Thursday, April 2, 2015

A March Blogger Match Up Winner and Currently April

Congratulations Meredith Malik for winning the March Blogger Match Up Giveaway!

Email me at with two TPT products of mine you would like. :)

I'm also linking up with the always fabulous Farley for April's Currently. 

This may be a record for how early in the month I am linking up.  

I'll leave you with a few Easter gems from yesterday and today...

Monday, March 23, 2015

March Blogger Match-Up and our Countdown to PARCC Balloon Surprise

The month of March typically creeps on by.

Not this March!

Between catching up and getting back into some semblance of a routine, St, Patrick's Day, assemblies, birthdays galore, party prep, and now PARCC (tomorrow!!) things sure have been crazy!

I'll blog later about our Countdown to PARCC balloon surprise which has made our test prep all the more exciting.

Here's a sneak peek...

Follow me on Instagram @thirdgradecupcakes for more pictures from our fun-filled countdown...

Anyway back to my loss and your chance to win....

Ashlyn from The Creative Classroom was sweet enough to start a March Blogger Match-Up in the spirit of March Madness

Unfortunately my cheerleading for SMU this week fell short...and you have a chance to win! Kristina, at Owl-ways Learning, and her UCLA Bruins (not to be confused with our Boston Bruins) played a fair game and came out on top!

Enter the giveaway  The giveaway has closed and a winner has been randomly chosen! to choose any TWO of my TPT products for freeeeee!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out these other fabulous bloggers taking part in the March Blogger Match-Up. If they've been eliminated, hop on over to their blog for a chance to win one of their TPT products!

Learning with Mrs. Langley cheering on Belmont
Second Grade Stories cheering on Indiana
The Neat and Tidy Classroom cheering on UC Irvine
Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten cheering on Coastal Car.
Miss Johnston's Journey cheering on Maryland
The Creative Classroom cheering on San Diego State
Fifth in the Middle cheering on Wichita State
Lessons with Coffee cheering on Arkansas
The Kinder Garden cheering on Notre Dame
Exploring Elementary cheering on NC State
Inspired Owl's Corner cheering on Oregon
Frampton's Fundamentals cheering on New Mexico State
Learning in the Little Apple cheering on Michigan State
NC Teacher Chick cheering on Utah State
A Tall Drink of Water cheering on Baylor
Sara J Creations cheering on Oklahoma
ELA Everyday cheering on Duke
The Blessed Teacher cheering on Lafayette
Mrs. 3rd Grade cheering on VCU
Rock & Teach cheering on Albany
Create Teach Share cheering on North Dakota State
One Happy Teacher cheering on Gonzaga
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas! cheering on Iowa State
First Grade Roars! cheering on SF Austin
The Learning Chambers cheering on Hampton
Teaching is Sweet cheering on Eastern Washington
Sounds Like Fun cheering on Louisville
Confessions of a Teaching Junkie cheering on Cincinnati
Year2tastic cheering on Kansas
Sparkling in Second cheering on Wyoming
Making Meaning with Melissa cheering on Purdue
One Sassy Teacher cheering on Villanova
Brittany Kiser cheering on Texas
Coach and Teach 24/7 cheering on St. John's
Hardcore Teacher Resources cheering on LSU
The Whole Wheat Class cheering on Oklahoma
Mixing It Up In The Middle! cheering on Mississippi
Teaching Maddeness cheering on UAB
Its Elementary My Dear cheering on Ohio State
Live Love Serve Teach cheering on Providence
 Education Kingdom cheering on North Carolina
A Dab of Glue Will Do cheering on Dayton
Learning to be Awesome cheering on Kentucky
Technology Timeout cheering on Harvard
Kovescence on the Mind cheering on Butler
Blossoms of Blue in 2 cheering on North Eastern
Mrs. D's Corner cheering on Robert Morris
Where the Wild Things Learn cheering on Buffalo
Bright Concepts 4 Teachers cheering on North Iowa (UNI)
A Trendy Teacher cheering on Valparasio
Lucky to Be In First cheering on Wisconsin
O-H So Blessed! cheering on Virginia
Tales of Teaching with Tech cheering on Woffard
Very Perry Classroom cheering on Arizona
A Kindergarten Life for Me cheering on Georgia
First Grade Buddies cheering on Iowa
Miss Case's Classroom cheering on Georgetown
A Grace-Filled Classroom cheering on West Virginia
Third Grade Cupcakes cheering on SMU
The Class Couple cheering on Xavier
More Time 2 Teach cheering on Georgia State
Owl-ways Learning cheering on UCLA

I'll be back later this week with an update on all things third grade....and cupcakes! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Five for Friday...on a Monday

This marked the first full week of teaching since early January. Crazy. We  consistently had Monday/Tuesday snow days for 3 weeks followed by February vacation. We certainly jumped right into things! (I began writing this earlier in the week and am just now finishing it and publishing it! Oy! Better late than never, right?)

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday... on a Monday.

A family-school connection and regular communication has always been important to me. Since my first year, I have created and published a weekly newsletter sent home to parents and guardians in the students' Thursday communication folder. The idea came from the most fabulous teacher I worked with while completing my full practicum teaching as a senior at Boston College. She, too, had a weekly newsletter, called Peek at the Week, where she would summarize student learning and activities as well as highlight birthdays and special events.

What began as The Crock Pot is now Mack's Marinade. Just this year I have added a Tech Corner to highlight recommended apps or websites for students to use at home. Not only can I refer to last year's editions and often do some copy and paste action to make newsletter-writing less daunting, but I always enjoy looking back and recalling units, activities, and read alouds I may have forgotten.

Another regular teacher-family communication tool I use is Twitter. Parents, students, faculty members, and administration follow me. I am able to share photographs of student learning in action, read alouds, valuable anchor charts to be used as references, reminders about special events, and maintain two-way communication with families--a key component in our new teacher evaluation system.
If you don't already, please consider following me @MrsMacksGrade3. I have a privacy setting in place to prevent public access to photographs of students. For a peek into our very busy days, hop on over! (I also love Twitter for the connections I have made with other bloggers and resources I have come across through @GoNoodle, @Wonderopolis, as well as inspiration for activities from school and district peers.


The fabulous world of Instagram introduced to me the website Schoola. With a referral link from a Free Stuff Finder's post, I was granted a $15 credit. I purchased two like-new Carter's tops for Lady K for a total of $13.20 but paid nothing with the credit. Even better, a portion of the purchase when to 2 schools--Clairemont Elementary in Decatur, GA and Johnnycake Corners Elementary in Galena, OH.


This week we concluded our review of collective nouns and incorporated technology into a culminating activity.

Using their Google Doc accounts, students composed a page, or two, for a class book that will serve as a collection of collective nouns. (Now that's a mouthful!) We learned how to name a document, insert an image, align it, add text, and enhance the font, size, and color of the text. They're coming along beautifully!


We continued our biome safari journeying into the desert. Using two fabulous TPT products from A Lone Wolfe--a flip book template and detailed and comprehensive fact pack, we performed a close read using text features, rereading, and paraphrasing, to learn about the extreme heat AND cold native to deserts. Next, scientists used the text to complete a flip chart. The final component of the safari is a detailed and informative illustration that would represent an Instagram photo they might have taken while visiting this particular biome. (The Instagram freebie can be found here on TPT from Fun's Not Just for Elementary.)


A fabulous Pinterest find has developed into a four year party tradition. 
I first discovered this Oprah-inspired party theme on a 
blog called A Bushel and a Peck

This a great video montage of the history, and laughs, behind Oprah's famous Favorite Things episodes.


(A quick Pinterest search just led me to many new finds I hadn't seen before. Click the photo below to go to my Party Time Pinterest board.) 

There certainly are a few variations. Many people host Favorite Thing parties around the holidays. Being a December baby, I have always found the holidays to be a difficult time to host parties and coordinate people's busy social calendars. For that reason, I have chosen to host it in February-- favorite things? cutesy hearts? things we love? :)

 Another variation is how many items you request that guests bring and the price limit. For three years, we asked guests to bring 5 of their favorite items costing around $5 each. Guests could bring 5 identical items or 5 different items. (Think lip gloss, mascara, snack, flower, magazine, gift card for Starbucks, Target, ice cream...) This year we changed things up a bit and asked guests to bring only 3 favorite things--costing around $10 each. They don't have to be wrapped. As guests arrived this year, we asked each person to write their name on 3 pieces of paper. 
They folded them and dropped them in the Favorite Things pail.

In the spirit of all things winter wonderland, we asked guests to record their famous spring activity on a purple tag, with their name, and drop that in the Swag Bag pail

 It's not a party without good eats!

After drinks and delicious appetizers, we passed the Favorite Things pail around and each guest blindly chose 3 names. (If they chose a person's name twice, or their own, they would pick again until they had 3 different names.) If all goes as planned, once everyone has chosen, no names should remain in the pail.

Now, it was time to exchange! Each guest takes a turn describing or explaining their three items and why they chose it. (Some items this year were travel magazines, an innovative garlic press, the cutest file folders and notepads, a flexible grilling skewer, gift cards for Target, books, and small serving dishes.) They announce the three names they had pulled and those three guests get to choose one item from the selection. 

My three favorite things were colorful picture frames and $10 to spend at Shutterfly!

Once everyone has shared and exchanged their favorite things, all guests have now received three new items. I always stock up on reusable tote bags from TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Christmas Tree Shop. These tote bags double as favors. Guests can tote their new favorite things home in their new bags!

Finally, we choose a winner for the Swag Bag. The contents varies each year but usually contains a magazine, a sweet treat, maybe a notepad, craft supplies...

Each year I hear about new book titles, unique wines, kitchen gadgets, cooking recipes, and cosmetics. More than that, I get to know my guests a little better each year as they share their favorite things.
And these were my spoils!

Good night!