Friday, March 31, 2017

Five for Friday

Happy Friday! It's been a fun week in third grade. We had our production of 101 Dalmatians last night and it was adorable! I'm so proud of those kiddos :)

These five updates are from that past two weeks since we've been so busy! Link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share your five updates from the week.

Jokes on jokes on jokes!

I have a joke board in the hallway and love finding good math jokes to put up. Here's this weeks chuckle!

Our science unit- all about plants!

We've been learning all about plant structures and how plants grow in different environments. We've planted seeds, harvested thyme from our aquaponic garden, and fed insects to our venus flytrap! I've also put QR codes next to our plants with links to research websites. The kiddos are loving it! I've never seen such excited third graders doing research :)

Polya's Problem Solving

I was talking to a co-worker about finding a good problem solving strategy to tackle word problems. I'd been using the three reads strategy which is great for students struggling to understand the problem, but I needed another strategy for my students who could understand the problems but may make careless mistakes or not show their work. She mentioned Polya's book, How to Solve It, and the four steps to problem solving. I'm still reading the book but we've started trying out the strategy and I love it! My students have steps to follow that are easy to remember and they can check off, but it's more than just circling numbers or underlining key words- my students are THINKING about the problem, coming up with a plan to solve, and CHECKING THEIR WORK! It's a beautiful thing! The white boards show all the different strategies to solve the same problem! We did a gallery walk so kiddos could see how their friends solved and checked, and we discussed our favorite strategies and how we could look at their work and understand what they did. Woohoo!!

We have had a blast playing this game to review our 1-6 multiplication facts!

If you're looking for a fun way for your students to practice you can get a free copy of this game here:

Farm update!

Our girl "Hot Mess" is due a couple days after Easter! Shes precious!

Have a great weekend! Spring break is near my friends!

Rock on,


Sunday, March 5, 2017

How to Rock Student Portfolios using Class Dojo

Student portfolios are a great way to collect student work and showcase their learning! With how education is changing when it comes to the standards, technology, and engagement, it's important to keep families in the loop of how/what their child is doing in school, and also hold that student accountable for their learning!

Cue- class dojo!

Class Dojo emerged in the education world as a behavior management tool to cultivate a positive behavior environment that motivates students to make good choices and be recognized for their efforts. As a behavior management tool alone, class dojo is an excellent resource! However, over time the website (and app!) has included new features to communicate with parents and involve everyone in the learning process.

Students can earn points for following rules, making good choices, or any other positive behavior!

Class Stories

 Class Stories allow teachers to post updates to send to all parents in the class. You can post text, pictures, videos, and even files to share with families. They can comment, like, and you can see who's viewed it. Parents that have the app on their phone can allow for notifications, so they are updated every time you post! This is a great way to document throughout the year what the class is learning and some of the strategies that are used in the classroom to teach those concepts. I've posted our anchor charts, or videos of the students explaining how they use a strategy. I love this feature for whole group updates.

Student Stories- aka a Digital Student Portfolio

There is also a "student stories" feature, in which the teacher, OR STUDENT (yes I like this part) can post a picture, video, or text. This saves that information just for that student. The teacher, parent, and even the student (if they make their own student login) can view that particular child's "story". As I take pictures during a fun lesson I can post it just on that child's story, or maybe a video of them working out a problem. Class Dojo also provides you with a QR code that will bring you directly to your class, so your students can post themselves! For example, I've printed the QR code and placed it in my classroom where the students can scan it. When my students want to post a picture of their assignment, or their science experiment, or a great grade they just got back, they pick up a tablet, open the class dojo app, scan the code, select their name from the class list, and post! My third graders were able to pick up on the process the first day- it's very easy to follow on the app!

When students post on their story, it will go to the teacher for approval. This means when I log into class dojo, I will have notifications that there are "pending student stories". I get to see it before they post and it sends to their parents.

My students are so motivated to share their best work on class dojo and they love seeing when their parents comment on their post with words of encouragement :) It saves a nice timeline of student work throughout the year! Parents also know exactly what we're learning and how their child is doing with the concept- sometimes we might post something with a mistake. I encourage the student to find their mistake and correct it in the "comments" section of their post. We really hit hard on the growth mindset and how important it is to learn from our mistakes and grow our brain- and the parents love to see when their child is able to learn from their mistakes as well!


Below are some examples of a student's "story". I love how much this kiddos likes to post and fill his mom in on his day :) He also gives me shout outs, so of course I have to share! Even though I've blurred the name, the first picture would show the student's name, to show that they are the ones posting to the story. The second picture shows my name, so I was the one who posted that picture and comment.

If you haven't jumped on the class dojo bandwagon yet, I highly suggest it. Not only is the behavior management aspect of it pretty great, but the student portfolios are where it's at!

For more information on how class dojo works and to set you up, check out their website and watch their video tutorial here:

Rock on,


Friday, January 13, 2017

Five for Friday

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Our highlights this week are all about FRACTIONS! 

We started our week out with fractions as equal parts! To show this we took sticky notes and circles and folded them into halves, thirds, fourths, and fifths. We discussed why folding could help ensure that the parts are equal. When the kiddos got to fifths it was fun to see how they worked it out and learned how many folds to do. Great conversations with this!

The next day we discussed fractions as sets. We used unifix cubes to explore this concept and practiced writing the fraction of different colors. This helped solidify the denominator concept as we said it wouldn't change unless we changed how many cubes we had in all in front of us.

Today we did fractional parts of a set. I used to dread teaching this concept but now I love it! We talked about the relationship between fractions and division. After working through a few problems my students begged to write their own, and the results were pretty entertaining math problems! I love this one about pugs :)

Next week I plan on using some word problems to solve fractional parts of a set and also move into fractions on a number line. I've made a few activities for this that you can check out in my store HERE! 

In the spirit of fractions, I had used class dojo to share with parents what we were going to work on. Over Christmas break I sent this word problem for my kiddos to solve that involved my pups! I'll have to work on a few more word problems.. perhaps get the goats involved! 

I always save a farm update for my last one! We had snow this weekend and I couldn't resist sharing a snow pic! The chickens stayed toasty in their run with straw to pick through :)

That's all for me folks! Since its been a week full of fractions I'm about to take a MUCH needed nap!

Rock on,


Friday, November 18, 2016

Five for Friday

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! It's been a fun week in 3rd grade so here's some of the highlights from the week. 

I've been battling a cold and on Tuesday I completely lost my voice. This was a problem because I ha to introduce the distributive property the next day... only one of the trickiest 3rd grade concepts! Luckily I had planned on teaching it with a ninja theme, so we took a ninja vow of silence and boy did these kids get into it!

I first introduced it with drawing equal groups and "slashing" those groups into two smaller groups. This seemed to work better than slashing the arrays for us. 


We made little ninjas to hang in the hall showing the distributive property without picture support the next day!

We also couldn't be ninjas without headbands (black cloth from walmart cut into strips) and ninja star erasers! I'm so proud of my little ninjas in training!

All week we have been preparing for our Math & Science night at school. Each table group made a science fair project board showing how we've been using STEM bins in our classroom! The Stem bins are from Brook Brown and you can check them out here!


After students built different designs from the challenge cards they responded to prompts about what their challenges were using different building materials and what they would try next time. I highly suggest these STEM bins for a fun way to integrate STEM in your classroom! We plan on using them at least once a week or every other week.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner so next week we'll be doing this Thanksgiving Division activity! I finally finished it for TPT and added worksheets to go along with the activity. Included is clipart of food to practice the concept of division by sharing the food over several plates. After a few rounds students start to see the pattern of how it's multiplication flipped, and they get faster! I added the worksheet so after the activity I can check for understanding without the hands-on portion.

Check out the product here:

Are you a lularoe addict? I admit I have a problem. Such a problem that I even blogged about all the ways teachers can wear lularoe here

This is a new style called Carly and I'm loving it! I had to take a quick pic and share the lulalove.

Farm update- Meet Captain Hook!

Captain Hook is the dad to Indie, the baby we had this past summer. He's a handsome fella and we're hoping for more beautiful kids to come. He's just staying for a month... or maybe forever. I'll see how my talk with hubby goes :)

That's all folks, thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a great and relaxing weekend. Short week next week- we can make it!

Rock on,