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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


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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 !

The holidays are officially over and it's back to school time. #cuethetears Yes, going back to work is definitely bitter sweet. I'm going to miss the comfort of just hanging out at home. However, I miss my kiddos and am ready to plan out all the winter activities for the month of January. 
Since I live in South Florida and winter isn't really a 'thing' here, I try my very best to include winter-related activities throughout the month of January and February. 
Today i'm sharing 10 winter freebies with you all! 

1.Winter Multiplication Memory by Games 4 Gains
Your kiddos will practice their fours and fives facts by matching the equation with its array and product.

Differentiate your winter-themed centers with these mini books and activities geared towards k-3rd grade. 

3. Common & Proper Noun Snowflake Sort by Sweet Tooth Teaching
 Noun Matching Game
Add this common and proper noun snowflake matching game to your grammar or word work center!
4. Winter Writing Prompt Calendar by Write Shop
Use these creative daily writing prompts for morning work, early finishers, or homework! 
5. Number Representation Snowman by The Stem Laboratory
 Number Representation Snowmen
Print and laminate these colorful snowmen and use as a math center game! 

6. Sneezy the Snowman Readaloud Kit by The Teacher Bag 
Use these engaging printable with 'Sneezy the Snowman' read aloud. 
7. Race to the Snowman Chart Game by Around the Kampfire
 Free Winter Math Center

Spice up your math centers with these fun number charts! They can be used to practice skip counting, addition, subtractions, or patterns.
8. Addition & Subtraction Math Center by Lucky Little Learners
 Winter Math Center
Have students solve each addition and subtraction equation and decide whether the sum/difference is true or false. Perfect addition to your math centers!

 Snowman Writing Prompts & Craft
Spark some creativity with these adorable snowman writing prompts!

Create any math or literacy game you wish with these editable board game templates! (Tons of other templates available on the site)

I hope these winter freebies are useful! 💛

Hi there! Today Courtney from Create Inspire Teach and I are chatting about the last components of the Fundamental Four: Engaging Learners.

Spending 7 hours sitting inside of a classroom can be exhausting for not only students, but teachers as well! We all have those BRILLIANT kiddos that just can not stay still for longer than 10 minutes. I mean, who can blame them? I'm sharing 10 activities & ideas for making instruction active, engaging, and meaningful. Let's just say, at the end of the school year when my kiddos are asked to write about their "Favorite Third Grade Memories", the majority of these activities are on their list.

Cocktail Discussion

Don't worry, there no alcohol required for this. ;) This was actually a great strategy I learned at a CRISS training (I've you've never taken one of these trainings, I highly recommend it! Tons of engaging ideas.) It is very similar to a think-pair-share but with an active twist. I usually use cocktail discussions at a beginning of a brand new lesson just to see what students already know about a specific topic. They are a great way of introducing weekly essential questions.

Engaging Learners Through Collaboration
I write the essential question on the board and circle it. Example EQ: How can we help make the Earth better? The students copy it down in their notebooks and create a web around it. I then set a timer for 2-3 minutes. The students must walk around the room and form a group of 5-6 members. The groups are usually formed on each of the four corners in the classroom. If the students walk up to a group that has already exceeded the amount of members, they must quickly go and find another group. At their groups, they discuss the topic. Students record information discussed amongst members or any new ideas. After the 2-3 minutes are over and the buzzer goes off, the students must walk around the room and form a new group. (Yes, some of the old members might overlap and that's okay! As long as it's not the exact same group as before.) The students brainstorm new ideas with this group and share any ideas gathered from the previous group. This process can be repeated 3-4 times. 
The activity is concluded with a whole-class shared discussion.

Musical Chairs

My kiddos loved this activity and begged me to do it everyday! I use this as a review for 2-digit multiplication, but it can be used to review any kind of skill. Here's how it works: I place the review sheet or activity on each desk. Once the music starts, the students move around the room ---dancing, wiggling, doing the dab.... whatever makes them happy. Once the music stops, they have to find an empty desk, sit down, and solve the first problem. The music starts again, they repeat the process and solve the next problem. I didn't take away any chairs like the typical musical chairs because that would leave kids without an opportunity to solve any problems. 
This is perfect for multiplication & division drills!


Scoots around the room are a great way to get your students moving. The best part is that scoots can be done with any kind of task cards and/or that you may have handy! Simply place the cards around the room (make sure they are numbered) and give each student a response sheet. I pick two numbers at random from my popsicle stick bucket and that determines the buddies that will be working together on the scoot. Each pair starts at a different task card placed around the room. They move around the room answering each card until they have reached their starting point. This can also be done using a timer, but it can be a bit stressful for those students that work at a slower pace.

Strategies for an Energetic Class

Want to make it a silent scoot?
 I challenge my kiddos to see who can be the QUIETEST, yet most collaborative group. I tell them they have to find a way to communicate with their partner without saying a word. 

 Click below to grab a FREE 3-Digit Subtraction with Regrouping Task Card Scoot!

Vocabulary Charades

Every Thursday I give a group of 3-4 students a vocabulary word. (I whisper it in their ear so no other group can hear it.) The students brainstorm a mini skit (30 seconds-1 minute) that will help the rest of the class guess what word they are acting out. The kiddos get so creative with this and even incorporate props from around the room! It's a great review right before Friday test days.

Review Jenga

Review Jenga is the perfect way to get students engaged in their learning. I use these jingo games during literacy and math centers. Students have to answer the questions on the corresponding cards in order to move the game piece.
Math Review Jenga Game

Learning "Hut"

St.Patrick's Day happened to land on the week right before state testing this school year.I knew that my students only had a week to prep for the test, but I also wanted them to enjoy the holiday! I set up themed centers to review each of the skills that would be on the test. I did this for math and reading.One of their favorite centers was the "Leprechaun Cave". All I did was hang a green tablecloth over my reading corner to create a little 'hut'. The students worked on elapsed time in there with a student teacher. (I would recommend supervision in that center since you can't really see what's going on inside.) They had so much fun they didn't even realize they were really prepping for the test!

Bucket Scoot

This is very similar to the room scoots, you would just be using little buckets. Place buckets around the room (You may even want to 'hide' them for some extra fun!) The students must pick up the question inside, answer it, and move on to the next bucket.

Interactive Anchor Chart

I'm sure we are all huge fans of graphic organizers. I use them all the time-- especially during reading instruction. However, they do get a little repetitive and sometimes it's nice to just change it up a bit. I grabbed two hula hoops and created a life-sized graphic organizer. I had the students read a passage and typed up different character traits on pieces of colored paper. The kiddos had to compare and contract the characters in order to determine where each trait belonged. 
Engaging Ideas and Tricks for Students

Take it Outside!

I love taking learning outside. It's a nice change of scenery and it gets kiddos moving. I grabbed some picnic tablecloths and baskets and took out math review outside. I simply cut up the review sheet into strips, placed them inside the baskets, and had groups of four work together to solve them. We then debriefed the answers as a group while we enjoyed some popsicles. 

Flashlight Fridays

Every Friday morning, kiddos are encouraged to bring a flash light to school and grab a book! On Fridays, we ditch morning work and just spend some time soaking up a good book! The thought of reading in the dark sparks immediate engagement. 

Kids will be kids! We surely can not expect them to stay sitting in a desk 8 hours a day without acting up or getting off-task. I know I sure can't! I hope these ideas can help you spice up your instruction and get your kiddos MOVING. 

Welcome back to our Fundamental Four series!
Today, Courtney from Create Inspire Teach and I will be talking all about Building Classroom Community.

What is a Classroom Community?

 Cultivating relationships with our students is ESSENTIAL. Students should feel valued and connected to not only the teacher, but other students as well. A classroom community consists of positive relationships, collaboration and discussions, responsibilities, and overall acceptance. When students feel like they belong, they are more than likely to become instantly engaged and active participants of their learning. Think about it this way, do you feel more inclined to go to work if you have a boss that constantly encourages you, lifts you up with positive words, and is always there to help? Yup.
 Now, a classroom community is something that's created and nurtured throughout the school year. It definitely does not happen over night. But when it does, it's truly magical. 

Set Classroom Expectations

Instead of setting classroom rules, I set classroom expectations. Last year I only had THREE expectations.
1) Show respect to everyone.
2) Make smart choices.
3) Solve your problems.
These three expectations pretty much encompassed every rule I could think of. Students understood the importance of following these rules in order to maintain a successful classroom environment. We focused on discussing and breaking down the expectations by thinking about what specific behaviors would fall under each one. While brainstorming expectations together, we created an anchor chart filled with expected behaviors. The students all signed the chart and it was displayed in the classroom all year.
I don't have a picture of the chart, but some of the behaviors included:
-Listen to others before speaking
-Ask for help when needed
-Use kind words
- Try to solve a problem with words before bringing it up to the teacher's attention.
 (We discussed what kinds of problems would fall under this category. We reinacted out minor problems such as "He doesn't let me go first!" "She skipped me in line!", "I don't have a pencil!" and what would be some of the possible solutions.)

Create Class Goals

Another great way to get everyone to collaborate is to work together to set class goals. I like meeting with the class at least once a month to discuss our progress as a whole. Have we been slacking on completing our iReady minutes? Have we been checking out books from the library? How are our assessment scores doing? We reflect on different areas as a whole and set quarterly goals. Here are some examples of the goals we've set:

By the end of the quarter, our class will:
-Read 60 books
-Complete the required 45 minutes of iReady every single week
-Complete our homework 4 out of 5 days a week
-Complete one act of kindness a day

I've been guilty of having a "Data Wall" just because our administration requires it. I fill in the data, but the kiddos have no idea what any of it stands for. Last year I made sure to explain the process to them and we worked together to set the goals. This year I created these large Data Tracking and Goal Setting posters that will be displayed on our wall. 

Host Classroom Discussions

Finding the time to do anything outside of 'instruction' during the school day can be extremely hard.  You have two math lessons to catch up on, an assessment to debrief, and guided reading groups scheduled for the day. How in the world are you going to fit a classroom discussion in there? We've all been there.
I display a prompt on the board twice a week. I saw this idea floating around Instagram for a while and knew I had to start implementing it in my class. When students walk in, they have a post it already on their desk. They read the prompt on the board and walk up to the board to place their post-it next to it. Once all students have completed morning work and we are ready to get started for the day, we spend about 3-5 minutes discussing the prompt as a whole. This is a great time to bond as a class. We share stories, laugh, and BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. 

Morning Meeting Starters

Grab these FREE discussion prompts below!
Free Classroom Discussion Starters

I hope you grabbed some new ideas to help build student relationships! 

PS: I'm giving away TWO Goal Setting & Data Tracking Poster set! Check out my 'Building Classroom Community' Instagram Post to enter! (@SweetToothTeaching)

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