Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Space: Earth, Moon, & the Sun


Space is a fascinating topic that attracts adults and children alike!

It is also a topic that can be quite confusing for our kids… especially since much of what they know is centered around books that they’ve read or cartoons that they’ve watched on TV.

In my classroom, I usually like to begin a new topic of study with something familiar. That’s why I usually start off our space unit with the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth. These are all words and concepts that our students are familiar and comfortable with.

After sharing and discussing EVERYTHING we know, or THINK we know, about these 3 celestial bodies we watch a Brainpop Jr. video on the Sun and discuss any misconceptions we may have had and any new facts we learned.

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Over the next few days, we repeat this same procedure with the Moon …

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and then the Earth…

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Next up…. the students work on creating a model showing how the Earth and Moon orbit the Sun. This comes from my Space Freebie resource which can be located by clicking any of the pictures below…

Slide5I love this activity because it allows the students to manipulate the Earth and Moon. They actually get an opportunity to move the Earth so that it orbits the Sun. They are also able to move the Moon and watch it orbit the Earth.

This model also gives the students an idea of the proportion in size between the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon. This is especially important since most of them usually think that the Earth is about the same size if not bigger than the Sun.

Making these models is quite simple. All you need is the printed pattern, glue, scissors, crayons, and brads.




… to check my kiddos understanding, once they have completed their models, I like to have them write about their learning. (This also gives me a chance to correct any misconceptions.) This is where this sheet comes in handy…




Here’s a look at some of our finished work…


…as if that wasn’t enough… today we cooked up a COMET with some sand during our field trip to the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.




The kids were amazed by the wispy, smoke bellowing out of their bowls. They also loved how the sand, water, ammonia, and corn syrup mixture hardened almost immediately once the dry ice was added. I must admit it WAS PRETTY AWESOME!

Click here for a link I found to a recipe similar to the one we used today.

So as you can see we’ve been pretty busy and hands on as we’ve been learning about our solar system. Stay tuned for some future posts as we learn about the planets.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Math Turkey Craftivity: Thanksgiving

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It’s hard to believe that in just a few more days we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and getting ready for my FAVORITE holiday…. CHRISTMAS! Doesn’t it feel like just the other day we were ringing in the New Year… so where has 2014 gone?

Now’s the time of year where our children get rambunctious, our schedules fluctuate (due to special performances), and where we teachers begin a countdown of our own!

So if you’ve been a little hectic these past few days and haven’t settled on what to do next week, THE WEEK OF THANKSGIVING (yes, it’s already here), I may have something for you… just keep on reading.

For the past several weeks my students have been learning ALL about multiplication and division. So in order to practice these skills in a fun and turkey-licious way, we are going to be making these…




The best part about these turkeys besides the fact that I think they’re just SUPER CUTE is that each feather has a different word problem written on it. I actually made a set of feathers with word problems focusing on multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction so that I can differentiate instruction with my kiddos.. WIN WIN!!!

This craftivity is FREE in my TPT store:


The patterns are all there for you. All you have to do is decide which skill you want to target and then print the corresponding feathers. It’s that easy!!! Yay!!!!


If you’d like to read my post from last year and take a look at a few more pictures of this resource in action just click here.

Another resource that I’d like to share with you that I discovered late last year is Mrs. Goodwin’s Pilgrim Reading and Writing Playlet. In her FREE packet I found a FABULOUS reading on the life of a pilgrim child. My students absolutely got a kick out of reading all about the pilgrim CHILDREN. It’s not the usual information that we expose the children to around this time of year.

They’re used to reading about the big feast and the Indians, and I think that it’s important for our students to know this. But I also think it’s great for them to see what life for Pilgrim children was like. Another thing I love about this resource is that it comes with comprehension questions. Check it out, you’ll be glad you did!Slide6

Lastly, I’m making copies of my…


with the following writing papers…



We’ve been learning about Point of View so I’m going to let my kiddos choose to write a story about Thanksgiving from a turkey’s point of view or a story about a child from a Pilgrim child’s point of view. After reading about Pilgrim children and what life was like back then, I’m sure I’m going to get some interesting stories….

I can’t wait to see what they come up with because I have a creative bunch this year!

Before I sign off I’ve been wondering… how many of you actually have a Thanksgiving feast with turkey, mash potatoes, and pie with your class?


Monday, October 20, 2014

Manic Monday Linky: Motivation & Freebie


Good morning! Hope you had a restful weekend and are ready to start off a new week. Although Monday is not my preferred day off the week, it is a blessing nonetheless!

Just in case you’re like me and need a little motivation to help get you started on the right foot this morning, I made this just for you…

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… and just to make you smile even more, here’s a freebie that should help you next time you have to give a spelling test…


With this freebie you have 3 different tests to choose from… more reason to smile, right!







Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Florida Blogger Meet Up

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Last Saturday I had an AMAZING time getting to know this group of fellow teacher bloggers at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida! They are just the nicest bunch of teachers!!!!

I loved having all day to get to know some of my blogger friends in person… Especially since many of us connect via Teachers Pay Teachers, Instagram, Facebook, and other Social Media long before we ever meet face to face. So for me this was a real TREAT! Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 4 JPEG

One of the teachers I was happy to get to know last weekend was Cara from Kindergarten Boom Boom. We had an interesting conversation about Class Dojo. I’ve been using it with my 3rd graders this year and have found it to be a lifesaver and she’s looking to try something new.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Marla Hunter from I Live. I Love. I Teach! She has got to be the most positive and bubbly person I know!

Can you believe that she works 3 different jobs and does them all with a smile on her face because she says she loves each one of them. WOW!!!!!Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 3 JPEG  And these are just a few of the teachers I got to meet.

We ate, we talked, we shared, and we got to know each other a little bit better. That’s what these meet ups are all about.

I love being able to meet others that are facing similar situations and circumstances as I am and simply getting confirmation that I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed, unprepared, and honestly even underappreciated at times.

In Florida, we have had to face way too many changes in such a short amount of time with minimal guidance. So being able to connect with other teachers that are facing the same rollercoaster of emotions and being able to offer each other some form of support is HUGE in my book :0)

Besides meeting such amazing bloggers and teachers, the best part was all the GOODIES that were donated from our generous sponsors!

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Treat by Shutterfly was INCREDIBLE!!!! I had the pleasure of being able to personalize four different mugs and thank you cards for the teachers joining us in SeaWorld.

Personalizing the mugs and cards was as easy as selecting a pattern I liked, uploading a picture, and typing my message. That was all!!! As easy as 1-2-3 and I must say that the end product was AMAZING! Take a look…

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The teachers really seemed to enjoy this personalized TREAT!!!!!

With the holidays coming up, I think I’m going to have to go back and place a few more orders.

I mean who wouldn’t like something personalized as a gift, right?

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The Blue Bird Bakeshop also provided us with some DELICIOUS treats… Their chocolate cupcake was my absolute favorite! The best part was that since they were mini-cupcakes you didn’t feel so bad having 2 or maybe even 3. (shhhhhh don’t tell anyone, but I tried one of each of the 3 flavors…LOL)

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Papervirgo donated some handmade jewelry… I must say that each piece was unique and beautiful! Another great site to keep in mind for the holidays…

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Sportswear for Teachers donated some shirts for our teachers. My hubby is modeling one of their adorable designs. Isn’t that the cutest shirt ever?

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Planbook.com was also kind enough to donate a 1 year subscription for each teacher that attended our meet up so that they can try out their online lesson plan service. Isn’t that wonderful?

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On behalf of Mary (A Classroom Full of Smiles), myself, Amy (Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano), Lisa (Learning is Something to Treasure), Tammy (The Space Coast Teacher), and Bridget (Hard Core Teacher Resources) we would like to thank ALL of the teachers that attended our 2014 Orlando Florida Teacher Bloggers Meet Up and ALL of our generous sponsors who made this past weekend a HUGE SUCCESS! We look forward to our next meet up…

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Class Dojo


Hey there, friends… hope you had a restful weekend! We busy teachers sure deserve it!

I, on the other hand, seem to have a hard time resting and relaxing... at least that’s what my husband says. (LOL- He’s right!)  My weekends are spent washing laundry, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, writing blog posts, creating activities for my 3rd graders, etc… I guess that’s why I crash the minute my head hits the pillow! (Besides the house work, I LOVE everything else!)

Just this morning while vacuuming the house, my mind was going a mile a minute and I decided that it was time to share with you how Class Dojo has been working in my own classroom.


I’ve been using it for about 5 weeks now and I must say that my students absolutely LOVE IT! They can’t get enough of it and I must say that I enjoy how easy it is to setup and use. It is very user friendly and the best part is that it is FREE!!!!

Once you sign up for a free account at Class Dojo you enter your student’s names and they are each assigned a random avatar or adorable monster character which they can easily personalize.


Next, you enter a series of positive behaviors that you would like your students to exhibit in the classroom, and assign them each points. You can choose anywhere between 1-5 points for each behavior.

Slide4 After that, you add the negative behaviors or “Needs Work” behaviors and enter the number of points the students will be deducted for exhibiting this behavior. Once you have these simple steps completed you are ready to reward your students with points.

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What the students LOVE is that I usually have the home screen on the Smart Board. Then whenever I award a student a point they hear a bell and their name appears on the screen letting them know why they received a point. (instant feedback) Likewise, if I catch a student off task I can take away a point. At this time a different sound is heard (sounds somewhat sad) and the student’s name appears on the screen as well as the behavior they need to work on.

I try to reward mostly positive points, and the majority of the time when the off task students hear the positive points, they get on track. However, if it doesn’t work and I’ve already given them a warning, I do take a point away.

Later on this week, I will go into details about the positive and negative behaviors, the timer function, the handy dandy Class Dojo app, and I will explain what my students do with all of the points they accumulate during the week.

For now…good night and happy teaching,


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