Tuesday, August 26, 2014

15th Year of Teaching Begins with Awesome Resources

I survived my first week back to school and got to meet my new wonderful kiddos! Well it wasn't quite a whole week as we started on Wednesday. This made it a little easier for everyone to get back into the swing of things. I love my work schedule!!! My school will also be celebrating it's 10th year of operation! I've been there from the beginning as a founding teacher and it's been one heck of a roller coaster ride. This will also be my 15th year as a teacher having started this amazing career back in the fall of 2000. So much to celebrate that I came up with a yummy recipe that I just have to share.

I made these cute little no-bake mini-cheesecakes with an 8 oz. container of mascarpone, a sweet and creamy Italian cheese. First I added half of one envelope of gelatin to 1/4 cup of cool water then added in 1/4 cup of boiling water, stirring until dissolved.  (And if you can't find mascarpone just use a regular 8 oz block of cream cheese.)  Next I added 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and stirred again. After that I combined this concoction with the mascarpone in a mixing bowl using my blender on low speed, until thoroughly combined. Next I chilled, while they chilled in their cute little Keebler mini graham crusts in the fridge for 2 hours. By the way this recipe makes exactly enough for the six mini crusts that come packaged. After pulling them out of the fridge I topped them with fresh sliced raspberries.  Mmmm! These were so rich in flavor and way creamier than regular cheesecake. Also tested and approved by my biggest fan. (Seriously considering writing a recipe blog one of these days.)

Okay now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I'm linking up for Teacher Week for What Friday so I can share my wonderful resources I use to start off the school year.

 Blog Hoppin What Friday Curriculum & Resources

First I wanted to share a pic of an idea that I used for Meet the Teacher. This was the first time my school or myself participated in this type of event for our school families. Instead of waiting for Back to School Night to roll around my principal decided that it would be nice to hold two informational meetings for parents and students the week before school started. This way they could get to know the teacher and classroom before the school year got under way.  We went over teacher expectations for homework, behavior etc. and parents could see what kind of supplies they could donated for the year.  Somewhere in the back of my mind cluttered with Pinterest images, I came up with this idea. 

The sign didn't come out to great in the photo but says, "Please lend a helping hand and donate what you can." You can get a FREE copy of my sign to print and fold on card stock here. (Anyone else obsessed with chalkboard fonts?) Parents could then write down on a hand what they wanted to donate to our classroom community supplies. I googled hand images and found those you see printed. Some opted to take a photo of the items pictured and get the whole list! Boy am I glad I took the time to take pics while shopping in Target, along with a few screen shots from the web. This has been the best year ever for parents helping out with supply donations! I'm very grateful for their generousity and the pictures helped eliminate confusion about what to get.

Now on to just a few more of my favorite things I use to start the school year off right. Some of these resources I created and some I just picked up at the recent Back to School Sales on Teachers pay Teachers. This is a parent survey I created so I could get to know my students and their need better. I had used other ones in the past, but none of them seemed to have all the questions I wanted so I decided to make my own! My sweet colleague proofread the Spanish side for me as I'm not a native speaker.  I've already got them all back and I'm happy to see parent responses. My fave part that I included was asking parents if they were okay with texts when I needed to send reminders, because I'm not much for chatting on the phone if I can help it. Click the image if you want to get this on TpT.

Help Me Get to Know Your Child A Parent Survey (Spanish Version Included) Back to School

Friends if you haven't jumped on the QR code bandwagon, I implore you to step on! The kids love it and it's easy peasy in terms of teacher prep, because with a little lamination you can re-use the activities time and time again! We had a blast using my old iPhone and a free QR code reader to do this fantastic Let's Tour the Classroom! Scavenger Hunt: A Back to School Activity w/ QR Codes
 by Watson Works.

iPads were still being updated and re-issued at my school, but keeping my old iPhone was the best decision I made as my students and I use it for so much!  There are directions in the activity for a whole group activity or a teams, depending on your resources. I read the first riddle to my students and  showed it on the doc cam, then the students had to guess what the riddle meant and we would go to that location in the classroom with the next game card, and one student got to scan the QR code to check if we were correct. Then on to reading the opposite side for the riddle that would lead us to the next location in the classroom. The kids had a blast doing this scavenger hunt!

For my first day back to school I used this wonderful book for my read aloud.

It's one of my favorite mentor texts that I paired  with these awesome resources I got from
Complete NO PREP Reading &Writing Units for 40 Mentor Texts made by Jivey.  In this pack she has wonderful activities and graphic organizers to go with many awesome books I happen to own already. Here are two pages I used with my students on the first day of school. I shrunk them to fit on half sheets, with one page on the front and one page on the back. I didn't want my kiddos to be overwhelmed with writing the first day so I wanted these to be smaller for that reason. I love what these two wrote. One is already super excited to be in my class and wrote she is "3rd grade lover." Too cute!

Finally a picture of some redecorating I did to spruce up my classroom this year. One of my ottoman covers was half-faded due to sun exposure so I put new upostlery fabric covers on both and I saved this shelf from it's lonely existence on my block in a mad dash of curbside shopping. In the last pic is my welcome board for new students where their class numbers are posted with their names on the cute little cameras for free from Carmen Rodriguez on TpT! so they can put them on everything as I love Rick Morris' New Managment tips for keeping all their materials and papers organized!

Happy Back to School to everyone. 
I hope your new school year is a big success!


  1. Hi Julie, Just found your cute blog and am your newest follower on google. I just switched to third from about a million years in first...LOL Glad I found you!
    Teaching and Much Moore

    1. Hey Vicki, thanks for finding my blog. I'm glad you like it. It's nice to connect with other third grade teachers in the blogosphere. Hopping over to check out yours now too.