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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Reading Comprehension Bookmarks Freebie

How many times have your students flown through a reading assignment and had no idea what they've just read?  Why is that?  Well, it's because they weren't thinking while they were reading.  They were just trying to get finished. 

I am constantly trying to impress upon my students the importance of nightly reading and "thinking" about their reading.  I'm also constantly trying to find simple, yet effective, ways to help parents get involved in their child's nightly reading.

Enter "Reading Comprehension Bookmarks".

 I laminate these and have them keep them in the book for their nightly 20 minutes of reading.  There are two different sets of bookmarks: One standard and one challenge-level. After reading for 20 minutes, another student or parent randomly chooses three of the questions and asks the reader. If the reader truly understood what they read, they should be able to answer all of them correctly. If the reader is unable to answer, they should go back and reread that portion of the text.

You can pick them up for FREE at my TpT store.

I also found a neat set of bookmarks that I plan to put on the back of my own bookmarks next year at step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons:

What do you do to get your parents involved in nightly reading and to help hold students accountable?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blessed with An Award!

Tammy at Confessions of a Fourth Grade Teacher has honored me with this award!

If you haven't been to Tammy's blog, you need to go check out all her neat resources and freebies!

With every great award comes responsibilities, so here are the rules:

1. Link back to the blogger who awarded it.

2. Follow the blogger who sent it to you.

3. Pass the award on to 15 other lovely bloggers.  I love this part!  I am so inspired by so many people.  It gives me a chance to show some love.

If you're not a follower, these are some really great blogs written by some truly talented and lovely ladies.  Check them out!




Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Writing Hooks: Bold Beginnings Freebie

The state writing predictor test is almost upon us.  With that in mind, I happened upon this post at Two Writing Teachers blog.  They do what is called "Slice of Life" posts. 

If you are a writing teacher or you just need some kind words of encouragement, you need to stop by this blog.  
You can pick up a FREE copy of my PowerPoint on my TpT store that was inspired by that post.

Do you have any activities or tools to teach bold beginnings?

Clutter Free Challenge: Math Manipulatives

The Clutter Free Classroom's new challenge is to organize your math manipulatives. 

I've been working all year on decluttering my classroom, but the math manipulatives are near and dear to my heart.  I've totally redone how I use centers in math, and how I store them.

This is the cart that houses the following things:
  1. Bottom shelf:  Most-used manipulatives like place-value blocks
  2. Middle shelf:  Multi-level measurement and geometry games
  3. Top shelf:  Math activity books, bulky items that don't fit on other shelves (huge clock), and hanging bags that sort activities by topic.  The hanging bags are the most current topics or ones that they ALWAYS need practice in (rounding, yikes!).

This is the math cabinet where I store the older activities and materials, and the ones I don't want the kiddos to have instant access to.

An up-close shot.

If you're interested, you can link up over at her blog.  Happy organizing!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Krista at Stellar Students is celebrating having 100 followers with a fabulous giveaway!  So hop on over to her blog to check it out!

The first winner will receive a $25 Amazon E-card and two items from her TPT store ( your choice).  The runner up will receive a $5.00 Scrappin Doodles E-card and two items from her TPT store ( your choice).  The Giveaway Ends Saturday, March 24 at midnight.

Friday, March 16, 2012

More Test Prep

So many teachers have been talking about using Prepdog as a review tool that I had to go check it out.

This FREE website is for 2nd through 10th grades, and has practice tests, tutorials, and lessons for math, reading, grammar/language, and science.

An activity I personally use for social studies:  Word Whomp

  1. Cut/laminate all the letters of the alphabet and put them in the bag. 
  2. You or a student randomly chooses a letter from the bag.
  3. Start a timer for 1-3 minutes (depending on how challenging you want it to be).
  4. Students write as many words as they can think of that start with that letter that relate to a particular subject.  For example, if the letter drawn is "J," students might write Jamestown, John Smith, James River, Jim Crow Laws, Judicial Branch for social studies.  **Differentiations: Students work in pairs/small group

  5. Compile a Word Wall list of all the found words.
  6. The student with the most words gets to choose the next letter from the bag.
  1. Create a timeline for all the words.  For example, John Smith comes before Jamestown.  Some words will be tougher to pinpoint the exact date, so this is a great opportunity to challenge students to justify their answers. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Bloggers Unite!

I love reading the blogs of the grades surrounding my own grade.  It gives me a sort of reality check.  "If 3rd graders can do this, then surely 4th graders can!"  "If 5th graders will be expected to do this, then I had better give my students a leg up!"

Lorraine at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies is hosting a link up for all us 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade bloggers. 

Happy blogging, linking, and reading!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top Ten Blogs

Andrea at One Teacher's Take has made my day!  She has named my blog a Top 10!

Andrea's pretty great, so stop by her blog.

Now it's time to show some love to my Top Ten.  Most are "newer" blogs, or just new to me.  All are full of awesomeness.
  2. Jennifer at
  3. Nancy at
  4. Jessica at
  5. Scipi at
  6. Keri at
  7. Ruth at
  8. Leslie at
  9. Becky at
  10. Stacy at
Thanks to all of these bloggers for making me laugh, giving me a pick up on a not-so-nice day, or sharing ideas!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Test Prep Part 3

Thanks to Mandy at Mandy's Tips for Teachers blog, I now understand how the "Scoot" game works! 

Head on over to her blog to pick up a free copy of her Scoot board.
Mandy suggests using the cards already created on

I may create cards from the released state test questions on  I use this website to create test reviews throughout the year.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Behavior Management 2.0

I began the year with the following chart laminated and taped to the top of each students' desk.

I use a Sharpie to mark the good and bad choices under the appropriate column.  All I have to do is use some rubbing alcohol to remove the Sharpie, and the chart is good as new. 

For the past 3 years, this has worked like a charm.  Until recently, when a self-incriminatingly honest child told me that the students had figured out how to use their dry-erase markers to erase the Sharpie.  Huh, you don't say.  Who'd have thought?

After I got over the fact that this class has some major dishonesty issues, I was compelled to come up with a different method.  I thought back to my student teaching days.  My cooperating teacher used colored poker chips to tell the level of warning the student was on.  Green was good, yellow was "warning," and red meant "consequence."  Each one was attached to the desk with poster putty.  If a chip needed changing, the student had to bring it to the teacher and exchange it for the next color.

These are $15.50 for 600 (100 of each color).  I'll only be using the green, yellow, and red for the behavior management.  I can use the other colors as counters or game pieces.  The cool thing is that they are stackable.

I also recently came across a post that inspired me on Dandelions and Dragonflies blog:
She had a file folder with a chart of expected behaviors stapled inside.  If the student is not exhibiting an expected behavior, they "pull their folder."  The teacher puts a check beside the behavior and sends a report home at the end of the 9 weeks.

I think I will use her file folder idea along with the chips for a visual reminder for the student.  I will also be continuing my "Weekly Progress Report" (see below).  My parents tend to want to know more often than just report card time.  I can add any behavior concerns to that.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lovely Blogs!

My good friend Andrea knows how to brighten my day.  She's right when she says I need to recharge my batteries!  Her awarding me this honor also helps to recharge my soul.

Here are the rules for the Lovely Blog Award:

1. Link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Pass the award onto 15 followers.
3. Follow the person who sent it to you.

Here are the people and blogs that I think are lovely: