International Day of Peace

Did you know that September 21st is known around the world as International Peace Day or World Peace Day? I didn't... and I'm actually embarrassed to admit that this is actually the first time that I will be teaching about it in my classroom.

I know, I know, you're probably asking yourself what rock have I been hiding under, right? Yea, I know... it's only been around since 1981 that's all...  at least I was honest about it.

Anyhow, last week when our administration approached us and asked us to focus on the topic of peace for the following week, I started doing some research... That's when I came across WORLD PEACE DAY and this great introductory video which I plan on showing to my 3rd graders.

This next video uses pictures and phrases to explain what the word peace is... It's amazing to me how when you stop and think about it, this small 5 letter word means so many things to so many people across the globe!

After watching both of these videos and discussing our thoughts and feelings on the word PEACE, I'm planning on giving each students a Post-it Note to write what they think about when they close their eyes and think of peace.

I found this idea on Pinterest
The following day,  we will read the book Whoever You Are by Mem Fox . (Here's a Youtube video of the book being read aloud, just in case you don't have the book handy)

Afterwards we will make our own peace flipbooks which you can grab for free by clicking on the pictures below.

Another idea I came across which I absolutely love is to read the book How Full is Your Bucket and then have students write positive notes on "drips" to other students in the class. Then I'll have them go around and fill their classmates "buckets" just like in this picture I found on Pinterest...

Click on the picture to take you to the original idea found on Pinterest.

Here's a Youtube video of the book in case you need it :0)

If you'd like a few more ideas on what to do with your students to celebrate Peace Day check out this Pinterest board which I've created.

Until next time... Have a WONDERFUL and PEACEFUL week!

Working Smarter Not Harder: LaborLESS Blog hop

Hello everyone!


Main Graphic Laborless
It is Finally here!

Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!

All of us have been thinking about  good ways in which to treat our readers and followers.   We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that  we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!

I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time to ourselves and our families.

So here I go!


Use a number system not only to number your students but also on student work folders, parent contact logs, Library check out logs, class jobs, student mailboxes, etc... Think of all the items you end up having to remake year after year. Why not make these once using numbers and then you can reuse them for many years to come.
After having to remake my student mailbox labels year after year, this year I decided to work smarter and not harder and numbered each mail slot  instead. All my students have to do now, is look for their number instead of their name.

I've also made my classroom jobs chart using numbers instead of names, not only does this tip save me time, but ink as well! And just in case I have a mental block and can't remember my student's numbers I have small lists posted around my room for quick reference.

I also use numbers for my Quick Check poster. Basically whenever I want to take a quick check of a lesson or a concept without having to spend too much time, I simply hand each student a Post-It, then ask a question, and as they finish their responses they walk up to the poster and place their note on their corresponding number. This helps keep their answers some what anonymous and also allows me to quickly check who is absent or who has yet to respond. This is a winner with both my students and myself!

Every week I send home a Home Communicator folder with all of the student's graded work for the week. Filing papers into their folders is easy since each folder has been numbered and student's always number their work papers.  Having numbers on these folders also makes it easier to see who has yet to return their folders the following day. Basically all I have to do is place the folders in numbered order to see who is missing.


Although my husband is always saying that I don't know how to relax, whenever I DO get a chance, I LOVE to just sit on the sofa with my daughter and Furbaby Jeter to catch up on Netflix and Tivo. I rarely ever watch live TV anymore! Who has the time for commercials anyways?


And finally, I love having a binder filled with Pre-Printed Parent letters that are ready to go at a moments notice. This tip has been a huge lifesaver for me, especially when I don't have a printer that I can rely on.

My Parent Notes Bundle is 130 pages of EDITABLE parent notes. It includes notes for snacks, allergies, volunteers, supplies needed, behavior charts, field trip forms, academic concerns, class donations, incomplete homework, etc... just to name a few. Check out a preview of what's included here.
I hope you've enjoyed these timesaving tips! As teachers and moms we all know that our time is precious, so whenever we can work smarter instead of harder that's a win in my book!

Top all these great tips and ideas with these top-notch prizes!

A $100 gift card to Amazon

A $50 gift card to TpT


2 $25 gift cards to TpT

1 $10 gift card to TpT

Thank you for reading! And now don't be silly and get your hands all over this awesome giveaway!!

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I am NOT a Super Teacher

Despite the fact that I tell my students that I have Super Sonic hearing, and that I have eyes in the back of my head, I am NOT a Super Teacher! I am simply an educator who is dedicated to her students.... I want my 3rd graders to succeed... I want them to love coming to school... I want them to have fun learning... I want to make a difference in their lives!

However sometimes I feel as if I'm expected to BE a Super Teacher, a feat that might be possible if I did in fact possess super powers. You see every year I feel as if the education system asks me to jump through more hoops, complete more paperwork, repeatedly test my students although many assessments have yet to be checked for validity, and the list goes on and on all with the justification that it's in the students best interest.

However, what about the Teachers? Who's going to look out after us? Who's working hard to make sure that exceptional teachers don't leave the profession?

Although I may NOT be a Super Teacher, what I lack in powers I certainly make up in heart, drive, and determination.

I love to create...
I love to explore new ideas and teaching strategies...
I am not afraid to be different...
I get bored reading the basal week after week...

I like routine, but not monotony...
I do NOT always stick to the pacing guide (although I try)...
I am not afraid to show my students I love them (even though we're told to keep our distance)...
I am not afraid to test out different classroom management techniques when I see that pulling cards does not work for me or my kiddos...

Sometimes I go to sleep at night thinking about my student that didn't quite understand the days lesson...
Many afternoons as I drive home on autopilot, I think  of new and interesting ways to teach tough concepts...
I willingly make a fool of myself in front of my children, as long as it means that they'll remember what I was teaching... 
I spend money on snacks, supplies, McDonalds, ice cream, materials, anything that I think will motivate them...

I sell resources I create on Teachers Pay teachers...
I blog about my triumphs and failures (well, honestly I'm too embarrassed to tell you about some of my flops so those I keep between myself and my classroom walls)...
I accept that sometimes my "genius" ideas don't turn out to be so great after all...
I acknowledge that some of my students fall through the cracks (although I try my best to avoid this)...
I accept that at times although I try desperately to help some of my angels, fate has different plans.

Although I may NOT be a SUPER TEACHER, 
and that is enough for me!

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

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