Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to School Binder Fun with Avery Products

Now that Back to School Season is in full swing, I am in high gear to get things organized and ready to go for when my new thirdsters walk through the door in less than a week (EEEEK!).

One of my long-time projects has been to consolidate and organize some of the things that take up the most space in my classroom: Anchor Charts! I am also job-sharing this year, so that means I need to stay even more on top of things so that my mess doesn't spread into my co-teacher's space and make for an unfun year ;)

When Avery offered me some of their products to test, I knew this was the perfect motivation to finally get these projects checked off the list and into the routines of this year!


I finally checked off some popular Pinterest projects that I have been eyeing forever. Problem? I still can't find the original source of these fantastic ideas. Darn!!! So, I whipped up some pages to slip into the front of the binders myself and can't wait to use them this year! (If you know the original source of these ideas, please let me know in the comments below so I can give proper credit!)


I plan on using the "Notes" binder to collect all of the cute and adorable drawings, letters, and more that my students make me throughout the year. Because I am job-sharing, I made the teachers plural, but both versions are available for free HERE on Google Docs. I love the fun colors Avery offers, and the pink was a perfect match!

The other Pinterest-inspired idea is collecting photos of anchor charts throughout the year and keeping them in a binder. I absolutely love this idea since our wall space is lacking and we collect all of our good thinking on charts that can sometimes be challenging to access quickly. This solves that problem and holds them in a format that is large enough for me to project or to use in a small group. You can pick up this freebie HERE on Google Docs.

The last project I can't wait to use is the "Student Snapshot." Avery sent me some wonderful calendar and lined paper inserts and these lent themselves perfectly to capturing anecdotal notes and informal observations throughout the year.


I love that I can add in the dates so the very first page is the first day of school. Especially with job-sharing, student behavior (both good and bad) will be important to notate since we will be teaching them different subjects at different times of the day. Now, we can jot notes to each other about students and also compile longer sections on the lined paper in the back. I know this system will not only help with the day-to-day management, but will make report card comments and parent-teacher conferences much easier! You can pick up this binder cover HERE on Google Docs.

I hope these binders and organizational ideas gave you some great project ideas as you put the finishing touches on your classroom before the start of the year! Thanks to Avery for sending me such great products!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teacher Blogger {#teacherbloggers}

Hi there!! I'm Stephanie and I blog here at 3rd Grade Thoughts. I have been teaching for nearly ten years, the majority of which have been in third grade. I took last year off from teaching to stay home with our toddler daughter and am heading back this year in a half-time role teaching Reading & Writing in 3rd grade (#dreamjob). I think my husband is as excited as I am-- I need to be in a classroom with littles :) Blogging and creating are my favorite hobbies as well as cooking and playing with our daughter. We live in Colorado with our chocolate lab and we absolutely love it here! There's hiking, camping, beautiful views, and wonderful people.

Q& A Session

THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...
I love my little family, traveling, coffee, new shoes, singing with my daughter, cooking, blogging, manicures, quotes, sleeping in, my amazing friends, anything teal or chevron, and big cities.

IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?
I would love to be a travel writer or a chef. 

THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU.
loyal, funny, energetic

FINISH THE SENTENCE, "________, SAID NO TEACHER EVER!!"
I don't need any more Sharpies or Post-its, I have plenty!

IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN INVITE ANYONE {DEAD OR ALIVE} TO THE PARTY. WHO ARE YOU INVITING?
The cast of the Golden Girls, BrenĂ© Brown, and Maya Angelou

IF SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
Learning Through Laughter

YOU GET TO PICK ONE SUPERPOWER. WHAT IS IT?
I'm a big fan of Mary Poppins' "snap to pick up a room" power. I would be forever indebted if that showed up around laundry day in this house!

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING?
"Keep Calm & Carry On" (and every possible variation)

IF YOU HAD TO SING ONE SONG ON AMERICAN IDOL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
"Let It Go" ... for which I would immediately be eliminated, but my daughter thinks I sing perfectly ;)

ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?
Night owl! Some of my best thinking/creating/brainstorming happens at 2am, so I always leave a pen and paper or my phone near my bed to make sure I jot it down. As for being a morning person, the phrase "Coffee before talkie" is about as accurate as it gets.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE THAT YOU'VE CREATED IN YOUR TPT SHOP?
I love my QR Critters for Fiction & Nonfiction Reading. I am a big fan of making something once and being able to use it all year long. This packet is a great way to incorporate technology and have your students practice a wide variety of reading responses for all types of genres. Find out more on my blog HERE or in my TpT Store HERE.

SHARE SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU!
I have traveled to every continent except for Australia and Antarctica. My favorite spot? Peru! It's where my husband proposed <3

Want to learn more about your favorite #teacherbloggers? Check out the rest of the fun at Falling Into First (with another Colorado Stephanie!):



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back to School Sale on TpT!


It's that time again....

The Teachers Pay Teachers *HUGE* Back to School Sale is almost here!! 

Starting tomorrow (Monday the 4th) and going through Tuesday (the 5th) you can save 28% on any resource in my TpT Store by entering the code BTS14 at checkout!

Try some of my popular Brain Breaks for the Classroom and my new add-ons (including Word Work and Holidays!):

You can take care of your Daily 5 needs with my Reading Response Menus, Word Work Centers for *any* word, or more thematic centers for holidays and novels:


If you're wondering how you can set up a caring classroom community by using Morning Meetings, my e-book and packet will guide you through all of the steps:


Using hand signals in class can be a great way to manage and also assess! Try my Classroom Voice Levels to keep volume in check and my Mountain Climbers Formative Assessment to gauge where students feel they are on the spectrum of understanding:



Health standards can be tricky and sometimes boring to teach. Try using my Interactive Health Notebook throughout the year to keep kids engaged and thinking about these important concepts (plus, it also pairs wonderfully with my Anti-Bullying Word Work!):


If you're tackling Math Rotations this year, check out my blog series HERE, then pick up some center work to help get you started!

Do you use tablets or i-devices in your classroom? Try jazzing up reading responses and math problems with my QR Critters:

.... and much, much more!

Today is the day to get your Wish Lists ready and once the sale starts on the 4th, you're good to checkout with the sale price!

Don't forget to enter the code BTS14 at checkout for a total of 28% off!



I'm excited that my fellow 3-6 friends are also joining in on the fun! Hop around to their stores to see all of the amazing resources available to address our grade levels. They, too, will be on sale for 28% off!




What's on your Wish List? Happy shopping!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Word Work Centers & A Class Sign {#Create2Educate}

Nothing gets me more excited for the school year then crafting and Back to School Shopping!

So, when Michaels emailed me asking if I could go shopping and make something for my classroom, I jumped at the chance!

My projects of choice: Easy Word Work Centers and a Washi Tape Class Sign!

Word Work Centers

I love providing a variety of activities for students to practice their spelling and/or vocabulary words during Word Work time. I want this time to be fun and engaging, but without enough materials, it can oftentimes become a management nightmare.

Thankfully, I found some simple and (best of all!) cheap solutions to help your students stay working with words!


Each of these supplies cost less than $2! The plastic letters were clearanced for $0.99, the stamps were $1 and the magnetic tins were $1.50. Yahoo!

These will easily make great Word Work Centers! There are duplicate plastic letters so students can make a variety of words, and I can easily store them on a cheap pizza pan or cookie sheet when they aren't in use. Plus, with the see-through top, it's easy to find which tin holds what color letter!


The stamp sets are my favorite! In the past, I separated stamps by letter into drawers (click HERE), and that worked well, but caused traffic jams at the stamp station during Word Work.

This time, I will have kids grab a set of stamps and an individual stamp pad (washable, of course), and head back to their tables to work, freeing up space!

Before I opened the stamps, I took a picture and shrunk it down to 1.5" high. I then printed and taped them to the side of the tin. This way, if a stamp is found, we can easily locate the style without dumping out all of the stamps to look.

I will probably end up storing these on a tin and the stamp pads in a separate bin so I can make sure they are closed tight at the end of each Word Work time.


Washi Tape Class Sign

I am so excited to be job-sharing with a super-talented teacher this year! It's going to be a fabulous year ahead and I wanted to design something that would identify our class and match our color scheme (navy, teal & white-- more pictures soon as we get things up!).

Of course, I had to use washi tape since I am in love with it! I mixed and matched two sets and also bought some large white letters. They didn't have numbers, but no worries since the E can be flipped upside-down to make a 3 :)


I love washi tape because it's thin, easy to move, and comes in so many great colors and styles! I started by placing down strips of alternating tape from the center out. I then folded over the edge and finished it off by taking my darker color and going around the outside to make the edges look nice and neat.


The end product is beautiful and matches my classroom colors perfectly! The white shows through the washi and really makes the designs pop! I will Mod-Podge the tape down after I'm done debating about final placement, then I will glue-gun the letters together and hang it with a ribbon or set it near our window. I am so excited that both our last name initials are included in this, too!


Michaels #Create2Educate Sweepstakes

If you're into creating your own Back to School projects (and who isn't?!), then you'll be excited to learn that Michaels is giving away a $50 Gift Card every day from August 1-15!


Here's how to enter:

  • Create an original back-to-school project and upload a picture of it to Instagram, using #Create2Educate and #sweepstakes.
  • While you’re there, tag @MichaelsStores, too.
  • The contest runs Friday, August 1 through Friday, August 15.
  • A random winner will be selected daily and will receive a $50 gift card to Michaels.

So, head over to Instagram now and check out all of the great #Create2Educate projects to help get you inspired!

Good luck and happy crafting!

3rd Grade Thoughts - Widget
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