BTS Boost Sale



Are you ready for some more SAVINGS?
For one day only (today 8/19), EVERYTHING in my TPT store will be marked down 28% when you enter the promo code MORE15!

Here are some of my favorite resources
(click on the images for more details)

Accountable Talk/ Collaborative Conversation Posters


Intro. to Science Unit


Distributive Dr.

All About Maps Unit


Happy Shopping... and don't forget to enter the PROMO code! (I speak from experience)

iTeach Third: 8 Tips EVERY teacher NEEDS to Know


Last week I spent the day with my younger brother helping him set up his very FIRST classroom... I am so EXCITED for him and thrilled that he's also going to be teaching THIRD!!!!

The few days I spent with him, got me thinking...  I wish that I had someone 17 years ago to guide me when I first started teaching.... someone to teach me a few tricks of the trade or to teach me the simple things such as which Sticky Tack brand works best or how to keep my posters from falling off the walls. I didn't even have my BFF Pinterest to help me out back then.

So if you're new to teaching or maybe even been teaching for years, I've got you covered because today over at iTeach Third I'm sharing 8 simple tips I think EVERY teacher should know! Click here to go check them out... They've been my lifesavers time and time again and I think they can do the same for you.

{Week 4} BTS in a Flash! Student Engagement





Welcome to our last week of the Back to School in a flash link-up! This weeks topic is all about student engagement and what I do in my class to build classroom community.

I like to use Collaborative Conversations to bring my class together! In the beginning of the year most my students tend to be really shy and unexperienced in sharing their ideas and opinions. As a matter of fact, last year I noticed that for a handful of them, making decisions and using evidence to back up their positions was very difficult. So how did I go about training my third graders in the art of collaborative conversations?

I began by teaching them a set of rules which we posted up in the classroom for easy reference. (Click on the picture below to download a free copy of the poster).

As part of the rules we learned about the importance of making eye contact when speaking or listening to others.  We talked about staying on topic. We discussed the importance of backing up your argument with evidence and always being respectful. We spoke about how to respond to speakers by asking questions or making comments.



Throughout the year I also introduced sentence starters which we have displayed above the white board. We started off by learning when and how to use "I agree..." and "I disagree" in discussions. Whenever I felt the majority of the class had become comfortable with those 2 stems, we added on another.  This process continued throughout the year until we had covered all 13 stems. In the beginning of the year students referred to them frequently. By the end, many of them had mastered a quite a few. (You can find these posters here and here.)

Towards the end of the year I began implementing a rubric to assess how well my students were progressing. Scoring them was pretty simple since my main focus was on eye contact, respect, staying on topic, supporting evidence, and participation. These were the 5 main skills that we focused on throughout the school year.
This rubric can also be downloaded for free by clicking here or on the picture above.

I must say that by the end of the year my students had become quite comfortable with Collaborative Conversations. They were now debating whether or not homework was necessary and whether or not the 5 second rule was fact or fiction. Many times they came up with topics of discussion on their own after reading an article in our Storyworks Magazine. These conversations they were holding on their own was encouraging them to find evidence (key for common core) to justify their arguments, and keeping them ENGAGED! They learned to actively listen to their peers, to respond eloquently by using key phrases, they learned to be patient (a task that proved more difficult for some than others), they learned to maintain eye contact and to respect others opinions even if they differed from their own. They learned an important life long skill that they became really good at.

It was amazing to see how engaged students became and how much they enjoyed working and sharing ideas with their peers.

It's your turn not to link up and share how you keep your students engaged!



{Week 3} BTS in a Flash! Decore & More

Welcome back for Week 3 of the Back to School in a Flash link up and giveaway! This week the focus is on one of my favorite topics CLASSROOM DECOR!!!!!


For this week's post, how about I let the pictures do the talking for me? Before we get started though I did want to let you know that these pics are from last year's classroom. I've yet to return to school, so I decided to share last year's pics. But don't worry as soon as I have my class ready to go I'll be sure to share!

Just sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee, and let's begin the tour...

When you enter my classroom, you are greeted by this double bulletin board. I like to update this board frequently with what we're currently learning.

On top of the sink I've hung up our Earth day projects. We had SOOOOO much fun making them with shaving cream and food coloring. You can read more about that here

These are our character education kids . During the first week of school, I like to introduce each of the 8 traits we work on. We use books, discussions, and sometimes even role playing to learn about them. Then throughout the year as students earn badges for displaying these traits, they attach badges to their individual posters! At the end of the year they get to take them home :0)

On the back counter I have 4 colored baskets where students turn in completed work. We also have different bins which hold our ELA Task Cards, Writing Notebooks, Literature Circle Folders, and student book bins. On the windows I like to display student's Social Studies work such as various booklets we completed while learning about the  
5 regions.

Here you see our AR Slam Dunk board and our football themed Reading Plus board where we track how many sessions students complete every nine weeks. Students receive rewards for every 20 sessions completed. Students loved racing each other to see who would score a TOUCHDOWN first!

 This is our computer center. I like to use a table skirt from Party City to cover up all those nasty cables underneath the table.

This is our SmartBoard and the Reading Dugout area. I like to hang Genre Reference Posters here. As I introduce a new genre, that poster gets added to the board. Students love hanging out here and reading a good book with their buddies!

This is our classroom library which is organized by genre. You can also see part of our white board which I have divided into different sections using magnetic borders which I can move around as needed. Underneath you can also see our Figurative Language Posters. This is where we record examples of alliterations, similes, metaphors, etc... on post its. You can download my headers for free here.

 Here's more of our white board. In this picture you can actually see the Accountable Talk (Collaborative Conversation) Posters that are above the board. We use Collaborative Conversations almost on a daily basis and these posters help guide students in the beginning stages. They were a blessing this past year!

This last picture is taken from the center of the room. You can see that I have my desks arranged in groups. Although I change the desk arrangements various times throughout the year. I try to keep them in groups in order to facilitate Collaborative Conversations. I love to have my students work in pairs or groups, and I've just found that small groups seem to work best.

I hope you've enjoyed your tour around my second home!

How would you like to win some sweet prizes to help  get your class set up? Just enter the giveaway below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Now it's your turn to link up. Simply use the picture below to share some pics of your class.


{Week 2} BTS in a Flash! Curriculum Must Haves



Welcome back for week 2 of our Back to School blog link up! This week is all about CURRICULUM MUST HAVES.


Here are MY must haves...


Every year before I lock up my classroom and turn in my keys for the summer, I prep a few products that I cannot live without so that they are ready to go when I return. These products have been tested by my students and given their STAMP OF APPROVAL!  


Over the years I've realized that  students L-O-V-E to take part in science experiments, however, few of them truly understand the important role science plays in our lives. Many of them also know that scientists use tools, but are unfamiliar with their names or how they work.

That's where my Intro. to Science Unit comes in handy. For the first 2 weeks of class, I use this resource to make sure my students understand the scientific process. I also review 10 tools that we use throughout the school year and students are given opportunities to practice using them correctly with a partner. 

To make sure my students understand the steps involved in the scientific method BEFORE we actually start experimenting, we spend some time sharing and discussing. We also complete a flapbook making sure that students have a reference sheet to refer to in the future.


Once we complete all of the above and go over a few very important SAFETY RULES, we culminate our unit with a few experiments. Not only does this give students an opportunity to practice the rules we went over earlier, but we also focus on each of the steps in the scientific method and we practice using some of the tools we learned about as well.


I have found that dedicating these few weeks in the beginning of the year makes everything run so much smoother in the long run!


Another favorite of mine is Teaching and Tapas Close Reading Bundle for 2nd grade. You're probably wondering why I'm using the second grade bundle if I teach 3rd. To be honest, when I originally purchased this unit I bought the 2nd grade version thinking that I would use it for the beginning of the year and then use the 3rd grade unit for the last two 9 weeks.

Half way through the year I realized that this bundle was PERFECT for my 3rd graders. I ended up using it for the ENTIRE year and NEVER felt that the passages were too easy or that my class was bored. As a matter of fact, my students looked forward to reading new passages every week. They especially loved the informational text passages!


After reading an article from this bundle on Basilik Lizards, my students wanted to find out more about these reptiles so we ended up doing some research and even watching a video of them walking across the water. AMAZING!!!! Another passage we read was all about the Five Second Rule. This led to a debate on whether students believed that if something fell on the floor they had 5 seconds to pick it up before germs stuck to it. Interesting topic, huh? It sure caught my kiddos attention!

If you're looking for close reading passages that will captivate your students, have them going back to the article to find and underline evidence, determine authors purpose, use context clues to understand vocabulary, determine main idea, etc.... this is a must!

My last curriculum favorite is actually a product that I've been eyeing for some time now. It belongs to Cassie from Funky in Fourth. I've wish listed her Zoo Design project based learning activity!


With this hands on project, students will practice their Area and Perimeter skills. They will design zoos that fit certain guidelines.
I know that this is something that my students will get a kick out of and since Area and Perimeter is a topic that some of them will probably have a hard time with, I figured this activity would be a perfect way for them to practice. The best part is that they would be able to see a real world connection to what we were learning in class.

Would you like an opportunity to win some fabulous products from some of my favorite teacher bloggers... Who wouldn't right? Enter below to win some goodies from iTeach 3rd, iTeach 4th, or iTeach 5th! Good Luck...
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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It's your turn now! Blog about YOUR curriculm faves and use the image below in your post.

Be sure to link up with us and check out everyone else's must haves!



{Week 1} BTS in a Flash! Teacher Faves

Back to School is such a stressful time for teachers... And if you're a mom (like I am) we also have to worry about buying uniforms, supplies, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc... for our own children!

But when you put all the worrying aside, BTS can also be one of the most EXCITING times of the year! Every year I look forward to a new school year. It's not that I don't miss my students from last year, it's just that I LOVE the idea of a new beginning or a fresh start. 


So in an effort to give you a much needed break from stressing and offer you some tips, I've decided to join a linky party organized by 3 of my favorite bloggers Not So Wimpy Teacher, Fancy Free in Fourth and Ramona Recommends


Check out our linky of Teacher Faves and I'm sure you'll find a tip or two to add to your bag of tricks. It's sure to reduce some of that stress you're feeling right about now!

Here are 3 things that I could NOT live without during BTS time!


Organized Library by Genre:

After many years of organizing my library by AR level, I finally decided to make the switch over to GENRES. It was the best decision I ever made!!!! Last year I purchased these labels by Catherine over at    
The Brown Bag Teacher and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM!

Throughout the year we read books from various genres and we discussed their different characteristics. (Students frequently referred to these posters on the right.) They quickly began to figure out which genres they liked best.

Now that our library was organized by genres, they were easily able to search for books that interested them; and the best part was that each book was already labeled with its AR level. This made selecting books they found interesting AND on their AR level much easier to do. That's a win win in my book! Teacher and Students were BOTH happy!!!!!


Preprinted Parent Letters:


Before the year begins, I love to preprint letters that I use frequently. That way whenever I need a letter, I don't have to go scrambling for a sheet of paper and think of what to say and how to say it. Also, I don't have to worry about whether or not my printer decides to print at that moment. Instead, I just open up my Parent Notes binder and turn to the letter I need, sign it and voila I'm done.... Zero added stress for me!



If you'd like to read more about how I store my notes, check out this post here. Also, if you'd like a FREE copy of my Editable Behavior Chart just click on the picture below.


Invest in Strong Adhesive:

I know I know... you're probably wondering why I have adhesive as one of my teacher faves. Let me just tell you that there's nothing more frustrating then arriving at work early in the morning to find a handful of posters sitting on the floor after falling off the walls in the middle of the night. At the time who really wants to stand on top of a desk to start sticking posters back up... NOT ME!!!!!

That's why after testing out numerous kinds of sticky tac and foam square adhesives I have finally found the answer to my problems... 3M Command Strips. You know those white strips that you attach to the back of 3M hooks. Those small yet powerful strips not only hold up heavy posters ALL YEAR LONG, but if you pull the long strip slowly at the end of the year when storing away your posters, they won't remove any wall paint.

So far the best deal I have found is for the value pack of 48 small strips. I usually buy about 2 packs at the beginning of the year and they last me the entire year. No more falling posters with these babies. Just attach one strip to the top/ middle of your posters and you're good to go. You can attach sticky tac to the other corners. That way when the sticky tac lifts up (as it usually does) that single 3M strip will keep your poster from falling to the floor.

So there you have it, my 3 BTS Teacher Faves. 
What is YOUR best Back to School tip? 

Come join the FUN, link up, and share your OWN teacher faves!





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