Heroic Readers {Establishing Expectations in Reader’s Workshop}

Ok…seriously y’all…if I have to repeat the same procedures one more time…I may die! Ha! My husband may kinda like the fact that I have zero voice left when I get home from school each night! I am telling you…even with the same kiddos…beginning of the year routines stink! I mean most eight year olds do not typically enjoy setting up notebooks and folders!

Sooooo…I am really trying to make this as fun as possible! {Is that possible?} :) We began our Reader’s Workshop introduction this week, and I really wanted the students to buy into the whole real reading vs. fake reading concept! Since they are so into superheroes lately, I thought a heroic readers theme would do the trick!

I made my acting debut and demonstrated fake readers at their best! The kids thought it was hysterical and my award winning acting skills really caught their attention. Ha! Then, we created a chart comparing real reading and fake reading…on a super hero cape, of course!


This will hang front and center in our library to remind students of heroic reading behaviors!

After we discussed these behaviors as a class, the students created their very own super hero cape describing what they need to do to show that they are a heroic reader! You would have thought that I gave them a million bucks!   I didn’t realize that third graders would be so excited about a cape! I so love the fact that even though they are growing up…they are always ready for some fun!

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I have promised the students that they can wear their capes on the first day of Reader’s Workshop!

If you would like the super reader graphic, you can download a copy below!


I also posted a freebie on Saturday for our beginning of the year “I Am” poems. Here are the finished poems…

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Well, I am off to rest this voice of mine and get ready for another crazy busy day tomorrow! Happy {almost} Wednesday, sweet friends!

Teacher Week: Freebie Friday & First Week Peek

I did it!!!! I survived the first week of school, cross country practice, football games & three doctors appointments. I haven’t been this tired in a very long time! Regardless of how bad my feet ache, this week was one of my best first weeks yet! I think I am going to love this third grade thing! 

We began our first day rockin’ the shades! The kiddos couldn’t get enough of them and actually continued to wear them throughout the week!


Click below to grab the Freebie!

My Future is Bright

While they were looking too cool for school, we had to take a few first day pictures!


Then, since my kiddos already knew one another so well, {we have been together for three years now} I really wanted to do something super fun and unique on the first day of school for our classroom introductions! Cue the mad libs! First of all, this was a great review of the basic parts of speech…AND…they were stinkin’ hilarious! So basically, the kids created a list of random words, and then filled the words into a beginning of the year story in the matching blanks.

Click on the pictures below to snag a copy!

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(Do not let your kiddos read the story while filling in the blanks…they will go change crazy and want to change everything!) :)

Along with our student mad libs, I had the kiddos write "I Am” poems which we displayed with  our first day of third grade pictures! They turned out super cute! (Click on the picture to download the freebie!)

I am Poem

After the first day craziness, we spent the next few days getting into all things champions using my Going for the Gold pack! Of course, I had to pull out the American Flags!


One of their favorite activities for the week was our Snack Mix of Champions! Are you surprised? Kids + food = one happy classroom! ;) This mix set the tone for the school year, and the kids have already been referring back to this activity when discussing expectations for the year!

First Week Peek II

Freebie Below!


While eating our snack mix, the kiddos spent some time thinking about all of the things they would like to accomplish in third grade! And…we may have even watched some videos of Michael Phelps at the Olympics! ;) Here is how our goal setting books turned out!

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And since the first week is not just suppose to be *ALL* fun and games, I even managed to squeeze in a few instructional routine practices!

We began each day learning our new morning song…. (Click on the picture to download)


…and we began our Mission Possible Math Review! You can read more about this freebie HERE!


Well…4 days down…176 to go! Here’s to a great year! Happy Weekend! <3

And…it’s not too late to link up with Blog Hoppin’ for Teacher Week! So, head on over and show us your FREEBIES! 

Must-haves Monday!

I am so excited about teacher week 2012! Today, it is all about the must-haves! So, I hope that you have a good hour or two, because there are only a million things that I need on a daily basis! Most would call that high maintenance…especially my husband! ;)

Let’s begin with the basics, shall we???…


Enough said! ;)

Now that the most important must-have has been introduced, I am going to try and stay organized with my next 1,000 few must-haves for the classroom! {Organization is only temporary…it’s a beginning of the year thing!}

Must-have Materials:


Not only do I love me some Ron Clark, but I also love his Essential 55. Unfortunately requiring the youngsters to remember 55 rules is not going to happen any time soon! Narrowing it down to 10 seemed to do the trick! These essentials hang in my room every year! If you would like these posters for your room, click on the pictures above!


I know…I know…worksheets are so a thing of the past! I agree! But…these books are some amazing resources! I love them! Plus, I use the reading skills book for cold readers to get an accurate measure of my kiddo’s comprehension skills. Whatever grade level I teach, I typically purchase a grade level above/below. This always works so well when trying to meet the needs of a diverse classroom!


I have talked about DOGOnews on my blog before! It is so perfect for the classroom, that it deserved a second chance in the spotlight! :) This is an online current events resource that you will definitely want to check out! You can check out my post about this HERE!

Double Copy Books

Lots and lots of double copy books for reading partnerships! Why must books be so expensive?!?


Although I have yet to use this crazy amazing resource, I know it will be a must have for me this year! If you haven’t checked out Lesson Plan’s Reading Binder, you might want to! ;)

Thinking Clouds for GR groups! These clouds do the trick of getting all of the students actively involved in their reading. You can check them out by clicking on the picture above!

Must-have Daily Procedures/Staples:


Every morning, we begin with our morning song! I wouldn’t want to begin the day any other way! It gets the kiddos up and moving and wakes up those sleepy brains!

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Mission Possible Math: This strategy replaced my morning meeting time and I LOVE it! It is my favorite time of day! This is the perfect way to provide enrichment for all of those braniacs while scaffolding others still working towards mastery! You can read more about this by clicking on one of the pictures above!

Must-have Teacher Necessities:

The Cameo…Do I really need to go into detail? ;)

Common Core App: I love having the standards organized and ready on my phone. Plus, this app allows you to view the standards for the grade level above and below in the same area.

And…last but not least…who doesn’t love scented markers?! These are my absolute fave for creating anchor charts!

Ok…so I am dying to know! What are your teacher must-haves? Link up with Blog Hoppin’ and tell us all about them!

It’s the Final Countdown: Room Updates

Well, this is it! The final weekend before I see 18 sweet faces every. single. morning at 7:25! The faces I am so super excited about! The time…not so much! :) I swore my classroom would be done by this point, but it just never happens the way that I plan!

I spent several hours leveling my classroom library…AGAIN! You see, in our school K-2 levels by GR or DRA levels. Well, now that I am a big kid, we must be leveled by Lexile! Being a big kid has it’s challenges! Ha! Here is a look at where I spent some serious time today!


Doesn’t that look like fun?!? I know, I know…you are so jealous!

Along with all of the excitement that comes with leveling books, I was also able to finish up a few projects that I have been working on over the past week! I will do my big classroom reveal on Wednesday for our Blog Hoppin’ Teacher Week! Don’t forget to check that out {every day} next week!

Back to projects…Have I mentioned that I love my Cameo?!?

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I used that gem of a machine to create these student book markers! When they pull a book from the classroom library, they will use the marker to hold it’s place so they know where to return the book when they are finished reading! So long hours of reorganizing books! Many thanks to Teri over at A Cupcake for the Teacher for such a wonderful idea!

I also used my Cameo to create my vocabulary bulletin board which will house content words for the week…

Vocab Board

and my Brainstorm Board where we place important “action” words that are found in the standards.


That Cameo is something else I tell you!

Ranking right up there with my Cameo is Beth Newingham! Y’all…she is simply amazing! Once I heard that I was moving to third grade, I knew that I had to implement her interactive reading bulletin boards to help build purpose driven readers! So excited about using these with my sweet kiddos each day!


Peer Recommendations


Identifying Themes


Book Awards and Rave Reviews

These interactive boards are all located in our library so that students can use the information when choosing the perfect book!

I managed to squeeze in a few extra minutes to prepare my math centers {early finisher activities} for the month of August and September!


Loving these rock and roll centers!

And finally, a little art work to spice things up in the library!


This was inspired by my amazing student teacher who moved hours away from me! :( I saw pictures of her classroom and loved how she incorporated chalk drawings into her room! So cute! This was the perfect addition to my library and really tied everything together! I will say…artists {which I am NOT} are some amazing people. Drawing with chalk about turned me completely gray!

I can finally say, it is getting there! The final countdown is on…2 days in counting! Have a blessed Sunday, sweet friends!