More Literacy Freebies

Hi bloggy friends!  I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted.  When I started this blog, I really had intentions of posting more regularly.  But I guess I'm not as on top of things as I'd like to be.  Besides being swamped at school (like I'm sure all of you are too), I was super sick with pneumonia for awhile and still have bronchitis.  Needless to say, I'm so ready for winter break so that I can get some extra rest and spend lots of time with my boys.

Anyways, I was so excited that my summarizing organizer was helpful to many of you!  Thanks a bunch for all of the positive comments!  Someone asked if I have the same organizer for nonfiction and unfortunately, I do not; however, here is an organizer that I have my kiddos use when reading nonfiction text.  From this organizer, my students then write a summary.

I have created a graphic organizer to help with summarizing biographies.  It also comes from some ideas I learned at a training with Kathy Bumgartner (

Also, this week we wrapped up our literature circles and the kids got to pick three activities from a Tic-Tac-Toe style menu that they'd like to complete.  They had so much fun and their products were so creative (I've really got to start taking pictures).   Here's a copy of the Tic-Tac-Toe.  The activities can be used with any stories!

Ok, so that's it for now.  I have been getting some creative ideas from other blogs out there and wanted to give back a little something!  If you can use any of these activities, I'd love to hear your plans for them!


Fun Freebies

Hi bloggy friends!  Here's a quick post with two freebies for you.  The first is what I called "Spooky Suffixes."  We used these in a literacy center and the kiddos basically played Concentration with the cards.  You could easily use the cards to play Suffix Go Fish or just a simple matching game. 

The next is a graphic organizer that I typed for my students to use with the Someone, Wanted, But, So, Then Summarizing Strategy.  I was introduced to this strategy by Kathy Bumgardner (
six or so years ago and it's the best thing I've found to help my students summarize fiction stories.  Some of my students don't need the actual organizer and create their own but others benefit from the help of the premade organizer.  Hopefully, some of your kiddos can use it too!

If you download either document, please leave a quick comment on how you plan to use (or even improve on my idea).  I love to hear feedback!  Thanks and have a terrific week!

Scientific Method

Hey y'all, we've been really focusing on the scientific method lately and I wanted to share two freebies with you.  The first is just a quick sheet to check students' understanding of the scientific process.

Then I found online (I wish I could remember where) this great idea to reinforce the steps of the scientific method by having students follow the process to answer the question:  Do taller children wear a larger shoe size than shorter children?  My students loved completing this project (I think they mostly loved taking off their shoes, lol.)  Here is the recording sheet that they used and it can be used for any project.


WOW! An Award for Me!!!

I haven't blogged in about two weeks and imagine my surprise to see that I've been given my first ever blogging award!  Sweet Rebecca over at

awarded me the

I'll try to post my top ten and pass on this award soon!


Math Freebies

Whoa!  It's been two weeks since my last post.  That's because school has been CRAZY and things at home have been too (my baby has been sick).  =(  Hopefully, things are going to settle down soon. 

Anyway, here are two quick math freebies.  The first are some 10 and 100 More/Less cards.  I use these to do Kagan's Cooperative Learning structures Quiz-Quiz-Trade or Fan-N-Pick.   (If you don't know about Kagan, you. must. learn. now!  These strategies are all content free and ensure that all learners are engaged. 
Also, we're getting ready to start rounding.  I know there are lots of cute poems, raps, and other ideas out there but my mother-in-law shared "The Boss Man" with me many years ago and I've always had success with it.  I thought I'd share it with you too!

Have a great week!

Me and My Gang 3

I'm so excited to be the newest contributor to Me and My Gang 3!  This site is an awesome resource for   K-3 teachers.  Click the pic below and head to the third grade lounge where we all can collaborate and share ideas! =O)


Freebie...a few days late!

I have been so worn out from school that I actually didn't work on school stuff at all Friday night or yesterday!  So here's a freebie just a few days late.

I posted some Revised Bloom's Taxonomy posters last week and here are some bookmarks.  They are nothing fancy but are great for students to use when buddy reading or in guided reading.  You can copy them on cardstock (front to back) and cut down the middle. 


Classroom Pics 2 - Pinterest Projects

I was just introduced to Pinterest late this summer and I am so addicted to it!  There were SOOOO many projects that I wanted to do for my classroom but I only had time to do a few.  Here they are:

First, I was inspired by this filing cabinet makeover
re-done filing cabinet
Here's what my filing cabinets looked like before (YUCKY!  RUSTY!)
And here they are after (I think they're FABULOUS!!!)
Then I found this bookcase redo
Fabric Bookshelf How-To
So I took two plain, boring brown cheapo bookcases that I had in my room and made them look like this (not the best pic, sorry!)
I also found this adorable file folder system on Pinterest
File Folder Paper Organizer Tutorial
And here's my attempt (it didn't quite turn out like I wanted because I could not find bright, cute folders!!! This will be a redo for me later!)
Finally, this wasn't anything I found on Pinterest but I had this out in my garage
and I used leftover fabric from the bookcase redos to recover it
What Pinterest projects have inspired you lately???

Classroom Pictures

Here are some pictures (which by the way I am a horrible photographer!!!) of my classroom.  We are Smith's Celebrities and I went with a Hollywood theme. =O)

First up is a pic of my Oscar Worthy Behavior Board
This was inspired by
I took some of ideas from her Box Office Behavior and tailored them to fit my school's model.

Here's my birthday board
My (bare for right now) Celebrity of the Week board (I'll post more about this later.)
My Word Wall (which I didn't notice before looking at the picture but the bottom row of letters is WAY crooked!!!)
My Guided Reading area
Student work displays on the closets (if you couldn't already school is OLD!!!)
Here's my desk decorated with vinyl (and the neatest it will probably ever look!)
Here is what the students' nametags look like...I just cut vinyl with my Cricut (I <3 that thing!!!)
I'll post a few more pics tomorrow...mostly of some Pinterest inspired crafts that I did for my classroom!


Freebie Friday

Yay, yay,'s Friday!!!  I had a great two days with my awesome new kiddos but boy am I exhausted! 

So in honor of Friday, I thought I'd post a few freebies.  =O)

Our state is transitioning to Core Standards and Essential Standards and we are beginning to emphasize the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy.  I created these small charts and put them right behind my guided reading table to use as a reference with my students.  When I have the time and energy, I plan to take them to Staples or somewhere and get them blown up into large posters. 

I always like to spend the first two days getting to know my students and helping them become acquainted with one another.  I found some fabulous activities on other blogs so I thought I'd share two that I created.  They are both pretty simple but the kids enjoyed them.  First is a Find Someone Who activity.

The next is called "A Time Capsule about Me."  The students filled in their answers now under the August column and we will put them in a "capsule."  In June, we'll open the capsule and they'll write their answers to see if any of their preferences and tastes have changed.

What fun things have you done to get to know your kiddos???


Resource Schedule

I haven't blogged in awhile due to being COMPLETELY overwhelmed trying to get prepared for the new school year.  I guess it doesn't help that our school's laminator is broken! :O(

I always post my resource schedule up for the kids and I've used these cuties from a Karen's Kids CD that I bought my first year of teaching (but I still love these kiddos!)  I'll cut these out and mount them on some bright cardstock.

Hopefully I can get my act together and post some really fabulous stuff soon!  I hope all is going well as you are preparing for and/or beginning your new school year!!!

Blockbuster Books

I've been struggling with my classroom library all day!!!  My books were a mess and the last time I was in the classroom I taught first grade and now I'm teaching third.  I weeded out a bunch of books and organized them the best I could (I'm not super satisfied...this will be a redo project later in the year).  Anyways, I wanted to share with you all the "Blockbuster" labels that I created to put on the bins in my library.  Maybe someone else (especially those with a movie theme) could use them!


Pinterest Project

If you have not checked out Pinterest, it is AMAZING!  I am absolutely addicted and love finding ideas for my home and for my classroom on the site.  Awhile ago I pinned this super cute way to dress up plain storage drawers (LOVE IT!!!):
Then my friend pinned this idea for organizing each day's materials in the classroom:
I usually organize my materials in a hanging file box but liked the idea of using these storage drawers because sometimes materials don't fit into the files.  So I decided to put the two ideas together to make a cute organizer for each day's materials and supplies.  I took a seven drawer cart that I already had (it's not exactly what I wanted because four drawers are small and three are larger but remember I'm really trying to be frugal this year!)
I spray painted it black (did you know they have special spray paint just for plastic???  I had no idea!)  Then I measured and cut pieces of paper to put on the inside of each drawer.  I cut the days of the week out in vinyl and slapped them on each drawer.  Here's a close up of the final product:
I also whipped up two little vinyl signs that go with my Hollywood/Celebrity theme to put on the bathroom doors in my classroom:
There are a few other projects that I'm working on that were inspired by Pinterest.  I'll post pictures when they're finished! =O)

Brain Breaks

I've been trying to clean out some files on my computer (which is truly a daunting task!!!) and I came across this listing of Brain Breaks that I compiled for the teachers at my school a few years ago.  Some of the activities are ones that I'm sure you've heard of but hopefully a few energizers might be new to you.  My students always LOVED the activity called "Show Me, Don't Show Me."  They enjoyed pretending to walk on a sidewalk of sticky glue or swim in a pool of pudding.  My kiddos also like taking turns to come up with scenarios for us to act out (which I loved because I often ran out of creative ideas).  You can download the list at the link below. 

Several of the activities came from this book (which has been around for awhile) and all I have to say about it is this:  IT. IS. AWESOME.


Accentuate the Positive =O)

While I do have a behavior system that includes consequences, I really try to focus on the positive behaviors that my students exhibit.  A few years ago I read about bucket filling on Beth Newingham's website and began the system in my classroom.  It is an awesome way to explain to kids how their actions and words affect others.  If you haven't checked out this book before, it's a MUST have in my opinion!

I am going to continue to use this concept but am going to change it up a bit to go with my classroom theme.  My students will be giving "Celebrity Shout Outs" to each other!  I know that my kiddos are really going to enjoy focusing on encouraging and uplifting one another.

Also I want to do better this year about writing my students little notes to let them know the efforts are appreciated.  When I was on Pinterest (my complete's all because there's an iPhone app!!!), I saw a link to these super cute encouraging word cards: 

I printed them out and plan to write personalized notes on the back of them to my students.  These cards also motivated me to create some that go along with my theme.  I hope that by having these already printed and cut out I will do a better job of celebrating my students' successes.


Making Old Things New Again

In my personal life I am really trying to cut down on clutter and find new purposes for old things (in both an effort to save money and help our planet).   I decided that I am going to try to do the same in my classroom this year.  Usually I go out and spend lots of money preparing for a new school year but I am going to try to reuse some things this year.  One thing that I found in my garage was an old clipboard.  I decorated it with paint pens my first year as a teacher and boy did I think I was creative (ha, ha).  Here's what it looked like before (sorry for the glare):

I bought two sheets of scrapbook paper at Michaels (for only 50 cents total) and used some paper and Modge Podge that I had at home.  Then I used my Cricut to cut out my name in vinyl.  Now I have a "new" clipboard personalized just for me!  I think I'd like to add ribbon to the top but I don't have any at home that matches so it might stay like it is.

Next I decided to cover empty formula cans with paper to make pencil holders.  I usually buy cute cups or organizers but I think these turned out great and when I get tired of the paper or change my classroom theme I can easily change them again.

Finally I decided that I'm going to designate a small bookshelf in our classroom as the
At the Celebrity Book Swap Stop, students will be able to leave a book from home and take a new one.  The kiddos will fill in information on the Give One, Get One form to help me with record keeping.  This is a terrific way for students to expand their home library or simply borrow a book, read it, and keep swapping for new ones.  Click the link below to get the Give One, Get One form, which can also be altered to use as a learning activity.  Simply give students a copy of the form (or have them draw a T-chart on notebook paper to save copies).  Students brainstorm a topic (let's say writing ideas) and write their ideas under the Give One column.  After a few minutes of writing, students then find a partner and take turns sharing an idea.  Students each record a new idea in the Get One column.  Students find a new partner and repeat the process until time is called.  It's a great way to have students work collaboratively!



Birthdays have been on my mind.  Maybe that's because my special day is coming soon!  =O)  I usually buy little birthday cards or certificates but I decided that I wanted to make some of my own to go along with my theme.  These are the postcards for girls and I made some too for the boys. Click below the link below the picture to download the postcards.

I also found an adorable idea that I just had to make for my kiddos' birthdays.  I found the idea on this awesome blog:

I made my birthday balloons using the small Pixy Stix because I'm really trying to stick to a budget this school year. The total cost of this project was only $1!  I bought the Pixy Stix at Dollar Tree and used paper and other materials that I already had at home.  I think they turned out great and can't wait to give them to my kiddos!

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