Thursday, July 30, 2015

Target Dollar Spot Summer Finds!

Does anyone not love the Target Dollar Spot? This place is a treasure trove jam-packed with adorable (and functional) goodies for your home and classroom. This area is a favorite of mine in the summer when all their teacher treats and items show up. The summer before my first year of teaching, I went to a Target about every other day to try and grab the best items. #TargetDollarSpotAddict.

Not all Target Dollar Spots have the same thing. There are a few in my area which are not-so-good... always out of stock or too small. It is a lot of trial and error to find the best ones! However, most of the items are SO MUCH CHEAPER than what you would ever find in a teaching supply store.

This weekend while shopping for power adapters for my Italy trip, I came upon some items that I simply had to have! Take a peek at what I picked up! I separated it into math finds, language arts finds, and classroom decor finds.

I picked these up purely for the bills! The math manipulatives that came with my classroom are icky and don't look realistic! How will kids learn about money when they have fake money with fake presidential pictures on them?! These are realistic and the bills are perfect. Maybe I'll find a use for the pennies as well.

I already have a ton of clocks in my classroom from Target, which are really helpful when we deal with elapsed time in May. However, my clocks do NOT have the minutes like this one does. I knew I had to have this clock the second that I saw it! It will help those kiddos who struggle with elapsed time simply because they have not yet memorized the minutes hand.

I thought these magnetic letters would be a nice addition to word work! The colors are bright and fun, and they are loads cheaper than a lot of magnetized letters that you find in teacher stores. Score!
I grabbed these cuties to save for Read Across America Day in March! Definitely a steal. 

Again I thought these would be a fun addition to a word work station! But they would also be fantastic in lower elementary school grades to help kids with letter formation.


I did not actually buy these, because I currently have enough pocket charts. BUT they have great colors, so if you need pocket charts go soon to snag some pretty ones!

I like to have a Dr. Seuss themed hopes and dreams board in September, so he could be a great addition to the board! The kids write their hopes and dreams on brightly colored paper that looks like a Trufula Tree!
I am a SUCKER for gel clings. Obviously, these are no exception. I like to buy cheap gel clings, since they get gross and you can't really save them for the next year, unfortunately. 

THESE ARE SO CUTE!!!! I am not sure where to put them yet, but I am considering decorating the edges of my door frame with these. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I picked some up, but have NO idea what to do with them. Let me know if you have any ideas! They were too neat to pass up.

SO STINKING CUTE!!!!!! Probably using it in my guided reading area. Thing 1 looks so darn happy :-)

Do you like the Target Dollar Spots? What have you picked up there this summer?

Monday, July 27, 2015

NEW GIVEAWAY: 40 book boxes in primary colors!

I HAVE AWESOME NEWS! Remember those amazing book bins from Steps to Literacy that I had a giveaway two weeks ago for? Well, two winners were announced And emailed (big congrats to them... so exciting! I know their classrooms will look amazing and be well organized with these wonderful containers). I will be raffling off two more sets of 40 book bins per set in the primary colors (red, yellow, green, and blue). And this time you can enter up to five times! Five times more chances to win :-)

Not sure what these book bins are or what all the hype is about? Read my original post and review about these durable, colorful, and well-priced plastic book bins. They are perfect for organizing lessons/assessments/worksheets for the week, holding your students' free reading choice books, storing manipulatives, and organizing the books in your classroom.

Steps to Literacy provided me with exclusive promotion codes to save you money! Use the code GLITTER3 to receive a 10% discount on all book bins in the shopping cart when a set of 20 or 40 is ordered at the same time. This code also provides you with free shipping for your entire order, meaning you can shop and find some more goodies to start off your school year! Don't need a set of 20 or 40? Use the promotion code STL15TS to get Free Shipping on all orders over $50.


Want to win a set of your own? 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 grade you teach 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 August 2nd!

(Winners will also be contacted by email).

Good luck!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bright World eBooks printables!

Earlier this month I wrote a blog post about the release of the app Ocean Forests from Bright World eBooks. The company is now releasing additional materials (for free!) that will enhance the use of the Ocean Forests app in both homes and classrooms. I love that after the initial purchase of the app, free products are available to expand and supplement it!

Currently, they are offering Ocean Forests Bingo to go with the app. Each week they will offer two new printables to go along with the app. How awesome is this for Daily 5 or literacy stations??? There is accountability for students on the app with printables, but they will be engaged and enjoying the app while learning. The printables also come with the Common Core standards and Next Generation Science vocabulary on them, perfect for your lesson plan book or if you need to display objectives in your classroom. They are also chock full of vocabulary words to know and focus on.

The company also is coming out with new eBooks after Ocean Forests, starting with A is for Amphibians, B is for Beak, C is for Camouflage, etc. These books will be targeted more toward primary elementary.

Wanna check it out? Click here to take a peek in the iTunes App Stores!

Also, our raffle winners have been announced! Congrats to Shana and Meredith! I have some two reallyyyyy awesome giveaways coming up in August, stay posted!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Interactive notebooks: Tips & tricks

I am an interactive notebook fanatic! I always get a lot of emails or questions about the best way to go about starting an interactive notebook. Many teachers have seen their colleagues use them or seen pictures on Teachers Pay Teachers, but are a little unsure where to start.

These notebooks are more than basic activities, they contain all the information you need to teach your students a new concept. My products contain differentiation. In each notebook, I have a notebook page for an answer key, fill-in-the-blank, and entirely blank page. This allows you to adjust your teaching and students' learning depending on your classroom and needs. You can keep it simple with the fill-in-the-blank, or allow for more writing and critical thinking by discussing what should go in the entirely blank page. I have a wide range of notebooks for language arts, science, social studies, math, and even each month of the year!

Interactive notebooks will bring your classroom experience to a new level, benefitting you, your students, classroom parents, and even admin!

Teacher: Interactive notebooks are simple to hand out to students, and contain answer keys. They are differentiated based on your students' needs and how much assistance you want to give them concerning writing notes and learning/reviewing a topic. Since all the information is in one place, it also makes end-of-the-year review one million times easier.

Students: The most important part of any classroom is the students. My students ask in the beginning of each unit we learn, "Do we get to do an interactive notebook on these?!?" They are exciting and engaging to students. The notebooks serve as a reference point, almost like a homemade textbook that students can use to deeper understand a concept or subject. Most of all, the kids have FUN making these. They love opening and closing the little flaps and tabs, staring in awe at the accordion pieces. The fact that my kids are having a blast learning something as blah as subtraction vocabulary terms thrills me. Learning mixed with fun?! What could be better??? The kids are SO proud of these notebooks, it gives them a sense of ownership over what they create.

Parents: Your classroom parents will express excitement and interest in these fabulous notebooks. My students often opt to take these home to color them (I do not make them do this, many of them beg to! Well, usually the little girls). Parents often remark on how much they love seeing what their children are doing all in one place, and it helps them with projects and studying. Parents want to be informed, and this is one of the many ways to do that!

Administration: These are great to bring into evaluation. They provide accountability of every concept that you are working on. You can point out which standards that you are working on or have already mastered.


What are interactive notebooks?
Interactive notebooks are a way for your students to better understand their learning. It provides a visual and kinesthetic way for students to literally "interact" with information. The pages in interactive notebooks are generally flipbooks and foldables, giving students a sense of movement and active understanding.

What supplies do I need to do interactive notebooks?
Of course you will need a composition book. A spiral works as well, but the composition book is a little bit more sturdy. My boyfriend says that my totally-filled-out interactive notebooks resemble "George Costanza's wallet," they get HUGE! This is why a composition book works so well, it stands up well to how much gluing and paper is inside.

Each kiddo has a pair of scissors and glue stick. I personally have never had a problem with the kids using glue sticks, but I read in many other blogs that teachers prefer using glue bottles so that the flippables and foldables are really stuck down well to the page. Up to you! We personally have a lifetime supply of glue sticks that we keep ending up with each year off our supply list, so I like to use those suckers up :-)

How many notebooks do my kids need?
I like to use one interactive notebook per subject. This way it is an easy reference point when the kiddos need to look up something about Ancient Greece, graphing, making predictions, or what an adaptation is. They can pull out the correct subject notebook, and get to work!


How do you construct the pages?
I construct a notebook with them! I also sometimes cut out shapes/flipbooks for the kids with the slowest motor skills. Sometimes I yell out "I CAN FINISH BEFORE YOU!" and make it a competition.

It's funny though, once the students cut out and glue a specific shape a few times, they know it. They do not have to watch me do it or cut along with me. They cut, glue, and wait for the next directions.

After the page is constructed, we do the activities or notes inside of them. If it being done whole-group (as my social studies and science notebooks usually are), I slip the notebook underneath a document camera (I use my iPad as a doc cam) to do the note-taking pages. This can also easily be done on your whiteboard/chalkboard!

Isn't all that cutting and gluing time-consuming?
Before I did interactive notebooks, I was absolutely opposed to cutting and gluing. My kids were so SLOW at it, so I avoided any sort of cutting or gluing in my classroom. We stuck to purely handouts. It finally dawned on me that they simply did not have quick motor skills, this is something that I needed to help them work on. Yes, the first week or so you do these are going to be slow and a little painful. Just as we do any routine in class, practice makes perfect! The kids will quickly pick up on how to fold, cut, and glue each piece. They will know how to recycle the paper. They will know how to help certain students at their table who need additional help.

Isn't there messy paper everywhere?
I am a TOTAL NEATFREAK. So I came up with a way to not deal with the hassle of scraps of paper everywhere. There are two ways to go about this, depending on your students' desk setup. Firstly.... NO ONE CAN STAND UP! If you have 27 kids trying to get to the recycling bin and back, it will be a nightmare.

If you have tables....I go to the Dollar Tree and buy a $1 bucket for each table. I call these their trash bins. When they are finished, they can crumple up their trash and put it into the trash bin. Then, one student from each group will dump the trash when they are all finished.

If you have desks.... tell the students to crumple up their scrap paper when they are done with it and place it in the left-hand corner of their desk. Pick whichever student is finished cutting and gluing first to go around with the recycling bin and get the trash from students. My kiddos beg to get to be the recycler, and it is a great motivation to get those kids to cut and glue as fast as their cute little hands can!

How do you pass out the handouts before they are cut and glued?
I find it easiest to sit down before each unit, and print out the pages that I want students to complete for the notebook. I also print out an answer key for me. For the students, I have a parent make the copies 1-sided --> 1-sided and stapled. The students keep these in a pocket folder. When we want to construct a page, I say "tear off the top page of your packet and put the rest of the packet in your pocket folder." Then we keep going. Immediately reminding them to put it away helps to sidestep any accidents or misplacings of the packet.


When do you complete these?
These notebooks can be done whole-group, small-group, or individually. In social studies or science, I use these whole-group. We cut and glue together, then I place my book underneath the document camera as we write in them together. For math, I have the kids bring their notebooks either to the carpet/easel, or horseshoe table. We cut and glue, then complete the activities either independently or as a group. Some of the activities, like pocket sorts, are a fantastic literacy station or math station that can be done independently by the kiddos.

What subjects do you use interactive notebooks in?
I use these lovelies in all subjects that I teach (math, language arts, social studies, and science). My students have a composition book for each of the subjects. It provides a nice reference point if we are doing a PBL or project for them to use the information in the book on their research.


Do you grade these notebooks?
I do not. The kids take so much pride in their notebooks. I have many kids who beg to take the to recess to color, and they often choose to color them during Quiet Time. I do not want them to suddenly feel like these notebooks are a grade and that they are afraid to "mess them up." These notebooks are theirs, they should feel ownership and responsibility over them, but not think that they have to take them home to gussy up and turn in is a grade. We have plenty of assessment and project opportunities in class, I do not want these notebooks to be one of them.

Do you do left-hand/right-hand stuff?
Your notebooks should make sense to you. I personally am not a fan of the left/right business (input/output). I think in middle school or high school this would be great and a fantastic way to reflect at home on their learning, but this is not something I would like to do with my third-graders. The fact that my eight-year-olds are cutting, gluing, solving problems, and discussing what is in their notebook... how is this not considered "output"? With my differentiated notebooks, the kids are taking notes in their notebook foldables and flipbooks that are given, so without a doubt this is already showing "output."

What if a kiddo is absent?
We emphasize teamwork in my classroom. Whenever a student returns from being absent, one of their shoulder partners will show them what they missed and together they will quickly assemble their notebook page. The students love playing "teacher" and assisting others in the class.

Here are some links to a few of my favorite interactive notebooks that I offer! Click the subject links below if you're curious about other ones I have for each subject. I offer over 80 interactive notebooks so you can find one that is perfect for you, your classroom, your students, and the content that you teach. 

Do you use some sort of interactive notebooks in your classroom? What tips or tricks do you have? How have they changed your own classroom and teaching?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Classroom Management

My school last year switched from PBIS to Responsive Classroom. Since we now do Responsive Classroom in my school, we no longer can have incentives or rewards. However, I wanted to share some cute ideas that I used in the past that I really loved! If you are in a PBIS school or simply prefer rewards as behavior incentives, here are some ideas that worked for me! Our school switched to Responsive Classroom this year as its behavior management program, which I love! Responsive Classroom strives to create a strong, positive, and caring classroom climate. If your district ever offers the training, I highly recommend it. Responsive Classroom is about create an environment for respectful learning and a climate of trust. It involves Morning Meetings, Closing Circle, and specific teacher language to allow students to feel safe, respected, and appreciated. Anyway, here are some of the past behavior incentives that I used that I enjoyed, as did my students! 


WHOLE CLASS: Brownie Points
You have probably seen these adorable whole class incentives all over Pinterest! I used Brownie Points for my first two years of teaching. Does it get any cuter?! All you have to do is go to the Dollar Tree and buy a $1 cookie sheet, and then print out some brownies and a title. I found these for free on Teachers Pay Teachers (I am so sorry, I cannot remember who I downloaded them! If you know, feel free to leave it in the comments section so I can give the teacher credit!). Print off the brownies, laminate, cut, and attach magnets. Presto! 

The kids received a brownie on the pan for things like behaving well with a substitute, conducting themselves appropriately during a fire drill, or an overall awesome day. If the kids got 15 brownies, I would bake brownies and bring them in. My first year of teaching I had an absolute angel class, so I must have baked about 5-6 pans of brownies for them that year!

I bought plastic cups and sparkly puff balls. This was a great way to make students focused and quiet during a transition or lining up. All you have to say is "Table 4 is getting a Sparkler for how much teamwork I saw!", and the rest of the class would follow suit. This is what I miss most now that our school does RC, I loved how much more camaraderie I saw with the Sparkler approach. At the end of every week, whichever table had the most Sparklers each got a homework pass. Now, I do not miss giving out homework passes AT ALL. They were a pain to put names on and dole out every Friday afternoon when we had so much other things going on!

INDIVIDUAL: Dolphin-Do-Gooders
This was a behavior program for our whole school. These were little squares of paper with a picture of a dolphin and a place for the child to write their name. Kids would receive Dolphin Do-Gooders for great behavior or acts of kindness. The kids could then collect their Dolphin-Do-Gooders and then cash them in for something (like lunch with the teacher, or a prize from the treasure box). I keep these in a cute basket and would hand them out to students.

What kind of behavior incentives or plan do you use at your school and classroom? 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Plastic book boxes- GIVEAWAY!

UPDATE: Congrats to our winners Shana F. and Meredith G.! Our fab winners have been emailed and these boxes mailed out to them :-)

On Friday, I blogged about how in love I am with these Steps to Literacy book bins! These boxes are durable, colorful, and a great deal. I am using these book bins in my classroom this upcoming school year for style and functionality.

These book bins are perfect for organizing lessons/assessments/worksheets for the week, holding your students' books, storing manipulatives, or organizing the books for your classroom library! Functional and cute- does it get any better?!

I am raffling off TWO sets total of these fantastic book bins. Each set includes 40 book bins! There is one primary color sets (contains red, yellow, green, and blue) and one fun color set (contains bright blue, orange, lime green, and purple).

Steps to Literacy provided me with exclusive promotion codes to save you money! Use the code GLITTER3 to receive a 10% discount of all book bins in the shopping cart when a set of 20 or 40 is ordered at the same time. This code also provides you with free shipping for your entire order, meaning you can shop around and find some more goodies to start off your school year! Don't need a set of 20 or 40? Use the promotion code STL15TS to get Free Shipping on all orders over $50.


Want to win a set of your own? To enter, there are a few choices! You can follow Glitter in Third on Facebook, follow Glitter in Third on Twitter, or just shout out how you would use these awesome book boxes in your home or classroom in the comments section of this post. Feel free to email me at if you have questions concerning how to enter :-)

Enter using Rafflecopter below. You can enter up to three times by either commenting, liking my Facebook page, and/or following Glitter in Third on Twitter!

Winners will be announced here on July 20th!

(Winners will also be contacted by email.)

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Steps for Literacy for providing me with these book boxes to raffle off and share with my readers!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Steps to Literacy book bins

I need a change this upcoming school year, so my classroom is getting a makeover! My safari/jungle classroom is evolving into blue, greens, and some black. I am envisioning a big, black bulletin board with neon green borders that really pop. I have some labels, calendar cards, schedule cards, and job cards that I am using in my room next year available at my store if you're interested! Much of my old decor and storage containers are also going through a makeover to match with my new decor!

I recently came across these book bins from Steps to Literacy. I currently have book bins I inherited from a teacher that retired at my school from Really Good Stuff. Those book boxes are red, yellow, dark green, and blue. I'm not a fan of the colors... mostly because I really do not like the color red. I find the color red stifling and prefer cooler, soothing colors. With my classroom makeover this year, I knew I had to buy new book bins this year, but really did not want to spend an arm and a leg on them.

How do they compare to the Really Good Stuff book bins? I always felt like the Really Good Stuff book bins were the Holy Grail of book bins. Although pricey, they are durable and long-lasting. But I am super picky about color, and unfortunately you cannot pick specific colors with their big sets. These Steps to Literacy bins are SO MUCH CHEAPER than the Really Good Stuff ones and you get to pick the colors. Actually, everything on their site is cheaper. I am definitely a fan! They do not feel thin or like they will break easily, so I think they will be long-lasting and I will get some good wear out of them. Unfortunately, kids are not as delicate with my stuff as I'd like them to be! I think these will hold up well even with the typical student use.

What do you do with book bins? Firstly, I use five book bins for all my handouts and lesson plans for each day of the week. I keep it near my SmartBoard, projector, and document cam so it is easy to grab when we are transitioning to a new subject. Also, each of my kiddos gets their own book bin to

store their free reading books in. I keep these book bins against a wall- not at their seat. My gifted kids LOVE to read. Now, I don't want to be the teacher who tells kids they cannot read a book, but not when we are learning math, science, or social studies! Keeping the book bins in a different part of the room helps kids pay attention to whatever we are learning. This year, I am using book bins for each of my table groups to keep their Unfinished folders in. Ugh, seeing these pictures make me SO EXCITED for the new lime green and bright blue ones!!!!!!

Interested in these awesome boxes? Steps to Literacy provided me with some exclusive promotion codes to save you money! Use the code GLITTER3 to receive a 10% discount of all book bins in the shopping cart when a Set of 20 or 40 is ordered at the same time. This code also provides you with free shipping for your entire order, meaning you can shop around and find some more goodies to start off your school year! Don't need a Set of 20 or 40? Use the promotion code STL15TS to get Free Shipping on orders over $50.

These 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!

Steps to Literacy has generously offered up a Set of 20 of these book bins to my wonderful readers. Look for the giveaway on MONDAY! It's like Christmas in July filled with BOOK BINS! My raffle starts MONDAY, so make sure to come back to enter! The winner will be announced on Wednesday.