April 2016 | All About 3rd Grade

Packing Up a Classroom

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 / 3 comments
Hi everyone!  My name is Cassandra and I am Mrs 3rd Grade!  I am so excited to be joining this group of amazing women to bring you All About 3rd Grade!  I have been teaching third grade since 2008!  I have LOVED every moment of it!!  3rd grade is AMAZING!!

Cassandra, Mrs 3rd Grade, has been teaching 3rd grade since 2008 and has great tips on how to pack up your classroom for the end of the year!

This year I am packing up my classroom!  It has been quite a process.  I have been at my school for my entire third grade career.  I have not only taught third grade this whole time, but I have also only been in my current classroom for this year.  Last year I just moved down the hall, so I just had kids help me carry everything down the hall, I didn't go through anything, I didn't throw anything away, and I didn't clean everything out.  Don't judge, it was a hot mess!!

The mess I left at the end of the school year in 2015 when I couldn't unpack or move into my new classroom, but had to MOVE everything to my new classroom!

This year, everything is different!!  I am not only changing grade levels, but I am also changing schools!  This has led me to a whole new level of cleaning and packing!!  I can't believe how much stuff I have!  I totally recommend going through your things every so often and purge!  I know that I hold on to things that I have had for years and have never used!

A garage full of teaching materials can only mean one thing, it is time to switch schools or grade levels!

I have been moving boxes, filling boxes, going through boxes and purging like it is going out of style!  It is a great time to start to go digital and get rid of all of those paper copies you have been hanging on to and you don't know why.  It has been great for me to go through all of my task cards, organize them, and make sure I have them all.  If I don't then I have been printing the missing ones and getting them prepped for next year.

Organize your books at the end of the school year, and then they are ready to go in August when you return for school! Wrap your shelves with fabric or butcher paper to keep them clean!

One of the amazing things that I LOVE to do to save time for next year is to organize my books ahead of time!  I have my students help me do it at the end of the year.  This way I can have them organized and ready for the next school year.  I am lucky and have been able to leave everything out during the summer.  Another great way is to have them organized and on your self and then cover your shelf in butcher paper so no one can get to them!  This way when you come back in August it is ready to go!

I hope this gave you some motivation to go and purge all of those extra papers and then get your classroom library set up for next year!!  Best of luck in the last month of school!!  You can do it!


Students' Choice Awards: Providing closure for your classroom community

Saturday, April 23, 2016 / 4 comments
First, can I just say how absolutely overjoyed I am to be here?!?  I'm Pamela from Hedgehog Reader, and I am beyond tickled to be a part of this exciting new collaboration on All About 3rd Grade!

Today I want to share with you something special I love to do with my students in the last days of school:  Students' Choice Awards.


When I first started developing this idea many years ago, I had two priorities:

1.  I was looking for a student-centered way to close out the year.  Each year, we work so hard to build a classroom community together, and I wanted a ritual that honors this.

2.  I wanted each and every student to feel honored.  (I did not want this to be some kind of popularity contest where some students felt great and others felt left out.)

And that is how the Students' Choice Awards annual event was born!

In a nutshell, the Students' Choice Awards is a last-day-of-school celebration in which every student receives recognition for a character trait or other valued behavior.  The balloting occurs earlier in the week because - quite frankly - me counting up the votes and figuring out who won what is the most time-consuming part of this celebration!

I've tried different approaches over the years, but here is my basic timeline.  Feel free to adapt it to suit your own needs!

First, decide on the criteria you will use to determine awards.  If you use Character Counts, then the TRRFC traits would be a wonderful starting point!  My best advice is to select criteria that focuses on character or behavior, not skill or talent; this prevents hurt feelings when somebody else is chosen as "Best Reader" or "Most Athletic."  Whatever the criteria, make sure that there are enough awards for everybody to get one.  At the end of this post, I've included a freebie version of the ballot I am using this year.

Next, I highly recommend establishing ground rules - I've learned this the hard way!  Here are the rules I typically set:
*A* You must nominate every student for one award.
*B* You may nominate each student for ONLY ONE award.
*C* Each award can have at most two nominees - one boy and one girl.
*D* It's OK for an award to have only one boy or only one girl - or not any nominees at all.  Not every award needs to be awarded.

Most of us love receiving words of affirmation, but getting stuff is fun too!  I normally provide each student with an official-looking certificate proclaiming the honor bestowed upon him/her by peers.  Additionally, I've given each student an award medal on ribbon (they are currently available for about $5 per dozen on Amazon, special pencil, or other trinket, and have also considered miniature trophies (party favors).  Another adorable option is to wrap a candy bar in a printed award wrapper;  there are many super cute varieties available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

The event can be whatever works for your classroom, students, timeframe, budget, and desire!  It can be as simple as distributing awards during Community Circle, or as fancy as having students walk down a red carpet and stand in front of a specially decorated backdrop for photographs to commemorate the day!  Whichever format you use, remember that this will likely be a special moment that leaves each student feeling very good, very honored, and very happy to have spent the year learning in your classroom!

As promised, here is the ballot that I am using this year.  You are welcome to use it as is, or to use it as inspiration to create your own!  I put the full color version up on our SmartBoard, and then distribute black and white versions to my students.

Best wishes to you and your students for a very happy end of the school year!

End of the Year Gifts {For Students & Teachers}

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 / Leave a Comment
Hi!  I'm Kim from Elementary Antics and I'm so excited to be contributing with some fabulous ladies on All About 3rd Grade!

How can it be that the end of the school year is almost here?!  It's so true what they say- the days go by slow, but the years go by fast!  So, here I am already thinking about end of the gifts for my son's teacher and what I did most years for my students at the end of year.

This is a great end of the year surprise for you students! The kids love getting real mail in their mailbox from their teacher!

 The end of the year is always such a whirlwind in school.  Between the end of the year checklists, keeping up the routines so total chaos doesn't ensue, returning of ALL the books, cleaning the classroom, packing up the classroom- you get the idea- the last thing I needed was more STUFF floating around the room.  So, my "gift" to my kiddos was a letter.  A letter that was sent good old fashioned snail mail TO. THEIR. HOUSE.  I mean, what kid doesn't love to get a letter addressed to them from their teacher!? The best part was when kids {and some parents} would come tell me at the beginning of the next year how they loved getting the letter over the summer.  I sent different versions over the years, but here's an example of what I used.  You can grab it as a freebie in my TpT store.

Cute end of the year gift ideas for teachers.

For my son's preschool teachers this year I'm doing some different versions of summertime fun.  He has a main teacher and an assistant that is in his class part of the time, so I wanted to do something for both of them.  This easy beach in a cup idea was perfect!  I found this cute tumbler in the Target Dollar Spot for only $3.  I just put some beachy themed goodies in the cup: summer dollar spot post-it notes, a Starbucks gift card, some Crystal Light packs and a SPF lip shield.  I made a cute little tag (freebie) and added a pretty flower and I've got a nice gift for the end of the year.

Cute end of the year gift ideas for teachers.

For his teacher, she is getting a goodie filled cup and I added this super cute monogrammed bag from vivandlou.com and a colorful beach towel. This site has so many cute bag options (and other products) and personalization is always included.  It's super reasonably priced too and they have lots of good sales and very fast shipping. (And no, I am not a getting paid or free stuff for telling you about it -I wish!-I just really like everything I've gotten from them.)  Have a fabulous end of the year!

Cute and easy end of the year gift ideas for teachers and students!  These FREEBIE student letters are so fun to mail to your students at home at the end of the year!


5 ways to enjoy the last weeks of school!

Friday, April 15, 2016 / 2 comments
Welcome to All About 3rd Grade!

I'm Rachel, A Tall Drink of Water and I am THRILLED to be joining this fabulous group of teachers!

Can you believe the end of the school year is just around the corner?!
This can be such a busy, hectic time of the year, between end of the year assessments, paperwork, special events, and on top of all that...the kids are starting to bounce of the walls with excitement!!
So what's a teacher to do?

If you can't beat them...join them!
5 Ways to Enjoy the Last Weeks of School www.allabout3rdgrade.com

1. 

5 Ways to Enjoy the Last Weeks of School www.allabout3rdgrade.com
Taking our lessons outside is my favorite thing to do when the weather gets warmer.
What can you do outside?
-read
-write about nature
-measure how far students can run/jump/skip/etc.
-messy science experiments
-reenact a historical battle

2. 

5 Ways to Enjoy the Last Weeks of School www.allabout3rdgrade.com
The best part about teaching after state testing, 
is the fact that you have more freedom and creativity in your lessons! 
What can you teach that's different?
-an art lesson
-hand lettering
-cursive writing
-Chess
-sewing
-cooking
-let the students teach 
(the above picture was a drawing lesson called "Cave Camp" 
that a student taught the rest of the class)

3.

5 Ways to Enjoy the Last Weeks of School www.allabout3rdgrade.com
This goes hand in hand with veering off the lesson plans.
Allow students time to be creative and make things with their hands.
What can you create?
-shirts
-paintings
-STEM projects
-Mother's/Father's Day crafts
-drawings
www.artforkidshub.com is a fantastic website that has kid friendly videos of how to draw!

4.

5 Ways to Enjoy the Last Weeks of School www.allabout3rdgrade.com
Kids have so much energy to begin with, let alone at the end of the year.
So go ahead and have extra recess.
And if you can't, have some organized play time.
What can you play?
-kickball
-board games
-Go Noodle
-Dance Parties

5. 

A fun & easy way to Countdown to Summer Break FREEBIE www.allabout3rdgrade.com
It is important to keep your day as normal as possible, to help with behavior.
But adding some fun thing in to the mix can allow you and your students to really enjoy the last few weeks of school.  I've created this countdown to summer break with many of these ideas and more!
You can grab that here for FREE if you'd like!

Remember, that you only have a few more weeks left with this group of kids!
You can either complain through it
or
enjoy the ride!!


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