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If you know me, you know I love all things organization! Whether that be investing in a good planner, organizing the pantry, or color-coding our closets. I just received two 1THRIVE command centers for our house and I am head over heels in love. If you're an organizational freak like me, you're going to swoon over this!

 

The 1THRIVE command centers are designed to help keep everything organized and in one spot, while still managing to be aesthetically pleasing. They have so many different pre-designed command centers to choose from! It was definitely difficult to decide which one to get! I ended up deciding on two — The Susan for my home office and The Rachel for our kitchen area.

 

Okay, let me tell you that setting up my command centers was the easiest and most satisfying thing EVER. I usually have my husband build all the things around the house. I assumed he would need to help me ‘build’ these. 

 

Nope.

 

All of the components include metal hooks and can be placed anywhere on the command center. You can customize the look of your command center to fit your needs. The little buckets on the side are perfect for storing materials and adding a cute decor/statement piece, such as a succulent or flowers. A set of two liquid chalk markers are included with each command center, too!

The Susan is more of a horizontal look which worked best in my home office. I use the calendar for all things business! It helps me keep track of blog deadlines, plan out weekly content, and create weekly to-do lists. I love that my command center is right in front of my desk, which allows me to see what needs to get done as I'm working. 


We decided to get a second command center for our family and it has been a game changer! Although it's just Curt and I (for now!), sometimes it's hard to keep track of appointments and family events. The Rachel is a vertical command center that fit perfectly in our kitchen area, and I opted for the add-on of the Medium Weekly Blackboard. (It also compliments our rustic/boho decor.) We use the calendar to write down important dates, events, etc. This time around we won't miss bulk trash day! #winning

Every Monday we plan out our weekly meals using the days-of-the-week board. It's so nice to not have to brainstorm what to make for dinner every day. It helps with grocery shopping too! Once we know what we're making, we can grab what we need for the week.

 

If you're looking for a command center that will help everyone in the family stay organized, I definitely recommend getting a 1THRIVE like I did! They also have Family Packs for those looking to set up a command center for the family and a second (or third!) for kids.

 

You can get 10% off any command center or family pack using the code 'SWEETTOOTHTEACHING10' at checkout!

 

Click here to check out all of the different command centers and pick the one that works best for you.

 

Partnered with 1THRIVE.

Happy Fall Ya'll!
It's officially the most wonderful time of the year. Give me all the fall colors, pumpkins, and sweaters. Today i'm sharing 10 FREE Fall resources you can use with your students this season!

1. Free Halloween Themed Telling Time to the Quarter Hour Digital Task Cards (Boom Cards) by Sweet Tooth Teaching

Engage your students during distance learning with these Free Halloween themed Boom Cards. The set includes 20 digital task cards to review telling time to the quarter hour. Digital task cards can also be used during whole group lessons or technology centers.


2. Fall Shades of Meaning Vocabulary Activities by Around the Kampfire
This cut & paste activity helps students understand shades of meaning by using fall-themed vocabulary. This is the perfect hands-on resource for 2nd-3rd grade students.

3. Fall Place Value Game by Sara J Creations

This fun and low-prep activity is great for a fall-themed math center. Add some fall leaves and pumpkins to your station to spice it up! (Dollar Tree has great finds during this time of year)

4. ELA Fall-Themed Morning Slides by Sweet Tooth Teaching
Engage your students during virtual learning with these ELA morning work slides. They can also be projected on the Smart Board to review 3rd-4th grade skills before starting a reading lesson.


5. Witch Themed Noun & Adjective Sorting Activity by The Clutter Free Classroom
Looking to review adjectives and nouns with your students? This sorting activity can be used during an ELA  Halloween center or as an independent activity. Add some witch hats to your center and make the magic come to life!

Hands-on cut & paste activities to help older students review multi-digit multiplication. A perfect fall activity for 4th and 5th grade math centers.

7. Halloween Brain Break Cards by Second Story Window
We all know how important brain breaks are for kids and adults. These interactive brain break cards can be picked up at any moment during virtual or in-person teaching to help kiddos recharge & refocus!

Five engaging printable that can be used during any Halloween themed center! Includes book companion activities for 'The Spider and the Fly' and 'Creepy Carrots'. These activities target upper elementary students (3rd-5th) and review inferencing, summarizing, writing skills, point-of-view, and much more!


10. Fall Reading & Grammar Morning Work by Sweet Tooth Teaching
Grab these free fall morning work printables targeting 3rd-4th grade ELA standards. Includes fall-themed review activities for figurative language, abbreviations, subjects and predicates, and collective nouns.



10. Candy Corn Math & STEM Activities- by Teaching with Jennifer Findley
Find FREE number comparison printables for older students and fun hands-on candy corn STEM activities!

Hope these resources are useful during this fall season!


Curt and I are expecting our first baby! We are beyond excited to welcome our baby girl into the world. There are so many thoughts and feelings running through our heads though. What will the world be like once she's here? Should we start saving for her college as soon as she's born? How can we accommodate our finances or eliminate any debt before our baby girl arrives?


As soon as we found out we were pregnant, we decided we should make a financial plan to help us save money now and for our future. One of the main debts that has been a burden for us has been my student loans. I graduated with my Masters in reading education back in 2015. I've been making monthly payments toward my loans ever since. But it just feels like the majority of my payments are going straight toward the interest and the principal is just hanging in there waving at me! Student loans can be confusing and extremely overwhelming. Anyone else on the student loan struggle bus? 


Luckily and coincidentally, I stumbled across Chipper, a student loan automation company that specializes in helping student loan borrowers qualify for income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness programs. 
They have done an outstanding job at helping me understand and manage my student loan options. I've learned so much about the different repayment plans and forgiveness programs I didn't even know I qualified for! After chatting with Jessica from Chipper, I discovered I’m eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness AND Teacher Loan Forgiveness! Ya'll, this means I can actually have my loans forgiven! That's a huge weight off our shoulders, especially during this big transition in our lives.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness 

Since I qualify for both forgiveness programs, I needed to pick the best option for me. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is best for my loan situation since I owe less than $30,000 and have already made the required 5 years of consecutive payments. This program indicates that if you are a full-time teacher at a Title 1 school, you may be eligible for $5,000 or $17,500 off of your student loans.

Public Loan Forgiveness 

However, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program may be best for you if you owe more than $30,000. While pursuing this forgiveness program you can also cap your required monthly payments in proportion to your monthly income. After 120 qualifying payments you can be eligible for complete student loan forgiveness! This program is available to teachers and public service employees.

Discover Which Program is Best for You

99% of people that apply for student loan forgiveness are rejected. Chipper helps their members be a part of that 1% that gets approved! Discover your student loan repayment and forgiveness options through Chipper's FREE services!

Finding a way to encourage our reluctant readers to become excited about reading isn't always the easiest task. Unfortunately when students feel frustrated with reading, they tend to avoid any activity related to it. 

Luckily, Dreamscape is an online reading game that 2nd-8th grade students actually love using. The engaging video game navigates students through a series of challenges in order to build up a dwell and defend themselves from other characters. As students answer comprehension questions, they are able to unlock several rewards, build dwells, battle other characters, and much more! Students are so immersed in the gamification platform that they seem to forget that they're actually practicing reading skills along the way. The better students perform on the actual comprehension questions, the further they will advance in the game. This encourages kiddos to try their best since it affects their overall gaming results. 

Why Teachers Love Dreamscape:

+ It's completely FREE for both students and teachers.
+ Students can access Dreamscape from home or school.
+ The curriculum is aligned to State Standards.
+ Reluctant readers LOVE the game.
+ The platform includes assignment tools, diagnostic testing, and several reporting features.
+ It can be played on a desktop or on the Dreamscape app.
+ The dashboard access is open to parents and administrators. 

Why Students Love Dreamscape:

+ Students can send friend requests or join a class to play with other classmates and friends.
+ Students can challenge and compete against their best friends!
+ They gain rewards as they complete challenges and/or question streaks.
Avatars can be customized and upgraded as they advance in the game.
+ It's competitive, interactive, and similar to video games they've been exposed to before.

 Dreamscape Dashboard:

The Dreamscape dashboard includes a number of performance reporting and assignment tools that are perfect for customizing lessons and tailoring to the needs of individual students.
 
Placement Test: Differentiation is KEY. Their new placement test feature allows teachers to see what level each student is reading on, their areas for growth, and strengths at the beginning of the school year. Teachers are able to use this feature to assign specific skills on the platform or reinforce standards.

Skill Comprehension: See how students are progressing in each skill and design lessons to focus on specific ones. This feature allows you to customize the lessons by choosing the genre and how many questions you want to assign per skill.

Real-Time Dashboard: Monitor your students' data in real-time as they play the game. This is perfect for in-class use during a technology hour and/or center. Teachers can ensure that students are on-task, pull students for conferencing, and track students that need the most help.

How Can Dreamscape Be Used During Distance and In-Person Learning?

There are many uncertainties about this upcoming school year. Some districts have opted for distance learning (virtual learning), while others are continuing instruction in person. Regardless of your current teaching situation, Dreamscape is a great tool to keep kiddos excited about reading! 
 
Here are some ways Dreamscape can be used Virtually:
+ Assign as homework during distance learning 
+ Dreamscape 'Break'-- 15-20 minute virtual learning break where students can compete against their classmates. Teachers can monitor progress using the real-time dashboard feature. 
+ Create a Dreamscape Club at your school- students can meet virtually once a week to discuss the game, strategies, progress, and more! 

I hope you find Dreamscape to be as useful as I have! I'm beyond excited about exposing my students to the game and seeing them engaged in reading instruction. 

Check out the Dreamscape website and create your FREE account!




Post sponsored by Dreamscape

As teachers we all know the constant struggle with our kiddos being HOOKED to their electronics. Every time we ask them to give us a sentence with their vocabulary word, they just have to relate it to the latest video game. #TheStruggleisReal

Motivating Our Kids to Play in their Backyard
The makers of OFF!® Repellents have launched 'The Never Starting Tales'-- a collection of reinterpreted fairy tales that get kids thinking about how moving the story setting from outside to inside stops the adventure altogether. These FREE online storybooks help kiddos understand the importance of detaching from their electronics and taking the fun to their backyard.

The full-color digital storybooks are aimed at kindergarten through third grade students. However, they can be used across grade levels to get their true message across. Students can watch and listen to the e-books online, complete with “turn the page” animation. The books can also be downloaded as PDF files to devices, which can be added to digital libraries.

Never Starting Tales during Digital Learning
The best part about the Never Starting Tales is that they can be incorporated during our virtual learning! My kiddos look forward to hearing a new story every week during our Zoom morning meetings! The OFF!®  Never Starting Tales website offers FREE ELA and STEAM lesson plans to correspond with the books. These lesson plans are perfect for virtual learning and can be easily used by teachers and parents.


This week, we’ll be reading ‘The Never Starting Tale of The Three Little Pigs’ through our online learning platform. The kiddos will be taking part in their first virtual STEM! They will head to their backyard to find twigs, leaves, rocks, and anything else they can find! Then, they’re going to create a house out of the materials they found. They will test their houses by pouring ‘weather’ over the roofs. (water, ice, etc.)


Teaching Theme with the Never Starting Tales

Teachers: The Never Starting Tales are the perfect stories to help us reinforce theme! Each story has a lesson at the end--- the character misses out on all of the adventure because he/she decides to play indoors.
When we were in the classroom back in March, I decided to use 'The Never Starting Tale of Hercules' to analyze the lesson the character learns at the end of the story. As we listened to the story, the students wrote down three important events. At the end, we discussed how these events tied into each other. 

Turn & Talk: The students turned to a partner and came up with some possible themes or 'lessons' that were learned from the story.

Turn & Talk-Virtual Breakout Rooms: Since we’ve currently moved on to digital learning, I’ve been using breakout rooms on our virtual platform to allow students the opportunity to work in groups and have discussions. 


Persuasive Writing Prompt
Afterwards, we discussed different 'superpowers' that might be great to have when we are playing in the backyard. Invisibility to help us during Hide and Seek? Super speed when we're playing Tag? 

The kiddos worked with a partner to brainstorm how these superpowers might be useful or important. They wrote a short piece explaining why their superpower was the best kind. Once we were all done, they shared their powers with the class. Since we are working on improving our sentences and overall structure of a paragraph--- this was perfect! The kiddos had so much fun coming up with their own superpowers! 

 Involving Parents

I shared the link to the Never Starting Tales with my classroom parents via our messaging app. Students were assigned to listen to 'The Never Starting Tale of Cinderella' with their parents and created a bucket list of outdoor activities. 

They were so eager to share their list with the class the next day!

If you're looking for a fun way to engage your kiddos while secretly hinting 'hey, maybe you should drop your tablet and play in the backyard...'
 then these Never Starting Tales, brought to you by the makers of OFF! ® Repellents will surely do the job. I would love to hear how you incorporate these tales in your classroom! Make sure to comment below or tag me @SweetToothTeaching to share all of the ideas!

Post sponsored by the makers of OFF Repellents

Learn More: Check out The Never Starting Tales website to learn more!



Fractions has got to be the most challenging topic for my third graders to understand. It also happens to be my favorite unit to teach.This year, I decided to do a classroom transformation to wrap up our fraction unit and review all of the third grade standards right before our unit assessment. It was definitely a day my kiddos will never forget.
Of course I had to bring the 'Sweet Tooth' side of me to life with this transformation. I'm talking all things ICE CREAM. 

How I set up for our Fraction Shop Day:

NOTE: I used a lot of ice cream themed props I bought at Target over the summer.

Classroom Walls: I covered the walls with butcher paper. The giant ice cream cones were also made out of butcher paper.
Confetti Tablecloths
Inflatable Ice Cream Cones
Ice Cream Cone Garland
+ Diner Hats

 

This post contains affiliated links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may make a commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Fraction Day Setup:

I created 5 stations in the classroom. Each station consisted of a different activity to help reinforce the fraction standards we had already learned. I divided the class into 5 groups. Each group started at a different math station. They were given about 15-20 minutes to complete each station. Once the time was up, they cleaned up the station and rotated to the next one.

Station Recording Sheets: I created a booklet for each student with all of the recording sheets for each station stapled together. This was such a great way to help my kiddos stay organized throughout each transition without losing any recording sheets!

Here is a sneak peek inside some of the stations that I used for our fraction shop day.


Third Grade Math Standards Targeted: 3.NF.A.1, 3.NF.A.2, 3.NF.A.3, 3.NF.A.3.D

Station 1: Build Your Own Fraction Ice Cream

This activity is designed to review fractions of a whole. Students practiced using the terms ‘numerator’ and ‘denominator’ when creating fractions.

This station was a HIT. The kiddos got to wear ice cream themed aprons that I found at Target over the summer and made their own ice cream sundaes! They picked a task card from a pile and used the pieces to build their ice cream.Once the kiddos had created a recipe, they showed their partner their ice cream sundae. Without looking at the recipe card, their partner had to identify each fraction of ingredients.
EX: “Your sundae has 1/3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, 2/3 strawberry ice cream, and 3/3 sprinkles.”

Station 2: True or False Fraction Comparisons

Students broke down fractions to determine whether the fraction comparisons were true or false.
Kiddos picked a card from a pile and determined whether the comparison was true or false. If the comparison was false, they rewrote the comparison on the response sheet using the correct symbol.

Station 3: Fraction Board Game

Students answered questions about parts of a whole, parts of a group, and comparing fractions to move across the game board.
I used this station as a guided math center. Since the questions on the task cards were aligned with their test, I really wanted to make sure they understood each concept.

Station 4: Fraction Face-Off Game

Students compared fractions with different numerators and denominators. They practiced using the <,>, and = symbols when comparing two fractions.
This one was also a class favorite. (Anything involving competition is always a favorite.)
Each team flipped a card over at the same time. The kiddos determined which team had the larger fraction. The team with the larger fraction kept both cards. At the end of the game, the team with the most cards was the winning team.

Station 5: Fractions on a Number Line

At this station, students practiced identifying fractions on a number line. They used the little ice cream cone pieces to move or 'jump' across the number line to help them better understand the fractions.
Ice Cream Day was definitely one in the books! Of course we had to wrap up the day by making some REAL ice cream sundaes!   

Want to try out fraction ice cream day in your class? You can grab the FREE Frosty's Lab mat to help your kiddos model fractions.

If you would like to host your very own fraction day or check out the other activities inside the pack, click HERE!


  


I've gotten tons of questions about Buddy- our class mascot, so I figured i'd share a little bit about him! 
Just to clarify, Buddy the mascot is not a real pet. 😂 I bought him at Ikea, but you can find the same one on Amazon.
Click here to get yourself a Buddy Mascot.
My students know how obsessed I am with my real dog, Buddy. I have a photo of Buddy posted on my Teacher Corner and I introduced him as our class mascot on the first day of school.
I decided to get a stuffed animal version of Buddy and use him as a class incentive. Every Friday, one kiddo gets chosen to take Buddy home and spend time with him over the weekend. 
If I catch a kiddo being extra good during the week, they may earn a Mascot Raffle Ticket. This enters them into the drawing on Friday to see who gets to take the class mascot home. 
Kiddos are able to earn multiple raffle tickets throughout the week. The more tickets they earn, the higher the chance! 

I also let kiddos take him home when it's their birthday. Sometimes i'll just decide who takes him home based on my teacher judgement. You decide what works best for your class!
Buddy hangs out in the library during the school day. The kiddos are allowed to grab him whenever they're reading a book. Buddy LOVES hearing stories-- he especially likes the suspense that chapter books leave at the end of each chapter. (Catch my drift? 😉) 

So, when they do take Buddy home they know they have to read to him or he'll end up getting homesick.

They log their adventures in the "Mascot Journal". They can write all about their weekend with Buddy or make up a fictional story about 'Buddy's Adventures'.

You can grab all of the mascot resources for FREE by clicking below! I have also included a simple 'Mascot Template' which can be used for any class mascot. (Doesn't have to be a dog!)

My students are in third grade and they are obsessed with our mascot. I hope your students enjoy this incentive as much as mine do! Classroom Management #win !
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