Category Archives: 3rd Grade

First Day of School 2015

This is our 6th year of homeschooling. Our oldest son Curly is in 10th grade, and I am going to wax on about him for a moment because I rarely do. When we began this journey, he was starting 5th grade. Now I realize his high school years will be over in the blink of an eye. He recently took the ACT for the first time and he scored in the upper 20s! We are all so proud of him, and this was just a “practice” for him. He is very determined to score a 30 next year, and he did say I could put in print that he scored a 32 (out of possible 36) on the English portion. We might have had more than a few heated discussions over the years about the importance of his language studies, but even he admits it has all been worth the hard work.


I’m beyond proud of how hard this young man works and the man he is becoming more of every single day. He loves the Lord and has such a servant heart about him. The Lord could not have placed a more capable, trustworthy, diligent, respectful or loving young man as the oldest child in our family.

Today marked our first day back to school and our first school day ever in the year 2015. I thought it worthy of a post, plus I figured my few readers might be wondering if I was ever coming back. I did toy with the idea of shutting this blog down, but I do love to write and for now this is my platform. I have come full circle in this homeschooling journey especially as of late when I was striving to determine along with my husband the Prez what would be the best decision for our son Mo regarding his schooling. A wise mother and veteran homeschooler told me years ago: “All you really need to teach your children at home is your Bible and a library card.”

And all these years later, I have to say she is right. In truth, all you really need is your Bible, but I will readily admit I love books and my kids do too. This evening, my husband gladly fixed breakfast for supper because I asked him if he would, ¬†so I could take Mo on a little date to the library. He has been asking me to take him for days, and really, what Momma can deny a 12-year-old boy a trip to the library? He chose three books, one he needs for his new on-line language class, and two for pleasure. One of those pleasure reading books is 800 PAGES LONG. Oh, how I’ve missed seeing this boy of ours so excited over reading. 800 PAGES. He was like a kid in a candy store at the library tonight, and what Momma doesn’t love an hour of time alone with one of her children when she has six to spread herself between. Here he is reading his new science text: Apologia General Science. My heart swelled seeing him rocking in the glider under my favorite blanket that he loves to curl up under too! LOVE.


Today, the 3rd graders (and our little PreK tag-a-long) worked on mostly our tutorial classes, which start back on Thursday. Continue reading


Thanksgiving Craft: A Thankful Book

I am thankful for Pinterest. ūüėÄ


I am also thankful our three littles still love to do art projects and craft with materials on hand.


I am thankful for the sweet words they chose for their thankful pages in these precious books!

I am thankful for crafts that are keepers!


Though we can’t ever be too thankful, I will share a bit more about this little project that consumed some of our morning. I can’t take credit, so let me credit the original source and please click over there for detailed instructions and much better photos LOL!


I did make some adaptations, because I was out of rubber bands and hadn’t saved any environmental cardboard (great idea though!) for the colored feathers.


OK, aside from the fact no one should run out of rubber bands e.v.e.r., let’s focus on the positive. I’m instinctive and immediately went for the loom bands for a *temporary* fix until the Prez comes home tonight with the appropriate rubber bands.


I also pulled out our scraps from previous projects for the colored feathers, and they went to work making them out of torn paper, torn tissue paper, cut-up pieces of felt, cut-up cardboard and parts of a pop-tart box that was discarded in the recycling trash can yesterday.


As I noted above, please go to B-inspired Mama for detailed step-by-step instructions.

This craftiness was perfect to me because:

  1. it requires writing and/or narrating (for little ones you could write it for them as they narrate their story)
  2. it encourages thinking creatively as the story is written/narrated
  3. it encourages  illustrations from various mediums (markers were their preferred choice but colored pencils also work and paint would as well)
  4. it serves a purpose other than just another craft (that could potentially end up in the round file tomorrow‚ÄĒthis one definitely won’t!)
  5. it required the use of scissors, glue sticks AND liquid glue
  6. my kids ages 9, 9 and 4 all LOVED this project which is really my ultimate goal.

So what are you thankful for today? PLEASE share in the comments! I love to hear from you!


Book Talk Tuesday: Integrating Art with Elmer and A Million Dots

My three younger students love to create works of art. Every week I try to think of ways (thank you Pinterest!) to combine art with planned lessons. Quite often, this is done by extending a book to add in an artful element of learning.

This past week, this was quite effortless. I love it when a good idea actually comes together! I know all teachers everywhere can totally relate. Holla!


I had been trying to snag A Million Dots from our local library for quite awhile. Last Wednesday, we finally found it available. I read it to them on Friday.

This book is so fun, because as you read through it you actually see a total of 1,000,000 dots! Each page shares a 6-digit number and an interesting fact. As we read the book my 3rd graders took turns reading the 6-digit numbers. They also read a page here and there, but this was my read-aloud to them that morning so mostly they listened while I read.



They loved it when I told them they could choose ANY 6-digit number, a favorite subject, AND we would do some research to write a fact about the number and subject matter. Continue reading


Leaf Animals

We’ve been exploring leaves in our Botany class, and we plan to do this project below again this year. I took these photos last October with my then 2nd graders and 3-year-old, yet I¬†never blogged about them. I thought it would be fun to share this fun little idea this Fall. The leaves are falling here and we have some beautiful colors already.

I highly recommend this book especially for this project, and I have included a widget below it with other book suggestions. It also includes our science text for this year: Exploring Creation with Botany.


Aren’t these so adorable?!

This one is an alligator made by Li’l Bit:



This is a beautiful butterfly¬†made by Li’l Miss:



This is a turtle made by Li’l Bro:


Last but not least, this is my frog complete with some eggs:


Try this with your students as you explore the beautiful colors of Fall! Please share below what is your favorite season and why.


How Do You Spell …

… should be a banned phrase.

OK, in all seriousness, it shouldn’t. However, hearing this phrase 100+ times a week can in fact make one contemplate whether or not writing is in fact a necessary part of the school day.

Of course, writing isn’t optional, so what to do?


Well you could spell the words for your students 1,589 times a week or you can encourage them in creative ways to become more confident in their abilities to decode and decipher. I’m choosing option B more often than not these days. Below I’ll outline¬†5¬†ways to achieve¬†spelling¬†independence, and I will share in this widget some tools and books we use in our spelling lessons.

5 Ways to Achieve Spelling Independence


1. Use a spelling program.


That seems obvious enough doesn’t it? I have tried. Believe me, I’ve tried. I can’t even say that one hasn’t worked, because if I’m being completely honest I just haven’t stuck with it. I don’t even remotely like spelling lessons. I guess part of the blame lies in the fact that spelling comes very naturally for me, and I suppose in a way I just think (and secretly wish) it was that way for everyone. But it isn’t.


So we’re using The Logic Of English Essentials Teacher Guide and Student Cursive Workbook along with the Phonogram Cards and Gamebook. My 3rd graders love the games of course, and the lessons aren’t so bad. I have one natural speller and one who spells completely phonetically, which just doesn’t work for most English words beyond CVC words.




I am using this resource with both students for now, but there may come a time as the year progresses where I will need to spend some one-on-one time with them on spelling. When and how, I’m not sure yet, but we’ll make it work! Continue reading


Multiplication Facts with Visual Demonstrations

If I’m being completely honest, I’ve been¬†slightly afraid terrified of teaching the times tables. Now that I have two 3rd graders in¬†our one-room schoolhouse, I can’t avoid the times tables anymore. Who knew, though, they could be so much fun?

Recently, we reviewed some arrays and then we combined art with math for a hands-on approach to the why behind multiplication. If you’d like to try Multiplication Arrays with a City Skyline¬†with your students, please check out¬†Elementary AMC¬†and download the freebie recording sheet while you’re there!


After my 3rd graders completed their own Multiplication Skylines, they traded papers and used the last column of the recording sheet to check each others’ work and record the correct color of the array shown on each building. They really loved this math lesson, and they wanted the photos printed for inclusion in their math journals!

To continue our study of arrays, we used small cubes one day to work out problems of our own choosing. They had to then show the problems on their papers using blocks and write out the equations as well.


Again, this was just another way to explore the why behind multiplication in a hands-on approach. Though my children were in 2nd grade last year, we don’t really follow the CCSS closely so arrays are not something we spent a great amount of time on last year. I do feel they are mature enough now to grasp multiplication and so far they are loving it! It is always fun when one of your students has a lightbulb moment like one of mine did and then said: “This is really just adding the same number over and over again.” I didn’t tell them this right off as I was hoping for them to see the patterns for themselves‚ÄĒlove it when this happens!

I recently updated a resource I created a few years ago. Now my Multiplication Charts include facts through 12 x 12. It includes¬†3 color charts and 2 black-and-white charts for printing ease as well. If you’re not following me on Facebook, why don’t you consider liking my page? From time to time, I will offer Flash Freebies like I’m about to do for the next 5 minutes with this resource below. Please go¬†LIKE Page Protector Printables and More on FB to find out about flash freebies, read valuable content and find out about my newest resources in my TpT store.


Please Share in the Comments: How do you bring multiplication alive for your students?


Exploring Creation with Botany

This year at our tutorial, the third graders are studying science through the discoveries of plants in the world around us. If you ask our three youngest students, they will quickly tell you a botanist is a person who studies living plants, and that they are in fact themselves botanists!

Here are some of the books we’ve read and/or had in our nature table book basket the past few weeks. Some we own and some we found at our local library.

To whet their appetites this past May for an upcoming year of botany studies, I had them each pick one of our plentiful iris flowers from the bed beside our house.




Then,¬†we took them¬†apart piece by piece by piece. Flowers are simply miraculous! They were able to name parts as we studied the intricacy of the plant. There really isn’t a flower much more intricately made and beautiful both inside and out than the bearded iris. I personally love the purple variety, but the white ones we discovered beside our home are magnificent as well! Continue reading


Monday Made It: Place Value “Blocks”

Sometimes you just need to PAINT and CUT and DO even when you’re in 3rd grade. Yesterday was one of those days where I threw caution to the wind and decided we would spend some time painting and cutting and would *hopefully* have a fabulous math tool to show for our work and repurposing.

It is no secret I save trash, especially pieces of cardboard. Don’t EVER throw away cardboard labels. They are SO VERY USEFUL: canvas for painting, repairing paperback book covers, matting a picture, AND for making place value “blocks”!


First, my 3rd graders painted the back of the cardboard labels with various colors of craft paint. After allowing it to dry, we used rulers and a bic black ink pen to create the grids for hundred blocks and then cut some of those down for base tens and ones pieces. Continue reading


Book Talk Tuesday: Separate Read-Alouds

Normally, I choose one read-aloud to read to our two 3rd graders, Li’l Bro, 9, and Li’l Miss, 8. After reading The Trumpet of the Swan and The Wind in the Willows¬†aloud this summer with our rising third graders, I decided to change it up and choose two different books to read with them aloud and individually.


For two reasons: one, these books have been on my short list a long time but they never seem to make it to the top and two, while reading aloud to them I can also have them read-aloud to me for assessments and building their reading¬†fluency. I always have my notebook in hand to take notes as they read. I’ve also begun to time them though they don’t know it, and I’m so pleased with their progress!


They are loving this new set-up and I am loving it too. Sometimes a certain Li’l Bit, 4 and in PreK, listens in while I read with Li’l Miss, but more often than not I’ve already read with her and she is {somewhat} happily working on something independent from one of her busy bins. Continue reading