Friday, July 1, 2011

Crayons to Computers

A Free Store for Teachers!!!! How awesome is that?!?! Believe it or not, one such store exists for teachers in the Cincinnati area. The store operates on donations from the community, as well as programs that pair groups from the local prisons to make materials teachers need for their classrooms. Each year, the store has a collection drive to collect the necessary supplies to fully stock their store of all school supplies many of our students do not have access to. They then gather financial and material donations from companies, as well as the items made by local inmates.

Schools with 60% reduced/free lunch students have the opportunity to shop there once every 5 weeks. However, schools like my school don't qualify. So, the store has set up a program where teachers whose schools do not qualify can volunteer once every month and receive a voucher to allow them to shop at the store for materials.

Today, I spent 3 hours volunteering by stuffing their mailings that are sent out. In turn, I receive a voucher to come back and shop in August, as well as a sneak peak of some of their products they have to offer to teachers this year. Needless to say, I am quite excited to get my hands on them. They have seat sacks, manipulatives, binders, papers, folders, and oh so many more items only teachers would treasure. You can check out their website for further information! Does your community have any cool programs like this for teachers?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Design and Blog Button

After many hours of playing around tonight, I think I have successfully revamped my blog with a new design, background, and a button! Yay! Thanks to Ladybug Teacher Files for all of her tips in her tutorial section!!! If you are looking for ways to enhance your blog, be sure to pop over to hers and check out all of the awesome info she so willingly shares. I would love to know your thoughts and feedback on the new design and button! Have a blessed night!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blog Buttons and Templates

I am really wanting to spice up my blog with a blog button, one that matches my current blog design. Is there someone who can help me with creating a blog button to go with my template or help me find a new template with a matching blog? Thanks in advance for you're wonderful!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

End of the Year Reading Celebration

As the school year comes to an end tomorrow, I decided to use this afternoon to celebrate all of the reading we had done this school year. The afternoon began with a book swap. Students were allowed to bring in 1 or 2 books that they had already read and no longer wanted. Then, depending on how many books they brought in, they could pick from the selection of books that was on the table. Knowing some of my kids were forget their books, I brought in a few extras I had. It worked out good and everyone had a "new" book by the end of the swap.

Following our book swap, students cuddled up with their blankets and pillows to enjoy a good 45 minutes of uninterrupted SSR (silent sustained reading). This is their favorite part of each school day, so I was happy to see they settled in easily and were able to enjoy a few good books. On a side note, I've been reading The Book Whisper by Donalyn Miller, which has only reinforced the need to provided students an opportunity to read books of their choice during the school day.

Our reading celebration ended with two read alouds. One was the Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado. This is one of my favorite "Christian themed" books that allows students to see how each of us has a special purpose in this world. I then read the book Tuesday to them. It is a wordless picture book, which previously own the Caldecott Medal. The kids loved the pictures of floating frogs and flying pigs. I had begun our year together sharing this book with them and was surprised how they at first didn't remember the book. However, after seeing the floating frogs, their memories were quickly jogged and they once again enjoyed the book with great vigor. How do you celebrate reading with your students? What books do you find to be good read aloud books?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Teachers Pay Teachers

I have just begun a TpT account in hopes to upload some of my other work. Please feel free to check it out and be sure to follow me, as more exciting and fun plans and ideas will be posted in the near future! For now, you can download Cupcake Math (from previous post) for free. Enjoy!

Market Day

During the past two weeks we have been studying Economics. Students have been earning "money" by attending school, turning in homework, participating in class discussions, and making good behavioral choices. It has been a great change of pace for them. Similarly, they also lose money for making poor behavioral choice, not being ready for class, etc.  Students will then take they money have earned and use it to spend at Market Day!

What is Market Day? Market Day is an afternoon set aside each year where students create a product based upon their talents. This product is then sold to their fellow third grade classmates. It is an excellent real life example of these skills. Students submitted a business plan and paid for a business license in order to run their business. We have studied effective means of advertising and marketing. Students have made ads for their product and have promoted the product to the class.

Pictures will be coming shortly...Market Day is one week from tomorrow! What real life simulations do you do in your classroom in order to teach concepts?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cupcake Fractions

Today I am linking up with Math Monday Blog Hop! We are currently studying fractions in third grade. On Friday, we will have a cupcake fraction day where students will decorate cupcakes and we will then analyze what fraction of the class chose similar decorations to their cupcakes. Last year the students loved this activity and I am very much looking forward to it again. Below you will find the document I use with students for this activity!

Cupcake Math Template

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Mrs. Randall's Learning Library is having a giveaway in honor of 200 followers. Head on over to her blog to check it out!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

Today I began a year long "course" on the implementation of professional learning communities at Xavier. I am super excited about the potential for the implementation of the PLC's within our school. Prior to today's half day session, I really had no idea what a PLC even was. I learned basically that it is a collaborative effort on the part of teachers at the school to shift their focus from teaching to learning- learning how to focus on what kids need to know, driven by formative assessment. Basically, they want us to determine an area we want to improve upon, determine what we feel are the basic skills in that area that we want the kids to develop (by collaborating with our colleagues), and then design instruction upon which we can then assess how well the kids learned the skill we wanted them to learn. I am intrigued by this concept (while not a new one, it is a shift in focus). We'll see where this leads us in this coming school year. Do PLC's exist at your school?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fraction Fun

We began our unit on fractions this week. I love this unit because not only is it a change up of skills, but it lends itself to many fun activities that demonstrate real world connections. Below are a few ideas we will be trying out in our classroom during this unit:

  • Cupcake Math- This is an activity I designed last year in which students each decorated a cupcake, and then we analyzed what fraction of the class made the same decision in regards to how they decorated their cupcakes.
  • Fraction Town- In this craft activity, students design a map of "Fraction Town". Streets are labeled according to what fraction they represent (for example, Second Street is divided into two equal parts). Students then follow a set of instructions to add details to their map such as houses, fire truck, trees, etc. This activity is always enjoyed by all.
  • Fraction Fashion Show- New this year, I will be using an idea I got from TpT (thanks to Lesson Plan SoS) where students will dress up as fractions for the day. Pictures to come next week.... :)
What are some fraction activities you have found to be helpful in teaching the skill?

My First Post

I have been inspired by fellow bloggers to begin a blog of my own. I teach third grade at a Catholic School in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. As this year is coming to a close, I can't begin to express my gratitude for the opportunity to teach and guide the 24 children with whom I have spent the last 160 days with. I hope to use this blog as a way to share ideas, network, and remind myself of the daily gift that it is to teach! What is the greatest blessing you have found in teaching?