Monday, October 22, 2012

Greek Influences

I have been horrible at updating my blog so far this year! I am trying from today forward to update a couple times a week. Lately we have been working on the Greek influences in Social Studies. For all of my fellow 3rd grade Georgia teachers, this is one of the hardest units for my students to get into. I created several graphic organizers to use this year with my instruction. So far, they have worked well! You can visit my TeacherPayTeachers account to get the packet.

Click here to go to my store!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Homecoming & Spirit Week

Last week our high school celebrated it's homecoming! The best part is that all of the kids K-12 get to participate in the dress up days, the parade, and early release last Friday! Woo-hoo! Here are some pictures of my kids and my third grade team members.
Happy Birthday Wildcats! We celebrated 100 years of Wildcat tradition!
Jersey Day - GO DAWGS!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012


So I have seen these things ALL summer long, and continued to say that I would try one, but it NEVER happened. I figured I would give it a shot. I'm not sure that I did it correctly, but here goes nothing....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Electric Pickle

We started our Heating & Cooling unit in Science last Friday. We always kick it off with discussing the 3 sources of heat and then we do the electric pickle experiment. The kids ALWAYS love it, although they complain about the smell when it's over. Here are some pictures from our experiment (thanks Mrs. Whitmer for being our presenter). I created a summarizing worksheet for the students to do when they returned to their classrooms. **My WooHoo for this post: we have an empty room on our hall, so we claimed it as our Science Lab room! It's fabulous, we can set up experiments and keep our supplies all in one room. There are 6 teachers on my grade level, so we can go individually, or in groups! WooHoo!!
Click here for the worksheet.
Electric Pickle Worksheet

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering September 11th...

Today was a very meaningful day for me. I wanted to talk to my students about September 11th and why it is important to us. I wasn't sure how to discuss with 8 years old kids, who weren't even born yet, the devastation of what happened that day. My students shocked me in how interested they were in learning about what happened, and the connections they made to the war we are still fighting. I started out by reading the book September 12. If you have never read this book before, I highly recommend it! It is a book written by a first grade class about the aftermath of the attacks on 9-11. I opened my lesson with reading the book and then we watched a video one of my team memebers found on Teacher Tube. To watch the emotions and sheer interest my students had in the subject was so touching.

Here is the book:

Here is the website link we used:
Teacher Tube 9/11

I ended my lesson by having my students respond about what they learned about the importance of 9-11. I will post their work soon. A lot of them were so passionate about it, they wanted to take it home to complete it! Hooray for learning about being an American and instilling a love of writing!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More pictures of my classroom...

I posted some pictures from my classroom, several people have asked for more. I have been super busy with school starting (I'm sure you all understand). Here are several pictures, I will add more over the next couple days. 

 Here is my data board. I post all of my kids data here for them to keep track of their progress. I place information from Success Maker, Accelerated Reader, STAR testing, and multiplication facts on the board. The yellow paper states their 3rd grade goals, I place printed reports in the page protectors, and the charts I use for Success Maker to track the level they are on, one chart is for reading and one is for math. 

I found this interactive word wall on Pinterest. My students love it! I am limited for wall space because of all of the things that we are required to put on the walls, the anchor charts my students and I make, and student work. I decided this would be a great way to have a word wall, and the students are able to use it and add to it. I used large index cards, 3 per letter, punched a hole in them, then added a ring. I hung them with 3M hooks. The students and I add words to the cards as needed. So far it has worked great, the students ask me to add words, and they go and get the letter they need during writing and journal times.

This is my writing board. Each black piece of construction paper has a the square with the circle on it, which is attached to a clothes pin. I am able to hang student work and exemplar examples for students to compare their work to. I use the picture frame in the right corner to write the "I can" statement for each day's lesson.

Our school uses the computer program Success Maker. Each students gets on the program and completes a session of math and a session of reading each day. The program gauges the students progress and gives us a good idea of how they will perform on our state wide test in the spring, and what skills they are struggling with. I can pull a weekly report to see where they are struggling and doing well, and provide the support needed. Each student has a pocket, I place two bookmarks in each pocket. As they finish their sessions, they move a bookmark to the the bottom row. One bookmark says reading and one says math. I can easily glance over and see who has completed theirs sessions for the day, and who hasn't. It's a great way to hold students accountable for their work. 

Positive Behavior System

I posted earlier this summer about Positive Behavior Support Interventions (PBSI) and I wanted to show how I use it in my classroom.

I use this chart for "class points" all of the numbers are attached with Velcro, so that I can remove them easily. Each day the class begins with 10 points. They can lose points by not making good choices as a group: transitioning loudly, not staying on task, talking/playing in the hallways, being disruptive when we have a guest, etc. Their goal is to keep as many points as they can. If they keep 9 or 10 points, they earn 2 letters to a good behavior puzzle (see below), if they keep 7 or 8 points, they earn 1 letter for the puzzle. At the end of each day I record on my white board how many points they earn, the next day they get to guess letters for their puzzle. The inside white area of the chart is for positive behavior marks. The students earn these for making good choices: earning compliments, making good transitions, good lunchroom behavior, etc. For each mark they earn ( I use check marks) they earn a piece of candy. I always keep a jar on my desk of M&Ms, Skittles, or candy that goes with the season (Candy Corn, Conversation Hearts, etc.). For example if they earn 5 positive behavior marks, they get 5 pieces of candy each. They must have their area clean, packed up, with their book bag on their back during dismissal to get their candy. Both parts of the chart work wonders!

I keep this puzzle below the chart. I start off with easy puzzles and get more difficult as the year goes on. For example this says " We worked hard for cookie ice cream treats!". Once the students solve the puzzle (they must wait to solve until there are 3 or less blanks left) they earn whatever the puzzle says. Typically, my students earn about 1 party a month. I have a list of puzzles that I have used from year to year and the kids enjoy them a lot. We invite parents and administration to encourage continued positive behavior and because they enjoy coming! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Classroom Pictures

I worked VERY hard on my classroom this year! I was excited when it started coming together and I am proud of the way it has turned out. I have had several of my followers and friends ask me to post pictures, so here are a couple. I will add more specific photos once I get a few more things done. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!!

Here is my room before preparing for Open House

Here is my room from the opposite direction, ready & waiting for Open House
I decided to match my classroom decor for Open House! :)

Open House!!

I can't believe that today was my school's open house! The kiddos come back on Wednesday! Where did my summer go?!?!?!?! Thanks to Pinterest & the "idea" parties my friends and I have had my open house was great! I am looking forward to a WONDERFUL year!

Here is the brochure I created to give out. I always have a Welcome Packet, that I send home within the first couple weeks of school, but I wanted to have something to give an overview & answer common questions. One of the big questions that I knew was coming was the change in our grading system and our transition to the Common Core Standards or the CCGPS as we call it in Georgia. Send me a message if you would like the template.

front cover

inside of brochure

back of brochure

Extra Supplies

As teachers, we always know that the supply list we create at the end of the previous school year, or that our school creates for us, are missing key things that we use ALL the time. I created this flower pot of supplies and my parents were able to pick a flower to take home, and send in an extra supply that wasn't on the list. It worked out wonderfully! Here is the poem I used with the flowers. 

Open House Gift Boxes

I found a poem on Pinterest for back to school gift bags and edited it a tiny bit. I found the gift boxes on clearance at my local party store and filled them with treats that each had their own meaning. Here is the poem I used with each gift box (they will print 4 to a page). 

Here is my welcome back table with all the forms the students and parents needed

Monday, July 30, 2012

Desk Shelves for Groups

These shelves that go in between my desks are one of my FAVORITE things that have come from Pinterest this summer. I got the idea from my friend Leslie, who found them and showed them to me. Jeanne over at Booky4First, is who posted on her blog & Pinterest the wonderful idea and directions. So thank you!!! You can click her blog name above to find the directions, and her button is linked up below.

Leslie's wonderful husband Josh, made these for us! Then we had a painting party, which took ALL afternoon and it was unbelievably HOT, but we got them painted!

Here are the shelves before sanding and painting.

Here I am sanding them down before painting! Who would have ever
thought I would hold any kind of power tool! Haha!
I painted all of them black to go with my classroom.
Here is one of them inside my classroom!!

I usually try to keep my students in groups of 4 or more throughout the year. This year I have set my room up to have two groups of 5 in the front of the room, and two groups of 6 in the back of the room. The picture above is a group of 6. I am so excited to use these this year and hopefully keep my kids organized too!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blogging Excitement!

I am new to this blogging world, but I am loving every minute of it! When on my ONE vacation of this busy summer, I got a comment from one of my followers...Nikki at Uncommon to the Core nominated me for TWO awards! It made my vacation!! It has taken me several weeks to get back into my "thinking ahead for the coming school year" routine, and back to blogging, but I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to Nikki! She is so creative and has wonderful ideas - you should go check her blog out!

Here are my 7 random facts!
1. I was born in Charleston, SC - and I dream of going back there to live and teach!
2. I have never wanted to do anything else but be a teacher. 
3. I have my Masters in Reading and Literacy, but my favorite subject to teach is Math.
4. I hated Math as a student, which is why I believe that I enjoy teaching Math (because I know what it is like to be completely confused).
5. In the next 5 years, I would like to become an Academic Coach.
6. I HATE for my food to touch...yuck!!
7. I decorated my classroom in red, black, and white because they are the colors of the college I attended...Valdosta State University - Go Blazers and I am a big University of Georgia fan...Go Dawgs!!

My nominees for The Versatile Blogger Award are: (drum roll please.....)
*I am making my list of blogs I want to nominate and I will be updating this list over the next couple of days!

Here are the rules for The Versatile Blogger Award as I understand them:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. 
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself. 
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award. 
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
7. Let other bloggers know they have been nominated.

Again, thanks to Nikki, she nominated me for The Liebster Blog Award which highlights those blogs with less than 200 followers. I am hoping to reach 200 followers by Christmas. So PLEASE spread the word about my blog and follow me on Pinterest for some of my other ideas. I am lucky have been accepted and encouraged by fellow teachers and bloggers! I am excited to say that over the past 24 hours, I have gone from 7 followers to 20!! Wooohooo :)

The Before...

I started working in my classroom last week and I am hoping to be finished setting everything up, and getting organized (for the most part) by pre-planning. I can't believe that we go back the 1st of August and the kids come back on the 8th!! My summer is ending quickly. Here are some pictures of my classroom when I walked in it for the first time since I left in May.

Standing at the back of my room by the door, looking toward the front of my room. 
Trying to fit the left side of my classroom in one shot :)

Right side of my classroom (computers stations & my desk area in the back).

This the the back area of my room, where I was standing while taking the other pictures. I love that the
tile is RED, and will match my new decor!! 
To be continued....

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back to reality

I am back from the beach and had a wonderful time! As much as I hated to leave the beach, I have to admit that I am ready to get in my classroom and get to work! I hope to go in tomorrow and get things moving in my classroom.

Here are some pictures from the beach:

Which do you like better?

Hello all!
I am ready to get back to blogging! I feel like I have taken a year break, opposed to the two weeks that I actually have been away. I am interested in starting an account for the documents I create. I am not sure whether I want to use Teachers Notebook or Teachers Pay Teachers. Any advice?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Benches from Pinterest

Before I left for the beach I started this project to make the ever famous, crate benches from Pinterest. I used milk crates, plywood, mattress pad foam, and fabric. A friend and I discovered that buying the mattress pad foam from Wal-Mart and cutting it to fit the plywood was much more cost efficient. We got enough foam to double the cushioning for 12 crates!

I plan on using these as benches in my reading corner. I am attaching them with black zip-ties. I plan to make two benches with three seats each. Here is what I have completed so far. I will put up pictures again when I am finished.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Annual Beach Trip!

I am officially taking a break from this crazy, busy summer I have had, and I am headed to the beach!! I will be back in a week and I can't wait for a little R&R! I am going with a friend of mine that is also a teacher, and this is what we look forward to all summer!! When I get back I will be busy in my classroom and will be sure to post pictures!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Student Teacher...I taught her well! :)

Student teacher to friend & crafting partner!

I was fortunate enough to have an AMAZING student teacher last fall. We became really good friends when she finished her time in my classroom, and she has been staying with me for the summer while hunting for a job.
Natalie and I at the Luke Bryan Farm Tour Concert  

Luckily, last week she got a 4th grade position back in her home town of Columbus. I am so excited for her, but sad to see my friend go! Of course as soon as she found out about her job, she got in project mode also. She found the cutest theme from Creative Teaching Press (here is link to the Turquoise Paisley themed products) and then from there she started her projects. Here is what she made...

Of course she didn't make these, but we found them at Hobby Lobby and they will be a great addition to her classroom!

Creating my new classroom

My past two days have been packed with several key elements in my life: Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and Pinterest. We all know that means that my house has been craft/project central. So here is what has come out of the last few days.
The Inspiration...

This frame as silly as it sounds, was the inspiration for changing the theme/decorations in my room.  I got it from  Hobby Lobby and LOVE it! I am a University of Georgia fan...Go Dawgs, and I went to Valdosta State University...Go Blazers (since both team colors are red, black, and white) I thought it would be fitting! I wanted to buy several more frames, but I decided to make them instead. So here is the final outcome! I wanted to stick with the color scheme of course, but change it up a bit.
Supplies: wooden frames ($1.00 at Wal-Mart) and acrylic paint

I got this idea from some wonderful person from Pinterest and ran with it! I made 4 in total one for each of my small groups for Guided Reading centers. They are magnetic, which means the magnets I order every year from Vista Print will stick to them and I can easily move students around to different groups as needed. 

Supplies: pizza pans from the Dollar Tree, spray paint, and ribbon
Here are the magnets that I am ordering from Vista Print. 

Odds & Ends... 

Another Pinterest project - Essential Question Boards or I may use them for my Common Core "I Can" statements.
Supplies: certificate frames from Dollar Tree, scrapbook paper and I used stickers for the labels

I always wonder what to do with paper without names, other than just toss them in the trash! I decided this year I would give the kids a chance to claim their papers. I  am going to make a label, back it, and laminate it that says: These papers do not have an owner...could they belong to you? I will put a magnet on the back and put it on my whiteboard.
Supplies: large wooden paperclip (dollar section of Michael's), acrylic paint

I saw on Pinterest the idea of a tattle moster (made from a tissue box), but I didn't that my third graders would go for that idea. I decided on a Notes to Ms. Geiger box, here the kids can tattle, ask question, write down concerns, or just write me a note (which my girls seem to do often).
Supplies: wooden tissue box from Michael's, adhesive letter stencils, and acrylic paint

These are the adhesive letter stencils I found at Wal-Mart. They are amazing! The pack comes with 3 sets of letters and you can use them up to 20 times each according to the packaging. Apply them on whatever you want to paint, remove them before the paint dries, and wash with warm soapy water - who would have thought?

This is another variation of the organizer I made before. I have not put labels on it yet, I am going to wait until I  get back in my classroom to decide what I want to use. I think this one is going to stay out on a shelf near my desk, white the other one will be inside of a cabinet.
Supplies: 22 drawer hardware organizer from Lowes, scrapbook paper, and spray paint (make sure to get the spray paint that sticks to plastic in particular, if you don't it will peel off easily)

This is a project that I started earlier and showed you the supplies for: Here is the finished product! These will be for my students pencils throughout the day.
Supplies: 2 plastic flower pots from Wal-Mart ($0.98 each), ribbon, and scrapbook stickers. (I would suggest lightly coating Mod-Podge over the stickers to make sure they stay in place)

Classroom Library/Reading Corner...
I have always had a classroom library that sat on several bookshelves, but this year I am making a reading corner separate from my other classroom library. My shelved classroom library is leveled by AR. In my reading corner I want to separate books by genre and interest groups, and make an inviting space to read. I went to Tallahassee, Florida to the Scholastic Book Warehouse sale in May and racked up on books! So I will sort them when I can get back in my classroom. Here are the decorations I have bought so far...

I am going to hang these lanterns from the ceiling above the reading corner.

I found these pillows on clearance at Hobby Lobby and had to get them! I am looking for a red area rug
to put down in the space as well!