Sunday, April 23, 2017

Third Grade Virginia SOL Reading Test Practice Pages


How stinkin cute is this Spring coffee cup?? 


I have so enjoyed my spring break! It is quickly coming to an end. 
I am needing to replace my hours of planting, hiking and reading with writing plans and grading papers. Truth is,  I'm dragging my heels.  Truth is, the warm and sunny days we've had got me in the summer mood. That's not good,not with 7 weeks to go. 

To add to the fun, we have state tests just weeks away. We are prepping for the chance to show all that we have learned in third grade. It is time, we have read countless numbers of books and our reading journals are full and starting to fall apart- I don't think they will last but another month of so. 
We have worked through  all our third grade skills and strategies. 

SO... now it is time to see if students can hit those targets on a standardized test. 
I wish the questions on those tests weren't quite so tricky. To give my students the best chance possible, we are taking time to expose them to the types of questions they are likely to see and have to think through. 

I've put together a packet of SOL Reading type questions that we will be working through next week. 
Students will practice using homophones, synonyms, antonyms, context clues and a lot more. 
I'm thinking I might cut out some of the cards and turn it into a scoot game that they can work through with a partner. There are enough sheets to also add to a reading station or give as classwork. 

I've added this to my Teacher Pay Teacher store thinking there may be other Virginia teachers out there who could use something like this too. 

Click the link below to check it out

Are your students taking state assessments? How do you prepare them? 
I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Field Trip Follow Up Freebie

Do you ever play "Thorns and Roses" with your students? It's a simple sharing game that is great for the end of a day or week. All kids do is tell what their "thorn" was for the day (bad thing that happened) and what the "rose" of the day was (good thing that happened). 

So my thorn for the day is that it stayed rainy, cool and cloudy all day...which isn't bad, but it is spring break and you know how precious each and every day is when you are on vacation from school. The rose has been that I have actually gotten some work done. Haven't touched my lesson plan book, but have finished up some files and am actually posting on the blog. 

A definite "rose" for my students this spring was our field trip. We went to the Science Museum of Richmond this spring. It is a children's museum and is a great place for kids to be kids. They had a great time exploring and investigating all the hands on exhibits. We also got to view an IMAX movie on the Pandas inside the domed Imax Theater. I know this was a new experience for many of my students. Afterwards I had my students fill out a response sheet describing their trip in words and pictures. We posted them on our "Roaring Good Writers" board for each other to read.


I'm sharing this open ended field trip response sheet for anyone who would like to use it. 
I've posted it as a free item on my TPT store. 
Check it out by clicking the link here:  

I'd love to hear from other Virginia teachers. 
Where do you take your third graders on field trips?
Comment or email me:

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring Poetry : Fluency and Comprehension Practice

It's April! One of my favorite months on the year. We had blue skies and warm temperatures this weekend. There are signs of spring all around, little flowers pushing out from the ground, the sound of lawn mowers getting yards ready for planting season. I love it all. 

I'm forcing myself to slow down and enjoy what's around me.  Long walks in the sunshine help to evaporate the stress from my body. It's hard to feel down when you are surrounded by so much beauty. Today I looked up from my prayer walk and saw this: 

I took it as a reminder that He is always present and ready to give me the rest I need so I can carry on. This can be a hectic time of year for teachers as we realize the year is passing us by and we begin cramming for end of the year tests. Taking time for ourselves is good for our health and that's good for our students. 

With spring in mind, I bundled up some spring poems that my students will read and respond to this month. I've created "test like" questions that will give students practice while keeping the focus on real reading.  I've added it to my TPT store. 
You can check it out here if interested: 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

St. Pat's Day Poetry and Pit Stop Freebie!


Hello Friends,

Guess what? It snowed! We actually got the day off! It couldn't have come at a better time. It has been a long haul since winter break and we are all feeling it.
I can't believe we are already into March! The last time I posted it was February and we were celebrating Valentine's Day.   I have been on a mission to declutter my life and have made some good progress. I have a monster job to do on my computer. I have lots of files that need I need to go through.  I used some of my time today to begin purging my files. I found a St. Patrick's Day file buried in  my computer and thought I'd share it in my TPT store.

My students will add this leprechaun poem to their poetry anthologies. They will have fun using the clues in the poem to make their mind movies and draw their leprechaun. Then they will get practice using different reference books as they complete the follow up.

I've add a language arts "pit stop" that I give my students to check up on their writing and editing skills. The first part is an editing activity in which they have to correct mistakes involving punctuation, capitalization and spelling. They rewrite the sentences after "cleaning them up". Then they will write a few sentences to a prompt so I can gauge their sentence writing skills. Finally there are three questions related to word knowledge and grammar. I'd love to hear what you think of this activity. I have lots of others that I could bundle into a set and put out on TPT. Would this be something you would use? Feedback is appreciated! Email at or comment below. Thank you!

Check out the link below to grab this free St. Patrick's Day file!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine's Day Poem and Homework Pass FREEBIE

Hello Fellow Procrastinators, 
 Anyone out there? I know lots of my teacher friends have their Valentine's Day preparations all wrapped up and perhaps have for some time now.   Me...not so much. 
With two days to go, I am just now digging around and have found a 
file that included a poem and follow up. Perfect for our "Read with Partner" Station Round .

 Then it got even better when I found an old Homework Pass to give to my sweeties. No need for a goody bag, I'll tape a new Vday pencil to it and I'll be set! 

 I thought maybe there would be one or two last minute planners out there so I thought I'd share out. 
You can find this set in my TPT Store. Click the link below. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

It's Winter! Let's Write a SNOW Poem!

Still no snow in Virginia, but that didn't stop us from writing about it!
Last week we spent our writer's workshop time having fun playing with words as we composed acrostic poems about snow. 


At home, when we try new dinner recipes, we tell whether we think it should be a "Do Over"...whether we should cook that meal again or not.  Do you do that with the lessons you develop and teach? I do...some flop and will not get repeated-ever. Other lessons work so well, you know you'll add it to your line up again the next year. I'd say this acrostic poem idea is a "Do Over". It worked super well, it was quick and easy but allowed me to hit
SO many important reading and writing skills. All kids were successful with it and enjoyed the process. 
Here's how it ran. 
On Day One, I introduced the acrostic poem. You can probably find acrostic poem books in your school library.  We have this one: 

I gave my students an acrostic poem on WINTER to glue in their poetry journals. 
We spent day one analyzing this poem. We talked about the different kinds of words authors use. 
This led to a review of parts of speech. We circled each word that began the lines of the poem. We saw that the author began the lines with nouns or adjectives that described the nouns and noticed that the lines were all complete sentences with subjects and predicates.  We talked about the "Targets" the author hit in writing the poem - targets like "Word Choice". We found some pizzazzy words. We talked about the meaning of "eager", "stiff" and "steep" and added them to our word wall. 
We loved the descriptive language like the "trees wearing coats of snow" and "icicles sparkling like jewels".  Finally, we talked about how poetry is meant to be read aloud. We recited multiple times,sneaking in fluency practice while enjoying the sound of the words coming off the page. 

After Day One, we were primed and eager to begin writing our own poem on the topic of SNOW. 
We spent day two brainstorming possible words to use to begin each sentence. 
We took out our dictionaries for this. We were lucky enough to have the Rotary Club in our area donate a dictionary to each child earlier in the year!
This writing project gave us an opportunity to crack them open. We went to the S section of the dictionary and began our search for possible words that could start our first line. We wrote them down on the top portion of our writing sheet. 

We spent time "playing around" with different "S" words to see how they might work. We orally rehearsed  different sentences using different words from our brainstorming. 
This gave us time to experiment and play with words. I find this "rehearsal" stage is so important. I always get a better end product when my students are allowed an opportunity to talk it out first.

That brought us to Day Three. On Day Three we were ready to actually compose our lines. We talked about our writing targets first. We wanted our lines to include adjectives and descriptive language like the mentor text poem. 
Students put pencils to paper and began crafting lines. 
We will stop occasionally during the drafting stage to share a few lines. I think that gives writers inspiration. They learn so much from each other! Students listened to each other's lines and celebrated when the writer hit the "Word Choice" target.
 In this child's poem, kids appreciated words like: scraping, purchased and gliding. 

With poems composed, Day Four was spent revising and editing. We began by reviewing our Writing Targets. Then students met with their writing partners. They took turns reading their drafts out loud. 
The listener must give: Positive Praise - tell what they liked or point out what targets the writer hit. Then they give:  Friendly Feedback - give advice or suggestion on how the writing can be improved. Students revise in green pen. That way I can tell if they made improvements. 
I like to reserve a little time at the end of Writing Partner time to have students share their
"Writing Make Overs". We call it the Befores and Afters. I want kids to see that the revising stage shouldn't be neglected...we can always improve our work. 
This is a mindset message we've been working on!

Kids were proud of their poems and were ready to share them out. I had them rewrite their final drafts onto this fun hat paper. Then they got to spend time on an art project. 

 :  :

They really made them look like themselves!
Check out how this child actually braided the construction paper hair. 
Kids were ooohing and aaahhhing about that one!

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Here are the finished products! We hung them out for others to read. 


If you are interested in trying this project with your young writer, you can head to my TPT Store. 
Just click the link below to check it out: 

I LOVE connecting with other teachers!
Questions? Comments?  
Email at 
or comment below.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Groundhog's Day: Poetry, Reader's Response Booklet, Math and More!

Can you believe it is nearly the end of January??  This season is flying by. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel much like January. Temperatures reached 60's last week and should again this next week! 
I am missing winter and awaiting our first big snowfall, but am feeling doubtful that we will get it.
Maybe Punxsutawney Phyllis knows!

Image result for punxsutawney phyllis
Do you know this character? She is a spunky little groundhog who is bound and determined to take over for her uncle Punxsutawney Phil. No one believes she can do it...after all, she's a girl!
Love this little story and I know my third graders will too. 
This picture book will give us ample opportunities to work on practicing many of our third grade reading strategies. 
I've introduced a bunch of reading skills/strategies already this year. We add notes to our reading journals as we learn them. 





These sheets are so easy to use. We just slice and stick them into our journal. On one side is an explanation of the reading skill or strategy with fill in the blank notes. On the other side is a short text that students can practice applying the strategy. Sweet and simple. These printables are part of my "Cooking with Comprehension" set. You can check it out here: 

Since Groundhog's Day is right around the corner, I created a Punxsutawney Phyllis reading response booklet. 
Students will record their thinking about this book as they predict, use context clues, summarize and analyze characters. 
This along with poetry, math activities and a writing prompt sheet are all included in a Groundhog's Day bundle that I have added to my TPT store. 

                                               Click the link below to check it out...

How about you? Have you gotten some real winter weather yet? If so, I'm jealous but still 
would love to hear!
Comment below or email at