Classified Staff Appreciation Week

We recently had Classified Staff Appreciation Week.  I put up a list of all the classified staff at our school under the doc camera and had my students write thank you notes.  This was the funniest one of all.  I made the student add the word “probably” after asking, “Have you talked to our custodian and he has personally told you this?”, to which the student admitted, “No.”

And in our custodian’s defense, he never sighs or has a bad attitude about his work; he’s fantastic!

Thank you


Optional: Draw a Picture

To entertain both the students and myself, I put this optional “draw a picture!” question on a quiz.  These were a few that I particularly enjoyed.

Seahawks Multiplication Paper Chain

If you’re in Seahawks territory (or are a fan somewhere else), this is a fun way to let your students make a decoration AND have it be educational!

Each student gets 6 blue strips and 6 green strips of paper.  Students write one multiplication fact per strip (for mine, they did it for whatever level they’re currently working on mastering in our  Timed Multiplication Challenge). I let them write things like “Go Hawks!” on the other side of the strip if they wanted to.

Tape or glue together like a normal paper chain, and voilà!  Educational and decorational.  :)

Edit/update: A smart colleague of mine had the idea of practicing spelling words on these.  You could also do addition or subtraction or division facts.  Or… write a paragraph, with a sentence on each strip.  Or a poem!  So many ideas!

Seahawks Multiplication Paper Chain

PS: The 3rd grade CCSS math standard for this is: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.OA.C.7


When my students left at 3:40 today, I took a deep breath and thought “Okay, now it’s time to get some work done.”  Then it hit me- the 6(ish) hours of actual hands-on teaching I do each day don’t feel like work.  It’s the prepping, planning, grading, emailing, form-filling-out-ing, etc, that I do before and after school that is the more mentally draining/”feels like work” part of my job. Interesting. Reminds me of an article I read about Finland or somewhere overseas that has much shorter instructional hours to allow time for all that “other stuff” that has to be done.  I think I’ll move to Finland!  (Kidding. Probably.)

This isn’t the same article I mentioned, but another one on how awesome the Finnish education system is.

My Hair

My hair is in between straight and wavy when in its “natural state.”  I normally blow dry it and wear it straight, but sometimes I wear it scrunched with mousse/gel/hair spray to make it wavy.  Last year and this year, I waited a few weeks into the school year before wearing it “curly style” for the first time.  Both years on the first time of curly style, the comments from students were pretty funny.  This year I had a post-it on my homework check-off clipboard to be ready to write them down.  Here are a few of the funny reactions/comments from students:

“You took a shower!” (I take a shower every day, thank you very much)

“What happened to your hair?!”

“You look curly!”

“You got rained on!”

“I thought you were Mrs. N!” (Me: “Why?”) “Because you have that kind of hair.”

“It looks like you took a shower and your hair’s all wet.”

We’ll see if they have any comments the next time around – or if any of them notice how long I keep my hair in straight mode and how long I keep it curly.

Things I’ve Learned: Paper Cranes & Curriculum Night

paper crane

The main point: paper cranes are much harder for 3rd grades to make than I expected.

Factors adding to the difficulty for the students:
-their teacher not knowing how
-lack of printed directions
-no example
-incorrect size of paper

The extended story:

In grad school, one of my professors shared the genius idea of having students make a “surprise gift” for their parents for curriculum (back-to-school) night. The students write an invitation to curriculum night, in which they tell their parents that there’s a surprise waiting for them at school!  It helps get the students get excited about it, and they (hopefully) pass the excitement home to their parents.  I wanted to do that this year, but wasn’t sure what to have the kids make.  Then one day Isaw a paper crane on a student’s desk.  I thought “Oh!  That would be a great curriculum night gift!”  However, I don’t know how to make paper cranes.  I asked the student, “Do you think you’d be able to teach the class how to make those?”  He said yes, though with hesitation.  Great!  Let’s go for it!

The next day, I gave the student the floor.  First step: take the rectangle paper and fold it to make it into a square and trim off the excess.  About 5 students (out of 27) could do this without help.  This should’ve been a warning to me to stop and give up, but did I?  No!  We plowed through that whole project- step by tedious, slow step.  It took way longer than I expected.

The end result was as desired though: the students were excited, and proud too!  I will not make paper cranes during the 2nd week of school without additional adult help ever again, but I will continue the “make your parents a gift for curriculum night” idea.  And I’m open to (simpler) ideas for that purpose!  Leave a comment below if you have one.  :)

Sharp / dull pencil can labels – updated and in color

I have another post somewhere on here of labels I made for my pencil cans.  I decided to update them this year because:

1) I wanted them in color.

2) This past year, I frequently observed students at the sharp pencil can going through and pulling them all out to find one with an eraser. 

3) Having the sharp ends sticking up seemed a little dangerous at times and caused marks on the wall behind the can (I put a piece of construction paper behind it to protect the wall, which worked, but isn’t something I want to worry about).

So now, sharp pencils will be point down and dull/broken pencils will be point up.  We’ll see how it goes!

Low-res preview: 

 Sharp:dull pencil label in color (low res)

And here’s the PDF: sharp:dull pencil label-in color

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