My Superbowl Bulletin Board



As promised here is the 4-1-1 about our
Superbowl Writing Projects {which are free btw}.

I began with a large football cutout.

I typically use a brainstorming page from my writing packets to have the students come up with topics and ideas. However, despite the bubbling enthusiasm for all things football that the majority of my kiddos are showing this week, I knew that some of my little learners are not so interested in the gridiron.

Anticipating that this would translate into writer's block, I opted to brainstorm together. We did so by adding topics on Post-It notes to my big football. My 3rd grade football fans frantically waved their hands in the air begging me to call on them so they could add such phrases as Tom Brady, Rematch with the Giants, and AFC Champions to the potential topics list. Another popular choice was Rob Gronkowski. Lucky for me 1/3 of my class was sporting Gronkowski jerseys so I was able to spell it without consulting Google.

And then there were my non-football fans. We talked about things that are associated with football that they could select as a topic. I had kids write about cheerleading, Gatorade and nachos. By the time we were done, each little sweetie had a topic they were excited about.

After we went through the web-draft-edit routine, they completed their final copy and then it was time for our craftivity.

These caused me to lose sleep. On Monday we completed the heads and bodies. I thought they looked like astronauts. I literally woke at 4:30 and the first thought that popped into my mind was "facemask." Sure enough when we added the 3D face masks it all came together.

I was so excited by their cute little football players that I impulsively blurted out, "Oooh get me the silver glitter. These need some glitter."

In case y'all didn't know....I LOATHE glitter.

It is not a secret.

I had to laugh when one of my little boys leaned over to another and said, "Mrs. D TOTALLY just got caught up in the moment. She never would have used glitter if she had thought about it." So funny because it's true.

I put green paper and white stripes on the back of the board.

The border makes me smile. I simply cut 12x18 construction paper into a spiral. It actually went all the way around my board. I love how it looks.

All of the writing pages I used for this project are included in my Football-Themed Writing Packet Freebie. Swing by my products page to download it for free!

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Are You Ready For a Football FREEBIE?

I live in New England.

Also known as Patriots / Red Sox Country.

We New Englanders love our home teams.

So with the Superbowl coming this Sunday you can only imagine the buzz going around.

I subscribed to the "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" philosophy.

And since getting them to focus on non-football tasks is a challenge, I

Today I brought great joy to my third graders with a football-themed writing project.

And because I love and appreciate all of you (even you Giants fans out there ;) I am sharing it for free.

If you've wondered about my writing packets, this is a good opportunity to see what they are all about.
Pictured above are the 6 pages I printed to use with my class.


They include webs, draft papers and final product pages as well as 4 full-color printables to use as bulletin board titles or class book covers.

I'll be back tomorrow to show you some pictures and explain how I used them in my classroom today.

And if you cross your fingers and toes, I just might get my bulletin board up in the morning and will share that too.

To download this packet for free just hop on over to my products page and snag it there.

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Groundhog Day Ideas





I had a chance to use my Groundhog Day Writing Packet both at home and at school recently.

Last week I had my students write a persuasive paragraph on why spring was better than winter (or winter was better than spring).

We began by reading about the history of Groundhog Day and discussed what it meant if he saw his shadow.
As a class we created a Venn Diagram comparing winter and spring and then they created their own version using the brainstorm page.


Next, I modeled a top-down web using my reasons for preferring spring.

They completed their webs and then composed a draft. The publish pieces came out insanely cute. I didn't get a chance to snap a picture of them before I left. I had originally planned a different craft, but inspiration struck as I stumbled upon a stack of headshots I had taken of my friends.
This product is available a la carte or as part of my February / March Writing Packet Bundle

I held each head/shoulder up to black construction paper and cut out the shape of just their head and shoulders so that I had their photo and a black piece of paper that was the same size and shape. They drew a "hole" on their papers, glued their picture down, placed the black shape in front like a shadow and illustrated a background to represent their season. When all was said and done it looked like they were popping out of a little hole and seeing their shadow. Cute!

My first grade son announced he wanted to learn how to tell time on an analog clock last night. For the record, he didn't actually use the word analog. Go figure.

Inspired by his enthusiasm and the groundhog I integrated some science, math and literacy at home. We spent the day measuring his shadow and recording the time and length. It was such fun to see how it changed shape, size and direction. We made predictions as the day went on. He's so much fun to teach.

I printed off a copy of the page with the primary-ruled paper and he used it to reflect on our experiment in writing.

In my Groundhog Day Writing Packet I list a few ideas for writing prompts / topics. You could use the pages from mu packet to write...
  • a nonfiction piece about groundhogs
  • explain the history of Groundhog Day
  • write a descriptive paragraph about a groundhog
  • write about a place that the student and their shadow have been
  • If I lived underground...
  • and so much more


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Kicking Off Multiplication



One of my favorite parts of being a third grade teacher is teaching multiplication.

Mainly because their excitement level is through the roof.

This week as part of my MATH Workshop (see here to read more about how I teach math), the students worked on THINGS THAT COME IN GROUPS.

I created this resource to enhance our math curriculum.

Students brainstorm things that come in groups of different numbers:

Example:

2 - mittens, shoes, earrings, nostrils
3 - sides on a triangle, wheels on a tricycle
4- bases on a baseball field, vertices on a quadtrilateral
etc.

Then they use these lists to write and solve word problems.

Which I make into a bulletin board display and ultimately into a class book.


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Writing Made Easy - Thematic Packets for February and March

Confession: Writing is my absolute most favorite subject to teach.

It must be contagious, because I also feel like it is my students' favorite subject to take part in.
I had posted about my Writer's Idea Banks earlier this school year. They have continued to be a remarkable tool in keeping the momentum going during free writing time. Winter has brought us a great deal of indoor recesses and I'm finding my friends opting to use their writer's notebooks as a recess choice. I love that.

While we work with a variety of focus skills, traits and writing products, I try to keep my format consistent as they go through the writing process.
  • They always start with a brainstorming activity.
  • Next they create a top-down web to organize their ideas.
  • They write a draft which is edited by themselves, a peer, and myself.
  • Ultimately, they put their final copy onto paper and we create a "craftivity" to showcase their work.

Following this format has allowed us to accomplish A LOT. I'm amazed at the amount of finished products we've been able to display.

In an attempt to stay several steps ahead of myself (because otherwise I will quickly fall behind) I have designed all of my thematic writing materials for the months of February and March. I initially uploaded each to my store as individual units, but am excited to announce that I have also made them available as a SIX-PACKET-BUNDLE!!
Each of the packets contains:
  • a brainstorm page
  • 4 webs (traditional and 3 top-down webs)
  • 2 draft pages (primary-ruled and intermediate-ruled)
  • 2 final copy pages (primary-ruled and intermediate-ruled)
  • 2 writing pages with a space for illustrations/photographs
  • 4 full-color, full-page printables to use as bulletin board titles or class book covers
It will normally retail for a bit more, but I'm debuting it for only $10.00. That comes out to less than $2.00 a packet. Included in the bundle you'll find the following themes:


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

OUR "I AM" BIOGRAPHY PROJECTS


You can see my other recent Biography Project: HERE
And can download the kit: HERE

Based on the number of my Emergency Sub Plans that are being downloaded between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. each day lately, I'm inferring that I am not the only one living in "the house of sick." Between my own annoying illness and kids that keep getting sent home from school with varying symptoms this has been a whirlwind week of treks to the pediatrician, my primary care and sleepless nights.

Dislike.

And let's not forget that Monday was a National Holiday.

I did manage to make a cameo appearance at school for a couple of days and we were able to complete our "I Am" Biography Projects. Each of my friends will soon be doing this activity using a famous person, but we started with people they knew very well.

Themselves.

We tend to do a lot of "Get to Know You" Activities early in the year. Those are great. But, there is something special about working on autobiography projects once you've established a relationship and trust with your students. They really open up to you through their writing and you are able to see them in a different light.
We started by brainstorming ideas using the graphic organizer on the left. The direction was to record anything that popped into their minds. Next, we used highlighters to select one idea from each category to complete the draft page prompts shown in the middle. Finally, I edited with them and they wrote their final copies.

Those were glued onto half-sheets of posterboard. We drew thought bubbles around them and they watercolored a self portrait. Everything is more fun with watercolors.


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

SMILE: Teeth Writing Resources

A 25 page resource kit to was created to be used by teachers in grades K-5. The materials were designed to make modifications easy within your classroom.

It is available for only $3.95.

This detailed packet includes everything you need to complete a quality writing lesson and display the finished products as bulletin boards or class books.



I made the pages versatile so you can use them for many different prompts or activities.

The video below will show you a close-up look at everything that is included and provide you with a detailed overview of the product.

Included in this kit you will find the following teeth-themed items:
  • a 5 detail web to organize writing
  • a 3 detail web to organize writing
  • a multi-paragraph web to organize writing
  • a traditional web to organize writing
  • primary-ruled draft paper
  • intermediate-ruled draft paper
  • primary-ruled final product paper
  • intermediate-ruled final product paper
  • a "Can / Have / Are" Tree Map graphic organizer
  • headings for a Schema Map / Anchor Chart
  • 2 pages of photos and ideas for your finished products
  • 4 colorful 8.5x11 printables to use as class book covers or bulletin board titlesa thematic phonemic awareness activity to keep your students engaged while you edit drafts
  • tooth-shaped writing paper
  • primary-ruled thematic paper with space for an illustration
  • intermediate-ruled thematic paper with space for an illustration

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Oh Canada!


The Me on the Map Packet is one of my most popular products. You can find my original blog post describing the
activity and see pictures of my bulletin boards here. I recently received a message from one of my neighbor's to the North requesting that I create a "province" card to use in place of the "state" card in my Me on the Map Packet.

I happily obliged and added a supplement as a FREEBIE. You'll find it on my downloads page.

Happy Saturday! My class had so much fun with our Martin Luther King projects this week that for the first time ever, I received "Happy MLK Cards" from my kiddos and they all offered up hugs and wished me a Happy Martin Luther King Day as they were leaving on Friday. Too cute! I don't think I've ever received MLK cards before. I might have to let Hallmark know there is a market for them.

Do you have a 3-Day Weekend? Hop on over to my Facebook Page and let us know if you have Monday off.



Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Biographies Day 1

We kicked off our biography unit this week.

It's part of our social studies curriculum and technically it is a study of Massachusetts Biographies, but we began learning about the genre with a mini-study of Martin Luther King Jr.

I read several picture books and the students buddy read a free printable reader from A to Z.

We created a top-down web listing information that we learned about MLK.

Then I read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown, and the students completed an activity I created for my biography packet that was inspired by the book. They used the same format as Brown's book to compose their own version, "The important thing about Martin Luther King Jr. is..."


Finally, each of my friends made a portrait of MLK using the directions from TLC. They came out crazy cute. I hung each of them up even though I'll probably take them down and send them home soon. They were just too adorable not to display.

Today we did another activity (The I Am Poem) from the Biography Packet and a craftivity to go with it. It related so nicely to our autobiography's and the It's OK to be Different projects. I really feel like I am able to get to know my students on a completely different level through these projects. They really open up and share such sweet ideas and insight into who they are. It's been a fun week.

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Make a Plan {and an apron} to Declutter Tip #3


I hope you've warned the clutter that you're coming after it soon.


Until then, we are continuing to prepare to be Clutter-Busters.


Today I'm focusing on gathering the tools and supplies to kick it all to the curb...literally.


We've already acquired sorting bins. You'll need just a few more things in order to be efficient in the purge:

  • boxes
  • trash bags
  • cleaning products (nothing too crazy...just some windex and rags will do)
  • Postits
  • pencil
  • measuring tape
  • ziplocs (varying sizes)
  • notebook or clipboard
Although it is tempting to stock up on cute storage containers, we're going to wait until we do the following before hitting the stores (or repurposing).

  • remove all unwanted items
  • inventory what remains
  • decide where it will be most effective to store your items
  • measure the space

Don't worry. I'll walk you through this in more detail at the start of next week.

That's where the measuring tape and notebook come into play. You'll be makng a list and taking measurements as you go along.

Want to make the task more fun?

Why not whip up a cute apron to hold your decluttering tools.

Flying your organizational freak flag with a snazzy apron will be both practical and fun. Home Depot sells small aprons for under a $1.00 that are perfect for this task. You can make it super snazzy with some fabric and fabric glue.


I'm simple like that. Remember, I made curtains with a glue gun.


Fill it with your tape measure, a pencil, a small notebook, and your own list of rules to refer to.


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.


By the way, if you are not already subscribed to The Clutter-Free Classroom newsletter I encourage you sign up. Subscribers receive weekly tips for organizing and managing a classroom as well as exclusive free printables. You can sign up here.


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