Sunday, May 31, 2015

Folders Up!

This will be a short and sweet post sharing an inexpensive organizational tip that has been a part of my classroom routine for the past several years. 

Before school starts, I send a welcome letter to students and another to their families. Parents are not required to send in supplies in our district.  In my letter, however, I ask them if they might be willing to send in 3 heavy cardboard folders with their child: an unfinished work folder, a writing folder, and a homework folder.   

The unfinished and writing folders are stored in desks.  When students are doing independent work or working on an assessment, I tell them to put "folders up".  They each have an immediate private work space. 

I've discovered that paper clips keep papers from flopping over and being a nuisance!  I keep a few dividers in case a student has uncooperative folders!

I hope this tip was helpful! Have a great week. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

FINALLY Five for Friday

Happy Saturday evening! I'm happy to FINALLY be linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky.  I'm late, but not TOO late.

Here they are. Herbie and Sunshine.  Usually, the kitten leaps on Sunshine and plasters himself to Sunshine's head.  Here, both cats were resting peacefully. They really do like each other, but Herbie is just a bit too wild for Sunshine's taste.  

Last week, our elementary school students took a bus to the high school to view the high school artwork. It's an annual event that we call Mayfest. The art teacher organizes it, and it's always a favorite event for the students and for me!  I almost always see former students.  

Last week, we went on a field trip to Old Sturbridge Village. We had a great day, but there is never enough time to see everything. A big highlight of the trip was watching the oxen backing the wagon into the barn. 

Kid fashion!  I included this picture just because sometimes I love what my students wear to school! Get a load of those chickens!

Yesterday was our annual Colonial Day in third grade.  The children wore colonial clothing and spent the day engaged in a variety of activities. We made butter, wrote with quill pens, stenciled, made sachets, played Nine Man Morris, and went outdoors to learn a variety of colonial games. We combined Colonial Day with our first ever VIP Day.  Each student could bring a very important person to school to join us for the games portion of the day.  Everyone seemed to have a great time. My feet hurt when I got home, and I was forced to soak them in bubble bath. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I have three full weeks of school left. How about you?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Scoop

Happy Sunday, everyone!  I'm absolutely thrilled that we get tomorrow off as well.  I'm joining Kristen, Juliet, and Nikki from The Teaching Trio for their weekly linky, Sunday Scoop.  

As soon as I post this, I'll be hopping in the car and heading directly to the Dunkin Donuts drive-through! Do you have Dunkin Donuts in your neck of the woods?  It's not actually my favorite coffee, but it is consistently fresh.  We ran out of milk, so making coffee at home isn't possible at the moment.  I'll buy milk later, but coffee comes first!

We just finished up a crazy week of field trips and concerts.  This coming Friday, our third grade will have its Colonial Day/VIP Day.  The kids will dress in colonial clothing and do colonial activities. During the last hour of the day, when we'll learn outdoor colonial games, each child has invited a Very Special Person to visit.  It will be fun and crazy!  Here are a couple of photos from last year of students writing with quill pens. 

The end of the year is quickly approaching. I have 19 days left.  This week I plan to finish up DRAs so that I can reflect on my goals.  I also need to start prepping kids for the end-of-year math test! Some fun, summer-themed materials would be a great way to review. I just need to create them!

We have a huge family picnic today. My friends and I will get together with our families tomorrow. It almost feels like summer has started. Almost! Have a great week. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Feeling Summery FREEBIE

I still have 23 days left of school, but the weather has been sunny and GORGEOUS!  It just feels summery to me.  In my mind I've started to celebrate summer just a little bit early.  I'll need to stay focused for the next few weeks, but I've decided to celebrate the fact that it's almost summer by sharing a little freebie that I created.

My students LOVE multiplication and division color-by-number, so I made a couple of different sheets to keep them practicing and engaged.  I might have to create more for that last week of school! You can grab the sheets by clicking here or on the image below.

Digital papers by Gina Marie Huff, owner and designer at Weeds and Wildflowers Designs

If you're already on vacation, hooray for you!  If, like me, you're hanging on and furiously teaching as much as you can before you run out of time... Hang in there!  Enjoy your week!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Do You Know About ReadWorks?

Do you know about  It's one of those resources that I use often.  It's so fantastic that I just assume everyone else must know about it, too!  In case you don't, please do yourself a big favor and follow the link.  You'll be amazed at all of the COMPLETELY FREE K-12 reading passages (fiction and nonfiction) with related questions, standards-aligned units, and lesson plans.  There are even paired fiction and nonfiction passages. 

On the ReadWorks site, I found articles about health at different Lexile levels.  First, students read a passage at their level with a partner.  Then, we changed things up so that students partnered with a person who had read the other article. The partners reread both articles, then completed a VENN diagram comparing and contrasting the information from both articles.  It was easy to differentiate. 

ReadWorks has saved me a lot of time and money.  I strongly suggest that you check it out!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Five for Friday Plus a Freebie

Another week is over, so I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

I blogged about Herbie on Wednesday. He's hilarious, and Sunshine seems to like him well enough. A few minutes ago, Herbie pounced right on top of Sunshine. It was entertaining!

I'm trying desperately to wrap up our unit on area!  We've had so many disruptions to our schedule. 
We spent two weeks working on state testing. The children have also been practicing for their upcoming concert on May 21st. I've missed several math blocks, so I'm feeling the pressure!  On Monday, we were working with standard units. The kids created shapes on grid paper with areas of 20 square centimeters and 20 square inches. Then, we went outside and used measuring sticks and chalk to create 1 square yard and 1 square meter. 

During our reading block, we've been focusing on text features and reading nonfiction texts about weather, climate, and the water cycle.  Some students had extra time, so I pulled out a fabulous freebie created by Lisa at Second Grade Stories. [To get her freebie and to read about how Lisa used this with her class, click here.]  The children read a nonfiction text about weather and used the "Coding My Thinking" sheet to record their thoughts and their learning. 

On Mother's Day, we went to a nursery to get a plant for my mother-in-law. There was a pond with exactly one duck. It was a low-key Mother's Day since my little girl was not feeling at all well later in the afternoon.  

Here's a quick freebie I created for practicing spelling words. Click here or on the image above to grab it. 

Have a great weekend! I have 24 school days left. How about you?