So.....I have a new blog design! I'm in love with my new colors :) I wanted to have a little giveaway to celebrate.....I am giving these pencil packs to my students for their holiday gift this year. Now you have a chance to win a set for your class too! Hopefully this will solve the "I don't have a pencil" problem for at least a few weeks. Maybe??

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I did a great math lesson, completely on the fly. Sometimes my best lessons are planned last minute! Anyway, our last day before Thanksgiving break was Friday and on Thursday night I happened to be walking through Kroger and saw stacks of their ads sitting by the door. So I went home and whipped up a quick worksheet and it went great. They used the calculator on their devices to help with them, but they had to decide whether to multiply, divide or add to find the correct answer. The conversations about the price of the things were hilarious, "Man, turkey's are expensive!".  On the back they had to spend $20.00 for a Thanksgiving meal. If you still have school on Monday and Tuesday, you can grab a copy of it here. Edit it to match your local store ad :) Happy Thanksgiving!

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I was inspired this week by a Pinterest picture I saw. This mom has a great website called lemon lime adventures. (She must be an amazing momma!) She gave her kids candy pumpkins and did some STEM and science experiments. Which reminded me of something my daughter did in her 6th grade STEM class. They compared The Scientific Process with The Engineering Design bam! The idea hit me! Let's do that with the candy pumpkins. So I created two experiments, one is a STEM project with the pumpkins where they have to build a tower and the other is a science experiment where they have to put the pumpkins in four different liquids. After both experiments are over, we will compare/contrast the two processes. This should be VERY interesting as I only have third graders! If you would like to try it, you can get your copy here. The best thing is.....Halloween candy will be on sale after next week and this is not a Halloween project!

I am planning on doing this on Friday, hoping that by doing something fun it will help them from being too wild and crazy since it is Halloween. What are you going to do on Halloween? What are your survival tactics to get through the day?
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I joined a linky today! The ladies at Teaching Trio challenged us to link ups with favorite apps we use in our class.....

And since my class has started bringing in their own devices we have had one favorite: Kahoot

The teacher adds questions to Kahoot, to make a game prior to the class session. I use it as a review for an upcoming test. The students then can use the app to enter the game using a "Game Pin" or they can log on via the website. I love that there are two options because not all my students have downloaded the app on their device.

They then answer the questions "real time", see the correct answers and then see who in in first place, etc. My students get so excited! They are so engaged. Also, if you don't have devices for each student you can easily have them work in teams with several students sharing a tablet or computer.

Last week I entered questions for our upcoming Science test, the lowest grade on the test was a "C". How I can argue with results like that? Plus they love it!
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I got to go on a school visit today to see a school that has B.Y.O.D.(bring your own device) in action and my mind was blown from the moment I stepped into the doors of this amazing school. Students were using technology in so many ways, so many websites and aps, I couldn't write fast enough or take enough pictures!! The local school technology coordinator has an awesome website and I found one thing I had to share tonight:

I, personally am an android girl, however so many of these ideas and aps can crossover to help even me. If you have iPads it will be very helpful :)
I can't wait to start using some of the ideas I went away with! 
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Have you discovered these posters yet?
If you teach 3-5th grades, you have to check these out. I discovered them on tpt when I was looking for a culminating activity for our unit on Paul Revere. These posters were just the thing I was looking for. She is able to put so much information on one page, it amazes me! So I bought this one to finish out our unit on Pollution. It is great to use as an assessment grade at the end of a unit also. The best part is.....most sell for $1.25 or $1.50 AND they look awesome hanging in the hallway! Our administrators want to see evidence of "rigor" in the work we hang in the hallway. How much better than that can you get? Check them out on tpt here.
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Do you have students who just can't make friends or get along with each other? Every year I struggle with a few students who have these problems. I get frustrated because it interferes with our learning time but I also know that often these children come to school without having learned the social skills they need to get along with others.

Luckily I found this awesome freebie to help out. It's just a great visual reminder of what students can to do to be a good friend. You can get a copy here. Plus, how cute is it?? I love it and it will look great on the wall. She also has a great activity pack you might be interested in. You can check that out here. Enjoy!

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Our school just went wireless. We've been wireless for the teacher's laptops but now we are allowing students access online with their own devices! So I volunteered along with a some other teachers in my school to be a B.Y.O.D. classroom. I just jumped right in without thinking much about how to manage it and it was not a great idea. I had students trying to look at their devices while I was teaching. I also had a student leave his device outside the classroom door unattended while he transitioned to another room! So I took a step back, went over the rules again and implemented a few new routines. I am now putting up signs on the board to show when they can access their devices and when they need to be left alone.
I also made a consequences sheet for when the rules are broken. A few students had to put them back in their backpacks, now I can have documentation of a each occurrence. The last problem I was having is the space on their desks.....those devices were just too tempting sitting right in front of them. I found the best solution at Office Depot They make these little plastic business card holders that even hold up an ipad. It works awesome, and if a student doesn't have a makes a great pencil holder! (Plus they are only .99 in the store)
There are still a bunch of challenges ahead of me.....on Friday we tried to use our devices to access an online game called Kahoot and the game froze and kicked us out! I still need to work on lists of aps and websites. So it's a work in progress!

If you are interested in downloading my posters, you can get freebies here! I would love to hear how you manage devices in your classroom, yours or student owned.
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Congratulations to Jennifer N. winner of the giveaway! Thanks to all who entered!

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What a cute design for the September Currently!
I love the three little campers at the bottom! The three places I want to take trips to are New York (I love New York City) Washington D.C.  and the Grand Canyon. We have never been to D.C. or the Grand Canyon and both are on our list for family vacations in the future.

Link up with Farley to do your Currently if you haven't already AND while you are here...scroll down and enter my very first giveaway! I am giving away an awesome set of custom designed classroom magnets!
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I am so excited to announce my first giveaway! First of all, I fell in love with the product I am giving away today. And the ladies who make them are amazing, their customer service is wonderful. More about that in a minute........

So here they are:
I found these magnets last year on tpt and ordered a set for my Daily Five choice board. I was frustrated because regular magnets do not stick to anything that is laminated! Especially with hot glue. These magnets saved my day!

Here is a little snapshot of my Daily Five choices and the student's magnets on their choices.

It worked out so well, I went back to the ladies at tea and coffee and ordered another set for my library rotations. No more "Can I go to the library?" All they do is move their magnets when they are ready to go to the media center.

So this year, I was completely freaked out by the fact that I had 29 students! I only had 25 magnets. I emailed the ladies at tea and coffee and they matched up my magnet sets and and mailed the rest of the numbers I needed! That's when I had the wonderful idea to give a set away to one lucky person. They are coming out with some really cute new designs too and they can design anything you enter maybe you can get a free set! I would love to see how you use them.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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I decided to take the summer off and get some much needed rest and relaxation. It was a GREAT summer, and then when school started it has taken me a good month to get my feet under me and feel like I've got a handle on what I am doing!

I am still in third this year so at least I did not change grade levels, but I was made grade chair. And I've revamped a bunch of things in my room this year. Many things that were on my list last year, that I just didn't get around to.

One of the biggest things I have started this year is that I have ditched the clip chart! I read a bunch of great blog posts and articles about how clip charts don't really change inappropriate behaviors in problem students and it's humiliating for children to be "called out" in front of their peers. So my school is pushing Class Dojo this year and I hopped on board.

It really is very user friendly to customize for your class. It makes you remember to see the good things they are doing and even if they get points taken away, they are always able to earn points back. I was able to get all my parents to sign up to check their child's points (amazing) and the parents can send you messages. I like this because I can see them on my phone, like a text message and I don't necessarily have to log on to my school email to respond.

I am having my students turn in points on Fridays, since they don't always want to use all their points I made a points tracker sheet where they can add and subtract points on Fridays. You can get this cute freebie on tpt here!

My inspiration for my rewards was this amazing Pin on Pinterest! I loved this idea when I saw it and immediately bought her Coupon Binder on tpt. I just made my drawers match Dojo points and its working great.
Well, now that I'm back I will get some classrooom pics up soon! Thanks for sticking with me :)
Hope everyone has a great year!

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Gotta love May!

I can't believe this year is winding first year back in third grade. It's been long but good. My class started out rough (I usually say they start out rough) then I end up loving them! So as we finish up our end of the year activities in class here is the Currently for May. Go link up with Farley at oh boy 4th grade!

Listening: Love Big Bang Theory! Dr. Sheldon Cooper cracks me up!

Loving: Only 14 more school days left in the year, we only have one day of post planning because of snow days which means we have to pack fast to not loose summer days!

Thinking: My hubby has been traveling this week for business and is on his way home this evening. He is gone all next week too!

Wanting: We had three days of state testing this week and two more to go next week....can't. wait. for. it. to. be. over.

Needing: I'm currently working on getting my Gifted certification and have two assignments left and then I am finished! Thank goodness!

For my surprise, I picked my wonderful friend and inspiration, Tammy at The Resourceful Apple. Tammy and I are friends and also taught together in Florida before I moved to Georgia. She is the one who encouraged me to start selling on tpt and to start blogging. She is so creative and an awesome teacher! I miss her so much! Check out her blog, especially if you are a first grade teacher....
We have been reviewing and practicing, and finally our state testing days begin tomorrow. I am so worn out just thinking about it....the threat of severe weather tonight doesn't help either! I have done quite a few things to get my "peeps" motivated. I love this blog post from Faith Wheeler at 1st Grade Fantabulous! It's about dealing with testing stress. She has a great freebie with testing treats! I am making all of these for my students!

The other thing I have done is show my students some great youtube videos. There are some awesome songs out there that kids just love to sing and have really helped them get hyped up do their best. I made a pdf of some of the ones I like, you can grab a freebie of it here. I hope all your testing goes well!
So happy to see April here at last! That means one thing and only one thing to me....Spring Break. It better be nice and warm and sunny in Florida or someone will have some explaining to do! Here is my Currently for April, link up with Farley to do yours!
Listening: Criminals Minds....this show freaks me out every time. Gives me bad dreams, but the hubby loves it.
Loving: My students have gotten hooked on writing poetry and they are doing great. All I did was introduce some of the different forms and gave them some examples and they have gone crazy! Daily Five is now Poetry Writing Time!
Thinking: I am barely going to make it through the next two days, these kids are killing me with their talking. But I am going to hang in there. I can do it!
Wanting: A new bathing suit for Florida next week but have no time for shopping.
Needing: To finish grading so I don't have to take papers with me on break.
Hours: We have meetings on Tues and Thurs so we go until 4:45.....30 minutes was added to our day because of snow days, its been rough. Last day is May 23, it will be here before we know it!

Happy Spring Break to me! Did you have yours yet?

No not me, I'm not the genius.....but do you ever see something and think, "Why didn't I think of that?" It happens to me daily! This was sent to me by my math coach at school and I got so excited. It is a truly visual way for kids to see the multiplication tables. I am going to print a class set and laminate them tomorrow. Most of mine have already memorized through the 12's but for my friends who are struggling this will help them so much. I don't know where she actually got it but there are credits at the bottom of the page. You can get it here. I love this!

So we are really digging deeper into our comprehension skills and last week we were talking about making inferences with poetry. This week our skill is supposed to be drawing conclusions, so as I was planning I began thinking. Are they the same thing and if they aren't how do I explain it in a way children can understand? I started off with a google search and BINGO the very first thing I found was a blog by Jennifer Wright with an amazing explanation and a perfect graphic. She says, "We infer when we draw conclusions and that there are other processes involved including drawing conclusions, making connections, making predictions, etc." You can read her excellent post here. After reading, it all made perfect sense, I already knew it. I just needed to organize it in my brain and this visual helped me. I know it will help my kiddos too!

I have a few random things to share today! I know I have talked about close reads before but I have to share a great idea I had. I had typed up the close reading codes and was having my students use them as bookmarks, which works ok. But you always have the student who looses everything! We usually do close reading at the floor with our clipboards holding the passage we are reading. That's where my great idea came in....I taped the codes to the clipboards with packing tape! They turned out super, now all they have to do is flip up the page to see the codes and they will not get lost!

You can get a copy of my close reading codes is a freebie!  

The next random thing I want to share are two amazing websites. Have you ever wanted to show your class a youtube video only to be a little embarrassed about the ads and other stuff around it? Plus if your class is anything like mine, they starting giving me "directions" on which video they want me to click next. This new website is a great way to share videos, minus all the other distractions. Go to Safe Share, copy your youtube link or any other video link and it gives you a safe url. Our district is starting to explore flipped classroom models and this would be a safe way to include a video link for your students on your website. 

The next website is a super cool Voki you can create or have your students create their own talking avatars! I love these...I especially love how you can type in the text and the avatar will speak it. You can even change the language and accent. It doesn't have a Southern one though and ya'll I was bummed about that!
There are so many things you can do with this website and I have barely scratched the surface. You can even embed the avatar into power point presentations you make, how fun is that?
Hope you enjoy playing around with these websites and maybe they will turn out to be useful!
Can't believe how fast this school year is going! I love February, it's my birthday month and I love Valentine's Day in the classroom. I have been focusing on "kindness" in my classroom this year. In fact, our word of 2014 is kindness. I heard this song and we are using it as our theme song. It's called Nothing More

It basically says, we are how we treat each other and nothing more. I love this song and we've been playing it to remind ourselves how to treat our classmates. I also do a kindness project, where we do Random Acts of Kindness throughout our school. Last year, I did the whole month of February! Way too ambitious, so this year we will go up until Feb. 14th. So here's to a great February!

Listening: To the Super Bowl and not that I am a big fan of either of these teams, I do like Peyton Manning. So we were cheering for the Broncos, but its not looking so good at this point!

Loving: I made that yummy queso with Velveeta and Rotel tomatoes. My family thought I was a rock star, they loved it!

Thinking: Speaks for itself, the commercials during the Super Bowl are so funny. I especially love the Doritos and the time machine!

Wanting: My class was so talkative last week, we had two snow days which is not normal for the Metro Atlanta area! The snow just caused a big uproar!

Needing: I go into my basement to pull books for our next month or upcoming units and I still need to get down there even though it's almost 8:00 on Sunday night!

2 Facts: I DO love cupcakes and I am not much of a dancer. I have never really loved going out dancing, I feel silly when I do.
1 Fib: I watch entirely too much TV, Downton Abbey is my newest obsession!

Link up with Farley, if you haven't already!
Is your district requiring you to use close reading strategies? We are and I feel like I am really helping my students with strategies to comprehend and attack non-fiction texts. I found this great blog post from Two Reflective Teachers that explains a great way to do close reads. I have got to try this! We get Time For Kids and it would be great for them.

I also use these great close reading Bookmarks. They are free too!
Free Close Read and Annotation Bookmarks

I came across this article today and loved it. We really get caught up in standards, testing, laminating and lesson plans. But what is it that students remember? They remember that we cared. We listened and we helped them when they needed it. This was a great reminder for me to focus on what really matters, not the list of things we need to get done this day but focus on my students. Read it and feel better about what you are doing!  
What Students Remember Most

I admit I see those cute anchor charts on Pinterest and mine just never end up that cute, especially when I am writing as my students are responding or coming up with ideas. I have tried but never end up liking the way turn out. So I usually end up typing them and gluing them on chart paper as we discuss the topic. This week we were concentrating on Non-Fiction Text Structures. I made an anchor chart, a foldable and a quick assessment to go along with our discussion. I loved the way it turned out. I think I need to work on making more of these!  

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