St. Patrick's Day Math

St. Patrick’s Day is coming! This is not always a great time to be a teacher. It’s a fun holiday, but the whole pinching thing can be troublesome. 

Since I’m always looking for ways to sneak in more multiplication fact practice, I created some St. Patrick’s Day themed worksheets. To make the whole "pinching thing" less painful for you, I'm offering this resource for free in my TpT store.

Engaging Multiplication Practice

Learning multiplication facts is a huge deal for 3rd grade! I like to make the process as painless as possible. In addition to teaching the basic concepts of multiplication with lots of practice with manipulatives, I like to use music. Kids really enjoy learning with music and music has a way of putting facts into long term memory.

I begin with this CD of skip counting songs from Melody House. I start playing these songs long before my kids are introduced to multiplication. Even though the title says multiplication, these songs do not include multiplication - skip counting only. These songs have been around for a very long time. As a matter of fact, I first started using these songs 17 years ago. The songs are not very modern, but they are extremely catchy. I’ve been told from other teachers that my kids sing them years after they leave my class. That’s a win in my book!
Once my kids have mastered skip counting, I move on to videos by Music Notes Online. This music set comes in CD (audio only) and DVD with music videos. I would definitely recommend getting the videos. These songs are very catchy and my kids love dancing to them.

I bought my DVD from Music Note's website, but now you can find them on Teacher's Pay Teachers

Although I rely a lot on multiplication songs, nothing replaces good old fashioned practice. The key is provide opportunities for practice without drilling and killing. I have my students practice multiplication facts with these no prep worksheets.

With searches students solve the equation more than once. As they are searching for the equation, they typically recite the fact in their head giving them more interaction with the fact.

This page provides a lot of practice. The best part is that each "gear" has 2 problems with missing factors so that my students have to work backwards.

Students love spinning and multiplying. The novelty of using a paper clip to spin for the factor keeps my students engaged.

Four in a Row games are a big hit in my class! My students enjoy being able to use strategies to help them win this game.

I have bundled all of these no prep multiplication activities into one resource. Once my students have mastered their multiplication facts, they are going to start working on the division unit.

I'm very pleased with the progress my students have made so far this year using these resources. Being fluent with math facts is allowing them to focus more of their brain power on problem solving!

Having Fun with Christmas Stories

Hey, everyone! Happy December! Can you believe the holidays are so close? December is a fun, crazy, busy time of year, but there are so many ways to make things exciting in your classroom. I like to have fun with my kids but I also want to make the most of every educational opportunity. One way I do this is by reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas with my class.

One of the big things in 3rd grade is studying poetry and I use this unit and my kids' love for Christmas to review a ton of poetry elements. I begin the unit with a good old fashioned read aloud. There are a lot of versions of this story by different publishers. I opted to go with the original that is no longer in print. Luckily, this version is in the public domain and can be found on Project Gutenburg. I converted the book into Google Slides to make it easier to share with my class. You can download it here if you would like to use it with your class.

Once we've read the story together for enjoyment, I give my students their booklets that include the poem plus comprehension pages. We go through and discuss poetry elements. I allow my students to use markers or color pencils to take notes with to help keep them engaged. Here's an example of some of the notes we take.

Once we've covered the basics of the poem, we spend time discussing what each stanza means and summarizing the stanza. I always need more grades, so I have my students cut out paraphrased cards and glue them next to the appropriate stanza.

Students can practice putting the poem in order with these sequencing cards.

Because 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (A Visit From St. Nick) was written so long ago, students are unfamiliar with some of the terms. We practice vocabulary 2 different ways. We match up the terms and their definitions in our class pocket chart. I also have a matching activity for my students to work on in centers.

This unit keeps us busy all week. The activity book covers a wide range of skills, including: vocabulary, story elements, sequencing, and summarizing.

If you are interested in learning more about this unit, check it out in my TpT store.

After we complete this unit, we have fun by reading a Grinchy story. You can read more about it here (It's a freebie so you don't want to miss out!).

What tried and true units do you use every year? I'd love to hear from you!


I’m back to tell you about some ways I try to keep my students motivated while preparing for STAAR (Texas state assessment).

One of the tools I use in my classroom is punch cards. We do A LOT of practice leading up to the STAAR test and it is important that the practice be meaningful. Unless students are working to their full potential and using the strategies I have taught them, time is being wasted. To help keep them focused and motivated I use punch cards. This year I’ve changed the punch cards to fit our STAAR Wars theme.

In order to receive punches, students MUST show their work. They have the opportunity to earn the following punches:

  • 3 punches – 100
  • 2 punches – A
  • 1 punch – B

Once they fill up the entire card, I offer them money from our classroom economy.

If you think your students would benefit from using these free punch cards, you can download them from here.


Using too many worksheets during review time is boring for ME, so I know the kids are bored too! I like to change things up a bit by playing a variety of different games. PowerPoint games are my favorite because we can play as a whole class and there are plenty of opportunities for meaningful discussions. Here’s a game I created to review fractions that fits our STAAR Wars theme. *For some reason the image for the video looks crummy! When I click on it to start the video, the resolution improves.*

STAAR Wars–3rd Grade Fraction Review

This PowerPoint game can be found on TpT.


I hope I have given you some ideas that you can use in your classroom. I’ll be back with more STAAR Wars ideas soon.

It’s That Time of Year…Again

It’s that time of year again when I start thinking about the upcoming state test. Ugh! I’ve taught everything I need to teach and now I’m going to spend the next few weeks reviewing like crazy. The problem is I need to push the kids to do the best they can without crushing their spirit.

In Texas, our state test is the STAAR, so my team decided to have a STAAR Wars theme to help us stay motivated. We’re not the first ones to do this, so Pinterest has a wealth of ideas. We started off by creating our own Pinterest board and we got busy pinning away.

Next, we bought shirts. We have 2 days of testing so I figured I needed 2 shirts. This one came from a wonderful seller on Etsy who worked with us to place a HUGE order.

This one came from Spirit Bling. Both shirts are sparkly to keep our spirits bright!

Some how I ended up with another 3 Star Wars shirts thanks to Wal-mart and Kohl’s. I think I may have gone overboard. Winking smile

We’ve begun the decorating process. We started out by hanging clear Christmas tree lights from the ceiling in the hallway. We added silver stars and some tie fighters. If we wouldn’t have had help from some wonderful parents, I think we would still be hanging those silly lights now. Even with their help, this is a work in progress and we’re not finished.

Here’s a poster I plan to hang in our hallway. If any of you other Texas teachers are thinking of having a STAAR Wars theme, click on the picture to download your own copy.

I like the idea of “The Students Strike Back.” I’m hoping it will empower the kids and let them know they can take charge of this overwhelming situation. As we get more accomplished, I’ll add more posts so you can follow along with the process. I’m hoping this theme will go a long way to keeping students (and teachers) motivated.

A Grinchy Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas activities is reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas with my class and creating a lapbook.  The kids are so familiar with the story that it’s easy to apply the comprehension skills we have been learning.

Here’s an example of a completed lapbook.

If you would like a FREE copy, click on the picture above to download the file from Google Drive.  The font I used is called Grinched and I got it from  You can get it by clicking here.

I have a similar product for sale on TpT.  The TpT version is customizable to use with any picture book.  So, if you want the FREE Grouch version, click on the picture above.  If you want to make a lapbook for the story you’re currently reading, click below.

Happy reading!

Oh Snow! Winners

It finally warmed up here, although it’s not really very warm.  In my neck of the woods it doesn’t usually get this cold so soon.

Here are the winners of my Oh Snow! games:

Garden Full of Knowledge and Angie are the lucky winners!  Ladies, please email me at hootyshomeroom at gmail dot com and let me know which version you would prefer: addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division.

Have a great week!