5 things to do instead of a morning work worksheet

15 October 2016


Do you want to spice up your morning routine?  Although morning work worksheets, serve their purpose, I have found a numerous amount of other activities that can meet the needs of your students and get your students excited to come to class everyday!! Morning work does a great job spiraling skills, however, you can do that with these ideas too!  



Flipped classrooms are wonderful!! A flipped classroom allows students to work at their own pace and you get the chance to meet one-on-one with students and as small groups.  Here is a little insight our classes' flipped classroom.  Every morning students come in the classroom, unpack, go to the bathroom, turn in homework, and make a lunch choice.  When all of these activities are complete they grab a Chromebook and log into their gmail. Now we are not one-to-one at our school.  But, I begged my third grade coworkers to allow our class to have the Chromebooks in the morning. (Thank goodness)  If you are not one to one you can still do the flipped classroom!  Stay tuned to the end of the posts for more ideas! 

Anyways back to the flipped classroom ideas! Once they long into their gmail accounts they log into our classroom google account.  I have the assignments very clearly labeled for students to independently work on their assignment.  A flipped classroom is a video of a lesson followed by an activity. I make a video and an assignment to go with it.  Sometimes the assignment is online and sometimes it is paper based.  Right now we are working on word problems. Below is an example of one assignment.




Students are to watch a video about word problems with too much information.  Students have whiteboards and markers out during the video.  The video has students pause the video, complete the problem, and then the video goes through the answers!!  Great for immediate feedback.  Then students complete the google doc.  Students are to create their own word problems with too much information.  
Flipped classrooms are great to incorporate for morning routines!  This is a time to get in extra practice for any skill, students can't wait to come right in to class and get working, and you can work with small groups!  
Check out our classroom you tube channel for FREE videos! 



Have students work with words!  This is wayyyy easier prep for you and kids love it!  Have a work with words bucket of tool readily available.  Students will come in and immediately get started practicing their words.  To incorporate technology you can have some students use spelling city to practice their words! Now you do not need to find time to practice words during the day!  
Here is our work with words bin.
In our bin we have lots of tools! Play dough 
Stamps and stamp pads

Scrabble titles 

Bendaroos 

and a keyboard!  This is a class favorite.  Good keyboarding practice too!





Have a special morning journal!  

This is a month journal packet which we are totally in love with in Ms. Schrage's third grade.  You may have a writing prompt on the board for friends who have a hard time picking something to write about but ultimately they can decide who to write about.  These great monthly writing packets come with space for a picture as well!  This way students can write and then add a great picture to go with their writing.  We took it one step farther and we made a grammar rubric to go with our journal packets. As a class, we decided on what we should have in our journals.  Once they have completed their writing, students grade themselves using the rubric. Then, I grade the journals using the same rubric.  I leave a little note.  They can't wait to read the note the next time they write!  
We even peer edit once a week with our journals! 




Get your students engaged in math centers first thing in the morning!  We have a few different math center choices in the morning.  I absolutely love Hope King's month math centers. This allows a spiral review all year long of skills.  Also EASY differentiation!  

During math centers, students can choose to do Hope King's folder choices, independently or with a partner.  Students can play kaboom. To incorporate technology, some students are able to choose math on the computer.  This allows me to meet one on one with students and with groups as well! 

These are not from Hope King....I made my own to fit the needs of my students, but kept her idea.  These are not for sale :(



This is a new activity we are doing in our classroom. We are in love!! The discussion post we use after we finish our flipped classroom.  Students finish their flipped classroom activity.  Then, students move onto our discussion post.  Once a week Students are required to read an article of my choice. I get my articles online from Newsela, Tween tribune, and dogonews. Students read the article.  Then I make a google form for comprehension questions.  After they complete the comprehension questions, students answer a question, in a paragraph.  I make up the question. This is the discussion portion.  Students answer the question.  Then, students are required to comment on two of their classmates's posts.  Here is an example of our discussion post!
Again we access this through classroom google but not mandatory! 
You see here the google forms of comprehension questions and the article on the bottom.  Then students posts a comment to answer the question. The question they are answering is" Describe the four things a plant needs to live." They are to answer this question in at least four sentences.  


Then students are to comment on one of their classmates' posts.


This is meeting soo many standards!! Collaborating, researching, and writing! 

Lots of these ideas can be modified.  For example, if you are not one to one, these activities can still be done!  For example, you could do all 5 of these activities. Group your students into five "ish" groups. Have students go to one activity a day!  



I hope we gave you a few more ideas other than just using that boring oh morning work worksheet! 





The 3 best websites you have to use in your classroom now!

01 October 2016

This week I have ran into three websites you have to be using in your classroom TODAY!!  They are all FREE to use!
This year I moved districts and we use chrome books instead of iPads like I was used to from previous years.  SOOO I have been on the hunt of great websites that could replace my amazing apps that I have had in the past!  

Canva.com  is AMAZING! In previous years we have used pic collage for numerous lessons!  Canva is very similar.  The best part is that students can access their canva at home as well!  My students this year, finish canva projects up  at home.  They also like to make great canva projects at home!!  We use canva do write poems, grammar, reading comprehension, and vocabulary!

classkick.com  use to be an app only.  NOW they have a website version. This site is great because you can make lessons and assign them to students.  Students do not need their own accounts just a code to the assignment! The best part is you can see what students are doing on your device!  For example, if a students is working on a problem and you see an error on your device, you can circle, write a note, draw arrows on your device and it immediately comes on the individuals assignment!  This allows for less distractions and great for motivating!!


Quiziz.com is a brand new site to me!  Very similar to Kahoot, however, it is even better! Quiziz allows educators to write quizzes and test without time limits.  Students work at their own pace in order to complete a quiz.  I love Kahoot but some of my slow working kids did not!  Well, we have found a way to get the same results and make them happy with working at their own pace.  Let us know how you use these sites!!





Hand up, Stand up, Pair up- The fun way to teach vocabulary

30 August 2016


Hand up, Stand up , Pair up is one of my most favorite activities to do in the classroom!  You can do this game with ANY skill!  We play with math facts, vocabulary, grammar, and spelling words!  The best part is it is totally FREE, EASY to prep, QUICK activity, and EVERYONE is engaged!


Before playing you (the teacher) need to prep enough cars for everyone. For example, in the video below, we played hand up, stand up, pair up with our social studies vocabulary words.  We had 7 different words.  I made enough cards for everyone to have a vocabulary word.  The card needs to have the question and the answer.  YES, it is okay if there are multiple.  Because I only had 7 different vocabulary words and 22 students there were about 3 of each word. 

Once you have the cards prepped, sometimes I even write them on post its or notecards, you can do two options.  One begin playing.  Two make up gestures or non-verbal signals as #Miss5th calls it. 

With our vocabulary words we come up with different gestures to help us remember the words.  While we are playing the game they are to do the gestures as well.  

Rules to the game: 

Give everyone a card. (the card as the problem and the answer or the vocabulary word and the definition.  Everyone finds a person.  Partner A says the word that partner A is holding (or the problem.) Player B says the definition to the word partner A is holding(or the answer) with the gesture.  If partner B is correct, Partner A says good job.  If partner B is incorrect, Partner A politely says try again here is the gesture.  

If partner B gets it correct, It is partner B's turn to give partner A the word in their hand.  Partner A then answers.  If partner A is correct they two partners high five, switch cards, and put their hand up.  If partner A is incorrect partner B politely says try again and gives them the gesture.  

If partner A is correct they high five, switch cards, and put their hands up.  Now both partners are looking for other friends with their hands up to repeat the process. Because they switch cards they are able to go to any friend who has their hand up.  Even if they have already been to that person.  They switched cards so the cards are never the same.  

This game is GREAT because the kids love it and EVERY single person is engaged.  The game only takes abut 10 minutes and they get to about every vocabulary word several times!  

Here is a video of how we do it in our class.  





Narrative Writing plus a FREEBIEEE

21 August 2016


How do you teach narrative writing?? Sometimes teaching children how to write a narrative piece can be very difficult!  Every student is writing about their own experience and it can be hard to monitor and push every student in the class.  Here are five steps I take to successful teach and push my students to producing a great narrative piece!  


I begin my narrative writing unit by reading Fire Flies by Julie Brinckloe 


You could also read any of these narrative writing pieces.  




Talk about the words such as I, we, am.  The words the author uses are in first person.  Talk about how good narrative pieces have dialogue between multiple characters.  Narrative writing should be in first person.  


Talk to your students about an appropriate topic to pick.  Your students should pick a topic that is very important to them that they remember well.  Brainstorm with the class of examples of topics to choose from. ( I write them all on the board) This will help students think of past experiences.  Then have students pick a topic and begin prewriting. I like to give students a graphic organizer to help guide their thinking.  



The next step is to let your students begin writing.  Meet with your students individually and read their writing.  Talk about the things they do well writing and then talk about a goal the student can work on.  The following goal posters are AMAZING that student can relate to and take account for.  

My students REALLY like using these goals because they can see exactly what their goal is and they are eager to improve upon their goal!  You can find these posters here! 



After all of your kiddos have their topics and their goals they are ready to continue on with the writing process. The following posters are also GREAT to use to help students understand the writing process.   The best part is its FREE!!! Head over and grab it! 


Let us know how you teach narrative writing! 










Classroom Reveal

15 August 2016

After 2 weeks of LONGGGGGG hours and much needed help from Jessica (the other half of Red Sister Squad) and my grandma, we are finally ready for my kiddos to come on Tuesday!  Last year I taught third grade and introduced flexible seating into my classroom in January. I absolutely loved it!!  Of course I wanted to do it this year from the start!  Well I happened to move districts this year.  When my classroom was set up as flexible seating the administration was nervous of parent reactions.  Flexible seating is a new concept at this district therefore as a team we are deciding to hold off on flexible seating until after quarter 1. (hopefully :)).  I am still going to implement the ideas and producers of flexible seating from day one, however, every child will have a desk if need be.  The following pictures are of what my classroom will look like after quarter one.  I end with a picture of how I am starting the school year! 

When you walk in the classroom you immediately are greeted with the objectives board and the password portal! Want to know more about what the password portal is??  Visit my blog post about it and get a freebiee!! 
The objectives are also on the board for easy everyday changing!! These will be in my TPT store soon, however, are not quite up yet!
You also see me easy managing finger communication buttons.  Especially with flexible seating I love these hand signals to easily let me know what you need without moving or talking! 
On top of the objectives board is the alphabet! You can get this here!
Then you run into my small group table where I meet with my small groups and my desk area. 

Lets move to those BEAUTIFUL countertop with AMAZING curtains to hide our art boxes!  My grandma made these curtains and they work perfectly! Need curtains similar to these let me know and I will hire my grandma out :).. Just kidding grandma!  But the curtains turned out amazing and really add some character to our room!






We made a large countertop to hold our daily five book bins where the kiddos keep all of there things. Even though we have desks in our room we do not put anything in them!  Every thing is kept in our daily five book bins.  On the bottom of the counter we hold our art boxes.  Of course our daily five book bins are labeled with names or numbers.  I decided to customize a little more and add a look a like melonhead!  -Can't wait for the kiddos to see their look a like!


At the end of the countertop is a little nook for kiddos to work.  

Kiddos can sit in the bag chair, egg chair, cushions, or sit at the table. 

Next to the nook is 4 regular desks. Two desks have yoga balls and two desks have regular chairs. 
Next stop computer station.  

Lunch menu is next to the computer because students place their lunch options online. 
Above the computers is a huge bulletin board used for CAFE, Genres where will will keep track of the books we read, math centers, and "We make a difference" bulletin board which is going to be our first week activity so stay tuned! 


You can get the genre posters here!.. or different colors here. 


Finally we come to the library!!  This was Jessica's project and she did amazing!!!! 

We realized I have 10000000000 books. SO sorting and putting all of the books in categories was a tricky task. It literally took 2 weeks!  
We made another countertop at the end of the computers to hold books and hide more not so pretty things. 





On the side of the library is the marzano scale! You can find this here with lots of different colors! 

In the middle of the classroom we have storage bins for community supplies! 

Then we have another little nook for kiddos to sit in the bag chair or use pillows and blankets!
On the closet door we have our classroom jobs.  I am very passionate that the classroom is not run by just me.  EVERYONE has a job!!  Get the jobs here in many colors! 

On the door we have our birthdays!  We are waiting to take pictures of the kiddos to add to the door. 
Right by the door are flexible seating pamphlets for easy grabbing when ANYONE has a question.  These are editable from Just a Primary Girl.   


On their lockers I placed their names with their look a like again :)



After we set up our perfect flexible seating classroom we had to put in desks for everyone.  No biggy!! we just shoved them in!! (Hopefully we can get rid of them after first quarter :))


Our first day of school starts on Tuesday.  Follow us on our flexible seating blog series!! 








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