Saturday, October 6, 2012

Magical Product Swap

I had the pleasure of teaming up with another teacher to swap products we have featured in our stores.  Kelly Malloy is a third grade from Nevada, a teacher-seller on TpT, and a blogger at
She shared her capitalization packet with my class.  Capitalization is such an important skill for my third graders in the beginning of the school year.  It is essential for them to know and recognize the proper use of capital letters.  Her very detailed packet walked the students step-by-step through the variety of ways capital letters are used.  There plenty of opportunities for student practice.  We used the ELMO document camera to display student work, and review the answers in our packets.  Thanks!
This capitalization packet is available in Kelly's store for a bargain price of $3!
I have created a free powerpoint that links directly to the skills in Kelly's the capitalization packet.  There are slides that direct the students to practice in their capitalization packet.  You can download the free capitalization powerpoint in my store, and then head over to Kelly's store and pick up the capitalization packet from her there!  It is a great way to practice teach capitalization skills to your students!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Classroom Accommodations and Modifications

A team of teachers and I are leading a workshop on classroom accommodations and modifications in a few weeks.  I would love to know from all of the teachers out there what websites, blogs, books, or other resources you have found that are truly beneficial for working with children with special needs.  I have some of my favorites, and I'll be sure to post in a few weeks when we compile our bag of tricks.  I would LOVE to hear what teachers across the country use as fabulous references.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another Giveaway!

I believe in collaboration, and helping fellow teachers out!  Talking A Walking on the Teaching  Side is sponsoring at 100 followers blog giveaway!  Go and check her blog out, and check out the 12  free products you could win by entering her raffle. 
I am offering the winner of her giveaway a free set of my Newspaper Task Cards.


These 40 task cards will be a perfect learning center to work with newspapers. You can also display the task cards on a trifold science fair board, and create a portable station for fast finishers.  The cost is $4.00

42 Products Give Away!

Everyone loves to get something for free!  Liv to Teach is sponsoring a 42 product giveaway.  I am offering my Types of Sentences Center to the winner of this giveaway.  Go check it out!

This is the product I am offering to the winner of this giveaway.

This Movie Theater popcorn themed center will be a perfect way for your students to reinforce the different types of sentences (declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory).  Students sort different sentences written on popcorn pieces into the correct types of sentence popcorn bowl.
Included in this download: Cover page, student direction sheet, 4 types of sentences popcorn bowls, 32 popcorn pieces with different sentences written on them, and an answer sheet. 
It costs $3.00.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Un-BEE-lievable Statistical Landmarks

My classroom has been working on statistical landmarks.  We sing silly sayings to help us remember the different statistical landmarks.

Maximum is the biggest!
(said in in a deep voice making muscles)

Minimum is the smallest!
(said in a squeaky high pitched voice showing a small amount with your fingers)

Range is the maximum minus the minimum!
(with motions that lean to the left with your hand extended for maximum, and with motions that lean to the right with your hand extended for the minimum)

Mode is mode, mode, most often!
(said in a cheerleading voice like hip, hip hooray- also put your arm / hand in the air for each mode, mode, most often cheer)

Median is the middle!
(clap your hands together in front of you to represent the middle)
I created an Un-BEE-lievable Statistical Landmark Center.  Here are a few previews of the product, and my kids working hard during this center.  There are 12 task cards and student recording sheets.  $3.50

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Man, I Wish I Thought of That!

I was buzzing around pinterest, websites, and the internet and saw some simply clever teaching ideas.  I thought you would love them too!

Dice Game Containers

It drives me crazy when students dice are rolling on the floor, and making a ton of noise during dice games in math.  These little plastic containers are the perfect solution!  You can purchase a set of 4 of them at the Dollar Store. 

Milk Crate Chairs

I am always looking for creative storage solutions, and these milk crates are the next best thing for my classroom needs.  I can't wait to purchase some milk crates, fun material, boards and cushion and create these milk crate chairs.  These crates will be perfect for my center material storage, and will not take up space in the classroom because they will double as seats for my small group table. 

Brain Sprinkles

This idea just cracks me up, and I know it will make the students smile!  Every once and awhile the kids are stumped on coming up with an answer, and brain sprinkles will help them loosen up and hopefully help their brain waves retrieve the answer.  Brain sprinkles are a great way if you want them to be motivated right before a test. 

Tattle Monsters

 This is how you turn simple tissue boxes into something super eye catching.  This is a great way for students to write down what may be on their mind, and put it into the monster's mouth.  Hopefully, this will allow the students to voice their concern and get their tattle out of the way, allow you to focus on teaching, and check in with the tattle monsters as it fits into your daily schedule.  Here's to a year of productivity, and not a lot of tattling :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sock it to 'em!

Here's a small teaching tidbit of the day!  If you have your students use dry erase board throughout the day, here is a simple solution passing out tissues to erase the boards.  Purchase an inexpensive packet of socks at a store.  These socks make perfect dry erase board erasers.  They are cheap, easy, and can very easily be washed!


You can also create your own dry erase boards.  Go to your local home improvement store (Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.).  Ask them for a piece of melamine.  This piece typically comes in a 4 ft. x 8 ft. rectangle.  Double check the surface of the melamine.  You want a surface that is smooth, like plexi-glass.  It could also be a material called lexan.  The home improvement store will cut the board for you into smaller pieces (I would recommend 1 ft. by 1 ft. squares, which will give you 32 dry erase boards.)  It is definitely cheaper than purchasing a set of dry erase boards.  They work perfectly as dry erase boards.  Go for it today!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

R.I.P. Overused Words!!!

Do you find that your students use the same words over and over again when they are writing?
Let's put those overused words to rest with this powerpoint.  I wanted to post this freebie powerpoint before Halloween to make sure you had a chance to use it with your students.  Try to inspire them to use more specific, creative and innovative words as they write. 
The class can create a graveyard with overused words for a bulletin board display.  The download includes a banner and RIP gravestones. 

Here are a few slides:

Check out other awesome freebies at the 2nd Grade Pad Website too!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Reading Detective Strategy

Detective Reading Strategy: During Reading Strategy

My students love when I introduce the Detective Reading Strategy to them.  I explain to them it is their job to solve the case of the missing answers by finding the proof in the story or text they have read.  The Reading Detective strategy helps the students focus their reading to help them answer the questions accurately. 

During the Q-TIP pre-reading strategy (see the post from 8/5/12), students read the questions prior to reading the text.  Reading the questions first, allows them to focus their reading to find specific facts.  We practice reading a story aloud, where they have a copy of the story and I have a copy projected on the document camera.  My students make siren alarm sounds when they have found the proof, and they could arrest me for hiding the answer in the text.  (I have also used a silent alarm where they flash their fingers to set the siren alarms.)  Students try to arrest me for stealing and hiding the answers in the text.  I explain to them that a jury would never convict a criminal without the evidence. They have to find the proof for an answer in the text.  When they find the proof, they put a magnifying glass (a circle with a stick), and underline the proof.  This reading strategy is fabulous for having students go back into the story and actually find the answers.  You can download this Reading Detective Strategy direction sheet here by clicking on the image. 


I posted the Q-TIP pre-reading strategy a few weeks ago, check that post out too.  I apologize it has been so long since I last posted.  I will get much better!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

TeachersPayTeachers Back-To-School Sale!

Are you ready to go on a back-to-school shopping spree for amazing products you can use in your classroom?!?!  TpT is hosting a 10% off sale.  Save even more because many sellers are offering an additional up to 20% off.  This would equal a 28% savings!  The sale is going on from August 12 – August 13, 2012.  Use the promo code BTS12 at the checkout.  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Clipart Giveaway

This is an awesome opportunity to win a fabulous clipart package from some talented artists at TpT.  These ladies allow you to use your clipart in your classroom products.  Enter for a simple chance to win a great giveaway!  Click below to link up to the giveaway, and get inspired to create fun products with their clipart!

While you are visiting TpT, come check out my store at:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Q-TIP Pre-Reading Strategy

Q-TIP Pre-Reading Strategy
Before students start reading, they should preview the text.  By previewing the text and questions using the Q-TIP strategy, students will build a background on what the text is all about.  This will foster a stronger level of comprehension even before a single paragraph is read!
Q  -  Questions
Read the questions first
By reading the questions first, it allows the students to know what information they are looking for while they are reading.  Often, questions will give students some information about the basic story elements of the characters, setting, problem and solution of the story.
T  -  Title
Read the title and subtitles
Explain to your students that by reading the title and subtitles, they can make a prediction about what the text will be about.  Subtitles have a special purpose to help organize information that is related to the subtitle under that section.
I  -  Introduction, Italics & Bold Print
Read the introduction
Pay attention to the italics and bold print
The introduction (especially on state testing) provides a background about what the text will be about.  It is important for students to read this section before reading the selection.

Italics is a signal for students to pay attention.  Most commonly, italics are used for emphasis or contrast — that is, to draw attention to some particular part of a text.  Another way, is that when authors write the entire title of a book, movie, magazine, etc.  Words are italicized when they are written in another language. 

Bold words often signify subtitles, or key vocabulary that the author wants to draw the student’s attention to.
P  -  Pictures
Review the pictures and read the captions
A picture is included with text because it has a purpose.  Pictures in nonfiction text may include maps, charts or diagrams.  Pictures in fiction text may relate to the setting or characters in the story.  Pictures help students visualize what the text is about.  The captions provide a brief snip-it linking to the picture and the text.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Creating a Caring Classroom

As a teacher, you have to love and appreciate all of the students who enter your classroom on the first day of school.  There are always those kids who you want to bring home with you, those kids who make you smile, those kids who just need a hug and know they are loved, those kids who need to be challenged, those kids whose creativity inspires you, and those kids make your job tough, but you enjoy making a connection with them.  Teaching is in our hearts.  We strive to create caring classrooms where children are motivated, inspired, and challenged. 

A few ways that I create a caring classroom are as follows:

ü  The first day of school, my students create a classroom contract.  We work together to create ways to make our classroom run smoother, and everyone signs and commits to helping their classmates be the best they can be.  We are a team!

ü  I have positive character trait banners up all around the top perimeter of my classroom.  I tell my students that I am looking for them to possess these positive traits, and will be looking to recognize them for being amazing throughout the year.  I encourage them to let their classmates know when they observe one of them showing respect, responsibility, ingenuity, kindness, sharing, self-control, etc.  I have happy notes that I, an instructional assistant or a student can write to another student about how they showed a positive trait.  There are 80 different traits around the room.

ü  We talk about being a bucket filling school.  There is a great book, “How Full is Your Bucket” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer.  I have students act out mini-skits about being bucket fillers.  Throughout the school year, students who are being bucket fillers, can put their name in my “Good Job” jar.  I pull names from time to time, and they get to shake the M & M man’s hand.  A high five, for high five bucket filling!

ü  I explain to the students that I expect them to be on their best behavior in the classroom, and outside of the classroom.  I have a classroom management system in place where students go through the stop light system, where students move a magnet based on behavior.  I put a sticker in the bottom of their agenda to notify parents of a child’s daily behavior.  I tell them that we have expectations because I care about them, and we need to make sure we respect everyone’s learning process.

ü  On the first day of school, we do some get to know you activities.  We play “That’s Me!” where I ask questions, and if it applies to the student, they go into the center of the room, high five their classmates and say, “That’s Me!”  I have my kids fill out a student questionnaire about their interests outside of school.  It is important for me to make connections to them outside of the classroom.  The students also create their clock buddy sheets, which we use throughout the school year for easy partner work.  Try it out!  You’ll love them.

Thank you to, Laura Candler, from Corkboard Connections Blog has inspired me to join her creating a caring classroom blog. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Box Tops for Education

                My school is on a quest to collect 100,000 Box Tops to use towards technology in our school building.  Our school is amazing, full of teachers who try to go above and beyond; however, we do not have funding for technology.  The teachers are on a mission to bring the 21st century technology into our classroom by asking people to save their Box Tops on hundreds of items people buy already.  If you would be willing to save your Box Tops, and mail them to us at Dudley Elementary School we would greatly appreciate it!  If you shop online, there are tons of ways you can earn Box Tops for us just by signing up.  You can go to, to see how you can support our school. 
I know there are tons of teachers out there, and lots of schools who need support.  If your school isn’t on the Box Tops bandwagon, and could help our school out that would be greatly appreciated. 
As a thank you, if you send me 50 Box Tops, I will let you pick any item in my TpT store for free!  If you send me more, you can earn a free item for every 50 Box Tops you send.  This offer is good for the entire 2012-2013 school year!

Brooke Conway
Dudley Elementary School
16 School Street
Dudley, MA 01571

* When you mail the Box Tops, please let me know your e-mail, or contact information to send you a thank you and get you your free product!  Thank you so much for your consideration.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop

There is a newbie blog hop out there!  Feel free to join the fun!  It is great to find other educators who are starting out in the blogging world.  There is so much we can learn from each other.
1.  What state you are in?
I teach in the great state of Massachusetts.

2. What is your current teaching position?
I teach 3rd grade in an inclusion classroom.

3. What is your teaching experience?
I have taught 5th grade for 3 years, 4th grade special education for 2 years, 4th grade for 1 year, and 3rd grade for 5 years.  I believe third grade where I have found my home!

4.  When you started blogging?
I started blogging the last week of June when I took a technology course after school got out.  I love integrating technology into my classroom, so this is another professional step for me.  I started a class blog for my students and parents, and 3rd Grade Troops for teachers out there.

5.  Share a blogging tip / blogging resource:
Be yourself- the best part of blogging is that there are so many varied blogs out there, with a different perspective on teaching and learning.

Join the Blog Hop Party!  Click Below to link up.
You are next, click here to enter!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Teaching Tip: Portable Centers

Teaching Tip: Portable Centers

Having space for everything, displaying materials, activities or standards, and saving yourself time year after year is a winning classroom solution.  My quick tip of the day is to purchase portable science fair boards.  Glue or staple a bulletin board border around the edge.  Create a banner, or use pre-made punched out letters to form a title.  Take a center activity that you leave up for a certain amount of time, and attach the task card directions to the science fair board.  You can also use clear sheet protectors to place papers.  When you are done with that theme, lesson or activity, fold the center up and store it away on top of your closet or on the side of a cabinet.  The best part of this portable center is next time or year you want to use this center, all you have to do is pull it out.  It is a huge time saver, and you can put it up and take it down without the hassle of bulletin boards.   
I have portable centers created for each of my science and social studies units.  It is a great idea for fast finishers, or the use of seasonal activities.  ELA focus walls, or math vocabulary could easily be displayed on the portable centers.  Your bulletin board space can then be used for whatever you wish… wink, wink kids love to see their work on display! J