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Friday, May 24, 2013

Closing Out The School Year..With some fun!

I thought the day would never come. Here in North Georgia, we finally made it through the last day of school. We attend for half a day on the last day of school and I absolutely LOVE it. Something about knowing that there are only four hours to go when I get to work in the morning makes the day seem a bit sweeter. There were tears and sadness that quickly turned into cheers and happiness as the kids boarded those buses on the way home today. Teachers were crying, kids were crying and then it happened...silence. The race was on...who could hit the door first? It was me!!.

We have spent our last week together as third graders having as much fun as possible. I wanted the kids to remember their third grade years with some fond memories so I planned out a week full of fun activities. I thought here would be a great place to share some of those ideas. Maybe you can bring some fun into your last weeks as well.
Day One- Creative Classroom Crafts
Since this was a Monday, I decided to start with something low key and easy to prep. A while back ago, I was trolling TPT for some fun ideas when I ran across the neatest end-of-year memory project I have ever seen! Mr. Hughes, a fantastic seller on TPT has created a series of projects called 3-D Dodecahedrons. He has them for all sorts of applications and they run about five bucks a set. I couldn't pass up the project so I snapped it up as fast as I could key in my password. I did splurge and print the sets on cardstock, which I would recommend because it helps with assembly. We took all day on Monday to create these awesome projects and display them in our classroom. You can find the link to the product here.
The kids LOVED them and they were so fun to make! Here are a few shots of how they turned out.

Pardon the clutter...I was packing up stuff for the floor crew to come in. :-)

Day Two-Outdoor Sports Day
Bring on the sunblock because we set our sights on being outdoors ALL day long. We made it most of the day but the temps got a little too high and my little girls started sweating and it was just terrible. They were like wilted flowers. My kids all brought in their sports equipment/outdoor games/etc and we headed for the ball field out back. Bubbles, soccer, football, kickball, and several other sports were represented. We even held a kickball tourney against one of the other classes. By the end of the day, we were all worn out and my classroom smelled like a men's locker room but it was fun!
After the wilting girls decided we just had to go inside, we set out to make a fun little craftivity to decorate our desks during our class party..and we ended up with Perry the Platypus! And friends! I drew out the template and the kids went to town with paper bags. We also used all the junk paper from our desks to stuff them. Score! Two tasks in one!

 Day Three-Game Day
This day was the easiest and by far the quietest. On this day, the kids got to bring in their games (electronic or board games) and play ALL day. Well, maybe not all day. We had our school talent show in the afternoon. I was actually really surprised at the number of kids that had multiple portable gaming systems at their disposal. I never had one as a child...and my own daughter doesn't have one. Personally, I'm not a fan of video games myself, I find more value in a good book. But overall, this day was a HUGE hit with the kids.

Day Four- Classroom Competition Day
We spent an entire day competing against each other in all sorts of competitions. Many of them were academic games with a Jeopardy theme, going through some of our curriculum highlights from the year. You can find some of what we used here. We also headed outside for relay games and other races. The highlight of the day was when we had a Minute to Win It competition. If you are not familiar with the game, you must check out NBC's website and see all of the awesomeness that you can bring in with nominal materials.
There are even videos on the site for directions. We just played them in class!
These are a few that we did together..the kids worked in teams to compete for small prizes from the prize bin.
Chocolate Unicorn- (requires 21 cookies/snack cakes for 3 teams) Hilarious!
Face the Cookie- Kids have to move a cookie from their forehead to their mouth using only facial muscles. Again...HILARIOUS!
Hanky Race- Requires 3 boxes of tissues and masking tape if you are running 3 teams. Tissue boxes are taped around students waists.
Junk in Your Trunk- Reuses empty tissue boxes from Hanky race and ping pong balls.Students have to try to bounce the ping pong balls out of the tissue boxes using their backsides. The kids rolled with laughter.
Nose Dive- Requires cotton balls, vaseline and three containers. Kids have vaselined noses and have to transport cotton balls into their container the fastest. Here we are playing!
Dizzy Mummy- Requires three rolls of toilet paper. They loved this one!

Day Five- Movie Day
It was a long week...it was a half day. We also scheduled our classroom party for today as well. To rest up for our imminent summer vacation, we settled in with blankets and pillows and watched a good movie. But not before we celebrated with our Red Carpet Celebration. Each month, two students from each class get chosen for good deeds, attitudes, etc. and they get to walk the red carpet in front of the whole school whilst being cheered for. 

Overall, the week was a success. My kids and I had a blast together and they will most definitely remember being wrapped in toilet paper and trying to eat a cookie off of their forehead in the third grade. As a teacher, it is times like these that I remember. Not benchmarking, not behavior problems, not even state testing. Making memories is what really matters and I feel like we might have made a few this week. For those of you still in the swing of things, take the time to have some fun with your kids. Before too long, you'll be getting graduation invitations from them.

Have a great summer!

Snap it Up Saturday! Remembering Those Who Protect and Serve

With Memorial Day approaching, I can't help but sit here and think about those that have served in our military and given their lives for our freedom. My dad served in Vietnam and thankfully he came home, but I know there are so many that were not lucky enough to make that return trip. And it is still happening today. It is a sad fact that we need protection that costs the lives of so many men and women but our country would not have survived had it not been for them. 

So many people consider Memorial Day to be "National Barbecue Day". It is so much more than that. It is remembering and celebrating the lives of those who gave their lives for us. It is for hoping and praying for those that are still serving in our military. It is for praising God for creating people with such heart that they would give their own lives to protect others. In honor of the upcoming holiday, I have put together a fun little freebie for all you bloggie readers. This week's Snap it Up Saturday post is a salute to our Army buddies who fight for each and every one of us. I hope that you can use them to create something fabulous that lets our military shine! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Supporting the Families in Oklahoma

As a resident of the town of Ringgold, Georgia, I know exactly what the folks over in Moore, Oklahoma are feeling right now. Just two short years ago, our little town was also touched by a series of storms that have forever changed the people and community that we call home. Numerous deaths, destruction of historical sites, and the imminent sense of fear are still wreaking havoc here in Ringgold. Thunderstorms bring with them the sight of backpacks sitting by the front door in readiness for evacuation to a storm shelter. As a teacher, I cannot fathom what those teachers and students must be seeing, thinking, and feeling. My heart goes out to them and I want to help. I have teamed up with TeachersNotebook and many other Teachers Notebook sellers to donate a product to a bundle in support of those families in Oklahoma.  Please stop in and check out the bundle. Every purchase donates to the folks over there in need of our help.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Snap It Up Saturday! La-Loo-Min-Um Foil

4 1/2 Days to Go!
That's right friends...only 4 1/2 days of school left in the school year and I couldn't be more excited! I'll definitely miss this group of kids though. They were such sweeties and made such HUGE growth this year that I hate to see them go. However, I do have another little sweetie that I get to stay home with! I can't wait to spend more days with her just having fun. We'll be having quite a few days like last year with all this rain we've been having lately. Here's our favorite thing to do....(okay...her's mostly, but I get to pretend to eat the mud pies she makes).

She inspires me so much every single day. She is this amazing creature with a fantastic personality. This evening we had baked potatoes and as I unwrapped them, she asked... "Why do you put "Laloominum" foil on the potatoes? They already have skin so they don't need a coat." Well, I just cracked up and told her the purpose. Then as I sat tonight pondering this week's freebie, it hit me... "Laloominum Foil". So I went to work and whipped up a little set for you. This set has five background papers in it but there are more in my TPT store as well. I hope you like them!
If you like this set and want more...Check here!

Have a great week everyone! I know I'll be cartwheeling on Friday. Hopefully I won't hurt myself!

Crickets in the Classroom...Wonder Why?

Teacher:  "Hey Kids! Remember this?, we learned about it back in September!"
Students: No Response

See that sentence up there? I asked that question back in March during CRCT Review.. and the student response was a blank stare followed by the sound of nothing. I was so disappointed. Everything we had started with at the beginning of the year seemed like a distant memory to my students..a memory that could only be recalled by re-teaching entire units of material. Sheesh... 

As I was going along with the new standards, I never stopped to think that there was no spiral to the concepts. We were jumping from unit to unit with such speed and rigor, it had totally slipped my mind. My kids had lost all recollection of place value, any concepts of multiplication (other than memorizing their facts) and so much more. Well, it broke my heart and I set out to change it. Two months later, I finally finished up what I think is going to be a game-changer for my students next year.

I have created a 170 day PowerPoint based Daily Math Review program for my classroom. It starts out with simplistic review of second grade curriculum and quickly revs up and dives into third grade material. It runs the gamut of all of the Common Core Standards and I have to say, I am proud of it. I really think that my kids are going to soar with a daily review of our new standards...at least I hope so! 

Click image above to visit my TPT store for a 25 page preview.

With 170 days of Math review, this project was SO daunting. I'd go to work on it, then quit for awhile because I was fed up. Clipart was a pain to find and formatting everything was a nightmare, but I think it was worth it. Now I'm ready to start the year..and I DON'T HAVE TO COPY ANYTHING! Yep, you read it..the bundle is entirely projectable and doesn't need anything other than a spiral notebook. I did put it into my TPT store a little while ago...just in case you'd like to pop over and check it out. The preview file contains 25 pages of the original file!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Fun in Third Grade

Hi Friends! One of my most favorite holidays is finally here! Mother's Day! I don't love Mother's Day just because I'm a mother, I love it because it gives everyone a chance to shower their mothers with love and special gifts..(even though I tend to do that year-round with my mom). My class even put in a full day of work just to get ready for the special day. And since I teach in a school with 87% of our population being Hispanic--we got to do it two days early! Mexico celebrates Mother's Day on the Friday before the U.S. does. A few things we got to do today were take pictures, make frames, write cards, and make special books just for the moms, grandmas, aunts, etc. in our lives. My kids absolutely loved it and so did I. This was the first time we have touched paint this year (it is not my friend) and the kids went wild! Here are a few snappies of the day's activities.

Our Mother's Day Picture Frames.. I found these in the craft section at Wal-Mart for 97 cents apiece. We just used regular acrylic paint to decorate them. I had the snapshots printed at Walgreens and got those for only $2.77. I had to run out during my lunch to go pick them up!

We also played a game of Mother's Day Scoot using a product that I whipped up and put into my TPT store. To start with, we put all of our prompt cards around the room and went around filling in different information about our moms on our graphic organizers. 
Click the image to visit my store for the Scoot Game.

Once our round of scoot was finished, we sat down to create our Special Someone booklets. The kids really enjoyed making those and decorating them for their mothers. My favorite part was the note on the back. Some kids really put their hearts into the notes, and others went with a little bit of humor. :-)

Overall, we had a good day. The kids finally got to have a bit of fun after all of that Spring testing and they all got to use their creativity to create something special for the women they love. What are some special things that you like to do to celebrate Mother's Day in your classrooms? I would love to hear some of those!

Snap It Up Saturday! Furry Friends from the Archives

Hello everyone!
I hope you are ready for yet another installment of my fun and fabulous "Snap It Up Saturday! series. This week has been a whirlwind of activity so as a freebie, I've dug into the archives and pulled out some never published Furry Friends just for you! Maybe they can find a good home in one of your fabulous products! I hope you enjoy them!

Click the image to download.
On a side note, in case you haven't noticed, I haven't been producing very much clip art or curriculum based material recently. I've been hard at work though. Currently, I am building a 180 Day Spiral Review Product that I am hoping to release in a few weeks. As soon as summer hits, I'll be finishing that one up! I cannot wait to be finished. Redundancy is not my friend.

And since she is here with me, I thought I would share something my dear daughter whipped up using the iPad and a fun little app called Puppet Pals. Some of these zombies remind me of myself...especially on a Starbuck's free morning!! 

Have a Fantastic Weekend!
9 1/2 Days of School Left
The Countdown is ON!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Sale!

Extra! Extra!
Let it be known that Teachers Pay Teachers is holding a massive Teacher Appreciation Week Sale this coming week! May 7th and 8th ! Make sure you drop in and snap up some goodies with a deep discount!

Everything in my store will be 20% Off (including even the $1.00 items). Then upon checkout, enter the code above and you get another 8% right off the top! Click the image above to visit my store and load up your cart!
Graphic Courtesy of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs

Friday, May 3, 2013

Snap it Up Saturday!! Feeling a little goofy!

Hello friends!

I think the stress of testing and the pollen count here in North Georgia have gotten to me! I've finally succumbed to my regular spring bout of upper respiratory issues. They normally hit in March but this year they decided to wait until May...Grrr..

Anyway, after today's doctor visit and two shots in the behind, I'm feeling a little bit goofy so I put together a little set of clipart to show off my goofiness. No purple elephants or psychedelic dreams brought on by cow pile mushrooms...just a few edible friends brought on by a serious round of steroids and antibiotics. So I introduce you to my Goofy Garden Vegetables. This set is blackline and color and also includes the grassy background. I hope you like them! Click the image to download!

 If you don't mind too awful much, a pin or Facebook share would be greatly appreciated. A big thanks to all of my followers! I hope you enjoy Snap it Up Saturdays!

Have a great weekend!