Posts tagged giveaway
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! 

Planning for the First Day of Third Grade

The first day of school is exciting and nerve-wracking for students and teachers. I can remember anxiously preparing for my first First Day as a brand new teacher.  I had run through so many different scenarios in my mind of what I thought could happen. The reality was a lot more chaotic and I was so glad to have planned so much in advance.

Tips and tricks for the first day of third grade by Poet Prints Teaching

In our school, the first day is a half-day to meet teachers, find classrooms, and get orientated.  That doesn't mean I don't have to be prepared.  It's surprising how much needs to be done in four short hours, so making a plan is key.

Here are my most important tips for the First Day of Third Grade:

First Day of Third Grade Tip One:  Have a plan for school supplies.

Every school and district manages school supplies differently. Sometimes teachers purchase and organize all supplies, other times students purchase supplies from a set list.  Our school does a combination of the two.  While I purchase some supplies and am able to organize them ahead of time, students arrive on Day One with backpacks full of pencils, paper, scissors, and all sorts of other personal supplies.

So what do we do with them? Here is how I organize school supplies in my third grade classroom.

On the first day of school, I have empty dollar store washing buckets set out on my bookshelves. During the year, these will be labeled for each subject.  However, on the first day of the year, I label each bucket with the name of a school supply.

  • pencils
  • erasers
  • lined paper
  • blank notebooks
  • glue sticks
  • liquid glue

These supplies will become communal.  I put them in my back cupboard and ration them to be used for the whole year.  Students have access to my back cupboard (I try not to make most of my classroom 'off limits') but it helps to make our school supplies last all ear. 

On the whiteboard, beside a greeting to my new class,  I write a clear list of the supplies that can go inside of their cubby and/or desk (depending on the year).  These are supplies that are not communal.  When students come in on the first day, they take a look on the board, and begin to sort their supplies before meeting me on the carpet for our very first morning meeting!

First Day of Third Grade Tip Two:  Plan a fun get to know you game!

Every year, a good portion of my new students will inevitably walk in awkward and shy.  Even if I have invested time into getting to know the second graders before they left for the summer they will be nervous on the first day of school.  This is where a fun, non-threatening get-to-know-you game is key.  In my classroom, I love to use a beach ball to ask students fun facts about themselves.   Using a beach ball is a great way to get students moving, and to break away any first day jitters.  Make sure that your questions don't provoke any awkward answers.  The point is to allow your students to open up, not to embarrass them!

On her blog, Teaching in Paradise has great suggestions for how to set this activity up, and sample questions to use on your beach ball.  Check it out here!

Beach Ball Questions from Teaching in Paradise

First Day of Third Grade Tip Three:  Have something for your students do to.  

No matter how hard I plan, and over-plan, there is always something on the first day of school that does not go to plan.  (Mild chaos is inevitable!)  I make sure that my students each have a Back to School Workbook at their desks that gives them something to do during the first day (and week) back.  This way, should the unexpected happen (like a nervous parent who needs to talk, or a student in tears who needs a moment of one-on-one time) the rest of the class has something to work on.  

Back to School workbooks  also allow me to gather vital information about each of my students.  They are not just busywork.  With the workbooks I am assessing basic skills:

Can you begin working independently?

How long can you work independently?

Can you write legibly?

Can you form sentences?

Are you able to follow written instructions?

Can you infer?  

Can you make a logical connection between these two pages? 

This year, I made my students a Back to School book to specifically assess their skills and learning styles.  I want to know how they view themselves as learners, and what basic skills they may have difficulty with.  So while this book helps to occupy some students during moments of chaos in the first few days it is actually so much more.

I have two versions available:  one Bible-based version, and one non-religious Back-to-School workbook


Back to School essential skills workbook by Poet Prints Teaching


First Day of Third Grade Tip Four:  Do a project together. 

Two years ago I started doing an Art project on the first day of school.  


I taught a full Art lesson.  And it was glorious.  

I don't particularly like teaching Art, but I love the way my students come out of their shells when they are working intently on something and being a little creative.  It also gives my quieter students a chance to showcase their personalities without having to be the center of attention.  

My favourite project to do on the first day back is a Lego Self Portrait.  I get the Lego template from Art Projects for Kids and follow the basic lesson from Art with Mrs. Nguyen. 

I begin by handing out Lego people around the classroom.  We talk about what students can see. What shapes make it a lego person. (Curved hands, rounded head, rectangular legs).  Then together, we sketch me!  What am I wearing?  What could I be wearing?

Then students are set free to draw themselves as Lego people.  I love seeing what they come up with.

Blog Launch Giveaway

Welcome to the brand new blog for Poet Prints by Rachel Poetker.  I am so glad that you are here!

Although I have been trying my hand at blogging for the past few months, I


 invested in a beautifully designed blog.  It was worth every penny.  I used

Blogs Fit For a Queen

, and they were wonderful to work with.  They took a colour palette from my home, and pictures of real decor from my house, and integrated them into my blog colour scheme!

I just love how this blog reflects who I am.

I am kicking off the brand new blog with an amazing


!  There are two prize packs to be won, and lots of chances to get your name in to win them.

Prize Pack #1 - TPT Shopping Spree

This prize pack is filled with gift certificates to amazing shops all over Teachers Pay Teachers!  To start, there is a $15.00 gift card that can be used

site wide

.  Then, go shopping at seven different (and equally amazing!) TpT stores for your choice of any resource from each one!

Click through to browse sellers participating in  TPT Shopping Spree:

Kelly Malloy


The Krafty Teacher


Third Grade Giggles


A Pinch of Kinder

Garden Full of Knowledge


Serious Giggles,

Janet Rainey


Poet Prints by Rachel Poetker

Blossoms of Blue


Primary Inspiration by Linda Nelson


It All Started With Flubber,

Love, Believe, Teach with Jo-Ellen Foody

Prize Pack #2 - Resource Roundup

This is the ultimate elementary resource pack.  Writing, reading, math, smart board lessons, no-prep packs, year-end awards, games, crafts... this pack has it all!  There are more than 20 units, lessons and resources, and it is valued at over $200! 

Click through to browse sellers participating in Resource Roundup: 

Poet Prints by Rachel Poetker


Mrs. Renz Class


Natalie Lynn


Carla Hoff


Mrs. O Knows

Being Great with Mrs. Bates


Speech Wonderland


Mrs. Beatties Classroom

Teaching to the 4th Degree


Teach Two Reach


Jessica Lawler


Talkin' With Twang

Teaching Autism


Mr. Mault's Marketplace


Jewel Pastor,

Sasha's Creations


The Class Couple

The Tidy Teacher


Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten


Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas

Keep Em Thinking by Susan Morrow


Crazy for Second Graders


Itsy Bitsy First Grade Teacher


Adventures in the Mitten


Laura Schumacher Anderson

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A HUGE thank you to each and every Teachers Pay Teachers seller who donated their resources to be a part of this giveaway.  This would not be possible without you, and I am so grateful! 

Check back every day until Saturday for more chances to win.  Winners will be announced on the blog.  Don't forget to stop by the comment section below and let me know which prize pack you are hoping to win! 

- Rachel

Use the image below to post to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtag #PoetPrintsBlogLaunch