Lesson Plan Guide

We were recently challenged by our administration to make sure were fully engaging our students during every part of our lesson. I often find myself just stating the objective at the beginning of my lesson and calling it my "hook." Come on...I know you've all done it. I must say, I've done it way more often than I'd like to admit, but it got me really wanting to set the bar higher for myself and my students.

However, when I began to sit down and plan these engaging hooks and lessons activities, I was having a hard time coming up with ideas. I would scour through Pinterest or through old plans to find the perfect way to begin or end my lesson for the most engaging activity to teach my students the concept they needed to know. It was taking me FOREVER to get through my planning. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE me some planning, but I have a kid, I have a husband, a life...and I don't want to spend my whole afternoon or my kid's naptime doing my plans. I have Netflix to watch! There had to be another solution!

I decided that I would create a guide full of hooks, teaching strategies, lesson closures, and websites teachers could pull from while they are planning so they don't have to try so hard to make their lessons engaging.

Yes, there are things similar out there, but I wanted this guide to be the BEST, the BIGGEST, the most COMPREHENSIVE list there is out there. Teachers deserve the best! I scoured the internet to find every hook, strategy, and closure I could find to add to my guide. There may still be some great ideas out there and this guide can still be a growing document.

I would love to give a copy away! Please comment with 1) your email and 2) what your favorite hook, teaching strategy, or lesson closure is.

I will choose a winner by Friday!

You can also purchase a copy in my TPT shop! Just click my blog button below and it will take you directly to the link to purchase.




SC Social Studies Study Guides

I have wanted many times to get on here and post pictures of my new classroom at my new school, but...it seems like I can NEVER find the time and am never quite satisfied with my pictures. Call me a perfectionist.

Anyway, I've been wanting for some time to put together some study guides for each subject for the entire year and I thought, Why not start with Social Studies?!

There are 8 total study guides covering all of the 3rd grade social studies standards for the year.

I broke them into the following units:

* Places and Regions in South Carolina
* Native Americans and Explorers
* Settlement
* American Revolution
* Government
* Civil War Part I
* Civil War Part II
* South Carolina in the 20th Century



You can purchase a set in my shop by clicking my blog button below.


If you are a South Carolina 3rd grade teacher and you would like to win yourself a copy, please comment below with which social studies unit you think is my favorite to teach! Whoever is the first to chime in with the correct answer will win themselves a copy!


Math Homework Bundle for the Year

I have been working on this math homework bundle for quite some time, but between taking care of a little one, moving schools, and trying to find time for myself too, it has been quite the undertaking! But it is finally done!!

This bundle was written with the 3rd grade South Carolina College and Career Ready Standards in mind, but they are quite similar to the Common Core standards. There are only a few minor differences and I have covered them both quite well.

I have included 118 half sheets total for all five domains:
* Number Sense and Base 10
* Number Sense Fractions
* Geometry
* Algebraic Thinking & Operations
* Measurement and Data Analysis


To see how each page is set up, see the image below.


This bundle can be used in numerous ways. If you choose not to go the traditional homework route, these can be used as assessments or exit tickets instead.


To purchase the entire set, click the image above!

In my true fashion, I always give away one set of my newest creations. If you wish to win this set, all you need to do is guess my latest Netflix addiction!  Happy guessing!



Organizing Your Classroom Library

It has been eons since I actually posted something on here, but I've been a busy bee getting classroom set up and ready for a new year with students!

I have spent a great deal of time and money on my classroom library over the years and I have wanted to share how I organize my library for quite some time. In this post, I am going to show you how I set up my library and level my library.

I will also share what you will need if you wish to do set up your library this way as well. I will say that it takes a great deal of time and effort. I enlisted the help of parents and volunteers for the task and I recommend you do the same if you plan on doing this and if you have a large number of books as I do.



Many people choose to organize their libraries by level, but I felt that the best way to set up my library was by genre. Personally I feel that this is easier for students so that they can find books that they are interested in quicker and easier. Here is a snapshot of what my library and book bins look like. I purchased cheap plastic bins from Target.




The labels are from the Brown Bag Teacher. I just liked the clean look of them and there are so many to choose from! You can purchase them HERE.

                                

I laid out all my books in piles by genre and placed a sticker label in the corner which corresponded to which book bin it would go in. This way, students would know which bin the book would go back in. You will need Avery labels that print 60 to a sheet. You just type the name of the book bin on the sticker labels and print them.


After labeling what genre each book is comes the most tedious part for which you will possibly want a volunteer to help you. This is the part where I level each book. Before I discuss that, I want to show you what this looks like. I leveled my books two ways: by Lexile and by Guided Reading Level. The picture below shows the sticker labels in the corner of each book. The colored label with the number is the lexile level. The circle label has the Guided Reading level.


I purchased these Avery sticker labels below. For Lexiles 0-199, I used the pink Avery labels, for 200-399, I used yellow, for 400-599 orange, for 600-799 green, and for anything higher, I used the same white Avery labels that I used to label the genres. You want to make sure you put a piece of clear tape over the label once you stick it on the book for extra durability. I used the circle Avery labels for the Guided Reading Level and I followed a similar color coding method. You can choose to use your own color codes however wish, but I only had four colors so I had to make my colors stretch across grade levels instead of one color per Guided Reading Level. 


Once you have your labels, you will need a level conversion chart like the one pictured below. You can download this one by clicking the picture.

You will also need a few apps to help you when leveling the books. The first is the Scholastic Book Wizard website which you can find by clicking HERE. It is a free online tool that allows you to put in the name of the book and will give you different information including the Lexile and Guided Reading Level. Often it will tell you what genre the book is as well. It will likely have most of the books you have if they aren't outdated. 

The second is the Scholastic Book Wizard App. This is a great tool because it allows you to scan the barcode on the back of the book and it will automatically bring up the book with all of the information. This app typically only works with Scholastic books. Sometimes the app will not have the book, but the Scholastic website will. I always check the website if the app doesn't have it. 

If both of those options fail, the next best app I have found is called Library Leveler. It costs $3.99 but it is worth the money in my opinion because it has a ton of books.

Another app that you can use is called Literacy Leveler. It also costs $3.99, but I haven't had much success with it. 

Sometimes the apps will only give you the lexile level of the book, in which case you will need to use the conversion chart to find the Guided Reading Level and vice versa. Sometimes you won't be able to find either and then I had to guess based on the text of the book. 

I hope you found this blog post helpful! 

I would love to hear how you set up your libraries or any tips you have for setting up your libraries! If you know of any other apps for leveling a library, please share that as well. Please leave your answers in the comments!

End of the Year Surveys

I have often done student surveys at the end of each year to gather feedback and improve as an educator. The school also usually sends how a survey to collect information as well, but I started reflecting on this year, mainly about my classroom newsletter and so I was inspired to create a survey for my parents to fill out, in addition to my students. 

The student survey that is included is geared towards upper elementary students, however the parent survey can be used by all.


You can download this freebie by clicking my button below! 

I hope you find it as helpful as I have!