I am always looking for fun seasonal activities that are easy prep for myself as the teacher and engaging for my students. As teachers, we are always (and I mean always) running short on time. Prep period flies by because you get called to the office, have to make phone calls, must work with students who have make-up work and POOF - no prepping actually happened! So keeping it as simple as possible is helpful! Here are some fun spring math activities that honestly could be adapted in many ways!
Easter Egg Math - YouTube
Easter Egg Math - I had some left over eggs from last year and wrote several equations on one side of the egg and the answers on the other. When I wrote the answers down I mixed them up in a different order than was on the equation side so the students would have to twist the egg to find the answers. You could do this for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, equivalent fractions, naming shapes, etc. Check out the video and if you would like "The Egg Page" recording sheet for FREE, click here!
Fraction Flower Sorts would be super simple. Just cut out several petals from different colors of cardstock paper and yellow centers. You can make the sorts so many different things! In the picture, I made equivalent fraction sorts, but you could do fraction families, different ways to show time, shapes (think "rectangle" on the circle piece and on the petals - 2 pair parallel sides, 4 right angles, a drawing of a rectangle, etc.) If you don't have time to make your own, these Fraction Flowers are available by clicking here.
Here's another tip for some of these activities. Make them self-checking by putting matching symbols, stickers or answers on back. Even though in the picture I wrote the answers on the back after covering it with a piece of blue painters tape, I highly recommend just using matching stickers. For one set of matching pieces, use the same color or style of sticker. Then for another matching set, use a different type of sticker.
All of us here at All About 3rd Grade want to wish you a fantastic and successful back to school season! Be sure to check out all of our Back to School posts here. Then, enter our giveaway for a chance to win one of three $20 Teachers Pay Teachers gift codes!
If you are not using Scholastic Book Club Orders in your room...you are missing out on TONS of free books!! I'm pretty sure 95% of my classroom library is all from Scholastic.
Quick Explanation if you've never used it: Students/Parents shop paper flyers or place orders online. Teacher gets bonus points for each dollar spent, plus Scholastic runs specials each month to earn even more! Teachers use bonus points for free books and classroom materials.
Check out their website for more details and if you're new to Scholastic, you can use my information when you sign up to get 250 bonus points!
Enlist Parent VolunteersScholastic will send you multiple flyers to send home and separating them can be a pain! So I now send home the flyers with instructions for a parent to put them together for me!
I create a little flyer to attach to the front of the student flyers with information so parents can remember the website and our class code.
Get Kids ExcitedDefinitely the first time you send home the flyers, you need to drum up a lot of excitement! I have my students create a wishlist! This is to hopefully encourage more purchases because September usually has the best bonus point specials!
Celebrate the Book Box ArrivalI usually open the book box after school to sort through the books so I can make sure students get the correct books they ordered. I go ahead and label the free books with how I organize my class library. Then I put them back in the box and set a time to "open" the box in front of the class!!
This is another way to get kids excited about reading!! I have a special place in our library to put the new books!
And if there are any super popular books, I will sometimes even raffle them off!
I definitely suggest you make it a priority to do Scholastic book orders once a month! Even if you don't have a lot of participation, you can purchase books at great prices yourself and you can save those bonus points! It's totally worth it!!
Hello fellow teachers! It's Anna from Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey! During the summer I like to plan ahead and get some things ready for next year! I thought I'd share with you some money saving ideas-- since we tend to spend our own money on our classrooms! So here we go!
1. Invest in an HP instant ink printer! Now-- I know what you're thinking-- I already have a printer. But, if it's not HP instant ink compatible-- you are wasting your money! Basically, with this program you pay a monthly fee to print a certain amount of COLORED pages! The plans include: *50 pages for $2.99 *100 pages for $4.99 *300 pages for $9.99 They even let your unused pages rollover to the next month! You can change your plan anytime. The best part? They read your ink info and mail you new cartridges-- and you NEVER run out of ink!
Finding an HP instant ink printer is easy-- just search Amazon for one. Or go to a store and purchase one there (make sure it says HP instant ink on it!) After you purchase your printer go HERE to sign up. You can also search online for promo codes for free months of ink. Here is one for 1 month of ink. Sometimes the printers even come with a code! Choose your plan, set up your payment, and print away! Definitely saved me hundreds in ink alone!
2. If you purchase on TPT-- leave feedback for credit! It sounds silly-- but you'd be surprised how many people DON'T leave feedback on items they purchase. Essentially for every item you purchase and leave feedback on-- you get FREE credits that you can apply toward future purchases. Simple log in-- click on your TPT name, find "my purchases", change the sort by button to "needs feedback", and you are ready to go!
Still not sure how to do this? Here is another easy tutorial (with pics) to help you out!
3. Join local yard sale sites on Facebook Last year I wanted to start flexible seating-- but I didn't have a lot of money or places for the kids to sit. I joined several yard sale sites on Facebook and scanned for furniture or cheaper items. Sometimes people will lower their prices or donate if they find out you are a teacher! I got this dining room table for only $20! I was stoked!
4. Buy things in bulk! I know sometimes this isn't always an option-- but for some items it is! I love Amazon because it will show price changes in items-- so I usually put my favorites on a wishlist and keep an eye out! My favorite things to buy from there? These giant boxes of glue sticks and packs of Astrobright paper!
You can't beat those prices!
5. Copy on bright paper instead of using colored ink! Using HP instant ink is great for printing out classroom decor and such-- but when you make copies for your students its a lot easier and cheaper to copy things onto Astrobright paper! I usually copy things like interactive notebook pages or classroom reward coupons onto bright paper! It makes it look amazing!
6. Shop at the dollar store! We can't always afford the items at Lakeshore-- though we wish we could! Lately places like Target (dollar spot) and Dollar Tree have some amazing storage items in fabulous colors! Last year Target had a great deal on book boxes!
Dollar Tree also has great stuff-- one of my favorite purchases have been these water bottles (which I gave as student gifts last year) and these face scrubbers (which I use for dry erase boards):
7. Reuse or re-purpose items! I know teachers tend to be pack rats (I am also guilty of this!). But some items can genuinely be reused! I love following other teachers on Instagram and Facebook and seeing great ideas! For example, Amber from TGIF had these great tips to use picture frames and plastic bags over again!
8. Know and use your teacher discounts! Did you know many stores give teacher discounts? I wasn't aware of how many until I read through this giant list! Now I use my discount every time I shop in Michaels and Barnes & Noble! Be sure to read the list-- it's giant!
9. Use fabric or tablecloths on bulletin boards! I love this hack because if you aren't changing rooms or themes, you can leave the fabric background up all year and it will not fade! That will save you a lot of time and money in the long run! Here are 2 examples from my room-- one was striped fabric and the other was burlap! I may go all burlap this year since it goes with everything!
I've also seen teachers purchase cheap tablecloths (hello Dollar Tree!) and use those as backgrounds!
10. Utilize Donor's Choose (or ask for donations)! Summertime is the perfect time to think about Donor's Choose! You can set up a fund for whatever you need in the classroom! I've done 2 different projects-- one for flexible seating and one for books. Both projects were funded. I know other teachers use it for supplies, professional development opportunities, goods off Teachers pay Teachers, etc.
It's free. Use it. People want to donate and help!
Also, don't be afraid to ask for donations. Need pizza boxes for a project? Ask a local pizza chain-- they may be willing to donate! Need coffee cups? Ask a Starbucks-- I've heard of them donating! If you don't ask, you'll never know!
What is your favorite way to save money? Leave a comment if you get a chance!
I know it's hard-- especially because we only want the best for our students-- but don't forget to save a little for yourself! I hope this list helped you out!
Woah! Can you believe it's the end of the school year already? Hallelujah! The end of the year is super hectic, but I always liked to make time for some good books to close out the year. The stress is over and now we can read- just for fun- a little more often in class!
Here are five fun books you might want to check out:
1. Last Day of School by Louise Borden This 3rd grader is super excited about the last day of school and a special gift he wants to give his teacher.
2. The Last Day Blues by Julie Danneburg I love reading The First Day Jitters on the first day of school and this one is super cute for the end of the year.
3. My Teacher's Secret Life by Stephen Krensky This one isn't really about the end of the year, but I love how it's from the perspective of a student that truly things their teacher lives at school and is so shocked seeing her out and about in her "real life". It's cute and fun!
4. How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague This one is great for the beginning of the year or the end of the year! This has a fun rhyme and tells the "out there" story that one kid wrote about what he did on summer vacation. You could easily expand this book into a fun writing lesson.
5. The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing I love "The Night Before" books for any special day and I have a ton of these (a lot by Natasha Wing). This is a fun and easy read aloud that your kiddos will enjoy.
Hello darlings! Amy here from That Teaching Spark! These past few weeks my fellow bloggers have been giving you as many ideas and resources we could think of to get you ready for your State Test. Check back through these previous posts for more ideas!
This post is ALL ABOUT THAT TECH! What ONLINE resources do you use to prepare your students for testing? Let me know in the comments!
Because most of us are required to do testing online, I decided to share the resources I use to prepare my students for the Missouri MAP Test. We use the SBAC but it is very similar to PARCC. I hope you can take away something NEW from this post!!
MODEL, MODEL, MODEL I DO NOT send my students off to computers and make them take these test and then say to myself, "Oh yay! We practiced!" That is silly! One HUGE component of this testing "thing" is teaching them the tools and HOW to take it.
I do a TON of modeling and I follow "I do, We do, You do," with them. That means, I have these programs projected and we work through a lot of it together. Then I beg borrow and steal (if necessary LOL) computers and students practice in partners, AND FINALLY they try it out for themselves. Since I don't have enough computers for them each to try at the same time, I set up Test Prep rotations.
Where do I get my resources? Here ya go, you amazing teacher you! 1. PARCC Practice Tests in ELA and Math from Pearson If you use PARCC, I'm sure you already use this to prep! For all of us nonPARCCers, this is really well done and very similar to the questions found in SBAC. There are three different tests for each.
2. Prodigy Play Math Prep OMG! I am in LOVE with Prodigy even more because they have added TEST PREP for math! (Dear Prodigy, could you make an ELA version? Sincerely, Amy) If you haven't heard of Prodigy, your students are missing out! Watch this video to see how to use the TEST PREP!
Prodigy for Test Prep - YouTube
This is what students see. They create little avatar wizards and then battle through lands that they unlock. They even earn pets that can have powers! They unlock and earn power ups by answering question correctly. You can assign the skills or have the game do it for you!
You can assign test prep for YOUR STATE!
View the problems they got correct and incorrect!
Create small groups based on the types of questions they got wrong.
This is the site we use to practice with in Missouri. You can log on using the username and password they provide. It contains math and ELA. Just click on the right hand side for summative and then choose Grade 3. You can then choose the subject. This will allow you to answer questions using the crazy methods they are expecting students to answer with, ie highlighting, clicking and dragging, selecting words in a paragraph, ordering sentences, and the crazy way they have to click to get to the next page of text.
Edcite is a tech site that teachers can create their own online tests and quizzes. The tests and quizzes are then uploaded to an assignment library and all teachers can use them! Thank you to those teachers, because I have been using this in my rotations like crazy! There are video tutorials of how to set up your class and assign "assignments."
If the answers are multiple choice, it will grade it for you. Some have mixed in constructed response. If that is the case, I have students raise their hand when they are ready for me to grade it and I go read it right then.
Frontrowed is awesome and can be used free when you complete one assignment at a time. If you want to have more assignments or view the data, you have to pay. I still use this for practice just like I would a skill sheet that I'm not collecting. It is the best FREE thing I have found for ELA that is motivating for students because they can earn coins.
Hello again! It's Anna from Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey! It probably seemed as though the days after testing would never come-- or perhaps it came far too quickly? But I thought I'd share some fun ways to celebrate with your students after state testing!
Raffle Ticket Rewards
One thing I love doing to motivate my students during test prep and testing is to hand out raffle tickets. I try to give students tickets for various reasons: correct answers, positive attitude, effort, showing their work on scratch paper (you get the idea). This is a really simple reward system! Students write their names on the ticket and put it into a bucket. At the end of each day I draw out 3-4 student names and they get a small reward.
I have used various items for rewards-- try to keep it cheap or free-- so items like reward scratchers, reward coupons, pieces of candy, jar of bubbles, play-doh containers, and seasonal pencils or erasers. Students won't care how much money you spend-- they will just be stoked to win!
Ice-Cream Reward Party
I know not everyone will be huge on this one-- it will depend on your school's food policies. But, I love to hang up these ice-cream reward coloring pages (1 per student)-- and every day of testing students have the opportunity to earn pieces of an ice-cream sundae.
So one day they may earn the spoon and bowl, and the next day they earn the ice-cream, then the toppings. I base this solely on effort since it takes awhile for our scores to arrive. Students always try their hardest for this simple reward! You can ask for donations from local businesses, PTA, or even parents if you don't want to spend all the money yourself.
I like to hang these coloring pages on a bulletin board and make a display!
Give out Brag Tags and Super Notes!
After testing is over I love to give my students a brag tag-- it will help them remember how they worked so hard and finished their test! This one says "I survived testing!" (the link to these are at the end of the post)
I also love to send home "super notes"! Simply focus on something you felt the student did well and send this note home on a piece of bright paper! Click HERE or on the picture below for a FREE copy of these notes!
What Should I Teach Now???
The last thing you may be asking yourself is... what now? Perhaps you still have topics to cover-- or perhaps your students are ready to move on to some basic 4th grade materials! Here are a few more ideas:
Hi, it’s Jessi from Cooties and Cuties, and I am so excited to share favorite test prep ideas with you!
Test prep season is a dreaded time filled with stress and anxiety, and if I could avoid it altogether, I would. This year, I knew I wanted to do something different, something that actually got my students excited about the insanely boring work we were about to do. If I’m being completely honest, I created this experience as much for myself as for my students. Test prep is never anyone’s idea of fun, but with a little effort, it can become one of your students’ favorite memories of third grade!
A few weeks before the carnival, I started creating games during my planning period. Almost everything I created was free and made with resources I found within the school – butcher paper, cardboard and tape. The only things I purchased were 2 rolls of wrapping paper from the dollar store (so I could use the cardboard roll inside), streamers, a few bags of Hershey Kisses for the Kissing Booth and a roll of tickets.
My kids had no idea I was planning a huge room transformation until I handed out carnival invitations on Friday afternoon. These little invitations built so much for the upcoming week and many parents emailed me to tell me how excited their kids were to come to school on Monday – teacher win!
The carnival ran for 8 days. Each day, we reviewed a different math topic in a mini lesson, i.e., multiplication and division one day, area and perimeter the next. Some days we reviewed only one topic, and some days we combined two topics. I tried to organize the reviews based on the amount of questions we anticipated on the state test.
After reviewing the topic, students worked in teams on the matching review packet. The questions were TOUGH. Instead of stressing my students out before the test, I paired them with a partner and emphasized teamwork and synergy. Partners could earn a total of 5 tickets each day for accuracy, perseverance, synergy, showing work and using their test-taking strategies. I assumed each team would earn 5 tickets and then deducted tickets as needed.
While students worked, I roamed the room doing mini conferences with students to re-teach tricky concepts. This was such a valuable time to be able to meet the needs of all students, and I highly recommend it!
The carnival was centered around math test prep, but I incorporated literacy, too. I printed PARCC practice tests, and gave students opportunities to earn extra tickets for the carnival. I am not kidding when I say I’ve never seen such a focused, engaged week of test prep in my life. Some of my students even begged to take their packets to recess or finish them at home!
I kept track of the amount of tickets teams earned using the old horse race carnival game. Each team was assigned a horse and they loved watching their progress as their horses inched forward each day. The finish line represented a perfect score for the entire carnival run, 5 tickets each day. Only one team actually made it to the finish line, and it was a HUGE accomplishment. This team was on their A game the entire time and earned a special “catered” lunch with me in the classroom.
At the end of the math period, we shared strategies and cleared up any remaining questions about the topic, and then I chose two teams to sit at the World’s Strongest Students (VIP) table. The WSS table was a last-minute idea and one of the most valuable pieces of the carnival. Students got to sit in a special table under the “carnival tent” in the middle of the room. I made the announcement a huge production, and the kids reacted like they won the lottery when their names were announced!
One of the privileges of being the World’s Strongest Students was running the ticket booth. I love giving my students opportunities to lead, and they took this job very seriously.
The carnival games were only open for the last 30 minutes of every other day, so 4 days total. This doesn’t seem like much, but it gave students an opportunity to earn more tickets between carnival visits and pushed them to work so incredibly hard in between carnival days. 2 hours of carnival games over the course of 8 days garnered 12 hours of the most intensely focused test prep I’ve ever seen and made all of the time I spent preparing so completely worth it.
And finally, the last piece of the test prep carnival puzzle is Feats of strength. Feats of strength are mini contests, kind of like Minute to Win It, and we used them as brain breaks. Once or twice per day, I announced the contest and the whole class participated. It could be a feat of mental strength (how long can you hold tree pose) or physical strength (arm wrestling contest), and it became one of the highlights of the carnival. Students begged for the next feat of strength and took them so seriously because they wanted their picture to be featured on our poster. If they were eliminated, they became cheerleaders for the remaining students, and it was a really fun way to bond the students together as a whole.
WHEW…that’s it. After 8 days of carnival-ing, my students were pumped up and ready to conquer the big bad state test. And, best of all, they didn’t even realize that I tricked them into completing some of the toughest packets they’d ever seen because they were having so much fun!
Science was one of my least favorite subjects growing up. I didn't really understand it, and I "C"d my way through science in high school! I just couldn't get it, it was like I was taking a foreign language, and believe it or not I got better grades in Spanish than I did in science. Due to all of this I knew that I had to make science engaging for my students!
For every science unit I planned I would figure out what my end objectives were and then I would figure out how I could make it hands on! I wanted to make sure that they had something concrete to grasp as we were going through our lessons and to remember as they were taking their tests. These ideas would come in the form of interactive notebooks or hands on experiments!
Some of our favorite experiments had to do with candy, measurement and rocks! We loved being able to manipulate things and make them more concrete for our learning. While we were doing this students were able to have conversations using the key vocabulary and really grasp what was going on. I know it is not easy to do with every science standard you have to teach and that it takes a lot of work, but I can tell you it will make it so much more fun for both you and your students! The look of JOY on their faces as they have fun learning!
Let us know in the comments a standard that you don't love teaching and we'll try to help you come up with a hands on engaging way to teach it!!