Saturday, December 15, 2012


Words cannot express how overwhelmed with sadness I am for the children and families of Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Thoughts and prayers for their entire community...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas is coming...

I absolutely love this time of year!  Excitement is always in the air, and my children get so excited to put up our tree!  We went this evening to pick out our tree for this Christmas and their faces just lit up, even our twelve year old.  I love that he's still into the magic of the holidays.  I'm thinking we're going to have to leave the tree without decorations on it for a couple of days, because the pup is very interested in it.  Last year was our first Christmas with him, so this year he's much more curious about it.  I'm thinking that after a day or two it will be old news and he'll leave it alone so I can decorate it hopefully! =)  This time of year tends to get crazy in the classroom, so I'm preparing in advance.  I'm hoping to harness some of my students' energy into some practice with essential math skills that some are still struggling with.  In our third grade common core standards we cover rounding to the nearest ten and hundred, which some of us are still struggling to grasp.  I created two more workstation center games for them to have some extra practice with, and I'm hoping this will help drive rounding home for these kiddos.
 Don't you just love these adorable graphics from the 3AM Teacher?  As soon as I saw them I knew I had to purchase them...I love her graphics! =)  If you are interested in these common core math workstation games you can check them out in my TpT store by clicking the picture above.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Finally finished my homophones pack!

Wow, I feel like that took forever with everything that has been going on!  I finally was able to finish up my Merry Multiple Meanings Common Core Homophone Practice pack.  This pack includes 90 homophones as well as cloze reading activity, and creating sentences to illustrate the meanings of the homophones.  Now to just get it all cut out and laminated so that my kiddos can dive into practicing them!  (I think I should purchase stock in a laminating company...) lol

I hope that everyone had a happy and restful Thanksgiving break with family.  It's nuts how fast time is passing this year!  Now off to go shop the amazing Cyber Monday sales at TpT!!! Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sorry it's been so long...

Like so many of you wonderful teachers out there I am doing my best to keep up.  I am beyond delighted that Thanksgiving break is upon us, and am really looking forward to some time to relax with my family...that is of course after I have cooked and hosted Thanksgiving dinner, and after my husband gets the crazy Black Friday shopping out of his system.  Does that seem backwards or what?!?! Usually it's the wife that is all "woo hoo shopping!" I myself do not possess the patience to get up hours before it should even be legal to be out and about, and to head out and brave the crowds of people who will do just about anything for a "deal".  I honestly don't know how he (or anyone else for that matter) does it! I much rather prefer to sleep in and enjoy one holiday before going nuts for the next.
     We have been VERY busy in our class.  We've spent quite a bit of time working on creating vivid visualizations.  This first activity we did was from the wonderful Ms. Jump, and used the poem "My Neighbor's Dog is Purple."  They absolutely LOVED this activity. 
     After doing this we continued our visualization work using a poem from an anthology of poems that I have in class.  This particular poem is by Aileen Fisher, and is called "The Spinning Earth".  I love how some of them even included symbols to specifically show movement.  They really enjoyed creating their mental images.  Some of them couldn't even part with them to display them in class, they wanted to take them right home! 
    For our November family project I always have my class work on the Turkeys in Disguise project.  Here are some of their completed disguises!
     And some of the "all-stars" so to speak...
     Can I just tell you that when my little buddy presented his disguised turkey as "Mario" complete with his best impersonation of the accent, I literally laughed so hard I was great! "It-a took-a me-a years-a to a grow-a my moustachio!"  Oh my! lol
     At home our boys have been keeping up busy that's for sure!  Our youngest who's nine was recently envious of his older brother climbing a tree in the yard, yet was terrified to even try climbing the tree.  To me it is simply not right for a child to grow up without climbing a tree, so I insisted  lol.  He eventually had a blast, and said "I'm so happy you made me try it Mom!"  Yay!
     It's sad how fast this year is already flying by.  My favorite holiday, Halloween, came and went way too fast.  Our reaper, and skeleton ninja had a blast, but I think the most excited of all was our Great White Shark! ;)  His costume was the cutest too by far! lol
    I hope that everyone has a safe, restful, and wonderful Thanksgiving!  <3


Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy...

We are having an unexpected day off today due to the impending storm.  We are all enjoying a cozy pajama day so far, and are hoping that we don't experience too much damage.  Last Halloween we had a terrible storm, with blizzard/white-out conditions.  We were without power for four days.  Sandy is supposed to be stronger than that storm, so I am really hoping we don't have too many trees come down.  Everyone in the path of the storm stay safe!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just keep swimming...just keep swimming...& Freebie!

Anyone else feeling like this?  I cannot believe that it's the middle of October already.  I feel so bad that I've been neglecting my little blog, but between school all day, family, and keeping up it's been nuts!  I have to say that I am really enjoying my class this year.  They are a really sweet bunch, and they make me laugh every day. Our math workshop has been going very well, I'm very pleased.  I've set it up so that I present my mini lesson to the whole class.  Most days I'm doing our mini lesson right after a number talk.  After the lesson they are headed to the first of their three workstations for the day.  The stations I am using are math facts, at your seat, teacher's choice (small group), and hands-on math games.  They are in leveled groups so that I can better meet individual needs during our small group time together.  I am really loving the small group aspect of math workshop, and I am so glad that I decided to give it a try this year.  I've been able to learn so much more about my students as mathematicians that I wouldn't have been able to other wise.  This week and next one of the new activities I've added to our workstations are my Spooky Sums Addition Task Cards.

There are two different sets of task cards, one set without regrouping, and one with regrouping.  Each set has twenty-four task cards, and there is also a recording sheet and answer key.  They're having a blast working on our common core standard of adding/subtracting within 1,000 with these!
 There are some students who have already come so far, in math and in reading, and I am proud of them for working so hard!  One of my little girls is an ell student.  She reading well below grade level, yet is trying to convince me to let her read Diary of a Wimpy Kid books for her just right reading level book.  Um, no dear!  It always breaks my heart a little bit when they want to read something that they are not ready for and are disappointed.  I was conferring with her and I told her "It's not a just right reading book for you just yet...but we'll work really hard this year to get it so it's a just right book for you in the future."  She smiled and said "Deal!"  This child has such a desire to learn, and I know that she's going to come so far this year.  If anyone has any strategies or things that have worked exceptionally well in the past, please share!  I'm obviously focusing heavily on vocabulary development and sight words.  We will definitely keep plugging away at it, or swimming away at is as Dory would say!  I'd love to send a FREE set to the first two people who leave a comment.  Be sure to include your email address! =)  Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hello October! and a FREEBIE!

Hello October, I have no idea where September went!  Is anyone else in the same boat?  I feel like back to school arrived, I blinked, and now it's October.  We are off and running with another great school year, and my third grade kiddos have definitely been busy.  I can hardly remember what my teaching/planning days were like pre-Pinterest and following teacher bloggers!  I am truly thankful for all of the amazing teachers out there that inspire me and get my creative juices flowing.  Here are a few snap shots of the beginning of our school year.

Remember this beauty floating around Pinterest?

 Well, we created out own version of these charts in our classroom, and we had some amazing results...the culmination of this activity lead to this beauty:
The class created their own classroom pledge based on the ideas that we pulled out of our created charts.  It was a wonderful, authentic learning experience for my class, and they really took ownership of it. =)

  We worked on my Kicking Off a New School Year! goal setting unit, which they really enjoyed.  They completed the soccer ball writing activity, which prompted them about what they were looking forward to and different things they liked.  I loved this particular student's response.  She said her favorite part of the day was playing with play dough...thank you Clutter Free Classroom!  They loved the back to school working with play dough activity!  I also finally got around to snapping a picture of my WBT classroom rules and direction cards...
We've done a lot of work with choosing just right books, ways we choose books, and talking about our reading and thinking.  We're working hard now to build a strong foundation for accountable talk in our classroom, and we've been having some great discussions.
It's hard to see, but in the bottom left corner you can see our mathematicians we made our first week of school as well.  The class had some great ideas of what mathematicians are/do, and they were surprised to learn that they are all mathematicians themselves.
 We are spending a lot of time focusing on conversational moves and body language as we build our accountable talk in our classroom discussions.  Our class also learned a new, very LONG word: METACOGNITION.  I had to smile as they were so determined in their efforts to first just read that word, let alone comprehend what it means and begin to monitor themselves.  
On the home front, our youngest son fell in love with soccer over the summer, and he is now playing on a travel team.  We are newbies when it comes to fall sports.  Our other son has only played baseball, so I am definitely not used to these games early on Saturday mornings when the weather is cold and raw.  The hubs laughed at me this past weekend when I said that for the next game I am going to bring a blanket to wrap up in!
 This is his "Hey Granny, over here!  Check out my uniform!" pose, lol.  So, on top of transitioning back into school mode, planning mode, correcting mode,(my least favorite), and soccer family mode, we are dealing with Mr. I am grumpy that I have to spend my days without my favorite people, puppy.  Needless to say, we have to keep plenty of toys in the house so that what you see below is toys only, and not furniture! lol
 Our living room looks like this just about  Seriously.  Fortunately for us, he ONLY does this to toys, or his dog bed, as is the case here.
Doesn't he just seem to be saying "What?  You know if you'd stay home with me I wouldn't have to do this!" ??  I love that little bugger!

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a little freebie.  I created this to use with student work folders that I will be sending home with completed assignments.  I'm using it as another tool to increase school-home communication.

Click on the picture to download your free copy! =)  Have a great rest of the week!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm back...warning-picture heavy!

Hello everyone, and if you are still tuned in, I thank you!  This past month has been very busy, very stressful, and very emotional.  My father-in-law lost his battle with cancer two weeks ago, and our family really just needed some together time.  Blogging has definitely taken a back seat lately to family time, enjoying what was left of summer, and prepping for the new school year.  We started back to school last week with teachers returning last Monday all day for meetings, and students came Tuesday-Thursday.  We had a great couple of days getting to know one another and learning our classroom rules.  They really seem to be a sweet bunch, and I am truly enjoying getting to know them.  I had wanted to post classroom pictures before school started, but life has a way of changing things up on us, so, here are some pictures of my classroom this year. (Warning!  This will probably be heavy on the pictures!)
As you approach my classroom you'll see my welcome sign, and hallway bulletin boards.  As soon as you enter my classroom you'll see up on the window the Dare to Dream it, Work to Achieve it quote.  (Inspired by the fabulous Ms. Fultz!)  I have a whole wall of windows like that basically, and I've decided to continue quotes alternating every other down the whole wall.  The second one I have put up is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes. =)
 Here's a view of the boards in the front of my classroom.
 My clipchart...
 This is the view of the classroom from the back of our meeting area looking towards the front of the room.
 Our meeting area...
Here's another angle of our meeting area.  I puffy heart LOVE my interactive whiteboard!
 Our mailboxes, community supplies, and my froggy reminder board.
 My computer...wish we had more in the classroom for the students to use.
 This is looking towards my desk.  The black shelf holds guided reading supplies and different magazines on top.  Next to that shelf are our dictionaries and thesauruses.  My desk is behind the shelves.
 Here's a view of my area behind those shelves.  I will weed out some resource books, I will weed out some resource
This is a view of the classroom looking towards the front from by the computer.

One thing I really wish I could work out in my classroom would be having my library all in one place.  Due to heaters and pipes however, this is impossible.  I've had to arrange my bookshelves throughout my room where I can fit them, but I try to keep them all in the back half of the classroom, as close to our meeting area as possible.
 Writer's Eye posters and some of the fiction books in my library.  Below is a close up of the fiction bookshelves.
 This shelf houses my nonfiction books.  I believe I will need to expand this area soon...these bins are really filling up!
 These shelves hold most of my chapter books.  I have them arranged by series, authors, topics, and some are just mixed together.
 This shelf holds more of my fiction books, and the large, brown basket on top holds most of my poetry books.
I hope you enjoyed your "peek" into my home away from home.  I left the bulletin boards blank intentionally so that the students can make the space theirs as we come together as a class.  I'll be posting some of the activities that we've been working on these past four days, including our student created classroom pledge.  I'm really pleased with how they are already coming together as a school family.  I think it's going to be a great year! =)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Who doesn't love a sale?!?! =)

I was a bit late in getting home tonight, but wanted to make sure that I sent out a quick message about the FANTASTIC sales going on over at TpT this Sunday and Monday, the 12th % 13th.  TONS of sellers are offering 20% off in honor of heading back to school, and TpT is offering an additional 10% off of sale prices.  This means that you have an opportunity to stock up on amazing great resources at great prices just in time for back to school!
Stop on by my TpT store, all items are 20% off already low prices!
Here are a few snapshots of some of my favorite products:

 Third Grade Interactive Calendar Math Pages
Swimming Into Subtraction: A Common Core Aligned Math Game
 Kicking Off a New School Year:  A Back to School Writing and Goal Setting Activity
Monster Mash Memory Game featuring Fry Sight Words 1-300!

I'm loading up my TpT cart tonight to get ahead of the game.
Happy Shopping! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Giveaway and GREAT math resource!

Evening bloggy buddies!  Tonya over at Tonya's Treats for Teachers has two great things going on right now.  First up, she's SO CLOSE to reaching 500 followers!!  That's amazing! =)  So I'm hoping on board to help her reach her goal.  If you haven't stopped by to check her out you should definitely head over there as soon as you finish reading this post! ;)

If you don't already follow Tonya, I highly suggest you do!  She always offers such great tips and resources.  For her almost 500 followers giveaway any new followers will get their pick of her listening center or writing center task cards...pretty sweet huh?  An example of her great resources can be found in her post today.  She came across an amazing math literature resource I cannot wait to use in the classroom.  So, if you don't follow Tonya yet, go check her out! =)  And, if you already follow Tonya, drop her a comment and leave her some love! =)


Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday (almost didn't) Make It...and a FREEBIE!

Phew!  What a long day...our family is going through a very stressful time (mentioned in a previous post), and I have been keeping myself busy while I am home in the hopes of keeping my mind off things.  I had no idea how late it had gotten!  So, hopefully this post will be complete while it's still Monday!  I've have been printing, cutting, laminating, and cutting some more to get all of my common core standards/I Can statements finished.  I purchased a great set from Erin Morrison from  She's great!  She even offers a customizable set where she'll work on your individual state's science and social studies as well...AWESOME!  You can check them out here.  I decided to put my display chart together using some black and white ribbon to match my new color scheme.  I love how it came out, although I need to figure out how exactly I want to attach each of the standard cards.  I was thinking Velcro circles, but I'm not sure I like how they line up, so I may have to try strips of Velcro.  I think it might make it easier to line things up.  Here's how it came out:
Even the bow looks good, which is a miracle in and of itself!  ;)  
I have also been busy creating many different materials to use with my students.  The first that I've been working on is a common core aligned math game focusing on subtracting fluently within 1,000.  It's called Swimming Into Subtraction, here's a sneak peak!
 It really took a while to get it just right, but I love it! =)  It includes four different sets of subtraction problems, all involving regrouping, the game board, recording sheet, instructions, and answer keys to assist students with checking their work after they have solved the problem.  It is going to make a great addition to my math workstations, and it will to yours as well! 
As mentioned, here's my latest freebie for my followers.  It is my set of binder pages for organizing my teacher binder for reader's workshop.  Here's a sample image:

You can download a copy here It's time for me to go to sleep...night! Or technically, I suppose it's morning! =)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

MIA apology...

Wow, this past few weeks just hasn't gone the way that I'd anticipated.  Our family is dealing with a very stressful situation.  My father in law has been fighting hard, but is losing his battle with cancer.  I struggle to handle these types of things, as anyone does I'm sure.  I'm not sleeping well, and when I'm awake it's all I think about.  My husband is the type of person who tends to bottle things up, and is the complete opposite of me, so I'm keeping my thoughts to myself quite a bit.  Our boys know what's going on, but they are young still, so I don't think the gravity of the situation has set in for them yet. If you are a person who prays, our family, especially my mother in law and father in law, could really use them!  I know this is very personal, but I wanted to explain why I've been so sporadic lately with my posts.  I promise to work harder on getting them out from now on!
      Now, in school related news...I am the QUEEN of procrastination!  I have always been this way.  All through undergrad and grad school as well I would always put off assignments until I had the least amount of time left to complete them.  I tend to work well under pressure, so I've managed to deal with this quirk of mine.  When it comes to prepping for back to school, each summer I am at home reading new professional books for all the great new strategies and approaches I want to bring to my classroom and my teaching.  This summer has been no exception.  I started out with a very ambitious reading list, and while I haven't tackled the entire list, I have knocked a few books off of my to-read list.  I read Notebook Connections, and Notebook Know-How both by Aimee Buckner.  I absolutely loved them both.  I found them so practical, and so easy to bring right back to my classroom to enhance my teaching.  I am really looking forward to using so many of Aimee's strategies with my class.  I also read Guided Math.  I have to say I definitely thought the book was going to be different.  I think I was expecting a lot more in there to take right back to the classroom, and I found the book to be a lot of rationale and research behind teaching math through the small guided group work approach.  I am pretty sure I was only disappointed because I had done a lot of research on this approach on my own towards the end of the school year before this summer, and had already wrapped my head around many of the ideas presented in the book.  All that said, I did get some great ideas from reading it, so I was glad that I had it ion my list.  I'm looking forward to incorporating this approach to teaching with my math curriculum.
     Along with my procrastination, I also tend to get overly ambitious with what I put on my to-do list over the summer.  After school got out I needed to purchase a new rug for my classroom as ours was disgusting well worn.  I happened to come across a decent sized rug at Walmart for $20 that I decided I could live with would work well.  I don't have a picture of it yet, but it's a black and white rug.  Nothing in my classroom currently goes with black and white, so take a wild guess and try to figure out what I have spent my summer doing?  If you guessed redesigning my entire classroom decor then you are correct!  So, I'm going with a black, white, and teal color scheme, and I have been creating and purchasing things for my classroom to go with my new color scheme.  My husband's response to this was "Why do you have to change your room theme every couple years or so?"  (Picture him saying that with the most puzzled look on his face.)  ;)  I have managed to snag some good buys, and have a lot that I plan to share soon, so stay tuned! =)  And, if you made it this far with me I thank you, I actually found this to be theraputic in a way!  Also, I just realized that when I wasn't looking I reached over 50 followers!  You are all amazing, and I will have to think of something to do to thank you! ;)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oh my poor neglected little blog...,a blog hop, and a FREEBIE!

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted!  Well, I take that back, I can believe it, things have been crazy around here.  Silly me thinking that summer would arrive and I would have all the time in the world, especially for all of the reading I planned to do to prep for the upcoming school year.  My hubby keeps looking at the stacks of books that I "just had to have" yet are still sitting on the end table. So first, I have to apologize for not being more consistent over these past few weeks.  My older son has been playing on the Jimmy Fund All Stars team for the eleven year old division.  His team is not doing very well, but he personally is doing great, I'm so proud of him!  He's really starting to come into his own and I keep getting glimpses at the young adult he's going to be...<3
We recently returned from our vacation to Lake George, New York.  We had such a great time!  There are so many different things to see and do up there, we couldn't possibly fit it all in, but we definitely crammed what we could into our week stay.  Here are a few highlights:
Locked in the stocks at Fort William Henry...
Watching the ships in the harbor...
The amazing river view that we had right from our campsite...we were right along the peaceful!
 Check out this AMAZING VIEW from up at Fort Ticonderoga!
A view of the fort...
And here is where I wish I could  ;)  This was a cute little school house in Story Town at The Great Escape Six Flags in New York.  Talk about ideal class sizes right?  hee hee

I know I'm late getting in on this, but I wanted to join in the fun with Janis over at Grade Three is the Place for Me!
                                                               It's a Newbie Blog Hop!

So, here are my responses!
1.  I teach in central Massachusetts.
2.  I teach third grade and love it!
3.  I started teaching in 2006, and have wanted to be a teacher since I was in the second grade.
4.  I started blogging in March, and I am amazed at everything I have learned from all of you amazing educators in this short time!
5.  Blog Baby Blog was able to help me get rid of those nasty prove your not a robot code things lol.  I also plan to start using a blank calendar template to try to better organize my blog posts especially when school starts back up, summer insanity has shown me a need for this! ;) 

I have been working on trying to get some of the things on my to-do list crossed off so that I won't feel like there's a mad rush right before school starts back.  It's definitely been a slow process, but I will leave you with a sample of the pack I am working on finishing up right now.  I am creating a classroom library check out board for my classroom so I can keep better track of what books students are reading from the classroom library.  I am loving the black and white designed library card pockets that I purchased to make the board, and I've been working on creating the sign-out cards that will slip into them.  I designed them so I can print them back to back, and I just have to make up my mind about which design I want to use in my classroom this fall.

Click here for a sample for you to enjoy free! =)
I will do my best to get back to being regular with posts...I promise!