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postheadericon October Buddies-Peers Working In Partners to Engage Students in Conversation




Working in partners can sometimes be a duanting task for students. Who do I work with? Can I work with that person? What happens if I work with someone that I don't know well? All these questions come in to play when students are asked to work with a partner.


As teachers, we often place students strategically into pairs or small groups based on ability, behavior, or social skills. However, sometimes, we need to let students work with a peer they are comfortable working with, especially when we are asking them to "turn and talk" and  complete a task. On the third grade level, boys don't often want to work with girls and girls don't want to work with boys. With that in mind, I do give students some choices when having to work with a peer.


To get my students working in partners and more importantly talking to their partner, I created a monthly buddy system. It's a lot like clock buddies but a little easier. 


This month, I passed out "October Buddies" to my students. I explained that each student was going to put their name in each block in the first column. Then go find a buddy and put their name in the block next to your name in the second column. Your partner, then puts your name next to their name. So, when the teacher says, "Find your acorn buddy and sit with them." The kids look on their chart and see their name and their partner's name. 


october buddy


I used October Buddies a couple of times in the classroom and it worked out really well. To introduce our new story, I asked students to find their scarecrow buddy and sit with them. I introduced the "Question of the Week" and asked students to "turn and talk" and write down their response on a piece of lined paper. Our question, which I loved, was "How do we achieve our goals?" (Kumak's Fish). The students loved talking about what their goal was and how they had achieved that goal. I wrote their responses on a piece of large chart paper and put their initials next to each repsonse. 

Now, that I had many responses, I wanted to get kids talking. 

One of my goals this year, is to engage students in focused, rich, engaging conversation. So, I need to get kids engaged in a topic, focused on a topic,   then sharing their answers while in a conversation with a peer or even better, the whole class. 

I then introduced the talking stem "I agree with ___________."


(Click on image to download)

I agree with ____


I then had students talk to their partner about who they agreed with in class and I had the students write down:

1. Who they agreed with

2. What that student's response was

3. Why they agreed with that student

I agree with

I gave the students the chance to write their response on a paper and talk to their partner. I then asked students to share their responses. At first I only had a few hands up, but as time went on, more and more students wanted to be part of the conversation. 

 One of my favorite responses was:

"I agree with Johnny's response, "working hard and not giving up helps us to achieve our goal." I once had to work really hard in football practice to be able to score a touchdown at my football game. It took a long time, but I did it! " Then another student added on, "I also agree with Johnny, I had to work really hard in math last year, but I didn't give up and I ended up really liking math." 

In ten minutes time, I had each student sharing their thoughts to discuss a topic. They were sharing their thoughts, engaged in a topic, and talking to their peers! Objective Done!





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postheadericon Goodbye First Grade….Hello Third Grade!


Educator Station has moved to third grade!  I am so excited to begin a new school year in a new grade level. 

It has been fun picking out my classroom rules posters, my behavior clip chart, and organizing my classroom has been a lot of work, but I have enjoyed every minute of it! Seeing everything nice and clean and organized is a great feeling. 

I thought I would share some of the things I have been working on to get the new year going. 

First, I want to implement character traits into my daily routine. Each month, I would like to choose a trait to model and read about throughout the month. When I see students exhibiting the trait, they will get a "Caught Being Good" ticket. At the end of each week, I will pick from my "Caught Being Good" container and those students will get to go to the prize box. Each child, that is chosen for the prizebox, will be complimented and celebrated each Friday. This is just a little way to acknowledge and celebrate each child in the classroom. 

Below are the Caught Being Good Tickets. Click on the image below to download them. 


caught being good ticket


Mrs. Castro posted about teaching monthly character traits with a literature list to use along with each character trait. Click HERE to see that post. 


I also ordered these red stools from IKEA. I have them around my teacher table and my students love sitting on them. 


The stools are working out so well, I decided to order more of them for my computer center. 


So, I would say we are off to a great start! I have a great classroom filled with wonderful students. Thrid grade is off to a great start! 

Do you start your day off with a morning message each day? I find this is a great way to start the day. 



Educator Station will be posting new things throughout the school year. Hope you are all off to a great start in this new school year! 


postheadericon Beginning of the Year Math Centers

While trying to keep the tears at bay and get everyone home, the first week of school is basic survival.  Teaching expectations, routines and modeling consumes the first six weeks of first grade.  

I have compiled a bunch of easy to make Kindergarten review math centers to take the pressure off while still keeping my firsties busy.  These centers review the kindergarten skills and give students the opportunity to freely explore with the math manipulatives.  

*All of these were found using Pinterest or a simple google search and none are my original ideas.  I have credited the links and directed you to the FREE download if available.


Independent Centers

Counting Towers- number recognition 1-10


2 sheets- 12×18 construction paper (taped together)

1 package shaped decor sheets- Dollar Store (write #s 1-10)

tape/glue stick


unifix cubes

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender 3

*Another way to make this center is to glue the blank shapes on, laminate and use as a write/wipe off mat.  Could easily be used as a math center one day and a word work center another.


Number Puzzles (1-10)

These can be printed for FREE here thanks to The Reading Mama


Snap Cube Number (1-9) and Pattern Cards

FREE download here thanks to One Beautiful Home



Paint Chip Number Line

Count forward beginning from a given number within a known sequence. Use paint chips, a Sharpie and laminate. Credit to A Kentucky Kindergarten

Number Line


Number Talks/Small Group Instruction

Subitizing Dot Plates- number sense 1-10

dot plates

Subitizing Arrangements

YouTube Video with tutorial Subitizing Made Easy


I Have Who Has Subitizing Cards

I found a free download here at TPT, but these can be easily created to add more to your deck.

FullSizeRender 2


For more ideas visit some of my older posts on First Week of School Work Stations,  Operations and Algebraic Thinking and to learn more about how I run my work stations visit my organization and management posts.

postheadericon Our Favorite Things!






As a teacher, we all have favorite things in our classroom. I thought I would share some of our favorite things we use each day in our classrooms. 


I work on an incredible team of teachers. They are invested in their students and work hard to be their very best each and every day.  I have learned so much from them over the last four years.  They are always there to chat and bounce ideas off of. I am truly thankful and appreciative of the love and support they have given me over the last few years. They continue to inspire me each and every day. 

So, in honor of them and the great things they do in their classrooms, I thought I would share some of our favorite things. I asked them each to tell me one thing they couldn't teach without every day. 


Miss Harrigan: 

She loves her behavior clip board. The students love to see their pins moved up throughout the day. 



Miss Harrigan also collects cotton balls in this container. Each time the class gets a compliment, Miss Harrigan puts in a couple of cotton balls. When the container is filled, the class gets to choose a reward. One of their rewards was a PJ day!



Mrs. Daley:

Mrs. Daley loves her teacher table marker board. It's also magnetic, so she can put letters on it to practice blending with her class. 


She also said she couldn't teach during the day without her pocket charts. They are great to keep our Lively Letters in during the year. 



Mrs. Castro:

Mrs. Castro loves containers! So, here's some of her containers, which keep her organized each day…




 Mrs. Botelho:

I love this crayon caddy. I bought it at Lakeshore Learning and I love using it in the classroom. This is great for centers, teacher table, and independant work. 


I also love my small supply drawers on my desk. They are always readily available when I need a quick classroom supply. 



I, too, am a huge fan of pocket charts. I use them ALL the time. 



Miss DeSimone:

Miss. DeSimone loves her supply chest. She has all her supplies all in one place!



We also love our behavior clip chart. It is a big part of the our day. Students love to see their pins moved up and they love to reach the lion because they then get to pick a reward. 



Mrs. Hebert:

Mrs. Hebert also has a magnetic marker board. She likes to use our magnetic ten frames on it at her teacher table. 



What are your favorite things? Educator Station would love to hear from you! We love to get answer your questions and receive emails from teachers like you!  You can contact us by clciking on the CONTACT US button on the right hand side. 


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