Friday, August 28, 2015

Creative Teaching Press Inspired Classroom Reveal - Decor and More!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Yes, we may be already missing the carefree days of summer, but the the lure of seeing those happy faces in our classrooms is pulling us back.

One of my favorite things about back to school is prepping my classroom to entice my new learners.
And luckily Creative Teaching Press provides many colorful, inviting products for doing just that.

To welcome my students to my classroom, I send them letters before school starts. 
I love the computer paper I found for the letters!
I include letters that students from last year had written to my future students.
I love the chevron accents in this paper!  Find the paper here.

We have hooks and shelves in the hallway for students to store their belongings and hang up their gear.
I like to assign hooks because I believe you are inviting "horseplay" if you let students pick their own spots.  
There are times you send kids out in the hallway to get something, and they are gone for 15 minutes.

Anyway, here are the cute nameplates I made for assigning hooks in the hallway.
Find these cards here.

Here are the pennant pieces I put above the hook areas.
I used a banner and letters from CTP!  The banner pieces reversible, and have patterns on one side, black on the other.
And now for some of my bulletin boards.
Last year we were able to Skype with scientists from ExxonMobil, do a valentine exchange with classes around the country, and do Skypes with two other classrooms.
I love the idea of global classrooms.
We are already matched up to be pen pals with a class from the Bronx, NY!
The border and letters are from Creative Teaching Press!

Here is my math focus wall.  We use Math Expressions, and start the year with multiplication and division.
I cover the facts chart with the sticky notes so its not so overwhelming.
I love the 5 star mathematician chart from CTP.

I am a huge supporter of STEM activities and inquiry learning.
Our first science unit is on Earth Materials.
Thanks to Educlips for that fun arrow!
The letters are from Creative Teaching Press.
I've been seeing boards like this on other teachers' Instagram accounts.
I like to model my love of books for my third graders.
I am part of an adult book club, and in the past my readers have been eager to hear about our book choices and discussions.
The border and letters are from CTP!
The small letters on my signs are stickers from CTP, too!

Now, go and check out the amazing ideas from Angie at Lucky Little Learners!
Angie is also hosting the 2Gether We Are Better Linky this month on Classroom Reveals!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School Survival Kit Exchange Reveal

I was fortunate to take part in the B2S Survival Kit Exchange hosted by Mrs. D's Corner.
I was matched up with the wonderful Stephanie Chambers at The Learning Chambers!

Stephanie was right on the mark when it came to color choices for my items.
When I opened the box I saw this cuuuute card!
And how about that gift card!  Stephanie was so generous!  I will love picking out apps and music to use on the ipads in my classroom.

Under the white tissue paper I found this treasure chest of goodies!
There were cute pens, pencils, paper clips, note cards, a notepad, black clothespins, sticky notes, 
and a journal!  She also included two rolls of washi tape, which I am already using and have at school.
Great choices Stephanie!  I can now set up my own learning chamber!

I absolutely love this last item.
Is that not the cutest scissors ever??  I now have something fun to look at while I'm cutting out all my back to school laminating!

Check out all the survival kits at Mrs. D's Corner's blog!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Great Back to School Read Aloud for Third or Fourth Grade

Are you looking for the perfect back-to-school read aloud?  Well look no further, because School Days According to Humphrey is that book!
I stumbled across the Humphrey series of books by Betty Birney while visiting Barnes & Noble about two years ago.
The main character (Humphrey, the hamster) struggles with adjusting to new classmates at the beginning of the school year. The new classmates represent a wide variety of personalities, just like your average present day classroom.

 I created a PowerPoint presentation to introduce each of the chapters in this book, and it can be yours for free at my TpT store.  
Please leave feedback if you download this product, as it earns you credits to use on future purchases!

The PowerPoint slides in this product introduce each chapter of this inviting book, as well as Humphrey's Rules for School. Also included is a reflection booklet for students to visualize and respond to each chapter in the book.

I have projected the slides from the PowerPoint on my Interactive WhiteBoard as I read the chapters aloud.  The book could also be used for small group guided reading activities.

Betty Birney, the author, has given permission to use photos from her teacher-friendly website ( in the PowerPoint.

The reflection booklet supports CCSS for ELA. Additionally, the concepts of cooperation and responsibility presented in this book support PBIS strategies.

This book provides a key lead into a study of series books.
I hope you are able to use this in your classroom in the coming year.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Made It - Mystery Box, and Using Kahoot

Happy Monday friends!

We still have another week before teachers start.
I don't have my class list yet, and I can finally get into my room today after district cleaning was done on Friday.
So much to do, so little time.....
Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics has done a class reveal on her site this week, and it looks fabulous!

Here are my projects for this week.
I posted about this Mystery Box and how I use it quite awhile ago.
I noticed that it's been pinned frequently so I thought it was worth another look.
I found the cute box at a local Hallmark store, and it was about $3.00.  It had been marked down because it had a nick on the top, which I covered with the polka dot packing tape.

I often use a "mystery box" to introduce a new unit or concept to my students.  For example, when we start a unit on Maps, I put a map in the box, and the students have to ask me questions to find out what's in the box.  It's sort of like 20 questions, but I don't always limit the number of questions to 20.  The directions I give to the students for this activity are:

     1. The questions they ask me must have a yes or no answer, like - 
"Do you use it inside a house?"
     2. They must listen to each others' questions and answers to find out what's in the box.
     3. I suggest they try to find out properties of the item, rather than just guessing about it being specific items like - "Is it a pencil?"
     4. The person who guesses correctly gets to keep the item on their desk for the rest of the day.

You can check out my original post here:

Do you use Kahoot?
I had heard about Kahoot quite awhile ago, but had not used it until the 
WI Blogger Meet-Up this past Saturday.
(Watch for a post about our awesome meet-up later this week!)
After finding out how fun and engaging Kahoot is, I decided to replace a fun school trivia game I usually do the first week of school with a quiz on Kahoot.

I plan to have my third graders work in small groups to answer the multiple choice questions on iPads.
I have 7 iPads in my classroom, so using them for this game will be a nice way to introduce the devices.
The Kahoot games can be played on any device that has an internet connection, 
so our Chromebooks would work, too.
My School Trivia game is a work in process, and I can go into Kahoot and edit 
as much or as little as I want.
In the past, I had the students play the trivia game in two teams, and when a team got a correct answer they colored in a window of a bus I had drawn on the board.
The first team to color in all the bus windows were declared the winners.
The kids love it!
Recently I had some friends over for lunch, and this Cobb Salad was a huge hit.
You can find the recipe here.

What have you made for school or home?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Made It - Library Pocket Centers

It's time for another edition of Monday Made It, hosted by Tara at 4th Grade Frolics!
I have been enjoying summer (I played golf both Saturday and Sunday this weekend!), but have also found time to start thinking about back to school projects.
I started a poetry product last August and never completed it.
So one of my goals for this summer was to finish the product - it feels good to cross things off the list!

Anyway, I put together a center using library pockets as a part of this product, which is my MMI #1.
I added velcro to the front of the library pockets so that I could use them for multiple center sorting activities.
You can purchase the sticky back velcro circles at JoAnns.
It will be so easy to change out the title on the library pockets depending on the skill we are working on.
BW Collection Jumbo Library Pockets from Creative Teaching Press
The library pockets are on sale right now!

Here is what my sorting center looks like right now.
You can find the banner here.
My second "made it" is of the gardening variety.
The newspaper box is from Michaels, and I was able to write on it with a chalkboard pen.
Unfortunately my paper never makes it in that box.
Behind the box is a tall skinny tin container filled with sand.  I hung the small bird house on a hook that sits upright in the sand.
The vine on the left is a Clematis.

My third "made it" is a new twist on s'mores bars.
I found this recipe in my Food & Family magazine.
These are bars you can make on the grill!  They were yummy - especially the chocolatey bottom layer.
Look for the recipe here.

I would love to read your comments about my contributions to this fun linky!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Together We Are Better - Literacy Bulletin Boards

I am happily joining Lucky Little Learners and Schroeder's Shenanigans in 2nd for their fun linky - 
Together We Are Better!
This month's topic is bulletin boards!

I am loving looking at all the ideas that have been posted as part of this linky.
I enjoy decorating my classroom, and currently have a lime green, black, and gray chevron color scheme going on in my third grade classroom.
My plan this year is to update with some aqua blue accents.  I may swap out the lime green for the 
aqua blues.
I still have to time to ponder my decor, as we have 3 weeks before school starts!  Hurray!

First off, I want to share a book that has provided lots of ideas and inspiration.
If you are familiar with Debbie Diller, you know that she has written many books on literacy and math centers. This book is so great because she provides tips and tricks, as well as photos from actual classrooms.  And....she also lists where the items in her photos can be purchased.
The items are from stores we all shop at - can you say TARGET??

Find out more about the book called Spaces and Places here.

Next, I want to show you two bulletin boards from my classroom.
The first is a board that I have up all year long.
I am a big fan of the Green Bay Packers, and
I love to build discourse among my students during literature circles.
So I came up with a way to combine the two.
You can find the speech bubbles and chart in my TpT store here.

The second bulletin board is one that I make some changes to as the year goes on.
I added the sections with black washi tape.

I keep the stars in the sections throughout the year.
But, at the beginning of the year, I talk about what 4-star behavior looks like.
As a class we talk about what the different levels of stars would look like in terms of completing homework, listening, getting along with others, etc.
The ideas we come up with are listed in each section.
My caption for those ideas is: Be a 4-Star Student!
When we started to work on synonyms, I changed the behavior ideas to these words.
My third graders referenced the board often when doing writing projects.

Thanks for stopping by, and come back tomorrow to see what I have cooked up for Monday Made-It!