Sunday, June 20, 2021

11 Must Have Chapter Book Series in YOUR 3rd Grade Classroom

One of the best things about being a teacher is being able to stock your classroom up with great books for kids to read. In the early days of my career, I spent the weekends hunting down good deals to grow my class library. When I left my classroom, I easily had over 1,000 books in my class library! You can check this post out for ideas on how to grow your class library on a teacher budget!

Today I'll be sharing 11 Chapter Book Series that will surely be a hit in your 3rd Grade Classroom Library! 
**This post contains affiliate links

I Survived Series

If you're also interested in a list of Popular 3rd Grade Read Aloud Books, you can get that here

Sunday, June 13, 2021

What New Teachers Can Do to Prepare for the School Year

If you’re here reading this post, you must be a new teacher that is eager to start planning for the school year. First of all, let me Congratulate you on landing your first teaching job!!
Bitmoji Image

I wish you the best school year ever :)

Since you’re here, I’m also assuming that you are a planner! Most people will tell you to relax and enjoy your summer (I will, too) but if you’re like me, I wouldn’t be able to because I would always be thinking ‘what can I be doing to plan’. LOL, so I’ve got you covered with 5 things you can start working on now! 

The best thing you can do to start preparing for a successful school year is to start familiarizing yourself with your grade level standards. If your state uses Common Core, this site has great resources for unpacking the standards to help you better understand them!

Select the
2017 unpacked content ‘your grade’ math standards. This resource will help you to know exactly WHAT your students need to know and be able to do, you’ll also see visual examples. 

Now that it’s summer and you have the time (and you’ve familiarized yourself with your grade level standards) start creating and organizing your Pinterest Boards or Instagram Collections. There are SO MANY ideas and resources readily available. I remember when I first started teaching, I spent hours scouring the internet trying to find different ideas on how to teach certain topics. Save yourself time by doing the searching NOW rather than later.

Be sure to label your boards (Ideas for teaching Fractions, Beginning of Year Activities). It’d be a good idea to look through the resources you’re pinning, and only pin what you know you want to try or use. This will help you to be able to go directly to your board and pick something to use. It’ll save you a tremendous amount of time later. 

IG is such a great place to gain new ideas from fellow teachers. Search hashtags to find other teachers in your grade that you can learn from. Be sure to only follow accounts that lift you up and motivate you. As you get into your year, always remember that the teachers you are following have all started in a similar place as you. 

General hashtags like #iteachthird or #thirdgradetribe can be searched and similar hashtags will pop up. You can follow the hashtag on IG, then when you see posts you like, click on the profile, check it out and follow if you're into their feed! :)

You can find me on IG @teachinginparadise

Having clear and specific routines and expectations for everything will help to set your students up for success. Students should know what to do and how they should be conducting themselves for literally anything you might ask them to do.

This may seem tedious, but it will truly help with your classroom management and eliminating transition times or student issues with one another.

Some examples of things you could plan for are:
  • How will students enter your classroom
  • Where and how will they submit work?
  • How will you collect important papers and/or notes from parents
  • What supplies will students keep in their desks?
  • How will you dismiss students to get things from their cubby?
  • How will the use the classroom sink?
  • What will your bathroom procedures be?
  • How will you handle student supplies? Sharpening of pencils?

The more you can plan for, the better you’ll be. You can access a copy of the planning template that I use and also see the things that I create procedures/routines for here

Last but not least, RELAX and enjoy your summer!
happy stroll in meadow
The year will be here before you know it. You’ll have a never-ending to-do list once the year starts, so enjoy your summer while you can!
Find the time to take care of yourself, relax, and have fun!!

You may also be interested in this post: 5 Tips for New Teachers


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

5 Tips for Writing Sub Plans

1. Be Explicit

Be very clear about what the sub should be doing and what the students should be doing. As the teacher, YOU expect that your students know what is expected of them and that they will follow those expectations when you’re not there……but this isn't always the case.
I’ve done my fair share of subbing in classrooms, luckily I know the teachers and their procedures. Too often than not, kids try to bend the rules and get away with things. It’s helpful to clearly outline all expectations so that the substitute knows exactly HOW students should be working (quietly at their desks? No walking around, etc).

Short on time and want to just get your plans done? Here are all the templates that I used to make my own sub plans.

2. Label and Organize 

Label all of your worksheets and assignments with post-it notes so that your sub. knows EXACTLY what to give out when. Be sure to use the same language in your plans as your labels, this helps to avoid any confusion. If you have several different assignments for one subject, you could use color-coded post-it notes and designate which color to hand out when. (Send home math homework-(blue post-it). 
Click here for a tutorial on how to print on sticky notes.

In addition to labeling everything, organizing all of your papers in the order that they are to be handed out is helpful for your substitute teacher. This takes out the guesswork and sets them up to avoid any confusion.

3. Student Transitions

Make it easy for your substitute to keep track of when students need to leave for special classes or services. In the designated time block, write out who needs to go where (and at what time). Use a different colored font so that it stands out. 
*Bonus tip: leave a note on the board so that older students can watch the clock and remind themselves. 

4. Plan for Quick Finishers

Provide your substitute with a checklist to keep track of which students finished what assignment. I always advised the sub to collect work back at the end of the block so that he/she could keep track of who is finished and/or who needs additional time.

Let the sub know what students should do when they are done with their work. It's helpful to include a list of activities your early finishers can do. Since the sub already has a list of students who need additional time to complete assignments, there won't be any issues for them to direct the quick finishers to the extra assignments.

*I also like to include a page in my sub plans that help the substitute come up with activities or things to do with the class with extra time. Sometimes lessons will finish earlier than expected, so providing them with a backup plan is always helpful! I include a one-pager with different activities and instructions as well as the estimated amount of time the activity will take, that way subs can choose which ones will work for them! If you'd like to take a look at that, it's included in my Emergency Sub Plans.

5. Be Concise

Too often than not, substitutes come to school right before the bell and often don’t have time to read through your entire set of plans. Be as clear and concise as possible. Include enough information so that they are clear on what to do, but don't add TOO MUCH wording/instructions as it may get glossed over as they are rushing to read through plans as students are coming in.

It helps to break up the text and blocks so that the subs can read through the information in chunks. 

Last but definitely not least, plan for emergencies! You never know when a bug will hit you hard or you find a dead car battery when you're already running late to work. Having a set of Emergency Sub Plans for those last-minute, unplanned situations that occur will save you A TON of stress! 

Set your plans up in an Emergency Sub tub or Binder. 

If you're a 3rd-grade teacher, I've got you covered fwith an already written and ready to assemble set of Emergency Sub Plans! All you need to do is add specific information to your class, students, and schedule using the editable pages! You can find that set here