Posts tagged free stuff
Christmas Gift Tags

December is a busy time at home and in the classroom.  In third grade we are busily creating small gifts (ornaments this year) for our parents, writing 'encouragement notes' for older students in the school, and trying madly to make a little gift for our first grade younger buddies.  It's a wonderful time of year, but oh boy is it exhausting!

To help remember who created each ornament, card, and gift, I have made gift tags for students to attach on each of their homemade presents.

Our presents home to our families will feature gift tags with Nativity scene:

(Nativity Gift Tags - download here )

Our presents to our little buddies have gift these cute little Christmas figures and a few song lyrics:

(Cute Student Gift Tags - download here)

And I have special tags just for gifts that will go from staff to staff:

(Watercolor gift cards - download here. )

I have all of these gift tags packaged together as a free download on my Teachers Pay Teachers page as a small Christmas present from me to you.  Thank you for reading my blog and visiting my little TpT shop.

Merry Christmas to you!

Target's Back to School Calendar

I am Canadian.  Once upon a time we had Target, and it was glorious.  But only a few short years later our Targets closed, and I was once again left to venture down to the States for all of my Target purchases.

Luckily, I live in Vancouver, BC, so there is a Target Dollar Spot less than an hour away.  Phew!

This year I have made more than a few quick trips across the border to decorate my classroom and find budget-friendly teaching supplies.

One of the things I loved was my new target calendar.  It was a total winner. However, upon closer inspection, it had a problem.

The calendar started on Monday.

@the.traveling.teacher  noticed the same problem!

When teaching students to chant, say, and count the days of the week we always start on Sunday.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

We were totally thrown off by this design. So I had to make new labels:

I tried to design complementary labels.  If you'd like them, they are available for free by clicking HERE.  Just print, laminate, and go! 

In the comments below, let me know where your Target Calendar is located in your classroom.

Happy September, All!

Back to School Shopping

Back to School shopping is a necessary part of the school year.  Like report cards, full-moon-Fridays, and wiggly students... it just cannot be avoided!  I have love/hate relationship with back to school shopping.  I love the shiny new things:  the fresh notebooks, the reams of unused paper, the unused smelly markers...   But somehow I always come home with way more than I intended.

Please tell me I'm not alone here?!  Does anyone else frantically try to hide back-to-school items around there house in a way that makes it less obvious?  I feel like a small-scale hoarder of all things classroom related.  I have bulletin board borders under my couch, book bins in my closet, and new novel sets in my car.  (Shhh, don't tell my wonderful hubby!)

I got together with some of my favourite teacher-authors to brainstorm our favorite back-to-school purchases:

  • Smelly Markers (every anchor chart should smell like mint and lemon)
  • Chart paper with invisible lines (to make those anchor charts!)
  • A new teacher tote bag (you have to treat yourself)
  • Good quality pencils (the cheap ones just won't cut it!)

Even after a summer of planning and creating, there is always more curriculum to organize as well.  And that can get expensive.  Making sure that school works for a classroom filled with different kinds of learners does not come in a one-size-fits-all curriculum.

Thank goodness for Teachers Pay Teachers and it's endless supply of affordable curriculum.  I love that I can stock up on so many different and differentiated materials and still have room left to head to Target!  

What's on your back to school list this year?  Anything that is a 'must buy' heading into the new year?  Let me know in the comments below! 

BEATING THE SUMMER SLUMP (and a freebie!)

April and May are some of my favourite months to be a teacher. By this point, I know each and every one of my students, and they know me.  We’ve found our perfect rhythm and can work together as a fairly well-oiled machine.

I know which students need that ‘extra push’ to do their best, and which ones need to be gently coached with a hug and a smile of encouragement. I know how to correct behaviors in a way that encourages the best from my little ones, and doesn’t crush their spirits.

Each student needs such different things, and it often takes months to figure it all out.

Look at my little hard-working students  Oh term three, how I love you!

So, for me, Term Three is the most blissful of the three.

They know what I expect in my classroom, and I (for the most part) know what they need to be successful. I still get small butterflies in my stomach when I look across the hall to the Grade Two class that will eventually be ‘mine’ next year.

I wonder how we will get to this point.

Academically, I find September to be one of the most challenging months as a teacher.

Is anyone else with me on that one?

All of those lovely, high-achieving students that walked out of the school in May or June, walk back in like tiny little zombies who have forgotten almost everything. (Or so it seems!)

Oh, the summer slump.

Teachers, you know what I mean.

It’s that phenomenon that happens over the summer where the 8+ weeks of summer vacation seem to erase our students’ brains… or at least the part that remembers how to ‘do’ school.

So we re-teach. Things that were a snap in June, are suddenly brand-new skills.

  • How to put your name on a piece of paper
  • Where to line up
  • How to use capital letters and punctuation
  • Working for more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time
  • How to open a thermos! (So, so many thermoses… side note: why has no one invented a thermos that will open itself?!)

I’ve tried all kinds of things to beat the Summer Slump.

I’ve sent home reading logs, writing journals, and extra science projects.

Some have had more success than others.

This year, I’m trying something different.

I’ve put together a “Stay Sharp Summer Packet” for my kiddos.

It covers most of the things that we have learned in Grade Three, plus a few skills from previous grades that I don’t want them to lose.

I’m spiral-binding it into a booklet and sending it home right before the break.

Purposeful practice: Summer practice pages specifically designed to practice the most important skills.  (Try out a freebie - link below!) 

It is my hope (and prayer!) that they will do one page every 2nd day.  That should be about 15 minutes of work. Just enough to help to keep their minds sharp a little bit over the summer, and maybe, just maybe, prevent the summer slump from completely erasing their brain! ;)

I'd love for my blog readers to try this packet out!  The full version is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but I've put together a sample (9 full pages!) for you to try out for free. The full version (90+ pages is available for 5$). 

(CLICK HERE for the freebie!)  

Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.  

How do you combat the Summer Slump in your classroom or in your school? I’d love to hear your tips!

- Rachel

Easter in the Classroom

I work in a Christian school and I love it. I love being able to talk about my faith all day and play my favorite worship songs as my students work.  I have had so many incredible conversations with students about their big questions, and worries, and it's great to be able to point them back to The Word in all things.

Of all of the holidays, Easter is one of the 'big ones' in my classroom.  Teaching at a Christian school allows me to stray further from the theme of bunnies, eggs, and chicks(however cute they may be!) and focus on the story of new life through Jesus' sacrifice.

This year, to tie our Bible lessons into our Language Arts, we are going 'in depth' into the symbols seen in the Easter Story in the New Testament.

Following this complete plan, we have been learning about Jesus by actually reading our Bibles, and spending time in Bible study! All of the reading is from the New Living Translation of the Bible, and it's the perfect level for my third-grade students.  I love that they can 'dive into' The Word on their own!

Then, we craft!  In my third grade classroom, Art is a tie-in to almost every subject, and my students love getting crafty.   Check out our Symbols of the Easter Story mobiles

The whole Easter unit is available HERE  from my Teachers Pay Teachers store .

I've also created a special free version of the craft for my lovely blog readers.  You can find that HERE.

Let me know, how do you prepare for Easter in your classroom?  Any tips or great resources to share?  Sound off in the comments below!

- Rachel 

Easter in a Christian Classroom
The Easy Way to do Subtraction

Subtraction in Third Grade is not always as easy as it looks! 

There are parts I love about teaching.  Reading? Writing?  Speaking?  All over those!  Creative centers and integreated learning? Check and check!

But math?  Sometimes I feel like I am totally 'rocking it' and other times it seems like my lessons go in one ear and out the other!  I have to work extra hard to make sure that my students are getting the best possible math education.  Finding strategies that work for everyone in my class is a constant juggling act! 

Am I alone in this?

I spend my evenings on Pinterest, and reading other blogs about strategies that work for other teachers, and I try to implement them in my classroom.  I desperately want my kiddos to succeed.

Recently, our math curriculum introduced subtraction with missing numbers.  Boy, were we lost.  Do we add?  Do we subtract?  What is the question even asking.  There are so many times when the materials we have (especially the text book), are just not enough!

So I started from scratch.  I made new worksheets, new posters, and a new "cheat sheet" to help guide my confused bunch of third graders.  After a bunch of repeated practice... I think we have it!  Praise the Lord!

So, I am sharing it with you.  Use it, try it, let me know if it helps your kids to master this concept.  Although this is available on Teachers Pay Teachers blog readers can have it for FREE as part of my Free Resource Library (See the link at the top of the page that says 'Resources') when they sign up for my mailing list.  

Once you sign up, the password to the library will come straight to your inbox. PLUS there are other great units and printables in there as well!  

I promise not to spam your mailbox (nobody likes multiple e-mails a month, or even a week!), but it's a great way for us to stay caught up, and for me to send more free lessons and units your way.

Sign up form is below.  Once you've subscribed, let me know what you think in the comment section!

- Rachel

Get access to the resource library now!

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We are Bucket Fillers! (Freebie)

Students in my class are practicing being bucket fillers!  The concept of being a bucket filer comes from Carol McCloud’s Book 'Have You Filled A Bucket Today?' and 'How Full Is Your Bucket' (For Kids) by Tom Rath. 

Both books are focused around the idea that everyone carries around an invisible bucket that, throughout the day, is being filled by the kind things that you do for others or that others do for you.  A bucket filler is someone who is showing positive character traits (kindness, compassion, care, respect, consideration for others), and is being a responsible citizen. When our buckets are full, we feel happy.   When our buckets are empty, we feel sad. 

For the next few weeks, we will be learning about different qualities that bucket fillers and bucket dippers exhibit.  We will be continuously reading and re-reading bucket filling books  so that students are able to really grasp the concept of bucket filling.  I can wait to have students start practicing being being bucket fillers in the classroom, and encouraging students to be bucket fillers at home! 

We used this bulletin board as a visual reminder of bucket filling actions.  Whenever I saw someone being a 'bucket filler' I added a star to the bucket.  When it was full we celebrated with a popcorn party! 

(Teachers: I have created an entire unit to kick start this kindness campaign that is available for download now.  The unit is designed to be done over 3 weeks, has 6 unique lessons, a teaching guide, bulletin board templates, and interactive games! See it here in my TpT store

For checking out my blog today, I have an awesome freebie for you.  One part of the Bucket Filling unit is a 'Bucket Filling, Bucket Dipping' sorting activity.  You can use it as a drama game in your class, as a sorting activity in small groups, or as independent work.  There is a sorting mat included!

Bucket Filler Freebie for Blog Readers (Click!)

Let me know how you use the Bucket Fillers program in your class. I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

 

 

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