Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Wishes "Grant"ed!

My newest shipment came in!  The last of my 3 grant orders came in!!!  The 3rd grant I wrote last year was through my PTA.  I asked for funds to increase not just the quantity of books in my classroom library, but more importantly the quality of the books in my classroom library.

When I started teaching 10 years ago I gathered whatever hand-me-down books I could get for my classroom library.  Over the years I added to the collection through donations, scavenging, and of course . . . books bought with my own personal funds.  Still, I wished I had more books.  I tend to reserve my best books on my "teacher" bookshelf because when I've put my best books out for student use they end up utterly destroyed!  (Feedback question at the end of this post!  Please give feedback!)

The pictures previously posted showed the goodies I got for my grade level to increase our technology resources as well as centers and teacher resources.  The technology grant had totaled $231.  The grant for other grade level resources equaled $305.  And now . . . the pictures of all my goodies from my last grant for the classroom library! 

Here's what $156 of PTA Grant money got our library:
PTA Classroom Library Grant Loot!

We LOVE Skippyjon Jones!!!!
Kevin Henkes and David Shannon Packs

6 Books on CD

Diary Pack and Monster Pack

The sideways version of the rest of the loot!
In all I have spent $692 of grant money!  I'm still amazed.  Lesson learned - don't be afraid to apply for that grant!

Thank you Duluth, PTA, and Scholastic!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Geometry Ready to Go!

We've been working on Geometry - Basic 2D shapes.  Over the years I've created different activities for students to get engaged and challenge their thinking when it comes to knowing their basic shapes.  Now I've bundled them into a ready to go pack for you to use with your students in Guided Math!  The lessons and activities can be used in whole group, small group, and at centers!  It covers the basics of 2D shapes, overlapping shapes, and comparing shapes.  The contents are ready to go and can also be used in conjunction with the manipulatives you already have in your classroom!  Check it out!  I hope you enjoy!

Click the preview to get the pack!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wish "Grant"ed!

Until last year I had never applied for a grant.  I was always too intimidated, imagining that grant writing was a long, tedious, and "official" process.  I mean, aren't there classes and seminars available to help you write grants?

Despite my fears, I decided to apply for a few grants at the end of last school year.  The 1st grant was offered by my school cluster.  I took a look at the application form, answered the questions, listed my requests, and submitted it.  About a month or 2 later . . . grant approved!  I receive just over $300 for classroom materials for my grade level!

The grant approval gave me confidence to apply for the next grants available from my schools PTA.  There was no harm trying, right?  So I applied for another grant for technology materials for my grade level (Interactive Whiteboard software from Lakeshore Learning) and a  separate grant for my classroom to purchase books from Scholastic to expand my classroom library.  Due to the high volume of applications for these grants, I only got a portion of the funding I asked for, but that was still just over $200 for my grade level and about $150 for my classroom library!

I wasn't able to access the funds until this Fall, but guess what came in the mail last week?!!?  Take a look at all the materials I was able to acquire for my grade level through these grants!  (I have yet to receive my classroom library books.)

Games, Centers, Interactive Whiteboard Software, and Teacher Resource books purchased with grant money!

Teacher Resource Books

Games ready-to-go!  Perfect for Centers!

More games ready-to-go . . . perfect for Centers!

Interactive Whiteboard Software!  Some even have a printable assessment on the disk to go with the program!
Don't be afraid to apply for those grants.  It's well worth the time.  Besides . . . what's the worst that could happen?  They say no?  =)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Facebook Linky Party!

If you like blog stalking, you're probably really good a Facebook "stalking" too!  =P 

Come follow me on Facebook by clicking the link below!

Now go to the Lesson Plan Diva's Linky Party and ask others to follow you too!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Equivalent Equations

Another Math concept that can be tricky to get a hold of is equivalent equations.  I started introducing this concept to my kids in Guided Math small groups.  I had each child take out their red and blue linking cubes and a die.  I instruct my students to roll the die once.  Each student would then count out the number of red cubes he/she rolled.  The students then rolled the die again and counted out that number of blue cubes.  Using the cubes they counted out, the student would then write a number sentence on a white board. 

For the next step I went around the group asking the students what their sums were.  If anyone rolled the same sum, we would write their number sentence on my white board on opposing sides of the equal sign (ex.  If 2 students got the sum of 7, we would write their sentences on my board  as  4 + 3 = 2 + 5,)  We repeated these steps until the students got the hang of it.  Soon they could answer the question, "Does anyone have equivalent equations?"

Sometimes I get out the balance and have students compare their linked cubes on opposite ends of the balance to prove that they are the same value. This is also great at a center.

This week I had the students practice the same idea from small group in a center.  They rolled 2 dice, and found the sum.  Then they recorded the addition sentence on a recording sheet which is divided based on the sum.  Any equations written in the same sum box is an equivalent equation!

Click on the link below to get my recording sheet for this center's activity!  It's FREE!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Commutative Property

Don't ask me why, but I love the Commutative Property!  No joke.  I remember the feeling of really "getting it" when I was little and knowing the big, fancy terminology for it made me feel kinda smart inside.  (I was a dork from the start!)

With a name like "Commutative Property" I can understand how a kid can get intimidated and maybe even tune out.  It sounds pretty official.  =)  But when you know the commutative property, it opens up understanding to so many other concepts like Fact Families!

Last week I made a Math center for my kids, heping it would solidify the concept for them.  I fell back on my trusty dominoes!  (**Sidenote** Go to and get a set of the miniature dominoes.  I think you get a dozen sets for $8.  You can use them for so many activities in Math if you ever get bored of your number generating dice!)  I had my kids choose a domino, record the number of dots on each side, and write the corresponding addition sentence.  Then I had them flip the domino and repeat the steps.  It helped them to understand that just like the value of a domino doesn't change no matter what angle you look at it, the sum of numbers will not change even when they are added in a different order.

Here's my worksheet.  It's a FREEBIE!  Hope your kids enjoy . . . but most of all, I hope it helps them build understanding!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This Labor Day I was super productive!  Among one of the many things I actually (surprising) got accomplished was a little professional reading!  I finally got to start reading The CAFE Book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  Reading it got me super psyched about implementing the CAFE Menu and the CAFE Notebook.

I know there are a lot of you out there who have already implemented it, so I'd love to get some feedback from you!

If you've tried it or currently use this, what's your opinion on it?  Any tips or advice on getting it started?

Monday, September 5, 2011

MY Top Ten!

Thank you so much for the honor and encouragement of naming me one of your Top Ten, 3rd Grade Gridiron, First Grade O.W.L.s, and Third Grade's a Hoot!

Top 10 TBA  

There are so many wonderful blogs out there, so it's hard to choose.  The only thing that makes it a little easier to choose is that many of you have already been nominated (and rules say to try not to award someone who has already been awarded).  That solves part of my problem of being limited to only 10!

So here are my top 10 in no particular order . . .

I love your enthusiasm.  I love your creativity.  I love your tips and freebies!  Keep up the good work!

Go get your award here!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

More Vowel, More Owls!

The owls are back! And this time they're hiding long and short vowels around the room! It's the same idea of Write Around the Room that your kids will become familiar with . . . find the owls and use the recording sheet to apply what they've learned!

In this new version students will record the words found with the owls, deciding whether the word contains a long or short vowel. Take it a step further and have the students highlight the determining vowels in each word on their recording sheet.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Guided Math

We are big on Guided Math in our school.  I know it's a growing trend across the country.  This past Wednesday I went to a staff development after school for Math and Science.  In the Math portion the teachers presenting mentioned Debbie Diller's newest book on Math Work Stations.  Have you read it?  Do you use it or implement some of her strategies?  I have yet to read it, but I asked my administrators if they could get us copies of it.  What's your opinion of the content of this teaching resources?

Sales all around!

Guess what?!?  3rd Grade Gridiron is having a Labor Day sale!  Stop by and check out her great products!

TpT Sale!

I JUST remembered that some schools don't start until Labor Day!  So Happy Back to School Sale to you!  =)

Everything on my TpT is 15% off through Tuesday.  Hope you find something good and have a great start to the school year (if you haven't already started)!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Math Mobile Follow-Up

I started the Math Mobile in my Math centers this week.  I made my sample, printing it on pink cardstock for strength and durability.  Here's how it turned out.

I had high hopes that with my careful instruction the students would be able to hole punch themselves (since I only have one hole puncher) and then string the cards.  I knew there would be potential problems, that it would take some time, and that I would need to go back and assist some students.

I think my hopes were a little too high!  =P

I don't think my students currently have the fine motor skills or experience to do as I hoped, so the mobiles weren't a huge success as a center.  I fell back on Plan B.  (A good teacher always has a Plan B!)  We "hotdog" folded a large sheet of construction paper and glued our cards on instead.  It works!  Not as pretty or cute as a mobile, but it serves the purpose.

If you do the mobile, you may want to consider my errors and use an alternative.  If you think of another cute way to make the mobile more manageable as a center, please leave feedback!  I'd love to hear your creative ideas!

The next time I try the mobile, I think we will do it as a small group.  One of my friends is doing it large group this week.  I'm eager to hear how it turns out!
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