Well, here I go again on my own. 

Yes, I have a juke box that constantly plays in my head too.

Here is a toy..... ahhhhemmm.... educational tool that is fantastic for kids to play....use in class.  Mine actually has a USB removable port where the kids can download their microscopic pictures to a computer and then use them in PowerPoint, etc.

EYE...hehehe actually use this for two units in my third grade class.  I don't know if I have ever told you that I teach third grade...funny.

1. Sand, Silt and clay..... BOY oh BOY can you see how itty-bitty clay is and how HUGE sand is.  Also, sand tells you where it's been and where it's going.  I have a small sand collection of about 30 samples all over the world and it is remarkable to see how different sand looks. 
2. Pollination:  Kids think  people think insects really are not that important.  When they realize the honeybee crisis in America and bees pollinate a majority of things we eat.... well, you get the picture.  Pretty fascinating.  Here are a few good pictures the kids took.  It's harder for third graders to use them, but give them time.  Like a cell phone, they'll be changin' your ring tone before you know it.

This is my favorite kind of sand... Sand that is made of coral reef.  Normally this sand has beautiful, clear blue water that comes with it.  And memories of my sweet Granny who loved the islands.

This is a close up of wood.

Sand from....hmmm, I'll have to get back with you

Not bright, but a honey bee buttox.

Honeybee wing with POLLEN...cool.

Butterfly wing... I know... Cool.

Hmmm, I don't think we were studying shirts that day, but here is one up close.  Just so you know what it looks like.

In honor of the late Dr. George from India, here is a "Can't See Um" as we corrected him in class a No See'm

I really don't want you to be mad at me.... because I don't like confrontation and I don't know you, but I got these for...... wait for it, wait for it....

19.99 a toy!!!!!!!  Yes, Walmart was clearing out their Christmas toys and well, 139.99 scientific toys were not on the hot list that year!!!!!!  Can you believe it!  I know you can't.  Well, this toy did make toy of the year some time back and I must say it keeps getting better and better.  Hope you like.

If you want to trade sand, I'm all about that too.



These are the fabulous vocabulators you will read about on Melissa Forney's website.  I have created a document to make it easier to label and laminate synonym vocabulary for the words we 'murder' in class.  Here are the simple steps... hehehe...

These were so much fun to make----SYKE!!!  I used recycled Parmesan cheese containers instead of paying for new containers.  Think green right, wrong, think broke.... :)

I used tape to laminate the two sides together then trimmed with scissors.

Put the words inside the rice and don't forget the cute things that help represent the word you're trying to replace.  For example, the big container can have dinosaurs, trucks, etc.

Here we have from left to right.  Color words, Like words, Big words, Cold words
When I finish my character traits and other bottles I will post the document so you too can make your own vocabulators.  I also have some ideas to use with vocabulary centers too.  After I survive the first week of school.  Love ya bloggy friends~ Chow- Tara

Take home folder cover

Here ya go!  Makin' the back to school crapp-ola.  I will allow the children to choose between one of these designs to color for morning work.  This will go in their daily take home folder.

Free for All FRIDAY! Hooked on Books!

I can't wait to start my hooked on books bulletin board.  The kids will have a fish with their name tag and a thick thumb tack underneath to hang a ring clip.  As students check out books weekly they will complete these bookmarks to enter for drawings.  As students get more and more recommendations, they can also earn extra points for recommending books to read.  This should create a nice display for the year.  Near the end of the year, students will see just how many books they have been reading.  I also have other reading incentives to post soon. 

Another Tara ORIGINAL!  I'm only saying that because I think it's totally funny how many teachers think many of the things they came up with were their OWN original IDEA.  There are some fantastic ideas out there and some are really unique.  I'm just saying that when I see a million ideas with this or that and another teacher gets mad because it was their IDEA!  HA!  SO with all that said, maybe this is original, maybe not, I can't directly think of a source that I have ever seen like this.....BUT, I will not be so bold to say no one has ever made anything like this either.  Either way I hope you enjoy.

I'm totally complimented when people like, tweak, or borrow ideas I've used in the classroom.  I can't say honestly any idea is totally mine, because actually, someone or something has inspired me to tweak it for ME!

So for all you tweakers out there.  Feel free to make this into something that works for you.
Happy Hurricane Irene to you all staying dry.  ~Tara

PPS!!!!  I hate technology!  Google Docs can kiss my big toe!  If you want this please leave me a message and I will email the document to you.  I really am trying to figure out all this new techno stuff, I will get there someday.

Third Grade Common Core

I'm slowly but surely getting there.  Here is my very first lettering delight string of words. 

I have purchased and printed my third grade common core.  Thank you Ashleigh for making such amazing resources to purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers!  I'm so excited to post my common core for reading and math, then after teaching it, move it to a review board so we can reference it all year.  Thanks again!

Yes, first day of school is tomorrow and I'm not quite ready.  So nighty, night, bloggy friends.  ~Tara

Meet the Teacher, Blog Hoppin'

Well here goes...
I'm not grammatically skilled with grammar and I'm a total list maker.
So I figured I would start with number one and see how far I get.
1.  I'm not perfect, but I know who is and He gets me through this crazy, amazing life.
2. Yes, that is me picking a moose's nose and yes that is the most understanding and wonderful husband in the world. (I think any man who married a teacher is.)
3.  My two beautiful daughters Hannah and Phoebe are growing up so fast I constantly search for the pause button!  Pictures, pictures, and video!
4.  I have had a crazy childhood, I was born in Royal Oak Michigan, lived most of my child hood in Crystal River Florida, a little bit here and there and wound up in Southport, North Carolina.  Which is the best of all the worlds combined. 
5.  I am so random..... one conversation with me and you will totally understand the 20 hamster wheels going on in my head.
6.  I enjoy really good food and when I'm having a bad day, there is nothing better than fixing or eating a five course dinner.
7.  I had some great teachers, don't get me wrong, but I mostly became a teacher because I thought learning can be so much more fun!
8.  I love literature groups and group projects, we all have strengths and weaknesses and everyone has something to bring to the table.
9.  I love real world learning.  With all the EOG testing, it is a big pet peeve when teachers leave out science and social studies to hammer reading and math.   I just want to hit them on the forehead! 
10. I love anything related to the ocean.  My teammate said this year, it looks like someone threw up fish all over your room.
11. I enjoy making UNITS! 
12. I cannot organize.... thus the lists....
13.  I have 5 USBs, I don't know where they all are and they are all full of home made teacher stuff (crap)  that I will tediously make again, because I don't know where I saved the file.
14.  I love lists.  NO.  I'm in love with lists.

15.  My heart is in missions.... I want to work in Haiti with my friends and spend time with children who will suck in every ounce of love you can give them. 
16.  When I grow up I want to be a pirate or a mermaid at Weekie Wachie Springs.

17.  I currently have 9 class pets, Chinchilla: Geronimo or mo mo for short, Hedgehog, Mr. Prickle Pants who is engaged to be married in the spring to Miss Roxie, African Spurr thigh tortoise named King TUt, four beiber fish, Eenie, meenie, minee, and mo, and spontaneous residents of crickets that get fed to Bubbles our oscar.
18.  I have been in Open House all day, therefore, my grammar is especially atrocious.
19.  I love children!  Ones who love school and have somewhat normal lives are easier to teach.  BUT I LOVE seeing a child who doesn't like school so much, LOVE school by the end of third grade.
20.  I have a bad habit of USING CAPS and ..... in lots of places I shouldn't.
21.  I enjoy brainstorming and learning new ways to teach with other awesome teachers.
22.  I enjoy finding fossils of past marine animals while diving 130 feet below sea level. 
23.  I HEART sharks!
24.  If I could live on a beach in a bathing suit, I totally would. 
25.  I hope this hasn't been too boring to read, I feel like I'm a boring person compared to some.
26.  I worked on my national boards for three years and I'm five points from getting it this fall!
27.  I really want to learn how to make my blog rock and how to make cool files like Hope, Amanda, Ashleigh, and Beth!!!!  So anyone who wants to take me under their wing, I'd love some help..... I have some cool stuff to share.... If not, time will shape me up.

Nighty, night, blog buddies.  MUAHHH!

Compliment Cards

Here are some compliment cards to accompany Hope King's Essential Posters inspired by Ron Clark.  If you haven't printed these essentials, I suggest you do so right now.  Unless you are surfing the net while working on a number two.  Sorry, I have a four year old that declared in the mall bathrooms that her's looked like chicken wings.  Among a lot of laughter outside, I simply said... 'you know kids!'

I know, that's so random... Welcome to my head, 20 different hamster wheels all spinning at the same time.
Das Vi Dania Friends~ Tara

Transportation Card, Student File

I'm so excited!  That I just can't hide it!

I'm glad there are some people out there who like a few ideas!  Yay!  I know you all have been so much fun to follow too.  I'm really excited to get more into this and learn how to do all these official bloggy things. 

I'm also very excited to participate in this upcoming 2011 Blog Hoppy Teacher Week.

Maybe click here if the picture doesn't work.... I still consider myself new to this blog world.  I will conquer!

Here is a recently created Transportation Information Card for those of you who haven't started school yet.  I plan on having a few things on the students' desks for the parents to fill out on open house night.  A SUPER BIG SHOUT OUT to JOY KING at  Second Grade Shenanigans for being so helpful on how to use power point for those rascally graphics with fonts.... All my life's problems are now solved.  Thanks.

Reading Passports

I attempted to use these last year, however, the idea came around the same time as end of grade testing.  I plan on using these right off the bat.  These are some stories off the top of my head that seem to be hits for social studies integration with reading.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
Turtle Bay
Nate the Great and the San Fransisco Detective
The Table Where Rich People Sit
Almost to Freedom
Where the Red Fern Grows
A River Ran Wild
Expedition Down Under

Pets, Pets, and more Pets

      Okay, I have been asked by many people a variety of questions regarding all the pets we have had in and out of our classroom.  Here are some answers.  If I haven't answered yours just leave me a message and I'll get back to you.

      First let me give you a little background about me and my love for animals.  I grew up in Florida where it was very common to see Gopher Tortoises on a regular basis.  Also, as kids we would go fishing and pond hopping catching what ever we could manage.  My Aunt Carla has always had a salt water tank and tortoises.  I randomly had dogs, rabbits and one guinea pig.  I never had cats.  I remember my dog Sophia having babies under the house during a hurricane one year.  I also remember going before my classroom on trial for 'murder' of the hermit crab.  (It was a total accident, I was holding him and he pinched me and I slung him across the room.)  Needless to say, I was found innocent on the charges and NO I wasn't scared for life for the mock trial we had in class.

How do you find all your exotic pets?
First of all, you should never get any pet without RESEARCHING everything you can first and really thinking about the commitment.  I inherit many of my pets from kids that don't want them anymore.  The only two I have invested in is my recent sulcatta tortoise and my two year old hedgehog. 

How do find time to take care of them?
         Each and every kid has a job in our classroom to make it feel like a real community where we all participate.  Some are weekly and some are daily.  We normally have at least two zoologist and one aquariologist.  They learn all the parts of taking care of and handling the pets and are responsible for training the next qualified student.

How expensive is it to have animals in the classroom?
         The initial cost for any animal can be expensive.  Our classroom Chinchilla, Geronimo, was gifted to us with the cage, and a big box of supplies from a girl who wanted a cat instead.  I find the weekly cost isn't much because the kids will begin to bring in small treats here and there.  Kids will catch live crickets for the hedgehog and the fish and bring in fresh fruits for the chinchilla.  It will be exciting to see how we all adjust to a tortoise this year.

How do you get around kid allergies?
        I get non allergy causing pets.  Basically pets without pet dander.  Good handwashing comes along with the territory also.

How do you take care of them over breaks?
        I actually have the students fill out applications if they want to take them home.  There is a little responsibility form for the parents.  It kinda helps some parents out that don't want a long term commitment for a pet.  Also, depending on the length, they get paid a small fee for pet sitting.
Also, if you are interested in just having a fish tank*****STAY AWAY FROM GOLD FISH!!!  Many people think fish tanks stink because of how walmart will over populate their tanks or they will crowd too many fish in  the tank and the filter cannot do its job quick enough.... I'll say it again.  RESEARCH!!!

         Also if you teach 4th or 5th grade Tetra Aquademics has a National Essay Contest (it's only 75 words) on Why I like my classroom aquarium.  I have had about 10 kids over the past 10 years win a $1,000 scholarship and many kids win a fish tank as runner's up.  As the teacher of the winning kid you get 5 fish tanks with all the set up to disperse among your fellow teachers.  Not bad.  I always give one of the tanks to the winner because they just get a piece of paper that says, you have a savings bond of 1,000 you can cash when your 18.  Not so fun for a kid.
An amazing teacher friend I admire at a Science and Math/ Engineering school has me totally beat though.  Beth has A KING KONG GIANT IGUANNA, large corn snake, snapping turtle, fish tanks, chinchilla, and I'm sure I'm missing something else too. 

Well friends, I hope that helps if you were thinking of a pet or animal for your room.  Sorry if I was everywhere:)

How to make Cute Whiteboards

So after years of hearing my fabulous team plan and say, "I'll just have my kids work on their whiteboards" blah-blah-blah.  But inside I was really jealous...

Finally, I went to Lowe's and purchased a whiteboard sheet: 10.99 and also purchased a really cute duck tape from Wal-mart and Wah-Lah!  Here's the picture.  I am pretty stoked about this because as much as I love all my bloggy girls with all their fab ideas.... I think this is original.  But I'm sure someone has done this somewhere. 

I Found the Money Tree

Well so much for lists... I got two things finished.  Met with grade level. Check.  Here is a post about how to earn cold hard.... cash.

Do you remember the song, "I want money, lots and lots of money...." 
Well, shhhhhhh, because we're not supposed to talk about the budget, but.....
I FOUND THE MONEY TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a chance to upcycle lots of products you use and throw away for cash!  That's right $$$$$ for your school!  Just by recycling capri pouches!  I was a little skeptic the first year (two years ago) and we earned $200.00!  Wait, but that's not all!

This year we began collecting elmer's glue sticks in addition to capris and let me tell you...
DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A whoppin $474.00 That's right baby!

You might think, that's not a lot of money or that won't go a long way.... You're right and wrong
#1 That is better than nothing, and beggers can't be choosers
#2  This is approximately divided among 20 teachers so that is about 25 dollars each

Here's the thing, if it's going in the trash anyway, why not get a little change?  I'm just saying.

So that's my brainaic idea for the new school year.  I have some forms and things I use to keep up with everything and how the teachers track what they earn.  I have designated capri captains that box everything.  This year, each third grade teacher is going to man their own item for the school.  For example, I will take capri pouches since they take the most effort (and can get goooy), my partner will take glue sticks, another will take used pens, another butter bowls, so on.  You pick what you want to recycle and earn the money.

It is great for teaching kids to be good stewards of our earth!
Here's the link....http://www.terracycle.net/?format=html&locale=en-US
If you have any questions about how we got this up and running at our school please ask.  Sayanara~Tara

So after I posted this... I went shopping.  Here are some of the supplies we received with our recycled money:  7 packs of multicolored card stock, 6 packs of bright paper, 50 composition notebooks, 3 packs of expo marker kits, multicolored pens, paper clips, post its, thumb tacks/magnet/clip combo packs, and soooo much more. 

I'm hoping we can get on the solo cup brigade next.

To do list

Hi my name is Tara. 
I am a list maker.  I make lists.
I have made lists since I can remember.
So, all my bloggy friends...
I am going to my classroom tomorrow,
Because everyone is posting pictures of their fantastic rooms and I need to get a move on.
So here is my list.

Things to do in classroom:
Meet with grade level about teaming this year.
Organize my book shelves.
Create one or two bulletin boards.
General set up of tables and student desks.

Things to share on blog:
More back to school sheets for information, technology, forms
Book report collaboration and ideas
Reading workshop and schedule with ideas
Reveal my NEWEST class pet.
Terracycle recycling program
Neat sites
And I'm sure there is more....

So thanks all you wonderful people for sharing all your ideas on your blogs, you truly inspire me and make me love what I do more and more.  I'll post pictures tomorrow. Chow.

Teacher Joke

In spite of all the budget cuts in our state, or possibly nation... Here is a joke I graced my staff with in addition to chocolate.... Enjoy  Tara

Dismissal List

Why pay $8.25 for a dismissal poster?  I have no idea.  Here is a dismissal poster you can tweak to add afterschool kiddos, clubs, etc...  You could also print an extra copy for your sub folder, lesson plan book, etc.  Enjoy the rest of your sunny summer!
This was not taken from anyone (that I know of) this idea was in the teacher magazine Really good stuff for teachers.  I hope remaking a similar idea is not stealing.  I have read a few blogs where people have stolen free stuff and sold it on TPT and others.  That's so sad.

Back to School, Student Information

I love the idea of back to school sheets where the kids color afterwards... however, I never really like the design they are in....

Here is a design to go with a patriotic theme.  Enjoy.