Monday, February 25, 2013


On Friday we finished up our Mystery Book Club Reading Workshop Unit. My kids love reading workshop, love books clubs and love mysteries! So I knew it would be a success.

I base my Workshop units off of Lucy's Third Grade Common Core Book. (I am going to Lucy Calkin's Writing Conference in a few weeks and I am soooo excited!).  I also used Nicole Shelby's Mystery Unit to accompany some of our workshop lessons.

In fact, these fabulous posters are Nicole's!

 Ignore the skeleton poster, can you tell I have a lack of wall space??  I loved having these posted throughout the unit.  The students were so cute when they used the mystery vocabulary words to describe their reading.  It was like they were really investigating the mysteries!

I split my students into three groups.  My highest group read Encyclopedia Brown. My middle group read A to Z Mysteries and my low group read Bailey School Kid Mysteries.  Our principal gave us some hard to come by moolah, and we were able to order some small group sets.  We were able to order 4 different books in each series and we shared them across the grade level. 

Here is how I do book clubs, it's not really literature circles or guided reading. The students read the book on their own during our 40 minutes of independent reading time.  They have a task to respond to into their reader's notebook. Then at the end of the time, they meet with their book club to discuss and share their thinking. (I don't do book clubs all year, just for a couple of units)

Now for some charts. (Please ignore my not so neat handwriting and dying markers)

We spent the first few days talking about the characteristics of a mystery. The detectives, the plots, the clues, the red herrings. 

We used some Nate the Great books for our mentor texts.  So we charted clues and suspects as a class. Then they did the same for their own books. 

We also talked about buzzing with our book clubs. 

The fun really started when we got into our second and third books! We compared our character and books across the series. 

We also talked about how mysteries can teach us things about human nature. 
Can you tell I was in a hurry with that chart? haha!

Well, there's a little peek into our mystery unit.  My kids had a blast and they were so into reading other books in their series. I LOVE listening into their books clubs to hear their thinking.  My class is just too cute this year!

Also, I have some new St. Patrick's Day Task Cards at my TPT Store. 

I hope you all had a great Monday! :)   

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If We Can Write, Then We Can Solve!

We are finishing up our big Multiplication and Division Unit this week.  I love teaching multiplication in third grade.  The kiddos are always so excited because it is something new.  Since a deep understanding of multiplication and division as equal groups is such a big part of Third Grade Common Core, we spent last week writing multiplication and division problems. If students can write an equal groups word problem, than they should be able to identify an equal groups problem!

I had each student write a multiplication problem and division problem.  On the front they wrote the word problem and drew a picture. Then on the back, they wrote an equation and showed how to solve it.

Then I created Equal Groups Books

Excuse the fact that they are not cute at all!!  Each book had around 10 word problems. 

Then during Math Workshop, solving these class word problems was one of their options.  They loved it, since their friends wrote them. 

We also had a little technology project, using tables as arrays.  I had the students write another multiplication word problem on an index card. Then we went to the computer lab and they typed their problem in Microsoft Word.  I taught them how to insert a table and array!

Their favorite part...choosing a font!  It was an easy way to get them practicing their typing skills and integrating some fun technology!

Well I'm outta here to watch my favorite show, New Girl! Do you watch this show?  
You should and you'll love it! I love all things quirky and it is definitely quirky. 

Have a great Wednesday friends!

Monday, February 18, 2013

On the Menu- Week 2

Last week I posted my weekly menu and lots of you said that you liked it, so I decided to share again! Like I said yesterday, I had a crazy week, so I only got to 3 of the 5 recipes I shared last weeek.  I made the slow cooker lasagna, Caesar chicken and chicken taco chili! They were all great!  I LOVED the Caesar chicken especially.  Sooooo good.  I ate it on a hoagie that night and a wrap for lunch the next day.  So since  I didn't get to the other the other two recipes, they were added to the list for this week. So that made shopping a little easier!

So here is what is new for this week.  I even have two super easy recipes.  I am a lazy cook and I like to make things as easy as possible.

1. Breakfast for Dinner-Pancakes, Eggs, Hashbrowns and Baked Apples. Easy meal, but so good!

I love baked apples.  I especially love when they are 0 WeightWatchers PointsPlus! So here is all you need

  • An apple or two
  • Splenda, Truvia, some sort of sweetener (you could use Splenda Brown Sugar too)
  • Cinnamon
  1. Core and slice the apples
  2. Throw the apples slices in a mixing bowl or ziploc bag with the sweetener and cinnamon (I don't really measure, I just throw a little bit in!) Coat the apple slices with the mixture. 
  3. Bring 1/8 cup of water to a boil.  Add apples.  
  4. Cook for 5-15 minutes or until tender. 
  5. Remove from heat and cool.  A syrup will form. 

Soo good!  I like to make it for a snack sometimes too!

2. Beef Vegetable Soup-One of my all times fave, this one isn't online, my mom always made it. I just finished eating it and I can't wait to eat it tomorrow for lunch.  It was 5 WWPointsPlus for a cup, but it depends on what veggies you put in. If you leave the potatoes and corn out and just put free veggies in, it would be less points.

Here's the lowdown.


  • Container of Beef Pot Roast ( I always buy the precooked kind in gravy from the deli section)
  • 10 oz Can of crushed tomatoes
  • Any and all veggies that you like (I literally just grab whatever is in my fridge or cabinets)


  1. Throw all ingredients in your crockpot. 
  2. Cook on low in the crockpot for 6-8  hours, high for 4-5 hours  (or until you're ready to eat it!) 
That's it! I told you it was easy! I made it last night and put it in the fridge.  Then I put it on for before I went to work this morning.  I've cooked it on the stove too, but I prefer the crockpot because the veggies really have time to get tender, especially if you're using fresh veggies. 

It doesn't look that delicious, but it sure is good! 

3. Easy Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing- I love this recipe! So easy and so delicious! You only need four things and you just throw them in the crockpot! Click on the picture to check it out.

So there it is.  Did you find any new recipes that you're planning on cooking this week? I'd love to hear about them! :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's Day Photo Dump

I don't know about you but I have had a CRAZY week!  Valentine's Day, Writing Celebrations, Two days away from the classroom working on things for our county, Robotics Meetings, Snow and keeping up with life. I am exhausted even thinking about it!

So that's why I'm a little late announcing my winner to my latest giveaway!

Her laminator is already on the way to her house!  Thanks for all of your endless support! You guys are awesome!

So, I was looking through my phone and I had a ton of Valentine's Day Pictures, so here goes. 

Making Valentine's Monsters

Gifts for my students. The rulers came from Target, $1.50 for a pack of 4! 

Valentine's Math with Conversation Hearts

We had a Cupcake Bar for our Valentine's Day Party

I didn't take a before picture, but this is after.  Not too big of a mess at all. 

All of my treats from my sweeties!

I love my Valentine's Day Scarf and I love my new bangs!

You know how I told you I had a crazy week?  I don't get stressed out easily, but I had a breakdown on Wednesday and these were at home waiting for me! I love tulips!

We had snow for the first time this year here in the Charlotte area! It was really pretty snow!

One last thing. I reached a personal goal of mine!  
2 miles in 20 minutes on the Elliptical!  When I started back to the gym in December I struggled just staying on for 20 minutes, much less reaching 2 miles!  So I was very excited this morning. 

I hope you had a great week with your little sweeties!  I'm so excited to be back all week with my kids.  I think they are going to start to think that my sub is their second teacher! :) 

We do have school tomorrow. What's up with that??  I even forgot it was President's Day until I was doing some online shopping and saw a President's Sale! So, I remembered my little easy George W. Craftivity. It's nothing too fancy, but we will be making them tomorrow! You can grab it at my TPT shop for free! I'd appreciate it if you left some feedback if you download!
Have a great week!

Monday, February 11, 2013

On The Menu Monday

I'm trying this new thing now that I'm on my own again.  I'm being more proactive about planning out my meals for the week. I've lost 23 pounds so far and I really want to keep it up, so no fast food or eating junk for this girl! Soooo, I planned, then I shopped and here's to hoping I can keep it up!

I decided to share with you guys, because I love finding new recipes, so hopefully you do.  They are all healthy, WW friendly.  As well as pretty easy to make.  Let's just say that I love the crockpot! Here's what is on the plan for this week....

All of these recipes are online, so just click on the links below!

1. Last night I made the Weightwatchers Slow Cooker Lasagna.  Trust me, you would never know it's WW!  I've made this one before and it is one of my favorite recipes of all time.  Plus it's a great way to chop up some extra veggies like carrots and zuchinni to add in there.  You'd never even know they were there. 

2.  Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches.  I'm making this tonight and I'm so excited! I love caesar anything! (Plus I found some great caesar dressing that is low in points! Thanks Wal-mart Brand!)

3. Chicken Taco Chili- I love Chicken, I love tacos and I love chili.  Yum. Can't wait!  I haven't made these before but it seems really easy and delicious. 

4.  Skinny Sour Cream Enchiladas- These are DIVINE! I love Mexican food.  I actually don't use the sour cream though. I use plain greek yogurt. It's way lower in WW points and you could never tell the difference. I use greek yogurt in anything that calls for sour cream!

5. Chicken Pot Pie Soup- I haven't made this before, but it intrigues me!  I'll let you know what I think. 

The great thing about all of the recipes, most can be made in the crockpot, so I can put it together the night before and start it when I leave in the morning. I'm also planning on freezing the leftovers, so I can enjoy these tasty meals later when I am way too tired or too busy to cook!  

Also, we finally got around to making our cute little love monsters today for our Valentine's Pouches.  I used to make cute little bags or boxes, but I'm so over that.  Besides I have zero room in my classroom, not to mention zero time!  :) 
Here is mine!  I forgot to take pictures of my kiddos' bags. Pooey! We made the same ones last year, (why reinvent the wheel with my lack of time??).  Click here to visit that post,  plus print out some printables to make your own!  They could also go on a box or a bag, or even accompany some writing!  

Also, while we are talking about oldies, but goodies, here are some freebies from last year to help you out on Valentine's Day! Click on the picture to download them from my TPT shop!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Seriously, Ms. Polk?

Do you ever feel like other teachers have it all together?  Here's an example of how I certainly don't.
This was my calendar Friday, February 8th.

I didn't even realize I hadn't changed it.  Granted I wasn't there February 1st or the 4th.  But still.  I felt like a complete idiot when my students asked if I was ever going to change our calendar!  It happens. 

What are some of the crazy duh huh moments in your life as a teacher? I'd love to hear. (If not to only make me feel better.)

Don't forget, tomorrow is the last day to enter my Big Giveaway! 

Have a great week friends! It's a busy one for this teacher. But aren't they always?  

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