Sunday, September 18, 2011

Facebook Linky Party!

Follow me on Facebook and then find TONS and TONS of other teacher Facebook pages at this Linky Party from the Lesson Plan Diva! What a a great place to find new ideas and people to follow!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Third Grade Thinkers: Word Work Station: Cup Stacking

Check out this blog I found with a SUPER simple center idea for word work. The only supplies needed are labels, a sharpie and clear plastic cups!! Cool!!!

Third Grade Thinkers: Word Work Station: Cup Stacking: "So here's a word work station that can help your students practice making/spelling words. You can design it to meet the needs of students in..."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Individualized Spelling

Every child in my classroom has their own, unique spelling list that is exactly on their "ready to learn" level. I give them only 10 words each week, since I know that the words are all in their ZPD (zone of proximal development-not too hard, not too easy-Vygotsky).  Since every word on  their list will be a word they don't already know how to spell, 10 words is plenty.  If more than that are given, the child will not be able to truly "own" the words and know them well enough to spell them correctly every time they use them.  I know that the words that I am giving the child are in their ZPD because they are trying to use the words in their writing, but are not spelling them correctly every time.  If the child is misspelling too many words in their writing to only pick 10, I limit my picks to high frequency words and words that should be mastered by this grade level.  If the child is spelling everything right in their writing, I challenge them to start using more difficult words and I give them content words, words from our reading, or let them choose words that they would like to learn how to spell.

New Words:
Each child is assigned a "Spelling Day" M-F.  I end up having about 4-5 Spellers each day.  So, if a child's spelling day is Monday, they will take their test on Monday and receive their new words on Monday as well.

I give each child their words by calling them to my table one at a time and first we review their test of the previous week's words.  Any words that they miss, stay on their list until they "own" that word and spell it right consistently.  Then we look through the child's reading response notebook and draft book for misspelled words.  I highlight the word and write it once (correctly) in their spelling spiral for them. I invite them to notice how the word is written differently in the spiral (correct) than in their draft book or RR notebook.  We talk a little about the spelling rule or how the word should be spelled.  Then student draws a line through the misspelled word and writes it correctly above the word.  Then they write it again in their spelling spiral in a second column, next the one I wrote.  When we are finished with the list, they cut the two lists in their spiral apart and take one home to study and leave the other in their spiral to have at school. 

On the child's spelling day, they get together with their spelling partner (who is also a speller for that day) and give each other their tests by switching spirals and calling words out to each other.  If the student doesn't know what the word is, they may come to me and I can tell them so they can say the correct word for their partner.  Usually this isn't a problem though because the students know their words well after practicing them all week, so if the partner says it incorrectly, they can usually deduce what the word really is.  Then they put their tests on my table and go back to their work while they wait for me to call them over for new words.

Each week students complete a spelling bingo by choosing 4 options in a row for practicing their words.  The bingo has lots of options for practicing like rainbow words, pyramid style, telephone, spelling city, puzzlemaker, sign language, acrostics, cursive, etc, etc.  See the spelling bingo I use here.

Check out some other really great spelling ideas at the Super Spelling Ideas Linky Party!  I found lots of new ideas to use on my Spelling Bingo!

Teacher Appreciation Days 2011

Staples and Office Depot are having their Teacher Appreciation days THIS Saturday 8/13 at 9am!!  Staples lasts until noon.  They are giving away a gift bag to the first 100 teachers and have coupon savings.  Office Depot goes until 11am. They will offer a tote bag full of goodies and 20% off purchases, breakfast, and giveaways.

Joann Aug 13 and 14- Save 20% on your purchases!!  WOW, this is a good one!!  Need bulletin board fabric? Also, sign up for thier Teacher Rewards program and save 15% EVERY time you shop.  I'm so excited about this one. . . I don't know if they work together or not, but if you're not a teacher, you can definitely take advantage of their coupons.  Don't forget, they take competitior's coupons as well!  See my post about it here.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

OMG!! Compositioin Notebooks are $0.10 at Staples tomorrow!!!

I am so excited about this deal!!  I have not seen composition notebooks for anything less than $0.25 (and that's only if you're lucky) for several years.  $0.10 is a STEAL!!!  Get to Staples early, but leave some for me!!!  Limit 3 (unless you're a teacher. . . then it's 25) and $5 min. purchase.

To meet that minimum $5 purchase, you can get a ream of copy paper for $4.49, send in the EASYrebate and you really only pay $0.50, or Cadoozles mechanical pencils for $5, but FREE after EASYrebate.  They also have rulers, striped paper clips and Really Useful Boxes for $0.25 each.  Another great thing is the hanging file crates for $3 or 4 drawer rolling carts for $9

Office Depot has $0.01 glue, $0.50 erasers, pens, poly binders and staple removers.

Office Max has $0.01 filler paper, $0.10 pack of pens, and $0.25 poly folders.  There's also a coupon in the back of their ad for a $0.20 little tub of pencil grips and erasers.

Guess where I'm going tomorrow?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crayola Dream-Makers Sweepstakes

Enter the Crayola Dream-Makers Sweepstakes and win Dream-Makers Student Activity Centers.  Cool!  While you're there, check out all the cool resources they have for educators!  Lots of great ideas for infusing Art into standards-based education, grant opportunities, and even lesson plans!  I love the Lights, Camera, Color area where you can turn a photograph into a coloring page.  Great idea for the beginning of the year!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I changed my name!

Yes, you are in the right spot.  I changed my name from Silver Slippers and Flying Monkeys to There's No Place Like the Classroom.

What do you think?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

AAAAHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! So exciting!!!

Teachers, don't forget that Staples penny items limit is 25 for you, not just 2!!!  This week it's pencils, index cards and highlighters. . .  If you take advantage of the 25 limit for Teachers, that's 50 highlighters (2/pack), 200 pencils (8/pack), and 2500 index cards for a total of $0.75!!!  A:ND, take care of that pesky $5 purchase requirement by getting the pens from their ad and turn around and get those for FREE after rebate.

Go check out my other blog, Heather's Hot Deals to see the awesome tip I learned about today at Joann and their coupons!!

Oh yea, and don't forget that Joann has a Teacher Reward program, too!!  It runs Sept-Aug, so not useful right now, but it's 15% off everything you buy during the year.  Can't beat it!

Tagxedo: It All Boils Down to This!

Tagxedo is the most wonderful tool I've discovered from reading blogs this summer!!  If you love Wordle, you'll like Tagxedo even more.  It has more options for changing your word cloud. The one I've posted below is made from the entire text of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then there are options for how many of the most frequently used words to include in the word cloud, up to 600.  The easiest use of this program is to make a cool piece of art, or a gift, but also to explore main idea/characters/themes in a text.  It is so easy!!  You can simply paste text in, or give the site the URL of a blog, website, twitter account, or delicious tags,  and it will find the text itself.  Cool, right?  The possibilities are endless.  You can change the colors, shape, design, orientation, font, etc, etc.

Here's a great resource for 101 ways to use Tagxedo.

How will YOU use Tagxedo in the classroom?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Teaching Blog Addict: A+ Teaching Blogs

There are TONS of fantastic blogs at Teaching Blog Addict: A+ Teaching Blogs go check 'em out!!

Action Plan for Next Year

I decided to write down some goals to focus my "summer surfing."  I keep getting stuck on websites and searches for cute stuff that I probably will not ever have time to implement, so instead I need some goals to focus my summer time web surfing down time. Here are the major things I want to focus on/implement next year:

1.  Follow my Balanced Literacy first 20 days lessons.

2. Implement a short procedural lesson EVERY day (sort of Ron Clark's Essential 55 style)

3. Design most instruction around projects (PBL).

4. Do NOT assign anything that I don't plan to look at, grade or use to guide further instruction (NO busywork, or 'practice' just for the sake of 'practice').  I want to do MOST of my grading authentically, standing behind the child, during class.  I am the world's worst at grading papers.  I get these HUGE stacks of papers that I don't have time to really spend grading.  NO MORE!!  PBL should help with this.
 5. Return to individualized spelling and include individualized grammar and writing instruction.  I strayed from this last year because I thought it would be easier, but I'm going back!!

Some links I came across. . .
Four Blocks: Writing
Individualized Spelling Lists

Check out some other teacher's goals at this linky party:

What are your goals for next year?

Next Week's School Supply Sales

Sales are looking much better than last week!

Here's what I'm going to get:

$0.01 note cards @ Staples w/ Staples 8 Sheet Cross Cut Shredder to meet my minimum $5 requirement (plus, my shredder just died). . . . but if you don't need a shredder, I suggest the Free-after-rebate pens for your $5 min. purhcase.

$0.01 pencil sharpeners, and maybe the $0.25 poly portfolios @ Office Depot
be sure to click on "next week's ad" to see the right one

Office Max is the one I'm really excited about because they have FREE backpacks after rebate, so I'm definitely going to get the limit of 2 on that one  (I did it last year, and got lots of printer ink with the reward $).  Also, I'll pick up the FREE mechanical pencils, markers, sharpies and $0.01 printer paper after rebate.
be sure to click on "next week's ad" to see the right one

Be sure to check the ads by clicking on the pictures above for ALL the great deals next week!  Happy Shopping!! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Potter Games

What do you get when you mix Harry Potter and The Hunger Games The Potter Games of course!  I would only recommend this for middle schoolers and up (as I would for the Hunger Games series), but it's a great site that is kind of like those 'choose your own destiny' novels.  Fun stuff and a great continuation for kids that have read both series!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Days 2011


Staples: Aug. 13, 9am-noon (Free bag of goodies and coupons to first 100)

Office Depot: Aug.13, 9-11am (FREE Breakfast, bag of goodies, samples, coupons, and 20% off your purchases during the week of Aug 7-13!!)

Office Max: July 31 and Aug 1 (FREE reusable tote, 20% off all purchases that fit inside, and giveaways for first 150)

Check to be sure the store near you is doing their events on the same dates.

Next Week's School Supply Sales

Next week's sales are not looking impressive to me, but here are the links, so you can check them out for yourself:


Mardel will be having it's annual Education Sale on July 21.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Heather's Hot Deals: Back to School Sales are beginning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...

Heather's Hot Deals: Back to School Sales are beginning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...: "Take a sneak peek @ Staples back to school sale starting SUNDAY!!! $0.01 erasers, pens and glue (limit 2 each, with $5 minimum purchase)..."

Heather's Hot Deals: Passport to Fun at Michaels

Heather's Hot Deals: Passport to Fun at Michaels: "I can't believe I didn't know about this until now!! Michaels Arts and Crafts stores are hosting Passport to Fun, which is a month of FRE..."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Heather's Hot Deals: You're reading this summer anyway, right????

Heather's Hot Deals: You're reading this summer anyway, right????: "Kids get FREE books just for reading this summer! Just participate in any summer reading programs you can find and you usually get some f..."

Heather's Hot Deals: Early Back to School Deals @ Target

Heather's Hot Deals: Early Back to School Deals @ Target: "Papermate Eagle Pens 10 ct Package $0.99-$1.02 (Regular Price) Papermate Profile 2 ct Pen Pack $1.39-$1.44 (Regular Price) Use $ 1/1 P..."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Awesome. . .

Ladybug's Teacher Files: Classroom Shopping Linky Party!: "This linky party is devoted to the die-hard teacher-shoppers. The ones who leave the house on supposed 'normal' shopping trips. You know..."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free/Cheap Stuff to do for 4TH OF JULY WEEK!!!!!!!!

Go check out my other blog Heather's Hot Deals and find a bunch of FREE or REALLY CHEAP stuff to do in the upcoming week with your kids!  It's all in the DFW/South Arlington-ish area,  and you'll find FREE fireworks/4th of July events Friday-Monday!!!! Even if you don't live around here, there are ideas for looking up FREE or REALLY CHEAP things to do with your kids in your area.  Check it out and follow me!!  I try to post weekly during the summer so keep coming back!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Goodbye Wordle, Hello Tagxedo!!!!!!

Teaching with TLC Blog: The best way to improve fine motor skills!

Teaching with TLC Blog: The best way to improve fine motor skills!: "If your child needs help with handwriting, STOP having him practice writing letters sheet after sheet. Let’s go back to the underlying cause..."

One Extra Degree: Inferring Character Traits!

One Extra Degree: Inferring Character Traits!: "I've been insanely busy, so I haven't had much time to delve into creating any units lately, and my Debbie Diller book has been on hold unti..."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Monitoring Your Child's Reading, Game, and Movie Exposure


I am in LOVE with this new resource I found from Focus on the Family.  It's a website called Plugged In.  This AMAZING resource is to help you to decide what is, or is not, appropriate for your child to watch, read and play.

There are some super hero parents out there that read books, watch movies, and play games before letting their child do them, and I wish I was one, but I'm not.  I think most of us regular parents, don't have time for that.  Instead, we just look at the rating and go by what other kids his/her age are allowed to do, and then regret it when our children ask about what certain words mean or pick up negative behaviors from it.

HALLELUJAH!!  Plugged In has come to our rescue!!  This (extremely thorough) website has cataloged thousands of TV shows, movies, books, video games and music with VERY DETAILED descriptions of the content for you to decide whether your child should be exposed to it or not.  For example, the new movie that's coming out today, Mr Popper's Penguins, is reviewed for parents beginning with positive elements and then moves on to include any violence, crude or profane language (bad words, kinda bad words, and almost bad words :) ), drug and alcohol content, sexual content, spiritual content or other negative content.  It does NOT end with a yay or nay vote on whether you should allow your child to see it or not, which I love.  It is purely non-biased information for parents to use in their decision making.

Thank you Focus on the Family for this invaluable parent resource!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A/B Honor Roll Students Swim FREE!!

Arlington Aquatics Honor Roll Day 
Thursday, June 16 

Free admission for students on the A or A/B honor roll. Must show proof of 2010-2011 school report card. For more information, call 817-459-5483.

FREE Stuff To Do Next Week!

Sunday (Father's Day) 6/19
Monday 6/20
Tuesday 6/21
Thursday 6/23
Saturday 6/25

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

FREE/CHEAP Stuff to do this Week in Arlington/GP/Kennedale

Tonight: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo @ Levitt Pavilion, 7:30

Thursday, 6/9: 10:30 Story time @ Lake Arlington Public Library
                     10-4 The Church on Rush Creek indoor Playground open

Friday, 6/10: VERY EARLY (gate opens @ 9:30)- Free Admission to Hawaiian Falls Garland for the first
                   963 guests and $9.63 tickets after that with this coupon.

Saturday 6/11: BooksmART Festival FREE Family Day @ Dallas Museum of Art 11-5
                       12a-12p Scrapbooking Crop @ Kennedale Public Library

Monday 6/13: Grace Lutheran VBS "Pandamania" 9-12
                      1:00 Magician @ Betty Warmack Library (other GP libraries @ other times)

Tuesday 6/14: Grace Lutheran VBS "Pandamania" 9-12
                      10:30 Story time @ Southwest Library in Arlington

Wednesday 6/15: Grace Lutheran VBS "Pandamania" 9-12
                           3:15 Kazaam kids crafts @ Kennedale Public Library
                           Bad Konigshofen Family Swim 8-10 $5
                           Lannaya West @ Levitt Pavilion 7:30
Thursday 6/16: Grace Lutheran VBS "Pandamania" 9-12
                        9a-9p Trinity River Audubon Center FREE 3rd Thursday
                        10am Story time @ Lake Arlington Public Library

Friday 6/17: Grace Lutheran VBS "Pandamania" 9-12
                    Late Night @ Dallas Museum of Art 6-12pm $10 for adults, kids <12=Free

Saturday 6/18: 11-12 Reading by the River @ River Legacy

Sunday 6/19: Dads swim Free @ Arlington Pools
                     Family Past Times- Free Kids admission @ Dallas Heritage Village

Other FREE/CHEAP stuff to do any day:

Grand Prairie Pools and Splash Factory: $1 admission all the time
Northpark Mall: Check the schedule for events
Visit the Children's Medical Center Train
Watch the planes take off @ Founders Plaza DFW airport

Be sure to check websites before making your plans to be sure of dates, times, and costs.

Have fun!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

All Star Academy

What a fantastic week!  All Star Academy is a week, unique to my cutting-edge school, where teachers teach those "fun" things that we don't have time to teach during the year.  Kids choose 4 classes and have an AWESOME time learning new things.  I taught Spanish and there were classes like Golf, Stained Glass, Sewing, Cheerleading, Yoga, All About Dogs, Gardening, Drumming, Quilting, Scrapbooking, Music Production, Dance, Cooking, Weird and Wacky Science, Tessellations, and so much more!  It is an amazing opportunity that both we as teachers, and the students get to do something fun and completely engaging during the last few weeks of school.  This time of year, teachers are usually exhausted and the kids are bouncing off the walls.  I can't say the kids weren't bouncing off the walls (literally during disc golf), but it was in a structured, educationally engaging way.  There were very few discipline problems during a week when they are usually on the rise.  Teachers truly enjoyed what they were teaching and worked hard to deliver excellent and meaningful lessons each day.  I am exhausted after such a high-energy week, but it was totally worth it!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garner Fine Arts Academy

It's official!  We are becoming a Fine Arts Academy!

We are an elementary school with rigorous academics, an exemplary fine arts program, building a lifetime of wellness while nurturing the gifts and talents of all children. 
We will still have our attendance zone of kids coming to our school, but we are open to transfers and out of district students to attend at no cost!  How cool is that?!  We will be integrating Art, Music, Drama, Dance, language and literature in to EVERYTHING we do!!  So many ideas, so many visions. . .  Do you have any fine arts, after school activity ideas, or connections with the community that would be helpful getting us going?  Let me know.

Website  Facebook    Twitter

I will be doing an after school club for Community Service Learning.  I am so excited.  I love, love, loved the class I taught in college about this same topic. I think the kids will like it too.
This year wraps up in 3 weeks and it's flying by.  The brochure project is going well.  Students are almost done writing and will begin building brochures soon. The stories are precious!!  I'll have to post some when they finish.  They are so heartfelt and hands-down their best writing assignments of the year.  Maybe it's because it's a meaningful topic?  (of course it is).  They are really expanding their topics and adding detail that I have never been able to pull out of them before.  I am so glad we decided to do this.  We are engaged in such meaningful work that we're not even counting the days down.  One of the kids asked me the other day. . ."Mrs. G, are we really going to give these brochures to people?"  "YES!" I replied.  I don't think their work has ever been for a real-life purpose before.  The projects they are working on in Social Studies are awesome too.  They are selling popcorn to raise money for kids that don't have school supplies.  It's another way they are learning that the things they do can actually impact other people. It's an amazing feeling to see them so excited about what they are doing.  My only concern at this point, is how do I make sure the next projects I do are equally as meaningful and engaging?????  I think this project just divinely fell together perfectly because of the situation our school is in and it's the end of the year, so we're reviewing all the skills.  I'm going to be working this summer to look a the curriculum and try to create some projects from it for next year.  Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

PBL Implementation

Well, I've started my first PBL project and it's going well!  It's not as scary once you get in there and do it.  I think all the detailed planning and thought that went into creating the project is to thank for the smooth flow.  Of course there were some things that didn't go perfectly.  One of my students commented during my lesson, "Mrs. G, can we do some real work now?"  I guess I wasn't fully engaging him!!  Also, when the kids found out that they were going to have to write a Write From the Beginning Essay before making the brochure, the project lost it's appeal a little bit. I think overall though, it's going to go well and I'm still excited about it.  I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Project Based Learning

So, I'm taking a 3 day course in Project Based Learning with Charity, from the Buck Institute for Education.  So far it is . . . overwhelming.  It seems great, but I have a lot to learn and plan.  It's going to turn my concept of teaching upside down. . . but that's not a bad thing.  It's just something I need to wrap my head around. So far I've learned that the projects are not the culmination of the learning, but the avenue for the learning itself.  That makes sense.  Now how do I come up with a project that teaches everything I need to teach?  The website has a lot of good info, including a database of projects already created by subject and grade levels.  It's what I'm beginning with, but I can already tell it doesn't have nearly what I want.  I need to learn how to get creative so I can think up the kind of projects that I need/want and will work for what I'm teaching to my particular kids AND can incorporate every requirement that I have to meet in a lesson/objective/format, etc.  I'm looking forward to day 2!

Monday, May 2, 2011


You can email me at hozzma (at) hotmail (dot) com
or visit my facebook page
or my twitter page!/garciaheather

About Me

Thank you for visiting my blog!  My name is Heather Garcia and I am not only a 3rd grade teacher, but a huge Wizard of Oz fan as well.  This is the first year that I've actually married my two loves (teaching and all things Oz), and I'm really excited!!  I will post things throughout the year that I find interesting and worth sharing that have to do with my Oz theme, Project Based Learning, Fine Arts integration, Balanced Literacy, Daily 5, and anything else I feel like posting!  :)  I hope you'll find something useful!