STEM Activity: Halloween Style

Happy Halloween! I wanted to share a fun STEM activity that I saw all over blogs and Pinterest this week. I knew I had to get in on the action!

Firstly, I showed this awesome Crash Course for Kids video about engineering. Have you heard of Crash Course Kids? If not, check it out! My kids love the Crash Course for Kids videos even more than BrainPop (and they REALLY love BrainPop!).

Next, I read Iggy Peck: Architect. This book is so cute and rhymes- the kids were incredibly engaged on every word. It is also perfect to tie into character education. The kids and I discussed CARES after reading the book, and looked for spots in the book that the characters demonstrated cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.

Finally, we did our STEM activity! I originally wanted to do this with MellowCreme Pumpkins, but due to an incredibly severe peanut allergy, we couldn't use MellowCreme Pumpkins. Brachs' factories have some peanut/tree nut contamination, so the boy's mom said it wouldn't work in the classroom. After some brainstorming, I found that Peeps are made in a nut-free factory! Perfect! Unfortunately, buying a ton of Peeps is way pricier than buying a couple packages of MellowCreme Pumpkins. Thankfully, there were smaller pumpkin Peeps with 24 in a package. Perfect!

What I Am Teaching This Week: Week of October 26

We start our patterns unit this week! This interactive notebook rocks for going over repeating & growing patterns and function tables. Such a fun unit! We use a resource called M3: Awesome Algebra to enrich the unit. However, my interactive notebook is great for the standards and basics that I know my students need to know. The Bill Nye video is a fun way to incorporate patterns into real-life as well. Students realize that there is a connection between patterns and all other content areas, definitely a great cross-curricular connection!

Next week we start literature circle! I am excited to drop by the reading room and start grabbing all the books for my groups, as well as preparing my lit. circle packets for next week. This week we are still reviewing reading passages and using homophones.

    We are finishing up our writing prompts on our favorite holidays! The kids are finishing up their revision stage with a partner, and will be moving on to their final soon! Can't wait to see the finished product.

    Starting our geography unit! This is a very quick unit... only a week long! We cover continents, oceans, using a map, and the grid system. My map skills interactive notebook covers everything and is a lifesaver to keep the unit engaging and fun. I also do lots of Google Earth on the SmartBoard.

    So many holidays are coming up, and I try my best to incorporate them into different content areas. For example, I have many resources that are easily to stick into my language arts rotations for Election Day and Halloween. I do lots of guide word activities so that the kids practice looking up words in the dictionary while still getting practice with the holiday vocabulary (like my election day foldable on the right!).

    Yay, fun week ahead! Let me know if you have any fun ideas or good video resources for various lessons that you may be teaching too :-)

    Making the Switch: Ditching the Desk, Taking on Tables

    Thinking about ditching your desks for classroom tables? Read to find out how to manage storage when your students are using community supplies!

    At the end of last year I made the plunge and switched from student desks to tables. Our supportive principal gave the options to teachers to trade out their student desks with tables from the county warehouse. My teammates thought I was crazy. The number one question that I got from people was, "Well...where is all their stuff supposed to go?" I created an easy system and storage options to make sure that my classroom ran smoothly and efficiently! Since the first day of school my kids have used the table system, and I am never turning back!

    There are so many benefits to switching to tables!

    • No more dragging 28 desks across the floor for 30 minutes when switching seats
    • Easier collaboration and teamwork
    • Greater focus- no tinkering with toys inside desk
    • More aesthetically pleasing and cleaner look (less desk legs!)

    On the morning message on the SmartBoard each morning, I always list out what storage & organizational items that the kids will need for the day. They know to look at the board, and if they are the first ones into their room from their table, pick up the specific organizational supply needed. For example, it will say to pick up:
    • Folder box
    • Blue Notebook Box
    • Supply caddy
    The kids come in, grab the correct boxes, place on their tables, and start their day!

    Below I talk about each place where the "stuff" gets stashed! If you like any of the labels on the boxes, I sell everything in my TPT shop, Glitter in Third!


    My kids are big book readers. As a teacher, I hate complaining about this! Kids should be reading and it's awesome that they love to! But it definitely can get in the way of my instruction when they are ignoring me during science or social studies and opting to read! Due to this, our book boxes are kept across the room from their seats. Then the books are not a distraction during lessons. These GORGEOUS blue and green book bins were purchased from Steps to Literacy. I highly recommend the company, they are very kind and helpful. What is nice about these boxes is that you can pick the colors, unlike Really Good Stuff boxes. The ones I have are in neon and blue! I also use cute chalkboard labels and white paint to label them. Kids also keep their word study notebook in here, so everything is in one place when they need it for language arts.

    I use the book bins I discussed above from Steps to Literacy for these. Each table gets their own folder box. The folders in the boxes are the Unfinished Folder, Quiet Time Folder, and Music Folder. The kids' homework folder is never placed in this box. In the morning, students collect their homework, put in their homework folder, and immediately put in their backpack. The kids never have the excuse now that they left their homework at home! This is the same procedure for their agendas. They write in it, leave it out to be stamped, and it is immediately placed inside their backpack. The folder labels are available at my TPT shop.

    We implement interactive notebooks into math, social studies, science, and reading. As you might be aware, I am a big interactive notebook fan! It makes the kids so engaged and they love to open and interact with the flipbooks and foldables. Click the links for more information on each one!

    My notebook boxes are colored-coded. The blue boxes hold science and math notebooks. The white boxes hold writers' notebooks and social studies notebooks. I will specifically say "get the white notebook box" or "blue notebook box" for them to prepare in the morning or afternoon with their specific supplies. The table labels are available at my TPT shop.
    In the beginning of the year we practice how to hold these boxes. They are not the highest quality in the world because they are from the Dollar Tree, so I make sure the kids know that we hold them from the bottom of the box, NOT the handles. After modeling and practicing the routine, the kids know how to pick up the box and safely & efficiently bring them to their tables.


    Our classroom pencil sharpener picks up all the cups during dismissal and sharpens them for the following day. I detest the pencil sharpener noise, so I only hear it once a day when it's loud and kids are stacking chairs. The pencils are put in the cups in the middle of the kids' tables so that they are not constantly getting up during lessons to sharpen or grab a new pencil.


    Inside the supply caddies, I use see-through Solo cups to store scissors, colored pencils, crayons, highlighters, and markers. Every couple of months I switch out the supplies for new ones. These supplies caddies are located next to the sink. We practice in the beginning of the year the routine to carry them to their tables safely and efficiently. The folder labels are available in my TPT shop.

    Do you use tables in your classroom? What other organizational tips do you have on stashing all the "stuff" that they need throughout the day?

    Thinking about ditching your desks for classroom tables? Read to find out how to manage storage when your students are using community supplies!

    Aid Through Trade bracelets GIVEAWAY!

    Have you heard of Aid Through Trade bracelets? I am OBSESSED with these bracelets. You can see me wearing them in my YouTube videos that I made. One of my teacher friends originally told me about them, and I would always admire them when I saw her wearing them. She told me all about their company, Aid Through Trade.

    Peace Corps volunteer and teacher Damien Jones founded Aid Through Trade in 1993. Women in Nepal create beautiful glass bead bracelets. These women artisans are supported through the income they receive due to the bracelets that they create.

    The bracelets have glass beading. As you can see in the photo (and the name.... roll on!), there is no clasp. They literally roll right around your wrist. These roll-on bracelets are super light, which is a huge plus. These bracelets are shimmery and gorgeous. My favorite are the neutral colors seen to the right because they go well with ANY outfit, no matter what color! These have become my daily piece of jewelry with my engagement ring.


    Want to win a beautiful bracelet? To enter, there are a few choices! You can enter up to FIVE times. You can follow Glitter in Third on Teachers Pay Teachers, follow Glitter in Third on Twitter, like Glitter in Third on Facebook, follow Glitter in Third on Pinterest, or just shout out what you like most about these gorgeous Fair Trade bracelets in the comments section. Feel free to email me at if you have questions concerning how to enter :-)

    Enter using the Rafflecopter below. 

    Winners will be announced here on November 2nd!

    (Winners will also be contacted by email).

    Good luck!

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

    What I Am Teaching This Week: Week of October 19th


    I do rotations for reading. One station this week will be morphology related, one will be independent reading, and one will be a reading passage/comprehension. The fourth will be working on the below topics with me. We alternate word study with morphology (the vocabulary notebooks). Our focus this week for our mini-lessons will be:

    • Morphology: I LOVE these notebooks and they are so simple to put into your reading stations, since they are independent work for the kids. Each week focuses on a particular set of suffixes, prefixes, or roots. In the beginning of the year, we focus on prefixes as the kids learn what these various affixes do and how they work. Each day is a different activity: Monday is a sort, Tuesday is a morpheme illustration, Wednesday is sentences, and Thursday is guide words. Friday is the cumulative quiz. 

    • Writing prompt: We are working on the writing process, and I am making sure to incorporate an author's share into EVERY step. It is so powerful for the kids to see and hear their peers' work, as well as learn to respectfully offer feedback.


    Yay, fun week ahead! Let me know if you have any fun ideas or good video resources for various lessons that you may be teaching too :-)

    Six steps to bring math journaling into the classroom

    Are you starting math journals in your elementary classroom? Read about six easy ways to use journal entries  during the school day!
    Have you done math journaling in your classroom? This is my first year that I am pushing for math journaling in my classroom. Writing about math is strange and foreign territory to most children- it can require an immense amount of modeling for students to grasp it.

    In this post, I will explain what I believe are the biggest necessities to make arch journaling a success in your classroom! 

    1. Model, model, model!
    Think about first-graders who are in the beginning stages of writing... they have sentence starters to help them create sentences the first times. Even students that are not in the beginning of writing may initially struggle with math journaling. Students need to feel safe and confident in the beginning of math journaling.
    Plenty of teacher thinking-aloud and modeling lead to this. Teachers need to model their thinking and how to write it down. The kids are NOT going to produce elaborate responses for a while, math journaling comes with time! Be patient with the students and clear with expectations, eventually they will pick it up and become math journal experts!

    For my initial lesson to introduce math journaling, I explain how this year that we will be writing in our math journals just like any other journals in a different subject. I remind students that our brains work in unique ways, everyone has their own thoughts, opinions, and ways to solve problems. Math journaling allows us to see how they think so that problems in the future are easier to solve.

    I demonstrate how we go about doing math journaling. I start with the problem "Create a word problem for 33+42. Then explain how to solve it." The students and I created a word problem that would lead to the mathematician needing to add the numbers 33 and 45. Next, we started our math journal sentence with "To solve this problem..." and then went into the explanation of the problem (adding the ones, then adding the tens).  After this initial problem demonstration, the kiddos were on their own! I wrote a similar problem  to the example that I modeled on the board. I said "create a word problem for 37+29 and then explain how to solve." The students could use my other example to write their own. Since now the problem included regrouping, there was a little extra challenge regarding how to explain it. I was so impressed to see students not copying my original problem, but using bits and pieces to concoct their own math journal. At the end of the lesson,
    the students have two examples in their notebooks for future math journaling!

    2. Make it reflective!
    During the last three minutes of math, I have students pull out their math journals and write for the full three minutes. What did you do in math today? What did you learn? What did you have questions about? What strategies did you use today? How did I get the solution to a tricky problem? Three minutes will increasingly get students to feel more confident in their writing, and help integrate writing into math. Daily math journaling results in students improving their mathematical thinking and understanding of content vocabulary.

    3. Share it!
    During Writer's Workshop, we always have time at the end for two students to share to the class. After students share their work as an author, they say "Thank you for listening. I will now take constructive and respectful feedback." Other students raise their hand and say things like "I really liked the main character! However, I would like to know more about her. Could you add more description so I understand what she looks like?" It is so powerful for students to hear one another's work, and helps them understand what they are capable of and their own strengths and weaknesses. If this is done in Writer's Workshop... why not Math Workshop? At the end of math rotations, ask a couple of students to read their math journals to the class. After they read it, students can raise their hand and ask comments or questions about their writing. For example, "What is another way you could solve the problem?" or "Why did you choose to break up the number?" I truly believe that one of the most powerful ways that students learn is through listening to their peers' ideas and thoughts.

    4. Keep practicing!
    Math journaling comes with practice. Most students will not be able to produce much in the beginning, sometimes only 2-3 sentences. Constantly encouraging students to elaborate and explain their thought processes, as well as listening to other students' responses, will allow for the development and formation of math journaling.

     For most students, this is new! They have not melded writing and math together in school. There is a writing block in school, and a math block. Blurring the lines between two subjects so vividly can be startling and unexpected, but continuously bringing these two essential components together with practice strengths student understanding and reinforces expectations.

    5. Create a sense of safety
    Remind students: there is no "right" answer. Math journaling is shifting away from what is "wrong" and "right," to exploring the metacognitive opponent of math and seeing how problem-solving works. It is more than the destination- it is about the journey. How did the student start the process? What strategies did they try to solve the problem? What other ways could they have used? What was challenging for them? Math journaling is about the student and their journey as a mathematician. It allows mathematical thinking to take form and be visible in the classroom. Create an environment where students can take chances and are not afraid to express their mathematical thoughts and to expand on ways that they tried to solve a problem and were or were not successful.

    6. Incorporate everyday
    There are many times throughout math to incorporate math journaling. You could incorporate it into the first three minutes or last three minutes of math as a warmup or reflection. It can easily be integrated as a station/center. You could also do it small group if your students require more practice with the skill. Kids could also pair up in partners to discuss a more challenging problem, then write it by themselves to gain both encouragement and confidence.

    Do you use math journals in your classroom? If so, what tips or tricks do you have to help students along with this process?

    Are you starting math journals in your elementary classroom? Read about six easy ways to use journal entries  during the school day!

    Erin Condren Planner Updates!

    You might remember that I purchased the Erin Condren Teacher Planner a few months ago. Firstly, I LOVE my teacher planner! I am addicted to it and use it constantly, I cannot recommend it enough. I also have an online PlanBook Edu account that I plan with, but the Teacher Planner is perfect to keep me organized on a day-to-day basis. I highly recommend the product!

    Life Planner
    Because I adore the Teacher Planner I bought before school tarted, I opted to purchase the Erin Condren Life Planner as well. It just arrived in the mail yesterday, and already I wrote in it and am thrilled to start organizing my life with it. I made a video with how I am using it, feel free to watch! I will later be putting up a video review of how I am using my beloved Erin Condren Teacher Planner.

    On another note... do you like the bracelets I am wearing in the video? They are Aid Through Trade bracelets and I will be raffling off a few of these bracelets to a couple of lucky readers! The staff and parents at my school are going crazy for these bracelets, they are so sparkly and comfortable. Stay tuned to see when to enter :-)

    You can save $10 on your first Erin Condren purchase with my referral link:

    What I Am Teaching This Week: Week of October 12th

    Hi, all! I thought it would be fun and hopefully helpful to start writing down some resources that I am using to teach each week.


    • Addition/subtraction: We are starting our addition/subtraction unit this week! Starting with some whole group lessons with our interactive notebooks will help define vocabulary and solidify student understanding. I also have a new math center game that I created to help students understand the addition properties better.... they can be toughies! Some of the items that can be easily integrated into whole group, small group, and centers:

    I do rotations for reading. One station this week will be word study related, one will be independent reading, and one will be a reading passage/comprehension. The fourth will be working on the below topics with me. Our focus this week for our mini-lessons will be:

    • Reference books: During small group time, I will work on the printables with the students. I will also grab a bunch of reference books from the library so that students can hands-on see what each of the reference books consist of.

    • Synonyms/antonyms: Whole-group I will put together the foldables with my students and show the BrainPop. During small group time, I will have my students practice looking up words in the thesaurus by having them replace the words in "row, row, row your boat" with new words that they look up!


    • DeBono's Thinking Hats lesson: The students and I will read "The Man That Walked the Towers." Then, we will practice analyzing and "putting on our hats" to think about Phillipe's choice and decision to tightrope across the Twin Towers. I am definitely looking forward to this lesson!

    • Paragraph writing on Columbus: The students will be learning facts about Columbus with a few foldables. Then, we will watch a BrainPop on Columbus. I LOVE the Columbus Day BrainPop because it makes a point at the end: How can you discover somewhere that is already inhabited? The students and I will have a discussion, then they will practice paragraph writing about why or why not Columbus should be celebrated on this day. It definitely will get their minds thinking and view a variety of perspectives. 



    • Class bank account: I am really excited about a lesson I found from the amazing 3rd Grade Thoughts! It is another way at looking at "filling a bucket," but relates to the classroom as a whole with different terminology. Looks wonderful!

    Looks like a busy and fun week! Let me know if you have any fun ideas or good video resources for various lessons that you may be teaching too :-)

    Creating a civilization

    Looking for an easy project to do in civics that the kids will love? Create a civilization! After I teach all my required standards of levels of government, branches of government, and rights/responsibilities, we move on to our civilization project.

    We start off with a read aloud: Westlandia by Paul Fleischman. It is a great book about a boy named Wes who creates his own civilization in his own backyard. Wes is tormented at school, so he dreams up in his world the way that he would want it. He has his own language, banking, sports, buildings... everything is how he wants it.

    The students get two class periods to work on this in teams. We have a discussion beforehand about cooperation and compromise. I ask them what it means, and we model how a compromise works. Group projects can be so stinking difficult for my third-graders in the beginning of school, it's a new concept to them that they are not always used to.

    The requirements for their civilization:
    • Draw a map
    • Civilization must have a name
    • Civilization must have a set of rules/laws
    • Civilization must have an official flag
    Everything else is up to the students! Often the kids will make up their own sport for the civilization, or even their own language! I love this project in the beginning of school because you can see how students work together, and how much creativity they are.