Organizing Large Sheets of Construction Paper

As you may have guessed, I'm kind of into classroom organization.

I like everything to have a place (and a label) and have developed some systems for organizing a classroom that I'm really happy with.

However, for years those 12 x 18 sheets of construction paper were my Kryptonite. A solution for keeping them neat and organized eluded me. The best I came up with was to store them in an empty desk. This worked to a point, but since the colors were all stacked I constantly found myself digging for them.
Finally, I decided enough was enough and that it was time to invest in something designed to do the job. Enter the Oversized Paper Sorter. At a cost of $27.50, I have found the purchase to be well worth the money. Mainly because the big sheets of paper, and their lack of a proper home in my classroom, annoyed me for so long, but also because it has proven to be a quality product (despite being made out of cardboard).
 


I ordered the product on a Thursday and it was waiting for me when I walked into my classroom the following Monday (via free shipping). I assumed it would be a hassle to assemble, but it went together easily in under 8 minutes. A few folds and a couple slides later it was done. It required nothing more. No tools. No adhesives. No cutting. Nothing! It was so quick and easy,


I was amazed at how sturdy it felt. I've been using it for a few months now and continue to be thrilled the product. As an added bonus, the entire unit slid onto a shelf in my closet so it is out of sight. I should mention that this is not a paid/sponsored post...just a product I bought and love and wanted to pass along.






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NARRATIVE PARAGRAPH OF THE WEEK: 36 Weeks of Common Core Writing Packets

{click here to access and download this product}

As most of you know, I teach third grade. In Massachusetts third grade means the start of state testing. While they only take a math and reading assessment this year, they will also take a day-long writing assessment as fourth graders next March. Traditionally, the writing test was strictly focused on writing a narrative, but with the implementation of the Common Core, they may now be assessed in other genres as well.

That's a lot of pressure for 4th grade teachers!

With this in mind, I really wanted to focus on strengthening their writing this year to (hopefully) make things easier for everyone next year.  Over the course of this school year, I have been using a consistent weekly paragraph writing format to improve my students' narrative writing. I have been using it in my own classroom since September and shared it with some teacher friends in other schools as well. I tweaked it based on my experiences and their feedback and am loving the final product.  

I am so happy with where my students are as writers and am proud to send them on to the next grade. The criteria for success, the individual student reflection and goal setting combined with the fact that we repeated the writing process each and every week has created strong descriptive writers who strive to include strong word choices into their work.  This is such an easy thing to manage as there is a packet for each week of the year. They can be used in class or as homework...how great is it to have a year's worth of quality writing homework at the ready.

This product is Common Core aligned for grades 2-5 {w.2.3, w3.3, w.4.3, and w.5.3}
  


As part of my Virtual Vacation Week of Seven Freebies, I designed an additional Narrative Paragraph Packet with a vacation theme. That free download will better familiarize you with the product and can be used as a stand-alone writing project.









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FRACTION BOOKS: Math Literature

On Thursday  I blogged about some of the activities that I had done in my classroom to teach my third graders about fractions and shared some materials from my Fraction Packet. You can read that post here.

This year I have really been trying to incorporate more math literature into my lessons. Above are the books that I had borrowed from the public library that focused on fractions. I plan to order a couple to own.

Whole-y Cow: Fractions Are Fun was simple and engaging. I read it to my second grade son before I brought it to school and he quickly understood the concept of fractions in a set. 

Full House: An Invitation to Fractions was a book that my students enjoyed listening to and I modeled the fractions on the board as I read it aloud.


The other books were worth checking out and worked well as a center during my math workshop rotations.





Click on any of the books below to read full descriptions and see additional images via Amazon.


    


   

Be sure to check out my Common Core aligned, 150+ page fraction packet if you are going to be teaching that concept in first grade, second grade, third grade or fourth grade. It's full of resources, games, projects, and activities to use during your Math Workshop.





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FREEBIE: Vacation-Themed Writing Packet

I'm wrapping up my real vacation as well as the blog's Virtual Vacation. {Sniffle. Sniffle.}

But, not without one final souvenir freebie!  

Click to access and print The Vacation Prompt

I recently added a new writing product to my store: Narrative of the Week. It's a collection of 36 writing packets (one for each week of the school year) that can be used as in class work or as homework. This is something I have been using in my classroom this year and couldn't be more pleased with the results.

As today's freebie souvenir I created a 37th packet with a Vacation-Themed Prompt



Did you grab each of the 7 FREEBIES that were offered this week? You can check them all out here if you missed any.

Thanks for traveling with us!



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Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

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Less Than / Greater Than Math Centers {Virtual Vacation}



Click to access and download the Alligator Chomp Less Than and Greater Than Packet

I designed this packet to include three different levels so it can be used by multiple grade levels. It would be a nice activity to include in your Math Workshop or centers.  The visual of the alligator mouth is a good reminder for the less than and greater than symbols.

It covers Common Core Standards:K.CC.6, K.CC.7, 1.NBT.2, 1.NBT.3, and 2.NBT.5

Younger learners can compare single-digit numbers.

First graders can compare two-digit numbers.

Second and third graders can compare the sums and differences of addition and subtraction problems with regrouping. This would also make a good review for third and forth graders.

When I did this activity with my preschoolers I provided manipulatives to count and compare.

Because this is a beach day (weather permitting) for me, I thought it would be a good time to reshare my blog posts about Beach Themed Classrooms. It was the very first theme I did in my classroom and is one that can be done on the cheap. Check out all the fun tropical stuff at Dollar Tree around this time of year!

BEACH_THEME_clutterfreeclassroom-3.jpgBEACH_THEME_clutterfreeclassroom-4.jpg

Have you been gathering your daily FREEBIE Souvenirs? Click here for details. 






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Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

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Alligator Research Lapbook / Learning Portfolio {Virtual Vacation}

Did you know an alligator’s chomp is so fierce it can go right through a turtle shell? Were you aware that gators swim much faster than the fastest human swimmer?  Since I am more delicate than a turtle shell and since I certainly am not even close to being the fastest human swimmer, I am sticking to the beaches this week and will not be floating in any Florida lakes.  Thanks to my newly acquired alligator knowledge, I now have an increased fear of them. Today’s Virtual Vacation Freebie Souvenir is a complete packet that can be used to create a learning portfolio based on alligator research.  


Click to access and download the free Alligator Lapbook Research Portfolio Packet




When my son was in first grade we started doing a bit of animal research before our trips to Florida. Before we visited Sea World we learned about Orca Whales. Prior to going to the Mote Aquarium we studied sea turtles. Because he loves looking for sharks teeth on the beach (and btw, holy shark teeth capital of the world...we typically find 30+) we researched sharks. It really does make the trips more exciting (and I learn a lot too). 

To set a purpose for our reading and to organize our learning, we create research portfolios for the topic we are learning about. I love having them as a keepsake and it really showcases what a child has learned. I use them in my classroom as well.

Sometimes I have the class all working on the same topic (this year we’ve made them to house our work with Pilgrims and Wampanoags, Nouns, Fractions and 2D Geometry) and I also have students create individual versions as independent work for my early finishers who need a bit of an extension. Sometimes they couple them with our Animal Research Projects. The kids all love investigating topics that interest them and sharing their learning with the class.

A typical learning portfolio includes: vocabulary, diagrams, KWLs, question cards (written prior to reading and filled in as the answers are discovered), Have/Are/Can Tree Maps, world maps to show where the animal lives, and more.




 Have you been virtually traveling with us to get an entire week of freebies? Be sure to follow CFClassroom on Facebook and Instagram for real time updates and photos. Also be sure to follow my TPT Store and blog so you never miss a freebie.





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Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

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