My Favorite Winter Holiday Books With a Message

I'm sharing some of my favorite winter holiday read alouds with a message over on All About 3rd Grade!  Head on over to take a look!


Donut Math: A Fun and Easy Way to Practice Multiplication Facts

Hi everyone!  Today I'm sharing a fun math game I liked to use in my classroom to quickly practice multiplication facts everyday.  Shortly after I started teaching 3rd grade my coworker told me about this and we call it Donut Math.  Go read all about it on All About 3rd Grade!

Donut math is such a fun, interactive and easy game for your kids to practice their multiplication facts!

Donut math is such a fun, interactive and easy game for your kids to practice their multiplication facts!

I really hope this is something you can use in your class!  Happy Thanksgiving!


Celebrating Day of the Dead in Your Classroom {Making an Altar}

Hi everyone! Today I'm going to be telling you a little about how I have celebrated Day of the Dead in my classroom in the past. Don't be afraid of el Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead)- this is a happy holiday!

In years past, during our report writing genre I chose to study the country of Mexico. My class learned so much about the country to become experts for their reports. One aspect we studied and really enjoyed were the holidays, particularly Day of the Dead. This unique holiday (celebrated November 1 &2) is a celebration to honor and remember people's friends and loved ones who have died. There are many wonderful traditions and symbols of the holiday that I think your students would really dig! One of those traditions is creating an altar to honor the loved ones of your students who have passed. Offerings (ofrendas) are laid out on the altars for the dead.

Create an altar in your classroom to honor loved ones who have died and celebrate Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos)!
Create a simple altar in your classroom.  You can use a table top or desk exclusively for the altar.  Use crates (like the ones you find at Walmart for files folders) if you want to make your altar 2 tiers. Drape the table and crates with a tablecloth.  Have your students bring in photos of deceased loved ones to place on the altar.  

You can include:
  • photos
  • marigolds
  • paper flowers
  • sugar skull deocrations
  • traditional foods (pan de muerto)
  • favorite foods of deceased loved ones
  • water
  • favorite items of the deceased
  • papel picado
  • candles (electric!)
The year we made an altar in my classroom the students really enjoyed it.  I built my in front of a bulletin board so we could also attach photos and decorations to the board around the alter.

Create an altar in your classroom to honor loved ones who have died and celebrate Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos)!

I'm just a *little* bit interested in Day of the Dead, so I have a few other resources in my store if you are looking for some more ideas to intrigue your students.


Easy Witches Hat Cookies

It's October!!! Now is the perfect time to start thinking about some fun Halloween ideas, so you won't be thinking about those costumes, crafts, center ideas and treats at the last minute!  Today, I'm excited to share with you all a super easy little Halloween goody for your kiddos!

These easy Halloween witches hat cookies are a great treat or procedural writing activity for your students.

I liked to make these for my class and bring them in on Halloween most years for a little treat for them at lunch.  They loved it when I brought in special goodies that I made myself!  (And I got to use it as a way to keep them behaving all morning by promising them a special treat at lunch!)  These are fun and literally the easiest thing to make.  

You only need 3 things:
Hershey Kisses
1 package fudge-striped shortbread cookies 
1 container orange or red decorating icing

All you do is glue the Hershey kiss to the back of the fudge cookie with the icing.  Then, you pipe a little icing around the base of the Hershey kiss.  That's it!  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy (as my students would say)!  This is also something that you could have your students make themselves and have them write a quick procedural writing paper about how to make witch hat cookies.

If you're looking for some fun Halloween resources to keep your kids engaged in math centers try these Halloween Word Problem Task Cards!  There are 12 spooky Halloween stories using addition and subtraction (and multi-step).  There are 2 sets- they have identical stories, but different numbers so you can differentiate for your kiddos!

Halloween Addition & Subtraction Story Problem Task Cards are a great math center for fall!

I also have these super fun Array Task Cards with Halloween emojis (because- emojis!!!).  These 24 arrays include repeated addition and multiplication.

Halloween Emoji Array Task Cards are a great math center for fall!

Also, be sure to snag this FREE simple Halloween basic facts sheet with a few story problems too!

Halloween FREEBIE addition and subtraction fact worksheets and story problems.

Happy Halloween!


Into the Book: A Website to Help Support Teaching Reading Strategies

Find out about Into the Book to help support teaching reading strategies and grab a FREEBIE!  Great resources for teachers and students!Head over to All About 3rd Grade where I'm going to be telling you about a little website that can provide some great support for teaching those reading strategies.  It's called Into the Book.  This site is FREE and it features a lot of cool stuff to help you with planning and teaching eight learning strategies: using prior knowledge, making connections, questioning, visualizing, inferring, summarizing, evaluating and synthesizing.  (The only strategy it's missing that I also liked to teach is determining the importance.)  It also provides some great student resources to practice these strategies too!
Plus, grab a FREEBIE from me too!


Indoor Recess Ideas for Teachers

This is a great list of ideas for indoor recess time in your classroom!

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of questions about what everyone does for indoor recess in the teacher FB groups I'm in. I thought it'd be a good idea to share some the things I liked to do when it was too rainy, too hot (in Florida I've been told by my administration some days that it was too hot for us to go outside to play at least a few times each year!) or too cold- for all you snowbirds!
Come check out my post on All About 3rd Grade!


Name Activities for Back to School

These back to school name activities are fun for students and help you and your students learn each other's names!

Every new year comes with a lot of new names to learn! Well, why not make it fun for you and your kiddos? Here are a few name activities that I have used throughout the years at the beginning of the school year that I though I'd share. Hopefully you'll get an idea or two. :)

This is super simple. Kids get a sheet of paper. Fold it into 8 squares (or more). Then, they go around the room and fill in the boxes with different names from friends in the class. I have them walk around so they can get some movement in and look at each other's name tags on desks to spell them correctly. Then, I handout some Skittles (because...Skittles, duh!) to use as place holders and we play name bingo. Depending on how many squares we've used we'll play different ways- a row, the whole card, etc. I liked to use this as a fun little transition activity the first day or two of school. You know how so much of those first few days are lots of talking about and practicing procedures and it can get a tad boring at times- this game just spices things up for a few minutes.

These back to school name activities are fun for students and help you and your students learn each other's names!

I've done this one two ways: One- I just gave the kids a regular size 8x11 piece of white construction paper and they had to write and decorate their name BIG (cover the paper). I always showed an example that I had made where I used a lot of color and details to design and decorate as a model, so they knew I really meant BIG and detailed. Two- I made and printed their name (great tutorial on how to do this) on the page and they had to decorate it.  I usually used this activity the first day or two of school. While the kids worked on this I was able to do some DRA's, running records or other beginning of the year conferencing or testing that I had to do one-on-one. Then, I displayed their name art around the classroom for Open House later that month.

These back to school name activities are fun for students and help you and your students learn each other's names!

I always started out the year with all of my students names on the Word Wall in my classroom. In 2nd grade, I did word work with our word wall words daily. One thing we did was a physical activity with the word. We would snap it, clap it, stomp it or cheer it. This went something like this- we would say the word, then clap (snap, stomp or cheer) each letter, then say the word again while we clapped the syllables. Then, the kiddos would write and box around the letters of the word in their word work notebooks. We did this with everyone's name the first week or two of school. Each student would pick what movement they wanted to do with their name, so they liked that. Plus, they learned how to pronounce and spell each person's name as well.

I love this idea for the first day of school. I would make a name card (similar to how I did it for the decorating names paper, but smaller) and put a little can of Playdoh on everyone's desk. They could manipulate the Playdoh to spell their names. Super easy, all ages love this and keeps them busy while you are dealing with all the "first day of school stuff" we always have to do.

Still looking for some Back to School ideas? Definitely check out my other Back to School resources!!

These back to school name activities are fun for students and help you and your students learn each other's names!

These back to school name activities are fun for students and help you and your students learn each other's names!


3 Games for Practicing Rounding {Freebies}

Find out three easy, hands on games for practicing rounding numbers. These games will work for rounding to the nearest ten and hundred (and even thousands or ten thousands)!

Rounding and estimating was always a harder concept for my new 3rd graders.  We usually started off the year with place value and rounding was part of that.  I used the "rounding rhyme" and that helped some kiddos.  I used number lines and helped more of them.  We did it over and over.  But, let's face it, it's a little on the boring side.  So here are 3 games that will hopefully spice up rounding practice for your students!  

When I used math games in my classroom I almost always modeled the game as a fish bowl activity (played it with everyone watching/participating) or taught it in a small group first.  Then, we usually had a work time dedicated to playing it while I circulated and helped students as needed.  Eventually, the game could go into a center or rotation, or be used for early finishers.

Find out three easy, hands on games for practicing rounding numbers. These games will work for rounding to the nearest ten and hundred (and even thousands or ten thousands)!

You'll need number cards (grab my number card freebie) or regular playing cards with the face cards out for this game.  Split the deck into two piles (one for each player).  Each player will turn over 2 cards (or 3 for a 3-digit number, etc.).  Each student rounds their number to the nearest ten (or hundred, thousand...).  Whoever has the biggest rounded number wins- just like in real war! (If there is tie, they play again.) The winner takes all of the cards for that round and they keep playing.  The player with the most cards at the end wins the game.

I like my kiddos to record something when they are playing a math game (especially at the beginning), so I made a Rounding Wars recording sheet that they can use.  They can always just record on a sheet of notebook paper or in a math journal, etc.

Give two players each 8-16 index cards (or cut up cardstock- anything works) each.  You can decide how many cards based on ability/time/etc.  Have them write a number of their choice (2, 3 or 4 digit) on one card.  On the next card they will write the number rounded to the nearest ten, hundred or thousand depending on what you want them to practice.  Have each partner check each card for correctness.  Do this until all cards are done. Mix up all the cards and lay face down in equal rows.  Now, play the game like memory.  One player will pick a card and then try to pick the matching rounding card.  When they get a match they keep the cards and go again.  Not a match, they turn them back over and their turn is over.  The game is over when all the cards are gone.  Whoever has the most cards wins!  This would be a great game to play in a small group where you can really hone in and help round those numbers when the kids are making the cards.

In this game, your students use a spinner to spin a 2, 3 or 4 digit number.  They record it and then round it.  This can just be a hands-on practice they can do independently or it can be done with a partner.  If they are working with a partner, it can be more of a game- where they record the number, round it and whoever has the biggest (or lowest- if you want to change things up) number wins that round.  They can put a little star or check mark next to that round on their recording sheet and the person with the most stars on their sheet at the end wins.  I also would have their partners be checking them as they played that they are rounding correctly.  I like them to be recording something too, because I can always look at this and see if they get it or I need to stop and sit and play with them for a bit.  Grab this Spin Me Round freebie and use it as a center or small group practice with your kiddos.

If you need some more ideas for practicing rounding in your classroom you might like my Rounding Pack which has a variety of worksheets for practice and task cards that would be another great math center!

Find out three easy, hands on games for practicing rounding numbers. These games will work for rounding to the nearest ten and hundred (and even thousands or ten thousands)!


Win my Superhero Classroom Decor Pack!!

Hey guys!!  Head over to my collaborative blog, All About 3rd Grade, to enter to win this Superhero Classroom Decor pack TODAY!  This decor pack has practically everything you need for a Superhero theme classroom!  The file includes 150+ page PDF document and a 27 slide editable PowerPoint.  Plus, while you're there be sure to enter our $50 TpT Gift Card giveaway too during our 10 days of Giveaways!


Aloha Binder Covers

Happy Summer everybody!! Hopefully you've had a great 4th of July holiday earlier this week and you're settling into the blazing heat of summer. Seriously, it's been like 102 degrees here everyday this week!  

Aloha Binder Covers- beautiful, editable designs to use for all of your home or school binders.

Awhile back, I got some beautiful clipart. I love it so much because it makes me think about the beach and Hawaii and those are two things I adore. I've really been wanting to use it, but I just didn't have the right product for it, so I decided to make these gorgeous binder covers. I'm head-over-heels for these prints, you guys! I am so happy to offer this flash freebie for you as a thank you for all of your support. These will be free in my store all week (July 10-16). Just click here or on the picture to head over to my TpT store to grab them up.

Aloha Binder Covers- beautiful, editable designs to use for all of your home or school binders.

I did not include any directions in the file, but these are an editable PowerPoint, so you just have to click in the text box to type in your labels. These would be gorgeous for all of your classroom binders and your household stuff too! I used the font, KG Janda Stylish Script which you can download and use free for personal use. There are 8 different designs for the covers, plus the spines for 1", 1 1/2" and 2 inches.  I hope you enjoy looking at these all year!  

Aloha Binder Covers- beautiful, editable designs to use for all of your home or school binders.


3 Tips to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Read these 3 tips to make sure you are saving all the money you can when buying from Teachers Pay Teachers.

If you're like me, you spend some moolah on TpT pretty regularly!  Let's make sure you're saving as much money as you can on your purchases.  Plus, you make it to the end of this post you can enter an awesome giveaway for a $25 TpT gift card!

One of the BEST ways to get free stuff on TpT is by leaving feedback!  It's so easy to do!  After you provide feedback, you'll get TpT credits to use towards any future purchases.  20 credits= $1 and you get 1 credit per dollar spent.  Believe me, it adds up!  All you have to do is go to "My Purchases" and look for the "Provide Feedback" button.  Click on it and it will take you to where you give feedback.

When leaving feedback for any purchase, just be sure to be genuine and thoughtful.  I really do try to tell a reason why I like the product that I think will help someone else before they make a purchase.  I don't know about you, but I definitely read feedback before buying stuff- especially if it's a more expensive resource.  Your feedback could really help someone. Also, be sure to read the little note from TpT about leaving feedback.  We're all human and sometimes there are occasional small mistakes (like a typo or something) on products, so be sure to try and contact the seller about those before giving a lower rating.  I KNOW that we appreciate it!  I have received a question about a typo in a product or two and I always fix it right away and like to offer the person who pointed it out a free product for helping me!  Sometimes even when you read over something a bajillion times and have someone else edit for you, there is still a little mistake!  It happens!  :)

Be sure you are following ALL of your favorite sellers on TpT and on social media!  A lot of sellers will have a significant discount on newly posted items or special sales.  If you follow them on TpT you usually get an email each day about newly posted items.  If you see something you like make sure you click on it!  A lot of times the newsletter only shows the full price and it doesn't advertise the sale price if it's on a discount.  For example, I usually have 50% off newly posted resources for the first 24-48 hours.  FYI-Most of the time the email DOES NOT show this discounted price.  So, even though my product is on sale for $2.00 it would show up in the email as $4.00- so click on the picture of the product if you have interest!   

Also, don't forget to follow your favorites on other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  A lot of people post about sales or specials they have on Facebook or Instagram and you won't hear about them if you aren't following!  Example- I had a BOGO offer recently where if someone bought one of my newest resources they would get an additional resource for free! I only posted about this on FB and Instagram.  If you weren't following me- you missed it!  Lots of sellers also post special freebies on social media and/or their newsletters too!

I venture to bet that on any given day there are a lot of stores on sale AND giveaways for TpT gift cards going on somewhere!  You'll find out about most of these by following your favorite blogs or sellers on social media, but you can also go to the TpT website to see what stores are on sale or check on Google.  Just google "TpT gift card giveaway" (or something similar) and click "Search Tools" and change the time to "Past 24 hours" or "Past Week" to see current giveaways.  Now, make sure to enter the giveaway below to win a $25 TpT gift card!

Read these 3 tips to make sure you're saving money when you buy resources on Teachers Pay Teachers!

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