Thursday, August 21, 2014

Classroom Tour 2014

Whew! Today was the first day of school and I am still left with a goofy grin on my face :) It feels so great to be back in my classroom and have so many wonderful students to share this upcoming year with!

Here it is! The official tour of my classroom this year! If you've followed me on Instagram or Facebook, you've seen some pics already, but I want to show and describe each section a little more in-depth.



I kept with the teal blue, navy and white theme and couldn't be happier! I changed my borders up and redid my classroom library as well as the labels on my big storage tubs up above and I liked how they turned out.

Here is the view as you first walk into my room. Each table is numbered 1-4:


My teacher desk is in the back right corner and we have that wall full of windows on the right. Each student has a chair assigned to them and their "academic" blue bin in the back of the room. These hold their folders, workbooks, and notebooks. That wall of shelves will soon be covered up by anchor charts, so it won't be visible much longer (which is a relief to me, since it will cut down on the "cluttered" look).

Here is a view the other way towards our meeting area:


Our projector/document camera and speakers are on that stand and our Chromebooks are stored in the trays on the right below the calendar. This year, I took cupcakes of the different months (from Creative Teacher Press, I think) and wrote the students' names and dates in the bottom section. Our schedule is to the right of the calendar and the homework assignments are to the right of that. To the left of the white board is my Mountain Climber Formative Assessment posters that we will use A LOT this year! The clock also has my chevron clock numbers hot glued to the border to help with time-telling.

"MENU" is my take on CAFE this year (more on that soon!) and above that are our Whole Brain Teaching-inspired rules.

We store our Word Work materials, iPads, and iPods in the drawers up front. Clipboards, white boards, markers and fleece scraps (aka, erasers) are up there, too:

These labels are not in my store, yet, sorry!

The east wall of our classroom is all our class library. I have used these white Sterelite bins for almost ten years and they are still holding up beautifully! I organize by genre and on the corner of each book put two stickers: a round one for Guided Reading Level and a rectangle one for the genre to make sure it gets put back in the correct bin.

Kids have a separate white magazine file box from Ikea for their reading books since there's little space left in their blue bins, plus these can be moved around the room easily during Daily 5 or DEAR time. Those are numbered and to the left of the library:


The west wall is all yet-to-be-filled-in, but will soon hold things like Class Jobs, a math focus board, and social studies and/or science displays on the large board. Fortunately, my job-share partner is in charge of all of that, so I don't have to get too creative with all of that space ;)


We also have our Clip Chart and Super Improver levels hanging in that space and the large cubes to hold Legos, K'nex, and other building toys for Free Choice time on Fridays.

In the back corner of our classroom is our sink/water fountain and our larger class supply area. I got rid of that awful green countertop color by covering over it with navy blue vinyl and it's shiny and dark now, so I am oh so happy! This also is the spot where kids drop off dull pencils and pick up sharp ones. The sharpener itself is near my desk since it's a classroom job.


Our Class Voice Levels and Writing Process Steps also hang out on this wall and you can see the cardinal direction signs on each wall as well.

For the large bin signs, all I did was take the editable labels from my Book Bin Label set and make up bin names! I separated them by subject to make it easier on my job-share partner and I and got the cheap $5 bins from Walmart that are clear so we can peek quickly to see what we need.

Here's a final panoramic video of my room:


To see more of my chevron decor in my TpT Store, click HERE.

I hope this tour was helpful in seeing how my classroom is laid out and the different sections for storage and supplies. I will be adding more detail once the school year gets underway and I know there will be changes as we go through the year, but this general structure has worked really well for the past several years and I hope it gave you some new ideas!

Happy New School Year!!

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!!

3rd Grade Thoughts - Widget
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