Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hello From Miss V's Busy Bees

Hey all!
I'm Sara from Miss V's Busy Bees. I have been blogging for a little more than 2 years and have met some of the most AMAZING people along this journey!
A little about me - I am in my second year of teaching and I'm at a BRAND new school this year. But, I'm in my favorite grade of all time - 3rd grade! They are so bright, fun, and willing to learn, yet they know right from wrong. I moved from Ohio to Alabama in November 2012 with my now husband, Cody, who is in the Coast Guard. So, I'm a big supporter of the military! We have three fur babies - Socks who is a cat and is 4 years old, Lexie who is a Papillion and is 2 years old, and Tucker who is an English Bulldog and is about 1 1/2 years old. The fur babies are our pride & joy - we would be lost without them!

In my free time, I'm a large crafter. I love to create and glue and cut, and have a craft room dedicated solely to my joy. It's GLORIOUS! I also am a huge TV/couch potato - love watching "junk" TV. Right now, I'm currently watching Switched at Birth, The Fosters, Pretty Little Liars, Chasing Life, Big Brother, Hell on Wheels, and several other shows. Love love love my TV time! It's so relaxing.

But enough about me and my life - you're here to get GREAT advice, tips, freebies, and information from some fantastic bloggers. We'll be blogging as often as possible to bring you these tips, freebies, information, and ideas for the elementary classroom, most of which will be for 3rd grade.

With back to school upon us, we're all working on setting up our classrooms to become "homes" for our students very shortly. We also want to make it something that's visually appealing to ourselves, too. This year, I decided to go with a BRIGHT rainbow theme. I literally have just brights all over my room - reds, yellows, oranges, greens, blues, and purples. It's BEAUTIFUL!

I got a new rug this year, too, and it's a map of the United States - and it's COLORFUL!
It matches the rest of the decor PERFECTLY. Anyways, now that you know my theme, I should probably talk about what I'm leading into!

Knowing that I loved color and that I was told that I HAD to have a Word Wall, I decided to make it "my own." I wanted something that went well with the bright decor and just couldn't find the right word wall for me. So, I decided to create one! It turned out SO fantastic and I am so happy with the final product. Granted, it's not super straight - but I love it and it's functional. It's in the back of our room and I cannot wait to fill it with words for my kiddos this year! They loved seeing it when they came back after the first weekend!
Knowing all that - what colors and MUST HAVES did you make/buy for your classroom this year?? I'd love to hear all about it!

And to make this post worth your time, I'm offering that EXACT word wall letter card group as a freebie! Click on the picture below to head on over and download your word wall cards for YOUR classroom!

Make sure to come back shortly for some AMAZING posts with great ideas by your favorite bloggers! We're so excited to have y'all with us!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Building Relationships with Students and Families

Hi Friends! Welcome to the Elementary Grapevine!
I am so thrilled and honored to be a part of this new collaborative blog and am excited to work alongside all of these talented bloggers to bring  YOU new ideas, resources, and of course some fun freebies!

My name is Courtney and I am the blogger behind Teaching in Paradise

As most of you may know, I live and teach in the beautiful state of Hawaii. I am currently teaching 3rd grade on the island of O’ahu. I have already started my 5th year teaching (summer was way too short), my first year being the Grade Level Chair, and a District Level Mentor Teacher!! I am excited for these new responsibilities as I continue to learn and grow in my teaching career! This past summer, I married the love of my life and my very best friend! Our wedding day was literally the best day of our lives! I do not have any children, except for my doggy daughter ;) 

This is Kiani. I swear she is part human- she totally lets me dress her up and do ridiculous things like make her wear glasses! lol

My back to school tip is that it is very important to build strong and positive relationships with your students and parents in order to have a successful school year. Students need to know that you care about them and parents need to know that you have their child's best interest at heart. One way I like to begin building these relationships is by sending a postcard home over the summer introducing myself to the child. I give a little information about myself, then invite them to meet me and drop off their school supplies. I also make sure to let them know how excited I am to have them in my class and what a fun and exciting year I have planned for us. Students are THRILLED to receive mail (this is the first time for many of them) and they come in extra excited to meet me.

In the past I have always purchased the 'Welcome to 3rd Grade' Postcards from the education stores. It usually took me an entire week to get all my postcards handwritten. This year, I was short on time so I decided to create these postcards and type my letters to students.

With 28 students, this was a total time saver! I hope that you can use these postcards to send a little joy to your future students. I have created postcards for 1st grade-6th grade. You can get these editable postcards for FREE in my TpT Store

This side is editable for your convenience. You will need to print these pages double-sided. 

Thank you soo much for stopping by to 'meet' me today. For more ideas, tips, and freebies please follow me on my blog Teaching in Paradise, my Facebook page, Instagram, and TpT . 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to School Tidbit from Gina

Hi everyone! I'm Gina and I blog over at Third Grade Tidbits.
I am so excited to be part of this new collaborative blog with some of my favorite bloggers! Let me tell you a little about me... I taught for the past 7 years, 6 of them in third grade. My first year teaching was in middle school until I moved to Memphis and had been in third grade ever since. I recently relocated back to my hometown of Buffalo NY and because of crazy licensing issues I am not able to teach currently (long saga, no one wants to hear it, trust me...) So I am extremely grateful to these lovely ladies for including me in this blog even though I am not currently teaching. I am hoping that my experience in third for the past six years will benefit all of our readers!

One of my sanity savers for back to school time is to have books on the groups/tables for students to read when they have down time. It is inevitable that students will finish something early and since it is the first day, they won't know what to do. Having books for them to read, at all different levels and of different topics will keep them engaged and behaving. I know when I first started teaching, I thought, "first day of school, they won't dare talk... they will all be too nervous and too tired. And heck, I have lots of morning work on their desks to do, they will be plenty busy." I was wrong... by third grade, they are sure to have at least one person in the class they know and/or will talk to. And some of them will finish that huge packet of cute back to school morning work that you have on their desk. Having books for them to get into will help you and them.

And with that, I want to share one of my freebies with you. Last year, I REALLY wanted to do daily 5. However, it wasn't exactly allowed. (Another long, boring, make me mad story.) But I DID have my kids read to self almost daily. And my reading scores skyrocketed. And one of the first things I did with my kids was really teach them HOW to read to themselves. It seems like it is common knowledge in third grade, but it really isn't. And getting them to build their reading stamina is huge. So here is my read to self freebie that I created and used in my class last year (I have these for the other parts of daily 5 as well in my store.)

My kids absolutely loved this and LOVED trying to increase their reading minutes everyday. Folks, we started with 1 minute... yes you read that right ONE stinking minute... and quickly were passing 20 minutes. Time well spent in my opinion.

Thanks everyone for stopping by and joining in on our new adventure! For more ideas, stop by my blog at Third Grade Tidbits or you can follow me on facebook at Third Grade Tidbits. You can visit my TpT store here too!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Encouraging "Super Readers" in the classroom

Hi everyone! Welcome to the Elementary Grapevine. I'm so happy to be a part of this great collaborative blog with so many other talented teachers. My name is Krystal and I blog over at "Good Enough Teacher". I call myself "good enough teacher" because I don't have time to get caught up in the stress that Pinterest seems to bring us teachers as we look at everyone else's perfect classrooms and amazing activities they create for their students, when I can barely get myself out of bed and into my classroom on time!! Can anyone relate? My students and I still have fun, we still learn, and they still love school, because they don't see all the cute stuff they are missing on Pinterest. I do my best, and that's "good enough" for me :)

So just to tell you a little bit about me... I love all things pink and Disney, and I hate winter (which seems ironic since I live in Utah).  I am starting my tenth year of teaching, and am switching to third grade after beginning my career in first grade followed by 8 years in second grade. I really thought I would be a second grade teacher for life, so this is definitely a new adventure for me. I switched grades in order to participate in a new technology program with my district, so I will be receiving a class set of google chrome books and am excited to share with you how I integrate technology into my classroom this year.

My back to school tip is to number your students!  I wrote a blog post about this recently, so you can read the whole post over at my blog... but I promise you, numbering my students is what keeps me sane and keeps the peace in my classroom!   

Today I wanted to share with you a little freebie that I created just for this special occasion!! I recently made some objectives posters for third grade, which you can read more about on my blog.... here's just a peek at the adorableness of my packets... I printed these at Costco at 5x7 photos, and plan on displaying them at the front of my room each day... take a look:

Anyway, I made some reading comprehension strategies posters to compliment the objectives posters. I hope these are something you can use in your classroom this coming year… They would make a great bulletin board! Click on the photo to download them from TPT, and remember to leave feedback if you like them... and in case you missed the big sale, my store is on sale for an extra 10% off today.  Thanks for stopping by today... make sure to follow my blog, pinterest, facebook, instagram, and TPT store so we can stay connected this year!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ideas for a Meet The Teacher or a Back to School Night and some FREEBIES!

Hi Dear Friends!
Yesterday you were able to meet another the Amazing Nicole from "All Things Apple in 2nd".

I couldn't wait to introduce myself. I'm Krista from over at Stellar Students.
I am so excited to be part of the Elementary Grapevine! Just a little background information about myself.... I've been blogging over at Stellar Students for the past 2 1/2 years.  I have been teaching 3rd grade for the past 16 years.  I LOVE teaching 3rd grade!!  This year, I will be focusing more on reading and ELA.   My partner teacher is teaching math, and I get to focus on reading.  I'm so excited to be a little bit more departmentalized in 3rd grade this year.  I think this will be a great benefit to our students. 

If you've visited my blog, Stellar Students,  you will know that I've been gearing up for a new school year.  We start August 13!   

Something that my school has done the past 5 years is hold a "Meet The Teacher" or " Back to School Night" for our students.   I LOVE this!  It gives the students a chance to tour the building the night before school starts and visit their new classroom.  I think it helps with those back to school nerves that both the students and TEACHERS have.   Students have a chance to bring in their supplies on this night as well. This makes organization on that first day back to school a little easier.   I wanted to share with you what I place on the desks of my students on that " Back to School Night".

The small yellow rectangle at the top of the desk is a teacher magnet.  It includes my name, school phone number, district website, and my e-mail address.  I created the card myself, laminated it, and placed a magnet on the back.   You can snag a FREE template of my magnet HERE or on the photo below.  You will open the template in powerpoint, and then hit " Insert" a "textbox" and type in the information you would like to include.

I also include a Parent Handbook.  You can grab a FREE template of my copy HERE or by clicking on the photo below.  This handbook includes my classroom rules, classroom expectations, general homework, parties, and schedule for parents.

 On the left of the photo, you will see a document that helps parents and students know where to put all of their school supplies.  I have large baskets that are labeled with the supplies in various places throughout the classroom.  Students can place their dry erase markers in one area, kleenex in another, and so forth.    Click HERE or on the photo below for this FREE template with labels to place on the boxes.

Thanks so much for stopping by!   For more back to school ideas and those first day of school lesson plans, please stop by my blog at Stellar Students.   You can also follow Stellar Students on Facebook to get updates on FREEBIES and other posts by clicking HERE.  You can also visit my TPT store for all things 3rd grade by clicking HERE.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Hey there!! Welcome to the Elementary Grapevine! Doesn't that name just make you want to bust out and sing "I heard it through the grapevine..." as a California Raisin??  :) OR maybe, that's just me! haha 

 Well, I am Nicole from All Things Apple in 2nd.
I am soooooo excited to be a part of this new collaborative blog with amazing bloggers!!! Blogging has seriously brought so many great people and opportunities into my life that I can't wait to share in that journey with you!!

All little about myself...
We started our school year last Monday! Can you believe that! We had a teacher day on Monday, and students came on Tuesday! I'm looping for the first time ever so it really seems like I never left! Thank goodness I had to switch rooms, or I'd think I was in the Twilight Zone seeing the same kids in the same room. hah :) This year is my 12th year of teaching. Boy, does time fly! I started my career in 6th/7th grades teaching Spanish carting myself around with a cart since I didn't have my own room. Oh, that was so not fun! However, I coached volleyball and basketball which got me through! The next year I transferred to my present day school to 2nd grade. Up until this year, I had stayed in 2nd (10 years). I guess I got promoted?!? hah It sounds good to me! I also run a Girls on the Run program at my school that will start in the next few weeks.

After 11 years of teaching, you'd think I would have all the back to school procedures, activities, etc. down and polished, but I don't! I do feel like it is a different kind of stress after so many years, though. With me, this year was different since I have my same kids. SOOO, I had to twist my arm (I love creating!!) to change things up so they I didn't feel like I was still in 2nd grade with them. 

With that, I'd say my biggest tip for back to school is to BREATHE!!! As much as well all want to be super teachers, we just don't have enough minutes in the day (or sanity) to have everything PERFECT for that first day! AND you's OKAY!! We are normal! I'm not going to say I wasn't in my classroom frantically trying to finish everything, I mean EVERYTHING. BUT, there comes a point when you say, ready or not, here they come! The kids don't know what you don't have done unless, of course, you tell them. ;) The room will be PERFECT in their eyes because you're there welcoming them. Everything seems to fall into place (at least by fall break :). It's one of the hardest things to do when you're getting ready for your new students, but the less stress on you to have the room perfect, the more time you'll have to get all of those amazing activities ready for the newest bunch!

Now, something that I've created that I think is going to really help out this year is My Self Reflection Desktop Name Tags, Small Group Cards, Bookmarks and more set! (short name, huh?? :)
I've been using the small group cards with my theme from last year, but I wanted to switch themes and add more versatility to the concept to be able to use it all around the room. With new teacher evaluations, student expectations, etc., finding ways to make things more efficient while also meeting expectations is a win win! 

How about a FREEBIE, too??? I don't know about your kids, but my kids often struggle with character traits! So I came up with Cooking Up Character Traits to help spruce up the topic! We use one of my FAVORITE books, The Three Ninja Pigs to start with this!! I hope you and your kids find it useful and fun, too!!

Well, I feel like it's Christmas Eve with the TPT sale starting in ohhh 5 minutes (ahhhh :)!! I have so many things in my cart right now that I had to stop looking at it or more seem to appear! I'm also joining in the fun too! My store will be up to 28% off with the TPT code! So I would love for you to join me over at my blog, instagram (my favorite), Facebook, TPT, and Pinterest

Wishing everyone a happy back to school time!! :)

Meet Mrs. Shipley--with some BTS Tips and a Freebie!

Hello everyone!  Welcome to Elementary Grapevine!  You met the amazing Chelsea yesterday!  I hope you loved her freebie!!!

I am so excited to be a part of this collaborative blog!  I know you are going to find some amazing ideas, tips, and creations for your classrooms here!  It's my turn to introduce myself to all of our friends!

My name is Farrah and I am a teacher blogger behind

This year will begin my 11th year of teaching.  I have taught Pre-K, Kinder and 1st and will now be finding my home in 2nd through 5th grade!  Yes you read that right!  Four different grade levels!  I will be team teaching with three other teachers.  Reading and Writing will be my subjects and I couldn't be more excited!  Along with teaching I serve on the Executive Board for Whole Brain Teaching, LLC and also serve as the Regional Director for Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas!  Whole Brain Teaching is my passion and the only way I will ever teach in my classroom.  Should I find myself in a situation where I couldn't use WBT I might just have to retire!  You can check out more about WBT by visiting!

Well, Back 2 School has crept up on us!  WHAT?  WHAT?  Did I say Back 2 School?  Oh I really must sit down when I say that!  I can't believe how fast the summer has flown by!  Each of us here at the Elementary Grapevine will be introducing ourselves and sharing our own little BTS tip!  Well here is mine:

ESTABLISH THOSE ROUTINES EARLY!  Some teachers plan to the gills for the first week of school!  Not me!  I plan a few filler activities, but we spend the entire first week of school in my classroom establishing our routines and procedures for everything!  I do plan a few activities to get a little idea of the skill level of my students in the beginning however, most of our time is spent on learning our rules, our WBT teaching techniques, and our procedures!  I have learned that if I spend the time in the beginning getting these things established then the rest of the year is smooth sailing!  This is going to be even more important this year as instead of one group of kids for 7 hours a day I will have four different groups for only an hour and fifteen minutes a day!  That first week will be CRUCIAL in establishing our "atmosphere" for our class!

Well that about wraps it up friends!  I want to leave you with a little freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  Check out these free Whole Brain Teaching rules and procedures posters!  Thanks for visiting and check in tomorrow to meet another blogger from the Elementary Grapevine!

Thanks again friends! It's a pleasure to meet you all!

You may also want to follow my blog, my TPT store, or my Facebook page!  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hello everyone.  This is such an exciting time for our new collaborative blog!! For the next few days you are going to get to meet several great elementary bloggers with a variety of teaching experience.  I have the privilege of introducing myself first and sharing a back to school idea along with a freebie.

My name is Chelsea, and I am the teacher blogger found at

This year I will begin my 16th year of teaching.  Most of my teaching time has been in Kentucky, but I did get in a brief teaching time in Florida.  I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 6th grades and I have also been a Library Media Specialist.  I currently teach 3rd grade and LOVE it! I am also a National Board Certified Teacher. I began my teaching blog journey about a year and a half ago and have made so many great teaching friends along the way.  I think you are going to be impressed with the quality of teachers found here at Elementary Grapevine!

Well, it seems that the back to school (B2S) season is upon us (where did the summer go?).  In some ways I am sad to see summer end, but at the same time I feel that back to school buzz - when I can start everything fresh and try out wonderful ideas I have found over the summer.  Over the years I have varied a lot of B2S activities, but one thing I have learned (and I keep doing each year) is to take the time to really communicate with my new families.  Give them a way to share with you their hopes, dreams, strengths, and even weaknesses of their child.  Allow them to have a voice and really LISTEN to what they have to say.  Building these relationships are crucial to the success of your students for the next school year.

One of the free items I have in my store will hopefully give you one way to communicate with families and ease the B2S management stress.  This product includes a family survey, ask the teacher a question, a parent contact log, and a few other editable forms for the classroom.  Click the picture to download for FREE.

I am so excited that you stopped by.  Make sure you become a follower of Elementary Grapevine for great tips and products from experienced and quality teachers!

You may also want to consider following my blog, TPT store, Facebook fan page, or my Pinterest boards.  

Be sure to check back tomorrow to meet another blogger, get a great idea, and snag another freebie!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Welcome to the Elementary Grapevine

Welcome to our new collaborative blog. Be sure to check back each day starting tomorrow - August 2 through August 10 to meet each of our bloggers, get a great back to school idea, and snag a freebie!

We are so excited about this new blog! Make sure to follow for updates.