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Friday, December 26, 2014

Jump into January Blog Hop!!

Say it isn't so!! Christmas is over and, regardless of what we want to think, January is flying into reality and so are the thoughts of what will be taught those first weeks back. It seems harder and harder to go back after every break during the year. Since it's such a scramble, my friends and I have decided to do another super-fun blog hop to provide you with some easy to prep freebies for those first days back in school! Hop on through all of our blogs, collecting all those wonderful freebies, and then head over to the Teaching Tribune to enter a drawing for a fantastic prize!
Blog Hop Button

Hop around to grab the no/low prep freebies, and then enter to win an Amazon gift card at the end of the hop!

I'm the 15th Stop!
Here's my NO prep freebie to use your first week back!

This is a fun little flipbook for your kids to assemble and complete telling all about their New Year celebration, and their goals and wishes for the upcoming year!

If you love this freebie, you can check out other curriculum based flipbooks by clicking the picture below. They're  on sale from now until the end of the blog hop!

Now hop on over to the next stop by clicking the button below!
Next Stop

Saturday, September 6, 2014

How We Do....Guided Math Groups

Howdy Friends! Holy Smokes I'm blogging! I'm full speed ahead but I want to stop in and share a few posts with you that I'm calling the "How We Do" series. Each post will be a descriptive sharing of "how we do" a certain aspect of our day, and this week, it's HOW WE DO...Guided Math Groups.

I've tried them all... Daily Five, Rotating Calendars, Meeting with One Group at a time and changing three times during the period...And to tell you the truth, I hated them all. So much to manage, Little Johnny in the corner drawing pictures and then Susie and Sarah playing hair salon instead of Multiplication War. I was just tired of the hassle, and seeing my kids off task. I wanted to make the most of what time we had every day, so this year, I changed it up...A LOT!

To give you a little background, I have a fifty minute segment for guided math/intervention beginning at 8:00 in the morning. It's hard to get revved up that early, but I manage. To begin with, my intervention time actually starts with my kids doing their morning work. Every day, we do a Spiral Math Review that I project, rather than copy. If you're interested, you can find it here

The kids see something every day like what you see below. They do all of the work in a notebook and then read for the remaining early morning time.

The problems get harder, and the concepts spiral throughout the year... Put it to you this way, every single kid will remember expanded and base ten form, as well as rounding by the end of the year.

As soon as 8:00 hits, we pull out a crayon and go over the Daily Math Review, checking our answers and discussing the word problem..in detail. This takes a total of about ten minutes. Once that's finished, we take ten minutes of practice time with partners, and then take our daily math facts timed tests. I get all of my tests from Multiplication.com and have them all ready to hand out and test.

Once this is all done, we jump into our Math Groups which are based off of the poster that you see below.

Groups are color coded based on their skill levels, and they will change later on. But for now, these groups are where we will stay. Each day of the week, a specific group has a station for the day. They stay at that station for the entire period and complete whatever it is they have been assigned. The stations are as follows:

Odyssey Math- This is a computer program we use based on each students' individual test scores.
Dice Games- We do Multiplication War, Race to 5,000, and lots of others.
Rainbow Write- Simple and easy, they use markers and write their facts in rainbow colors.
Task Cards- I have tons of them and pull out a review set every week for practice.
iPod Math- We pull in a set of eight iPods and the kids practice their facts on them.

Wait, what's that you say?? There's no GUIDED Math.. Actually there is... Based on performance in the classroom, I will pull individual students out of their rotations for the day and work with those kids on the specific skills they are missing or need a little more practice with. 

And that's it folks...No crazy calendar thing to deal with, no rotating groups through the room. We stay in one spot, deal with what we've got, and move right on through. 

In case your interested in the poster, I'm attaching it below. Just a note, it's formatted to print 16x20. All I did was type in my stuff, save it as a pdf, save that  to a flash drive, take it to Office Depot, and they printed it for me on their jumbo printer.. (I WANT ONE!!) It cost me about eight bucks to print it. It is editable in PowerPoint and the fonts are embedded so they should still work for you! I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for stopping in and I'll be back again soon with another "How We Do"
Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Hello again! This will make my third week back in school and my kiddoes have jumped into everything feet first. Classroom procedures are down and we are buzzing right through the curriculum that I've planned out. We've even got a field trip coming up this week! I love early-in-the-year field trips.. They happen before the spring crazies set in.

One area I have struggled in for the past eight years of teaching is HOMEWORK! How much is too much? How much is too little? Should they have it every night? Should it be spelling and math, reading and math, or all three? Ugh...just too much stuff to handle and I hate overburdening my kids when we work so hard at school all day. However, I do see the value in a little uninterrupted time in the evenings for a bit of homework. It bridges the home-school gap, and it gives those kids who REALLY need it a bit more practice. This year, I revamped my homework system and I'd like to show you a bit about it.

First of all, I dropped Spelling homework entirely. We do our word study activities during Guided Reading, so why repeat the same ones at home? I chose to focus my kids on Reading Comprehension and Math facts each night for their homework assignments. 

For reading homework each night, I use these bad boys! LOVE!

This year I had a DonorsChoose project funded for Time for Kids Magazine. Now I teach third, but ordered the second grade magazines for my kiddoes. I didn't want anyone to really have to struggle to read the text. I wanted them to be able to attack it and understand it. These magazines are the heart of our reading homework.

On Mondays, my kids get their homework packet, with the newsletter attached. This newsletter combines a classroom update, homework assignments, weekly multi-syllable word list (they must be able to read them fluently by the end of the week) and important notes for parents.

Each night, my students complete their homework by reading their Time magazine and completing only five comprehension questions that I write each night. Yes, I do have to take the time to write fifteen questions per week, but it only takes me about fifteen minutes to churn them out and type them in. Here's a snapshot of what I'm talking about.

The last night of Reading homework consists of having the students read aloud their magazine and answer the questions on the back of the magazine. Easy Peasy!

Math is another story. Fact fluency is a big deal at my school in general, so my students also take their math fact cards home each night to practice those. The activities vary, sometimes rainbow write, quiz with a parent, two times each, etc. My kids are responsible for bringing their cards to and from home every day and also for turning in all evidence of completing their math fact practice, so I also attach the page you see below.

I not only teach math and reading, I also teach responsibility. I want my third graders to be responsible for their own things so I send homework home on Monday, and don't see it again until Friday. If it's missing, they complete it during recess and that's just the way things roll. I also do a Friday Lunch Bunch with the kids who complete everything to encourage those few slackers who like to skip out on homework. We eat lunch in the classroom and...dare i say it...WATCH CARTOONS! They love it, and so far..it's motivating them to practice at home each night.

If you have access to Time for Kids, I would definitely recommend them for homework assignments. If not, you could do the same thing with those little leveled readers that come with your basal sets. So far, I feel a lot less stressed about homework, and the kids are actually enjoying it!

As always, I love your comments and I'd also love to hear how you manage your homework in your own classroom! 
Have a great week!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Classroom Reveal! 2014-2015

Wow guys!! I've been back at school for over two weeks now and am just now caught up enough to sit down and blog about beginning the year! My classroom didn't get a giant makeover this year, but I did add a few things, make a few things, and still have a couple more additions to add to it over the next week. So here goes!

Here are a couple of pictures of my room right before the kiddoes came in for meet your teacher night. I did get the bulletin board finished up and ready before they arrived. All of their desks were so neat and tidy...Now that we're two weeks in...not so much...

 The back corner of my room before the addition of my new kidney table. I got a project funded from DonorsChoose.org at the end of the school year and they were kind enough to deliver it during preplanning so that I could get it all put together and setup. I don't have a picture of it so you'll kind of just have to imagine a kidney table where the easel sits in this picture.

This is where I hide all of my teacher junk materials. I bought two cheapo curtains from Walmart and a roll of ribbon to make my own curtains to cover the things I don't want to see all day, every day. All the stuff on top of the shelf, sans the tissue box, have been removed and hidden away in my closets.  Student mailboxes, supply bins, and a few other goodies hide under the small table and the easel makes it's home right there where you see it. The bins beneath the easel hold guided reading materials, all color coded to my reading groups so each group only has to grab their bin and they're ready to go for the day!

 My desk...In a sort of clean state.. I try to keep the top manageable...The drawers on the other hand...are a stinking MESS!! I'm terrible with drawer organization and I'm constantly just tossing things in there. I've lost the remote to my projector three times already...and found it two days later..IN MY DESK!! I'm lucky enough to have a projector, document camera, smartboard, and laptop in my room.. And you guessed it...right under the phone..is a VCR!! The district bought new DVD players and they all tore up within two years, so I had to have something to get closed circuit TV and the VCR was all I got! But I actually like it, I can bring in my Schoolhouse videos to watch in class!!

These were my summer project!! Again, a cheapo curtain from Walmart, some scrap plywood, a crapload of staples, and I have a handy set of eight crate seats. We sit on them during small group, and extra paper towels, cleaning wipes, and other supplies are stored inside! I think these might have been my favorite addition!

Half of my focus wall here... I made all of the headers and A.R. posters right here at home! I LOVE the A.R. posters and can't wait until my kids get to start signing their names to them as the reach their levels. Below are our standards that we are studying. The white pages are laminated posterboard and I just wipe em' down as I need to change standards.

The other half of my focus board. These are little wooden buttons (from Micheal's) that I painted and stuck a sticker to. Each kid has a button that they get to move once they've mastered a particular set of multiplication facts. They love them and are already racing through their facts this year!! Did I mention my class is built for Advanced Content? This has never happened so early in the year before!

Our work display board and half of our classroom library. These bins I got from ReallyGoodStuff and I LOVE them.. They have little dividers in them so the books don't fall forward! Somehow, my kiddoes have removed and lost one of my labels, but no worries..when you make them yourself, all you've got to do is reprint!

This poster was a recent addition and hasn't made it's way to a permanent location. So right now it is magneted to the board until the kids get used to their rotations during flex groups. I have three groups, each color coded, that go through a series of rotations each week. Every day, all of the kids go to a math station, and I pull individual kids from their rotations for remediation. I've tried the scheduling each kid for different things on different days and it just doesn't work for me. I like knowing that everyone has a place to be, and when I need them, I can just pull them out and reteach things as needed. I made the poster at home, had it printed and enlarged at Office Depot, and that was it! I think it cost me about $9.00 for the printing and laminating. 

And that's it for the photos...There are several other things that I want to show you over the next couple of weeks so I'll save those for another post. I hope you've enjoyed your walk through my classroom, and I also hope you'll stop back in soon (maybe on Sunday) for some exciting news!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fantastic Reading App and a Giveaway!

I was recently given the opportunity to check out an awesome app called FarFaria. I wasn't sure, when I first heard about it, whether or not it would be age appropriate for my kiddoes at school, or my second grade daughter. As it turns out, it is, and we LOVE it! I struggle with finding quality apps that will both engage my students and encourage them to read. The fact that these books are available through the iPad (or Android) is an extra perk for us! Each day, my students use some form of technology, whether it be an iPad, iPod, or classroom computer. My daughter uses my iPad every evening as well That's where this app REALLY comes into play. It has TONS of books that are just right for your lower level readers and little guys as well. The app allows you to read one book, FOR FREE, every day. However, if you, like us, want to read more than one per day, there is also an option to subscribe to unlimited books! In fact, I'm giving away a 3 month subscription below, so be sure to check it out below and enter to win one for yourself.

FarFaria was originally created for children ages 2-9 years of age, but they have a section of stories just for toddlers as well. They also have a book selection gauged towards preschoolers and other age groups as well, of course. The pictures/illustrations in the stories are absolutely beautiful and the kids really love them!  The stories keep him captivated for the full length of each book! They have over 700 children's stories, and they add 5 new ones every week, so there is never any reason to reread or become sick of one in particular (unless your child favors one).

One of the features I really love is the "read to me" option. Upon opening a new "book" you can choose whether you want to read it aloud yourself, or have the recording read it to you. I find this especially helpful as a learning center with a set of headphones, or to simply allow my students to hear fluent reading when theirs seems a bit choppy. I've also tried the app out with some of my newcomers who speak little English, and they too, seemed to love it.
Here are a couple of screen shots from a few areas inside the app. The illustrations just draw me in!

Aren't the pictures amazing? I hope you'll give the app a try! I'm sure you'll love it. Be sure to comment below and let us know if you use it! Also, let me know what your favorite book was growing up. It can be a picture book, chapter book, anything you remember from your childhood. My favorites were always the Goosebumps Series and Babysitter's Club. I still think about those books all the time! Download the app by clicking HERE and check out their website atwww.farfaria.com.
FarFaria was kind enough to offer a giveaway just for the readers of TeachesThirdinGeorgia! If you would like to enter to win a free 3 month subscription to read unlimited books on the FarFaria app, be sure to enter below!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Adventures of Ai - A Book Review and Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I was recently contacted about doing a book review for a new ebook being released by New York Times Bestselling Author, Craig Bouchard. This book is written for the upper elementary/middle school crowd, but being a book fan in general, I also loved it as well!

This is Mr. Bouchard's first adventure into the world of children's fiction and I truly hope that it will not be his last. I sat down with the ebook this evening and didn't put it down until I had finished the whole thing. Did I mention that I love to read?? 

A quick synopsis of the book would be an understatement, so I'll try to explain the context as best I can. The story works in layers. The book begins with the scene of a father telling a bedtime story to his three young daughters.The tale is about a very special young lady named Ai, who has very special abilities.

Throughout her amazing adventure, Ai learns that with every struggle she faces while trying to find the secret treasure, she learns a valuable lesson in return. The most prominent lesson that she learns is that she is unable to do everything alone, and must also rely on her family and animal friends as well.

While on her adventures with her faithful horse Chuugi, a bluebird named Honmei, and a deer called Yorokobi Ai encounters magical trees, monsters, secrets, and treasures. There is always something new around the bend!

Besides painting a beautiful tale through the use of fantastic characters, amazing imagery, and colorful language, Craig Bouchard also integrates art, history, poetry, music, and even some mathematics!

And if you have students that love the book, there is also a 3D videogame for iOS, Android and Kindle that might just be the spark their interests as well! Click here to check that out.

Finally, I am happy to share that in celebration of the book launch, I am hosting a giveaway in which 2 lucky winners will receive an e-book copy of The Adventures of Ai . The winners will be selected on Friday, August 23rd. All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And finally, if you happen to miss the giveaway, you can find the ebooks for sale in the following places. ($2.48-$2.99) 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday!

Good Morning! I'm linking up with Christina from Second Grade Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday! Here's what I've been up to!

My baby started second grade this year...:-( cue the tears....What happened to that little girl that used to follow me everywhere? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Have you heard the news? A SALE is COMING!

Hey ya'll! Have you heard the news? The annual Back to School Sale on TeachersPayTeachers is coming up soon! I'm already filling my cart with new clipart and materials for Back to School! I hope you'll stop in and check out some of the new additions to my store while you can get them for 28% off!

If you stop by my store, be sure to check out the custom categories! Here are just a few!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back to School...What I'm Doing

Howdy folks...yeah..it's that time of year. Just spent the day at the amusement park with my daughter and it finally hit me. I go back to work on Monday. August 4th seems a bit too early if you ask me..But nonetheless, it's going to hit too quickly and I'll be a zombie the first couple of weeks until the sleep schedule kicks in again. I'm definitely going to miss my late night quiet time.

Anyway, I've recently been gathering up all of my Back to School files and stuff and updating some of the older ones with new fonts and such and I thought I would share what I use for those first few days back, along with what we do the first couple of weeks in.

Day One always brings with it my Back to School Facebook Wall. These are completed on the very first day and always make up my bulletin board for when Open House hits. The kids love them and I just recently updated some alignment issues and changed a few fonts. You can click the image below to grab one up if you like.

I also always have some sort of color by math fact ready to go for morning work those first couple of days. Since we're just now third graders and haven't yet learned to multiply, it's always an addition fact mosaic that they jump into on the first day. They're super easy and I have them for all sorts of holidays and times of year, and my kids beg to do them during math stations. These are a couple of my back to school sets. 

This year I've made several other things for the Back to School season and haven't yet decided on which ones I want to use or file away for another day. I don't spend a LOT of time on BTS projects but I always try to get in at least one or two. Plus, I have an empty bulletin board in my classroom that I may just utilize for one of these projects.


I'm headed into school tomorrow to wait around for the delivery man all day I guess. I have a new kidney table that I got from DonorsChoose.org that is being delivered and I have to be the one to take it off the truck.. ugh... My poor old muscles can't take much more strain after today's multiple rounds on the roller coaster. I'm definitely not as wild and crazy as I thought I was..my seven year old kicked my tail today!

Make sure you check back in real soon, and if you see anything you like, wishlist it! There might just be an event coming that you may like. Have a great weekend and I'll see you all on the flipside!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday-Material Explosion!

Good Morning! I'm linking up with Christina from Second Grade Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday! Here's what I've been up to!

I'm nearing the finish line....All except for that stinking closet in my classroom!! 
So here's my question: What would you suggest I do to tame that explosion of materials you see in there?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Two for Tuesday! New Math Products

Howdy folks!! It's getting close to time to head back to work but I'm still plugging away on new materials and I'm still hanging out with the gals over at The Teaching Tribune! It's Two for Tuesday and I have two BRAND NEW Products up today at 50% off! Hopefully, you'll find them useful and friendly to your pocketbook as well.

I've started a new series of Interactive Word Problem sets for my kiddies this year. So far, I've made it through two Common Core Domains, and I'm getting ready to start a new one tomorrow! So here we go! Just click on the images below to grab them up!

Original price $5.00--Marked down to $2.50! 30 Tasks for student notebooking to show skills with these standards.

Original Price $4.00--Marked down to $2.00- 14 different notebook based tasks for students to show their skill with fractions in third grade.
And that's it! I hope you'll continue stopping in and checking out the deals and other fun things going on here at TeachesThirdinGeorgia. Check back soon for my classroom reveal!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Most Amazing Stapler!!

Hey Ya'll!! I just had to pop in and share the coolest little product that I found while shopping online .. It is the coolest little stapler that is absolutely perfect for the classroom. The cool thing about it is that it comes apart and works perfectly for bookmaking! It allows the user to staple inside the book, instead of along the outer edge...like one of those longarm staples, but small and way kid friendly! Check out the little video for it below!
Personally, I love the color! And it's cheap,($10) no more than the cost of a normal stapler.. If you'd like to grab one up for yourself, please click the link below to head to the Quirky website and search for the Align Stapler! So fun!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Two for Tuesday!! 50% Off Task Card Kits

Good Morning Ya'll! I told you I'd be back with some markdowns for you this morning! I'm keeping it going with The Teaching Tribune for Two for Tuesday with two of my BRAND NEW task card sets!  They have both been added to my store in the past two days, and they are now both marked down a whopping 50% just for today! I hope you'll stop in and grab them up!

Pay the Pig! This set of cards is designed to practice coin counting and includes everything you need to drop into a math center! Print and go! Originally priced at $3.00, now priced at $1.50!

This set was just added last night! A fun circus themed set of task cards just right for those beginning multipliers to practice working with word problems. This set also includes everything you need for a game of SCOOT! or a math station. Originally priced at $3.00, now priced at $1.50!

I hope you're able to use at least one of these fun little sets and that you'll stop back in soon to see what's happening here in The Peach State! 
Have a Terrific Tuesday!