Monday, October 13, 2014

Visual Plans 10/13–10/17

peek at my week 2014I

I’m a little late to the visual plans party this week.  We had the day off of school today…..which means that I ran errands and did hours of school work in an effort to get caught up!  We also have an incredibly short crazy week this week.  We have two full days on Tuesday and Wednesday and then 10:00 dismissal on Thursday and Friday for Parent Teacher Conferences.  Oh, and it’s spirit week with dress up days and the high school is celebrating their homecoming and is bringing their parade by our school on Friday morning!  CRAZY!!! 

Remember to download the plans to have clickable links to the products I will be using this week!


This week is going to be all about review in ELA.  We will be using my new ELA Scoots to review spelling rules and compound sentences.


We started learning about determining the main idea and key details in a passage last week.  I feel like they need more targeted practice with this skill before we go back dive back into longer text.  So, this week we will be using one of my favorite resources. 
main idea passages

I haven’t quite decided how I am going to be using them yet.  I’m learning towards copying them on colored paper, making a recording sheet and using them as a scoot activity.  My class is in LOVE with scoot! 


I will only have time to teach math this week on Tuesday and Wednesday and can’t afford to fall behind on the pacing guide!  I found this amazing Subtraction resource from Jessica at The Teacher Talk.  Click on the link in my plans to go to her TpT store and check it out.  I just know it is going to be worth every penny!


Unfortunately, science and social studies will be taking a hit this week as well with the short days.  We will not have time for both so we will spend our content area time learning about the layers of the Earth and then eating them!!! This activity is a HUGE hit every year.  Who doesn’t love combining learning with yummy snacks!

Earth's Layers

Click on the pic to check it out in my store.  It’s one of my Top 10 best sellers and it’s on sale this week!

I’m off to do some more conference prep!  Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, October 5, 2014


We just finished up our Social Studies unit on maps and landforms.  This fun project was created out of my desire to have my kiddos show me what they know in a fun and hands on way.  Our kiddos are tested. to. death….especially in third grade, and as often as I can I like to do things the “fun,” way.  So, Create-A-Country was born. 

Picture for Blog

The project required my students to use everything they had learned about the parts of a map and what they knew about landforms.  They got to be creative, which they love, and use salt dough!  It was definitely a hit! 

The letter went home on a Friday and I also sent a text reminder to parents through the Remind app (if you don’t use Remind, you should….it’s amazing!).  The salt dough came in on Monday, most of it in great condition!  There were a few bags of something that looked more like goop than dough, but a little more flour and some kneading took care of that.  I modified the directions for making the dough and clarified that it should come to school looking like dough and you should be able to form it into a ball! 

 We decided that it would be much easier for the kids to bring the dough already made than to try and make enough for a class of 31 (yes, 31) kids.  Not one parent seemed to mind.  Most kiddos said it took them about 5 minutes to make, and it’s only 3 cheap ingredients! 
On Monday we started off by discussing the project requirements, going over the checklist and brainstorming our ideas for our imaginary countries! 

Tuesday, we began making our 3D salt dough maps!  I taped a piece of wax paper to cover about 3/4 of a piece of long tagboard.  The part of the paper not covered by wax paper is where they would write their map title, map key, and compass rose.

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We let the dough dry overnight and got to work painting and labeling our maps with our symbols on Wednesday.

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They were so proud of how their maps were coming out that they asked if I would call and invite our principal down to see them.  He came down to our room and took a tour of our countries.  My favorite moment was when he asked one of my cuties why they were doing this project.  The student replied, “Well, you see, Mrs. Wood likes to do things the fun way if she can instead of giving us a test.  So, we are showing her what we learned about maps and londforms by making these salt dough maps.”  Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Thursday we finished any labeling or drawing that we needed to and then wrote an encyclopedia entry about our imaginary country.  They had so much fun getting creative about facts about their country and what their country is famous for.

Finally, on Friday it was time for a gallery walk to learn more about our classmate’s countries and then maps went home at the end of the day. 
It was at times a bit messy, but they did an amazing job cleaning up.  But, it was totally worth it all to see how excited they were about showing off their learning in a fun and hands on way!
If you would like to check out the Create-A-Country Salt Dough Map project it is now uploaded to TpT and on sale for 20% off through tomorrow!

Don’t forget to take advantage of my Sunday Funday Buy 2 Get One FREE sale!  Buy 2 products from my store and get a free product (of equal or lesser value)!  Just email me at with your TpT username, the products you purchased today and which item you would like free!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Peek at my Week {Visual Plans for 9/15-9/19}

peek at my week 2014

A Peek at my Week[4]

I fiiinnnallly feel like we are in a little bit of a routine.  We have learned all but Listen to Reading in Daily 5, have built our stamina to 20 minutes, and I was able to pull small groups last week!  WooHoo!  PTL for the small things! 

I am excited for this week for a few reasons. #1 as you are reading this, I will be in Flagstaff (yea for cooler weather) celebrating the wedding of our little cousin Shelby, who isn’t so little anymore!  Shelby was 4 when my husband and I started dating.  I’m feeling a little old that she is old enough to get married but we are so excited to celebrate with family!!!!

#2 We are working on one of my favorite units in science and cruising along towards a super fun culminating project in social studies.  In science this week we will continue our study of rocks and minerals.  We will learn about they types of rocks and how they are formed by completing this cute little flipbook.

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Then we get to do candy comparisons!  We sent a letter home last week asking for donations of 3 types of candy and on Thursday this week we will enjoy 3 different pieces of candy and compare the candy to the types of rocks.


It is a super fun and hands on way to make connections!  If you would like information on this activity along with a few other rock activities, you can check out my “Rock On,” pack on TpT, just click on the pic below! 


This pack is also available in a bundle with 2 of my other popular earth science products.


  Click the picture to check out the bundle!
In Social Studies we are finishing up our maps lapbooks and moving on to landforms.  When our geography unit is finished I have created a super fun culminating activity.  I am all about project based learning and I would much rather have my kiddos show what they know by being creative and hands on than by taking yet another pencil & paper test. I will be posting it on TpT soon.  I want to make sure it is kid tested and teacher approved and that I have lots of fun pics to include before listing it!  
In math we will continue our work on multiplication and division and fingers crossed, math centers will be in full swing this week!

Click on my plans to download them.  After downloading the plans you will be able to click on all of the links and grab the freebies and check out the other products I’ll be using this week.




I'm off to the wedding now! 
 Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

More About Multiplication

Multiplication is such a huge part of third grade and I had such a great response to my post about the strategies that I  use to teach it.  So, I thought I would share some other resources we use in the classroom.

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I absolutely adore this number line!  The colored dots come with it which is a huge time saver!   I put velcro dots on the back of mine and each year as we learn about the different factors I place them on the number line.  The multiples of 2 all get a red dot, the threes are green and so on.  We practice skip counting by the different multiples and it helps ensure that they are practicing their skip counting correctly.  As my husband likes to say, “ Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!” 

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I found this as an awesome freebie on TpT.  I copied them on cardstock and laminated them.  They are great to use as a quick practice or even as a quick time filler if we finish something early.  Sometimes as a fun twist I will time them to see how quickly they can finish.  I stop the timer when half of the class is finished.  I give everyone else time to finish and then we check our answers and I reveal their time.  The next time we practice that factor we try and beat our time.  We store them in a basket for each table and they can practice their facts as a fun when you’re done choice!

3. LOTS of practice during Centers

I love using math centers in the afternoon.  It gives my kiddos time to practice important skills and it gives me time to pull small groups to reteach and enrich.  I have all kinds of multiplication practice in their centers.  My newest is my “Hip, Hip, Array,” pack.  They absolutely love to use the classroom iPods or iPad to check their answers with the QR codes, and it makes checking their work much faster for me!

Hip,Hip,Array Preview Pic

Click on the pic above to check them out!

I also have free Multiplication Task Cards on my Facebook page.  All you have to do is like The Blessed Teacher on Facebook to have access to the fan freebie tab. 

I would love to hear some of your favorite strategies and resources for teaching multiplication!

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Multiplication Strategies….Where Have You Been All My Life?

The other evening I shared a picture on Instagram of a stack of multiplication “fast Facts,” that I was grading.  The caption talked about the strategies by Van de Walle that I use and many of you asked if I would share them.  I will….gladly!  But first, a story. 
I was that kid in third grade.  You know the one, the teacher thought I NEVER practiced my facts at home because I just didn’t know them…at all.   The truth was that my dad worked with me nightly, in fact many nights ended in tears, sometimes from me….sometimes from him Winking smile !  I just couldn’t seem to get those facts down and I was turtle slow at recalling them.  So, I was that kid.  The one who got pulled into the hall with every helper mom that visited our room.  I felt stupid and like I was terrible at math.  In truth, math just didn’t make sense to me.  I didn’t understand how or why it worked. 

Fast forward years later to a workshop I took on teaching multiplication to students.  I sat in the meeting with my mouth hanging open thinking that I wish my third grade teacher had taught multiplication like this.  It made So. Much. Sense!!!!  I have been teaching these strategies faithfully, every year and I have seen a huge improvement.  They aren’t the only way to do multiplication and my kiddos know that.  They know about skipping counting, repeated addition, they have lots of different strategies.  But, most of them will choose to use these.  They are efficient.  They can get to the product quickly. 
I uploaded a document explaining all of the strategies HERE.  Be sure to read the last section about the helping fact strategies, those are some of the most helpful!

I also have posters and strategy practice included in my  Multiplication…A “Monster,” Pack of Resources pack in my TpT store.  It will be on sale for the rest of the week for those of you who are interested in the purchasing it for the posters and strategy practice!  Just click on the picture to check it out!

Multiplication Unit2

I hope this helps with some of the questions you had the other night!  If you have other questions about how I teach the strategies or how I use them in my room, just comment below and I will get them answered! 
Have a great night everyone!

Monday, September 1, 2014

It’s Currently…..September 1st!

I can’t believe that September is already here.  This is the month that my baby starts to drive.  Yikes!  Permit test in 23 days.  Thank goodness for my amazing Driver’s Ed. teacher husband!  He is professionally trained to handle that parenting duty! 

Anyways, September also means it’s time for another Currently from the one and only Farley!  This is by far my favorite linky of the month!  I love reading everyone’s currently!
So without further ado….here is mine!


Listening:  This one speaks for itself.  Between all of our work/school clothes, workout clothes, and the girls’ dance clothes, I am up to my eyeballs in laundry every weekend.  It’s usually a race to get it done before Sunday night.  I’m thankful for the extra day so I could take my time on it!

Loving:  My crock pot and I are BFFs.  With our crazy schedule with school, dance and my husband’s basketball, it is so nice to come from a long day at school to a dinner that is already made.  It allows us to still squeeze our family mealtime into our crazy schedule!

Thinking:  Our schedules are about to really blow up.  The girls have an audition next weekend for dance, we have 2 weddings coming up, an out of town trip for dance and then basketball season will be upon us.  I can’t think about it for too long without getting overwhelmed.  I have learned to take it as it comes and to give myself a break if I can’t do it all!

Wanting:  Most of the time I love living in the desert.  However, my poor Nike running app is feeling neglected.  I am NOT a morning runner.  I have really tried to be.  It just doesn’t work for me.  The evenings are still too hot to run outside.  So, I have been stuck in the gym for months now.  I miss running outside and I really want it to hurry up and cool off already!

Needing:  I need to get to work on tomorrow’s presentation.  Our school board approved full day professional development days for us this year.  So, tomorrow the kiddos get an extra day off of school but we report for training.  My team was asked by administration to present tomorrow.  I will be presenting on Number Talks.  I am so excited and I hope that I can spread that excitement to the other grades in my building.  I made this pack of prompt posters to share with my colleagues and I am sharing them with you too.
Number Talks Prompt Posters
If you are interested in them you can grab them FREE in my store. 
3 Trips:   1.  Technically, I have travelled all over the east coast.  I was born and raised in Connecticut and have spent time in all of the New England states.  However, I have never taken my children and that trip is #1 on my list.  There is so much history to see and I can't wait to show them where I grew up!  Every time I think about the trip, I think we will need to block a month out of our calendar to see everything I want them to see!  #2 England.  My MIL went several years ago and it is top on my list of European destinations.  Again, there is so much history and I was obsessed with the queen when I was a little girl.  I really want to see her castle in person!  #3  NCAA basketball tour.  This trip is on my bucket list.  My husband and I have a list of college teams that we want to see play in their home arenas.  Some day we will travel the country and cross them off our list. 
I’m off to go follow Farley’s rule of 3 and then get to work on my presentation! 
Happy Labor Day everyone!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Visual Plans For The Week {Freebies and Sales!}

I’m back!  I’m finally digging out from underneath the Back To School paperwork and craziness!  I’m linking up my visual plans for the week and they are full of freebies and sales!  To make the links clickable you need to download the plans!

A Peek at my Week[4]

peek at my week 2014


I am so excited to start the year off with Jivey’s Mentor Sentences.  I didn’t find them until a few months into the school year last year.  My kiddos are already loving learning about grammar this way (it is so much more authentic than worksheets) and they love having their invitation sentences displayed around the room.  Click HERE to read more about this amazing idea!

I am also excited that my Read With a Pencil pack is finally finished and ready to go.  I spent all of last school year making these as I planned each week.  It is such a great feeling to have them all finished this year.  All I have to do is print and copy.  I especially love that the rubric is right on the writing paper.  The students can easily see how they are going to be assessed and the parents can refer to it when the writing goes home each week.  This week we will be reading The Strongest One and working on determining the lesson and showing our evidence! My Read With a Pencil Pack will be on sale this week! Click HERE or on the picture in my plans to check it out!  It’s a great close reading companion and it will give your kiddos great practice at answering those short answer questions!


This class came to us so prepared to learn multiplication and I am having a blast teaching it to them.  I am still loving our interactive notebooks and math journals and the kids can’t wait to start math centers this week!  I felt like my kiddos needing more practice with arrays so I made a set of 3 centers called, “Hip, Hip, Hooray!”  They are on sale this week!  Click on the picture in my plans or HERE to go grab them!

I was also excited to start Number Talks right off the bat this year!  My kids are LOVING them.  They ask every day on the way back from lunch if we are doing one, even though they know it’s routine!  I have also been asked by my administration to talk about Number Talks at our upcoming professional development.  I am so excited (and nervous) to share this concept with my colleagues!

I hope you all have an amazing week!  I can’t wait to go check out everyone else’s plans for the week!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

I am so blessed to live in a country where I have the right to worship my God, where as a woman I can be educated and work in a profession that I love, and where my daughters will grow up with so many incredible opportunities.  Happy Birthday America!

I hope you all enjoy celebrating with friends and family today.  When you are finished all the food and fireworks, head on over to TpT and check out all of the fabulous stores on sale!  I am heading over to grab a few items from my wishlist! 
July Sale Pic

Click the pic above to check out the sale in my store!

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Five For Friday {June 28th}

It has been sooooo long since I’ve linked up with a Five for Friday and it feels so good to be back at it!


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My goal this summer was to read…a lot.  My husband challenged me to read books that would help me grow, either personally or professionally.  He has become quite the reader.  Last year alone he read 75 books.  I have been so impressed with him and gladly accepted his challenge.  My wishlist on amazon continues to grow!  Right now I am reading Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller.

Book Study

I first read about it on Deanna Jump’s blog (click HERE to see the post) and I figured if it helped the #1 seller on TpT become better at her craft it could help me too!  I also found a great Book Study for it on the blog Teaching With Style (click HERE to check out the book study).  You can even do the book study for college credit, but you don’t have to.

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I am obsessed with the website Twice.  It’s this great site where you can sell your clothes (only certain higher end brands are accepted) and then buy gently worn (sometimes brand new with tags) clothes.  I have gotten a few dresses from the website this summer and I am in love.  Click the link below to check out the website and you get a $10 credit to shop with!  They make it super easy to sell your clothes to them, they pay for all of the shipping and if something you buy doesn’t work out you can send it back and they pay to ship the return as well!  Right now I am waiting on this cute dress to come in the mail!

Dress on Twice

It’s a Gap dress that was originally $80 and I got it for $12!

I’m telling you, it’s worth checking out.  Click HERE to check out their website.

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Okay, so if you choose to keep reading you have to promise that you won’t judge…..promise?  I turn 40 this summer.  My best friend since the age of 14 also turned 40 this year (before me)!  One day I happened to be scrolling through Instagram and I saw this post…….


(Yes, I follow Joey on Insta…remember you aren’t judging me!)

Anyways, I saw this pic so of course I took a screen shot and immediately sent it to my friend.  After all, the first concert we saw together was NKOTB and we go every time they come to town just to relive our childhood!  She texted back that she was in and that we should make it our 40th bday celebration.  And the best idea ever was born!  So, on July 10th we will make the couple hour drive to Vegas to spend a few days having girl time and screaming like teenagers.  Our husbands and children think we are nuts….they just don’t get it! 

 So, here is my question for all of you.  The concert is in Vegas.  Dress code?  I bought the cutest black strapless silk J. Crew dress (on Twice) of course.  Or, do I just go with jeans and a cute top.  We also splurged and bought tickets to the After Party, because you only turn 40 once, so there is a slight chance that I could run into one of the boys (yeah right!) and I need to be ready for a photo op!  So what is your vote for concert attire? 

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If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you have probably read that feeding our family is a difficult job sometimes.  We have food allergies and preferences galore.  My husband and  youngest have a gluten allergy.  My youngest is also allergic to peanuts.  My oldest decided 4 years ago that she is a vegetarian and she is also gluten free and dairy free.  I often feel stuck in a cooking rut.  I feel like I fix the same few meals over and over and over, because I know they are safe and everyone will eat them.  So, when my 15 year old said that she wanted to be in charge of dinner Tuesday night, I happily accepted!  She texted me a list of things she needed from the grocery store and when I got home from the shopping she told me to go relax, she wanted to do it all by herself! 

Here was the final result.  Creamy potato leek soup and green onion cakes.  It was delicious!  She found a great gluten free vegan website, click here to check it out!

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I saw this posted the other day and it was a great reminder that I need to stay focused on what truly matters.  When you are married to a fellow teacher, money can start to become a concern in the summer.  That summer check just doesn’t stretch as far as you need it to sometimes and you have to get creative. 

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It was a good reminder that money can’t buy the things that I really want my kids to have!

That’s my 5 for Friday for this week.  I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Worksheet Wednesday {FREEBIE!}

It’s time for Worksheet Wednesday with The Teaching Tribune.  I love heading over there and checking out and downloading all of the free goodies! 

TTT Summer Bloggin 04-56

The theme this week was Summer.  My kiddos always love A to Z activities.  A to Z can be used as a fun and quick review for content areas.  Just have the students list the alphabet down the side of a piece of notebook paper, give them a topic and let them go.  Mine especially love it at the end of a science or social studies unit.  The goal is to come up with a word or phrase for each letter that relates to the topic.  It’s always best to teach a new strategy like A to Z with a non academic topic, kind of takes the pressure off of it!  I also like to throw in fun topics as morning work sometimes just to change it up a bit. 

For the FREEBIE today, I created a cute little worksheet with a Summer themed A to Z that you can download and use at the beginning of the school year or right now if you are teaching summer school.  It will be a great way for your kiddos to share what they did over the summer and to teach them how to use A to Z!  Click on the pic to download it for FREE!

Summer A to Z

Graphics:  Melonheadz

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two For Tuesday

TTT Summer Bloggin 04-55

This week two of my most popular wish list items will be 50% off TODAY ONLY!!! 

Item #1:  Fossils Are Fantastic
Not only is this my most wish listed item, it is also my best seller.  It is one of the first products I made for TpT and it’s a hit in my classroom every year!

Make No Bones About It

It’s on sale today for $1.50!  Click on the picture to check it out in my store!

Item #2:  Earth’s Layers….An Edible Activity
Another science product!  This one is a huge hit every year in my room.  The kiddos are always begging to do it again.  It’s educational and yummy…what more could you ask for!  And today only it’s $1.00!  You can’t beat that price!  Click the picture below to go check it out.

Earth's Layers

Thanks for stopping by today!  Tune in tomorrow for Worksheet Wednesday!