Fun With Fractions

Hi, friends... I'm just popping in today to let you know that I've written a post over at iTeach Third that focuses on the F-word... you know what I'm talking about right...


Year after year this topic seems to be one that 3rd graders struggle with. It is also a topic that we need to make sure that our students understand because it is the foundation for  many further math skills.

In other words, if they leave us with a weak fraction foundation, then they will be doomed forever... they won't be able to share pizzas, measure correctly, bake cakes or even follow recipes!  just kidding, BUT without knowledge of fractions students will NOT be able to do algebra, or 

Click on the picture above to go read about a few tips on how to make learning about fractions fun. Remember we need to make sure that our students leave us with a strong fraction foundation.

Let me know what you think!

What Works For Me: Teacher Appreciation Linky

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week... Woot Woot!!!! Set off the fireworks and send in the band it's time to celebrate ALL that we do... 

This is OUR week to celebrate! 

To express our appreciation for all that you do, I've teamed up with a group of my bloggy friends to share some of our secrets and to give you a few opportunities to participate in some AMAZING giveaways organized by Inspired Owl's Corner and Pawsitively Teaching

Let's get right to it!

Make life easy... use only ONE planner...

I own an Erin Condren Life Planner and I use it for home, work, and business. Having more than one planner is just too much to handle for me. Instead I have decided to simplify my life. 

I've personalized my own labels that I print on Avery Ink Jet Sticker Project Paper and then cut into strips. (Click on the picture to download a FREE copy for yourself.)

Besides my category labels, I like to use stamps and Avery color coding labels. I'm a very visual person so I need color in my planner. For my business I like to keep track of when I have a new blog post or when I post to Instagram or Facebook.

Here's a more detailed look at my planner...

As a busy mom of 2, teacher, TPT'er, and Blogger, staying organized is a must! 

If you are interested in a Life Planner, EC is having a 25% off sale. Also, if you use my referral code you'll receive an email with a coupon for $10.00 off your order.  

Give each of your students a number at the beginning of the year. 

I usually like to wait until the 2nd -3rd week of class since many changes usually occur during those first few weeks. I number my students alphabetically and if I get any students in the middle of the year I just add them to the bottom of my list rather than re-number my kiddos.

Why is this number system SOOOOOO WONDERFUL?

It makes finding out who has yet to turn in their paper much easier.

It helps organize my Parent Contact Log.

It makes filing a breeze.

Can be used as a quick way of recording student responses.

In addition, having a number system that is alphabetical comes in handy when you get a call from the office to line up your students quickly and in alphabetical order for vision and hearing screenings. In these cases all you have to do is line them up in number order.
Have a stash of parent letters printed and handy at ALL TIMES. I've found that whenever I've needed to write a behavior letter or important parent letter one of two things happens. Either my printer runs out of ink or I can't find pretty stationary to write on.

To prevent this from happening, I print a bunch of letters at the beginning of the year and file them away. As I run out of copies, I make more.

If you'd like an editable Weekly Behavior Chart to print and keep handy click on the picture below.

You can read a more detailed post of my Parent Letters System here and you can also check out my Editable parent letters by clicking on the picture below. 

Now that you've read all about my Top 3 Teacher Secrets it's time for a GIVEAWAY!!! 

Enter to win our prize bundles valued at over $475! You read that right... $475.00! Remember the more entries you have on rafflecopter the more chances you have of winning.

Just take a look at everything you could win...One lucky reader will win this entire prize package!!!

Prize Bundle #1 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon

We aren't finished yet....take a look at everything a second lucky winner will win!!!

Prize Bundle #2 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon

Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

You won't want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers!  Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.

LearnZillion: What is it?

Just recently I discovered a GREAT tool for teachers called LearnZillion. And after using it in my classroom with my own 3rd graders,  I knew I just had to share this GEM with all of you!

Keep reading as I break down what this website is all about and what it can do for you and your students.

What is LearnZillion:
LearnZillion is a website with a database of over 2,000 short, teacher created and STANDARDS BASED VIDEO LESSONS. The videos are broken down by grade level, by subject area (Math or ELA), and by standard. This breakdown makes searching for a video on a specific topic easy to do. They are also currently available for 2-12 grades, and it appears that they may soon be adding K-1 as well.

Who Can Use The Site:
Anyone really! Although it was created primarily for teachers, parents, and students, however, homeschoolers would also greatly benefit. The best news is that Learnzillion is 100% FREE to use. School districts also have the option of purchasing a premium membership.

Who Makes The Videos:
A "Dream Team". LearnZillion videos are created by a special group of 200 teachers called the "Dream Team". This group of exceptional teachers are hand selected from a large group of candidates applying for the position. They come from over 42 different states and represent district, private, public, and charter school teachers.

How Do I Get started:


Next you search...

Then search for a video you like... 

Besides the video, you will also see a tab for a list of additional materials such as manipulatives, etc... that you might need during the lesson, printable Teacher's notes (if available), and downloadable handouts (also if available)...

How Can I Use Learnzillion:
  • You can watch the videos as inspiration, or a way to find a new approach to teaching a specific standard
  • You can assign specific videos to students that are absent and need to catch up on material
  • You can assign specific videos to students that might need remediation
  • You can play the video whole class as an introduction or review 
  • You can recommend videos to parents that would like to help their child but don't understand the material
  • You can use the video as a small group activity
These are just a FEW suggestions to get you started! 

I hope you've found this information helpful and are ready to go check it out on your own. 

It's your turn now... I'd like to hear from you all... How DO you or WOULD you use LearnZillion in your own classroom?

Routines: They're NOT only for the Children

For the past month we've been in Testing Mode at our school. That means, we have a modified schedule for lunch, PE, AND Special Areas. In addition to that, we've had to move to a rotating schedule which means some days we have PE and others we don't. 

In other words, we have LOST OUR ROUTINE and the children are NOT THE ONLY ONES FEELING IT!

I've always known that kids need an rely on routines! They like to know what to expect. That's part of the reason why if I know I'm going to be absent I try to give them a heads-up the day before.

However, it never occurred to me how much I NEEDED and relied on routines... Today I realized that teachers need routines just as much as the kids do. 

So what is a teacher like me to do, when her schedule is forced to go all Topsy Turvy due to testing or the unexpected occurs? 

You know what I'm talking about... like when Admin suddenly tells you you're going to have to move to another classroom for a few days because maintenance workers need to remove the concrete surrounding one of the windows in your classroom... or something like that!

After the initial frustration and uncomfortableness that comes with the idea of HAVING to leave the comforts of your room or HAVING to step away from your REGULAR ROUTINE, it's time to 
do what's best for the children AND your sanity!

Embrace the change and make it work FOR YOU instead of against you.

My normal schedule looks something like this...

I have grown to LOVE it... We have become BFF's. My students have grown to love it too and know exactly what comes next!

But then this ugly monster called TESTING comes along and this is what our schedule looks like now... notice the RED!

My 2 hours of uninterrupted ELA time is no more....
My mornings are extremely choppy and then after lunch we go straight until dismissal without any breaks. This makes our day seem SO LONG!  

After being in a bad mood for a few days, not knowing why, it finally occurred to me. I was UPSET with the change. I no longer knew what came next. My routine had been changed and I felt out of place.

I had to create our NEW NORMAL because we were going to have to follow this schedule for a few more weeks.

I combated the choppiness in our schedule by using the first 30 min. for reading our story of the week, going over vocab., and spelling. The next 30 min. we dedicate to writing. And the last hour we work in our Guided Groups and have rotations.

This is our NEW ROUTINE! We WILL SURVIVE the last 20 something days of school that we have left.

What about you?
I'd love to hear how you  deal with changes in your routine? 

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,

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