Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mini Craft

Do you ever get the urge to be crafty?  I do sometimes which is a problem since I am not really a crafty person.  But since my new found addiction to pinterest (if you are on there send me a comment so I can follow you!), my crafty craving has grown even worse.  So I was checking out my friends in bloggy world this week and found the cutest poster on Third Grade Bookworms.  I knew I had to display it in my room.  So I printed off the poster and headed to Wal-Mart (I am constantly going to Wal-Mart).  I found a simple 8 x 10 wooden frame and some spray paint.  A little while later I had a cute print to hang above my desk.  I am also currently working on a craft I saw on Lesson Plan SOS where I am covering wooden letters with cute scrapbook paper.  And I really want to make a cute sign or canvas like the one Mrs. Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade has about our class does.  Maybe I will be able to tackle and finish these projects in the next week or so.  If you have any cute craft ideas send me the link!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Givewaway Updates

I am visiting my family one last time before school starts in a few weeks.  I can not believe summer has gone by so fast.  I wanted to tell you about some chances to win some great stuff!  Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Buisness is giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon.

Primary Connections is giving away a $20 giftcard to Teachers Pay Teachers! I can not stay away from that place!

A Pocket Full of Kinders is having an awesome giveaway with 3 winners!

A Teeny Tiny Teacher is celebrating her followers by giving away a Barnes and Noble giftcard.  We all always need more books for our classrooms right?
Check them out- they end soon!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Hello all! I hope you are getting as excited to start a new school year as I am! Why not start the year by winning a giveaway! Thoughts of a Thrid Grade Teacher is celebrating reaching 400 followers!! Wow! You could win a gift card to Baffin Bags! Check it out!

Classroom Update

I went out to the school and did some more work today.  It is slowly getting there and I am getting more and more excited about my new kids! Here are some pictures.
My Classroom Helpers- I forgot to add Weather Man

My classroom library- it still looks a bit plain but we will be adding lots of anchor charts and our genre posters as a class.  Those are their check out pockets on the wall.  I will take a better pic of that.

Our 7 Habits Wall- We will put our leaning goals for the week here.  I am still not totally happy with this .

I forgot to take a photo of our genre wall but I will next week.  Let me know if you have any suggestions.  I will post pictures of the whole room when it is all ready.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Clip Chart and Teaching Rules

Sorry for being a bit MIA lately.  I am head of our student committee at school and we have been writing a new school wide discipline plan.  We read the wonderful book Setting Limits in the Classroom and we are applying those ideas to the Clip Chart.  I am so excited about our new plan and our hard work.  A few of my wonderful co-workers made a Clip Chart for every teacher in our school using a cute font from Lettering Delights. 

My school uses data notebooks for our students to record their homework, learning and behavior goals, and their progress.  Every day our students will color in a box on a calendar to tell their parents where they ended up on the behavior chart.  We wanted to include a color copy of the clip chart in our data notebooks so that parents knew what each color meant.  I got to thinking and that is a lot of color ink! So I thought what if the students colored their own Clip Charts to put in their data notebooks.  I typed up a quick form and I am including it below!
  I have also been thinking a lot of how we teach rules and procedures.  My school decided on three rules: be respectful, be resourceful, and be responsible.  During the first week of school, the students and teachers will work together to define these rules.  Here is what I am thinking of doing: I want to start by having students think about why we have rules- why we have rules in sports, at home, on the roads, at school, etc.  Then we will talk about the importance of following rules (to keep us safe, help us learn) and introduce our three rules.  I want to give students sticky notes and have them write down some rules they think will be important for our classroom.  Then they will stick their notes under the general rule.  Later in the week, I want each child to write and illustrate a page about one of our rules.  I might give them a template like "One of our rules is....  This rule means... I can practice this rule by..."  Then I will put all their pages together in a book.  This book can either go in our classroom library or in our time out area for students to look over while they are in isolation.  We will also do a lot of role playing and modeling with our rules and procedures. Wow this post is super long!! I hope my ideas were helpful!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thank You!

I want to send a huge thank you to Mrs. E over at The Sweet Life of Third Grade! I won her giveaway for gift cards to Teachers Pay Teachers! I can not wait to go shopping.  Check out her blog if you have not-she has some great ideas!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Donor's Choose

I am proud to say that my first project on Donor's Choose has been approved!  Donor's Choose is a wonderful site that allows teachers to shop for materials and get donations to purchase them.  Donors can search the site for schools in their area, certain types of projects, or projects that are most needed.  My first project is for fluency timers.  I want to have a fluency station where students can practice reading aloud with their classmates and get feedback.  Timers are not that expensive but when you need several of them and the batteries to go with them-it adds up fast! You can check out my project or find other projects on Donor's Choose.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Giveaway Woo Hoo

With all those back to school wish lists we have going we are going to need some Target gift cards!

Don't forget to send me any links to library or media center blogs!

"Teaching Heart ( ) is hosting their annual back to school party on July 24th till July 30th. Each Day a new prize! Gift cards, Books, Teaching Heart Products, and more!!! Plus a free printable will be posted during the week. You need to visit the blog at;
daily to check out the prizes each day and enter for the ones you want to win!!!"

Help Wanted!

Hello! I must admit that I am totally exhausted as I am writing this post.  After being sick at the start of the week and spending two long days at school working-whew! Members of my faculty meet yesterday to decide on a new school wide discipline plan.  Thanks to the recent linky party at Miss Kindergarten's site- we have decided to use the Clip Chart.  We will be modifying this to include the 7 Habits of Happy Kids since we are a Leader in Me school.  Today we turned an empty classroom into a teacher work room.  We put all the copy machines, Riso machine, poster makers, etc. in one room set up a great work space.  It will be so great to have all our supplies and equipment in one place! I have made some more progress in my room so check back for pictures soon!
   I do need some help from all of you in bloggy land. One of our first grade teachers has taken on a new challenge- being the school librarian or "media specialist" as they call it now.  She loves checking out blogs and was wondering if there are any library or media center blogs.  Anyone have any links for us?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Miss Kindergarten is having a classroom management linky party! We all know how important it is to have positive relationships with our kids and manage our classrooms so this is great way to share ideas.  I might have blogged about this before so please forgive me if I have.  Last summer I read Setting Limits in the Classroom by Robert MacKenize and this year I led a book study using this text.  Tomorrow, we are actually sitting down to rewrite our school wide discipline plan! Anyways, one strategy I use from this book is called P.A.T. or preferred activity time.  At the start of the week I give my kids ten minutes.  Every time I see someone on task or we get a compliment, etc. we earn more minutes.  If the students are off task I simply start a timer.  I run the timer until they are following directions again.  That time gets taken away from us.  (I do a T-Chart with positive and negative time on the board).  I also set the timer sometimes-for example I give the students three minutes to put their supplies away.  If they finish before the timer goes off then they get the time added.  If they go over the time, then time gets taken off.  On Friday we calculate all our time and select an activity to do together.  This is the important part- it is for students AND the teacher! It is a great bonding time.  Some of my kids' favorites are I Have, Who Has? Games, Multiplication Bingo, Around the World, Heads Up Seven Up, Red Rover, and math games.  I really saw am improvement in my kids using this! I pulled less slips and kids worked together and encouraged each other.  With any other program- you must be consistent! If you are interested in using this strategy I encourage you to check out the Setting Limits book.  That book really opened my eyes to how I addressed behavior in my classroom.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Book Whisperer: Reader's Notebooks

Today I read about the Reader's Notebooks in The Book Whisperer.  This past nine weeks, I used a reading log for students to complete center work in but I see the difference between that and the reader's notebook.  My students used their reading logs to answer teacher created questions, complete graphic organizers, and do other skill based work.  A reader's notebook is a place for students to record their progress as a reader such as genre requirements and book lists. I would love to have a reader's notebook this year to allow my students and I to communicate about their reading.  I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around how to set them up and use them.  My system uses a basal program and I have certain non-negotiables that I have to complete in centers each week.  I have looked into reader's notebooks available on Teachers Pay Teachers (Lesson Plan SOS has one I really want!).  This is something I am going to have to do some serious planning and thinking about.  Does anyone out there use reader's notebooks with a basal program? I would love some suggestions!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vista Print Linky Party and Another Great Giveaway!

If you have not visited The Sweet Life of Third Grade yet- you seriously need to!  Mrs. E. has some great ideas and her blog is super cute.  I even choose her button for my Blog Mixer Cutest Button!  She recently reached 100 followers and is giving away a $20 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers!! I have wish list a mile long on that site so I hope I win! Check it out!

The Apple Basket Teacher is having a linky party about creations from Vista Print.  If you do not know about this site, WOW head over there now! I recently ordered and received business cards for this year.  I have my school contact info on there and I think they turned out super cute.  I only paid for the shipping and handling so basically I was able to get 250 cards for about six bucks.  I put magnets on the back to my cards and place them on my white board at open house.  That way parents can stick them on their fridge and always know how to reach me!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book Whisperer Chapter Four

I am running a little behind with my Book Whisperer posts! I am loving loving loving this book!  Here are my thoughts on chapter 4.
Discussion Questions:
1) How do you plan to give your students reading freedom? 
I plan on letting my students choose their own books from our classroom library during the first days of school and continue to check them out all year.  I want to build independent reading into my daily routine and model when to take out your book and read.  My students will also have library class once a week with our new school librarian, Mrs. Harp.
2) What are your favourite reading lessons to start the school year with?

I typically begin my school year with classroom library procedures and how we choose books.  This year I want to do some of the inner voice lessons from Strategies that Work and the Comprehension Toolkit.  I also love the idea of the reading salad from Comprehension Connections.
3) What would your genre requirement look like? Why would you pick these genres?

I got a wonderful resources from Mrs. Runde- her 30 Book Challenge!  I tweaked the genre requirements she had come up with based on my classroom library and what I have observed from past students and here they are:

      2 Poetry Anthologies

      2 Fiction

     2 Historical Fiction

    5 Realistic Fiction

      3 Fantasy

      2 Mystery

      4 Informational

     2 Biography

         8 Your Choice

4) As we are half way through The Book Whisperer what goals have you made for your reading program for this coming school year? This year I want to have more student led discussions about books.  I want them to talk about books they like or don't like, recommend books for each other, and learn to talk about themseleves as readers.  I plan on doing this by conferring with students about the books they are reading and hosting book talk afternoons.  I will have to set up clear expectations and model but I think it will def. be worth it!


 I have some giveaways to share with y'all! First up is First Grade O.W.L.S.  She is celebrating 100 followers by giving away a Target gift card AND products from the TpT store of Dee Dee Wills.

My next giveaway update is from Lady Bug Teacher Files.  She has reached 1,000 followers!! So awesome! She will be giving away a custom blog design and some of her pre-made templates.

Last but not least is Jennifer from Lifelong Learning.  She reached 50 followers! You could win an Amazon gift card.

Congrats to all these blogs for their continued growth!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ms. Coleman Always Says...

I know I already blogged today but I saw this linky party and wanted to be a part of it.  We all have those things we always say to our kids.  They are not all gems but some of them are worth sharing.  Mrs. Bainbridge is having a fun linky party to share our teacher sayings.  Here are some of mine:

1. If you are beside someone, you are NOT in line.

2. You are in charge of you. (I work at a Leader in Me school and we hear the 7 Habits!)

3. I agree with Mrs. Bainbridge- when I drink Diet Dr. Pepper in class and my kids complain I tell them you have to have a college degree.  Same goes for sitting on the desks.  Then they all try to convince me that they do in fact have a college degree.

4. Are you bleeding? Are you on fire? Is it an emergency? No, well then will you raise your hand again when we get into the classroom.

5.  I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.  I am an old lady- you have to speak up.

6. Seriously?

Blog Mixer

Yearn to Learn is having a Blog Mixer party! This party lets us spotlight some of our favorite blogs!  Here are my picks:

1. New Kid on the Block: Third Grade Book Worm.  Her blog is super cute and has some fun ideas.  She is also having a giveaway to celebrate 50 followers!
Third Grade Bookworm

2.  Same grade level: Wow there are some really great 4th grade blogs out there but one of my favorites is Oh Boy 4th Grade.  She just got changed to 4th grade so I am interested to see her new ideas and she has a lot of personality!

3. Different grade level:  I love Amanda over at Third Grade Meanderings! 

4. Cutest blog button: The Sweet Life of Third Grade- I heart the cupcakes and the polka dots match my classroom!

The Sweet Life of Third Grade

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Classroom Makeover Update

I hope everyone is doing well out there in bloggy world! I went back out to the school yesterday to work in my room. I finally, finally, finally finished putting all the pockets in my library books.  I went through almost a whole box of library pockets and over 500 index cards but I did!  Sadly, that is only the chapter books! The picture books might have to wait until next summer.  I did update some of the tubs my picture books are in and changed the labels to match my Dots on Chocolate theme. I forgot the snap a picture but I will next time I go out there.  I also put up one bulletin board.  I had my classroom helpers and new labels for my genre wall ready but my printer did not feel like working so I will save that for another day.  Here is a picture of my bulletin board:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Trash to Treasure

Mrs. Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade is having a super fun linky party.  It is called Trash to Treasure and she has challenged everyone to turn something that was "trash" and turn it into something you can use in your home or classroom.  I found an ugly old green basket at my mom's house and gave it a new look.  I plan on using this basket to hold read alouds in my classroom.  That way the books I want to share will be in one place and ready to go when I need them!


I spray painted it brown

Then I added some ribbon.  My bow needs a little help!

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Favorite Books

Mrs. Runde is having a linky party about favorite books! I could not resist! Here are some of my favorites:

Childhood Favorites:
My mom and I read together a lot when I was little.  Some of my favorites include Agatha's Feather bed, a Robert Munsch book called Purple, Green, and Yellow, and another one called Christina Katerina and the Time She Quit the Family.  My favorite book that I read by myself is Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons.  Oh and I also love love Harry Potter and the Austin Family series by Madeline L'Engle.
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Classroom Favorites: I love to read anything by Patricia Polacco to my students.  My all time favorite book to read aloud to my students The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.  This is the sweetest story about a china rabbit who learns to love.  It is so beautifully written. This year we had an Edward Tulane day when we finished the book.  Check out my pictures from it and my related products on TpT.
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Professional Favorites:
  I love teacher books! Some of my favorites include Setting Limits in the Classroom and of course The Book Whisperer.

Guilty Pleasures:
  I have a lot of these and some are quite embarrassing.  I love the Twilight books-I hate to admit it but I do! I also enjoy the Stephanie Plum series and James Patterson's Women's Murder Club. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I do not know if I have told you this but I have the most amazing Mom in the world.  Not only is she my friend, the giver of advice, my partner in crime and silly, my biggest fan- she is also incredibly generous with her time! When I decided to change my classroom decor this summer,  she knew what that meant. Yep it was time to bring out the sewing machine again.  The summer before my first year, she sewed lime green and pink curtains and cubby coverings.  This summer we found several very cute fabrics that match my Dots on Chocolate color scheme.  All the fabrics are from Hobby Lobby (they have started putting out their fall and Christmas stuff by the way). We spent yesterday in my classroom sewing and hanging my new curtains.  I still have some more projects to go in my classroom makeover and six library baskets to finish.  My co-worker, Brooke, has given me a deadline of August 1st! Here's hoping I make it!
Sewing in my classroom!
Hanging the curtains

Small window

Big Window
         Storage- I think we are going to take down the solid print panels and replace them with         more of the ones with the print edge.

Close up

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


There are three giveaways going on that you need to know about! Congrats to Mrs. Owens for reaching 100 followers!  She is giving away a super cute bag from Thirty One.  I hope I win! Head on over to her blog, Go Fourth With Mrs. Owens, to enter!

Ahleigh over at Education Journey reached 50 followers! To celebrate she is having a giveaway with three winners: $25 gift card to Lakeshore, a $10 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers, and the chance to pick any item from her TpT store. 

The last giveaway is from Teaching Mrs. Lazenby.  She is celebrating 50+ followers by giving away a Target gift card!

Check back tomorrow for pictures of my new curtains in my classroom!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Top 10 Things to Know About Me

Mrs. Owens from Go Fourth with Mrs. Owens is hosting a linky party! She created a fun back to school activity to help us get to know our kids.  Head over to her blog to check it out! Here are my top ten:

10. I heart books! You might already know that by now!

9. I am not a morning person- I could seriously sleep til noon every day.

8. Everyone says that I drive like a little old lady.  I think my driving is just fine thank you.

7. I hate hate hate the word moist! ew!

6. I also have a strong dislike for ketchup...and jello.

5. Glee is one of my favorite shows ever.  I love to download the songs and sing them in the car.

4. I have the most adorable niece and nephew in the whole wide world.

3. I do not know how to ride a bike and I am perfectly ok with that.

2. My family is incredibly close and incredibly fun and awesome!

1. I have the best job in the world.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Read Alouds for Fall

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I love love love children's books.  I have a whole room in my apartment filled with them! You can imagine how excited I was to find a linky party about what else...children's books! Learning with Mrs. Parker is having a linky party about read alouds for fall and back to school.  Here are some of the books I like to read aloud in the fall:
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This is a great book about being yourself and standing up to bullies.  My students love the pictures in this one!

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This is a classic and one of the first chapter books I read aloud to my 4th graders.  They think Fudge is funny and they can relate to some of the issues Peter goes through- dealing with siblings, working on school projects, and being a 4th grader!

Product DetailsI like to read this book at the start of the year as well.  It is about a classroom hamster and his observations.  He has a very fun personality and helps out his classmates!

It'S Back To School We Go!

I like to read this book over several days during the first week of school.  It features children from all over the world and tells about their daily life including how they are educated.  My kids enjoy hearing about how different these characters are from them.  It is also a good way to introduce Venn Diagrams.

Product DetailsThe last book I am including is one that my uncle gave me when I was a little girl.  I love the play on words in this book! My kids like the sidebar pictures that go along with the story.  Agatha gets a new feather bed but has some trouble when some geese show up and want their feathers back!