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Did you hear? There's a huge event next week...something about an eclipse?? Since I am in Georgia we are very close to the path, so much so that my district is keeping kids in school one hour longer for their safety. We don't want kids getting off buses at around the time of the eclipse and not being supervised. Luckily, my principal is providing us all with approved glasses. Thank goodness! I am a little more than freaked out about someone getting hurt under my watch!

So I thought I would put together a few tips for anyone who might be interested in finding out about how to safely enjoy this once-in-every-forty-years event!

Here is the official NASA website that let's you know the best information on how to view the eclipse: NASA website-Safety Tips
NASA also recommends that only glasses listed on their approved website are safe. You can find that list here: NASA Approved Glasses

Since it happening next week, if you don't have glasses or you don't want to chance it. Having your students build their own Solar Eclipse Viewer is a great STEM idea. This is a great video showing step by step directions students can follow:
Solar Eclipse Viewer

If you are not in the path, you can still teach about the event! I love this animated video that shows the path of the eclipse over the US. You could really tie in some geography with this too.

This is another video that explains to kids exactly what happens during an eclipse and it's adorable!
Teaching about the solar eclipse
There are some really awesome resources for this event as well! Here are a few of my favorites.

Enjoy the event! 

We have a heavy focus on STEM at my new school so I wanted to do a STEM bulletin board with photos to show off our projects, but after scouring Pinterest I found nothing cute! I love Chandra at Teaching with Crayons and Curls and she had the cutest bulletin board (and I'm obsessed with everything about her room!) so that inspired my new STEM board. Plus I am loving my new CRICUT and finally getting a chance to use it to cut things out for my room.
Here's a close up of the photo frames:
The photo frames are a font from TeachersPayTeachers by Kimberly Geswein called Flavor and Frames. I am so excited about how it turned out. Now to finish the rest of the room!

So you are either in one of two states of mind right now.....relaxing on the couch or beside a pool somewhere, no cares in the world OR furiously getting your room and self ready for school mode. Which one is it? Me? I am in the furious mode, getting myself and room ready.

One thing I like to prepare myself for as I am getting back into the swing of things is how I am going to communicate with my parents. So  I thought I would leave a few little tidbits here and then give you a freebie to start your year.

First and foremost, when communicating with parents we have to remember that we are the professionals. We also have to remember that all of our emails could be read at anytime, so it goes without saying you need to be careful about how and what you say in an email. Many times the tone of an email can be misconstrued, when a nice polite phone conversation could have handled the issue so much better.

If you feel like an issue might be brewing, get out in front of it first. Be the first one to call. I had a principal who told me once, "The first one to reach out gets the upper hand." You are showing that you care and want to make the situation right. Parents really just want to know that you care about their child. Parents want to stayed informed.

If you do respond to an email, be sure to keep it short and sweet. If it requires longer than a few sentences than it requires a phone call.

If there is a situation with a parent that is becoming difficult to deal with, ask for help. Ask for the parents for a conference and then ask a counselor or administrator to sit in with you. It is so important to know that you don't have to "go it alone". There are people in your building who can assist you with the parent. But also know that your administrator will want to know what steps you want taken so far with the parent, so be sure you have documented everything! In other words...have all your ducks in a row!

Have a system in place for regular communication. I personally love the new apps that teachers can use now, replacing paper newsletters. Although, I know some school do require those too. Remind is excellent. I use Class Dojo. I also will send emails out to parents, and occasionally I will send print reminders of important announcements. Parents (like us) get a ton of emails, so they many not read them all. So we do need to find the method that works best for our own classes!

I like to document my parent contact, I know at some schools this is a requirement of teachers. One thing that I find very handy is to bring my phone numbers to the phone and my phone log with me....but I hated bringing my whole teacher binder to the phone! So I had this great idea. At open house I put out a half sheet that parents fill out with their numbers (I print these on card stock), and on the back is the phone log.
Then I just hole punch them, attach them together with a ring and I hang it up beside my desk. Then it is so easy to just grab it and go to the phone. I can jot down notes about the phone call and who I spoke to.

You can grab yours to get it ready for Open House too! Oh and did I mention...it is editable! Change the information to suit your needs.
Hope you had an awesome summer:)

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Do you use Class Dojo? I really like how many new features they have added. I love the messaging (I know....parents can contact you and that can get a little out of hand sometimes!) I really loved Class Story! My parents have enjoyed seeing pictures of what we are doing during the school day. And I really try to emphasize the positive aspect of behavior and awarding points. When having to take points away from a student, I do it privately and I rarely show the whole class everyone's points. In keeping with the "positive" one of my favorite things to do is to have my class work toward whole class rewards. So before I reset points, I fill in our Dojo Meter. 
We usually decide on the reward we are working for. So before I reset points, every couple of weeks, I fill in the Dojo Meter with an Expo Marker. My class usually likes to work towards free choice time, game days, extra recess, movie day, or our favorite "device day". They love when they can bring in their devices from home!
You can get your Dojo Meter by clicking on the picture and it's a freebie! The best news is.....it is editable! If you want to change the point values you can make it a little easier for your class to earn rewards.

What are some of your favorite whole class rewards?

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Hey everyone! We just finished up fractions in my class and the next unit is measurement. In third grade we learn measurement to the quarter inch.....you would think that since we just finished fractions that this wouldn't be so bad, right? Well.......it just does not always transfer!

Anyway, I would love to share with you some awesome resources that I use to tackle this skill:

The first thing we do is use our paper rulers. I print out some on card stock, that way we can write the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 inches right on the rulers. This helps greatly! Here are a few sites that have rulers you can print: here and here. And this one has the fractions already printed on the ruler which is super helpful for your struggling students: here

After we have measuring part down, then we practice with line plots. My students just loved this french fry measuring activity. You should give it a try! Click the pic to get yours:

The other skill we practice is measuring using broken rulers. This is when the students don't start measuring at the very beginning of the ruler, the object is put in the middle of the ruler. This can be very tricky, students need to learn to count the whole inches first then add in the fractions. I created this packet to help with this skill. It has a teaching poster, worksheet and task cards.
For Math Workshop, I update our centers to keep us practicing. These are some awesome freebies I found.
Also at my centers I have a technology station. Here are some fun activities you could add to your technology station for students to work on for measurement:

I hope these great activities help you plan your next unit on measuring! 

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Have you ever seen these cute little pouches of letters? My kids love them, you can get them at Walmart or Amazon, (here) I even saw them at my local grocery store. I have used these in third grade and just let my students make their own word puzzles, like crossword puzzles. I also love using them in the lower grades with these Fry Words puzzles that I've made. The best thing about these is, you make them once and can keep them out at a center for a long time. Kids never get tired of them!

 Love some more word work ideas? heck out the ideas on The Curriculum Corner!

Valentine's Day is so close! Are you ready?? I don't know about y'all but I like doing our Valentine bags in class. I like having them all look similar and I don't want to burden my families with having to make a box or a bag at home. But having said that, I like something easy that won't take us too long to make.

Dollar Store gift bags are great for this! I picked up bags (2 bags for a dollar) and some packs of their foam sticker hearts. All of these bags are made with the hearts only. I had to trim a few of the hearts for some of the pieces but students could easily do this. The only other supply we added was googly eyes. You could totally use construction paper eyes though.
Using just hearts, I made a dog and a fox.
I also made a butterfly and a cute little pig.
And finally a crab and a mouse.
The best part about these bags are the Name Tags! I laminate them and then attach using temporary double sided tape, then later students can take their names off and use them as bookmarks! I love being able to use things over again and not just throwing them away. 

You can make yours by downloading this freebie:

What are your plans for Valentine's Day? Hope you feel loved and appreciated!

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Hey everyone! I hope you had a great New Year and are energized to finish out this school with a bang! 

At this point of the year, my readers are focusing on comprehension and getting ready for the types of questions they will have on that dreaded standardized test, The Georgia Milestones. One of my go-to websites has always been ReadWorks. They have great passages, on a variety levels with higher level questions....just what we need in Third Grade. Oh and did I mention, it's free!

But then, they stepped it up! The came out with ReadWorks Digital and ya'll this is so easy...it's amazing! Within 10 minutes, I cut and pasted my students names to create their log on. Chose some passages for them to choose from. I decided to have show my students this in class, then we went to our computer lab to complete their first passage. Each passage has 5 - 10 questions plus short response that they have to type. 

The best part is the data! Teachers love data, right? I can easily see who missed any questions and then read their short answer responses.

This makes it very easy for me to see who did well and then form small groups with my kiddos who had difficulty. Also I had one friend who is a high level reader, he missed 3, so I need to check in with him to see why.

There are so many ways a teacher can use this tool in her classroom, including assigning for homework. This is what I plan to do. 

Check it out!


I can't even believe we are getting so close to Christmas break! I have 8 days left....8 long days! This time of year is so stressful, remembering to buy gifts for friends and family but then also your students. This has been my go-to present for my students for the last few years. 
My students always love this and it's so quick and easy. I buy Dollar Store mugs and fill them with hot cocoa packets, candy canes and little baggies of mini marshmallows. I usually put the mugs in clear gift bags and attach a tag. Done. One reason why I like this is because all of my students can receive one, no matter what holiday they celebrate.

And you can print the tags for your class too! Click the pic to download:
I can't wait for these next 8 days to zoom by, Christmas break can't get here soon enough. I hope your last few days go by fast too!


Let's face it, having Halloween on a Monday is NOT going to be a teacher's favorite day! I dread this day more than the day before a vacation! Not only is Monday going to be challenge but the day after is going to be worse. But there are a few things we can do to get through these days, because if you can't fight 'em, then join 'em.

First, be prepared! Don't plan on doing anything new. This is not the day to start introducing new concepts. Students that participate in trick or treating are going to be tired the day after and students who do not, might feel left out of all the fun. It could be hard to navigate. Give students extra recess time or some free time, like extra quiet reading and writing time. Better yet, if the weather is nice...try taking your lessons outside. Fresh air will do everyone some good.

Second, have some fun activities to do. Have students all bring in one piece of candy (you can bring in extras for your students who do not bring in a piece) and do some fun sorting and graphing activities, like in this activity pack.There is math, writing and a "Find Someone Who" that will work for everyone in class. (Even your non-trick or treaters can join in.)
Third, try a STEM activity. This is a great way to get students working together and yet learning about the STEM/Engineering design process and the Scientific Method. 
Either way, with a little prep and you'll make it through just fine! Have a happy Halloween.

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