Monday, March 16, 2020

School Closures

If your child's school closes to help control the spread of the coronavirus, you may wonder what you can do at home to help your child continue with his/her studies. Here is a list of ideas that may help in the event you find yourself in this situation.

1. If your child is in the 3rd-12th grade, the teacher(s) may have a Google Classroom or something similar. Ask your child to log in and see if any assignments have been posted.

2. Visit the school system/district webpage and look for a curriculum or standards section for parents. Sometimes the district will have this organized by 9 weeks, 6 weeks, or semester.

3. If your child's teacher provides a weekly newsletter or a syllabus, it may include current standards or topics that are being taught. There are many websites that offer free worksheets that you can print and have your child complete. A few are listed below:

4. For K-2 students, work on reading high frequency words, phonics skills, and basic addition and subtraction. For 3-5 students, they should read both fiction and non-fiction passages and practice comprehension skills using text evidence. In mathematics, they can practice multi-digit addition and subtraction, multiplication facts, division, fractions, decimals, and geometry (angles, lines, shapes, symmetry). Most of the writing your child does at school is in response to a text and will be either informational, narrative, or persuasive writing. Give your child a chance to write creatively or about a topic of interest instead. Many of my fourth graders have been making powerpoint slide shows (with photos or clipart and written descriptions) about different kinds of animals, video game characters, or other things that interest them.

5. Most teachers/schools/districts have subscriptions to learning websites. Ask your child what is used during class as a center or for extra practice. Some popular ones include IXL, Freckle, Education Galaxy, Zearn, Prodigy, and Kahn Academy. Many of these have a diagnostic screening or test and provide questions and problems that are individualized for your child.

I hope these suggestions ease any worries about your child missing instruction at school. Hopefully many of you are just able to take an extended Spring Break and won't miss many school days. Take care and stay well.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

New Classroom Theme

I am excited to be moving back to third grade (all subjects!) for the next school year. I am ready for a new classroom theme. I started teaching way before themes were a thing, but I have had an ocean theme, and currently have an owl theme. I am considering rustic farmhouse-shiplap, wood, metal, chalkboard, a wreath. I need to get started collecting items to use for decorating the room!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Free Items

I am in the process of uploading free items for you to download and use with your students. Please check back and look under the Freebies tab to find whatever you need.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Coupons

My teaching partner and I decided to give our homeroom students the same gifts for Christmas. They will get a small bag filled with a deck of cards, bookmark, candy, and these coupons. You can find an editable version of the coupons here. We plan to print them on red and green paper. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Fourth Grade Math Centers

My students are assigned a math center to complete after they finish the independent practice for the daily lesson. At the beginning of each month I organize 20 centers in these trays. The centers are sets of task cards for the standards/skills/strategies that were taught the previous month or months. These centers provide a spiral review in hopes the students will remember how to solve the problems and not forget them throughout the school year. 

Every day the students get a different tray and by the end of the month they will have completed most of them. I do have 23 students and some have to share the center. Instead of printing the recording sheets, they use a piece of notebook paper. The answer key is folded and clipped with a clothespin. The students use the answer key to check their work before turning it into the basket. This provides them with immediate feedback.
This particular center is a center from third grade. I used this same set-up last year and the trays had not only a set of math task cards, but also a set of language task cards that they completed during the reading block. Because I teach mathematics and science and not reading, I only have to create centers for math this year.
After they complete the "task card" center, they use the laptops to work on math skills at Moby Max, Front Row Ed, and Zearn. As the students work on independent practice and centers, I work with students in small groups. I meet with 2 groups, an extra practice group (for that day's lesson) and a reteaching group (for a standard/strategy that has been previously taught).

Saturday, September 16, 2017

My Fourth Grade Classroom

We have been in school for about 6 weeks and I am just now posting my back to school photos! I am teaching mathematics, science, and RTI and my partner teaches reading, language, social studies, and RTI. This is my first experience with departmentalization and I really enjoy it. I am not sure what took me so long to take the leap! It took about a day to get my classroom ready and since these photos were taken, I have placed my desks in three straight rows and added a rug in one of the corners in the room. The rows allow the students to clearly see during instruction, but provides a shoulder partner for turn and talk. For group work, they choose a different location in the classroom.
 The front of the classroom
 Side view
 Back View
 Tubs for math tools and books
My partner teacher and I display the same work. 
She gives my homeroom students' writing to me and I display it here.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

My New Rug

I have missed having a space for my students to meet for some of our whole group lessons.
Most of the rugs I found were too cute, too large in size with an equally large shipping fee, or were just too expensive. I found these 5 x 7 rugs from and bought two of them so I would have more than enough room for all my students. Surprisingly, my students enjoy sitting on the rug with their laptops and center tubs during small group time. It was also great to use when demonstrating area! I have a few pom-pom puff balls in blue, green, and yellow hanging above the rug, and will add red, hot pink, and orange to hang over the ceiling space above the rug.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Classroom Photos

I'm ready for the students! I have finished decorating and organizing the classroom, lesson plans are ready, and copies have been made. These photos were taken before I placed names on their desks. I used owl name plates and placed magnets on the back, then stuck them to the front of the desks. 
I learned from my first year in third grade last year, that desks arranged in rows facing the front were the most comfortable seating for my students. I can see them, they can see me and the board, but they are still clustered together with other students so they have a shoulder partner or partners. I created a row down the middle because I like to move around.
The front of my classroom houses the center carts. I use 20 sets of task cards for math centers and 20 sets of task cards for literacy centers. Usually they use notebook paper to record their answers so I do not have to make so many copies, but I did copy the recording sheets for this month. Each student rotates through most of the 20 drawers throughout the month, so each student has his/her own center everyday. They just take the drawer their desk. I purchased the task cards from many, many TpT authors. I switch the task cards at the beginning of each month.
Because the math and literacy centers allow the students to practice many different skills, I use these anchor charts to create a reference wall. I am able to take the math charts off (magnetic) and use them on the document camera during my lessons.
My small group area
I use the stacking trays on the counter as student mailboxes. I purchased some nifty folders to use this year from Nicky's Folders. I am so excited for the students to use them as a Take Home Folder.
Hallway Display to showcase student work
The owls are hot glued to clothespins and have labels with the student names on them.

I hope you have a great school year!

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Lapbooks remind me of the days when I was a stay-at-home mom. We made them during some of our homeschooling lessons. I think lapbooks are going to be useful once again, but this time in my classroom and with my students!

Next week we are beginning a science unit on Matter (Mixtures and Separating) and a Social Studies unit about South America. I have lapbooks to use with both topics.

The Matter Lapbook contains pieces from kits I purchased from TpT.
The pieces are mixed and matched from Paper Bag Matter Book from Hooty's Homesroom and States of Matter Lapbook from Amber Polk. Both of these can be found in their TpT stores.
I made some of the pieces to cover other topics that will be taught but were not included in their kits.

Here are the directions for adding an insert. I needed one so the students can keep their reading passages and notes in one place. It will be easier for them to study for a test when all the information is compact and organized.

This is the lapbook for South America. I created this lapbook and it is in my TpT store 
It includes 5 lessons with reading passages and the lapbook pieces to use as a follow-up activities.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Text Features

My third graders enjoyed learning about text features. I used textmapping with "text scrolls" to help cooperative groups of students see the entire book. I plan to use these again for other skills (they are great for allowing students to mark text). We covered this skill for three days during whole group reading. 

Here are the details:
As we discussed each feature, the students used the chart to complete notes for each feature using cloze sentences. They "filled in" the important word that was missing for that feature.

Day 2: The students had a "Scavenger Hunt" to find the text features on the text scrolls. I reduced the cards and had a set at each scroll so they could see if the book had that text feature. They used a recording sheet with all the text features listed and highlighted the ones that were in each book. We had 6 scrolls and I used books from
These cards were used at each scroll.
Some groups flipped through them as if they were a deck of cards, and some groups matched the cards to the text feature on the scroll. 
The scrolls were simple to make. Just glue the book in order on a strip of bulletin board paper.
I did go back and staple just the bottom of each book to the paper.
I kept space at the top for text marking.

They were warned about this book beforehand and instructed not to scream!

The discussions among the students were so varied-some were confirming the text feature and some were asking for clarification about the text features. The small cards were a great reference.

Day 3: The students were placed in cooperative groups and given 1 text scroll to list all the text features, the page number, and what they learned from that feature.

These were fun and engaging lessons and really had little prep except for the scrolls. I did not let them mark on these so I can use them again. The students could always take ownership of the scrolls and glue the book pages and that would save you some time. Storage is quick and easy, just fold each side over until they meet and place in a flat drawer.

For more information about text scrolls, visit this website.
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