Earth Day: What are your plans?

Are you all set and ready to go for this weeks Earth Day celebration?... or are you like me, on most years, and usually forget about Earth Day until the last minute because we've been caught up with the craziness that is called STATE TESTING such as the PARCC, FSA, STAAR, etc...?

Either way, don't feel bad because I'm here today to let you know that you are NOT ALONE!!! 

It happens to me all the time and I think that other upper elementary teachers can relate. This time of year is simply D-R-A-I-N-I-N-G for us... it sucks all the energy from our bodies!

Sometimes, we get caught up in prepping for testing and making sure our kids have encouraging notes and snacks to motivate them on those 2 weeks of testing, that before we know it we find out ...

This year will be different.... I promise! I'm here to help a friend out.

First up, let me share with you a WONDERFUL WEBSITE that I discovered while searching for FREE videos to use in my classroom...
(Simply click on the picture below to be taken directly to the site.)

It's pretty simple to navigate.  To find videos on recycling I clicked on "Browse by Grade and Subject", entered 3rd grade & science. Then under search I typed "Recycling".

Check out some of the gems I discovered...

This first video takes students on a field trip to a Recycling Center so that they can see firsthand the people and machines involved in the recycling process.


Next, up is an INTERACTIVE STORY in which students learn about the benefits of sorting their trash so that it doesn't all end up in landfills which hurt the environment.

Then there's another INTERACTIVE STORY showing students how the decisions we make about our trash has consequences.

Last up, is another video showing a FUN GAME that you can play in your classroom called TRASH DASH. In this game students sort trash to score points for their team. Check it out!


Aside from showing these videos to my kiddos, we are going to be using these Love Our Earth (Mini Booklets) from my Earth Day Unit. I created these booklets out of necessity. I couldn't seem to find a a resource that used kid friendly language to explain the recycling process or that covered the material I felt my students needed to learn about and understand.

So I researched on my own and created these mini booklets.

We are also going to use these quick checks to make sure that we understand the information that we are reading.

Lastly, we are going to end our week long Earth Day Unit with a FUN CRAFTIVITY!

Shaving cream, glue, and food coloring!
Add caption
Three quick and easy writing prompts to show what they've learned!

The final product that will be added up around our classroom!
I hope I've helped make your Earth Day planning a little easier... after all my goal is to help you save time so that you have More Time 2 Teach!

I'd love to hear what you think about the resources I shared with you today. How you plan on celebrating Earth Day?

A Big Surprise Reveal

When I first started teaching, 17 years ago, I remember sitting in front of my computer searching for teaching tips specifically geared for 3rd grade. 

I hoped to find another fellow 3rd grade teacher that might shed some light on how to teach the writing process to my babies or what strategies worked best for teaching them how to regroup across zeroes.

I came up with NOTHING, at least not a website written with 3rd grade teachers in mind or written by a 3rd grade teacher. (Remember, this was almost 20 years ago)

Fast forward 17 years... I'm still teaching the 3rd grade, only thing is that MANY things have changed since then.

If you google 3rd grade blogs now, you will find many excellent sites written by fabulous teachers... many of which I've become friends with.

But a few months ago I started thinking.... 

...a blog that is written BY 3rd grade teachers FOR 3rd grade teachers?

... a place where 3rd grade teachers could come together to meet, see, and hear about strategies that work for our particular grade level.

Wouldn't it be GREAT to find a group of 3rd grade teachers...

That's where my Big Surprise Reveal comes into play!!!!!

Let me introduce you to...

A collaborative blog written by 11 third grade teachers just like you and me! We are dedicated to bringing you ideas, tips, strategies, resources,etc... that we use with our own 3rd graders.

We are CELEBRATING our official BLOG LAUNCH with a 2 day giveaway. For today and tomorrow only, when you visit our blog iTeach Third and follow us on FB, you will receive a total of 11 of our products for FREE! 

So click on any of the pics above to be taken directly to iTeach Third so that you to can enter the giveaway and receive your FREEBIES!

Remember to spread the word to your 3 grade besties... 
we now have a place ALL to OURSELVES!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I look forward to seeing you back here or at iTeach Third ;0)

Milestone and a Freebie to Celebrate!

Words alone cannot describe what I'm feeling right now so maybe this might help...

I am in utter disbelief to see my name and Genre Poster Pack on TPT's Facebook page! Yes, I knew that it would be happening some soon, and yes they did contact me to congratulate me for reaching a milestone. 

But it wasn't until today when I actually saw MY work on THEIR FB page that it hit me!

You see, two years ago, I posted a few things on TPT on a whim because I wanted to see if Teachers Pay Teachers was for real. 

I wanted to see if I could make a few bucks to make up for the money that the state of FL was NO LONGER going to pay me for having my National Board Certification. That money was supposed to help pay for our kids school tuition. 

I wanted to be able to stay at home with my kids in the summer and NOT have to worry about planning their swimming lessons or summer camp schedule around the hours that I would be tutoring from home.

NEVER in my wildest dreams did I think that it would have turned into such a HUGE part of my life and my families life. It has been a blessing for us in so many ways! 

I LOVE reading your comments and seeing the pictures some of you send me of the work your students have done in your classrooms thanks to one of my products. It fills my heart with so much joy to know that little old me has been able to reach so many teachers from so many different parts of the world. 

I have received emails as far as Thailand and Australia, both places that I have never visited. It truly is AMAZING!

Let me stop right there...

... as a way of saying thanks,  you can download my Genre Poster Pack for FREE for the next 7 days! Simply click on the picture above or any of the pictures below.

Take a look at the posters in action in my own classroom...

This pack is one of my favorite because it is geared towards the upper grades such as 3-5 and has a lot more than beautiful clipart images.

 Grab these posters quickly because they are only free until next Monday!

Thanks again... I hope to read some more of your encouraging words as feedback on TPT.
Much LOVE to you and your kiddos,

Giveaway Winners Announced

I have GOOD news and BAD news to share tonight!
I usually like to start with the bad so that I can end on a high note, so I'll do the same now... 

The BAD news is that last night Georgia State lost their game to Xavier... boo hoo! It seemed as if every time I switched the channel to check the score the other team was always ahead by a few points. 

On to the GOOD NEWS now! As promised, I've emailed Becky and Greg from The Class Couple a copy of my Grammar Galore Bundle as a prize for their team (Xavier) beating us last night. Congrats!

That means I also have to giveaway the same prize to one of my followers. However, I'm actually going to be giving away prizes to 2 of my lucky followers. Congrats to...

Check your emails, ladies, because I've already emailed you your prizes!

Thanks to EVERYONE that played along!
I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and continue to enjoy our March Blogger Maddness!
Lots of love,

March Blogger Match Up

Basketball anyone? Apparently March madness is officially upon us!

I'll admit, I'm not exactly a huge basketball fan! Heck I'm not even a small basketball fan.... But given the chance to have some blogger FUN and even win some FREEBIES...

then I'm there like a bear! 

Don't worry I haven't forgotten about YOU... Of course there's some FUN in this for YOU too!

For this match up, I've gotten together with 64 other bloggers for March Blogger Match Up, hosted by Ashlyn from The Creative Classroom. Here's how everything works. 

First of all, don't worry if you don't really understand March Madness. 


So I'm going to make this easy for both of us. For starters each of us bloggers was randomly assigned a basketball team to root for. 

Looks confusing, right? That's what I thought when I first got this... No worries, it basically means that we were given ...The Panthers of Georgia State to root for! They look fierce don't they!

Sadly, that's all I know about them. But no worries, for the next few days, we are going to become one with the Panthers and we're going to cheer them on. 

Let's go Panthers!!!!! 

Let's Go!!!!

The next thing you need to know is that if our team, Georgia State, loses then I have to share an item from my TPT store with the blogger assigned to the team that beat me. I ALSO have to share that same item with one of MY FOLLOWERS!  
To sweeten the deal even more, 
I'm going to give away that same item to a follower each time Georgia State wins a round. 

Guess what I just found out?
We WON our first round against Baylor University!!!!!!

It's time to celebrate.... 
As promised I'm giving away my Grammar Flapbooks Bundle that includes 10 different flapbooks covering an array of grammar topics such as sentences nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, rules of capitalization, etc...

To win just enter the rafflecopter below and I will choose a random winner on Sunday. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and remember... Let's go Georgia State!!!!!!

Teacher's Pets Linky Party

Good morning friends! 

As you can probably already guess, todays post is not going to be about my students or my classroom.  But instead I've decided to join a group of lovely ladies for a fun linky party dedicated to OUR PETS!!!!!!  

Let me begin by introducing you to the pooch that stole my heart...

This is my dog... JETER!

... and yes he was named after this equally gorgeous NY Yankees shortstop...

Derek Jeter

Jeter, our dog and not the player :0) , came into our house about 2 1/2 years ago.

Before getting Jeter I was against having another dog in the house. Our previous pooch had died a few months before and I did not want the added responsibility of having to feed, walk, train, and pick up hair.... did I already say PICK UP DOG HAIR?
(As you can see, dog hair inside my house is a BIGGIE for me!)

You're probably wondering... Then how did she end up with a pet?

Let's just say that my hubby and the kids can be quite persistent when they want to. After about 2 months, I finally caved in but not before I gave them a list of my requirements.

MOM's Dog Requirements
1. The dog HAD to be smart or easily trainable
2. He had to have little to no shedding
3. I wanted an indoor dog
4. He had to be really friendly and have a fun loving personality

...and that's EXACTLY what we found in our Hungarian Vizsla! I can't imagine my life without him! 

He is MY shadow... he follows me EVERYWHERE... and has to be next to me, on me, or touching me at all times... I LOVE IT!!!!

Jeter LOVES to give "besitos" or kisses! He's especially fond of ears...

He LOVES to cuddle!

He does NOT like to lay on cold floors and prefers fluffy beds. This is his "place"... Whenever we tell him to go "place" he scurries off to his bed...

He is a HYPER dog that needs lots of exercise! He NEVER seems to tire out... He jumps through hoops, fetches, run's like a madman in our back yard, and is GREAT at finding hidden treats...

One of his favorite activities is to race back and forth across the yard chasing the water from the garden hose. He loves to play this game before bath time...

Vizsla's are known for their excellent hunting skills and Jeter is no exception. He likes to hunt for lizards... chase birds... track cats that taunt him by walking right through our back yard... and he's great at alerting us when people walk in front of the house...

This is THE LOOK that melts my heart! Isn't he GORGEOUS?

Do you have a pet that took you by surprise, like my Jeter, and just captured your heart more than you ever thought possible?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Area & Perimeter: A Hands on Approach

Last week we wrapped up our unit on area and perimeter. Let me just say that it was a breath of fresh air after struggling through elapsed time. I think by this point we ALL needed an easier topic to tackle. 

... I know I sure did!

Luckily enough, area and perimeter was the next concept on our pacing guides. I knew this topic tends to come easier for 3rd graders. These are also skills that kids enjoy learning about and lends itself BEAUTIFULLY to hands on learning. So that's exactly what we did!!!!!

 We started off slowly in our textbooks. 
We learned the word "perimeter" and we even practiced our measuring skills.

We then moved on to an interactive activity from Blair Turner that had us using different methods of finding perimeter. For some examples students had to simply add the sides that were given, for others they had to use "tick marks" to count the number of units around a figure. 
I used this activity as an assessment and my students LOVED it!

This student chose to use tick marks to find perimeter.

Next, I gave my students Geoboards with different shapes and asked them to determine the perimeter. That's it... I didn't give any further instruction! (For some this was hard... they wanted to know exactly how I wanted them to find the perimeter... sorry it was time for some problem solving skills to kick in!)

After an initial pause and the deer in headlights look, their math skills took over (thank God) and the class was buzzing.

This student chose to use a ruler to figure out the perimeter.
                                                        We then moved on to area... 

We began in our books and quickly transferred to manipulatives. (Much more exciting!) I gave my students pentominoes, the yellow shapes you see in the picture below, and they practiced finding the area.

Students used square tiles to place on top of the pentominoe letter T.

We ALSO found the perimeter! (I needed my students to "see" the connection between perimeter and area. Plus some extra practice never hurt, right?)   

Eventually they figured out that each square tile was an inch and no longer needed to place the tiles on top.

We then went back to our Geoboards and found both the perimeter and area of a shape. Again I let them use whatever method they felt most comfortable with. The only requirements was that I needed to "see" their thinking. (That's a biggie in my classroom!) 

Another day, I used painters tape to tape off different areas on the floor. At each station I provided students with rulers, Post-its, Expo markers and white boards. Again the only instruction I gave was to determine the perimeter and area of each shape.

Finding area with square Post-its.

Today we learned that we can use our floor tiles and Expo markers as white boards.

As you can see above, this student felt more comfortable using "tick marks" to find the perimeter and that's okay. 
This student used his ruler to find perimeter.
Both groups accomplished the task at hand even though they used different strategies to determine perimeter. YAY!!!! I was SO PROUD of my KIDDOS! 
The best part was that they thought I was the COOLEST TEACHER for letting them use soooooo many Post-its.  :0)

Minecraft-ish math lesson... (I'll do just about anything to ensure they're learning!)
 Our culminating project involved a Minecraft-ish math lesson focusing on area which we completed on Friday!

It was AMAZING to see my students math skills and creativity come together AND to see my students ENJOYING themselves. 
(Poor babies have been working so hard getting ready for the FSA... they so deserved this lesson!)

I began by giving each student a sheet of 1 cm grid paper and telling them to create an original character of their own, similar to Minecraft. It could be an animal, a robot, etc...

Then they created a setting for their characters.
 The next day they created a setting for their character. They could create anything they wanted as long as they made it out of squares. What they came up with was impressive. I told them our Art Teacher would be PROUD!

Notice the rain drops and the lightning coming from the storm clouds.
 For our final step, I gave each student an index card and asked them to find the area of EVERYTHING on their picture! 

 I'm proud to say that after ALL of our hands on learning, I think they've got it!!!!!

Next up, polygons... Stay tuned to see what we're up to!
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