Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher: 2013

Top 13 Products of 2013- HUGE SALE and FREEBIES!

I am a terrible blogger! The worst! I think about blogging, but somehow I never seem to actually get around to writing the posts! (I am the same way about diet and exercise!) So when it came time to set some goals for 2014, being a better blogger was a no brainer for me. My goal is to blog at least once per week. I have so many great ideas to share with you so make sure you are following my blog!

But I am guessing, you didn't come here to hear about my goals. I am guessing you saw the words "HUGE SALE" and "FREEBIES." And you are impatiently waiting for me to get to the good stuff. So I won't keep you waiting too much longer ;-)

This year was AMAZING for me! I finished my first year of teaching and started my second. I opened my TpT store, started a blog and a Facebook fan page. I far exceeded all my goals and expectations. And that is in large part due to my great fan base---- YOU! So I thought that we could celebrate 2013 together! I chose 13 of my very favorite products from my store and I made them ALL 50% off! Yup! You read that right! 50% off! But you have to act quick! The sale is good for just today and tomorrow!

You can click the picture above to go to my store. Or I have all thirteen products listed and linked below.

So here are my top 13 of 2013 in no particular order...

1. Third Grade Language Flags for Interactive Notebooks.

2. Third Grade Math Flaps for Interactive Notebooks

3. New Year's No Prep Math & Literacy Centers

4. Volunteer Appreciation Candy Grams

5. Black History Close Read Passages and Graphic Organizers

6. Desert Discovery: An Informational Text and Writing Unit

7. Getting to the Root of it All: A Plant Unit

8. Grilling Up Math Fun

9. Rolling Through Fractions: 8 Fraction Activities

10. Super Bowl No Prep Math & Literacy Centers

11. Valentine's Day No Prep Math & Literacy Centers

12. Winter I Spy Addition & Subtraction Facts

13. Winter Olympics No Prep Math & Literacy Centers
Remember that the 50% off prices are only good for today and tomorrow!

Are you still with me? Wondering about the FREEBIES?

I have a couple new forever FREEBIES in my store that you really need to check out! They are my way of thanking for for such an amazing year.

Valentine's Day Multiplication Roll & Cover

Winter Olympic Multiplication Roll & Cover
Happy New Year!

New Year's NO PREP Centers

I am so excited about my newest product! It is holiday themed and doesn't require any prep! It will be perfect for the week when we return from winter break! I know I won't want to be color printing, cutting and laminating during winter break. So these centers will be perfect!

The kit includes 5 literacy centers and 5 math centers.
ABC Order cut and paste
Parts of Speech Flip Book
Dictionary Dig
Writing Sentences
Persuasive Writing: I should be allowed to stay up until midnight!
Rounding to the nearest 10 flip book
Word Problem Book
Make a Graph of resolutions
I Spy Multiplication Facts
Color by Code Multiplication facts

So give yourself the gift of extra time with family over winter break! You can find this set HERE in my TpT store. It will be 20% off until the end of the day tomorrow. Enjoy!

December Facebook Frenzy- FREE PRODUCTS!

I am so excited to be participating in my first Facebook Frenzy! I have always loved downloading all the cute freebies each month and now you can get my Reindeer Time unit for FREE! 

All you have to do is like MY FACEBOOK page. Click on the frenzy tab and grab the freebie. Then you can click on the snowman and it will take you to the next Facebook page with a freebie! Get downloading! The products will only be free until Monday night!

Teaching Elapsed Time with Reindeer Games

Elapsed time is my least favorite math concept to teach to third graders. They just don't get it! Many of them still struggle with telling time and basic addition and subtraction. They just don't seem ready for elapsed time. But I plug on and teach it. Over. And Over. And Over AGAIN! Please tell me I am not alone!

Since students struggle with the concept, I have seen them get frustrated and give up. In an effort to keep motivation high and frustration low, I like to use scoot activities when we practice elapsed time. I often allow them to work in partners or teams. I think this allows them to learn from one another and have some much needed success. I also think that getting out of their seat and movie makes all the difference.

Since I am a holiday LOVER, and so are my students, I knew we needed to use this excitement to practice our elapsed time. So I created THESE reindeer elapsed time task cards. It comes with a recording sheet and I plan to use it like a scoot game.

I mean, the reindeer are so darn cute! How can the kids not LOVE this?! Plus, the cards are kind of humorous. Hopefully we will have smiles instead of frustration! You can find this product HERE in my TpT store.

Any brilliant ideas for teaching elapsed time?

Holiday Writing and a Freebie!

I was really in the holiday spirit yesterday. I had a huge list of holiday lessons that I wanted to make for my class and I made a dent in the list! Still more in the works. Make sure you follow my TpT store so you get notifications when I add them. They just MIGHT be on sale during the first couple of days. HINT HINT

I love using holidays to get kids more excited about writing! The Common Core writing standards focus on three types of writing for the third grade: narrative, informational and persuasive. I made THIS cute gingerbread writing unit with a prompt, graphic organizer and writing paper for each type of writing! SWEET!

If you are planning to build gingerbread houses in class, then the persuasive writing prompt is a MUST for you! Students will have to convince you to let them build the houses! Make them work for it!

I also put together THIS holiday writing menu. And it's FREE! Please leave some feedback if you download.


Getting Crafty in Math Class!

We have been getting crafty all week in math! The crafts have been the perfect way to engage my kids (especially since we have math at the very end of the day!) and reenforce the foundational skills of multiplication. I got many of these projects from Amy Lemons.

Here is a peak into our week:

On Monday, we worked on groups of two. Students were given a math fact on a post-in note and they used the fact to fill in the rest of their word problem. They traced their hands and glued on equal groups of cotton balls.

On Tuesday, students used beads and pipe cleaners to make bracelets with equal groups. I thought this activity was really helpful. My students were calling the groups by their color. (ie. yellow group, purple group, etc.) Sometimes it is hard for kids to see a group and this made it very clear. I didn't let the kids keep the bracelets. Instead, I am keeping them. I will be pulling them out as a math center later. Kids will get a few bracelets and write the fact that the bracelet represents. We can even use them to show division facts!

On Wednesday we made these cute equal group mushrooms. My kids are excited anytime they get to use their glue sticks!

On Thursday, we made these adorable arrays of sunshine. I got the idea from Fourth and Ten on TpT. She sells her templates, but I just made my own. (I WON"T be selling them though.) The kids got a real kick out of the play on words. And this was a great practice since I had them write the multiplication and division sentence shown by the array. We still need more practice on division, but I am proud of where they are already. It's only November! Yay!

Our projects were so cute, that I had to make a display on the wall. I titled it "Multiplying our Success." I am not very good with butcher paper and wall displays so this wall was  quite an achievement for me!

I am really looking forward to math this week too!

Since I had math art on my mind and we just put up the Christmas tree today- I was inspired to make some holiday math craftivities for my TpT store. I had never made a craftivity before, but now I am hooked. These guys turned out so stinkin' cute!

And the curly beard? It is actually multiplication facts!!! The kids will be having so much fun making this project, that they won't even realize that they are working on math facts!

I made a kit for multiplication and another one for division. Click on the picture to see the product in my store.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook. The link is on my sidebar. I OFTEN offer freebies to my fans!

Delicious Thanksgiving Products!

I have already started celebrating Thanksgiving with my kiddos! We have been taking a trip around the world to learn how Thanksgiving is celebrated in other countries. The kids get so excited when I say, "Get out your passports! We leaving for our next adventure!" I am using THIS product by Little Red.

This fits perfecting with my reading curriculum since we are focusing on informational text all quarter. The kids love the fun facts and the cat and paste activities. They are doing an amazing job writing post crds from each country to tell their parents what they learned! I am looking forward to continuing this activity this week!

I just LOVE all of the products by Little Red! I use lots of their informational text kits in my guided reading groups. An for the next week and a half, I am planning to use THESE passages as my bell work. The topics are so fun and a few are really unique!

I am so excited about my plans for the short week of Thanksgiving! We will be using a couple of products that I made!

I have been working on teaching my students the scientific process. The week of Halloween we used THIS kit to do a pumpkin seed science experiment. It was a hit! So for Thanksgiving, we will be using THIS product to do a blind taste test. Our question is: In a blind taste test, can a person taste the difference between a store-bought and a home-made pumpkin pie.

The unit includes full-color posters for you classroom to help students remember each step in the scientific process.

It also includes a booklet for students to record each step in the process, informational text and a survey graph to use for research.

I already have parents lined up to bring the different pies in!

I also plan to have my students use THIS scoot to help practice elapsed time. This is a very tricky skill for 3rd graders! But I think that making it about Thanksgiving dinner will keep kids motivated and engaged!

The unit includes 20 color task cards, a student response sheet and an answer key. My kids love an excuse to get out of their seat and move so this should be lots of fun!

My students will also be doing a special Thanksgiving poetry reading for their Kindergarten buddies and their parents! I am excited for students to practice their speaking skills and build fluency as they practice their poems this week!

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Veterans Day

Sorry to have been MIA for so long from my blog. School and a head cold have been kicking my butt. I recently did some thinking and realized that I was doing too much for too many people. And without much of any gratitude most of the time!  I had to look at my priorities and decided to put my family and students first. I feel much better! And I have lots of time this weekend for my family and some fun! I haven't had a weekend off in a month!

Now on to the sharing...

My class spent this past week researching and writing about Veterans Day. They loved it! I heard one of my students say, "I learned so much. I always thought Veterans Day was something to do with animal doctors." Lol!

Now I would LOVE to share pics of everything my sweet kiddos did...but my iPhone (what I use for pictures in my class) took a dip in the toilet (Don't ask! lol) yesterday. So no pics for me :-(

But I will share a little about what we did and what resources I used. It is not too late to learn about Veterans Day next week!

The main project that we worked on all week was researching and writing a report about Veterans Day. I was able to mix Social Studies, Reading and Writing into this one project. Score!

I used my Veterans Day Report Unit.

The unit includes an informational text passage with text dependent questions. I used these in reading for research. Then, during writing time, the students used their text to take notes on post-its and attach to the subheading on their sticky note research. They learned what a veteran is, what Veterans Day is, the history of Veterans Day and how people celebrate. After getting lots of details on to the sticky notes (in their own words), they worked on a first draft using the paper included in the unit.

By the end of the week, students were using their Good Informational Writers See... check lists to edit and revise their writing.

On Friday, they wrote it neatly on the fun final draft papers to make a report!

They were super proud of their hard work! So we needed a special way to display the reports! You can get the informational text and writing unit HERE in my TpT store.

Were made THESE adorable soldiers to hold on to their reports. As soon as I get a new phone, I will update with a pic of our finished products!

The kids were just putting the finishing touches on their craft when our guest speaker arrived. Mrs. R. is our school curriculum director and her son is a Navy Seal. She came and shared stories and pictures with the students. They asked such smart questions since they had learned a lot during the week! She was very impressed. THEN, we had a second speaker (somewhat of a surprise to me!). My parent volunteer that day happened to be an army officer! I had no idea! The girls especially loved to hear her stories!

Finally, my students went to visit their Kindergarten buddies. They told them a little about Veterans Day and helped them make THESE simple flip books!

Next year I hope to have some wall space for a display about the veterans my classmates know. I want to send home little cards that parents can fill out about every veteran they want us to remember and we can collect them all. I think that would be powerful!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Veterans Day weekend. Thank you to all the veterans were have served our great country!

Time for Fall Fun!

I have been on fall break for the past 2 weeks! I was was so blessed to be able to spend one of those weeks at an all inclusive resort on the beach in Cabo San Lucas with my family! We road horses on the beach, parasailed, snorkeled, swam with dolphins and relaxed by the pool. It was pretty warm and didn't feel anything like fall! I was excited when I got back to Phoenix and discovered that fall has come! And it made planning some fun fall activities for my classroom so much more fun! Are you ready to see what I have up my sleeve for the rest of October?!

Some of you may remember THIS post from January about my Reading Superbowl. The kids had a blast and I was very pleased by the amount of reading my entire class did during this week. Which got me thinking...I have a sports themed room...kids love some competition...I love when they get excited to read...and the World Series is right around the corner!!! Yes! We must have a Reading World Series! So I got to work and made some things...

How it works:
The class World Series lasts for 9 days (each day is a new inning in your game). You will set a nightly reading goal. This goal depends on your grade level and class needs. I recommend 15 or 30 minutes. Split your class into 2 teams. During this time, students take home a reading ticket. On the ticket, they record the minutes that they read that night. (I have also included reading tickets that require the students to summarize what they read.) The next day students will receive a base hit for every 30 minutes that they read. Each team will have their own field (that you attach to the white board) and throughout the 9 days they will move their players around the bases and keep track of the team score on the scoreboard. At the end of the game, the team with the highest score can win a celebration!

You can buy the entire kit to have your own Reading World Series HERE in my TpT store. I am so excited to get this started! 

But the fall fun doesn't stop there! My school does a literature parade every year. Students get to dress up as their favorite book character and we parade through all the classrooms. The kids love it. So do I! After the parade, we usually have some sort of fall harvest party. However, I really get sick of the traditional classroom parties that always involve a lot of sugar. So I planned some fun (and food!) that I think will be fun, unique AND educational! Win!

First we will be making pumpkin bread in class while practicing measurements, reading comprehension, sequencing, adjectives and following directions!

First, I will have students read the recipe and answer comprehension questions. 

Next, I have students use the recipe to put the sequencing cards in the correct order and record their answers. This is done in their reading groups as a literacy center.

Then, we will make the bread in our classroom!!! Students will help with the measuring and following the directions. While the bread is cooking I will have students record as many adjectives as they can about how the bread smells. Once the bread is ready to eat, they can finish with adjectives about the looks, feel and taste!

Finally, my students do some pumpkin writing. I have included a transition word poster, several planners and writing paper. You may want to have your kids write about how to carve a pumpkin or how they think you would make a pumpkin pie. Or have them write a personal narrative about making pumpkin bread at school to share with their parents. I also included blank writing paper if you have a different prompt in mind. 

My room is going to smell SOOOO yummy! (And it is quite a bit healthier than cupcakes and cookies!) You can pick up this kit HERE in my TpT store.

And now it will be time for some science in my classroom. I really want to begin teaching my students about the steps in the scientific process. We have a school science fair in the spring and think that third graders need a lot of reenforcement in order to make that activity meaningful. So my class will be doing a pumpkin seed experiment! The question is "Do large pumpkins have more seeds than small pumpkins?"

 I made some cute posters with each step in the scientific process.
 I included some informational text about pumpkins and a graph to do a class survey when you are doing the research step. And I also included a booklet for the students to record each step of the experiment.

You can pick up this cute activity HERE in my TpT store.

At the end of the day, my kids will have learned a lot, had tons of fun AND only eaten a piece of homemade pumpkin bread. Now that is an awesome classroom party!

What do you do to celebrate fall/Halloween in your classroom?