Facebook TPT TN Little Miss Whimsical Home About Files and Resources Little Miss Shop Contact

Follow Me!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Table Buckets and a FREEBIE

I have a confession... I am addicted to laminating things, and not with the thin, cheap lamination you find at most school supply stores, the thick, wonderful, never-going-to-peel lamination from places like Staples and Office Depot.

I like it, because it is so thick and doesn't bend. I know I can give it to my students and it will last for many years (hopefully!).

So today, I decided to laminate some items with this amazing lamination, including my Check for Understanding bookmarks, my Voice Levels Posters, and my Classroom Expectations.

I also plan to laminate some book luggage tags I created today that you can see here. This year I have decided to spend some extra money and laminate these tags with thick lamination and put clear mailing labels with the students' names on them. This will allow me to reuse the tags for multiple years, which I think I will like.
I just tried printing one of these tags, and they're a little large... I'm going to work on that and upload some new ones when I get them fixed. They are perfectly fine the way they are, but they are a little large for what I plan to use them for.

I also got in contact with Michelle from The 3a.m. Teacher to help me with some freebie frames she had posted. I want to give her the BIGGEST shout out, because she was SO helpful! I saw this freebie frame, and wanted to modify it a little (by filling in the middle with a solid color). She was so quick and had my requested color, plus many more colors and FONTS done for me within an hour. This girl is AMAZING!

So, I made a make-shift table bucket with her frame, and I LOVE IT! I can't wait to officially finish it (and by that I mean use modge podge and hot glue instead of tape) and display it on Monday. Until then, here are a few preview shots:

What do you think of them? I had originally planned on using a solid background, but thought that looked a little boring. I may end up making one bucket of each and then deciding! 

Also, in my frame madness today I created some labels for the oh-so-cute "Highlight Your Name" buckets I see everywhere. You can get those by clicking the picture below. 

Let me know what you think! And be sure to check out both my TN and TPT shop as I have added several more items!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Helping My Teacher Friend

One of my very favorite teacher friends was moved to a new school this year, and I was lucky enough to get to help her set up her new classroom! Mrs. A was on my third grade team this past year, and we had such a blast! This year she will be at a different school within our district and will be teaching 2nd grade.

I know Mrs. A is very excited about this move, because last year she was in a portable and this year she will have an actual classroom... a big upgrade!

First off her math center. She used some of her school money to purchase those awesome bookshelves, and will be organizing her math games in the buckets. I love that she has a table where the students can sit to play the games!

How cute are those letters that she painted? Here's a close up of them:

Next up we've got her student mailboxes. I used these last year, and convinced her that they were absolutely necessary!

This is her super cute work on writing area! I love the frames she has to display student writing. 
P.S.--We hung that curtain up, even though there isn't a window, because there was a really funky painting on the wall that we decided needed to go!

And finally, the super cute name plate I made for her last year when she joined out team. I am going to miss her terribly!

Here's the one I made for myself when I started teaching. I'll be completely honest... I might like hers better!

Also, a few updated photos of my room:

I found some extra tables. Still kind of messy... I'll post a better photo when I get the paper lanterns hung.

I went ahead and posted my D5 expectations, but I will still make I-Charts with my students. Also, I am planning on mounting a 4 x 6 whiteboard that I have above this area, and will use it for my CRAFT board.

I posted my  Classroom Expectations  and Voice Levels posters, but haven't printed the titles of them yet.

I felt like I did so much in my room today, but it really isn't noticeable. I need to buckle down and get things finished! How are your classrooms looking??


Fabulous Find Friday!!

I am SO excited to be able to finally participate in my first Fabulous Find Friday. I am linking up with the lovely Miss Elizabeth from Fun in Room 4B. 

When searching for some beautiful buckets to put on top of my bookshelves (a la Dandelions and Dragonflies) when I found these wonderful caddies at KHOLS! 

Can't you just imagine them with cute table labels and ribbon?? 

Now the very.best.part. of these caddies is that they are MARJORLY on sale! I just checked, and they don't have them in stock any more :( When I purchased mine, they were on sale for $8.10, marked down from $29.99!! Add to that a 30% off coupon and these wonderful caddies were just over $5.00 EACH! WOOT!

Hopefully I will be able to print on my table labels, add some cute ribbon, and Link Up on Monday for Made it Monday!

I hope everyone has a GREAT weekend! Did you find anything good this week??


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Classroom Tour--Part Deux

Here are a few more pictures form my classroom. You will notice that I did not include my small group area or teaching supplies... that is because they are still in complete disarray!

Since I decided to use bookshelves for my tables this year, I am short one bookshelf that I normally have for my library... With all of the expenses that come with the beginning of a school year, I'm not sure I can justify spending any more money right now! I've already spent SO SO much! I think that's just the life of a teacher.

First up, my gathering place and teaching materials. 

I use the white board below for a lot of whole group lessons. On the back of my easel is a pocket chart I use for Word Study. The bookshelf contains all of my picture books for mini-lessons, as well as class sets of books for novel studies. I was part of a literacy committee this year for our district. We met once a month and planned a literacy curriculum that aligns with the Common Core standards. Then, our wonderful district bought us all the books we need to teach those lessons! WOOT!

Another view of the whiteboard and bookshelf. You get a better view of my carpet here. 
I am hoping to be able to hang a big bulletin board in between those two windows, and put my CRAFT board there.

You can barely see this area in the last picture (on the far right), but this is the entrance to my classroom library. My room is the old music room (which is why the walls have those weird holes) and I use the storage closet for my classroom library. It is super cool!

Here is the entrance to our classroom library. 

We have an old futon I used in college. And above that you can see our genre charts, courtesy of Beth Newingham. 

Close up of the charts. I LOVE that they have the covers of books on their, to give the kids an example of each genre!

That huge thing is a luvsac (sp?), i.e. huge beanbag chair. This was my sisters from college. I don't love having that bookshelf there, because it makes it too crowded. I will probably be rearranging that the next time I go up to school.

Mr. Whimsical thought it would be cool to hang books from the ceiling, so we did that. I love it!

A close up of my alphabet. I spent way too much money the summer before I started teaching collecting and painting these letters. Can you believe we actually found cute things before Pinterest? I found this on a mom blog.

This is a picture from the front of my classroom as you come in through the door. I'm angled so that you can't see the white board up front, but it's there. We also have a door in the back.

I saw this idea for "book luggage" from Fourth Grade Frolics and decided it was a great way for my students to keep up with their books. In the past, I have just had students keep their books on top of their desks... but it always looked SO messy! So until I can get some seat sacs, I will have these. I think they're pretty stinking cute! 

And finally, a close up of one of the shelves I have in front of my groups. Right now I have three tables and 2 groups of 6 desks, but I'm hoping I can trade those desks out for tables if there are any extra tables. *Fingers Crossed*

That's it for tonight. Sorry about the picture overload! Hopefully I will get the rest of my room cleaned up and will be able to get some more pictures soon! 

One quick question, do you think third grade is too old to have a word wall? Should I put sight words on there? Words from our mini-lessons? Both? I have a large space above some cabinets that is hard to get to, so I don't want something I have to update a lot... I don't like having to climb on top of the cabinets. I might add the sight words now, and add vocabulary words from the mini-lesson books as we read them. Thoughts?

Good night all!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Writing Process POSTERS

One more quick post tonight :)

After seeing many cute and creative ways to help hold students accountable when moving through the writing process, I thought I would create some posters that fit the way I teach writing and that would match my classroom... of course!

You can see two different sets of posters that match the writing process in my Teacher's Notebook store or my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Let me know what you think of them! I still haven't decide which set to use in my own classroom... decisions, decisions.


Classroom Tour--Part One and a FREEBIE

I am so excited to say that I have made some progress in my classroom! I still have a long, long way to go until things are ready, so please don't judge me too harshly--my room isn't totally clean!

Also, let me preface this by saying that I am not a wonderful picture taker, but I think you'll get the idea...

This area will be for "Work on Writing", although students will be able to go any where in the room to write. I am so proud of myself for putting the black contact paper on the white board. I don't have any bulletin boards in my room, but I think this is a pretty close look!

 Thanks to Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files for the VOICES bulletin board! I am very excited to use it!

Here is our writing table. Soon I will put our Class Journals and Topic Jar on the table. I am trying to keep things minimal, something I have struggled with in the past.

I thought of this idea all on my own! Cute picture frames from Target. I plan to put student writing in them, changing the student writing every Friday. I wish I had enough $$ to purchase a frame for every child, but that would be a lot of money and a lot of picture frames to change!

Here is the other side of our white board where I plan to put our Classroom Expectations and Classroom Voice Levels

This area will hold all of our "Work on Words" materials. I hope to get some type of bucket to use to keep the different activities organized. 

Okay, I think I'll keep it short tonight, but will post tomorrow morning with some more pictures. I don't want to give you too much of a picture overload!

I promised a freebie, so here goes.... RULES for Math Word Problems

RULES is an acronym I was introduced to last year to help students show their best work on math word problems. It worked SO well for my students last year.
U--Use pictures, numbers, and words
L--Label your response
E--write an Equation
S--Sum your answer up in a sentence.

This item will be FREE in my TN shop until Wednesday, July 25. The only thing I ask you to do is give me a shout out on your blog, so that even more people can get this resource for free!!

Have a great night! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Linky, D5 Chapter 7, and a Blog Makeover!!

Whew, I have had a busy past few days! We got word on Monday that we would be able to get into our classrooms starting Tuesday. Needless to say, I have been working furiously since Tuesday afternoon. I didn't take any before pictures, but will have plenty of after pictures coming soon!

I was very excited to learn about Grade 3 is the Place for Me's linky party for new bloggers.


1.  what state you are in--Arkansas. I was born here, moved away, and returned for college (at the strong suggestion of my parents, lol).

2.  your current teaching position--I teach a third grade integrated class.

3.  your teaching experience--I graduated with my Master of Arts in Teaching in 2009. I had a really hard time finding a job my first year, and took a job as a Reading Recovery teacher/Interventionist. As it turned out, I learned so much about teaching reading, and ended up getting to teach the literacy block for the 4th grade advanced class. I absolutely LOVED that position. My boyfriend and I then moved to a different city within Arkansas, where I obtained my current teaching position. When we moved, I decided to add another certification to my teaching credentials--Special Education! I am now entering my third year of teaching in my current city. 

4.  when you started blogging--I started blogging at the beginning of this July. I have only been here for three weeks!

5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource--Don't get discouraged if you don't have a lot of followers right away. I know it's hard (it's hard for me), but hold out hope that you will one day have many followers! 

-------On to Daily Five: Chapter 7-------

Use a Chart or Grid to check-in before every round. I'll see if Mrs. A can save the chart she used as a PDF and I will add it here and to my shops as a FREEBIE :) You have already seen the checklist the students use to keep track of their stations, but I like to have one for myself also... just in case there are any discrepancies. 

I also like to use check-ins as a time to reflect and assess how we are doing in out D5 stations. My students felt comfortable enough to be honest about their progress, and were always willing to share a glow/grow about themselves.

A schedule for Daily 5 can easily work with any school schedule. If you have a long block of time, that is ideal, but you can also create a schedule in smaller chunks, spread throughout the day. 

I am fortunate, and for the past two years have had roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes of solid instruction time in the morning and the afternoon. We also have a small (30-45 minutes) chunk of time between our pull-out class and lunch/recess. Our administration is really good about creating schedules that allow us to get the most out of our day.  

Once the routine is established it allows teacher to do DRA's, reading inventories, conferences,  and oral reading check-ins. I am hoping to do a better job of creating times to meet for individual conferences and strategy-based groups this year. Also, since my class is integrated, I have a paraprofessional for 2.5-3 hours a day, and really make sure I am using her in the best possible ways. Since last year was my first time with a para, I didn't always do the best job of giving her small groups to work with... The paraprofessional at our school are wonderful, WONDERFUL, and this year I am going to make sure that my kids get the most out of both of us!!

Practice Sessions
This past year, we practiced for 3 minutes to begin with, met for a check-in, and practiced again, to see if we could beat our previous time.

I love, love, love this stopwatch poster I found over at A Differentiated Kindergarten. I think it's a great way to keep track of our stamina, and promote that little bit of competitiveness to drive the students!


Set Up Room
Setting up a gathering place--I talked about this in an earlier chapter... Chapter 2, maybe? I'll have to go back and check. But we have a carpet where we meet for our check-ins, most of our mini-lessons and whole-group lessons. What can I say? I love that carpet!

Organizing your library--This is something I SWEAR I am going to do this summer. My books are organized by genre/type of book, but I haven't labeled all the books yet, so it makes it hard to keep them organized... It's just so time consuming, and *confession* I can't always decide in which basket to put some books. Does this happen to anyone else??

Work areas--I have organized my room so that there are many different places to work with my students. If I get lucky and can trade out the rest of my desks for tables,  I think it will provide a very easy and convenient way for both my para and I to meet with small groups at their tables--I think that will be SO cool--us coming to them, instead of the other way around!

Reading nooks--My room is well adapted for reading nooks, and I have purchased (i.e. spent way too much money) on pillows and little comfy chairs for my students to use.

Confer with Students
After meeting with a small group for guided reading/literature circle, or instead of meeting with a group, the teacher has the opportunity to have individual or small group conferences to track reading/writing goals and progress. I think this time is ideal for RTI groups, but again, this is an area in which I need to improve this year. 

One thing I liked that the sisters said was that the teacher should move around the room to gather students, instead of calling out their names. Calling out to the students interrupts their concentration and the ambiance of the room. 

-------Blog Make Over-------
I want to give a HUGE shout out to Mod Melon for my blog design. I did not want anything to bright or cutsy... that's just not me, and this design fits my personality perfectly. Kind of subtle, but still cute :) If you are looking for a blog design, check them out! 

I'll try to post again tomorrow... maybe with some classroom pictures and definitely will some freebies! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 6--Work on Writing and Word Work

Third Grade Gridiron and Lessons with Laughter posted today on the sixth chapter of the Daily Five book. If you haven't read up on the first 5 chapters, head on over to We Read, We Blog, We Teach to catch up. There is some GREAT stuff over there on the Daily Five!
We Read, We Blog, We Teach

Chapter Six focuses on Work on Writing and Word Work. I love these two areas of the Daily Five, because there are so many ways to be creative, and SO SO SO many different things you can do with your kiddos.

Here are a few things I did this past year for Work on Writing, and a few I hope to incorporate this next year.
  1. Class Topic Journals--With the new CC standards, we are required to teach (or at least touch on) each of the three types of writing each nine weeks. So, instead of doing topic journals like, my favorite vacation/animal/birthday, I chose to have three topic journals--Narrative, Informational, Opinion. After learning about one of the types of writing, I put that journal out for my students to write in during Daily Five. I really liked that it encouraged the students to use the different types of writing about which they had learned. I also wrote a story in the front of each journal, so that the students could see an example of each type of writing.
  2. Topic Jar/Free Write--I allowed my students to either free write, or choose a topic out of the topic jar. I am redoing the topics I have in my jar this year, again, so that I can encourage my students to use different types of writing (I found that my students almost always wanted to write narrative stories!!! Do your students do this, too?). I am borrowing some writing prompts from The Learning Institute's quiz builders to use for my topic year. These prompts are written similarly to how students will see them on tests, so I feel like it is a great way for them to practice!
  3. KidBlog--If you have not checked out Kid Blog, you need to head over there IMMEDIATELY! It is the coolest! My kids love getting to write on the computer, and Kid Blog provides a safe environment in which they can write and their friends can read their writing. It also has a cool feature where you can allow parents to read their child's blog, if they want to.
Word Work (I actually changed it to Work on Words, since the other four stations start with a verb.)
If you haven't seen this before by the wonderful Mrs. Bainbridge, you should check it out! She has some wonderful ideas for Work on Words: Work on Words by Mrs. Bainbridge
  1. There are many sets of Word Task Cards out there, and this is a great idea if you want your students to have a predictable and reliable activity for word work. Unfortunately, my students weren't terribly excited by this, but I have some ideas to make it more fun this year--let my students use dry erase boards to complete the task cards, allow my students to use marble or magnetic letters... that's all I've come up with so far. But here is a good example of a set of task cards to use.
  2. This requires a little bit more work, but I created games this past year that go with our spelling pattern. I spend two weeks on each pattern and have three different spelling lists for differentiation. We spend a lot of time focusing on reading and writing the words and strategies that can help us with those two things (breaking words into syllables, identifying types of syllables, etc.). I usually have three games for students to choose from, and they play these games with a partner. After the first two or three units, the students are familiar with the games I provide, so there is no need to introduce new games each unit. You can see an example here.
I plan on uploading more of my Work on Word games, but an stretched for time tonight. :) BF getting cranky, lol.

     3. I also let my students play Boggle once during a two week period. It's fun, and they love it!

     4. Finally, this year I want to find and create some grammar games to go with grammar concepts 
         we are studying. I feel like I really fell short this past year in the grammar department, so one of
         my goals this year is to really step that up. Does anyone have any suggestions for great, deep
         grammar games? I don't want just matching, I want my students to have to explain and think as
         they play, lol.

Alrighty, headed down to the movie room to hang out with my dear, patient boyfriend. He's so good for putting up with my and all my teacher antics!! Love him!


P.S.--I don't have too many followers, but I'll give the first three people some Work on Word games if you'll leave me your e-mail address and some feedback... AND gimme a shout out on your blog! Thanks!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Table Signs

No comments:
I just posted some signs to use for tables in my TN store!

I got the idea from dandelions and dragonflies. The buckets below are hers, but I created lables that you can also use.

Check them out in my TN store!

I promise that is all for today... and probably tomorrow, too! Talk about a TN overload!


Busy, Busy, and a Giveaway!!

I have been a very busy bee today.

If you haven't checked my TN and TPT shop lately, I have added several things.

The wonderful Mrs. A was the one who created these posters, and aren't they great?! What a cute and positive way to reinforce positive behavior and language within the classroom.

I used this system in my classroom this past year (though not with such cute posters). I noticed that my students' attitudes towards each other improved drastically when we implemented this strategy. My students spoke much kinder to each other, and tattling went down dramatically--ALWAYS a plus!

I also created a couple of math games to go with some lessons I am planning. Yes, I am neurotic and like to type out word-for-word what I will say in my lessons. I tend to get very distracted and forget things if I don't. I am actually almost done with the first nine weeks of math lessons--WOOT!

You can click on the pictures below to see the games in my TN store.


The first FIVE people to comment will get one of the above math games for FREE. These games are great for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades!!

I'm having trouble saving my Word Study games as PDFs, but as soon as I can, I plan to upload those also.