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.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mathematics Centers-Fractions

I survived my first nine weeks of third grade. It has been the best quarter of school I have ever had in my career. No joke, third grade is the best, if given the chance you should give it a try. The curriculum is so interesting, they can do so much, and I come to school every day excited about my teaching my lessons. 

We just finished up a unit on fractions and all of the math centers were hands-on using manipulatives. I have never seen students so eager to get through the whole group lesson so they could work at the centers. For the most part, my math centers have been used as a spiral review of the math skills taught this year. I use task cards with a recording sheet for the students to complete. I decided to switch it up this week and use some of my familiar tools from kindergarten. 

Linking chains in bathroom cups
Students took the chains out and wrote the fractions for each color.

Unifix Cubes
Students wrote the fractions for each color in the stick.

Teddy Bear Counters
Students made a set of bears and wrote the fractions for each color.

Domino Fractions
Students counted the total number of dots and then recorded the 2 fractions (top, bottom) for the set of dots.
Set of counters in a cup
Students emptied the cup and wrote fractions for each color of counters in the set.

Honestly, these were the easiest centers I have created so far this school year. I did not need to print (or laminate) anything except the notes on the boards and the recording sheets. 

I organize my literacy centers this same way and I will post those tomorrow.

Monday, August 10, 2015

First Day Activities

When I think of the first day of school, two things come to mind - overplan and know how they get home!
Here are some of the charts I will complete with the students this short week.
We will discuss how to be a good citizen and a good friend in the classroom.

We will discuss what a good listener looks/acts like and does not look/act like.
We will discuss what their jobs are at school and what my job is at school.

The students will write their responses on post-it notes and add them under the correct heading.

I am using this editable powerpoint from Natalie Kay's TpT store.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Owl-Themed Classroom- Part II

This is the view when you walk through the door.

Gathering/Teaching Area and Reading Center

Flat File beside door

Student Mailboxes, Word Work Center, and Small Group Area
Word Work Center
The drawers will be labeled with the choices for this center.

Helpers - I purchased the large pocket card holders about 8 years ago, the helper cards are from 3rd Grade Thought's TpT store and the circles on the sticks are from Kinder Kreations TpT store.
Literacy Centers - the pocket charts are from Target and I made the center cards.
Rules - The owl themed rule cards are from Tweet Resources TpT store.
O.W.L. binders are in the student mailboxes and ready to go!

The chairs are from Sam's Club.

Small Group Materials

The back of the room - writing center and the computers.
Cursive Alphabet from Ladybugs Teacher Files.

Focus Wall (from Leslie's Locker TpT store) and Writing Center

These charts will be used the first day/week of school. I had a hard time figuring out how to hang them on the dry erase board. It is magnetic so I used small magnetic clips and the charts kept sliding down. Then, I hot glued stronger magnets to the clips, nope, that did not work either.
Finally, I used t-pins and the strip (see below) to hang them with skirt clips, which were purchased my first year of teaching 22 years ago to display class books by hanging them from the chalkboard ledge.

Here are the cubbies and a lot of my teaching materials. 
It is easier for me to access materials when they are in plain sight.
My mother made the curtains using the same fabric that is on my bulletin boards.
The math labels are from Amy Groesbeck's TpT store.

The supply bin labels are from Ladybugs Teacher Files and I made the cubby number labels.

Daily Work Drawers-Learning in Wonderland's TpT store
I hope you enjoyed seeing inside my third grade owl-themed classroom.
In case you missed Part I, it is posted below.
Have a great school year!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Owl-Themed Classroom-Part I

It's taken two weeks and I still need to hang the curtains (my mom is sewing them-I had a problem with the curtains I purchased) and I need to label the math manipulatives, so I am just showing a section of my room.
Here is the view of the front of the classroom.

Calendar, birthdays and grading scale.
The Making the Grade topper (free) is from Ladybugs Teacher Files blog.
I think I have purchased everything in her TpT store!
The fabric is from Hobby Lobby. It is brown with colorful circles.

I write the daily clear targets for each subject on the small dry erase boards.
I like that they are portable and can be moved to the teacher stations when needed.
The circle subject headings are from Ladybugs Teacher Files TpT store.
Reading Center
The Books are leveled by AR grade level ranges. 
The circle tags are from Ladybugs Teacher Files TpT store.

Student Book Boxes
The boxes were purchased from Really Good Stuff.
Hallway Passes
I purchased these from the TpT store of teaching with peace.

Our classes rotate through PE, Art, Music, Library and Guidance.
I use these cards to remember our special for the day. 

I just had to have these for my clock.
They are from Pink Cat Studio's TpT store.

Please visit to see Part II tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Tree with Owls

You need a tree if you have an owl-themed classroom....right?
The owls will have my students' names on them. I use clear labels to print and then stick!
I will add 12 X 12 cardstock and clothespins to display student work on either side of the tree.
That's my owl-I'm in the nest!
I used a brown tissue paper puff ball to make the nest.

This banner will have my name on it.
All of these owl items are from Carson-Dellosa bulletin board kits.

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