Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Meet the Teacher {blogger}

Hi! I'm Jenn, blogger behind Take Me to Third Grade!  I didn't blog too much this past year with adjusting to my first full year of teaching, SGOs (Student Growth Objectives here in New Jersey), and everything else I had going on in my life!  This past summer though I've been getting my hands a little dirty in creating things for my classroom to post on TpT.  It's addicting !!  Anyways, I started teaching in March 2013 - I taught 3rd grade ELA and Math.  Then, in September 2013, my school became departmentalized, so I taught ELA and SS.  After having the year to "master" ELA, I requested that I teach the fifth section of our 3rd grade classes so that I am the only self-contained 3rd grade class.  This year, it'll be my second *official* school year where I go to teaching ALL the subjects.  Kinda forgot about that this summer ....



. my Bible . Bible study (especially Beth Moore) . my boyfriend . Starbucks -_- . reading . Vera Bradley Clementine . pandora charms . Alex & Ani bracelets . the city {NYC} . Disney World . The Golden Girls . caramels . the beach . Despicable Me . school supplies . target . working out . sharpies . planners . rain . 

If I wasn't a teacher, I would probably be an athletic trainer.  Initially, that was my intended college major.  My first semester freshman year I took education classes, but I still wrestled with changing my major back to Athletic Training.  I didn't ... here I am today!  God equipped me for teaching. :)  I've wanted to be a teacher since I was 5-years-old, what can I say..


. Overcomer . Motivated . Passionate .

"I have all the school supplies, resources, technology, and copy paper I could ever need!"


Anne Frank . Ron Clark . Esther (Queen to King Xerxes in the New Testament) . the apostle Paul . James, the brother of Jesus . 


Equipped for Battle: Teaching and the Common Core meets Personal Life


I already have a superpower ... I TEACH ! 


we have this hope as an anchor for the soul - Hebrews 6:19a


"My Wish" - Rascal Flatts


morning person .. "in the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus"

I haven't created it - or uploaded it - ... yet. :)


I blogged about it in February after the inital hearing of it, but I never posted anything about it ..  

      {cover of the magazine}  
[SIDENOTE: While our students' parents fill out technology waivers and consent forms, 
I didn't think it was fair to post the pictures of my student's faces without parents' consent] 

{cover page for the article} 

         {last page of the article}    

In March 2014, a year after starting my teaching career, my vice-principal nominated me and I was further chosen as Think Teachers Teacher of the Month.  Each month, this magazine features a teacher in a different district all around New Jersey.  I filled out a questionnaire prior to my classroom interview and photograph session.  It was quite an honor to have visitors come into the classroom to just see what I do.  I got to show off A LOT of whole brain teaching techniques and talk about how I cope with working in a school where 90% of students receive free or reduced price lunch.  #teachingaintnopicnic    
The writer and photographer came for an hour to take pictures and talk.  The came through after a big snowstorm we had over the weekend.  I was nervous that morning that they would all of a sudden have to cancel! But they didn't. :)  And neither did my kids!  Out of 27 students .. only 15 were present that morning !!!! Made the excitement a little easier to manage.  It was quite a humbling opportunity, one that gave me time to reflect and evaluate myself as a teacher.  But also time to celebrate how far I've come and what I've overcome regarding the reality that "comes with the job".

Now it's your turn to introduce yourself as #teacherblogger ! :)  
Go to Falling Into First to link up and explore your *favorite* #teacherbloggers ! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Currently: July [Birthday Month!]

Well, where did we leave off?

What does it matter ?!  The school year has ended, I'm completed two more graduate courses, I JUST (literally) uploaded my first TpT product, and it's now JULY !!!  My birthday is Sunday !! :)  And ultimately, I'm blogging again. :)

To start off the month, I linked up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade ! My, how I have missed these.. It's good to be back. :)

Basically, all you really need to know is that my boyfriend comes home tomorrow !!! :D :D :D 

He left June 21 for Haiti, so for those of us who are not math teachers .. that's 11 DAYS THAT HE'S BEEN GONE ! Well, tomorrow will make day 11.  But I digress ...
I've missed him, but fortunately he left when it was my last week of school, so I had packing up my classroom, finishing my last week and few assignments with my graduate summer class, reading The Fault in Our Stars and lifeguarding to keep me somewhat occupied and not *so* focused on missing him.   In some way, it was a blessing in disguise that he was away - I focused on packing up my classroom and moving 100 feet down the hallway.  That was .... hmm ... that was just A LOT of work.  I had moved classrooms in September and then moved AGAIN last week.  Crazy! I just got out of school LAST WEEK !!! June 27th to be exact.

While the boy (that's what I call him, or "skittles", "homeboy", or "handsome") was away, I wrote out a card for him to open each day.  Each card had a few Bible verses and a either a little prayer or a note for him. :)  I have had the honor to fervently pray for him while he's been away.  God has certainly brought us closer together in homeboy's absence.  I certainly pray that through this opportunity he was afforded, he has grown closer and deeply in love with the One Who Gave It All. 
Now I'm just nervous about picking him up at the airport tomorrow! -_- Traffic, NYC, parking, being alone !! AHH !!! Pray for me, please.

I also uploaded my *first* TpT item - a classroom library sign out sheet or cards .. you're pick.  I'm looking at my list of ideas I made this year while I taught to figure out what to create next. :)  I think we're gonna go with some things for IFL, our last ELA unit in our school year.

And finally, I'm really looking forward to the 4th.  Supposedly, here in NJ we're looking at some bad weather because of a hurricane a'comin ???? I'll believe it when I see it.  Other than that, I need to get some books together to read while at the beach!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Well, as much as "blog" has been on my list of things-to-do, I've had to get my priorities in place this week. -_-   My literature review for my graduate class is due Monday.  We had to research 10 articles on a topic of our choice.  So after much outside-of-the-box thinking on topics that I probably wouldn't find enough research, I decided to go back-to-basics and research reading comprehension.  It has since consumed my life!  Hence why I've been M.I.A. ;)

I haven't had the chance to post about my adventures last weekend! :)

One of the things I haven't blogged about a lot is my "life" outside of school and teaching.  On Friday nights this Spring semester, I joined a group of ladies at my church and their Friday night Bible study.  They have been faithful in doing this specific leader's study; some have been with her for four years!  She's a wonderful woman who is *so* involved at our church - she leads a Friday night Bible study, leads Grief Share (where a few women in the group met our leader), and she is a leader in our church's Get Connected ministry (a class new visitors can take for a semester and become a part of our church).

A lot of the Bible studies I have done for the past ten years, have been by Beth Moore.  This semester, I have had the chance to do Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman.

L O V E this song! <3 <3 <3  Beth refers to it in Day 5 of Week 4.

I love Beth Moore.  Though she was not the first one whose Bible study I've done, she was my second and I was beyond belief as to how deep she could really go in the Bible.  I've been doing Bible studies since high school, and they've all pretty much been Beth Moore with a few here and there by Priscilla Shirer.  

[Sidenote: In February, I went with a friend to see Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer - along with Lisa Harper, Sheila Walsh, and Christine Caine - at Unwrap the Bible.  There is NOTHING like being 50 FEET AWAY FROM BETH MOORE!]

Okay, so last weekend, my mom, my friend, and I took a trip to Hershey, PA, where we saw Beth Moore live.  I can say that we came out on the other side as graduates of Beth Moore's ROTC. :)

Giant Center in Hershey, PA
(I wanted to go to Hershey Park, but Momma Dukes wanted the trip to be in and out. -_-)

This was our view of Beth on Friday night. :)

We sat in the opposite diagonal on Saturday morning, so this is our other view of Beth. :)

Beth spoke about Jesus' last 40 days on Earth - what must've happen from the Sunday of His Resurrection to the Thursday of His Ascension.  
R evelation
O bservation
T emptation
C ommission

It was pretty cool, definitely worth it.  Friday night, she spoke about Revelation and Observation.  Then Saturday morning, she spoke about Temptation and Commission.  

The best part of the whole weekend?? Seeing my mom stand up with all of the other single moms for Beth Moore to pray over them, and two women sitting in front of us turn around and lay hands on my mom during prayer.  I wish I had a picture of that, but by the time I wanted to pull out my phone, I realized I just wanted to keep my hand on my mom and pray over her too.  (I'm the oldest of 4 girls! )

During her last session, Beth went out into the audience and asked for those women who felt led by the Holy Spirit to give a brief word about how the weekend had affected them.  The first woman who stood up was a single mom, so Beth prayed over them.  We also prayed over marriages and the children in those marriages - that God would "cover them in a crazy grace bubble".  We prayed over abuse and self-condemnation.  

We also wrote prayers on banners for the women who Beth will see in two weeks 
(though now it will be one week) in Spokane, Washington.

It was a necessary weekend for me because it brings my life back into perspective.  It makes the issues in education seem so small compared to all of the other things that go on in life, some issues of which my own students may go through.  I often let teaching and my obligations as a teacher consume me, so I struggle with time management.  However, this past year, the past few months especially, have enlightened me that I do need to make time for other things.  Though God has given me this gift of teaching, He doesn't want it to consume my life so much that I forget why I'm doing what I'm doing in the first place.  There may be 24-hours in a day, but that doesn't mean I can't make time for Him... daily. <3

We are the light of the world. <3

John 8:12 - When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, "I am the light of the world.  
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Matthew 5:14 - You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

There's a reason why I teach in public education.  It's where I've been commissioned and called to serve Him. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I realize Wordless Wednesday was probably the last time I posted!  It's been quite a hectic few days.  And tomorrow is Report Card Night ..

Nonetheless, once again it is time to link up with Miss DeCarbo from Sugar & Spice for ....

I moved classrooms this year, so I not only inherited the books from my previous room and the books I purchased at library sales, but I also inherited books from the new classroom I was moved to!  It still hasn't been enough books to keep up with my readers and their ever busy, growing brains that love to go on a reading adventure. :)

So, this year, I have been handing out Scholastic Book Forms .  It has been a great help to get books and high quality literature and informational text into the hands of my 3rd Graders.  And, of course, it earns our class points for purchasing more books for our classroom library! :)

I am a like a little kid at Christmas when these boxes come !!!! :D

I track my e-mails because I am asked every minute of the day when the books are coming! I can't wait for the packages to arrive! 

This is just a sneak peak at some of the books that I've order for the classroom - and this was just the last order that I put in!  Some months, I purchase more than others. And to be honest, most of the time I just purchase them myself through Scholastic.  I'm trying to earn as many points as I can before the summer.  I'm saving the points to purchase book sets for guided reading groups next year. My students - I have 55 in total - have been a BIG help in earning points for the classroom.  [One month - I believe it was December - I had a total order for books of almost $400 !!!]

I love passing out books to them and watching how engrossed my students become with what they have.  I can't help but stare at them because their focus and attitude are quickly swept over by this new touch that brings a new adventure. It's encouraging.. :)

What about you .. Do you put new books into your classroom library?  How do you get great books, literature, and information into the hands of your readers?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Today is the last day of our Spring Break. wahhh! :(  Thursday and Friday were taken back due to the 60+ inches of snow we had in total this winter.  

With today being our last day, it brings Wordless Wednesday from Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice 

Our school recently implemented PBSIS, Positive Behavior Support in Schools.  One of the ways we acknowledge positive behavior is through Character Coupons.

How do you acknowledge good behavior in your classroom?

Be sure to link up too and share some questions from your classroom! :)

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring Break!

It's amazing how quickly time flies.

Gets away from us.

Yet, we are often heard saying:

"How many days until break ?!?!?"

"I can't wait until summer break!"

"Is it Friday yet?"

And I get it - I'm right there with you! I'm often the one instigating the complaining!  Nonetheless, I woke up this morning realizing we had made it to the infamous
S P R I N G  B R E A K ! ! ! !

Where did the year go ???  I only have 2 months left with my kiddos! It's been *such* a fun year with them.  I can't believe how much fun we have had together.  And these last 2 months are going to be awesome.  Our IFL unit is on Oceans and Ocean Life.  Guess we know what I'll be up to over break . . . ;)

So, for the past few weeks, a lot has happened -

My sister was accepted into Rutgers' University Graduate School of Education! :)  So, she will have her undergraduate degree in Mathematics, then she'll continue straight for her Masters in Education. I'm so proud of her.  She has definitely come a long way, changing her major a few times.  I told her she can teach the Math and I'll teach the ELA/LAL. #twopeasinapod

 Our district has us using PD360.  Our state is requiring us to do 20 hours of professional development a year, so our district helped us out with this program.  Any thoughts on it?  I've been using it here and there.  I enjoy the videos and the thoughts/ideas that are presented, whether is information from the actual videos or the classrooms in which the videos are filmed.  I just wish there were more videos on workshop models and those sorts of things that are taking over our classrooms - whole brain teaching, Daily 5, yah know. :)

I completed my first half marathon last week!  woo hoo !
Hadn't really trained for it.  Yes, I ran here and there, but nothing serious that would've really prepared me for running a continuous 13.1 miles for what felt like 5 hours. ;)
When my friend and I left on Saturday to pick up our packets, I said we would drop down to the 8k.  But then, we walked into the expo center and ... I saw my running bib.  Saw all the other people around.  Looked at where I was a year ago - standing around waiting to corral for our 8k.  And I realized, I needed to do this.  All of my stress, anxiety, grad school work, school work, cleaning - was never going to go away.  It will ALWAYS be there.  But the chance to do this for myself, doesn't come very often. .... plus, we had paid for this. -_-
Anyways, my friend came to pick me up Sunday morning for the race.  I got in the car and said, "We're doing the half.  Don't ask questions."
Off we went.

Then there I am a few hours later ... :)

 I think we had a visitor in our classroom ..... :(  How rude! Totally killed our aloe plant. </3

Oh, yes! And we won the Pennies for Patients contest!  Granted, this was a few weeks ago, if you keep up with me via Instagram. :)  Seriously, my class - I couldn't be prouder.  They are truly some of the funnest, loyalest kids a teacher could ask for.  After starting the first week of collections in fourth place, they came through and three weeks later we BEAT our class goal of $300.  We earned bragging rights, again for the year - after winning the Drug Awareness Week door contest back in October - and we also won a pizza party!! :D  One of my poor girls. :( She started crying because she can't have pizza.  </3 Of course, we will figure something out for her while we still wait for those pizza gift cards to come. Hmm...

 And last but most certainly not least ...


I was fortunate enough to have 4 new whiteboards installed in my classroom.  The chalkboards are now all covered and the crummy old whiteboards that I once had were replaced with these beauties.. I couldn't wait to use all of these magnets because for whatever reason I'm obsessed with magnets!!  :D

I know - they look a little empty.  This was when I first got them and just threw some charts on the board as well as the calendar and our schedule/morning meeting stuff.  I had everything strewn about my green kidney table that it drove me bonkers and I just needed things OFF the table and my magnets needed to be utilized. :)

For now, I'm a happy little teacher on spring break for a few days.  Though spring breaks means grading, lesson planning for the rest of the year, andddd lifeguarding... 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Currently .. April !!

I knew it was coming.  I just can't believe how soon it came!  A P R I L  ! ! ! woo hoo!  13 school days until Spring Break.  Unit 4 Benchmark assessments are next Mondays.  And Unit 5 - IFL begins at the end of the month.  And the infamous NJ ASK is approaching.  boo!

As usual, it's that time of the month to link up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.  Be sure to read mine first, *wink wink*, then go link up yourself!

Here goes ...

Listening: So I'm at Panera.  It's Tuesday and I don't have personal training tonight, so as much as I should be running or working out on my own, I came to Panera to get my work done.  I have too much work to do - grading papers, e-mails, paper work to be filled out, questions to type up, and oh yea, an outline to write for a literature review for my graduate class.  #indenial

Loving: How many days until spring break ?????

Thinking: I looked up at the calendar today and I can't believe how quickly the year went!  It's already April.  There isn't too much extra research I need to do in prepping my lessons because we are about to move into an IFL unit.  You can check out IFL here - Institute for Learning.  To be honest, I have never done an IFL unit.  But all of the other grades in our building have.  Third grade doesn't do an IFL unit until Unit 5, so from what I've heard .. IFL is very scripted.  The only thing I'll need to do is supplement materials.  I'm looking forward to it - our unit is on ocean life! :)

Wanting:  Well, I did get up to use the restroom.  However, the paperwork is all still there.  I was in the middle of typing my book long e-mail response to my VP when I was timed out of the server.  Guess I was taking too long.

Needing:  #selfexplanatory #indenial

Hours and Last Day:  So, I typically get to school around 7:30 am.  On Mondays, I leave around 3:30pm to get to my graduate class for 4:30 pm.  On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I do an after-school program at another school, so I leave my classroom around 2:50 while my co-teacher dismisses my students.  On Fridays, that's usually my day to stay late in my room and clean up from the week, make copies, charts, search for materials, yah know..
As for our students, they're in school from 8:20-3:00.