Monday, March 31, 2014

Classroom Tour...It's About Damn Time! 2013-2014

Hey All!
So, this post has been sitting in my drafts since..well...forever ago.  It's not that I don't love my classroom, I do.  It's just's not totally perfect yet.  I can be a bit of a snob about what goes into my classroom or having things 'just right'.  At least I can admit it, right?? The building I teach in is over 50 years old and I am in the eldest wing.  There is some serious ugly going on.  No joke. My ceiling is pretty disgusting, so I try to do anything I can to distract from it.  I also really, really need new doors.  They are so worn and have seen MUCH better days.  AND the worn wooden shelves aren't my favorite either, but what can you do??
It's not all that bad and the important thing is that it's a safe place to get some learning done, which I think it accomplishes! Unless there's something lurking in the ceiling that I don't know about...

I kid, I kid!!!

Anyways, I kept thinking I would wait until the room looked better, but that day has yet to arrive.  Without further ado, this is what life looks like for this short and sassy third grade teacher and her 26 sassy students!


This picture is taken from the front of my room.  My student desks are always in groups, I love the collaboration going on between them! Each group has a designated color: Magenta, Orange, Lime, Teal, and Purple. 

Here's a close up of one of my drawer systems. The caddies on top hold hi-lighters (of course they're in coordinating colors) pencils and a pencil sharpener.  They also have a place to turn in work quickly.  I'll give you a peek inside the kids are responsible for keeping them, you've been warned. 

Top drawer are student supply buckets, second drawer has a set of dry erase boards, markers, and erasers, and the bottom drawer holds student headphones in baggies. 

Here's a view of the back of my classroom. 

The Flavor of the Week board features a different student from the class each week.

The beloved CRAFT board, from Ladybug Teacher Files displays the reading strategies and skills we are continually working on.  You can see my favorite reading genre posters made by Molly Maloy from Lessons with Laughter.  

Reading is a Treat is where my students can keep track of their Reading Log assignments.

Independent reading bags from Really Good Stuff hang on 3-M hooks at the back of my room.  I love that this doesn't take up any of my shelf space!!

A few of my favorite sweet shoppe touches...glittery lollipops...

 and glittery popsicle bunting!

This area looks nothing like this any more...the old classroom computer is gone. The adorable gum ball machine is gone...and the 6 Traits of Writing poster is re-vamped.

More fun touches...bright cupcakes...

writing center supplies...

I'm loving all of the bright colors!

I love these theme posters..and my fluffy ribbon bunting! 

This map was an amazing Five Below find! It comes with animals that velcro on, this will be great when we study animal habitats!

Supply bins that hold extra supplies as well as some Word Work options.

This is my closet door that's been covered with contact paper.  It was too ugly to leave plain! There's room for featured student work as well as our hallway pass system.

Here's a shot of the front of the room.  More Daily 5 supplies, job board, Clip Chart, CCSS I Can statements, vocabulary, and our daily schedule...phew! That's a whole lot of stuff in one little corner!

Another view of the front.  My Smart Board, document camera, calendar, and class behavior system.

This is a view of my teacher area.  I was so glad to get rid of my desk and just use my small group table.  You can read more about how I organize my space HERE
**Don't worry- I do not still have leaves hanging in my windows, I told you I've been meaning to post this forever!

Last corner is my classroom library.  The paper lanterns and bunting make me happy!

Spy that cute little cupcake rug!?!? That came from my sweet, sweet blogging buddy Lana at For the Love of Teaching.  I big puffy heart her.  

Sorry for the picture overload, but I hope you liked getting a sneak peek into the room! 
Anyone else on spring break? Mine has just started and it is GLORIOUS!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Boy, We Were Wrong About the Solar System- A Science Must Read Mentor Text

My kiddies have been loving our unit on the solar system and I have to admit that I'm having a lot of fun with it to!  We love exploring each of the planets in our solar system, creating craters in the sand like on the moon, and demonstrating how eclipses work with flashlights and our globe.  

I don't know about you, but our science text book is really, really outdated.  This is especially difficult with the solar system since so many things have changed! Enter: Boy We Were Wrong About the Solar System!  

To kick off our solar system unit I read Kathleen Kudlinski's informational book that covers from the early greek astronomers, to Isaac Newton, up to the demotion of Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet.  It's a great text that clues readers into how we are always making new discoveries in science and changing our thinking of what we know.  

Poor Pluto, was a Young Authors Award winner, written and illustrated by third-grade students is another beloved read aloud for this unit.  The illustrations hand-drawn by the third grade students and simple story line are so enjoyable! In the story a third grade class welcomes Pluto to be a part of their room, since he is no longer a planet.  In the end, they decide it's best for Pluto to return to the solar system.  Adorable, fun, and the it ignites a lot of students into wanting to write their own stories! 

For more great science read alouds check out Collaboration Cuties! I adore their weekly linky parties and adding new books to my Amazon wish list! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sunshine and Liebster Award! Oh My!

Do remember the line in Kevin Henkes's Chrysanthemum, "she blushed, she beamed, she bloomed"? That's how I felt when both Ashley from The Sassy School Teacher  and Jamie from Teaching Tidbits and More both notified me that they had nominated little old me for the Liebster Award and the Sunshine Blogger Award! How sweet are they!?!? To be honest, if Kevin Henkes's was writing about me the line probably would've been, "she giggled, she screeched, she squealed"!!!


The rules for both of these awards are the same, please forgive me for double dipping on my post, but I'm not sure I could come up with 22 interesting facts about myself!

1. Post 11 random facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions written by the person who nominated you
3. Nominate 11 bloggers you think bring sunshine to the world
4. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer

11 Questions from Ashley: 
1. What was your first job before teaching? 
At age 14 I was hired as a Jr. Day Camp Counselor at my town.  I spent the day scrubbing glue off of tables and organizing the craft closet!

2. What was your most embarrassing teaching moment? 
Hmm...not sure if this is embarrassing or just a silly moment, BUT earlier this year my students were working hard solving math problems on their dry-erase boards.  It was one of those rare moments with my class where everything is absolutely quiet.  Well, I heard a 'choo' sound and said, "Bless You".  The entire class erupted in laughter, apparently the air freshener had made a little 'choo' sound when it puffed out it's spray. Oops!

3. If you were not a teacher, what would you be doing? 
I'd LOVE to be an organizer or decorator...or a party planner! 

4. What motivates you? 
Seeing a little bit of progress made, really motivates me. It tells me I'm moving in the right direction!

5. What makes you unmotivated you? 
Real Housewives marathons on's pretty much guaranteed that I won't be accomplishing anything on a day I catch that! 

6. Think of a time you were brought to tears a good way!
My Tier 3 student took his time on his Revolutionary War test a month ago (and got a perfect score) and wrote a page and half on his extended response! I e-mailed his mother the great news and we both admitted to crying tears of joy! I was so proud of him!

7. I CAN'T live phone. It's sick and sad, but true!

8. But I CAN live without....Standardized Testing

9. Do you have a favorite space in your classroom? 
Yes, I love my teacher/small group table! 

10. The best vanilla ice-cream with cinnamon sprinkled on top! Love it! 

11. Who do you most admire? 
All of the amazing, independent, and sassy women in my family!

11 Questions from Jamie

1. What is your favorite subject to teach?
Reading! I love get lost in a book with my students.

2. What is your favorite thing to wear to work? 
I love to wear my jeggings and black comfy!

3. Who is your favorite children's author?
Roald, Doreen, Jan, J.K., Kevin, Eric Care...come on, Jamie, are you really going to make me choose???

4. What do you like to do in your free time? 
Read, bake, blog, blog stalk, and craft!

5. Do you prefer movies or books? 
Books! I love 'em!

6. What is your perfect date night? 
Cuddling and being cozy on the couch with one another.

7. How do you bring sunshine to someone else? 
Smiling! Smiling is my favorite! (Read that in your best Buddy the Elf voice) 

8. How did you know that teaching was for you? 
I'm a third generation teacher! My mom and grandma both taught and I've always known it's what I was meant to do!

9. What is your favorite just for fun activity you do at school? 
Just for fun?? Do we have time for that anymore? 
I love to squeeze in novel and author studies in with my class for fun! 

10. What is your favorite food? 
Popcorn! I could eat it for every meal! 

11. Would you rather have a lazy quiet day at home or hang out with family and friends? 
I love to hang out with friends and family in a relaxing setting! So, a little bit of both! 

I nominate: 

My 11 Questions:

1. What is your favorite subject to teach?
2. What is a piece of advice you'd like to give to new teachers?
3. What's one of your guilty pleasures? 
4. How would you describe your classroom using three words? 
5. When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
6. How do you try and spread your sunshine to others?
7. What's your song anthem?
8. Name your teaching necessity.
9. What's your favorite snack food?
10. Who is your favorite children's author?
11. Why did you decide to start blogging?

I can't wait to read any responses! Thanks again to Ashley and Jamie for nominating me!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Currently and a Freebie

Hey There! Isn't Farley's new blog design GORGEOUS!?!? I'm in LURVE! Sigh.  It's horrible that I haven't even had my first blogiversary and want to update the look of my site?? I guess you always want what you don't have.

Anyway, without further ado.....
Listening: Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do, I'm visiting my sister tonight and we're cuddled on the couch viewing one of our favorite movies from when we were younger! Ahhh, Guy Paterson...SOOOOOO dreamy!

Loving: On Friday we had an Institute Day which included some much appreciated plan time. Yay! I was finally able to tackle some big projects and organize a much needed mess in my file binders!

Thinking: In less than a week our state testing will be over and I won't have to think of it any longer. Buh-bye ISAT, it's been swell! 

Wanting: Frozen on DVD...okay, I admit it.  I am a Disney nerd and can't get enough of this movie! Currently I'm trying to convince my sister to dress up as Elsa and Ana for Halloween. Ha!

Needing: To kick my soda habit. Usually I'm not too bad...but lately I've been a soda junkie.  Lent just might be the perfect time for me to cleanse my system of it!

??????? Skinny Crayola Markers, Flair Pens, and One-Touch Stapler...can you guess what these are?

Above I mentioned a freebie, I'm sharing with you a little prezzie I'm giving my kids to lift their spirits during testing week.  Lucky Pennies! Just print and add your own shiny penny to yours for your kiddies. 

Just follow the image to my TPT store and download. :) 

Now I'm off to check out all of the other million Currently's already uploaded!