Back to School with Tons of Freebies!

Hello darlings!  I've been working my bum off trying to organize my resources to better fit your needs!  I love when I hear back from people on FB and Instagram that my resources saved them time!  That is my goal!  To provide quality resources that save you time and energy!

I saved all of my Back to School FREE and sale TPT products in one place in my store to make your life a little easier.  Check it out here...



One of my favorite Back to School resources is my 3rd Grade Reusable and Editable Substitute Plans.  I made these because I was sick of being sick and having to come in to write plans. Like what I did there?!?  LOL!   It's not fair to make teammates scramble to gather lessons and make copies, though they gladly do it and I gladly do it for them.  I wanted to make a binder that contained EVERYTHING the sub would need for the entire day!  All my teamies had to do was grab the binder and give it to the sub! Check out this video for a visual of all the info below!

Last year, my dear friend and teamie, James, had a sudden death in his family.  His brother died and James had to leave in the middle of the day.  Because he had this sub binder ready, it was a seamless transition for his students and his sub and James could focus on his family.




In honor of his brother, James created a beautiful album with classical piano music.  My kiddos listen to these calming songs when they first come in each morning.  It is a great way to start our day. I begged him to make his music available to other teachers and he reluctantly put his album on TPT!  You HAVE to download it!  He has some free songs on there for you to sample.

Please show him some love and click here!




Once you are done checking out Jame's music, make sure to grab a copy of your very own Third Grade Sub Binder! This resource was created especially for your third grade classroom and is meant to be a resource that can be used over and over throughout the school year. It has been tested and been given rave reviews from substitutes. They love how organized, easy, and detailed it is. 






Simply put these resources in a binder with page protector sheets and you are ready for those unexpected sick days and emergencies. Once you use the copies, simply replace them for the next time. Let a teacher on your team know where the binder is or do what I do and l put it in your desk organizer with your other binders. The binder spine label will be visible for your sub!.

Included;
Detailed directions for each lesson and activity. (editable)
Editable Forms for classroom procedures 
Editable Binder title
Editable Binder spine
Pictures of finished product

Lessons:
1. Reading: Reading Response Scavenger Hunt to use with any 
fiction book
2. Spelling: Working with Words with High Frequency Words List
3. Writing: Proofreading Partner Power 
4. Math: Five math stations with Number Cards to use with each 
game (differentiated with a challenge choice)
a. Estimation Station: rounding to the nearest ten or hundred
b. Place Value Strategist: greatest and least # and comparing
c. Addition's My Mission: sums of 4 digit #'s
d. Comparing #'s War: comparing 4-6 digit #'s
e. Mental Math Mania: increase and decrease by 10 and 100
5. Science/SS: Research to the Rescue Mini Book: use with any 
Nonfiction text 
Extra: Spinning Spelling 
Friendly Letter 

New Math Stations will be added for the second half of the school year. Once you purchase this resource, any updates I make will be yours, free!

Buying one for each of your teammates is really cheap! I am only charging $2 for each extra teacher!!

And remember!  Go check out all the back to school freebies here!!!



Thanks so much to Tammy from Literacy Loves Company for the awesome Teacher Time Savers Linky party! Check out some other awesome time savers on her blog!

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Editable Newsletter Pack and WINNERS!!!

Hello darlings!  I'm getting pumped about Back to School this year!  Normally, I'm praying for summer to to never go away, but that TPT Conference in Vegas really got me inspired again!
I'm trying to create blog posts and products that will be handy for you for Back to School.  Things that will save you time!  If you have any ideas, COMMENT below!  I read every one!
AND
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To start this Back to School Series, I created some easy to edit newsletter templates.  I tried to think of themes people use or generic school kind of themes.


What I am most excited about is the Title Font Art!  I included 8 different title possibilities and all you have to do is copy and past it in your document!  I also included a calendar option or more space option so you can customize it to your needs and teachers already love it!




Click here to get your own set of newsletters!

My sincere wish is that the products I create, make your life a little easier and allow you to spend more time with your family!  How can you let me know if I am accomplishing this?  The easiest way is to pin a pic from this post! 


I would also like to thank everyone who helped me celebrate my blog launch!  Here are the winners!  If you are a winner expect an email from the sponsor of each product!
























Have a fantastic week!!
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Learning Scales Explained and Freebie

Hello darlings!  Have you been using Learning Goals and Scales in your classroom?  My school district recently adopted the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model and Learning Goals and Scales were our top priority last year.  I am not an expert by any means, but I wanted to share with you what works for me in my third grade classroom.

You may not have time to read all of this right now, so pin it and come back to it!

Here is a quick glance at the generic Learning Scale that my school uses.


This Student Self-Assessment Learning Scale follows the Marzano Scale of Understanding model.  Students need to be constantly aware of their own level of understanding. 
At the beginning of the year, explain to students that they will be keeping track of what they understand and what they don’t understand. I always explain to my kiddos that each of us have different brains. Our brain will learn and understand things differently than our friends.  Some of us have brains that work fast and some of us have brains that work more slowly.  Our brains might be really good at math and not so great at reading or vice versa.  That is OKAY.  That is GOOD!  We want our brains to be different.  We don’t want to all walk, talk, and be great at the exact same things.  What we do want is for our brains to LEARN!

I always use myself as an example.  I am really good at reading and understanding what I read, but math is a little harder for me.  I have trouble picturing numbers in my head and I have trouble memorizing facts.  I can still do it, but I’m not as good as my friend Jamie.  She is an expert with numbers and her brain can memorize facts really fast.  I don’t compare myself with Jamie, I compare MYSELF to MYSELF! 

You want your students to track growth in their OWN learning.  I use Data Tracking Binders for all of my students.  We use pre-test data, which I remind them will most likely be horrible, and compare it to post-test data. We graph this data and then we can see the growth that was made by each INDIVIDUAL student.   This is where kiddos can see how much growth their brains have made.  They are always so impressed with how much they have learned and it motivates them to work hard.
I hang the Learning Scale at the very front of my classroom right next to my Learning Targets (goals/objectives) and refer to it at least 2 times during each lesson.  Students are constantly rating their understanding of each lesson. 

There are many ways you can monitor understanding….

Keep reading….

Here is a link to my Data Tracking Binders.  



First of all, your students need to know the goals or targets for the lesson.  Make sure to have this visible throughout the lesson and refer back to it often.  Next, you want your students to HONESTLY indicate their level of understanding on the Learning Scale. In order to do this, YOU must establish TRUST in your classroom community.  No kid wants to admit that they don’t understand something, especially if it seems like everyone else gets it. They become so comfortable in my classroom that I can simply say, “If you are a three or a four, go back to your seat and complete this quick check.  If you are a one or a two, stay on the carpet and let’s work together.”  They get to know themselves as learners and genuinely care more about “getting it” than what their classmates think. 

Kiddos have to know that it is OKAY to make mistakes.  When you make a mistake, own it.  Let your kiddos know you are human and even you make mistakes.  I simply say, “Oops!  Everyone makes mistakes!”  Soon my students mirror me and say it when they make a mistake.  You know how they like to repeat everything you say!  Your kiddos need to feel SAFE in front of their peers.  I let them know right up front I do NOT tolerate laughing or making fun of others.  We establish this everyday by holding Class Meetings.

You have been establishing trust between you and your students and between students and their peers.  Now you want to explain what the Learning Scale is, why it is important, and what you do with the information.

I believe in being up front and honest with my kiddos.  If you respect them, they will respect you. I explain that the Learning Scale is simply a way for us to check in with our brains.  We need to ask ourselves if we really understand the lesson and could teach it to someone else, if we understand it and can do it on our own, if we are starting to understand but we still need help, or if we just don’t understand it. 

I tell them that this is important for me as their teacher and for them.  It helps me decide if my lesson is effective or if I need to explain it a different way.  If most of your kids are a 2 or 1 after the lesson, then you missed the mark and need to present the info in a different way.  That’s okay!  As teachers we can have a class one year that has no trouble with regrouping and we can teach it the same way the next year, and it just doesn’t click with that class.  That’s why teachers are humans who are flexible and can adapt.  Teachers are not robots. 
The scale will very easily allow you to monitor your students’ understanding and adjust your teaching to meet their needs.

When I use the Learning Scale with my students for the first time, I want most of them to say that they are at a one or a two.  I want them to all feel comfortable with the lower numbers and to understand that this is NOT a grade!  This is just a special code for us to talk about what they “get” and “don’t get.”  I don’t want my students thinking that a one is bad and a four is good.  That is not what this is about at all.  EVERYONE should be starting off at a one or two for every new lesson you teach.  (Your gifted learners may be at a 3 or 4, but you know them.)

I try to make this really easy by using my dog as an example.  You can use your kids or even your cat.  I start off the lesson with all of my kiddos on the carpet with a dry erase board.  I then ask kiddos to write down everything they know about my dog on their dry erase board.  Since this is the beginning of the year, I have introduced myself and told kiddos that I have a dog named Cullen, and they know he is black from his picture.  But that is it.  I then start asking them questions that I know they cannot answer like, “What kind of food do I feed him?”  “Where does he like to sleep?”  “How old is he?” etc.  Kiddos are now just guessing.

Now I ask them to use the scale to rate their knowledge of Cullen.  Explain the scale and then tell them to hold up the amount of fingers to match their level of knowledge. 
(4) Do they know everything about him and could teach someone else about him?
(3) Do they feel confident that they know a lot about him?
(2) Do they know a little bit about him but need to be told more information?
(1)Do they not really know anything about him?

Most of your kiddos will say they are a two.  For the darlings that “think” they are a 3 or a 4, ask them to prove it by answering some questions.  This is your opportunity to tell your kiddos that a two or a one is EXACTLY where you expect them to be!  Give air high fives to all your kiddos who held up a two or a one.  Make a big deal about it.  You want them to know how proud you are of them for being HONEST and KNOWING themselves as learners!!!! 

Now spend the next few minutes telling your kiddos about your dog.  Have them interact with each other on the carpet.  Ask them to turn and talk to their partner about what they know. 
Use the same scale again.  Have kiddos hold up their fingers to indicate their level of understanding.  Most kiddos will now be at a three.  Three is the GOAL!  In a Marzano Scale, four is really for your gifted learners who present information in a different way.  Sketch a quick graph on the board with the 4,3,2,1 scale on the y axis and First score and Second score on the x axis.  Show kiddos how to graph their scores.  Now have them make a quick sketch on their dry erase boards.  Show them that the difference between these two numbers is their GROWTH.  This will get them ready for Data Tracking!!  

There are many ways you can check where your kiddos are landing on the Learning Scale.  Here are just a few ideas.

Closed Eyes:  Easiest one!  Have students close their eyes and hold up fingers to indicate their place on the scale.

Paper Assignments:  Have kiddos complete an assignment and place a 4,3,2,1 in the top right hand corner and circle it.  This is private and allows you to see if their actual assignment grade matches with what they think is their level of understanding. 

Dry erase boards:  Have students complete problems or answer questions and show you the answer.  They can also write their score on the board in the top right hand corner and circle it.

Flip Card on Rings:  Create a mini flip card ring of the scale for each kiddo to keep with them. They can turn to the correct card.

Bookmark and Mini-Clothespin:  Tape the bookmark scale to each child’s desk. Do not tape the top.  They can use a mini-clothespin or paper clip to indicate where they fall on the scale.

Quick Check:  Create one problem for students to complete.  I just write it on the board and have students complete the problem on an index card.  On the back, they indicate where they are on the scale and explain why.

Turn and Talk:  Have students turn and talk to a partner and tell them their number and explain why they chose that number. 

Four Square: Get them up and moving.  Only use this for lessons you feel won’t have any outliers.  Name each corner of the room a number 1-4.  Have students stand in the corner that corresponds to their level of understanding.

Back to Back: Another good one for movement.  Have kiddos walk around the room silently.  Ring a bell or say a magic word and students must stop and stand back to back with the closest person to them. (no following friends around)  When you say share, they turn around to face the person and tell him or her what level they are on and why.  Ring the bell again and students start walking around.  Repeat a few times.  

Thanks for sticking around!  I know that was a lot to read but I hope it was helpful!



What tips or tricks do you have to monitor student understanding?  Please share an idea or an Ah ha moment!
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TPT Vegas 2015 Amazingness!

Hello darlings!  I can't tell you how much fun I had at the TPT Conference in Vegas this past week!  A lot of people have asked me how much it cost and if it was worth it.  Hmmm.... let me think... YES!  I saw pics from last year and I knew I had to save up.  So, if you were at home and were so annoyed by all the fun pics of Vegas (like I was last year), save up and go!!

I'm linking up at the Elementary Entourage for this Vegas Conference Post.


First of all... I went SOLO.  Yep.  I was scared.  I didn't think I would make any friends.  I am NOT outgoing and I HATE small talk because I suck at it.  BUT.. I sucked it up and knew that "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten."  Guess what?  I made A LOT of friends!  These people are great!

I stayed at the Venetian which is where the conference was held.  If you have never been to Vegas, these casinos are little cities.  You could literally never see the light of day for a week.  I was teasing some of the girls because they never left the hotel until the last night.  I was out exploring the strip by myself.  LOL!

My hotel room was huge!




SDE had a conference before the TPT conference for Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, Singapore Math, and Differentiated Instruction.  I got to go check out the exhibit and bought some awesome 20 sided dice! The things teachers get excited about!



The best decision I made was to go to the Cool Kids Meet Up hosted by Kayse Morris and Literary Sherri.  It was a smaller meet up at a B&B Burgers and Beers and it allowed me to get to know some people before the HUGE Meet Up later that night!  I met these lovely ladies!  Angela from Fun in 5th Grade, Jane from Canada, and Stacy from Made With Love.




The TPT Blogger Meet up was GIGANTIC for reals!  This is only one side of the line!  They gave us some awesome swag and a free drink.  Yes, I drank wine at a teacher function.  Don't tell my principal...



And then I became a stalker.  Now, I am not a big celebrity fan.  If I saw an actor on the street, I would never go up to them.  I honestly need the illusion to remain real, but with these teacher bloggers it was different.  I follow their blogs all the time and I have so much respect for them as educators.  I HAD to meet them!


Oops!  I forgot Molly's blog button!  She's amazing and blogs at Lessons with Laughter!

If you are a TPTer you probably want all the goods about the sessions.  I know I did last year!  I honestly have no idea how much I can share with you.  Most of the presenters specifically stated not to share this info outside of the conference.  It sucks, but I get it.  They worked hard on these presentations and the conference goers had to pay a lot of mula to go.  So go next year!!!

I can tell you my big take aways.
1. My biggest take away was to realize that I am a Teacher Author- a Teacherprenuer.  This conference made me feel legit and that I am doing nothing weird or wrong by selling my creations.  I always felt like I had to hide it from friends and colleagues.  I always apologized for my crazy font and graphic obsession.  Here, I found that there are TONS of teachers just like me.  So, yep, I have two jobs.  TPT is shifting the way educational materials reach teachers and I am a part of that.

2. Social Networking is HUGE.  Blog? Check.  Instagram? Check.  Facebook? Check.  Pinterest? Check.  Twitter?  Really?  Check.  You need to establish relationships with other people in your Teacher Tribe; 3rd grade for example.  You need people to swap products with and get feedback.  You need to find people who can use your products with their students, take pics of it in action, and blog about it.  If you would be interested and you are a third grade teacher with a blog following, contact me.  thatteachingspark1@gmail.com

3. Videos: Videos are becoming a thing now.  Taking videos of your products and explaining how to use it or seeing it in action.  I want to try this....but...we shall see....

4. Promote other TPTers!  Lift up others.  Encourage and help others!  This is how you help yourself too!  I am so honored to have met so many amazing teachers who are willing to work together even when we are essentially competing.  What a great community!


Here are some of my tips for next year.  God willing, #10 will happen.  LOL!






Did you go to Vegas?  What did you like best?
Didn't get to go?  Will you go next year?

If you haven't entered my giveaway, scroll down!  It is huge people!  

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Blog Launch Giveaway

Hello darlings!  If you've been following me at 3 Teacher Chicks, you know that I am all about providing time saving tips and tricks for teachers, especially third grade teachies!  Thank you for following me over here to my NEW SOLO BLOG!

SHARE the pic below somewhere on social media and email me the link at thatteachingspark1@gmail.com and I will send you a SPECIAL FREEBIE to show my thanks!


3 Teacher Chicks is my baby, but when my two blog buddies couldn't blog any more, there was only 1 chick.  I stayed 3 Teacher Chicks for a whole year by myself, but, I felt I had multiple personality disorder.  Friends: "What's your blog?" Me: "3 Teacher Chicks."  Friends: "Cool!  Who are the other chicks?"  Me: "There aren't any."  Friends: "Oh."

Sooo.... I'm ready to change everything over to this new baby!  I'm still SUPER scared I'm going to lose readers and fall into the black abyss that is the unfollowed blog!  What if people don't know I moved?  What if all my old pins lead them to 3 Teacher Chicks and they never find their way here?  What if they search for old products on TPT and find my store is gone????? AHHHH!!!!  (It's not gone, the name just changed)   Such fear keeps me awake in the dark hours of the night.  LOL!

YOU are here so THANK YOU!!!!  Please enter this amazing giveaway and tell all of your friends! Remember, if you post the pic above on social media, email me the link at thatteachingspark1@gmail.com and I will send you a SPECIAL FREEBIE!  There are some awesome prizes here!

























A special thanks to the sponsors of this giveaway!  Show them some love by clicking the name!


Thank you for helping me launch my new blog!  

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