Friday, June 30, 2017

Are your kids constantly losing their markers, colored pencils, and crayons?

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen these!

We have tables in my classroom and use community supplies. Each table gets a supply caddy with colors (markers, colored pencils, and crayons), scissors, glue, and highlighters. I love community supplies because it gets kids learning to share with one another and be patient. This was my first year that my little darlings... well.... always had trouble with the "patience and sharing" concept. If a different kid at their table was using the red marker, they would run up to me and explain to me that their table needed another red marker. We had plenty of class meetings about what it looked like to share, and what it looked like to be patience while their color was being used.

Another way that my kids had trouble with supplies this year is they constantly lost everything! I'm not sure what happened, perhaps they have a new fondness for eating supplies. Yet it was almost daily that one of my students would come up to report that they lost a certain color marker, colored pencil, or crayon.

To ease the pain that I felt this year of supplies being lost (were they eaten? Stolen? Thrown out the window? I shall truly never know), I opted to create drawers that are color-coded. Students will be free to come up and pick up a different color if their table is suddenly missing one. We will create class rules and expectations on this, however. Such as using it as a last resort, or returning a color if you have one too many.

I have two tall, white Sterilite storage towers in my room. I used to fill these with my classroom teacher supplies (staples, adult scissors, binder clips, White-Out, etc.). I decided to make these something that my students are allowed to have access to as well. With the addition of these handy dandy file drawers that a retiring teacher gave me, I now have an incredible amount of storage space in my room. These drawers are perfect for the color-coded colors! Now all I need is a cute name to give this area.... "Color Drawers?" I'll need to brainstorm this!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Enter to win a set of 40 book bins!

On Wednesday, I blogged about how functional, sturdy, and beautiful these Steps to Literacy plastic books boxes are.

I am raffling off one set of 40 book boxes, in your choice of Primary or Fun colors! The Primary set includes 40 book bins in red, yellow, green, and blue, while the Fun color set includes 40 book bins in neon green, light blue, purple, and orange. A set of 40 book boxes at Steps to Literacy are worth $119.96!

Want to win a set of your own? There are a few ways to enter. Increase your entries to increase your chance of winning! You can:

  • Follow Glitter in Third on Facebook
  • Follow Glitter in Third on Teachers Pay Teachers
  • Tweet a message (you can do this every day to increase your entries!)
  • Leave me a shout-out in the comments section how you would use these book boxes in your classroom

Enter using Rafflecopter below. You can enter up to three times by following Glitter on Third on Facebook or Teachers Pay Teachers, and/or leaving a blog post comment. Want to have even more entries? You can enter every day to increase your amount of entries if you Tweet a message daily! If you need help or assistance on how to enter, email me at

Winners will be announced here on July 10th! Winners will also be contacted by email. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't want to wait to see if you win? Steps to Literacy provided me with an exclusive promo code to save you money! Use the code GLITTER2017 to get a 10% discount on sets of 20 and sets of 40 book boxes! Don't need a set of 20 or 40? You could buy exactly what you need and use code freeship for free shipping!
Good luck, teachers!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Steps to Literacy Book Bins

My absolute favorite thing in my classroom are my boatloads of book bins in lime green and marine blue. These bad boys work for SO MUCH MORE than just books. The Steps to Literacy book bins are high-quality, sturdy, and most of all functional. You can read my original review from two years ago here. Check out the exclusive promo code at the end of the post if you're interested!

Here's some of my book bin history. I originally inherited a bunch of book bins from Really Good Stuff from a retiring teacher at my school. In my mind, Really Good Stuff was the holy grail of book bins compared to the ones I often found at the Target Dollar Spot. I ran into issues with the Target Dollar Spot ones splitting and falling over. The Really Good Stuff book bins were all different colors - red, orange, yellow, and blue. Sadly, these did not fit my color theme but I made it work. As I came into my third year of teaching, I desperately wanted to have a calming blue and green room but could not stomach the cost of the bins at Really Good Stuff when I couldn't get the exact colors that I wanted. I also felt like the book bins were always falling over. I started doing research and discovered Steps to Literacy. Steps to Literacy has extremely low book bin prices and has lots of beautiful colors to fit any classroom! I took the plunge and have never looked back! These book bins make my heart go pitter-patter. These book bins are incredibly multi-versatile, inexpensive, beautiful, and sturdy. I urge anyone who is thinking about buying new book bins for next year to check them out, you will not be disappointed!



Book bins
One of my biggest pet peeves is when one of my little angels start to read.... right in the middle of my engaging, fun, mesmerizing, spectacular lesson. Shocking, I know. To solve this problem, I keep my book bins far away from my students' tables. This way, their belongings are still organized and close, but not too close where it provides a distraction. My students books never stay on their table, they are always put into the bins when we are working on something other than independent reading.

Folder bins

I have tables in my classroom, so we do not have desks to store all of our belongings in. That's where these folder bins come into play! Each table is assigned a folder bin. The students' Unfinished Work and Quiet Time folders are stored in these. These bins are the perfect size to fit folders and have them stand up straight!

Weekly lesson organizers

These babies are also perfect as a weekly lesson organizer! On my art cart I put a bin for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  All the worksheets, read alouds, art supplies, etc. are put into the corresponding day. I fancy them up with some chalkboard labels from Amazon, and they work out perfectly!

The Steps to Literacy book bins come in 'Fun colors' and 'Primary colors.' I prefer the 'Fun colors' because really... who wouldn't want a color to be fun?!?! I sure do!

If you're liking the sound of these book bins and are interested in checking them out, Steps to Literacy is offering an exclusive promo code! Use the code GLITTER2017 to get a 10% discount on sets of 20 and sets of 40 book bins!

Steps to Literacy has generously offered up a Set of 40 of these book bins to my wonderful readers. Look for the giveaway on MONDAY! It's like Christmas in June filled with BOOK BINS! My raffle starts MONDAY, so make sure to come back to enter! The winner will be announced the following Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DIY Math Center for Telling Time

All my coworkers know that I am a strong advocate for guided math. I use small, flexible groupings in my classroom mixed with stations. I always have an independent station, a technology station, a math center station, and of course a teacher station. Check out more about how guided math works in my classroom here. My math center station always incorporates hands-on activities or games. This is the station that students look forward to the most! Whether it is building with base-ten blocks, playing multiplication war with a partner, or maneuvering pattern blocks into a specific shape, it's no wonder that kids enjoy math centers so much!

Today I am sharing a great math center idea about telling time from You can check out more of their fun math activities here! This math center uses Legos, or any kind of Duplo-style blocks. Last year one of my classroom parents brought in a MASSIVE box of Legos that her sons no longer wanted, and it has been sitting in one of my classroom shelves. I am excited to incorporate this math center next year during our telling time unit, I know that it'll be a big hit.

Third Grade Math Activities: Time to Match 'Em Up!What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Fine point black marker
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Duplo-style blocks

What You Do:
  1. Use the black marker to draw 12 clock faces, each one showing a different time. Make certain that your clocks are just small enough to fit on two stacked blocks. You could also use clip art or pictures online (I am the worst artist ever).
  2. Cut out your clocks. Tape each one onto the side of two stacked Duplo-style blocks. Double-stick tape works great for this (I stock up at the Dollar Tree!).
  3. Write out the digital times for the clock faces that you drew in Step 1. Cut out these times and tape each onto two stacked blocks.
  4. After you labeled all of the blocks, mix them up. I think these work best in a Sterilite container with a lid.... otherwise these things can get spilled all over the place!
  5. Students will match the clock face with the digital clock.
Want to make this even easier? Grab some Avery labels and print out the clock faces and times. 

This is easy to switch up to! In my state, students in third-grade need to know other names for each time (like quarter 'til, quarter after, and half past). 

What math centers do your students enjoy? Do you think that they might enjoy this activity?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Line plot fun!

Line plots.... a graph that we use every day in life! Oh, wait. We never use them. When is the last time that you opened up a newspaper and saw information in a line plot? Perhaps I am just missing it, but I never have! However in third-grade in my state, our kiddos need to know the ins and outs of line plots. Below is my favorite graphing lesson - the kids love it too!

First, the kids and I make a list of things that a line plot must have!

  • Line (of course!)
  • Labels
  • Key
  • Title

Next, I explain to the kids that each of them will receive a box of raisins. We will be seeing if all the raisins have the exact same amount in each box, and if not, then what is the highs and lows of the raisin count. The kids go back to their seat and count their raisins. My kids tend to get veryyyyyyy excited about fun, tactile lessons. I make sure to remind them that there is no touching of the raisins or boxes until I tell them to! This helps cut down on distracted students playing with their boxes. 

When told to start, each student opens up their box of raisins and counts the raisins inside. On the board, I drew a long line. Together the kids and I brainstormed a good title for the graph, as well as create the key. I ask the students who thinks that they have the LEAST amount of raisins. I call on a student, then ask if anyone has lower than the amount (for example, "does anyone have less than 10 raisins?"). Then I do the same thing but asking for the highest amount of raisins. Together, the kids and I figure out what the interval on the line plot will be.

I explain how to make a tape donut, and walk around and give each student one piece of tape. They place their tape donut onto their box. I start calling kids up to place their raisin box over the amount of raisins in their box. It's so much fun watching the kids start creating the graph and seeing the average amounts!

This activity would also work well with mini bags of Skittles, M&Ms, pretzels.... the possibilities are endless! Let me know if you've done this activity or a similar and what you thought of it :-)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Revisiting classroom rules & routines

It's the beginning of April. Flowers are blooming, cherry blossoms are delighting the masses, rain showers are a welcome change, and bunny rabbits are multiplying at a rapid pace. Of course, not everything is so lovely in April. I don't know about your classroom, but in my own, my kids start getting antsy and rambunctious. My sweet third-graders start showing their fourth-grade colors in April. My girls begin getting clique-y, and my boys begin getting way too handsy with one another. April is the time when I revisit all the classroom rules and routines to help get a handle on some of these behaviors!

We sit down on the rug and revisit all our expectations and rules throughout the week. This might sound like it will take up a lot of valuable time in a day, but honestly it allows us to learn more the rest of the year. Behavior ceases as kids remember the rules and expectations from the beginning of the year. We even create new anchor charts!

The two areas that my kids have the hardest time with around April is stopping when they hear the chime, and how to properly conduct themselves during Quiet Time. Read on to learn more!

This may seem silly, but I think that revisiting STOP! is enormously helpful to students. It seems like a simple thing, but many times after being told to stop, kids continue to be playing with a pencil, talking to a friend, etc. After creating the anchor chart, we practice what stop looks and sounds like. We read/write/talk to friends, I ring the chime, and we see how fast that it will take students to stop. We do a few rounds, and they adore seeing how fast that they can stop!

My school does Responsive Classroom, so each day we have Quiet Time for ten minutes. This is a time for my kids to refocus after a busy morning and afternoon of math, writing, recess, lunch, and specials. It gets us ready to finish off the day on a positive note. For ten minutes, students can read, write, or draw. The teacher gets to choose to do whatever he/she wishes as well! It's a time to free our brains and refocus. However, by April, Quiet Time starts getting borderline obnoxious. Many of my boys choose to walk all over the room writing notes to their buddies. We revisit the Quiet Time rules and expectations to remind students that it is a time for all of us to regain our self-control and focus upon ourselves. 

Which routines do you return to in your classroom? 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Teaching Ancient China

You know what I love most about third-grade? Learning about Ancient Civilizations! There are a multitude of fun crafts and activities for each one that kids love. Does anyone's heart not go pitter-patter when kids are stoked to learn every day?!?

You can check out my post from last year about my favorite Ancient China activities!

Every year I slightly change how I teach. There are just so many fun activities to do - I like to mix it up and keep it fresh. Otherwise my life begins to resemble Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day leads to boredom. Boredom leads to feelings of unhappiness and confusion. An unhappy and confused me results in showing up at school in a velour sweatsuit, a pair of Uggs, two days of greasy hair, and a plastic bag full of $14 worth of Taco Bell. Wait... that sounds like my ultimate dream.

Hey, see these plates? Believe it or not, you can't put them on your wedding registry. They are paper! Who knew?!?!

Okay, so I did this last year. BUT I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Who knew that black and blue tempura paint and a white paper plate that has been sitting in my armoire for a year could result in such magic? The kids will also realize the superhero teacher that you truly are when paints appear.

Now, paints can obviously end in total and utter disaster. I have a lot of rules for the paint. NO ONE can move from their table. They must be sitting, or I will take their artistic creation. I have a few boys this year who constantly wanderrrrrrrrr away to another table to poke or prod a different boy in the class. Nope, not happening when paints are involved!

I also put up pictures of Chinese calligraphy on the projector so they can paint Chinese characters. Add in some Chinese music, and you are in for a relaxing afternoon! So perfect for a fun Friday.

In our state, we teach about the methods of Ancient Chinese farming, including terracing. Terracing is cutting into the hillside so that the water doesn't slide right down the slope. Terracing can be a tough concept for a third-grader to understand who knows nothing about hills or farming practices. To demonstrate what terracing is, I use clay models!

I give each table a tray, a cup of water, and a ball of clay. First, students are directed to make the clay a perfectly smooth ball. Then, they dump half the water over it. They observe what happens to the water (spoiler alert: it rolls right off).

Next, I instruct kids to create a staircase like texture on their clay (I demonstrate). Afterwards, we pour the rest of the water on. The kids observe, then we discuss why the water holds so much better. Why is this better for crops? Why do they think the Ancient Chinese chose to do this? Finally, we look at real-life photos and a video clip to connect their new understanding with real life.


Who doesn't love a foldable? I offer a product on TPT for an Ancient China interactive notebook. For some hands-on fun and learning, these are my favorite. I don't like foldables with intricate cutting, so all of mine are a quick cut. My kids love their interactive notebooks and touching all the fun folds and flaps.


Confession time. I am addicted to Google Classroom. My students adore it, which really just feeds my addiction. Due to this insatiable need to use Google Classroom, I created Ancient China for Google Classroom! It has lots of drag-&-drop feature to engage students, as well as fun colors and pictures. My school is not 1:1, so we complete these usually in table groups or in partners. Not only do the kids work on their understanding of Ancient China, but they work on their collaboration, communication, and technology skills - all those much needed 21st century skills!

No student will be confused about Confucius!

Do you study Ancient China in your classroom? What activities, crafts, or resources do you enjoy incorporating?