Browsing Tag

third grade

End of the Year A-Z Countdown

I have been doing an A-Z Countdown in my classroom every year for a few years now. It’s my FAVORITE way to end the year!

What is an A-Z Countdown?

In the last 26 days of the school year, you celebrate a different letter of the alphabet by doing something special. I love using it in my third grade classroom because it’s the first time my students will have end of the year testing and it’s a stressful time of year! The A-Z Countdown lets them have something to look forward to each day in between all the test prep and allows a little extra fun in our room. I have seen a lot of people do an A to Z countdown over the years but I’ve tailored my A to Z countdown to be the most exciting it can be for my class and now yours too!

Why Do It?

It’s FUN for everybody involved! My students and I both love doing this. It also makes the last 26 days of the school year so special for us and lets me treasure the time we have together a little bit more.

How to Get Started

I have a FREEBIE in my TPT store to help you get started! Download it for free to see what I use for my A-Z Countdown and then change it to what you need in your own room!

Want Details on Each Day?

There is a detailed guide on what I do for each A-Z Countdown Day in my own classroom here!

Every day of the countdown you get:
-A poster to display what day it is
-parent reminders to send home each day
-a page that shows how I’ve implemented that countdown day in my own classroom! This includes tips and pictures to make the most out of each day!

The A to Z countdown has been used in my classroom four years in a row. This packet gives you the tips to make each day the best it can be!

I hope you have a happy end of the school year!!

Uncategorized

April Math Centers

These are the centers that I am putting out for the month of April. These April Math Centers are spiraling what my students are working on as we get closer to state testing. We are working on measuring with rulers and making line plots with fractional amounts.

April Math Centers Whole Group Lesson:

On Mondays, I do a whole group lesson on whatever school we are learning. To practice measurement, we glued this interactive lesson into our math notebooks during our whole group time.

At Teacher Time:

When students come see me at the back table, they are working on basic, on grade-level work. This week, they were given a packet of measuring worksheets to help them practice measuring to the nearest quarter inch. It’s difficult to use real rulers to practice this skill since a real ruler goes up to 1/16 of an inch. This packet I made perfectly aligns with what third graders need to know. You can find this packet HERE. 🙂 

At Free Choice:

When students go to their Free Choice April Math Centers station, they get to choose what they’d like to work on. All of the centers shown in the picture above are what we have on our Choice Chart this month. Each time they complete a center, they X it out. My students get to go to Free Choice for one of their three centers each day.

I am a big fan of puzzles so I’ve put my Spring Math Puzzles for Third Grade as the first six centers on my kids’ choice chart .

Next, to help them practice with rulers, I have them practicing measuring sand castles to the nearest inch. You can find this here. 

I’m also a big fan of brain teasers! There a lot of great ones on TPT. Here’s the one I have in my math centers for April. Emojis are great!

Each month, I also put a math sort in my free choice centers. These are great cut and paste activities that I require my students do each month. Their easy to use as a quick check and my kids really enjoy them too! This month, my students are doing the one that has them practice finding the measurement to the nearest inch, half inch, and quarter inch.

I am literally OBSESSED with these color by number pages! There are SO many to choose from on TPT but these are my favorite (from Inspiration 4 Education) for three reasons. First, they are reasonably priced. Second, you can’t see what the picture is until it’s colored in. Third, the questions and answers are all on the same page which means less copies for me and easier to follow directions for my kiddos! The picture above is from the Easter set I have!

Next up, I put my fractions as whole numbers game in my centers. Students glue each fraction next to the correct picture. It’s an easy way to practice this tricky skill for third graders. A lot of my students still mix up the difference between 4/4 and 4/1 at this point in the year. This is a great spiral review for them. Find it here. 

Teacher Choice Centers:

Teacher Choice centers are the centers I choose for my students to do each day. These are all of my Teacher Choice centers for April Math Centers.

 

I have a couple of Hungry for Peeps games out this week. My students have to sort the peeps into the correct mouth! It’s great for the month of April and is adorably cute:) The Hungry for Peep games I have out right now are identifying fractions, equivalent fractions, and division facts but I have over 30 of them in my TPT store. 

My students are also making Bunny Line Plots using this fun game from my April Monthly Math Centers pack. They have to practice making a line plot based on how tall each bunny is as a fraction.

This April Fool’s Game is also at my Teacher Choice centers this week. It helps students practice finding the area of rectilinear shapes and plays along with the April Fool’s Day theme.

My students can also ALWAYS use more practice with telling time. This game called Grab It! is perfect for practicing that skill. You can find it here.  It’s perfect for April Math Centers.

In addition to the games above, I have an Earth Day game out right now too where students learn about recycling and also practice measuring to the nearest quarter inch. I have a lot of these in my store. Here’s the link to the measuring to the nearest quarter inch and here’s the link to all of them. 

These Easter egg puzzles are a great racing game for up to four students. The kids each take a different colored egg and race to put all of their egg pieces back together again. Whoever does it the quickest wins! Find it here.  Great game for the month of April!

This QR code game is also a big hit in my classroom. Each time they solve a card, they scan the QR code and find the letter that matches it. They are able to solve the Mystery Phrase using the cards provided. You can find it here and this one practices identifying fractions.  These April Math Centers are perfect for Teacher Choice.

I love to use this game with four students in my classroom at a time. Each team gets a different set of cards that line up in a different order. This month, the cards practice breaking up equations using the distributive property. Find Line Them Up here!

This game is called Easter Egg Collector! Students have to sort the eggs into the correct basket based on the answers they provide. I have my students playing the Comparing Fractions version but you can find over 30 versions of it right here. 

Another skill my students always need more help with is creating and answering questions about bar graphs and pictographs. I put out this game this week that has students create questions about silly bar graphs and they had a blast with it! When a graph is silly, the kids are so much more engaged while learning at the same time! Here it is. 

Last but not least, my students are also practicing measurement with flamingos, unicorns, and dinosaurs! Sorry the pictures above are a little blurry. I quickly took some snapshots of them when they were already in their bags ready to go! I have my students start with the flamingos (measure to the nearest inch), then do the unicorns (measure to the nearest half inch), and then to the nearest quarter inch (dinosaurs). Find it here. 

That’s a wrap! These are all of the centers I am using in the first two weeks of April! I’ll be back in a few weeks to tell you what centers I’m putting out next! The picture above is is the homework I’ll be sending home to go along with measurement.

Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to blog about!

Math

Tires in the Classroom

Instagram is my newest obsession lately. There are so many inspiring ideas on the site! I found the idea of painting tires for my classroom on @cootiesandcuties Instagram page. Using the tires in the classroom has been a big hit!  I posted about how my tires came out and lots of people had questions about how to do it.  Here’s my step by step guide.

How to Paint Tires to Use in the Classroom:

Step 1: Lay a tarp in the back of your car. You don’t want grease from the tires in your car!

Step 2: Call car repair shops and ask if they’ll donate old tires to your classroom. When I called a local one, they said they had over 100 to choose from each week and I could have the pick of the lot! It was awesome!

Step 3: I took them to the local car wash and put in $5 to get 10 minutes worth of suds. I hosed them down till all the grease and grime was gone.

Step 4: Let them dry out for 24 hours.

Step 5: Buy your spray paint. I got the brand shown in the picture above. It worked fine on the pink, yellow, green, and blue tires. The purple tire was a little off. More on that later.

Step 6: Put your tires up on a piece of wood or a brick so their not flat on the ground. Make sure you spray in the yard and not on concrete! I spray painted the top at about 1:00 in the afternoon and flipped them over at 4:00 pm to do the bottoms. I let them dry in the yard for 24 hours. It only took one can of paint for each tire. I bought two for each tire and got to return half of the spray paint to Home Depot!

Step 7: After the first 24 hours, I let them dry for a week on my screen-in-porch. I wanted to make absolutely sure that those tires were not going to get paint on my kiddos’ clothes but it was hard to wait to bring those tires in the classroom!

Step 8: A week later, the tires were ready to go! The tires in the classroom look FANTASTIC! The only issue I had was bringing in the purple one. It was flaky and the paint was peeling off though I hadn’t done anything different to it. I had my kids take it out to recess one day this week and shake it, throw it, and pummel it a bit to make sure all of the excess paint was off of it. Though the bottom of the purple tire’s uncolored now, it’s been doing fine since we did that. I’m guessing the purple tire was different because it’s a larger tire and probably a different brand than the others. The paint reacted different on it and didn’t bond quite as well.

Overall, the project only cost me about $35 total! Both my students and I LOVE the new additions to our classroom! They make great alternative seating when we are working around the room and are very popular when we are doing independent reading.  I think that it doesn’t matter what kind of paint you get at the store too! I did a lot of reading online before tackling this project and all sorts of brands work. Painting tires seems to be a kind of guess and check system to see if the tires you get will work with the paint you buy. If you decide to take this on, best of luck to you!! 🙂

Follow me on Instagram for more teacher tips and ideas! @TheLifetimeLearner

Classroom Organization, Reading, Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day Math

Valentine’s Day is almost here! I have a lot of Valentine’s Day math packets, puzzles, games, and centers in my TPT store now that I’ve been on TeachersPayTeachers for about a year and a half.

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I LOVE math centers and use them on a a weekly basis in my classroom. To make my life a little easier, I’ve started to create Third Grade Monthly Math Centers for each month of the year. Click here for the February Math Centers. 

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Last year, I created some Valentine’s Day puzzles that my class cannot get enough of. They are so stinkin’ cute!

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The cool part about the Valentine’s Day math puzzles is you can print them on colored paper and go, have students color them first, or have students create their own Valentine’s Day puzzle!

These links will take you to each set of puzzles:

Valentine’s Day Multiplication Puzzles

Valentine’s Day Division Puzzles

Valentine’s Day Addition Puzzles

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I also created a spiral review packet for both third grade and kindergarten students for Valentine’s Day. Each page contains a fun fact about Valentine’s Day too! Here they are in action!

You can get part of each of these for FREE too!

Kindergarten Valentine’s Day Math Packet FREEBIE!

Third Grade Valentine’s Day Math Packet FREEBIE!

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The last Valentine’s Day item I have in my teacherspayteachers store is a game called “Let’s Decorate Valentines!” and it’s a LOT of fun! Each time a child gets a question correct, they get to add decorations to their Valentine. The first student to get ten decorations on their card wins the game!

The best part about this game is you can reuse with any set of task cards you have!

I have this game available in my store for over 30 skills!

Click this link to check them all out 🙂

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Are you doing anything special with your class to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? My class has been tracked-out (on vacation!) for the last three weeks so our first day back will be February 13th. I am super excited to put these games out as math centers next week!

I hope you and your class have  a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with love and laughter!

 

 

 

Math

Third Grade Math Standards

Today, I’m talking about how I teach the third grade Common Core Math Standards each year. This is my fourth year teaching third grade and I feel like I have finally structured the Third Grade Math Standards the way that makes the most sense logically. I’ve also created a math unit  and games for each math standard that I’ll be sharing!

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Click the hyper-linked pink words to take you to each math unit!

Week 1: Place Value + Addition and Subtraction w/No Regrouping (3.NBT.2)
Week 2: Add and Subtract with Regrouping (3.NBT.2)
Week 3: Rounding to the Nearest Ten and Hundred(3.NBT.1)
Week 4: Geometry (3.G.1)
Week 5: Geometry (3.G.1)
Week 6: Multiplication Strategies: Arrays, Repeated Addition, Equal Groupings, and Skip Counting (3.OA.1)
Week 7: Division Strategies: Repeated Subtraction, Equal Groupings, Skip Counting, and Fact Families (3.OA.2 + 3.OA.6)
Week 8: Fact Families and Unknown Factors (3.OA.4 + 3.OA.6)
Week 9: Multiplication and Division Word Problems (3.OA.3)
Week 10: Multiplication Fact Practice (3.OA.7)
Week 11: Division Fact Practice (3.OA.7)
Week 12: Multiples of 10 (3.NBT.3)
Week 13: Properties of Multiplication and Division (3.OA.5)
Week 14: 2 Step Word Problems (3.OA.8)
Week 15: 2 Step Word Problems (3.OA.8)
Week 16: Patterns (3.OA.9)
Week 17: Pictographs and Bar Graphs (3.MD.3)
Week 18: Measure to Nearest ¼ Inch with Ruler (3.MD.4)
Week 19: Tiling with Area/Multiplying to Find Area (3.MD.5+3.MD.6+3.MD.7a+3.MD.7b)
Week 20: Rectilinear Area(3.MD.7d)
Week 21: Perimeter (3.MD.8)
Week 22: Find Unknown Side Length Given Area or Perimeter (3.MD.8) +Area and Perimeter Word Problems
Week 23: Identify and Partition Fractions (3.NF.1 and 3.G.2)
Week 24: Putting Fractions on a Number Line+ Distance Between Fractions on Number Lines (3.NF.2)
Week 25: Equivalent Fractions (3.NF.3a,b)
Week 26: Comparing Fractions (3.NF.3d)
Week 27: Fractions as Whole Numbers (3.NF.3c)
Week 28: Telling Time (3.MD.1)
Week 29: Elapsed Time (3.MD.1)
Week 30: Units of Measurement (grams/kilograms + liters/milliliters) (3.MD.2)
Week 31: Line Plots (3.MD.4)
Week 32: Review –Multiple Choice (All Standards)
Week 33: Review– Multiple Choice (All Standards)
Week 34: Review—Multiple Choice (All Standards)

If there isn’t a hyperlink on one of the weeks, it means I’m still in the process of creating those math units.

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3rd Grade Math Homework

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Two years ago, I spent about six months creating the perfect homework for my third grade students to review all of these essential skills. Each page has 10 problems of NEW material on the front and ten problems of SPIRAL material on the back so students are practicing all concepts taught on a weekly basis.

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I have now used it for a whole year and the results in my class were amazing. I love it and I think you will too!

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It’s available by quarter or you can get the entire year BUNDLE for 20% off! Check out the first week for FREE here!

 

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Math, Uncategorized

Classroom Reveal

I am so excited to show you what my third grade classroom looks like. My grade level decided to change the set up of our rooms this year. All of our rooms have to look the same (furniture wise) since we change classrooms every nine weeks.  Let me give you a tour around my classroom…here is my classroom reveal !!

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When you first walk into the room, this is what you see. I’m grouping my kids based on Kagan seating arrangements this year and I’m super excited to see how it works. We had some training before the school year started during the first week of July about cooperative learning and how to implement it in your classroom.

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In this picture, you can see my collaboration wall up close that is right next to the smartboard. I’ve noticed the need for some question stems so I created these for my classroom wall last weekend. I think they turned out beautifully:)

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When you first walk into the room, to the immediate left are the cubbies and my small group table. I have been using my new classroom set-up for a week and I’m liking the table on this side of the room. I got the adorable metal stools from Five Below back in February. I can fit 9-10 kids around this table thanks to the stools (though normally, I only have about six at a time)! My kids also love to grab a stool for flexible seating during book buddies or math centers.

Behind the table, I keep my coupon rewards toolbox and more books from our classroom library. The very top shelf is where I store my small group materials each week.

In the first picture on the left, you can see that most of our computers are along the back wall. We use them for AR and Achieve3000. I have computers, iPads, and iTouches in my room for students to use.

 

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On top of the cubbies, I place my book bins. Students keep one book in their caddy on their table and the rest of the books go in their book bin on this wall. That way, students don’t shove them in their desk and ruin my books!

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In the middle of my room, I now have my large rectangular table. I used to store this table against the wall and a bunch of junk always got piled on top of it. It’s now housing my projector and document camera. I love how I’m table to keep my laptop and supplies on it too! I’ve even squeezed a few stools from Target underneath of it as well. We used to have big projector carts that we had to put the projectors on top of. Kids who sat in the back of the room would have trouble seeing the board but this table solves that problem!

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In the corner, I have my supplies cabinet and some flexible seating items. I keep all extra classroom supplies, some manipulatives, some games, and random odds and ends inside of it. On the front is my reading and math charts that the kids fill out on a daily basis when they complete their homework or pass a multiplication or division quiz. On the other side of the cabinet, I have my stunning new schedule from Ladybug Files. I am still swooning about how pretty it is.  I also store a rolly cart with some classroom books and some pillows/stuffed animals for kids to grab during reading time in the corner. It’s a great hiding spot for the mess!

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Against the far wall, I now house my math center bins and my teacher desk is back to back with my large teacher cart. I have students complete math centers three days a week in my room. They check the smartboard to see what centers they are going to that day and then grab the appropriate boxes. I was so happy to find these large plastic containers on sale at Target this past spring because buckets and bags just weren’t doing the trick the past three years! These work perfectly and do a great job keeping both the kids and me organized! The reading posters you see are also posted as a reference for students year-round. I put an arrow above the one we are currently working on. They are from Jen Sykes on TPT!

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I’m also liking where my teacher desk is now because it’s more open and available to the class. I almost never sit at it but now that it’s moved closer to the action (from where it was in the corner), I’m hoping I’ll use it more or the kids will have access to it for rewards on a weekly basis. I’ll see where this year takes me!

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The large teacher cabinet has my calendar on the side of it. It also has my Super Improver Wall on the front and my birthday chart. This year, I made my own Super Improver chart with animals that the students will level through. I’m super excited about it and they are too!

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Right next to the teacher cabinet is now my FAVORITE PART OF THE ROOM! It’s my reading nook! I have never had a place where students can go and read. The kids are already flocking to it on a daily basis and we’ve only been in school a week. It has about half of my classroom library books in it, a bin filled with rugs and carpets, and a cool chair I use for my Super Improver of the Day to read in.

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As you head back towards the door, against the final wall, is my whiteboard and built in bookshelves.

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I keep my job chart and classroom rules (from Whole Brain Teaching) on the board. I use the whiteboard and SmartBoard pretty evenly. I really like to hang my anchor charts and book lists on the white board as well throughout the year.

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This cute little cart was found last January and I couldn’t pass it up! It’s perfect for every time we have to move rooms. I keep my Teacher Toolbox on top of it and random odds and ends on the other two shelves. On the very top, I keep wipes to clean hands and the board, RallyCoach pencils, checking pens, and tape/staplers for the kids to use.

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And that leads us back to the door! I hope you enjoyed seeing my classroom reveal and I’d love to see yours! Leave me a link in the comments below!

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Classroom Organization, Uncategorized

Favorite Third Grade Read Alouds

Read aloud is one of my favorite parts of our daily schedule. I believe that it truly helps my students form a love for reading and a love for learning. It is so important for students, no matter what age they are, to have literature read-aloud to them. In my classroom, I choose books that are both engaging and purposeful to help my students learn the standards while enjoying themselves at the same time. Today, I’m talking about my favorite third grade read alouds.

Over the past few years, I have read-aloud many books to my students. Some have been more exciting than others. That’s why I have put together a list for you of ten books that my third grade students absolutely love year after year. Here are my favorite third grade read alouds:

#1: The Doll People

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This series is amazing. It’s written by the same woman who wrote The Babysitters Club series along with Laura Godwin. It’s a wonderful book about dolls that come to life when the humans are away, and it’s captured the hearts of my students year after year without fail. Some years, we read the sequels as well depending on how much time I have. My third graders are captivated by the story of Annabelle Doll and her family as they go on adventures around the house, to the local school, and even on a boat in the last book!

#2: My Weird School

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Dan Gutman is a fantastic writer who my third graders adore. Every year, I read the first book out loud during out unit on character traits. We discuss what character traits we see in Miss Daisy (the teacher). I own the entire My Weird School series so after I start reading the first book, I assign each student in my class a My Weird School book to read on their own throughout the rest of our unit. They have to find the character traits that best describe the main character in the particular book they are reading.

#3: Marvin Redpost: Kidnapped at Birth? 

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A lot of my students have already heard of There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom  or Sideways Stories from Wayside School  by the time they get to my classroom. However, they haven’t heard about Marvin Redpost. The first in the series, Kidnapped at Birth?, is about a boy named Marvin who believes he may be the king’s long lost son because he has the same hair color as him. It’s a short, funny chapter book with a mysterious twist that gets my reluctant readers hooked and they end up wanting to read the rest of the series on their own.

#4: Bunnicula

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This book is great for third graders around Halloween. It’s told from the perspective of a dog named Harold. He lives with a cat named chester and a family of four humans. One day, the family get a new pet bunny and that’s when strange things start to happen. The vegetables in the fridge start to change colors, the rabbit only wakes up at night, and he’s not a fan of garlic. Could Bunnicula the rabbit be…a vampire? This book is a mysterious comedy that my students laugh out loud at every year.

#5: The Kingdom of Wrenly

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Every year, I really like to read a book that is geared towards my lower-leveled readers. I mostly read book series aloud to allow my students exposure to new books and get ideas about subjects they’re interested in. I read this book to my class each year because it’s a short, high-interest beginning chapter book that all of my students can enjoy and pick up the rest of the series after I’ve finished. It has pictures on nearly every page and is about a prince and his friend that go on adventures around a magical kingdom. At this point in time, there are nine books out so far.

#6: National Geographic Chapters

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I am a big fan of National Geographic Chapters for kids. This is my first non-fiction read aloud each year and it’s great for the students in my class that don’t pick up non-fiction books on a regular basis. There is an entire series of these. Each book is about different animals who do extraordinary things. They are true stories that the kids love to hear. I always hear murmurs of disappointment each time I stop reading one of these. I’ve read a different National Geographic Chapters book each year to my class and they have all been wonderful.

#7: Love That Dog

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During our poetry unit, I pull this book out. During the first few pages, I get a lot of bewildered books. My students ask, “Is this really a chapter book?” “This is poetry?” “What kind of book is this?” It’s about a kid who isn’t a fan of poetry. Over time, the kid slowly realizes that poetry doesn’t have a set style or a list of requirements. It’s different for everyone and it’s a very personal thing. It’s a powerful book that had a few of my kids tearing up at the end. Love it!

#8: Stranded

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This series has five books so far that leave you hanging on the edge of your seat. If you’re looking to give your students the ultimate cliffhanger each time you stop reading, this is the series for you. Stranded is written by the host of Survivor. It’s about four kids who are step-siblings that go on vacation with their uncle after their parents get married. They end up getting stranded on a deserted island with no adults to help them. The four kids have to learn to survive using the little knowledge they have while they wait to be rescued. Every chapter had my third graders on the edge of their seat. Every student in the classroom can relate to one of the four kids on the island. There are wild animals, skeletons, disasters, storms, treasure, and more! Definitely one of my favorite third grade read alouds!

#9: The Land of Stories

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This series is LONG but well-worth it! Each book is about 400 pages long but is filled with adventure. The series is about a twin boy and girl who end up falling into a fairy-tale land called The Land of Stories. In the story, they find magical people from the stories they grew up reading–Red Riding Hood, Jack from the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Snow White, and so many more. In the first book, the twins have to figure out a way out of the storybook that leads them back to the real world while trying to avoid the Evil Witch at the same time. My class loved the first one so much that we read the second one too! About half of my class bought or went to the library to get the third and fourth books too!

#10: Out of My Mind

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I had the chance to read this in college and the author came to my school to give a book talk as well. I was hooked! It took me a few years to work up the courage to read it to my class because I worried since it’s not hilarious and action-filled that they wouldn’t love it. How wrong I was! Out of My Mind tells the story of Melody, a fifth-grade girl who has cerebral palsy. She can’t walk, talk, feed herself, go to the bathroom by herself, or anything else, but inside her head, she is brilliant. She’s intelligent, smart, capable, witty, and creative. This book captivated my students and gave them a new perspective on people who are different from themselves. It teaches empathy and how to think outside the box. From the first word to the last, they loved it.

Honorable Mentions:

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The Buddy Files is a great book series for students who love a mystery mixed with a little comedy. It’s told from the perspective of a dog who loves all food and is searching for his missing family. My students would read aloud with me when they knew what Buddy the dog was going to say next.

The One and Only Ivan is loved year after year by my third graders. Ivan is a gorilla who is trapped in a mall in a cage and is watched by mall-goers day in and day out. With the help of a little girl, a few elephants, and a dog, his life changes forever.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is an oldie-but-goody! She is an old woman that is adored by all the children in the neighborhood. When a parent is having difficulty getting their child to clean their room or act politely when company is over, they call Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to ask for advice. She always has an idea of how to help the child in a unusual and typically magical way. It can be a little slow to start, but my kids are normally hooked by the end of the first story.  Each chapter tells about a different child and a different ailment Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle needs to solve.

 

What are your favorite third grade read alouds? I’d love to hear what you read aloud to your class!

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Reading, Uncategorized

Teacher Toolboxes

Teacher toolboxes are all over the web. I first saw them when I was teaching my first year and I fell in love. I made one for myself and for every teacher on my team to thank them for being so amazing!

Here are the ones I made for my third grade teammates: a two-toned purple theme, a crazy polka dot theme, a blue and purple theme, a green and white polka dot theme, and a NC State one for a NC State fan 🙂

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The pictures aren’t the best quality since they are from 2013!

 

Here’s the one I made for myself. I still have it today! It’s blue and pink with polka dots!

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I struggle with organization a lot. So a few weeks ago, I decided to grab two more to make things run a little smoother in my classroom. This time, I got larger toolboxes with drawers that have equal-sized containers.

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The first teacher toolbox I made was filled with coupons that students earn each time they reach 100 dojo points on Class Dojo. For the past three years, I’ve kept them on a list in a drawer. When students got a coupon, I had to dig through a big box to find the one they wanted. My students love the new system and it’s very easy for them to choose the coupon they’d like.

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The second toolbox I made was filled with my student’s technology supplies. My class always seemed to forget their passwords to the different sites we use, lose their earbuds for technology centers, and library tags got lost or broken on a daily basis when I used a pocket chart to organize their tags. When I realized a toolbox could hold all of those things, I was eager to move forward with the idea.

My students now keep their earbuds, library tag, and a list of all of their passwords inside their number. It’s made my life easier already!

Now that the idea of using teacher toolboxes for all types of supplies has dawned on me, I may end up making a few more this year! Have you ever used a teacher toolbox for something other than its original purpose? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Classroom Organization, Uncategorized

What is Year-Round School?

 

About Me

Hi! My name is Lindsay and I teach at a year-round school in a small town in North Carolina. I’m about to finish up my third year in third grade in t-minus 7 days. I love third graders and the material I get to teach! It’s the perfect age. The students are old enough to be able to work independently and handle more responsibility while they are still young enough to appreciate the “fun stuff”. 🙂

I graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in both Elementary Education (K-6) and Special Education (K-12). I’m also certified to teach Middle School Mathematics. I enjoy hanging out with family and friends, spending time with my miniature dachshunds, and I enjoy creating TPT products in my spare time. My store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Lifetime-Learner

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What is Year-Round School?

I teach third grade like many teachers around the country, but my school is always interesting to the people I meet because of the way we operate. I work at a year-round school that over 1000 students attend.  We teach for nine weeks, and then we get three weeks off. There are four tracks of students that are all going to and from school at different times of the year. We do not get a long summer break, but shorter breaks throughout the year.

I’m on Track 3 at my year-round school, which means I get three weeks off in August, November, January, and April. Different tracks get different time periods off. Only three tracks go to school at a time. Each time I track-out and get a vacation, another track is coming back from their vacation. When I come back from my track-out, another track will get to go on their vacation/track-out.

The Good and the Bad

It’s an interesting schedule to have. There are pros and cons to both a year-round schedule and a traditional schedule, but I personally  prefer the year-round calendar. There are two teachers on every track at my school on each grade level. That means there are eight third grade teachers on my grade level. Every three weeks, one track goes out and another comes in. It can get a little hectic having to change things every few weeks, but it also keeps us organized. We test our remediation students every three weeks to see what skills they will need to work on. We change who takes notes at PLT and who has certain duties every time a track comes in. We also help the teacher tracking in each three weeks to re-set-up their classroom year-round.

Every time a track comes back from a track-out, they are moving into the room of the teacher that is about to track-out to go on vacation. This means that we change classrooms every nine weeks after each track-out or vacation. When it’s time for my track-out, I pack up my room (all of my supplies, books, my classroom library, math stations, and personal teaching supplies) and move them into an empty classroom called the track-out room. The teacher tracking in then moves all of their things out of the track-out room and into my classroom. At first, it bothered me a little. But after a year, I realized that packing up my room every nine weeks was helping me stay organized year-round and not become a hoarder. 🙂

Third grade at my school teaches in a POD. This is a large module of six classrooms that are all attached together (like a big trailer with 6 classrooms and a bathroom inside). We only need six classrooms because just six of us are tracked-in at any time. We meet as a team for PLT every Wednesday and plan/talk about data together. My third grade team is awesome and I love working with them. At a year round school, who you’re working with changes every three weeks so everything and everyone stays very fresh. The only person you see year-round and that has the same schedule/vacations as you is your trackmate. This is a person who is on the same track as you and is on the same grade level. I think it works nicely that each of us on the four tracks has a trackmate who teaches with us the entire year and then five other teammates that we see for 3/4 of our time over the course of the year.

Our school starts at the beginning of July and ends at the end of June. This means that my third graders will finish third grade next week, have the fourth of July week off, and then begin fourth grade the following week! We call it cl-opening at my school because we have to close up the last year and prepare for the new one in only one week before our new third graders arrive for their first day of school. Talk about a quick turn around!

Every track is a little different during this crazy time. One track gets some time off in July before they start in early August. One track got time off in June so they feel fresh as well. I’ll only have a new batch of third graders for three weeks before I get some vacation time. It’s crazy and weird and strange and hectic and yet, I love it. 

Have you ever heard of year-round school? Do you prefer traditional or year-round? Leave a comment below!

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