Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How to Wake Up Summer Math Brains - BTS Math Review for Rising 3rd Graders

     Multiplication, division, rounding, fractions – oh my! Third grade math is HARD! There are so many new concepts that 3rd graders are introduced to in the first few months of third grade. It’s kind of mind boggling, but also daunting for kids.  Especially if they are coming off of summer and have done absolutely NOTHING academic. Summer learning loss is real for many of our students.  How can you get them revved back up so that they are ready to learn new math concepts? 

     Take time to review. Give them a chance to be successful doing something they already know or have mastered in 2nd grade. Many of our students were A students in 2nd grade, but will struggle in 3rd grade because its much harder in all respects. Beginning the school year reviewing key math concepts from 2nd grade will build confidence, but most importantly prepare them for the math concepts you need to start teaching pretty quickly.

     I have found that the first and second week of school is the perfect time to review 2nd grade math skills as you are teaching procedures and doing class building activities. It provides opportunities to pair students up, teach procedures on how to use manipulatives, practice Kagan cooperative learning structures, as well as give overwhelmed students some much needed independent time.  It’s also a good time to pre-assess students on key math concepts so that you can appropriately plan for the next few weeks of math.

     Here are a few ways I use my Back to School Math Review worksheets in the first week of school:

     This worksheet is a great icebreaker for partners. Give them a pair of dice, some crayons or markers, and let them practice addition facts and work together. It’s really fun to let them race to the finish. Competition is fun!

     I love this one for a group project. Give each student a page and let them find as many different ways to spend $1.00. Afterwards, have groups share their combinations.

     Place value is such an important skill to master! Before giving these to students, do a mini lesson to refresh their memories. Then let them complete these independently.  You can use them for formative assessments. It will give you valuable insight as to who needs more work immediately and who is ready for more challenging work.

This measurement activity is a great time to teach students how to handle rulers in the classroom – do not use them as a weapon, etc. – as well as checking to see if they remember how to use a ruler appropriately. Let them move around the classroom measuring objects as a warm up. Then give them this worksheet to measure these six school supplies. Afterwards, they can color them for fun!

Using this Geometry worksheet is another great opportunity to review and teach procedures at the same time. Give teams pattern blocks and have them describe the attributes of each. Then challenge them to complete the worksheet. This is another really quick formative assessment you can use.

As much time as K-2 teachers and students spend on addition and subtraction, you would think rising third graders would have it mastered – but many don’t. In fact, I have found that many rising third graders are struggling with both addition and subtraction. Which is why I have included 4 worksheets to help students practice 2 and 3 digit addition and subtraction with and without regrouping. I love putting these practice sheets in my Number Sense math center. Make sure you have counting manipulatives available and encourage them to use them.

Addition without regrouping
Some students will need to begin with this practice worksheet
before tackling regrouping.

Addition with re-grouping
This practice sheet will give students more challenging
 basic addition and word problems.

Subtraction with regrouping
This will be challenging for many students, so a mini-lesson will be
 necessary before students can tackle it on their own.

If you need math resources to help your students review math for the first weeks of school, my Back to School Math Review is available in my TPT store. There are 10 Math Review Worksheets that are PRINT & GO  which will save you time and give your brand new third graders a much needed review!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

#Sweet as a Pineapple Gift Card Giveaway

I think most teachers would agree that July-August-September is a major drain on our wallets! Classroom decor is high on our list of must haves, not to mention the needs of our own children as they head back to school. Waiting all month for a paycheck during these months is HARD!

With that in mind, some pretty "sweet" TPT sellers and I are giving away THREE $100 gift cards to try and help you survive this major wallet drain. The giveaway is only open for July 23 - 25th, so don't put off entering. You don't want to miss this opportunity!

Just enter here - GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 21, 2017

How to Make a Great First Impression

“You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

     What teacher doesn’t want to make a great impression with parents right away? It makes the entire school year go smoother when they have a positive impression of you. But what impresses parents? Looks? Personality? The Classroom? It’s hard to impress all parents because let’s face it – each of us has our own idea of what makes a great teacher. But one thing that is universal, is having your act together or having the appearance of having your act together! I know when I met my daughter’s teachers, I wanted to feel that they knew what they were doing and being prepared and professional made a huge difference. So, how can you make a great first impression?

     Most schools have a Back to School night or Open House for parents sometime at the start of the school year. My school always held this in September, because we wanted parents to know quickly what the expectations were and what our classroom rules/procedures were. Prepared parents are helpful parents - right? Having an impressive and professional power point presentation is the first way to impress parents. Giving them the information you need to get across and the information they want and need is important.

     Before you begin, decide on what you want to tell parents about and gather your resources together.  I like to tell parents what our daily schedule will look like, what time lunch is and what they should do if they want to join their student, my classroom management plan, the school’s discipline or incentive plan, report card information, transportation, conferences, field trips, etc. As a third grade teacher, I liked to focus on academics, so I would give an overview of what they would learn in 3rd grade in each subject area.  If you are new to your grade level, use the Common Core standards to help you with this. Click here for the Common Core Standards.


Whether you start from scratch or purchase a ready to go power point, you need to have a cohesive and professional looking slide presentation. 

If  you want to create your own in power point, all you need to do is pick a design. Open a new power point presentation, click on DESIGN:

Choose one of the pre-made designs:

Power Point gives you the option to choose a layout for your pages. This one is for content and titles and works really well for Back to School presentations. Once you choose your design, just follow the on screen instructions to add text or pictures. (Possible topics to cover is listed below)

If you want a ready to go power point, I have three available in my store depending on your design preference:

If you purchase one of these, you can choose what slides you want to include in your presentation and/or you can create one of your own with the 3 blank slides included. Some Back to School night topics you might consider:

 How to add text boxes, information, and photos to your slides.

If you are using my ready to go power point slides, adding text is SUPER easy using text boxes.

Go to the slide you want to add information to and click insert.

Click on text box, then go to the slide and draw a box.

Now, just type in the information:

If you want to add photos - just click on insert and instead of a text box, click on photos.

Once you have all of the information inserted into your slides - CHECK for SPELLING & GRAMMAR!!! Making a great impression means no typos!!

***Helpful Hint: If this is your first time making a Back to School power point - SAVE IT in a safe place. Next year, just update it and you are ready to go!\

If you want to save TIME and use one of my Back to School Night/Open House Power Points, click here to go directly to my TPT store. 

If you spend the time NOW to create a professional informative presentation for parents, you will reap the rewards of a better parent teacher relationship throughout the school year! Make a great first impression!