Sunday, May 15, 2016

Books Teachers Love: May

It's that time again! 12 bloggers are sharing their favorite read aloud for the month AND giving away four of these books for free! 

Yes, I know I am only supposed to blog about one book but I just couldn't help it this time! They were both too great :)

I chose {Weslandia} by Paul Fleischmann
To snag the book {CLICK HERE}


The story is about a young boy named Wesley, who is an oddball kids that is tormented by his peers. As Summer approaches, he decided to create his own civilization in his backyard in an effort to keep busy. Wesley creates a fabulous utopian for himself and manages to create friendships along the way. 

After I read this book, I am going too talk about being different and how it is okay to have our own opinions. 

Also, I am going to have my kids create their own utopia, if they could design their backyard into another world. 

The kids will create their own language, design their own sport, and create their own crop. They will also design the layout of their utopia. Here are some of the pages I will use...


I also create a comprehension questions to go with the book.

If you would like half of the comprehension questions for FREE

To snag all of the questions and the design your own utopia lessons plans...
or the image below...



I would love for you to win {Weslandia} for FREE! 
Enter in the rafflecoptor below for a chance to win books for your classroom! 

Don't forget about these books as you plan! Pin the image below to save these ideas!

I would love for you to following my reading resources Pinterest board so you can check out all the other months! 





Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mastering Multiplication With Otter Creek {Rocket Math}


Hello Hello!

As you are reading this, I am probably doing some meaningless task that all teachers do their first two weeks on Summer break. I like to become a vegetable for a week or so then re-join society the following week ;) 

It is no surprise that 3rd grades overcome lots of hurdles, with multiplication being one of them. We give the speech during meet the teacher and continue to press students AND parents to help them learn! 

When I entered my new school, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they use a program called, "Mastering Math Facts" by Donald B. Crawford. Teachers refer to it as Rocket math or Otter Creek.

 Most teachers teach their students facts in sequential order, "0x any #, 1x any #, 2x#, and so on. Otter Creek teaches math facts in sets with about 4 facts in each set. Each level is repeated until there is automaticity with that set. I was amazed but to me this makes so much more sense. For students to solve fluently and use mental math, knowledge of math facts is essential. Since students will not see sequential facts in daily life, mixing it up is more common to them. 

The sets move from A-W (Why no "X,Y,or Z is beyond me!)
Students are given about a minute for 40 problems. That is SO MUCH I know! Sometimes I cheat and give them 1minute 10-15seconds. I'm a sucker, what can I say?

Students 1st take a handwriting test. They are given a paper like the one below and must copy as many numbers as possible in 30 seconds. The Otter Creek Quizzes have 40 questions. If students cannot physically write 40 numbers in 1 minute, how do we expect them to on a quiz? 
*There is a formula to translate the handwriting test to the quiz but I can't remember…whoops*


Once students begin. I give each one a personalized folder. I used a label to place their class number on the side so I can re-use.



Each folder houses their data tracker. The color each candy piece when they complete a set. Their quiz for that day is in there along with a grid of QR codes that scan to online flashcards for each set on Quizlet. 



I have a clear plastic filling bin I bought from Michael's for $4. 
Each letter stands for a set from Otter Creek. 


Each letter has the set quizzes and a certificate. 
I sit at my round table and grade (I use an answer key). 
When a student passes, I quickly grab the next set from the filing cabinet and write their name on a certificate. Then I shove the papers into their math fact folder. It is so simple! 


As the kids pass (or not pass) I write the letter they are on for the following week on this tracker sheet. This is great for me because I can communicate with parents how quickly they are mastering their facts, or how LONG they are taking on a particular set. 



Everyone has a different take with Multiplication, it is the BEAST that we 3rd grade teachers scratch our scalps every year trying to find the perfect way. 
…& don't get me started with division haha ;)

Otter creek comes in a pack for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division so it works for me. 

How have you helped your kids with mastering their facts ?

Before I forget, if you use Otter creek. Download the certificates and data tracker that you see in the pictures above! :)


If you don't own Otter Creek, this organizational tool can certainly help you with any program that you use! 




Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Code Word: Classroom Management Strategy

Are you an elementary classroom teacher that is tired of your kids moving and getting supplies when you are giving directions? Check out this simple, easy to implement classroom management strategy!


Hey, Friends!

I am here sharing a quick tip for you + a freebie! :)
Do you just GO NUTS (be honest) when you are giving directions about an interactive notebook and the kids start taking out supplies? Or how about when you are explaining how to do something, and they immediately start moving when you are taking?!

DRIVES ME BONKERS!

I hang up this sign:



Each day I rotate through the students and they can pick the secret code of the day.

When it is time to give directions I say something along the lines of, "LISTEN! A Code word will follow!"

I read on my {Instagram Account} that a teacher uses this idea but chooses academic vocabulary as her code word---which I think is BRILLIANT!

Do you want to use this for your own classroom?
Click {HERE} or the image below! 

Are you an elementary classroom teacher that is tired of your kids moving and getting supplies when you are giving directions? Check out this simple, easy to implement classroom management strategy!

Also, don't forget to pin this image so you can always access this freebie! 

Are you an elementary classroom teacher that is tired of your kids moving and getting supplies when you are giving directions? Check out this simple, easy to implement classroom management strategy!


I wold love for you to follow my "Manage Your Classroom" Pinterest board! 


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Giveaway! {100 Gift Card & Teacher Items! }



Hey there! 
We are a few weeks into Summer and Teacher Appreciation is in the air! 
Let's celebrate with a little giveaway! 

I am here to share my FAVORITE teacher item! 


I write an {entire blog post} about these nifty things! 
It's such a fabulous way to {save paper} in the classroom! 
To read about dry erase pockets {click here}
To check out other ways I cut down on the copy count {click here}


These slips were so phenomenal, I had to create games to use them with! 
Watch this video to see an example! 


Get the games by clicking {HERE}


Get the games by clicking {HERE}

Enter below to win a $100 gift card! 



I would love for you to win one of our teacher items!
Enter below for a chance to win the dry erase pack and the boogie board!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, April 23, 2016

10 Eco-Friendly Classroom Ideas to Reduce Paper Waste

Elementary classroom teacher looking for earth day activities and clasroom ideas to reduce reuse and recycle? These tips and tricks to a more paperless classroom are perfect for Earth Day and conservation!


Hey Friends! I am thrilled to share with you how my class attempts to fall on the greener side of classrooms. I love using technology to ease the paper count, so let's dive on in! :)



Do you give spelling tests each week? 
I feel like I am wasting class time giving test and grading them. 
I put all of the lists on {Spelling City}, and the kids take the test on Friday's. They screen shot their score and upload it to Edmodo or {SeeSaw} depending on how I am feeling that day ;)
*Option*
1. When I was a first year teacher, I only had 5 iPads, so that Friday I had the kids take their test throughout the day. 
2. If you don't have access to {Seesaw} or Edmodo, you can simply have the kids show you there score and record it in the grade book :) 


Elementary classroom teacher looking for earth day activities and clasroom ideas to reduce reuse and recycle? These tips and tricks to a more paperless classroom are perfect for Earth Day and conservation!

Have you heard of {Dry Erase Pockets} ? 
Get these pockets {HERE}.
These things are a life saver! 
Check out all the ways that I use these amazing babies by 


{Google Forms} are the bees knees.  
You can create sign ups, checklists, and more without writing anything down.
I lose absolutely anything that is in a paper form because I am an irresponsible millenial  #OwnIt

To check out my No Homework Documentation 
To snag the FREE download for the restroom pass:


Do you have a recycling bin in your classroom? Every classroom in my school has a bin because every two weeks we have our student government kids come by to pick it up. 

Elementary classroom teacher looking for earth day activities and clasroom ideas to reduce reuse and recycle? These tips and tricks to a more paperless classroom are perfect for Earth Day and conservation!

I created "Recycler" as a {classroom job} to help encourage others in our classroom to recycle.


To read about our classroom economy


This is the first year that I have been able to send a newsletter out in a timely manner. 
I LOVE to blog, so why not create a blog for my classroom? 
Each week, I posted updates and parent tips to keep parents in the loop.
One of the BIGGEST lifesavers to this idea, was embedding a Google Calendar on the blog. 
Every important date that I receive immediately gets put on the Google Calendar. Parents have a hub to check everything, and they can even sync the dates to their iPhone!
This has made managing information so much easier on my life! ha! 

To read more about it {CLICK HERE}

Elementary classroom teacher looking for earth day activities and clasroom ideas to reduce reuse and recycle? These tips and tricks to a more paperless classroom are perfect for Earth Day and conservation!



Do you have animals at your school? 
We have a TON of different animals in our science lab and it can be expensive to feed them all! 
We have a garden are outside and each grade level gets a bed to plant vegetables. 
Some of our grown food is used to feed the science lab animals. 
This picture shows a group of my kids planting a tomato plant since it is in their standard to learn the process :) 

Elementary classroom teacher looking for earth day activities and clasroom ideas to reduce reuse and recycle? These tips and tricks to a more paperless classroom are perfect for Earth Day and conservation!

Our science lab teacher also shredded paper that we have recycled as bedding for the guinea pigs and other animals.


I repeat, I LOSE EVERYTHING THAT IS PAPER.
It is seriously my downfall and I admit it. However, it is one of the reasons I am probably so tech savvy, ha! I use an external hard drive to house all of my resources that I use throughout the year. 
If I reformat something differently, I just scan it to myself and them place it in the correct folder. 

Elementary classroom teacher looking for earth day activities and clasroom ideas to reduce reuse and recycle? These tips and tricks to a more paperless classroom are perfect for Earth Day and conservation!

If you want to see visuals with how I organize all my files:



Those fluorescent lights, well, they suck. They just do. 
For some reason the bright lights rile up my kids also. 
In the afternoon (especially after lunch) I turn off the lights and open the big window. 
It calms the room and reduced the amount of electricity that we use. 


This seems pretty much like, DUH...but it must be said! ;) 
Using task card recording sheets? They just need to put the numbers in, so print those sheet two per 1 page. Long passages? Print two per page! 


I am sure that you try to make a positive contact with parents weekly, but most of the time we are stuck in meetings, doing a zillion and one things, and herding a cattle of kids. It is difficult to actually sit down and write that positive note then remember to send it out. & What if I do all of that and the kids forget the note or loses it on the bus? 

With Class Dojo, I can quickly message parents with positive remarks, send pictures of their hard working kids, all while immediately documenting the kids behavior. 

I would love for you to read more about how I utilize this FREE program.
{CLICK HERE} to read more.

Elementary classroom teacher looking for earth day activities and clasroom ideas to reduce reuse and recycle? These tips and tricks to a more paperless classroom are perfect for Earth Day and conservation!

WOAH. This post was only meant to be 5 tips but it quickly spurred into more! 
I hope you enjoyed and possibly picked up some tips along the way! 


Want more technology tips and classroom ideas? 
Follow my Pinterest board! 


Pin the Image below so you can reference all these blog posts later!