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Hi there! It's BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON! Bitter sweet feelings all over. I'm feeling super excited about decorating my class this year, but pretty bumed that summer is over. I have a lot going on this year--- getting married in November and currently in the process of buying our first home! With that said, i'm sticking to my colorful theme from last year and incorporating a couple of Emojis around the room. Because seriously... Emojis are life. 

If you're looking to "Emojify" your classroom, (Yes, that's word and I just made it up) you can grab my Emoji & Donut Decor pack from my TPT shop!

Since it's BTS season and I know the struggle for a good bulletin board and/or classroom door, i've decided to share my all time favorite classroom door decor with ya'll! 

My "Be The Reason Someone Smiles Today" door design was a HUGE hit on Instagram and somehow ended up on Pinterest and Facebook as well! You guys are seriously amazing. I started emailing the file to those of you that asked for it but am having a hard time keeping track of so many requests. Therefore, you can click the link below and just download it for free!





ENJOY!

I would love to see your classroom doors once you have set them up. Feel free to tag me on Instagram or email me pictures at SweetToothTeaching@gmail.com 

Happy decorating! 💓
Figurative language is one of my FAVORITE things to teach! Working at a predominatly hispanic school, I have been exposed to tons of new idioms from so many different cultures. It's pretty hard to keep up! Just like I sometimes find myself having a hard time understanding idioms from other cultures, ELL learners usually demonstrate the most difficulty with figurative language activities. How can I possibly lend you my ear?... 

"That test was a piece of cake!" "It's clean as a whistle!" --Idioms, well-known words or phrases that have figurative meanings different from their literal ones, can be found everywhere from the books we read to our everyday conversations. This fun, hands-on activity provided by Education.com is perfect for kinesthetic learners in our classrooms. 

Using modeling clay, students will represent the literal meaning of an idiom which can then be compared to how we use the phrase when we talk or write. Kiddos can brainstorm all the idioms they knows and think creatively about how to represent their favorite one using clay. They can also pick idiom strips from a box. This is a great way to expose them to new idioms they haven't heard of before!


Students will work together to write down as many idioms as they can think of. They can use the internet to search for ideas or pick an idiom strip prepared by the teacher. Keep in mind that the idioms that will work best are the ones that involve people or things. For example, “hold your horses,” “don’t let the cat out of the bag,” “all in the same boat,” “pick up your ears,” “bite your tongue,” “when pigs fly,” and “you are what you eat” would all be easy to make into a clay model.


Click HERE to grab some free idiom strips!

Have students brainstorm how they will design their piece of art. Have them draw it out before getting started on the clay. For example, if they're making “a piece of cake,” what color clay will be used; will it be sitting on a plate or standing alone?


Now for the fun part! Students will create their idiom using the modeling clay. When finished, depending on the type of clay that is used, you may be able to heat the clay in the oven or sit it out to dry in order to get a finished piece. While the clay is baking or drying, use the time to discuss what each child made. Can they think of examples of how “a piece of cake” (or whichever phrase they each chose) is used in everyday language? How is that different from the actual clay piece of cake that was made?
Once all of the pieces are done, you may decide to have an 'Gallery Walk' around the classroom. Students can set up their models around the room. Students will walk around and interpret each design. What idiom do they think each model represents? What does the idiom really mean?

Prior to starting any activity, you may want to show your kiddos this silly video on idioms and what happens when their meanings are taken 'literal'. 



Hope your kiddos love it!
Text Features is definitely one of my favorite things to teach and review with my kiddos! It's such a huge component of informational text. I make it my mission to have my kiddos become text feature experts by the end of the year. 
Not only is it important for them to be able to identify text features, but they must also be able to interpret them and understand why they are included in the text.
This year I introduced text features by playing the Flocabulary song: Text Features (If you are not a member of Flocabulary, I suggest you get on it! It's a website filled with rap song videos to match different skills across content areas. A couple of teachers and I split the cost of the membership and it has been totally worth it!)

Afterwards, I modeled reading a passage and identifying the text features in it. The students labeled the text features on their own version of the passage. We discussed the features and how they helped us better understand the text. 

The students then created a flap book with the definition of each text feature in their reading notebooks. 
The next day, the students walked into class to find a surgery room setup! I covered their tables with baby blue butcher paper and each student had gloves, surgical cap, and face masks waiting at their desks. (I purchased all of these items on Amazon)


I explained that it was time for Text Feature Surgery! Each student had a Text Feature booklet with a page for each feature. The students were asked to search through different magazines and cut out the text features and paste them on the correct page. 

I sent a letter home the week before the text feature surgery asking parents to donate a school-appropriate magazine for the activity. You can download the letter HERE



I searched "Heart Rate Monitor" audio on YouTube to set the mood. I told the kiddos that they had to be completely silent and concentrated on their surgery. Any little distraction might hurt their patient. ;) 

This was such a fun activity! My students absolutely LOVED it and it really helped them learn those text features! We review text features every time we read an informational text.
I decided to use some of their work as anchor charts around the class. They refer to these anytime we discuss text features. 

At the end of the week I assessed them using this simple cut & paste activity. 

All of these resources are part of my Text Feature Activity Pack

Hey there! Notice anything new....? YESSS! How beautiful is my brand-new blog design by the AMAZING Alexis from Laugh Eat Learn Designs?! She is truly the sweetest person to work with and made my blog design vision come true. (All things pineapple!) 
Since I am so pleased with the way everything turned out, I joined forces with some other amazing TPT sellers/bloggers to bring you a little Blog Launch Giveaway.
A $60 gift card...
to the best place in the world.
TARGET.  
of course.


Simply fill out the RaffleCopter below for your chance to win! Winners will be announced on my Instagram Account: Sweet Tooth Teaching on Wednesday, September 28th. 
Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prepping for the new school year means loading up on task cards, center activities, and GAMES! I'm very big on making the learning environment a fun and organized one. After attending the "Get Your Teach On" conference in Orlando hosted by the AH-MAH-ZING Hope King, I became instantly inspired! Her creativity and genius ideas are seriously something to look up to. If you haven't heard about her.... uhm... you need to head to her blog and watch all of her videos like now
Elementary Shenanigans
One of my favorite things from her conference was her giant Jenga game. She uses a Jenga game to review import skills and test prep with her kiddos. Here's how it works:
She colors the ends of her Jenga pieces. Each color represents a certain skill. (EX: Red-Rounding, Yellow-Multiplication, Purple-Division, etc.)
Luckily, I found this beautiful Jenga game on Amazon for only $13.99! No need to color or get crafty. 
Leo Classic Colorful Wooden Tumbling Tower

I created cards to correspond with each color. These focus on the math skills we will be doing in third grade, however they can work great for beginning fourth graders. 



Here's how to play:
1. Students decide which Jenga block they want to move. (They can also use the rolling dice included in the Amazon Jenga game)

2. Before they can move the block, they must answer the corresponding question. (EX: if they want to move a RED block, they must answer question #1 on the red question card. If another player has already answered that question, then they would answer #2.)

3. ALL of the students playing must agree with the answer in order for the student to be able to move his/her block. (This allows each student to be held accountable during the game.)

4. The next player repeats the steps until someone knocks down the tower just like regular Jenga. :) 


This resource includes B&W version so that you can customize it to fit any colored Jenga pieces. Simply print the questions on colored card stock. It also includes an editable template so that you can create your OWN questions. 

You can find my Math Review Jenga Question Cards in my TPT store.

The best thing about this Jenga game is that it can be customized for any subject/skill/grade level. It can be designed to fit the needs of YOUR students!

You can watch Hope King's video on how she uses Jenga in the classroom below:

Even though it's summer, it's really hard to turn my teacher brain off. One of the major causes for this issue--Pinterest. I don't know what teachers (or people in general) did before Pinterest existed. 
I've spent my summer searching for classroom ideas, decorations, & organizational tips. 
If you don't follow my Pinterest account-- Follow HERE
This month's "Top 3 Pinterest Picks" includes 3 ideas that i've pinned this summer which I plan incorporate into my classroom.

I found this amazing blog post written by Sandy at Soaring Through Second about using Google Forms as a way of tracking parent/student contact information at the beginning of the year. It is pure GENIUS! I don't know about ya'll, but I always find myself chasing after students at the beginning of the year to return all of their emergency contact paper work. Using Google Forms, you simply provide parents a link and they can quickly fill out the paper work on their iPhone or computer. It keeps all of the information organized for you in columns such as: Parent Name, Phone Number, Allergies, Address, etc. I might even set up a computer "station" during parent night at the beginning of the year. That way parents that don't have access to a computer can fill out the documents on the spot!

My supply list this year will include these four highlighters. How awesome is this idea?! I usually ask my students to underline the question, circle key words, and box the information that proves their answer. These highlighters are like a little "Close Reading Kit" and I LOVE it! You can grab the labels for free HERE

Transitioning into Common Core and new state testing, I find that the most difficult part for my kiddos is writing down their evidence and explaining it. I love this bulletin board with sentence stems! It's perfect to help get them started on explaining their answers. I had a similar anchor chart last year, but this one if just fabulous and colorful! (Goes perfect with those highlighters up there) 

Check out some other great pins below! 

Spending 7 hours sitting inside of a classroom can be exhausting for not only students, but teachers as well! I had the pleasure of working with the most hyperactive and energetic class this school year. They were BRILLIANT, but the majority of them could not stay still for 5 minutes. This school year consisted of lots of reflection from my part. I spent much time trying to brainstorm engaging ideas that would get my kiddos MOVING, while still being engaged and on-task.

So, here are 8 activities & ideas that worked for my class. Let's just say, at the end of the school year when my kiddos were asked to write about their "Favorite Third Grade Memories", the majority of these activities were on their list.

 


Cocktail Discussions
Don't worry, there no alcohol required for this. ;) This was actually a great strategy I learned at a CRISS training (I've you've never taken one of these trainings, I highly recommend it! Tons of engaging ideas!) It is very similar to a think-pair-share but with an active twist. I usually use cocktail discussions at a beginning of a brand new lesson just to see what students already know about a specific topic. They are a great way of introducing weekly essential questions.

I write the essential question on the board and circle it. Example EQ: How can we help make the Earth better? The students copy it down in their notebooks and create a web around it. I then set a timer for 2-3 minutes. The students must walk around the room and form a group of 5-6. The groups are usually formed on each of the four corners in the classroom. If the students walk up to a group that has already exceeded the amount of members, they must quickly go and find another group. At their groups, they discuss the topic. Students record information discussed amongst members or any new ideas. After the 2-3 minutes are over and the buzzer goes off, the students must walk around the room and form a new group. (Yes, some of the old members might overlap and that's okay! As long as it's not the exact same group as before.) The students brainstorm new ideas with this group and share any ideas gathered from the previous group. This process can be repeated 3-4 times. The activity is concluded with a whole-class shared discussion.


 Musical Chairs
My kiddos loved this activity and begged me to do it everyday! I used this as a review for 2-digit multiplication, but it can be used to review any kind of skill. Here's how it works: I place the review sheet or activity on each desk. Once the music starts, the students move around the room ---dancing, wiggling, doing the dab.... whatever makes them happy. Once the music stops, they have to find an empty desk, sit down, and solve the first problem. The music starts again, they repeat the process and solve the next problem. I didn't take away any chairs like the typical musical chairs because that would leave kids without an opportunity to solve any problems. It's very important that all students are held accountable during games. There shouldn't be any students sitting out doing nothing.

Scoot!
Scoots around the room are a great way to get your students moving. The best part is that they can be done with any kind of task cards that you may have handy! Simply place the cards around the room (make sure they are numbered) and give each student a response sheet. I pick two numbers at random from my popsicle stick bucket and that determines the buddies that will be working together on the scoot. Each pair starts at a different task card placed around the room. They move around the room answering each card until they have reached their starting point. This can also be done using a timer, but it can be a bit stressful for those students that work at a slower pace.


Vocabulary Charades
Every Thursday I give a group of 3-4 students a vocabulary word. (I whisper it in their ear so no other group can hear it) The students brainstorm a mini skit that will help the rest of the class guess what word they are acting out. The kiddos get so creative with this and even incorporate props from around the room!

Learning "Hut"
St.Patrick's Day happened to land on the week right before state testing this school year.I knew that my students only had a week to prep for the test, but I also wanted them to enjoy the holiday! I set up themed centers to review each of the skills that would be on the test. I did this for math and reading.One of their favorite centers was the "Leprechaun Cave". All I did was hang a green tablecloth over my reading corner to create a little 'hut'. The students worked on elapsed time in there with a student teacher. (I would recommend supervision in that center since you can't really see what's going on inside.) They had so much fun they didn't even realize they were really prepping for the test!
Bucket Review
This is very similar to the room scoots, you would just be using little buckets. Place buckets around the room (You may even want to 'hide' them for some extra fun!) The students must pick up the question inside, answer it, and move on to the next bucket. I found these cute envelopes in the Target dollar section last year and they were perfect for hiding review questions inside:
Take it Outside!
I LOVE being outside, especially with the beautiful Miami weather. Students get to move around and it's a nice change of scenery. During a lesson on shapes, I took my students out to the field and called out different shapes. EX: octagon, quadrilateral, triangle, etx. They had to find enough students and create the shape using their bodies. Easy, fun, and meaningful!
Get Ride of the Desks!
Flexible seating? YES! I have not completely gotten rid of my desks and chairs because I doubt my school would be okay with that. But I do allow my students to work wherever they want whenever it is time for group/buddy work. My students love sitting on the floor to do work. The minute they're sitting on the floor, the level of engagement rises immediately.It really is magical..

Kids will be kids! We surely can not expect them to stay sitting in a desk 8 hours a day without acting up or getting off-task. I know I sure can't! I hope these ideas can help you in your own classroom! :)
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