5 Creative Ways to Use Task Cards in the Classroom

Task Cards are a great way to review concepts in your classroom. There are so many ways you can use task cards other than putting them in a work stations.  I want to share with you 5 creative ways you can use task cards in your room that your students are going to love.

#1. Use them as a scavenger hunt – This is one of my favorite way to use task cards. You can put them up in the halls or in your classroom and have students walk around looking for each number. I let them use a clipboard to write their answers. They always love using a clipboard. I usually have them work with buddies also. They are learning and having fun at the same time.

5 creative ways to use task cards in the classroom. Are you looking for creative ideas on how to use task cards in your class? I have listed 5 ways teachers can use task cards in the classroom with your students that is fun for everyone.

#2. Use them in  a game of Scoot – Scoot is a fun game where you move around the room from task card to task card. Kids typically move from desk to desk going in order. There is a time limit that the student gets for each card then the teacher says “Scoot” and all the kids move to the next card. You just need to make sure you have enough task cards for each child in your class to “scoot” to a new card.

#3. Use them as a class review game – I’m always trying to come up with fun ways to review for assessments. I show a task card on my board and the students answer it. If they get the right answer they get to do the game. It may be throwing a ball into a basket or throwing a velcro ball onto a board with numbers. Using Jenga is one of my students’ favorite games. If the kids get the answer right they got to pull a Jenga piece. There are numbers on the piece and those numbers represent how many points their team will get.

5 creative ways to use task cards in the classroom. Are you looking for creative ideas on how to use task cards in your class? I have listed 5 ways teachers can use task cards in the classroom with your students that is fun for everyone.

#4. Use them with a board game – Another way to use task cards is to use them with a game board. This can be played with 2-4 kids. If the students answer the question correctly they get to roll the dice and move their game piece that many moves. You can just use any generic game board that pieces can move around a board. My students really enjoyed using task cards this way.

#5. Use them with an egg hunt- This is always the favorite way to use task cards with my students. Fold up the task card and put it in an egg. Put the eggs outside and let the kids have fun hunting. This does not only have to be done at Easter time. It can be done during all times of the year.

5 creative ways to use task cards in the classroom. Are you looking for creative ideas on how to use task cards in your class? I have listed 5 ways teachers can use task cards in the classroom with your students that is fun for everyone.

If your students are bored using task cards, try using them in a different way. Let me know in the comments below which one you like the best.


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Back to School Tips

It’s back to school time! There’s  so much going on that sometimes I don’t even know where to start. It feels like I’m being pulled in all directions. Well I need to remind myself that I’m not Superwoman and I need to stop and take a deep breath. I will do what I can and let the rest go. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that some things can be let go. So here are some back to school tips when you come back to a room that looks like this…

empty classroom

Tip #1. Breath: I know that sounds easy but it is really stressful when you walk into a completely empty room. You know you only have a short amount of time to get it ready for your kids. So just breath and look at the positive. The floors are really shiny!

Tip #2. Take one section at a time: Decide what you want to do first and stick to it until you finish. Maybe you want to go ahead and do all your bulletin boards while everything is out of the way. That’s what I do. Maybe you want to set up your desk first so you can have your computer ready to go. I work on this second. Whatever you do, taking one section at a time will help you keep your sanity and keep your classroom uncluttered.

Tip #3. Organize as you go: You definitely don’t want to just throw things in your desk because you will be upset with yourself all year long. Take the time to put everything where you can find it. Make sure you leave some extra room in a drawer for new things you will get throughout the year. Definitely use containers to keep paperclips and little things contained in one spot.

organized desk

Tip #4. Make an emergency kit: I finally did this last year and it was a lifesaver. I put all the necessities I thought I would need in case of an emergency. You never know when you are going to have to stay at work late or need to freshen up during the day. Jessica from Time Out with Mom, has an awesome blog post on creating a teacher emergency kit. Make sure to check it out by clicking on the picture.


Tip #5: Make a sub tub: You definitely need an emergency sub tub. You never know when you are going to be out and won’t be able to get up to the school to get your plans ready. You can just have another teacher get your sub tub out and you are ready to go. If you would like my free sub plans to get you started click here.

I also have some sub plans that you can use with a favorite read aloud. Click on the picture below if you would like to check them out.

sub plans





Let me know in the comments below which tip you are going to try out.



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Classroom Cleaning Hacks

I really like my classroom to look nice and clean. We all know that after about 2 weeks into the school year, things start to look dingy. The white boards are no longer white, they are kind of grayish, yellowish color. I’m really not sure what color that is. They definitely don’t have that color in a box of crayons.

I’m always looking for better ways to clean my classroom and help it stay looking new throughout the year. Here are some great hacks and tips to help keep you and your classroom clean all year long! I especially like the marker stain tip. I always seem to get marker on my clothes all the time!

Scrub Down and Wipe Clean: Indispensable Classroom Cleaning Hacks

Brought to you by Quill

Which one of these tips will use in your classroom? Let me know in the comments below.



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Five Things to do in the summer before school starts

It’s summertime! We made it through another school year. So now what should we do? Do you picture yourself sitting on the beach sipping a yummy drink? Let’s be honest, most of us don’t really do that. The beach is fun but, you usually leave burnt and sand in places you really don’t want to talk about. So let’s be realistic, what are you really going to do?

It's summer time and you are on vacation. There are some things that you can do to get prepared for the beginning of the school year.
I’m going to tell you five things you should do this summer before school starts.
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Relax- It’s important to do something not school related. Everybody’s idea relax is different. For some people it might be sitting in front of the TV binge watching shows on Netflix. For other’s it might be going to the gym. You need to get some kind of hobby. Maybe you and some friends should take a painting class. Maybe you should take your kids to park and let them play while you read a book. Find something that you enjoy and do it!

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Connect with other teachers It’s always fun to see what other teachers are doing around the world. There are so many Facebook groups that you can join to get some great ideas from other amazing teachers. If you teach 3rd grade there are many Facebook groups just for you. There are also groups for teachers in your state. There are several groups that I belong to for Texas teachers. Just search under groups and ask to join. Instagram is another great place to meet other teachers. Follow some of your favorites and see what they are doing over the summer.

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Professional development– It is so hard to do professional development during the school year so summer is the perfect time. If your district offers professional development make sure to sign up for some workshops that will help you with your teaching. I took a Guided Reading workshop and an RTI workshop this summer. I have a couple of other technology workshops planned for this summer. There are also some great books you can read. My favorites are Debbie Diller’s books. You can never go wrong with any of hers. Practice with Purpose is great.

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Design your classroom– This is a good time to design what you want your classroom to look like. Do you want to keep the same theme as last year? Maybe your bored with your theme but don’t want to spend a lot of money. I totally understand. Look on Pinterest to find some great ideas that you can incorporate in your room that won’t cost a lot. Summer is a great time to do some DIY decor for your classroom. Last year I changed up my classroom decor to the Texans and I love it. I had to make almost all of it myself because there isn’t  a lot of Texans decor for the classroom. It was fun to work on over the summer. Here are some of the items I made for my classroom. You can read more about it on my blog post here.

Texans classroom decor

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Reflect– This is a great time to think about what worked well last year and what bombed. I did a great job working with my lower students and teaching them comprehension strategies. I bombed at doing book clubs with my kids. I tried to really work on it but I just ran out of time meeting with them. I having been looking at other teacher’s blogs to see what they are doing and deciding what I need to change to make it work better next year. That’s what I like most about summer. It’s a time to reflect to see how you can grow as a teacher.

I hope you are able to do these 5 ideas. I really believe if you do these you will be better prepared for the new school year. Which idea will be easiest for you to do? Let me know in the comments below.



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Guided Reading- What do I do with fluent readers?

Guided reading has been around for over 15 years. One of my graduate classes was on Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading. It worked great in the younger grades for teaching small group. The older grades complained that it wasn’t helpful for them. There wasn’t a lot of literature for using guided reading with older grades back then. About 10 years ago one of my favorite author’s, Debbie Diller, came out with Making the Most of Small Groups.

I love her books! She is amazing. I have been to many of her workshops. She has so much knowledge on guided reading.

Finally more people began to write more guided reading books and more school districts began to provide professional development. I have been very lucky that I am in a wonderful school district that has excellent professional development. I have been going to guided reading trainings for over 10 years now and have read many books. Of course with all that knowledge comes lots of different ideas. Trying to filter through all of the ideas is tiresome. I have tried many ideas that did not work too well.

Some ideas worked great in 2nd grade but when I moved to 3rd grade I struggled. Many of those awesome lessons I did with my lower level reading students didn’t work with my fluent readers. My fluent readers didn’t need help with decoding or fix up strategies. Now what? I really needed to focus on comprehension. They could retell the story but when they took assessments they did not always do well. What was going on? They can read well and they could tell me what the passage was about. The problem was with the academic vocabulary. The rigor of my small reading groups was not where it needed to be. I had to get the kids to dig deeper.

I wasn’t the only one having problems. Many teachers at our school and in our district were having the same troubles. Our district started doing more professional development on how to teach guided reading groups with the fluent readers. Some of the ideas I liked a lot and some I didn’t really agree with. One of the main points that struck me was I had to get my questioning more rigorous. I did a book study with some other teachers at my school with the book The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson.

I finally had that aha moment! This is what I need to be doing. I need to be preparing my students before they start reading. I need to be asking rigorous questions during their reading. I also need them to be doing a reader’s response after they read the passage. The reader’s response needs to be rigorous enough and cover the standards that we are  currently working on and spiral the other standards. I along with many of my colleagues have been doing our reading groups like this for several years now. I have had administrators, curriculum specialists, and other teachers come observe me and my students with our guided reading groups. I finally feel like I have a good grasp on my reading groups. My students are doing a better job at comprehending what they are reading. They also do well on the state test.

I have made a guided reading lesson plan and template for you to use in your classroom. I have made it editable so you can make it your own or tweak it for your classroom. I have included a sample of what one of my reader’s responses looks like. Just click on the picture to download it for free from my TPT store.

This Guided Reading lesson plan is for fluent readers (levels O-Z).The lesson will tell what to do with your reading group before reading, during reading, and after reading. There is a editable lesson plan template with step by step directions what to do for your fluent readers.

I hope you find this helpful! Let me know what you do with your fluent readers in the comment section below.




(c) Can Stock Photo

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Organization Hacks for Classroom Clutter

Clutter can definitely take over the classroom quickly. As teachers we have every color pen, pencils, folders, and paper for organization. We color code and label everything. Before long all these awesome tools start getting disorganized. Here are some great ideas from Quill for you to get control of the classroom.

Organization Hacks That Triumph Over Classroom Clutter

Brought to you by Quill

Which of these ideas do you think you can do? Let me know.



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Pool Party Blog Hop & Giveaway

I am joining up with Celeste at Education Highway to celebrate her birthday with this fun Pool Party Blog Hop.

Blog Hop ButtonI would like to share a fun summer idea I found on Pinterest.

Blog Something Fun




Pinterest has so many great ideas for the summer. My daughter loves painting. I found this great idea on Pinterest. Now let’s see if my daughter’s will turn out like this one.

pourpotstitlepicture from Pinterest

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Hopefully you are enjoying your summer. If you are still in school I have a fun math activity that you can do with your kids. If you are out for the summer, just save it for next year. My kids loved doing the activity where they planned a summer vacation with a friend. I hope your class enjoys it also. Just click on the picture to download the free activity.

Orlando sample_Page_01

Blog Sponsors eBoo




Celeste has made this great ebook of all the sponsors from her birthday giveaway. Click on the image below to download it.

Now make sure to sign up for these great giveaways below.
Prize Pack 1
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Prize Pack 2
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Prize Pack 3
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Prize Pack 4
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Don’t forget to go by and visit Celeste at the Education Highway  and wish her a Happy Birthday! Make sure to visit the other blogs below.



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Happy Teacher Appreciation Week

We have finally made it to May! You deserve to have a great Teacher Appreciation Week. I am doing a Teacher Appreciation giveaway. I am giving away two $10 gift cards to TPT!

teacher giveaway

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week,  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale. These gift cards will be great to use during the sale on May 3rd and 4th.  My store will be 20% off and you can use the promo code “celebrate” for an additional 10% off.

Let me tell you what to do to win these $10 gift cards. Just sign up below on Rafflecopter and I will pick two winners tomorrow evening. The winners will receive the gift cards by email on Wednesday morning.
a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Currently May 2016

I am linking up with Farley for the final Currently. I have really enjoyed this fun linky and I have met some great bloggers. Thanks Farley for all the fun over the years!


currently may

Listening:  I love the Walking Dead and now I have gotten sucked into Fear of the Walking Dead.  I love one of the main characters, Nick!

Loving:  We went camping over the weekend. I was very relaxing and exactly what was needed. Just wished it was a little cooler.

Thinking: I really need to do some laundry. I have last weeks clothes and the camping clothes to wash.

Wanting: I am so ready for the STAAR tests to be over. My 4th graders are so ready for the test  to be over and I know they are going to do great.

Needing: I have been absent from the blogging world for a while. Life has been busy but I know I’m going to get back on track.

Truth: We just moved into a new house in a brand new neighborhood 6 months ago (hence the reason for the absence from blogging). Our neighbors on both sides of our house just can’t seem to cut their grass. I don’t understand, you have a brand new expensive house and you don’t want to keep the yard mowed. Ugh! So frustrating. It’s such a new neighborhood that we don’t have a civic association yet. Hopefully they will find someone to cut their grass soon!

Have a great Teacher Appreciation Week!



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Teaching Place Value

Teaching place value is one of the hardest concepts to teach in elementary school. I have found that you need to teach this difficult standard as many ways as possible.

The first thing I do is use place value manipulatives with the kids so they can see how 10 ones equals 1 ten and how 10 tens equals 1 hundred. Using the manipulatives makes it so much easier for the students to understand how numbers work.

Our state standards expect the students to know how to write the number in standard form, expanded form, word form, expanded notation, and pictorial models.  I make an anchor chart that explains the different ways to write numbers.

place value

I then have the students make a chart in their interactive notebook to help them remember all the ways to write numbers.  I have them write in on the right side of the notebook, I do it together with the students on my interactive whiteboard while they write it in their notebooks. We talk about each section as we write it down.

place value board

place value lesson

After the students have practiced with place value in work stations for a while I then check for understanding. I have them come up with a number and on the left side of the notebook I have them write down the ways they can write the numbers. I let them choose which way they would like to write it.

place value notebookThis is an easy way to see who is still struggling with the basics of place value. If students are still having difficulties then I can work with them in small group with the concepts they are still struggling with.

I hope I have given you some new ideas on how to teach place value. What do you do that works for your students? Leave a comment below and let me know.


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