Here’s one of my favorite uses for the clear adhesive pockets from the Target dollar spot - dry erase checklists that students can use daily or as needed!

It’s a very simple way that I can provide extra support for students that need it.


I don't just use it for writing. Some students have an unpack and pack-up checklist or a work completion checklist... whatever it is that they need to help them be successful!

This resource is now available in my VIP Free Resource Library

Not yet a VIP? Join here, and the password will immediately be sent straight to your email inbox so you can download and start using this resource right now. 


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I’ve been using the “Click or Clunk” intervention with some of my students lately. It helps students self-monitor their comprehension as they read. 

Essentially, students start by reading one sentence at a time. If they understand, they "click," but if they don't understand, they "clunk." This strategy teaches students to stop when they get stuck instead of moving on without comprehending. 

Eventually, students will move on from sentences and do paragraphs - or even pages - at a time. 

Right now I'm using these cards with my students in small group, but eventually, after thorough practice, I will give them their own to use when reading independently. 

Read more about the Click or Clunk Intervention here




I needed visuals - but couldn’t find anything I liked - so I made one, and I’m happy to share this with you!

This resource is now available in my VIP Free Resource Library

Not yet a VIP? Join here, and the password will immediately be sent straight to your email inbox so you can download and start using this intervention right now. 


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It's Worm Week, y'all!

We just wrapped up a fun themed week centered all around - yes, you guessed it - worms!

This was my ridiculous idea a few years back in an effort to make the SOIL part of our science curriculum a little more exciting, relatable, and meaningful.

It worked - My students are now experts on earthworms and the soil they live in!


During the science block, we studied soil all week. 

Monday began with an observation. Students were given jars of different types of soil to analyze. We talked about the colors, shapes, and textures that they observed.


Throughout the week, we used school resources (books, online access, etc) to learn more about the layers of soil and the soil profile. The "Soil" video on Flocabulary was - by far - everyone's favorite and the most memorable! 


I brought soil into the literacy block: Soil was our whole theme for the week. 

Books We Read (available on Epic!), linked to Amazon:




We also read some articles on Wonderopolis (my fave) and started a new read aloud, How to Eat Fried Worms.




At the end of the week, we celebrated by making soil cups. 

Who doesn't love a science snack?

I used this resource from VA SOL Superstars on TPT. 


After students created their soil cups, they took pictures to post on Seesaw so their parents could see what we had been up to - and just how effective the soil cups were for demonstrating learning! 



Worm week... 10/10 would recommend! 


Are you teaching Rocks, Minerals, and Soil soon?

Check out my choice board on TPT. It's perfect for early finishers or enrichment. Plus, it's editable to suit your classroom! 



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I've already written all about my spelling bins that my students use to independently practice their spelling words. My students love the spelling bins, but sometimes they prefer working with their classmates. 



Spelling lists and spelling groups are hard enough to organize and implement without having to also keep up with specific games for every list or sort. These versatile activities are fun, engaging, and effective - and they can be used with ANY spelling list!

Students practice all aspects of word study while working on these activities: spelling patterns, pattern generalization, and word meaning. The rules are simple, thus students can play independently once the game is taught.

I have three options for you that I've been using in my own classroom for about 6 years (!!!) now:


1. Word Master



This game is designed to be VERSATILE and EFFECTIVE.

Word study or spelling groups are hard enough to organize without having to keep up with different games for every list or sort. This simple game can be played using ANY word list. Seriously - ANY LIST!

Students practice all aspects of word study while playing this game: analyzing spelling patterns, pattern generalization, and word meaning. The rules are simple, thus students can play independently once the game is taught.

Find Word Master here



2. Spin It Series



This game is always a class favorite!

Like Word Master, the Spin It series is also designed with versatility in mind. 

There are four different spinners to choose from (Spin It, Say It, Write It, and Define It). This makes differentiation simple, and allows students some voice and choice when choosing a game board. I have mine printed front and back, and laminated of course!

Kids love using pencils and paperclip to make spinners - which is a favorite trick of mine! You can also use dice, instead. 

Find the Spin It! series here



3. Mini Books


My girls tend to love publishing their own foldable mini books!

These mini books are designed to be VERSATILE (yes, that word again!) and work with any word sort or spelling list. It's a simple addition to your word work routine.

There are 4 different foldable book options. (Note the numbers on the pencils!) Some will work better for lower grades, while others are better for upper grades. This makes differentiation simple. Or , just add some excitement by switching it up every once in a while!

Find the mini books here.


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All of these resources can be found in my Word Study Bundle, along with some additional organizational resources and vocabulary games.

Happy Spelling!



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Are you looking for an engaging resource to make the instructional days before Thanksgiving meaningful, academic, yet super-engaging? Want a simple, no-prep resource that you can use ALL DAY long as you near a crazy holiday? Are you hoping to cater to varying learning styles and free up time for yourself to enrich or remediate as needed? Look no further!




I am thrilled to introduce my newest product to you: Thanksgiving choice boards! 

No need to dread those instructional days before Thanksgiving break... gobble up a super-engaging, easy day of fun! 

I’ve created two choice boards - math and literacy - to help you make teaching on on those long days before Thanksgiving simple yet meaningful. ⁣

 standards-based skills⁣
 editable to fit your needs ⁣
 low prep (just make copies!)⁣
 cross-curricular connections ⁣
 real world connections ⁣
 high-interest topics and tasks⁣
 review of previously-learned skills⁣
 various learning preferences⁣
 differentiation and personalized learning through choice ⁣

Thinking about trying a choice board approach this year? 


Read more about why I love using choice boards here.

Ready to commit to a stress-free day before break? 


View this product on TPT here.


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Let’s Connect! Instagram // Facebook // TPT Store

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I'm no expert, but I've learned a lot throughout my teaching journey.

Classroom management is a big deal, and it's NOT easy! 

Here's some of the best advice I've been given along the way:

Would you rather watch in video form? You can do that here




We often expect students to know how to behave when they enter our classroom in August, especially older grades.

We say things like  
"Third graders don't do that."
or
"You should know better than that."

...but, have you taught them? 
Have you explicitly modeled and practiced expected behavior?
Have you redirected until students have shown masterty?

We have to be explicit, and that's something that we often forget. 



If you have low expectations for your students, they'll meet them. 
If you have high expectations, they'll rise to the challenge and meet those, too. 

It's okay to have high expectations for students' behavior - you totally should! Students' behavior impacts the learning environment for you as the teacher and for other students. 

Give students the support they need and scaffold expectations if needed by weaning off the supports.



Consistency allows our students to know what to expect when they enter our classrooms each morning. When they know what to expect, it makes them feel safe. This helps build a strong classroom community and allows student to contribute more than they would if they didn't know what to expect. 

When it comes to behavior, but also classroom routines, be consistent.



Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

If you threaten a student with a consequence to a behavior, you HAVE to be able to follow through, even if it hurts your heart. If you don't follow through, they will never believe anything you say.

If you give a student an if/then situation, make sure students either complete the task correctly or receive the threatened consequence. The same goes for making empty promises. How are you building trust with your students?



"He's pushing my buttons."

You know what that means.

If you say "You're driving me crazy" or "That annoys me" or "That's bothers me," you're telling students exactly how they can push your buttons if and when they want to do so.

When your button is being pushed - because you know it will be! - try to keep a calm, blank face, and don't give students any idea that its bothering you, even if you're going crazy on the inside! 

Hide your button, and the undesirable behavior loses its appeal.



I know you've heard this over and over again.

Relationships built on respect will help any sort of management issue that you have. When students feel trusted and respected, they will feel safer and will therefore respect you more. 

Make sure that students get a clean slate every day. Even if the previous day didn't go or end so well, today is a new day. All students are on an equal playing field each morning. Let them try to rise to the occasion!


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What did I miss?

What's the best piece of advice you've received? Let me know by commenting on this post! 


Let’s Connect! Instagram // Facebook // TPT Store

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Halloween falls on a Thursday this year - AKA a full school day... YIKES!

Don't be too frightened; I've got some ideas to help keep you sane on one of the spo0o0okiest teaching days of the year.

Need a class pumpkin?

It's not complicated or fancy, but I actually loveee this basic class pumpkin - simple and sweet! I'm totally doing this again this year.


#easiestideaever

Need a read aloud?

I love reading Junie B books during the holidays. They are hilarious and timeless - even my third graders love Junie B! The short chapter books are easy to read to your class in a week - or even just a few days - in order to cover those holiday bases and then move on.

Junie B's Halloween book is called Boo, and I Mean It. It's less than five bucks on Amazon!



It's perfect for discussing character traits because, well, she's one of my favorite characters ever!


Need lesson plans to keep you - and your students - sane?

No problem, friend! I've got you covered.

Are you looking for an engaging resource to make Halloween meaningful, academic, yet super-engaging? Want a simple, no-prep resource that you can use ALL DAY long on a crazy holiday? Are you hoping to cater to varying learning styles and free up time for yourself to enrich or remediate as needed? Look no further!

WHAT'S INSIDE?

It's PowerPoint document containing two editable choice boards: one for literacy, and one for math. 18 unique tasks (9 on each board) were designed to engage your students while also reinforcing skills. This choice board was designed with 3rd grade in mind, but you can edit to fit the needs of your classroom.

There are 6 additional pages that you can print to go along with the choice boards if you wish. 3 of the math tasks and 3 of the literacy tasks have matching printables that are an option to provide structure for students who may need it, but not at all necessary!




WILL IT WORK FOR ME?

Save your sanity on Halloween, and use it all day long! Copy it front to back, and ta-da!

The tasks on the choice boards are completely editable. There are 9 tasks included on each choice board, which are the 9 tasks I use (or would use) in my own classroom. If you have your own task or activity that you want your students to complete, you can add that in too!

You will need basic classroom supplies like construction paper, notebook paper, writing utensils, markers, crayons, and technology.


Need a fun, simple math display?

Occasionally I’m reminded of something that makes me miss teaching 2nd grade... like these eyeball arrays!

I can’t take credit for this fun idea. I must have seen it on Pinterest when I first I started teaching because I did this almost every year that I taught second grade. ⁣

Maaaayyyybe I’ll buy some more eyeballs so I can make this work with my third graders as I teach them the distributive property. But that’s a lot of googly eyes, so maybe not. đŸ˜† ⁣



If you’re a School and the City VIP, you can download this FREE template from my free resource library! If you aren’t on the VIP list yet but want to be, click RIGHT HERE to sign up and gain immediate access. ⁣



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You've got this, teacher. Have no fear. Halloween is near, but we've totally got it under control. Most importantly, remember to HAVE FUN. They're only young once! 


   



Choice boards are a staple in my classroom. I've explained why and how to use choice boards and even how to easily create your own choice boards, but what if you're just getting started, and you aren't sure how to begin?



Trying something new in your classroom can be daunting, but I'm here to help you answer this question:

How do I get started with choice boards?

When your students see a choice board for the first time, they will likely be overwhelmed by the unfamiliar layout and amount of print. Combat this by explaining how much you love choice boards - remember that your excitement is contagious! Explain that choice boards allow the students to choose how they learn and how to show what they learn. It's intended for students to choose tasks that interest them in order to deepen their understandings.

In order for students to be successful, you'll need to set expectations. The higher your expectations are, the more your students will achieve!

At the beginning of the year, I discuss and display exemplars to show students the quality of work that I expected from them.



Click here to view and use my exemplars.

After the first few choice boards, students are pros and will likely not need exemplars anymore in order to create quality work.

One problem I've had with choice boards in the past is students rushing through tasks to try and get them all done. We had to have a class meeting to discuss that getting all 9 things done is not the goal. Creating something to enrich your knowledge and to demonstrate your understanding of the content is the goal! We just need to change their mindset.


How do I grade choice boards?

That's easy - I just don't!

It's completely up to you, but in my classroom, choice boards are used for remediation and enrichment. It's something students work on after they finish class assignments.

You could definitely grade a few pieces of the choice boards, most easily the tasks that tie in to reading or writing, but you'd have to create a rubric. That's not for me at this time, but it's definitely a possibility!





What do I do with the products?

I have my students hang on to their choice board and their products in a folder throughout an entire unit. To wrap up a unit, I have a "presentation day" (usually right before or right after the test). Students love to present their work to the class! They are so proud to show off their hard work, and they get to work on those speaking/listening skills.

Choice board products make a great and super easy hallway display! Students can hang up their work as they finish something they are truly proud of. Your hallway display will be cohesive yet differentiated - win win!



When the unit is all wrapped up, students take their work home to make room in their folders for a new choice board. I've found choice boards to be extremely successful and rewarding in my classroom, and I hope they work for you, too!



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Are you new to teaching third grade?

Whether you're a newbie or a veteran teacher, here's what you need to know:


1. Multiplication is king.

Multiplication RULES third grade math. Our standards say that students must memorize facts within 100, but it doesn't say how we have to do it. Lots of games and teaching of strategic thinking can make multiplication the norm in your classroom! Additionally, skills that students learn later in the year (finding area, etc) comes so much easier when they don't have to stop to think about what 7 x 8 is.

Math Slide is always a hit! 


Here are some simple ways to build fact fluency:

  • Classic flash cards - because some students benefit from having the answer on the back to check.
  • Dice in a cup! Place two dice in a cup. Students shake then determine the product. (Tip: Use foam dice for noise-free fun!)
  • Play "multiplication war" with regular ol' playing cards. Students play in pairs. Each child flips over a card. The first to say the product wins the cards!
  • Online games on RoomRecess.com: My kids love Fast Facts and Shot Clock
  • Math Slide (free app - up to 4 players at a time on one iPad!)
  • Class games like Around the World. 


2. Kids are done learning to read; They're reading to learn. 

In third grade, you likely will not be teaching any sort of phonics anymore. Although you will teach fluency and comprehension strategies in small groups, reading for understanding is the focus.

When it comes to books, less is not more! 

Maintain a print-rich environment in your classroom. Visit the library in your school (or the public library) to fill your shelves with lots of books about your current science or social studies content. Students love perusing books and finding interesting facts to share; They are truly reading to learn at this stage instead of learning to read. 


3. Get ready to dig deep.

In third grade, students are prepared to dig deeper into content than they ever have before. They are curious and love the act of researching topics that interest them. I love the depth of understanding that third graders have and the high level of conversations that we can have during class discussions.

My students love choice boards so much that I have one for EVERY science and social studies unit! 

One way that I encourage my students to dig deeper into content is through the use of choice boards for my content areas. You can read more about my choice boards here. The plethora of options empowers students to dig deep into content, making learning meaningful and memorable!

4. Writing is a serious hurdle.

There's a big learning curve for third grade students when it comes to writing, in Georgia at least. The expectations are high, but their experience is (typically) minimal.

We do a lot of practice to get students ready to write constructed responses. That means they write answers to open-ended or free-response questions. But of course, there's a process. They are expected to restate the question to demonstrate understanding of the question, answer the question in full, and cite evidence from the text and/or explain thinking.

Yeah, that's a lot. Prepare to be overwhelmed for your students to be overwhelmed, too.

Luckily, there are tons of awesome resources on TPT regarding the strategy that I use in my classroom, RACE. You can make RACE practice fun by playing games such as musical chairs to practice answering open-ended questions.



On another note, one of my favorite units that I teach to my third graders is opinion writing with text-based evidence. You can read all about it here.


5. Testing. You know the drill. 

I'm sure that you already know how HUGE testing is in third grade. (Boo.)

It's super stressful boring, but I *suppose* it's a little important.

I think the most important thing is to not let our anxiety as teachers overflow into our students. I've written multiple blog posts about how I approach testing in my classroom.





In both blog posts, I give book suggestions and explain activities that I do with my students to mentally and emotionally prepare them for standardized testing days. 

Are you ready for this?

You've totally got this, third grade teacher. And if you get stuck along the way, I'm always here to help, just an email or a DM away!




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I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up. I'm loving the classroom right now, but I think I'd eventually like to move towards teaching teachers.

Over the summer, I was looking for some books to read to help myself grow into a teacher leader, so I asked my community on Instagram to share suggestions.

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing an item from Amazon using these links,  I will receive a small commission on your purchase, although your price stays the same! I use that commission to keep my blog up and running. Thank you!


You guys gave some awesome suggestions, and I promised I'd share:

5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell
Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader by John Gabriel
Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf
Life is Short, Don't Wait to Dance by Valorie Kondos Field
Shaping School Culture by Terrence Deal and Kent Peterson
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Step In, Step Up by Jane Kise and Barbara Watterson
The Disney Difference by Wayne Olson
The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon
The Truth About Leadership by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

Here's the whole list on Amazon. 

Of all of the recommendations, Dare to Lead was BY FAR the most recommended. I borrowed the eBook from the local library and fell in love with Brené Brown!

I think Step In, Step Up is next for me. What's next for you?