Sunday, August 28, 2011

Science Fair


Each year my school has a science fair. In previous years grade levels  K-3rd were allowed to turn in one class project but in the last few years my principal decided that 3rd grade needed to do 5-6 different  experiments within the class. It’s a tough task to do 5-6 different science experiments and make a science board for each one. Don’t get me wrong I love science but 6 different science boards with just the teacher helping all the kids is not easy. In the end, it’s the teacher that does most of the work. This year the science fair is in October. I decided I would do six different experiments (whole group) but each student is responsible for implementing the scientific method for each experiment.

I made this 8.5 x 14” brochure to go along with each experiment.  I’m not quite sure how it will work out but I’ll give it a try this year. Does anyone have magnets, eyedroppers, and little thermometers I could borrow??? These are all the items I need for my experiments that my school doesn’t have and neither do I. 


Saturday, August 27, 2011

New Clipchart

I wasn't going to use a clipchart this year but the group I have this year really needs a visual on how they are doing during the day. I decided to remake my clipchart to go with my overall Snoopy theme.

Here's a picture of my student work display area. The student display idea came from Kristin at Ladybug's Teacher Files. She has a lot of great ideas and tutorials.

Now that I've been with my new class for a few weeks, I can tell that more boys than girls does make a difference. I have 17 boys and 10 girls. I've never had a class with more boys than girls.








Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to subtract

Since I have been in the third grade, I have had to reteach myself how to do subtraction without a traditional algorithm. The district I'm at initially adopted Investigations. Investigations for third grade uses number lines to subtract.

Each year, I go through a painful month of reteaching students how to subtract using a number line. This year, the incoming students I have are very use to the traditional algorithm. I have no problem using that strategy but when it comes to regrouping, most of the students honestly don't know what "borrowing" from the tens really means. I made a handout to give to parents to show another strategy for subtraction. It's basically the traditional algorithm but broken down more to show the process of how to borrow.


If you have other strategies for regrouping, I would love for you to share in the comments.







Friday, August 19, 2011

Checking in!

I've been away from the blogging world for about 2 weeks now! The students at my school started on August 9th. I have a big group this year. 17 boys and 10 girls! This is my first year ever with more boys than girls. I have a very active and talkative group this year. My class is still practicing procedures daily. I have seen a lot of improvement but they still need more practice! I'm a very structured teacher and I don't think a lot of the kids I have this year are use to that.

The biggest waste of money I spent this school year was the pencil pouches. I bought 30 of them and so far half of them have broken. Some of them broke within the first day. So now I have to buy pencil boxes. Lesson learned - learn to tolerate all the clicking noises from the pencil boxes opening and shutting and just buy the pencil boxes from now on! By the way, I succeeded in not buying a single item from the Target dollar bins this school year :)

My daughter started middle school this year and I was looking through her class folders and found "rules for the classroom" from her Film class. Two of the twelve rules from her class made me laugh out loud.

1. No throwing of objects during the movie or any other time.
2. No writing on the tables or chairs during the movie or any other time.

I guess teaching middle school is a whole new frontier that I'm not use to. You would think those two things would be something the kids would already know not to do in classroom but I guess not?!?!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekend Activity

In preparation for the new school year which starts on Tuesday (Yikes!) I was busily preparing back to school activities. Here is an example of the paper bag person from My Second Grade Journal. The items on the paper bag person are inspired by Step into second grade, Mrs. Lemons. In the pocket at the bottom of the paper bag person the students are going to fill out a card with “My wish for this school year”. My plan is to put these paper bag people up in the room and at the end of the school year revisit their wish cards. 

Click here if you would like a copy of "my wish for this school year".
Just a side note -  for those of you that don’t know me, I like to scrapbook and I have to say many of my scrapbook tools have come in handy in my teaching world too. My ATG gun is probably the most useful tool I have. If you like to scrapbook I highly recommend investing in one.

Tomorrow is meet your teacher night at my school. I'm excited to meet my new students! 


Saturday, August 6, 2011



My name is Cindy, and I am a recovering “control freak”. I decided this year to not be such a control freak. So far this school year (I have only been back to work for 3 official days) I’m doing quite well. For example, I have one extra table in my classroom this year and the bins I use don’t all match because of that extra table. The old me would have gone to the store to buy the matching bin but the new me is not doing it. Is it bugging me? Yes, it's bugging me a little. No, it's bugging me a lot but I’m going to let it go. I am usually very particular about all the things in my class matching. I also bought pencil bags and they are all different colors. I love the math journals that My Second Grade Journal came up with. I’m seriously thinking about having the kids help make them this year. Normally I would do them myself (old me) but I think the kids can handle it (new me).  I still have over 200 days of work left but I think I can maintain it. 

This is my last weekend before school starts. I have a ton of work to do but I’m not going to stress about it. I was completely overwhelmed on Friday to the point where I could no longer function! My school district is implementing a "walk to read" program this year and we were given a brief training on Friday. It was a lot to think about. Fortunately, I am working with a fantastic grade level team and I know between the four of us we will make it work. I also have friends at different grade levels that are wonderful too! I have to admit I am very blessed to work with the people I do because I have learned a great deal from all of them! Thank you school peeps :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Farewell Summer Vacation

Well July came and went and now it’s time to go back to work. I officially start work tomorrow. The students return on Tuesday, August 9th. Wow, what a fast summer vacation!

Here are some of the things I learned this summer:
1. Taking a class during your summer vacation makes you feel like you are still working.
2. Do not take any “school work” home for the summer because you’ll never get around to taking it out of your car trunk.
3. There is a whole community of awesome teacher bloggers.
4. Deciding to stop playing FB games was a good choice this summer.
5. Exercise is really good for your mind, body, and soul.
6. There is nothing better than being with your family and friends.
7. It is wise to stay indoors in Arizona between the hours of 12-6pm during the summer.
8. I do not need or crave coffee any longer.
9. After 11 years, I can finally sleep in past 6:30am. My only child is 11 years old.
10. After taking 6 weeks of Zumba this summer, I realize I CAN shake my hips and dance my booty off!

Wishing everyone a great school year!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Emergency Sub Plan Book and a math Freebie!

My emergency sub plan book is almost done. I just need to make copies of the activities and finalize my schedule. 


Here’s a freebie of one of the math warm-ups I use in my class. I use this activity all year but increase the numbers and change the ‘’less than 50” & “more than 50” and make it more challenging throughout the year.