Monday, April 21, 2014

Coffee Talk

Book talks are one of my favorite parts of the curriculum to teach.  I am an avid reader (always have been) and I love to model that for my students.  My hope is to shape them into lifelong readers as well.

I am always pondering ways to make reading come alive for them.  To make it exciting. 
Last spring my students did book talk videos and we had popcorn and video viewing day, which they adored. 

They were pumped and not ready to give up on book talks, so I came up with the idea of "Coffee Talk" where we could invite parents and guests to enjoy an afternoon of "coffee" (herbal tea and hot chocolate, but I just had to keep the name as a shout-out to old school SNL) as our little literary experts gave live book talks and quick Q&A sessions. 

Here is a peek at our little coffee shop.  I think it was so adorable...
Our literary experts were even allowed to sit on my teacher stool to present (it's the little things).
I created a book talk planning page that my students used to jot down the elements of their presentation.  
You can grab it for FREE in my TPT store HERE.

Hang in there!  It's almost summer!

Monday, April 7, 2014

It's Reading Fair Time!

Right after the STAAR test last year, I decided it was time to let loose and do some interactive, engaging projects to incorporate all we had learned throughout the year. 

One of my students' favorite projects was our School-wide Reading Fair.  I created a quick, no prep (except making copies) packet to give my students so they could plan their project.  It included a detailed explanation of my expectations and the literary elements that they were to present on their finished board.

You can find my Reading Fair packet in my TPT store or just click here.  
Here are some of my favorite projects...

I can't wait to get started with my kiddos at the end of this month!!

PS- I would love to hear feedback if you use the packet in your classroom or school.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


  The STAAR test (here in the great state of Texas) is fast approaching for my thirdsters so we have been busy reviewing and refining our skills.  The 4th and 5th graders had their first test today so last week my class did a little Star STAAR Wars Do's and Don'ts skit to motivate them. The script was full of cute little Star Warsy (I like to invent words) references and the kids loved it.  I found these super cute masks on Etsy  and they were a must for our performance.  Of course the kids all wanted light sabers.  PTL for Pinterest! The parents were gracious enough to donate pool noodles, duck tape, and electrical tape so we I could make this awesomeness!  The performance was a hit, complete with theme music and the handmade props.  It was precious. 

I created a "May the Force" poster for my classroom so I most definitely want to share that with you too.  Keep scrolling for the FREEBIE!

Follow the link in the post to find these super cute masks from HOLIDAY PARTY HALL on Etsy!

Finally for the FREEBIE!
Grab it by clicking HERE!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Big Dreams and a freebie of course...

We are wrapping up college and career week at our school and the kids (and teachers) had sooooo much fun.  We kicked it off last Friday with college shirt and jean day.  We have standardized dress so anytime they get to wear jeans they are ecstatic. The halls were buzzing with door decorating and kiddos were busy dreaming up their costumes for "What I want to be when I grow up" day. 
Tuesday was career day and we had a great line-up of speakers visiting our classrooms.  We even had a visit from the town Mayor!  The kids were in awe to say the least.  So much fun!  We have been doing some career oriented and college activities all week.  I was really curious what my thirdsters actually thought about college so I decided to have them complete a quick writing assignment (freebie alert). 

Click HERE to grab it!
Here is a peek at my door.  
Owls!!! Shocking I know...  
Happy teaching and happy almost Friday!  Toodles!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Highlighting a couple of my faves... with a Happy Friday Freebie

It's Friday!  The STAAR test is so close and we are hard at work tying up loose ends.  I have found tons of helpful test prep units on TPT.  In fact I have been using the site almost exclusively to find anything and everything I can to give my kids more practice and review.  I just wanted to share 2 of the most amazing tools I have used in my classroom to help prepare my students. 
About 2 weeks ago, one of my teammates found this super fab pack and I am obsessed!  I only wish he had found it sooner, but I plan on using it from day numero uno next year.  It is by This Little Piggy Reads (omgoodness such a cute name!) and you can find it in her TPT store HERE if you would like.
STAAR test prep by This Little Piggy Reads
In addition to teaching these strategies (I call them non-negotiables because they MUST use them) we also use this gem from Laura Candler that is FREE!  You can get your hands on it HERE!
Laura Candler  is amazing and my students love this activity.  They enjoy it so much I really think they forget they are studying sometimes.  This can be used for reading or math and she includes detailed instructions. 

Now to leave you with a freebie... we have been working on capacity and building Gallon Robots but, I also taught my thirdsters about Capacity Kingdom and Gallon Castle because I think it will be much easier for them to sketch in their test booklet if they choose to do so.  I made the colored graphic to hang in my classroom and the smaller ones they glued into their math journals. 

Have a fantastic, restful weekend everyone.  Toodles!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Well, there's a first time for a freebie!

I am super excited nervous to unveil my first literacy pack.  I usually stick to classroom decor, but there has to be a first time for everything and I felt inspired to create a Little Red Riding Hood mini-unit in my last minute preparations for the STAAR test.  My goal was to do a little review of story elements, character traits, motivations, and summary. I decided to use Little Red Riding Hood as the mentor text since fairy tales are among the 3rd grade TEKS (think Common Core).  Here's a peek at the unit...
You can grab it in my TPT store! ($4)
In honor of National Poetry Month I snuck in some poetry review.  I used Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by one of my faves, Roald Dahl.  We focused on the mood of the poem and sensory language.  Of course I couldn't leave you guys without a freebie so you can grab my Sensory Language graphic organizer HERE!
If we stand on our tippy toes we can see summer y'all!  I love this time of year!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Down to the Wire...with a freebie

Where has this year gone?  I seriously feel like I just got this group of babies and now they are 10 school days away from taking their first HUGE standardized test.  We are down to the wire and I am finding that they are ready, BUT (there is always a but LOL) we need to brush up on some little things. 
We did a review of elapsed time and the thing that is tripping them up seems to be the whole quarter past, half past, quarter till thingy.  If anyone out there has any suggestions I would love to hear them.  In the meantime I have made some labels for our classroom clock to help them and HOPEFULLY the visual will stick in their minds.  My clock was already labeled with the freebies I snagged from the lovely Mrs. Lemons, so I just added these as some extra help.  Sorry about the terrible picture quality! Grab your freebie HERE! Toodles!