Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Author's Purpose

On Pinterest recently I saw a neat activite that a teacher did in teaching author's purpose.  She had her students cut out the pictures from a Scholastic Book Club order form and determine if they were to entertain the reader or inform.  I wanted to do the same thing in my classroom with my students who were studying author's purpose. 
I wanted to create a nice display for their work. Since it is winter time, I was able to find a mitten pattern.  I labeled each mitten entertain or inform.
Then students went through the book order and cut out and glued the pictures of the books to the correct mitten. 
I then hole punched the mittens and strung them together.  I hung them over a line in my classroom as a display.  The students really enjoyed doing this activity.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Winter Themed Centers

It is crazy for me to think that Thanksgiving has passed already and December is right around the corner.  With children of my own this time of year is so exciting.  This year has brought as many blessing as well as some tradegy.  I have been so busy that I can only pay attention to the good things in life as this is also the end of my trimester at school.  Leaving more planning and report cards on my plate. 
I wanted to share with everyone my first winter center creation.  This is a pronoun center that reviews what pronoun should be used in place of nouns.
                                                         You can get it at my Tpt store. 
I will also be participating in the TpT Cyber Monday sale!
Cyber Monday

Monday, November 19, 2012

Math Project

Having a new math curriculum to use in classroom has me creating many different activities and centers along the way.  I have created sets of math games, for the first two topics of the text.  You can find them here. But with the third unit on adding and subtracting, I felt the material was a little two easy for my math students.  I had used a million dollar math project in the past and wanted to change it up a little for my students.  Our school is currently expanding into a new building, creating campus feel to our school.

Because of that I have come up with a classroom design and purchasing project that has students using all of the skills that were taught in the topic.  In the project students get to design and then purchase the materials needed to supply a classroom.  Allowing students the insight on the expense of the new project and furnishing the classroom.

We are on our third day of the project and the students are really enjoying it and practicing the skills.  It just makes me so happy when I see delight in their eyes to learn.

                                                              Download the project here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Envision Common Core

This year my school has adopted the new Envision Common Core math program. Although it has been an adjustment for all parties, I am really enjoying the program and adjusting all the changes it has brought to our math program.  There are 2 third grade classrooms in my school and we have been using the pre-tests and grouping students on their knowledge of each topic.  This is a practice that is the norm at my school in the past, but grouping was not as flexable.
One thing that I am finding in teaching the new curriculum is that my higher students need more to do during class. 
I have created a series of centers that support topic 2 for our math program that I wanted to share. 

Monday, October 1, 2012


I am sorry that I have been away from the community for so long.  I got exciting news on my first day of school.  On the first day of school, I also found out I was pregnant!  I am super excited, my husband and I already have two boys but were looking at expanding our family. This is awesome for me, because my due date is exactly 6 weeks before the end of the year.  I was not able to time my other two pregnancies this well. 
So that aside, in my years of teaching I have struggled with managing centers, over the last year I have finally come up with a great way of easily managing it.  In the beginning of the year after I have done my beginning assessments I create my guided reading groups.  I change them up with each of our trimesters. 
I have our remaining centers and create a chart.  I just rotate the centers throughtout the rest of the chart.
I then create cards with the name of each center.  I have two that say book clubs.  Book clubs is what I call guided reading.   Then according to the above chart I place the 1,3,5,7,9 cards behind each other and the 2,4,6,8,10 cards behind each other. They are placed in a centers chart in two columns next to they students names.  The cards should show centers 1 and 2.  Then when we are done those centers I move those cards to the back and cards 3 and 4 are showing for the next day.  It stays organized and easy to keep track of all year long.

I promise to try and post more.  My goal was twice a week and that has not worked. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Noun Adventure

  My school year started last week and I have been away from the blog for a while as well, my first day of school started off full of surprises when I found out I was PREGNANT!!! My husband I had been trying for a couple of months so we were really excited.  But can I just say, beginning the school year and first trimester pregnancy equals pure exhaustion.  I am finding myself falling asleep at 8 at night.  I have just been so busy trying to get all of my beginning of school year stuff finished, wanting to post, and my oldest turns for next Monday so his birthday is Saturday. 
  Before I got my exciting news I decided I was going to try my hands at being a super mom and creating capes for all the kiddos that are coming to party.  I finished the last one this evening and am able to sit down quickly to begin this post while my two little boys are playing in the yard.
  The beginning of the school year has gotten off to a great start.  My kiddos are a bit talkative but we are quickly learning to control the volume and when to talk. I created a Noise-O-Meter that is in the front of the room that reminds to students about their noise level.

  One of the first grammar skills we begin with in my room is common and proper nouns.  So last week in practicing how we behave outside and in the hall my students created lists of people, places and things that they saw.  We then turned their ideas into this beautiful tree, which allowed us to segway right into common and proper nouns.

  I am going to promise to post more.  So sorry guys!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Prepping for the Year!

I have finally started to slow down on designing and creating my classroom and sat down to plan.  I have until after Labor Day until I meet my new kiddos.  I sat down and started to plan.  I wanted to start doing a calendar math, daily number beginning to math class each day and do not have the wall space or bulletin board to do that.

The other night I had an epiphany and created a different way to do the same thing.  I created a sheet that I plan on putting on an overhead projector.  I wish I had more technology and could have put it on a SMARTboard.

I am so excited by this enlightenment.  I can change it as the year progresses and I get to do what I wanted to do.  I am so excited about it right now! 

Here is what I created.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And the summer fades...

This week I have spent the last two days in my classroom, getting the last things hung and organized.  The majority of my Monday was sitting in my classroom staring around the room trying to decide where to begin.  I have so many things I want to change and new things that I want to try for this year that I was unsure where to start.  I finally got a to do list together and organized all of my thoughts, so I could begin methodically going through and making all of the changes that I wanted to make. 

This brings me to today. I am almost there; the classroom is almost where I want it.  By Thursday I should be ready to go and get the school year started.  I still have plenty of time for the more important things like creating lessons for September.  I realized today that I have totally been obsessing on my classroom that I haven’t begun writing out my lesson plans.  Though through my planning I did sit down and create a lesson plan template that I think will really work for me this year.  You can check it out below.
This template is for when I teach a whole group lesson in reading.

This one is for when we do centers during reading.
Investigation is what my school calls our science and social studies.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop

I have been running into my classroom throughout the summer, preparing for the school year, but I havent been a good blogger.  My goals for blogging this year, is to blog every other day and learn more about the blogging community.  I really want to find out how to do giveaways and all the other fun stuff that many of my favorite bloggers do well.  I found this blog hop and thought it was a good way of getting back into blogging for the new year. 

The rules are to answer these questions.

1.       What state are you teaching in: Pennsylvania

2.         Your current teaching position: Third grade

3.        What is your teaching experience: 8 years

4.        When did you start blogging: I started blogging in February of this year.

5.        Share a blogging tip: Include lots of pictures and how-tos. This is a Blog Hop!

Check out all the other blogs

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Place Value

I am sorry for being away for so long.  I took some time to be with my family after experiencing a personal loss.  My boys have been a bright beam of light throughout everything.  Soon we will be going to the beach, I am looking forward to getting away with my family.
provided by Mika Crandal photography

I have been trying to move on by working and got a new unit together to go with EnVision math.  My school will be using the program next year and I wanted to get ready to go with the first unit.  This is just a series of center games and word wall cards that go along with the first unit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

First award!

I am so excited to have received my first award.  I have been away from blogging for awhile and have missed it.  I hope to get back into the swing of things soon.  This award is really going to help.   Thank you to Melissa over at for giving me this award.  It means a lot. 

Here are the rules for the award after you receive it.

1. Follow the person that gave you the award.
2. Link back to the person that gave you the award.
3. Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

Thanks so much! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Worry is Over!

Last week was so stressful for me.  On Monday our shad eggs were delivered and my stressed started.  How was I going to manage the students with the eggs and did I know everything I needed to know.  Half our eggs were dead on arrival and we didn't clear all of them out right away, which caused more to die. 
The week went by really quickly with caring for the eggs.  Each day students removed the dead eggs and counted our live babies.  Our mortality rate was really high,and every night I went to bed dreaming of shad eggs and praying that one would hatch for release into the wild on Friday.  The nature center where we had planned to release the eggs, had contacted the newspaper and had a reporter coming to the release.  AAAHHHH the stress!!!
Here are some live eggs.
By the time Friday got here, my head was hanging inside a water tank, with the classroom lights out searching for fish.  We had two and the students enjoyed the whole process and learning so much.  The cared for the eggs, removed the dead eggs, tested the water and got to see the fry and eggs under a microscope.  It was an amazing project that still has to be cleaned up entirely, but I can't wait to experience it next year. 
Releasing a fry.

We had 5 that we got to release and had an amazing learning experience through the process.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Integrating Science

My class has been continuing their study of life cycles.  We looked at complete and incomplete metamorphosis and have created many things to help us understand the difference between all of the different life cycles.  One thing students created was a complete and incomplete metamorphosis, was to create a booklet with pictures and the definition of each stage.
I just used index cards and then bound them together with yarn. 
I teach in an exciting school where my students are able to experience many different things.  In learning about metamorphosis I was able to get them into the creek that runs behind school where they found different macro-invertebrates and were able to use guides to identify and draw the different macros.
Afterward students chose a macro to study.  I found a great website that has little identification sheets for each and macro.  Students were able to use these and recreated the life cycle and wrote about the cycle.

Here is the great website

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life Cycles

Sorry for my long absence.  I was not feeling well and my boys, and husband have all gotten sick or had some needs lately that have taken me away from the computer.  My husband and I were able to take a quick hike, to an amazing waterfall.
Taking a picture of yourself with a cell phone camera never turns out right.

At my school we work in trimesters and have a science-based integrated unit that we focus on that trimester.  The last trimester seems to be the most fun for me.  In our last unit we discuss interdependence on the mountain behind our school and the systems and cycles that take place to create a sustainable environment.
We have worked our way beyond living things and their characteristics.  A trip to the pond near by actually allowed to see toad reproduction in action.

We went back today to follow up and check out the toads' life cycle and we found thousands of tadpoles.
It was just so awesome to be able to observe what we are talking about.  The students really get to understand the cylces and systems when they are able to experience it.

Back in the classroom we began talking about life cycles by looking at their cycle.  Students created posters of what their life cycle would look like.  The drew pictures and wrote descriptions of each stage of their life cycle. 

We then looked at the life cycle of the American Shad.  Our eggs come next Monday and students will be able to care for the eggs and release the fry for one week.  It will an exciting experience to see the beginning of the American Shad life cycle and work on a conservation project.

Our next step is to look at different life cycles, then move on to photosynthesis.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Plot Hike

Today the weather in Pennsylvania was very warm for April.  I took full advantage of the weather and had my students out for a hike this afternoon.  I took them on a new trail and we were able to travel farther than we have been able to go in the past.  In my classroom we are currently working on plot and science fiction.  We have to talking about how the plot of the story was like a mountain.  So on our hike today I took the science fiction book that I was planning on reading.  I read The Secret Science Fair Project that Almost at the School by Judy Sierra.
The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate the School (Paula Wiseman Books)
So at the beginning of our hike we discussed how we have the back ground information, which happens at the beginning of the mountain.  So I read the background information then we proceeded up the mountain.  The Trail has some dips and valleys as you are working your way up the mountain.  So I stopped in one of the valleys and we compared it to the raising action, then read the story.  I proceeded as we continued.  It worked out great.

I was also able to use the hike to discuss what we are also studying about living and non-living things.  We are mostly focusing on water so, at the different creeks and things we passed we discussed living and non-living things.
Here are some activities that I have created to go with our unit on living and non-living things.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First Day Back

We had a short break for the Easter Holiday, and all the work that I did over the break did not seem to matter.  I was behind the eight ball all day today.  The third grade at my school was to begin our service project of raising American Shad.  Our morning was supposed to consist of building he habitat for raising the roe into fry.  Which didn't go as planned because one of the parts was not included to build the stand.  So we adjusted to schedule to try again in the afternoon.  All 45 students worked on assembling all of equipment, only to run into another problem.  We had a pump that was not working.  AAAHHHH, why couldn't anything go right.  The first day back from a break and it was not a good one.  Only 9 more weeks to the school year.  I need to make it through.

On a positive note I was able to finish this little activity set for pronouns.  You can find it in my TPT store.  You can find it here. 
Pronoun Pack

Tomorrow will be better!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Culminating activity for government Unit

Today we finished our government unit.  It was a long unit that dealt with history to government through the services provided.  We wrapped up the unit with interviews the past two days.  Students were able to interview local borough councilmen as well as one of our board of trustees yesterday.  We made a connection of our school being run similarly to the government, so they were able to question all of the people about their roles and what they did for the government. 
Today they were able to interview different services.  They interviewed a representative from the Department of Labor, DCNR and our local Public Works.  The students seemed to really make the connections to government and learned a lot about each person.  They then reflected and wrote about what they learned yesterday and today.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Writing Lesson

Earlier this week I started talking about voice when writing.  I find this a difficult task with third graders.  But the lesson today went so well.  I am so excited.  When I began talking about it, I used Scholastic's Trait Crate and introduced their lesson with How are your Peeling, and making a collage of faces from magazines where you can tell their voice. (happy, sad, scared) 
Today I followed it up with our first writing assignment.  My aid and I each wrote our own I AM FROM poems and I posted them.  Our reading specialist read them to the class so the class couldn't tell who was who, and the class guessed which poem belonged to each of us.  They were correct. 
I pasted out a brainstorm page that had the different categories we both used.  It was just a table, we then went through and the students identified the categories in our poems. 
Afterward, the students began writing their own.  IT was a great lesson that I can't wait to finish Monday. 
I am going to have the students publish their poems without names and have students guess the voice for each poem.

You can get the lesson here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kids, Parties and the Government

It seems like a while since I was able to post. It was a busy weekend. My parents watched my kids so my husband and I could have a date. It was pretty pathetic, dinner and shopping without kids. It amazes me what I look forward to when I have a 3 year old and 21 month old boys. The weekend ended with a baby shower, for someone I use to babysit, it made me feel old and ready for another.

But I was able to finish gathering the pictures for a pretty cool government lesson. I wanted my students to draw a comparison to the federal, local, and state governments and how our school us run. We created a tree diagram showing the four locations and the three branches. It turned out really cool. And I think the students were really able to see the comparison.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I just want to say how exhausted I am this week.  It is our state testing and it is just an exhausting task.  I can't imagine how exhausted my students are.  One of my students told his mom that he was worried about me because I had to continually walk around and that he thinks that I would get too tired.  I thought it was so cute that someone was worrying about me, when I was worrying for them so much.

Working through my exhaustion I prepared this for next week. I created a series of verb activities.  I made a small poster and some activities along with the a center.  It seems that parts of speech is something that goes in one ear and out the other with my students, so I try to hit things over and over.

You can get the pack here.  I am having a sale at my store this week, so stop on by.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Today is day 3!  We are half way through our state assessment and I have to say I am so proud of my students.  They are all really working hard.  They love the little notes that I have been leaving with a treat.  The BIG donuts were a big hit yesterday.  Here is the little note that I made for the students today and I will be giving them a Blow Pop.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Motivational Note Day 2

The first day of the state testing is finished and I think it all went well.  The kids really took their time and I saw them using some of the test taking ideas I had taught them. YAY!  I just finished my motivational notes for day two.  They have testing all day so I give them an extra special treat and give them a donut as well.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

First Day of State Testing

Tomorrow is the first day of your state testing, and I am already getting nervous for my students.  Which explains the beer near by :).  I just created these little notes that I am going to put on the desks tomorrow morning with Smarties.   AAAHHHH the pressure!
Each day I place a card on their desks with a little treat.  I always seem to start with this one.  What do you do for your students during state testing?

Friday, March 16, 2012

My First Linky Party

So I am going to try this out.  I have been in this blogging world for about a month now and I am really falling in love.  This is my first linky party and I am really excited.  I just hope that I do it all correctly.  This is for all the upper elementary teacher out there. 

Be sure to head over to Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies to check out all of the great blogs. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Math Centers

Our statewide testing is coming next week and to give my students a fun "break" and review all the skills that will be on the tests I have created and purchased different centers to review all the skills that they will need to know.  My math class is all on the same ability level making the centers easier to manage a create/manage as many as  I am this week.  So far we have worked on:
Elapsed Time:
  I created a center that had 6 movie posters and a sheet to fill out.  The students pretend that they are working in a movie theater and they have to manage the show times for the theater.  I will post the worksheet so you can see.
   There is also a purchased elapsed time center from Evan Moore.  Students practice finding the finish times and correctly showing the time on a blank analog clock.
   Students have to create a graph given different questions.  I purchased this center many years ago, it was from The Mailbox magazines.  Students are to create a graph by following the directions and then redraw it on their worksheets.  There are then 6 questions for students to answer about they graph.
   The other graphing center had a pictograph, pie graph and bar graph and had the students answer questions about each graph.  The questions asked right there questions and interpret each graph.
Look for more posts about different centers. 
You can find the elapsed time activity here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Historical Fiction

I just finished this packet to help in teaching historical fiction. In the classroom we do genre studies. I use the genre throughout my mini-lessons, guided reading groups and different centers.  I will be using historical fiction to teach the elements of the genre, problem/solution, and making connections.  I started this week. I was able to take my students on a hike, and during the hike we began exploring the genre through a grab bag of elements.  Along the way a student would pull out an element and we would discuss that element.  You can find the materials I created at my TPT store.  Just click here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Beautiful Weather

I am so thankful for the weather we are having today in Pennsylvania, and for my school.  Only here can I take the entire afternoon and go for a hike with my students and teach along the way.  I am looking forward to our first spring hike.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Similes and Metaphors

I just completed creating this simile and metaphor packet that I have been using in my my classroom while teaching figurative language.  It has been helpful for my students.  You can get it here.  Make sure to rate it please. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fraction Animals

Today the students were able to be creative and create different animals using fractions.  They really enjoyed designing and creating the animals.  They did a great job describing their animals using the common core vocabulary and fractions.  Next step, equivalent fractions!  Get the worksheet (here), it is on sale now at my TpT store.

Founding Fathers

In continuing with our History unit we have been researching the founding fathers.  My students have been eating up all of the information being thrown at them.  Teaching at a science based school makes history that much more interesting when the students get it.
The students researched 7 founding fathers, independently and in small groups using a variety of media.  They wrote down and organized their research on graphic organizer then placed into their lapbooks.  They really had so much fun.  I have really enjoyed make the first lapbook in my classroom and cannot wait to make more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My students are currently working learning about the founding of the USA.  I have created this little packet for my students to understand the Declaration of Independence.  It includes a blank map of the 13 colonies, a readers theater of the Second Continental Congress, a timeline and a kid-friendly version of the Declaration of Independence.  You can find my packet here.  Look back for classroom action shots.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

US Symbols Chalk Drawings

I can say that I really enjoy teaching 3rd grade.  I have done it for 7 years now.  I can say that I love my school and the freedom it allows me, as a teacher.  My school uses the EIC framework for instruction, which really sparks my creativity and passion for teaching. 
Currently, my students are studying US History and government.  This is a large unit my teaching partner and I created last year and lets the students experience everything from the US Symbols to local government and agencies created to protect the environment. 
We have experienced an amazingly warm winter, so as we were studying the symbols students were able to do some outdoor jigsawing.  A group of 2 or 3 students were given a symbol and a fact sheet. They were then set free with the fact sheet and chalk to draw their symbol and learn as much as they could about the symbol.  Students then were able to take a gallery walk around to each symbol and view it and hear the facts the group learned. 
My students loved this, and created amazing representations of their symbols.

                                                               The Statue of Liberty

The Capital Building

                                                          The Washington Monument

Monday, January 16, 2012

First Time

So this is my first blog post ever.  I have started reading other teaching blogs and thought I would like to give this a try.  We will see how it goes.  My life is a busy place being a mom, teacher, friend, wife, aunt and daughter.  I thought this would be a new challenge that I want to try.  Lets see how this goes!