Oriental Trading

image from Oriental Trading website

Lastly, I snagged some Glitter Puzzle Cubes. My school has a long dismissal, so the 2nd load and after school kids get bored and antsy. I let them play with Rubix Cubes and those metal puzzlers, and I thought these would be the perfect addition! They come in a set of 24, so you could use these for back to school gifts, Valentine's Day, treasure box... so many options.

glitter puzzle cubes: $13.99 for a set of 24 on Oriental Trading

I'm so excited to use all of the above in my classroom this year! What's on your shopping list?!

DISCLAIMER: Oriental Trading sent me the above products in exchange for an honest review. All images and opinions are my own.

July 9, 2017

This Year is Looking Wonderful!

Looking for an easy and fun back to school gift for students? I found these glasses in the Target party section near the tassels and plates. 

You can grab the tag (on Google Slides) here.


July 7, 2017

How to Make Pencil Nametags

Thank you SO VERY much for all of your compliments and kind words about my writing board.

I love it too - It's one of my favorite parts of my classroom for three reasons:

1. It's pretty so that makes me happy.

2. It's so easy to hang papers.

3. I'm going on year three without changing out the board. Can I get an AMEN?!

When I created this board, I hot glued pushpins to the back of clothespins. Then, I put hot glue on the back of the length of the clothespin before sticking it into and onto the board. They don't budge. They hold at least 30 papers throughout the year, no problemo. Yes, the hot glue will destroy the board when I try to pull them off... so I'm just not planning on doing that anytime soon! You know what they say... If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Many of you have been asking me how to make the pencil nametags. Keep reading:

1. Click here to download this free clipart from Melonheadz.

2. If you want to use the same font that I used, click here to download KG Blank Space from Kimberly Geswein. (Note: This free font is for personal use only.)

3. Place the pencil clipart in Powerpoint. My pencils have a height of 1.65". Then copy and paste until you have 5 pencils.

4. Add a text box and type in the first name. I used KG Blank Space Sketch, size 60. I also added a white glow behind the text to add some contrast so it is easier to read. (Highlight text... Format --> Effects --> Glow)

5. Copy and paste your text box into the other pencils, then change the names. For fast results, next copy and paste the entire slide so that you can just change the names on all of the other slides.

6. Print on cardstock, laminate, then cut. Ta da!

At the end of the year, I peel the pencils off of the clips and give them to the students to use as bookmarks. They love them!

Happy creating!

June 3, 2017

End of Year Gifts

I did it! I survived my fourth year - and I can't believe it's already been that long.

It may be a little late, but I loved my gifts for my students and room mom this year, so I thought I'd so you real quick!

For my students, I bought the giant bubble wands from Walmart that lots of other teachers buy. It's a great deal! I download a free tag from A Little Red Bird Teaches and ta-da, it was done!

I did pitchers for my room moms again this year. This time, I filled them with Lifesavers and made the tag to match. You can download the editable tag here.

If you're still in school, hang in there! You've got this!!

May 2, 2017

Point of View Song

I dropped a new beat recently...

My sweet students REQUESTED a song to the tune of Stiches. 
Ahem. I didn't know I was adding DJ  and songwriter to my job title, but it's cool.

Click here to download a PDF of the lyrics.

Click here for the music I use (on YouTube). 

Video... coming soon!


April 5, 2017

Punctuation Paragraphs

At the start of the year, I had a lot of students that struggled with putting ending punctuation in the correct spots.  They knew that they needed to use periods, but would put periods at the ends of lines or in seemingly random spots.

I tried helping them by correcting their own writing, by having them read it outloud to try and find the natural stopping points. However, NO ONE enjoys reading their own writing. That's no fun! 

My solution was to create my own paragraphs - missing the punctuation - to help my students determine where punctuation is needed. 

I call it "punctuation puzzles" to make it sound more fun than it actually is, but there are a few ways that you can make it even more exciting:

Who doesn't love food?! I used Skittles as periods, but you could use M&Ms, Cheerios, mini marshmallows.... the options are endless.

Side Note - Macaroni noodles make great commas, apostrophes, and quotation marks!

Playdough is another great option. I found these mini containers of neon dough at the Dollar Tree... eight for one dollar! What a deal! Students like being able to choose their own color.

Playdough makes it easy for students to create a variety of punctuation marks. 

Markers are always an option. Print on cardstock and laminate so that you can reuse them for years. 

Or, print on paper so you have a permanent work sample. 

Another perk of using markers is that you can also have students correct capitalization as needed. 

To meet the needs of and to scaffold my students, I created four different levels of punctuation paragraphs: just periods, sentence types, possessives, and dialogue

Each level has a key at the bottom to show the types of punctuation marks that may be needed in the paragraph. 

Think this could work for your classroom? Check it out by clicking on the image below.