Helpful Hints: THANKFUL Linky Party

I'm back for day 2 of Blog Hoppin's THANKFUL linky part! Here are a few hints I use throughout my day to keep me semi-sane...

Just Dance Videos for Transitions
I don't know about you, but most of my kids LOVE to move and dance. I started using Just Dance Kids videos to get them up and moving, but not as many kids participated. Once I started using songs that they know and love, more of them got involved and got moving. They are great for brain breaks, but they also work really well for transitions.

Sometimes, I need a minute or two to clean up one thing before I can move on to the next. Especially in the afternoon, as I have 4 different groups of kids come in and out my door (we have intervention, follwed by our content areas of Science, Social Studies, Art, and Health where each 3rd grade teacher departementailizes in one of those areas, word work where we again each teach a different group based on Words their Way, then finally my homeroom back for writing). It can be a little cray-cray with all that movement! So I have a bunch of Just Dance Videos saved as bookmarks on my computer from Youtube and they dance away!

Here are a few of my student's favorites! Click to be taken to the youtube clips.

Some Hints for Use:
*If you can freeze or blank your SMARTboard screen, that is best. Some of the videos do occasionally have ads- some of which aren't always appropriate.
*End the video 1-2 seconds early. Again, Youtube shows you other videos you may be interested in at the end of a video- you never know what you'll get)

As your students dance (the dances are structured with actual moves so you don't have a bunch of crazy kids running around) and get the wiggles out, you can tidy up, get something ready, take a breather before the next task!

Guided Reading Board
I meet with 3 different groups a day. Often times, my students would forget how far they had to read in their book, what they had to do, and when they had to do it by. Not to mention, I occasionally would forget too because my notes weren't always the clearest. I came up with this system and it works on so many levels! At the end of our meeting, I write 3 separate post-its: To Read, To Do, Due By.

Old Version- you can see though how I use post-its
To Read: What book and to what page they have to read
To Do: Any little jobs (a post-it jotting, a graphic organizer, etc.)
Due By: When they have to have it done

Next to the board, I have a little blue bin for them to turn in anything (old books, quizzes, etc.) It's worked really great this year!

Updated version- you can see my little blue bin for handing in things
Some Hints for Use:
I write the post-its with my kids at the end. That way, as I tell them, I write them, and they are listening.
I have the students go take the old ones off and put the new post-its on. They have more ownership that way.

Book Shopping Schedule
Students have their own book bags where they keep their independent just right books. I had to come up with a system so that students weren't always getting new books, so I set up a book shopping schedule.

We use a 6 day-rotation at school. So I set up a 6 day rotation. I used my student's numbers and made a little flip sign to hang in our library. Our librarian turns the sign each day to reveal what book shopping day it is and who that includes. These students get the first 6 minutes of independent reading time to book shopping. This limits the library to 4-6 kids so it isn't too crazy. Also, kids know that they can only shop on their book shopping day (or first thing in the morning when they get to school) so they are pretty serious about picking enough books to last them that are at their level (we have a rule of between 3-5 books). It's one less thing I constantly get asked during our precious reading time!

Can't wait to read about the other helpful hints you all share!



  1. Love the idea to use Youtube to show Just Dance videos! So smart! Thanks for linking up to Blog Hoppin'!

  2. The Just Dance videos are such a great idea! I have a few counting videos my kiddos like to do on I never thought of doing them for transitions! Thanks for the helpful hint!

  3. Have you ever heard of safe share tv? It is a way that you can get rid of those adds. I go there first then I save my video to my symbaloo board. I love it. My kids are enjoying the Gummy Bear Song these days.


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